Stexit. Image Credit: Peter Miller, Photography; Artwork and Text, Staten Islander

Staten Islanders: To Secede Or Not To Secede, That Is The Question

To secede or not to secede, that is the question. Folks, if you don’t know now let me tell you, the secession movement is well underway. In the last nine years over one million residents, many of them your family, friends, and neighbors, have fled the tri state area, no group faster than retirees with city pensions. Companies like IBM, GE, and Westinghouse have led the charge of businesses who have run for the hills. Even Amazon, run by the ultra-liberal billionaire Jeff Bezos was run out of town before he even put a shovel in the cold Queens dirt.

Yes, secession is all around us. That’s why it was only a matter of time before secession reared its head in the forgotten borough of Staten Island. This is why I created the website www.STexit.nyc where you can go to read the documents from the attempted secession of 1993, participate in surveys, have your voice heard in forums, and participate in this most important conversation. I look forward to this site, and my Facebook page STexit Staten Island to provide all Staten Islanders an opportunity to participate.

 

Stexit. Image Credit: Peter Miller, Photography; Artwork and Text, Staten Islander

Stexit. Image Credit: Peter Miller, Photography; Artwork and Text, Staten Islander

 

Is secession right for Staten Island? No one can say with any degree of certainty at this point. But for my money, for my instinct, I say commonsense dictates it is likely the right move for Staten Island residents. Is there a no more commonsense reason to believe that we are the forgotten borough then because we are, in fact, the forgotten borough? People are very smart, and they know when they are getting shortchanged and Staten Island is getting short changed. Have you ever heard one of our elected politicians tell us that we have gotten more than our fair share? No, you haven’t, because they stand in unison with the shortchanged theory.

There are commonsense reasons to believe that secession would bring prosperity and a better quality of life to Staten Island. First, we have the second highest per capita income in NYC, just short of Manhattan. Unlike Manhattan, with so many of the ultra-rich, our middle-class taxpayers likely pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. Commonsense says we should see no proportionate loss of income tax revenue if we taxed at the same rate as NYC. The same goes for sales tax revenues. If we have a high per capita income, is it reasonable to think we spend higher amounts than other boroughs? And those property taxes – do you know that Staten Island and the Bronx pay a disproportionate rate of tax to value as compared to the rest of the city? From an income standpoint, we should do just fine.

What about expenditures? Staten Island has 6.5% of the population, but thankfully our crime rate is so low we only have about 3% of the police. I’m betting that most city services are the similar. Except, we probably have far fewer NYPD traffic cops who direct traffic. I’ll go out on a limb and guess we have less than one percent of these employees. I’m sure Staten Islanders are paying for a lot of them to direct Manhattan traffic. Don’t even get me started about our woeful road conditions or the failure of our transit system that gives us one of the highest commute times in the nation.

But alas, the Naysayers are out in full force with unsubstantiated scare tactics. One of their favorite unverified cries is, “Our property tax will double.” That surely strikes fear into the heart of Staten Islanders, where the largest percentage of residents own their homes. However, to cry our taxes will double doesn’t make it true. Unfortunately, as city residents we are once again second-class citizens in our own homes. Several years ago, NY State passed a law that says property taxes are capped at a 2% increase per year. Unfortunately, as NYC residents, we were excluded from this property tax cap. So, leaving NYC would actually include us – for once- in this benefit. So, under existing state law our property taxes can’t just double, unless you are projecting a doubling over decades.

Should we do anything this important just because commonsense says we should? Of course not, but should we ignore commonsense? Don’t be silly. If you’ve read this far then you are probably one of the Staten Island residents who don’t want to move, or maybe simply can’t flee like so many of our friends and neighbors. That’s why now it is so important to bring every Staten Islander to the table – to do the math – and formulate the best plan to break free from a city that has at the very least, convinced us that we are getting the short end of the stick. Or, maybe it’s the time, we were educated that we have it better than we think, we should remain the forgotten borough and just be quiet. The point is, its facts, education, and reality that should guide our decision not fearmongering, hyperbole, hearsay.

 

Sam Pirozzolo is a native Staten Islander. Sam and his wife just celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary, and have two beautiful children who attended both public schools, and were home-schooled. He is running for City Councilman position to succeed Steven Matteo.

33 Comments

  • Avatar R4R3 3L3M3NT says:

    Well written piece, Sam. At the very least, you get us to think. I like that. You’d be good in office. Not just shoving your views down our throats, but rather fostering discussion. We need more people like you, both in government and in the civic realm!

