Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Staten Island Secession Revisited: Bad Idea, Terrible Timing

Photo byboroughvoter.com on flickr.

There was a time not too long ago when Staten Island was the red headed step child of NYC. A time when we were the forgotten borough, left fending for ourselves fiscally. That time was back in 1993, when Staten Island voted overwhelmingly on a referendum to secede from the rest of NYC and become our own city, completely separate from the other 4 boroughs. While the referendum passed, the New York state assembly ruled that Staten Island couldn’t secede unless NYC requested it.

Fast forward 15 years, Staten Island is still part of NYC. We’ve made some sensational strides in those 15 years, all the while being a part of NYC and mostly because of it. We’ve closed the dump, built up dilapidated areas, built a sports stadium and redid the ferry terminals, built a brand new CUNY facility and went through a tremendous real estate boom. I’d say not seceding was probably one of the greatest things that never happened to Staten Island. Now, Andrew Lanza wants to revisit this topic? At a time when people are scared about losing their jobs, houses, and not being able to provide food for their families, he’s trying to cut off our financial lifeline to NYC? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. What happens to all the NYC police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers and countless other city service employees who live in and work in Staten Island? What happens when we do secede, and NYC pulls the MTA from Staten Island and shuts down the Staten Island ferry service? How are all the thousands of Staten Island residents who rely on mass transit supposed to get to work? What happens when all those people who work for the city or work in Manhattan start moving to New Jersey and Brooklyn because of the commute? Staten Island will see a mass exodus of residents to other boroughs and states, the likes of which would be financially debilitating. Real Estate would drop precipitously, revenue streams would dry up and small businesses would all but disappear. Staten Island would without a doubt become the forgotten city if we seceded.

Mr. Lanza, this is not the time to be revisiting such a preposterous idea and I believe it is a complete waste of our government’s time and money to even explore this again. This is hardly the time to engage the New York State Assembly in a battle of secession, especially since I am doubtful that secession is on many Staten Islanders minds anymore. Take a poll Mr. Lanza, I think most Staten Island residents would rather continue to operate as the stepchild of NYC, rather than go out and try to start a family of our own. - By special guest blogger Adam Steinhandler

The Staten Island Moment, Revived!
Bad Old Day Return Watch: Staten Island Secession [Bridge and Tunnel Club]

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