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Analyzing NYC’s Mayoral Elections: Introduction (Part I of V)

10:30 pm in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

Gracie Mansion, official residence of the mayor of NYC

In another usual night at the dinner table with my parents, my father had the television on with the October 9th mayoral debate in New York City featuring Republican candidate Joseph Lhota and Independent candidate Adolfo Carrion, Jr. What was interesting, as was noted, is Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio not showing up to the debate and was criticized not only by the candidates, but others in the media as well.

Polls have indicated that Bill de Blasio holds a commanding lead over likely voters with numbers up to 71 percent. Commentators have stated these numbers would suggest de Blasio is comfortable enough not participating in debates when the numbers are in his favor.

But the debate on October 9th made me laugh since all of the commentators, reporters to candidates, had no clue what to do. What made me frustrated is the ignorance of those in the media, as to be expected, on why de Blasio is making such gains and the reality of his appearance in this race. Therefore, I decided to do an analysis over the three major candidates — Lhota, Carrion and de Blasio — while placing into context the situation in New York City.

The election for the next mayor is on November 5th, 2013, therefore I will post up separate analysis for each of the candidates. I will target:

  • Their background
  • Their policies
  • Their significance in this election

Due to college season of midterms, I cannot guarantee each post will be up every Saturday (my ideal date). However, I will have the five-part series up before the November 5th election.

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This comes at a time where the United States has 60% of Americans clamor for a third party because Republicans and Democrats are doing a poor job. Moreover, more than four in 10 Americans state that capitalism is not working “working not too well (26%) or not at all well (16%).” Society is failing and the ruling class is closely examining this in order to come up with a solution to their benefit.

This analysis does not come from a perspective of endorsing any candidate. Indeed, none of the candidates, I can personally say, are ones I would vote for in the election.

However, I will place their role among the factors currently occurring not only in New York City, but across the globe. It is possible to see how this impacts debate in the United States as both parties try to re-establish legitimacy in the public’s eye. It is by far an interesting event and a thorough analysis can help explore not only this author’s view, but those who are curious on the election.

This is not an attempt to play sectarian and I will further discuss that in my analysis. Rather, it stems from a genuine interest on this election and why it is occurring with so many events.

This is much to discuss with these candidates and our future. These are individuals that, from what I saw, get a free pass in the media and are not scrutinized to a point where voters can critically think about the system these people are running in.

The next election follows Mayor Michael “Moneybags” Bloomberg and his problems that he left for the city. Whatever the case may be, the successor will have quite the job to take over.

Judge grants victory for former teacher in transgender-related case

10:35 am in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

Marla Krolikowski, a former New York Catholic teacher who was fired for being transgender or “worse than gay,” received a major victory in court Monday after Judge Duane Hart rejected the defense’s claims that she was a minister for the school. Judge Hart remarked that former Saint Francis Prep teacher did not fulfill the requirement put forth by the defense that because she taught religious classes she was a minister for the school.

Marla Krolikowski

Moreover, as ABC News reporter Sarah Wallace mentioned, he doubted the defense’s rationale that because she “insubordinate,” she was fired by the school. He also rejected their claims that the school was a private, religious institution that should not be interfered with over their right to hire or fire individuals.

She was fired last year after a parent at the school filed a complaint with the administrators about her appearance. Krolikowski was taken aback when administrators “deemed her insubordinate.” As journalist Lester Brathwaite placed it,

Krolikowski told then-Principal Leonard Conway and Assistant Principal Patrick McLaughlin that he was transgender and intended to start coming to work dressed as a woman. According to Krolikowski’s lawsuit, Conway said being transgender was “worse than gay,” and forbid him from attending school events as a woman. Krolikowski agreed to lose the earrings and nails, and he says he received stellar evaluations during the 2011-12 school year. But his bosses still deemed him insubordinate in June 2012 and demanded his resignation. He was officially terminated in August. (Emphasis mine)

It must be noted that Krolikowski also who assisted with concerts held at the school that feature music, acting and other art forms. She even assisted with a concert of students to play for then-Pope Benedict XVI when he visited New York in 2008.

A petition on Change.org, titled “St. Francis Preparatory High School: Formally Apologize to Mark (Marla) Krolikowski for Sexual Discrimination,” has amassed, at current time of writing, 14,173 signatures. While the official creator of petition is Cristina Guarino, the group, “Alumni Against the Treatment of Mr. K,” collectively wrote this on the petition page:

“Mr. K,” as he was affectionately known by most of his students, had worked for SFP for over 30 years and was always himself: funny, eccentric, loving, and accepting. Ask anyone who had him and they will rave about his stellar teaching and friendly demeanor. In a school in which many of the faculty can often be bossy and tyrannical, Mr. K created a warm and welcoming environment for all his students and their peers.

Moreover, the level of support for Marla has been strong as evident through the comment section of the petition. The most popular comment in the petition comes from an alumni of the school named David Burkard. He wrote that,

We the students, alumni, and staff of Prep are supposed to be good “Christians” and that means not only going the extra step to be kind to others, but also that we must be accepting and loving to everyone. Mr. K always spoke out about public injustices, both domestic and international, and by doing so proved to be one of the most”Christian” persons I’ve ever met. You cannot just fire someone because they “don’t reflect the values you wish to instill,” when clearly they do. The act of firing Mr.K has proved to me that the establishment is quite plainly ignorant, insensitive, and most importantly hypocritical. I was once a proud Terrier, but now I can honestly say I’m ashamed. (Emphasis mine)

Other students of the school gave their words of support and sincerity:

Mr. K is an icon of individuality and good spirit at prep, and he will not be ousted without an uproar. – Danielle Cervantes, Bellerose, New York

As a member of the Class of ’88, I have fond memories of Mr. K. As a student of St. Francis Prep, I was taught that social justice was an underpinning of society. SFP is certainly not adhering to that tenet by firing Mr. K for living as he is. – Robert Kohn, Alexandria, Virginia

He is a great teacher and should never have been treated this way! – Alex Maureau, Glendale, New York

Folks from across the country, and even the globe, gave their regards to Ms. Krolikowski. Here are a few examples:

As a close friend to many transgendered people I have reason to know that they endure the most terrible discrimination. My friends, gentle, honest, kind, intelligent, law-abiding people all, suffer terrible discrimination for the terrible fault of being born different. Firing a successful teacher of many years’ standing is disgraceful. The school needs to rethink their value system. – Diane Ullman, Houston, Texas

Trans and Catholic. If Mr K were my teacher in high school, the church might not have lost yet another member. – Colin Crowe, Minneapolis, Minnesota

As a member of both the gay and trans communities, I feel that it’s appalling that one could lose their livelihood based solely on the factors of their sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Regardless of the rights of private institutions, I feel that actions such as this greatly catalyze the long and agonizing process of social progress. – Madeleine Guekguezian, Fresno, California

Two courses that Krolikowski taught were titled “Social Justice” and “Humanity Sexual and Love.” Based on what the judge decided, both of those have been fulfilled on Monday. She said to ABC News,

I’m so glad that I fought and, irregardless of what the court outcome is, I feel I won.  I won and I’m who I’m supposed to be finally.

The two sides will need to reach an agreement until October 23, where the case will be decided by Judge Hart and create a legal precedent if there is no agreement.

As a former student that took her “Social Justice” class that has assisted with my activism, I am happy that she has gained this victory while letting this period of her life come to an end. Read the rest of this entry →