BY BRIAN ROBINSON | Last July I wrote an opinion piece in the New York Post after my wife and 4-year-old daughter were followed by a homeless man inside our own building. The man ignored my wife when she asked him to stop, and only decided to alter his course after they both came running inside and he heard my voice. I found him down the hall looking under the doors of other apartments before he saw me and hid in the stairwell. I escorted him out alongside an employee of the building who happened be doing some work on the floor.
The lack of enforcement of laws in New York City has emboldened those who might commit a crime, to actually follow through. They just aren’t afraid of consequences, because there often aren’t any. Meanwhile ordinary residents are often left to fend for themselves.
The title of my op-ed was rather straightforward: If we don’t fix homelessness, more New Yorkers will abandon the city. While this turned out to be true, it didn’t take an oracle to make that prediction. Between April 2022 and April 2023, 64,577 New Yorkers left for Florida alone. This after Census Bureau data already confirmed a population loss of 5.3 percent from the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020 to July 2022 (nearly 500,000 people). With COVID mandates finally over, the continued exodus is telling. Crime is still up in our self-declared sanctuary city (hard crime up approximately 40 percent since 2019), and aggressive, mentally disturbed homeless people continue to assault unassuming residents in broad daylight both above and below ground.
These are not the same homeless people from the pre-COVID era. This is an outcome of mass decarceration, plus a maxed-out homeless shelter system that literally invites the world to our doorstep, which have managed to import far more than our fair share of unvetted malefactors. The reckless policies that underpin this madness have proven to be a deadly mixture for a city where stabbings are a near daily occurrence. The city is not vetting anyone. Whether they came down from Rochester or Sudan via Mexico, it’s “come one, come all,” thanks to “right to shelter” and accommodating nongovernmental organizations that facilitate these shelters. The more people come, the bigger the contacts with everyday New Yorkers.
You might be forgiven if you thought the volatile mixture of lax law enforcement, rampant government corruption and the severely mentally ill roaming the streets in large numbers couldn’t get any worse for New York City…but it does. Add to this volatile concoction, a migrant influx numbering in the thousands every week, costing taxpayers more than $11 million per day, and a “progressive” City Council that welcomes the situation with open arms, and we are left to watch New York City unravel, as if on an Instagram time lapse.
While the vast majority of New Yorkers rightfully take issue with sacrificing city services, since taxpayers fund the housing, clothing and insurance of those who came into this country illegally, the speaker of the City Council and its Democrat Majority Leader (Keith Powers, my opponent in District 4) had the audacity to scold the people of New York for being “xenophobic.” Meanwhile 82 percent of New Yorkers believe the handling of the migrant crises is a problem. Eighty-two percent of New York City is not xenophobic. It would be hard to live in New York City and be xenophobic, for that matter.
Progressives have taken us to the end of the road — and still, reasonable concerns about a major issue are met, not with civil debate or thoughtful rebukes, but nasty accusations of racism. It is this disingenuous deflection tactic that has paved the way for the acceptance of some of the most belligerent governmental policymaking in New York City history. The last thing anybody wants to be called is a racist, so people often keep their mouths shut, and the activists in the City Council count on that. It is time to reject the name calling of the far left and address the unsustainable nature of their governance. We cannot be a sanctuary city without ultimately bankrupting ourselves. It is not compassionate to leave severely mentally ill individuals to their own devices. It is negligent to allow a mass influx of people into our neighborhoods, on our dime, without any way to vet them.
It is time to take action. The progressive singularity is upon us and it is our last chance to save this once-great city. It is politicians that got us here, and it it’s politicians (true representatives) that can get us out. We need representatives that see it as their fiduciary obligation to genuinely represent their constituencies. It is time to vote differently if we want different results. I left the Democratic Party because it became clear to me that they will never take public safety seriously.
In earnest, local Democrats, save for a few of them, are not the Democrats of old. They are Democratic Socialists of America and Working Families Party members (don’t be fooled, the W.F.P. doesn’t stand for either those who work or families) that ride the Democratic ticket in order to advance their vision of a city destroyed, and rebuilt in their own image. It is unlikely that most of New York will want to stick around to see what that looks like if we allow them to be successful.
Vote differently, NYC. Vote for the candidate, not the party. It is likely our last chance to right this ship.
Robinson is a Republican City Council candidate running in Manhattan’s District 4 on Tues., Nov. 7. The district includes the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Sutton Place, Tudor City and Stuyvesant Town. He ran for Congress last year as a Democrat in Lower Manhattan’s District 10.