Op-Ed: Christine Parker – Why I Became a Republican

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I was a democrat all my voting life and I never thought about changing my party until one day I asked myself, “What does it mean to be a Democrat?”

The answer was simply, a person who believes that his/her government is run by the people who live under it and things that are decided are decided by majority rule; provided that everyone in that process be given an equal opportunity to participate in that process.

I then asked myself, “What does it mean to be a Republican?”  

The answer was basically the same thing.  The definition given in most dictionaries states that a Republican is one who believes in a republic, a government that is managed by the people who are elected by the citizens of that government.

In all honesty it’s all semantics! But the reality is that the practice of government in this country is different between the two parties. What is the same is that we have individuals who will vote for a candidate in their party no matter how bad that person is. Some will argue that this is the reason Trump became our 45th President.

Christine Parker

But let’s take it further. Many cops know about the wrong doing of other cops, but they will not go against another cop. The same could be said of judges, legislators, lawyers, etc. There are people who will be loyal to that organization or field, if you will, no matter what. However, justice comes when brave individuals go against this kind of practice.

New York City Council

Ever since we had the City Council become the law making-body of our New York City government, The City Council has been controlled by Democrats. So when we talk about gentrification we have to understand what that actually means and who is behind it. Gentrification is a noun denoting a condition. It is a condition caused by unlawful acts which are the implementation of systematic mechanisms, such as rezoning and redistricting, that cause a particular group of people to be removed from their neighborhoods and a new gentry brought in to replace them. This is a violation of the “Fair Housing Act.” We have identified these groups as largely being classified as Black, Latino (aka “Hispanic”) and White, Black and Latino being the groups pushed out, and White being the group to replace the two groups.  

So I ask, “Who has been doing the rezoning and redistricting over the years that Black and Latino people have been complaining about gentrification?” Democrats. It was becoming harder and harder to support other council members and even our current mayor who seem to have fallen in the hands of developers. Many of my former constituents lack vision for the city or community plan that includes empowering the community.

The Republican Party

The Republican Party has traditionally been a party that supports less government intrusion over the people. I interpret that as meaning to allow communities to be self-determining. As a Black woman that brings music to my ears. I know first-hand about government intrusion that has led to discrimination.  But, I also know about necessary government intrusion that brings about fairness.

The first Civil Rights Act was brought about by the Republican Party.  The 1957 Civil Rights Act, again under a Republican administration. Republicans were critical in bringing the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts into fruition. Affirmative Action, Republican Administration. Nixon’s War on Drugs: Most of the money went toward treatment. Reagan’s War on Drugs: Most of the money went toward education. Clinton’s War on Drugs: Most of the money went toward prosecution and jails.

At the end of the day, it’s all about who is doing what.  But less government intrusion allows for community building. There is nothing to say that Republicans or the Republican Party supports an anti-community building agenda. Now, there is such a thing as Democrats posing as Republicans. And when such intrusion occurs Republicans get blamed, which brings me to talk about Public Housing.

NYCHA/Public Housing

The mayor has an agenda for NYCHA which is called Next Generation.  The plan proposes to allow a certain amount of public housing property to be privatized in order to save most of it. But this plan doesn’t empower the residents living in NYCHA buildings. It only benefits developers! I support a plan created by a group of citizens known as NYCHA’s Legacy for the Future. This plan empowers the residents living in public housing and has less government intrusion while comparatively addressing NYCHA’s operational deficit, 17B restoration bill and quality of life issues.

Another agenda of the mayor’s is the East Harlem Rezoning. This is a mammoth rezoning plan that allows for 35 story buildings covering many blocks and avenues in East Harlem. The housing formula is 75 percent market rate units and 25 percent affordable units. When you examine the income gap between whites and Blacks and/or Whites and “Hispanics” and/or Whites and Blacks and Hispanics combined it’s not rocket science on what the result will be in 10 years. The Black and Latino population might as well count their days in East Harlem, if this rezoning goes through. 

Ultimately, “communities of color” can no longer afford to go along with luxury housing scheme that outpaces moderate and low-incoming housing. These types of plans even doom the working class. The sensible formula that could accommodate all relevant stake holders is a housing model of 50/30/20: Open market, Moderate Income and Low Income. It comes out of a concept known as Income Targeted Housing, which is developments that derive out of land use must target the actual income brackets of families living in the area of such development who are in need of affordable housing. They are using it in some areas of Manhattan; however, these projects are state driven rather than city.

In conclusion, the city lacks a doable plan for its inhabitants, especially in Brooklyn, especially in the 35th Council District. The leadership that we are under fails to address an equitable arrangement that accommodates all relevant stakeholders. While it may be profitable to developers to build, build, build, a city with dissatisfied residents and no real plan to manage all the new people coming into the city’s movement is doomed to fail. People are being marginalized, pushed out of this district in record numbers. People are suffering! Maybe we need GOD HIMSELF to come down and confound our speech to stop the madness. Short of that, we need serious change in our government. But only solid leadership with a plan can bring us all together, shall we prevail.

Christine Parker is the Republican Candidate for the 35th City Council District covering Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect heights and Crown Heights. The general election is Nov. 7.

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