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Re: [FrontlinesNewspaper] Chris Daly and Non-Citizens Vote

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  • David Grace
    Hi All, I ve got to disagree with Frontlines staff on this one. The concept of Taxation without Representation is a founding principal that tyrannys use. It
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 23, 2001
      Hi All,
      I've got to disagree with Frontlines staff on this one.

      The concept of "Taxation without Representation" is a founding principal
      that tyrannys use. It may not be possible to offer voting rights to
      immigrants in elections other than local (SF) races, limited to the
      municipality that offers such sufferage, but the right to have a say in how
      your taxes are spent is a basis of the social contract.

      I further think this is a great challenging argument to the pro-WTO/Global
      economy. The corporations have this "vote" in any jurisdiction they do
      business in. Why can't humans; whether voluntary or involuntary immigrants?

      My Best,
      David Grace

      NOTE FROM FRONTLINES STAFF: We are not exactly sure whether you disagree with our position to extend voting rights to non-citizens at the local level. I think you're referring to a letter we received from Brian Wallace, which we responded to. We are including for your convenience the exchange with Brian (See below)
      From Brian Wallace
      >"I am in favor of allowing non-citizens who are permanent residents
      >the right to vote in local elections."
      >- Supervisor Chris Daly
      >
      >While I'm all for people voting, I seriously question the merits of
      >this proposal. Ex-Supervisor Mabel Teng proposed this idea awhile
      >back. It never got anywhere. Besides, I don't know if the
      >Constitution allows it.
      >
      >- Brian Wallace
      >
      ANSWER TO BRIAN WALLACE FROM FRONTLINES STAFF:
      >
      >1. Mabel Teng proposed that US residents non-citizens may vote ONLY
      >for School Board races. So does Ammiano. Now, Chris Daly seems to
      >agree with them. While granting the right to vote to US residents
      >for School Board may have some liberal streak to it, it is also a
      >shameful, divisive proposal. There are about 50,000 non-citizens
      >living, working and paying taxes in San Francisco. About 15% of them
      >are US residents; 20% are in one stage or another of long processes
      >to decide either political asylum or refugee status or awaiting their
      >US residency; 65% are at different levels of what is generally known
      >as "undocumented." Since when Teng, Ammiano or Chris Daly are in the
      >business of deciding which immigrant should be granted the right to
      >vote in local elections and which do not deserve that right?
      >
      >2. Mabel Teng's proposal went nowhere because she never intended to
      >go anywhere. She opposed our proposal to extend non-citizens living
      >in the city the right to vote in ALL local elections. Teng, Ammiano
      >and Daly have no business sorting out - nor does the City - the
      >immigration status of anyone. The thing that they should worry about
      >is how to extend the right to vote to all non-citizens that -for
      >various reasons that is not the business of the Supervisors to judge
      >- have no right to have an opinion about policies and candidates that
      >determine their lives, take decisions about their property, jobs,
      >taxes, businesses, etc. We should not worry much about Teng's
      >proposal since she no longer is in a position to have any opinion
      >with any kind of weight in this city. Hopefully, Ammiano and Daly
      >are not thinking in instrumenting the immigrant version of the "don't
      >ask, don't tell policy" of Bill Clinton (Need any explanation about
      >this?)
      >
      >3. About all of you out there that think that citizenship was always
      >a pre-requisite to vote, let us explain something to you: it was not.
      >From the inception of this country, the right to vote to non-citizens
      >was widely accepted and practiced. As a matter of fact, at one time
      >in the history of the US, non-citizens constituted almost a majority
      >of the voters. Only fifty or sixty years ago, a massive reversal of
      >the right to vote for non-citizens took place. Even today, there are
      >at least 8 cities where non-citizens are allowed to vote in local
      >elections. Most European countries agreed to grant such a right to
      >the immigrants from other european countries residing in ANY other
      >country in the continent. Over 80 countries around the world
      >practice some kind of voting for non-citizens.
      >
      >4. There are several things the City could do to eliminate this
      >virtual "apartheid" system in our society. That's the reason we
      >suggested the new Supervisors - among other things - to discuss with
      >us - and others with expertise in that area - instead of making half-
      >baked proposals that will only backfire on them. It is possible to
      >give non-citizens - all of them - proper political representation.
      >This proposal can withstand any challenge in court and will cover ALL
      >non-citizens. It is time for the new supervisors to act.
      >
      >SF Frontlines
      >
      >

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