    Please stay loyal and don’t leave Staten Island. Too many people just use this place as a stepping stone to the “next place” where ever that may be.

    • Avatar K.Kilner says:

      The new hot spot is Texas. Used to be NJ, then PA, then NC and SC….

      • Avatar Abby S. says:

        what’s in Texas??????????????

        • Avatar D I L L O N says:

          Lots and lots of open space.

          Cheap land.

          No harsh winters.

          A vibrant Mexican-American community.

          Many companies moving out there.

          It’s a great place to raise a family and not go bankrupt trying.

      • Avatar vengefulgoalie says:

        Everyone eventually leaves. My generation, almost everyone I went to HS with is gone. Only the degens remain. But my younger cousins its the opposite. Almost all their friends are still here. Living at home. I’m not putting that down. For generations multiple generations lived under one roof. But I don’t know if it’s b/c of love for family or laziness or the jobs market. Maybe all of the above?

    • Avatar LUCKY DAN says:

      I like this idea but We do need more info tho

      the allure of drugs sounds good at first to

      the city is a mess and only getting worse

      time for a change

  • Avatar Frustrated Islander says:

    Interesting theory.

    There was another story on this paper that was about a politician, can’t remember his name, also Italian, I think. He also wanted secession but the article said that Giuliani’s election promises made islanders forget that idea.

    (OK I checked it was John Marchi. Here’s the link: http://statenislander.org/2019/10/20/remembering-senator-john-j-marchi-50-years-fighting-for-staten-island-higher-education-and-the-greater-good/)

    It’s worth a studying. But once it’s done, if the outcome is worse, we’re screwed.

    Also, this other article in this paper was about how Staten Island was the planned hinterlands for NYC since the 60s. Here’s that link: http://statenislander.org/2019/07/25/the-decades-old-nyc-development-plan-for-staten-island-that-most-islanders-never-knew-about/

    P.S. It’s great your site allows anonymous posting. I wouldn’t be saying anything if I had my name attached to this. Sam is a brave fellow for standing up with his ideas. I wouldn’t have the guts to do the same. Too divided politically these days. 🙁

    • Avatar Bensonhurst-->Grasmere-->Graniteville says:

      John J Marchi was a true man. It’s sad he couldn’t live another 80 years.

      • Avatar Unofficial Fact Checker says:

        Actually I think he was like 89 when he passed.

        He made CUNY what it was.

        BTW, how will CSI fare on its own? CUNY is a world class university. CSI on its own will not be.

        • Avatar Howie says:

          …and that’s just ONE good question.

          On its own, CSI would not be anything.

          But other questions remain. I wonder what will become of city services. Staten Island will have to have a duplicate service to every service provided by the city. That means EVERYTHING.

          Will the private sector fill in? If so, fahgettaboudit! It will be organized crime, all the way.

          And I am a registered Republican, but I worry that we’ll veer so sharply to the right, it would be out of control.

          We need in person forums. Maybe at CSI?

          You don’t get something for nothing. So,what’s the real cost?

          Many of the younger people (who actually HAVE money and don’t live in their parents basement) are extremely liberal. We aren’t going to attract more Urby residents with a far right independent city. It’s like SI is finally coming into its own and we may spoil it by messing with secession.

          Also, many police and firefighters live on Staten Island. That is not going to be easy, and even if you say it will,…it just won’t. The city is going to stick it to us if we try to secede. Watch and see.

          At the same time, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. But it may end up being bad in practice. Can anyone guarantee our taxes won’t go up? The answer will remain no.

          • Avatar TOM SNYDER says:

            No. No one can guarantee you of anything.

            Secession is always going to be a big risk.

            Personally, with 750,000 invested in my home here, I’d rather not gamble with the stability.

            I don’t want higher taxes. Neither do I want my property value to tank.

            I like the sound of this idea, but there are far too many unknowns for me to support this.

  • Avatar P. Farley says:

    I vote Republican.

    My concern is that SI will LOSE residents if we secede.

    Why?

    1. We still have the longest commute in the country. That won’t change. Homeowners will continue to flee.

    2. The changing demographics may turn our county BLUE. Many more homeowners may flee, and low-income renters may become the new norm.

    3. Out-of-state property owners may neglect their homes, as is often the case. Without the NYPD, drugs will run rampant. The island may become a cesspool of crime.

