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Residency Rules
March 7th, 2007

With the City Council and Speaker Christine Quinn mulling whether to seat Mathieu Eugene the person elected to the City Council last month without apparently bothering to live in the district he sought to represent forces are lining up for and against the doctor, who hopes to be the first Haitian on the council.

Like it or not, Mathieu should not be allowed to take his seat, the Daily News has written. Council members must live in their districts on Election Day, That leaves out Mathieu Eugene.

And today Citizens Union (the sister organization of Citizens Union Foundation which publishes Gotham Gazette) did not take an explicit stand on Eugene but addressed the overall issue of candidates seeking to represent districts they dont even want to live in. It is in the best interest of voters for there to be a clear record of residency established at the very least by Election Day, and quite possibly sooner, the organization says. And it urges to Campaign Finance Board, which currently does not get involved in questions of residency to clarify that candidates must meet the legal requirements to represent the district for which they are running or forfeit eligibility to participate in the public campaign financing program.

But Eugenes backers are not standing idly by. A rally is scheduled for tomorrow at City Hall to demand that Eugene get his seat. The announcement, according to The Daily Politics, was sent out apparently by Uma Clarke, who once held the Council seat now in contention and along with her daughter, Representative Yvette Clarke, endorsed Eugene. This historic victory is being threatened by legal and political maneuverings that places at risk the WILL OF THE VOTERS of the 40the District, the email said. We believe that there is no reason to DENY the immediate seating of our elected representative.

(Later perhaps to refute charges that Clarke is running the whole show, Friends of Mathieu Eugene reportedly sent out a correction saying that they were responsible for the email.

And The Politicker reports that dozens of activists received another email urging recipients to call Christine Quinn and urge her to seat Eugene and to make that easier, it included Quinns cell phone number. The email has rapidly circulated among politically active Haitian New Yorkers unhappy that questions about Eugene’s residency have prevented him from being sworn in, the blog says.

Blog comments indicate feelings are running pretty high in some circles about all this. Some have called Quinn a political thug who is trying to deny Haitian their rights. The Haitians traveled across the ocean in rinky dinky boats to have the right to vote and be free. Now this loudmouth Christine Quinn is trying to say GO HOME, Petro wrote to the Politicker Others charges, like it or not, Eugene has broken the law and so doesnt deserve the serve first Haitian or not.

What happens if Eugene doesnt get his seat? There will be another election. And, Ben Smith writes in
Room Eight
, It’s pretty clear that Mathieu will win again, probably in even more of a walk, if the 10-way race is simply re-run. So there are quiet talks already underway to present a unified opposition candidate.

By on March 7, 2007, 6:30 pm
In category: Gotham City,Immigrants | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Residency Rules”

  1. Johan Says:
    March 8th, 2007 at 9:15 am

    This caught my attention when I read that his lawyer i Paul Wooten. Wootne also handled a race for council in the bronx when his client Arlene Park couldn’t get on the ballot.

    As a avor to dem establishment or honest errors?

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    March 8th, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    On one had, I could see abolishing residency rules and allowing people to be represented by whomever they choose.

    On the other hand, many of these cases, and certainly this case, involve those who are better off, and want to live in places that are also better off, running in poorer districts. In this case, many better off West Indians are moving from East Flatbush to Canarsie, although East Flatbush is not really poor.

    If residency were abolished, we would see more cases like that. And with the poor less and less cared about in our nation’s politics, can we count on their former neighbors, as opposed to their current neighbors, to represent their interests? Would those who do not live in an area be more concerned about representing people symbolically with identity issues, rather than worrying about the quality of life on the ground?

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