By Mayor Bill de Blasio
Special to the Eagle
Next week – on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 – we the people will get to vote in the first national election since Donald Trump became President. That’s why in spite of everything we have seen over the past two years, I am hopeful. Something important, something good is happening across this country. People are getting involved, running for office in record numbers, and a lot more of them are young people, women, and people of color.
We need to support this new energy and we have something in New York City that will help. First, make sure to show up to your polling place and vote. Second, flip your ballot and vote “Yes,” “Yes,” and “Yes,” on the three questions you’ll find there.
The first question on the ballot says we’re going to reduce the amount of money that anyone can contribute to political campaigns. We’re saying to all of those wealthy folks, “God bless you, but you’re not allowed to put as much more money into our elections anymore.” Then we’re saying to everyday people, “If you make a small donation, we’re going to match it, and give you a greater voice.”
Vote, “Yes,” on question one and your $25 donation will turn into $225. The people’s small donations will reach further and further, and everyday people will have a great chance to run for office and win.
The second question on the ballot says clearly: The people should get to decide what happens with their own money. You give money to the government, you pay your taxes. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to vote on where some of that money goes?
Vote, “Yes,” on question two and we’ll have community participatory budgeting. What this says is you get to put your own vote in and money will be spent according to what the majority says. It’s a way of showing people a new form of participation. They’re your tax dollars and you get to decide what happens with them.
The third question on the ballot will open up our Community Boards. They play a vital role in our city, but – to tell the truth – some people serve on those Community Boards for decades and there often isn’t a chance for new people to get an opportunity.
Vote, “Yes,” on question three and we’ll have term limits for Community Boards. Term limits are a good thing. As Mayor, I have a term limit. City Council members have term limits. The President has a term limit. Community Boards should too. That way, new people can participate, young people can participate, and our Community Boards will be as open and engaged as they can be.
Let me wrap this up together. It’s hard to open a newspaper, or turn on the television, or go online and not feel depressed about what you see in the news. But we cannot give up. That’s exactly what too many folks in power want us to do. They are trying to tell us this country doesn’t belong to us and that there’s no point in our having a say in what is happening.
Our answer to them is simple. We are going to participate more and do everything we can to ensure that everyone, no matter how much they earn, where they worship, when they came here, what language they speak, what color they see when they look in the mirror, that everyone, gets to have their say.
Vote every time you can; get involved in your community more; run for office yourself. Whatever you do, on Tuesday, November 6th, please, show up at the polls; bring along your family, friends and neighbors; flip your ballot and vote, “Yes,” “Yes,” and “Yes.”
Let’s open up the doors of democracy wide and make our great city, the fairest big city in America.