Thursday, August 13, 2009

NYU and The Villager Close the Door on Democracy

First City Council Debate among Candidates for Democratic Primary in the 3rd District Race. Debate facility owned and operated by: New York University (19 West 4th Street).

An over-flow crowd formed outside one of NYU's buildings. Because the venue was so small, and only 5 press passes were issued to cover the re-election of the Speaker of the City Council (this, in a city of over 8 million people), there were more interested people who wanted to get in -- but who were turned away by NYU. At least 2 journalists with media credentials, at least one other freelance reporter, and a long line of undecided voters of Hells Kitchen, Chelsea, and the West Village looked on in complete helplessness as NYU officials turned them away.

This is NOT what democracy looks like !

After several conversations, candidate for NYC Public Advocate Norman Siegel was able to persuade and influence NYU officials to allow a handicapped man in a wheelchair access to attend the debate. But the 3 other reporters, and the rest of the voters, were turned away.

It took the persuasive skills of Mr. Siegel and the video recording by several citizen reporters before NYU chose to make room for the handicapped man. In essence, you need on your side a mob with at least one brilliant legal mind to change the minds of closed minded public institutions.

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