Wednesday, February 14, 2007

FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio

DIRTY MACHINE POLITICS TO BE SCUTTLED

As I write this column today, Feb 14th , Valentine's Day, I declare again my love for the Philippines and the Filipino people. The words “Iniibig ko ang Pilipinias, sapagkat's ito and lupa kong tinubuaan”(English translation: I love the Philippines because it's the land of my birth)still keep stealing in to my mind as I used to recite it before my classmates in elementary school in Tondo, Manila. I love the Filipino people because streaming through my veins is the Filipino blood- a rich mix of Malayan, Chinese, Spanish, and perhaps other unknown racial strains. And with this love comes a personal dedication as a Filipino American to contribute much to the best of my abilities to make the Philippines a peaceful, secure, and prosperous country in Asia.
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The sudden resignation of New York State Sen. Serphin Maltese from the chairmanship of the slowly dying Queens Republican County Committee is a smart move. He said he wants to concentrate on his responsibilities as a Queens senatorial representative in Albany. He knows that in the 2008 elections, he may not be lucky enough to win running with an ultra-conservative political agenda such as his Racial Profiling bill and xenophobic posturing. During last year's elections, he almost lost to a political unknown, a former immigrant from Guyana in the Caribbean, who was not even endorsed by any political machine.

Though Sen. Maltese was instrumental in my failure to get the endorsement of the Queens County and Nassau County Republican political machines, I do not rejoice at his misfortune. He is a nice guy, personally, who is very proud of the artistic skills of his wife. That's my impression of him when I visited his senate office in Albany to give my political contributions for his re-election campaign in 2004.

But machine politics is dirty. I'm still wondering what made these Republican local leaders in Queens under Sen. Maltese a few hours before the deadline of submission of party nominees to grab another candidate running in another district with an offer of an endorsement to run against me and force a primary election in 2004. A primary election among Republican candidates in Queens where Democrats outnumber Republicans 4 to 1 is unthinkable. Would it be a product of a compromise between the leaders of the Queens Republicans and the Queens Democrats to assure the victory of incumbent Congressman Gary Ackerman?

When former Mayor Rudy Giuliani first ran for mayor against David Dinkins in 1989, I served in his campaign as chairman of the FILIPINO AMERICANS FOR RUDY. The one thing that attracted me to his candidacy was his rejection of machine politics. Any political analyst will say that machine politics and corruption go together. An attempt to get rid of machine politics in New York City failed when Question 3 in favor of non-partisan elections did not get enough “Yes” votes during the 2003 elections. If 41 cities in the country succeeded in adopting non-partisan elections, then there's hope for New York City to follow suit. I therefore urge all concerned New York City residents to encourage Mayor Bloomberg to go for it once again.

With news of top political leaders in New York getting indicted and convicted for corruption, New York voters, especially in Queens, are getting the message: MACHINE POLITICS IS DIRTY AND SHOULD BE SCUTTLED. There is now chance for anybody with a noble cause to win elections even without the endorsement of political machines. And most recently, the best example of such a candidate who won without a political party endorsement for the nomination is Mayor Bloomberg of New York City.
End
junpolicarpio@yahoo.com
junpolicarpio@gmail.com

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