Photo Courtesy of Councilman Ulrich’s Office
“This bill would block de Blasio and his hand-picked cronies from deciding the fate of any statue of City property,” Ulrich said on Monday.
By Michael V. Cusenza
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) on Monday unveiled a new bi-partisan bill that would require a majority vote of the Council before removing statues on City property.
In August, in the wake of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to appoint a commission to review all City monuments over a 90-day period, even insisting that tributes to Italian-American icon Christopher Columbus would not be spared scrutiny. The 18-member panel met for the first time in Manhattan earlier this month.
Ulrich on Monday said he crafted his bill in an effort to protect City monuments from being removed without comment from residents or their elected representatives.
“This bill would block de Blasio and his hand-picked cronies from deciding the fate of any statue of City property. The mayor, of all people, should be defending Columbus Circle. Instead, he has appointed his friends to a commission that would decide the fate of City monuments without any public input,” Ulrich said. “I am absolutely appalled that we have to stand on the steps of City Hall and demand respect from the government. For so many New Yorkers, the Christopher Columbus statue serves as a symbol of the many profound contributions of Italians to American history. We live in a democracy, and it is a disgrace that I need to introduce legislation to restore transparency.”
Ulrich’s proposed legislation would amend the administrative code of the City in relation to requiring Council approval.
“No matter what side of the issue you fall on, most New Yorkers would agree that decisions about what should or should not be displayed on public property, such as a statue or a monument, should be made out in the open, after a fully transparent, deliberative process,” said Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “That is what we do here in the City Council on a regular basis as duly elected representatives of the people of this city. The legislation Councilman Ulrich is introducing codifies that very simple, but very critical democratic ideal.”