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City Council OKs bill allowing nearly 800,000 non-citizens to vote in local elections

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City Council OKs bill allowing nearly 800,000 non-citizens to vote in local elections

A largely lame-duck group of city elected officials is about to saddle New Yorkers with yet another controversial measure that few have clamored for.

The City Council on Thursday approved a measure to allow non-citizen, but legal, Big Apple residents to vote in municipal elections — despite vocal opposition to the “irresponsible” and “dangerous” legislation, a procedural obstacle and threat of a legal challenge.

After an unsuccessful 11th-hour attempt by more than a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers to send the legislation back to a committee to be adjusted, the bill passed the 51-member body 33-14 with two abstentions, sending it to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desk.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, will allow hundreds of thousands of non-citizens to participate in local elections by expanding voting eligibility to green card holders — about 10 percent of the city’s population — and recipients of deferred action.

The legislation does not allow lawful permanent residents or people with authorization to work who aren’t citizens to participate in federal or state elections. People will be required to reside in the five boroughs for at least 30 days to be able to vote.

Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez is the sponsor of the bill.
William Farrington

Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers are covered under the legislation, including 622,000 green card holders.

De Blasio, who like a majority if the City Council members, leaves office at the end of the year, has repeatedly expressed reservations about the bill, in part because of “outstanding legal questions” because he thinks the state legislature has the authority to legislate on the matter.

But the mayor recently pledged not to veto it. The measure is sure to face court challenges.

“In 2021, we are writing another chapter,” said Rodríguez (D-Upper Manhattan) during a rally outside City Hall ahead of the vote, “New York City is showing another way to do business when it comes to expanding voting rights.”

“We will make our city stronger, we will have more people participating in our electoral process, we will have even more people to be motivated to be citizens because after they participate at the local level, they will be more interested and engaged and highly motivated to be a citizen so now they can vote at the federal level,” he later explained to The Post.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently pledged not to veto the controversial bill if passed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently pledged not to veto the controversial bill if passed.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire

With Thursday afternoon’s vote after nearly two hours of proceedings, the Big Apple will join about 14 US cities including San Francisco in allowing non-citizens to cast ballots in municipal elections.

Under the legislation, permanent non-citizens will be able to participate in City Council, borough president, comptroller and mayoral elections, as well as in ballot initiatives.

“Our city will become the largest municipality in the nation that will allow non-citizens to vote in local elections,” Speaker Corey Johnson, who is also term-limited out of office on Dec. 31, said in the Council Chambers. “New York has been built by immigrants, and we are what we are because of them.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson praised the bill saying it would make New York City the  largest municipality in the nation to allow non-citizens to vote.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson praised the bill saying it would make New York City the largest municipality in the nation to allow non-citizens to vote.
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Opponents have blasted the “dangerous” legislation, vowing to take it to court.

Councilman Mark Gjonaj — a Democrat who represents parts of The Bronx — proposed a “motion to recommit” that would have sent it back to the governmental operation committee, which could change the bill before a vote. 

The 30-day minimum residency in New York City should be extended to at least a year, because it would permit “transients” to head to the polls, the lawmaker argued.

“Irresponsible would be rubber stamping, irresponsible would be voting on a bill that you’re not completely informed about,” he said, while noting his parents immigrated to the United States from Albania.

Gjonaj also argued it would allow enemies of the United States like Russia and China to influence local elections.

“This bill in its current form doesn’t protect New York City; it makes it vulnerable to outside influence,” he said. “This bill makes the crown jewel of the country vulnerable.”

“It doesn’t take much to … figure out how dangerous this bill is for the future of New York City,” he added. “This bill … is a threat to our sovereignty.”

Councilman Mark Gjonaj claimed that the bill would make the “crown jewel of the country vulnerable” to outside influence.
Paul Martinka

“Thirty days is not enough for someone to decide who’s going to represent the greatest city in the world,” said Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Queens).

City Council Minority Leader Joe Borrelli (R- Staten Island) said the measure is “incorrect and illegal” and “devalues” votes of adult citizen New Yorkers.

“It devalues the votes of 5.6 million current New Yorkers,” he said. “If we have people registered to vote that are allowed to vote per the state constitution, and if we add people who are specifically prohibited to vote per the state constitution, we water down the votes of the 5.6 million. people”

He added that he and other Republicans would challenge the law in court after it goes into effect either by arguing a citizen’s or a candidate’s rights are “infringed” upon by non-citizen voting.

“It’s unconstitutional, under state law. It’s very clear,” said Councilman Kalman Yeger (D- Brooklyn), a conservative Democrat who voiced support for sending the bill back to the committee. “We not not have the legal authority to do this.”

Councilman Kalman Yeger claimed that the bill is unconstitutional.
Councilman Kalman Yeger claimed that the bill is unconstitutional.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post

Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn), a native of Ukraine, characterized extending voting rights to non-citizens as a “slap in the face” to immigrants who worked hard to earn their citizenship

“To me, in order to be able to cast a vote, you have to have been able to make a commitment to this country,” said newly elected Councilman David Carr (R-Staten Island). “If we’re going to have a serious conversation about what the franchise should be in the city, we should sent it back to committee.”

Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Brooklyn) had a different reason for wanting to press pause on passing the bill, floating the possibility that black voters’ representation in elected office would be reduced by immigrants from China, the Dominican Republican and Mexico participating in local elections.

Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo questioned how the bill would impact the African American community.
Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo questioned how the bill would impact the African American community.
Paul Martinka

“I need to know … how are African Americans going to be impacted?” Cumbo, who is black and voted no on the bill, wondered. “I want to know specifically how it is going to affect African American communities.”

But Gjonaj’s attempted parliamentary maneuver failed, as opponents argued there isn’t enough time to modify the legislation before the Council term ends at the end of the year. The delay-inducing motion earned 14 yes votes and 35 nos.

“This bill deserves an up or down today,” said Councilman Stephen Levin (D- Brooklyn). “If we were to vote for this amendment, there is no way that we can pass this bill in this term.”

“Voting yes on this amendment is essentially an end around our legislative process, and that’s unacceptable to me.”

With Post wires

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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