    4. Without the allure of being “NYC” we lose something. Upstate NY is a shambles in its own way.

    5. Will everything privatize like in Long Island? Fees, fees, and more fees.

    6. There are other benefits to being part of the city. I’ll post later elaborating on this.

    7. We may end up with MORE section8. There are Federally-mandated guidelines for this, and right now, I don’t know for sure that we have our share, as NYC picks up the slack on this one.

    8. Tolls to NYC should disappear. But not being part of NYC, that effort has no steam.

    9. What will happen if you work for the Fire Department? Will SI pay our pensions? We will have way less negotiating power with a smaller pool of workforce.

    • Avatar 10306 says:

      what other benefits are there to being part of the city? Being able to say you live in NYC to strangers? Anything else?

      • Avatar saver not a spender says:

        Bye bye NYC!

        I will be looking forward to an independent SI and will never look back.

        NYC is a drain on us!

        We don’t need this just.

    • Avatar Samir says:

      Disagree with #2:

      “2. The changing demographics may turn our county BLUE. Many more homeowners may flee, and low-income renters may become the new norm.”

      Actually, it will be the opposite. Greedy out of town owners want top dollar and so they rent to who can pay the bills. True, Section 8 pays well, but you can still charge more to high power Yuppies. The real estate market is booming from Central Jersey on up and anywhere even close to NYC is hot.

      But it is debatable.

      “8. Tolls to NYC should disappear. But not being part of NYC, that effort has no steam.”

      Where’s the steam right now? Are you serious? Know something I don’t?!

      “9. What will happen if you work for the Fire Department? Will SI pay our pensions? We will have way less negotiating power with a smaller pool of workforce.”

      Still, Staten Island City would be a pretty big place, with a very high population. But these ARE great questions.

    • Avatar dryhf5rtyxr5t says:

      Intrigued by #6. Please do elaborate.

    • Avatar not such a bad idea but it's safer to stay as NYC says:

      Look, I get the idea. I was behind Marchi when this was first proposed. But we’re in a different world now. There was no Internet then. That is a big difference. Staten Island finally has the chance to become a tourist spot. We can finally get on the map. Let’s not shoot our self in the foot. Have the chutzpah to finally make something of this place. It’s already halfway there.

      Not to mention industry. Port Ivory can yet be something. The city can dole out incentives. SI on its own probably wouldn’t be able to.

      We aren’t the forgotten borough any longer. With the world wide web no place is really forgotten if it offers something. And SI has a lot to offer. But only as the 5th borough. That is a great marketing angle. Without it, we’re just another schlumpy New York town with too many druggies and not enough culture.

      Anyway, this probably won’t go through. So either way, we have to focus on the island’s future. What is our vision for this island? A 60 square mile bedroom community? Something more?

      I like that Mr. Pirozzolo is focusing us on the future, but we have to consider all the possibilities including what happens if we DON’T seceed.

  • Avatar Dump DeBlasio says:

    Dump DeBlasio.

    Dump NYC.

    • Avatar Not A Bill Deblasio Fan says:

      Deblasio isn’t terrible. But he isn’t that great either. He’s just mediocre, and NYC can’t handle yet another mediocre leader.

      I never even heard this guy talk until his interview with Hannity.I know Irish unity is important, but I can’t tell a lie. Hannity is the worst interviewer on Fox, bar none. He is beyond annoying. But Deblasioa and Hannity vexed me.

      Hannity kept grinning like an d*** idiot. Now I know why they keep him quiet. haha

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT5VECbL3Os

      Deblasio: “I don’t support (border) walls.” But I know he lives behind walls right? What a hypocrite!! Walls are good. That’s why all those mansions on Todt Hill have nice beautiful brick walls 12 feet high. It isn’t just aesthetics.

      Sad clown.

      Tho Deblasio does have a point about health care. Our health care in the US needs help. President Trump should have fixed Obamacare like he promised. He’s running out of time! The election is next year! Not like the Congress will help. They’re too busy doing…nothing.

      Deblasio is right the police are good here. BUT…..Hannity has a point. If New Yorkers are sane and not criminals, should they have the same safety as Deblasio has? Deblasio can’t/won’t answer.

      My family has too many police officers to count. I do not think it’s that good putting more guns on the street. But premise permits for homes definitely keep crime down. Criminals don’t follow the law anyway.

      Deblasio: “I just don’t play by your rules” when he won’t answer about firearms.

      He does have a point about big corporations not paying taxes. Hannity is BSing about corporations not paying taxes. They DO need to pay their fair share. They’re both being BS artists.

      It’s not that Deblasio has NO good points but the parts he gets wrong destroys it all.

