Thursday, February 10, 2005

NY City Council's History Lesson

In a city that forces employers away due to the high cost of unions, labor, taxes, and over regulation, why would a City Council pile on another hurdle for companies who want to do business with New York? Hearings will begin next week over a piece of legislation that would require city contractors to reveal if, at some point in their company history had anything to do with slavery. The legislation would not make the company pay any reparations or affect whether it gets the contract or not, yeah right. Be sure that once it is made public, a company that had anything to do with slavery would be forced out of jobs in favor of ones who might not have the burden of history on their back or grease the right wheel. Slavery was a horrible injustice that ended 140 years ago, why should companies, whose employees are generations removed from that plight, be forced to bear this responsibility? What action will the council do for the workers for these companies, of all ethnicities? Who is going to feed their children when their company is forced out of a job because a shady dealing hundreds of years ago?

"We're hoping that these hearings will bring to light the fact that there had been a history of slavery in this city, that there are some corporations that might have been a part of that history,"
Councilman Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan).

On the heels of this, a companion bill calls on Mayor Bloomberg to establish a commission in order to study the issue of slavery reparations for African-Americans. Mayor Bloomberg is up for reelection this year and has recently courted the African-American vote. This is a blatant strong-arm tactic to make Bloomy choose, if he does not support this, the council members will call him a racist and he will not carry the African-American vote. To be fair, they also asked councilman Gifford Miller (D) to support it as well. Miller is one of the Democratic front-runners in the race for mayor. The year is 2005, to inject slavery into election year politics is incongruous.

This is a slippery slope to be on. Already other council members from both sides of the aisle are calling these actions out. Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens) made a valid point when he stated "sounds like an attempt to help trial lawyers get evidence to start lawsuits." James Oddo (R-Staten Island) suggested that the bill should also look at injustices done to Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans.

(Source - NY Post)