FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo "Jun" Policarpio
FOUL SMELL OF LOCAL NEW YORK POLITICS
The following is a reply to my Letter to the Editor of
TIMESLEDGER, a newspaper chain in Queens, New York,
and my Rejoinder:
REJOINDER To Mr. Vincent J. Tabone’s Letter
July 21, 2006
After making a concretized point against State Sen.
Serphin Maltese’s Racial Profiling bill, I thought I
would be able to quietly leave the issue with Mr.
Vincent J. Tabone, “Republican” vice chairman of the
Queens County Republican Party as having the last
word. When he criticized me for not mentioning that I
was not endorsed by his “Republican Party” clique and
I “lost badly in the Republican primary” in 2004, he
took it upon himself now to be the target of a fair
examination of his role in the nomination of the
Republican candidate during the endorsement process
and the primary election campaign. And it is indeed an
interesting story to tell.
In December of 2003, Mr. Tabone and two of his party
colleagues told me that they were inclined to support
another Republican candidate from Nassau County who
was known to be wealthy and a big contributor to
Governor Pataki. They advised me to run against State
Senator Toby Stavisky instead.
Their “wealthy” candidate later withdrew from
candidacy for reasons known only to them and other
local party leaders. I was then the only
Republican candidate campaigning to unseat Democratic
Rep. Gary Ackerman from the 5th Congressional District
of New York.
A few weeks before the deadline for submission of
party nominees in 2004, I was invited to speak before
the Queens local Republican party meeting presided by
State Sen. Maltese to get the party endorsement. I
did not get any negative feedback but complimentary
remarks from the Senator and his associates about my
political platform and the way I expressed them to the
audience. So I thought all along that the party
endorsement was a done deal from both the Queens and
Nassau Republican County Committees. It is said to be
a recognized practice that when a candidate gets the
Queens County endorsement, he automatically gets the
A few days before the deadline, I learned that a
certain Mr. Stephen Graves, another Republican
candidate running in the 7th Congressional District,
Stephen Graves, got the party endorsement. In an
interview with New York Sun, he confessed that he was
surprised of the offer believing that I already
received the endorsement a long time ago. He also told
the NY Sun reporter that the reason given by the party
leaders was my “communication problems” having been a
foreign born American speaking with an ethnic accent.
That was heartbreaking news to me considering the
applause and compliments I received when I spoke
before the Queens County Republican leadership. THIS
IS RACIAL PREJUDICE!
Now we have both chairman and the vice-chairman of
the Queens Republican Party advocating RACIAL
PROFILING to be a state law. Did they apply it to
this poor carpet bagger candidate from Tennessee, Mr.
Graves, who has olive complexion, black hair and dark
eyes and whose business was selling vitamins. Their
candidate bragged in most of his speeches that he once
served as adviser to Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, former
Premier of Pakistan who was arrested and imprisoned
for government corruption. Did they suspect if Mr.
Graves is a member of a “sleeper cell” in New York?
Remember, their candidate used multiple addresses from
California to New Jersey.
Federal Election Commission Records will show that
Mr. Graves raised a total donation of $1,465.00 and
spent $0.00 for the whole campaign season and his
biggest donor who owns a pharmacy in Brooklyn and gave
$200.00 has a Middle Eastern name that sounds like
Mohammed. Did they check this guy out as a terrorist
suspect? They used the caricature of Uncle Sam in
their party-funded brochures somewhat to symbolize
that Stephen Graves, a Caucasian name , was the
candidate of America. They even used the pictures of
President Bush and his father in their campaign cards
without the consent of the White House, according to
Mr. Matthew Hunter of the White House Office of
Political Affairs who called over the phone. Mr.
Hunter interjected to me that Deputy Chief of Staff
Karl Rove had nothing to do with Graves’ campaign
Mr. Tabone, do you still want to play the DIRTY game
of RACIAL PROFILING? Frankly, my neighbor, I don’t
because a true Republican stands for EQUALITY AND
JUSTICE as Abraham Lincoln, greatest American
president, did so many years ago in order to preserve
Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio
White House Liaison, National Asian American
Chairman, New York State Asian American Republican
Life Member, Republican Senatorial Inner Circle
Ethnic profiling makes sense in a post-9/11 world
I read with interest Mr. Gonzalo Policarpio's lament
about Sen. Serphin R. Maltese's bill drafted to give
law enforcement greater power to detain terror
suspects by allowing law enforcement to take race and
ethnicity into account when stopping terror suspects.
Guess what? It is a practical and necessary step in
continuing to keep us safe.
It was also noteworthy that Mr. Policarpio takes pains
to describe himself as a former "Republican" and Fair
Immigration Party Congressional Candidate in 2004, yet
fails to mention he was not endorsed by the Republican
Party and lost rather badly in the Republican primary.
Perhaps this is a reflection of the fact that
Republican voters, at least, appreciate that we live
in a post 9/11 world and are in the midst of waging a
war on terror. Republican voters are at least
generally supportive of initiatives designed to
protect our shores and citizens from further terror
attacks. In short, Republican primary voters rejected
Mr. Policarpio's world view then and I believe would
do so again today.
Mr. Policarpio imagines himself as clever by positing
that Maltese's bill would subject the senator's
relatives of Italian ancestry to what he calls
unnecessary and harassing police stops and searches.
As someone who belongs to a number of the same Italian
American groups that celebrate Italian-American
heritage, culture and contributions to this country, I
can assure Mr. Policarpio that Maltese, like most
Italian Americans, is fully aware of Italian history.
Like many Italian-Americans, particularly southern
Italians and other folks who immigrated from southern
Europe, we know that the U.S.A. had fairly strict
quotas against our forbearers. We remember how we were
described and stereotyped, sometimes even today.
We also know about the history of the region and the
interaction of the many peoples in the region and the
features and characteristics of the people indigenous
to the region without consulting anthropology
textbooks. Italian Americans, like other peoples from
the Mediterranean, come in every shape and size and
hue because of the region's unique past. Sicily, for
instance, was invaded or settled by the Romans, the
Greeks, the Spanish and the Arabs.
So much for the history lesson. Today the majority of
Republicans, the majority of Americans and I dare say
at least a significant plurality of New Yorkers who
still remember 9/11 would rather err on the side of
providing law enforcement with extra tools to stop
terrorists even if it might mean occasional
inconvenience or embarrassment.
A person can still be fair-minded and recognize that
all the 9/11 terrorists were males of Arab extraction
as were all the terrorists involved in the Spanish and
United Kingdom bombings. I, for one, would rather risk
that members of my family might be momentarily
inconvenienced at some point than to hear that another
Mohammed Atta slipped past causing death and
destruction on our shores while authorities were busy
grilling Swedish and Japanese tourists or engaged in
other measures designed not to offend anyone's
More anthropologically based profiling may prove an
imperfect tool but its better than blind or random
profiling or other means of artificially denying the
Perhaps such won't pass muster with the ACLU or Mr.
Policarpio but then again most Republicans appreciate
that the U.S. Constitution was never meant to be a
Vincent J. Tabone
Queens County Republican Party