      • Avatar Samir says:

        DeBlasio is a typical democrat.

        I appreciate all views but they don’t feel the same. Did you ever see what was done to Ben Shapiro at the colleges? He isn’t even able to speak.

        Universities are a place to learning, debate,discussion. If you don’t like his idea, let the man speak, and then propose your alternatives and explain why his ideas fail. Silencing people scares me.

        So many people came to the US legally like my family because we liked the values here and opportunities. No one group gets to silence everyone. I do respect the Staten Islander because as I see it all views are permitted.

        It’s not like other sites where one viewpoint is only allowed. My job in IT I have because I was skilled enough to get a work visa. It would be ironic to get beaten up by another man who comes here without state approval.

        Secession may be a good plan. The city is in decline.

  • Avatar Dimitri says:

    It’s all been studied before.

    But the 1993 data may not hold now. It’s already almost 30 years ago!

  • Avatar margot says:

    I remember why this name is familiar.

    This was the guy who had the T on his lawn that was burned down a few years back.

    I may not have liked Trump, but I do believe in freedom. We should all have our voice heard. It’s disgusting to silence anyone.

    He has some good ideas, but we need more info. It sounds great, but what about the NYPD, NYFD, NYSD, teachers, etc? That all has to be worked out. Who will own the buses? Municipal buildings? City lands? It’s a lot of questions, still.

    I always say best to look where you jump. Things could always get worse if you’re not careful. But like I said, it’s worth looking into.

    • Avatar NOT hypnotized by the BS says:

      Actually people are getting jumped for wearing MAGA hats. That’s just wrong. The Demo(n)crats ran slavery. LOVED segregation. So don’t be shocked they use fascist techniques to silence their opposition.

      Oh, and, I’m a socialist. Don’t dare mistake me for a Trump supporter just because I say the Democrats suck. But don’t assume I loved Obama as President either.

      I don’t like Dems or Repubs but Democrats brand of the “left” is disgusting. Look to Europe for how it is done right.

      Oh, WAS done right…rampant immigration is straining their system now too.

      • Avatar MAGA 2020 says:

        MAGA 2020!

        Vote TRUMP!

        Dump DeBlasio!

        Dump SCHIFF!

        • Avatar Schiffy Doll Scares Chucky! says:

          Schiff? WT*’s up with that guy?

          He looks possessed. Not joking.

          Imagine a Schiffy doll instead of Chucky. He’s be scarier. Chucky would be hiding under the bed. hahaha

          Seriously, tho, something’s wrong with this guy’s mind.

          I went to the barber and this was on on their TV. Everyone there agreed he looked like he had a chip in his head. Now I don’t know what people with chips in their heads might look like, but the other barber got a good laugh out of us all.

          Too bad none of this is really so funny. I don’t believe in cyborgs or possession, so that leaves mental disease. 🙁

          Not good.

  • Avatar TRUMP 2020 says:

    Let’s rename this place, whether we secede or not.

    Staten Island could be called Richmond again.

    There’s a show that was on that called this place “Heroin Island”.

    Maybe Richmond City? Richmond Island? Richmond Metro? Richmondtown? If we don’t secede: Richmond Boro?

    • Avatar "Boomer" Jeff says:

      Richmond Boro sounds like a place that should have a population of 10,000.

      I do think Staten Island, as a name, is worn out and should be discarded.

      Leave the ferry with that name. Nothing else.

      Boomer and Proud.

  • Avatar Jeffreyawall says:

    мню, еще в юности эта фраза встретилась мне в какой-то книжке, и я долго не знал, что принадлежит она Оскару Уайльду. Мысль меня тогда поразила, как все парадоксальное. Потому что мы-то жили согласно поговорке «по одежке встречают, по уму провожают». Здесь все было понятно: как ни наряжайся, а глупость не скроешь. И вообще, дело не во внешности, а в истинных твоих, то есть внутренних достоинствах. Взрослые говорили: главное, какой человек.

    При этом глубоком убеждении мы все же тщательно следили за своей внешностью. В юности человек круглосуточно не сходит с подмостков. Поэтому надо выглядеть. Иначе зачем мама старательно перешивает для меня куртки старшего брата, а я свои непослушные волосы мучаю бриолином? Нет, все имеет отношение именно что к чему-то главному во мне.

    Вернее, во мне все главное, потому что все — мое, и мой внешний вид, голос, жест и есть Я в самом при этом неоспоримом своем проявлении. И ни одна девочка не согласится с песней, что вот, мол, «не родись красивой, а родись счастливой». Каждая хочет быть красивой и знает: это и есть самый короткий путь к счастью. А дурнушки пусть читают на школьных вечерах Заболоцкого про то, что такое красота: «Сосуд она, в котором пустота, или огонь, мерцающий в сосуде». Скучно и нужно только для тех, кому не повезло.

    Фраза пришлась кстати. Вот, например, в книге или в кино сразу видно, когда появляется предатель или бандит. Руки у него потеют, улыбка фальшивая, брюки и рукава куртки короткие, наигранный смех, а взгляд при этом отводит в сторону — обдумывает, как бы лучше обмануть. Остальные герои просто наивные, не сразу замечают. Но мы-то видим сразу. Да и в жизни тот, кто нам неприятен, имеет, как правило, отталкивающие манеры, внешность и даже фамилию. По манере одеваться легко можно определить, кто щелкопер, а кто кинозвезда.

    Но все мы еще при этом и идеалисты, ибо свято убеждены в собственной нравственной непорочности. Искренне верим в то, что говорим, и думаем, что думаем то, что думаем в данную минуту, а хотим того, чего хотят все хорошие люди на земле. Тут и соображать ничего не надо — достаточно посмотреть в глаза, которые ведь никогда не лгут (эта поговорка годилась).

    Боже, с какой наивностью и бесстрашием можно было тогда предложить посмотреть в глаза и как хороша была жизнь в лучезарно-одномерном мире!

    Мальчишка – немец, саксофон трофейный, [url=http://likuminuk.com]Тебе ни пуха ни пера[/url]

    Translation:

    I think, in my youth this phrase was found in some book, and for a long time I did not know that it belongs to Oscar Wilde. The thought then struck me, as everything is paradoxical. Because we lived according to the proverb “they meet us by clothes, we see them off with our minds”. Everything was clear here: no matter how you dress up, you can’t hide stupidity. And in general, the matter is not in appearance, but in your true, that is, inner virtues. Adults said: the main thing is what kind of person.

    With this deep conviction, we nevertheless carefully monitored our appearance. In his youth, a person does not leave the stage around the clock. Therefore, you need to look. Otherwise, why does my mother carefully alter my older brother’s jackets for me, and do I torment my naughty hair with a biolin? No, everything relates precisely to something important in me.

    Rather, everything is important in me, because everything is mine, and my appearance, voice, gesture is I in my most indisputable manifestation. And not a single girl will agree with the song that, they say, “do not be born beautiful, but be born happy.” Everyone wants to be beautiful and knows: this is the shortest path to happiness. And ugly women at Zabolotsky’s school evenings read about what beauty is: “It is a vessel in which there is emptiness, or fire shimmering in a vessel.” Boring and necessary only for those who are unlucky.

    The phrase came in handy. For example, in a book or in a movie you can immediately see when a traitor or a bandit appears. His hands are sweating, his smile is fake, his trousers and sleeves are short, a simulated laugh, while his eyes look away – he is considering how best to cheat. The rest of the characters are simply naive, they do not immediately notice. But we see right away. And in life, the one who is unpleasant to us, as a rule, has repulsive manners, appearance and even a surname. By the manner of dressing, it is easy to determine who is the clicker and who is the movie star.

    But all of us are also idealists, for we are piously convinced of our own moral integrity. We sincerely believe in what we are saying and think that we think what we think at the moment, and we want what all good people on earth want. There is nothing to think about – just look into the eyes, which after all never lie (this saying was good).

    God, with what naivety and fearlessness one could then be offered to look in the eyes and how good life was in the radiantly one-dimensional world!

    The boy is a German, trophy saxophone, You don’t feel any feathers

    • Avatar What were you trying to tell us? says:

      and so what’s your point here exactly? That this seems like we know what we’re doing, but secession is just a scam? Or something else? That liberal NYC is scamming us? Help me out. I am confused.

      “The boy is a German, trophy saxophone, You don’t feel any feathers”

      Clearly a mistranslation. I put the original foreign language into Google translate myself and this is what I got. lol Editors, you were lazy and just plugged this commenter’s post into Google translate I see! hahaha

  • Avatar Mandy says:

    What is this world coming to? I really don’t know.

    On the one hand, as a liberal Jewish woman, I support the disenfranchised. I know it must be a challenge facing the world as a trans person. But at the same time, I wonder if so much emphasis on gender harms kids. I feel drag queen story hours are a good social development. There isn’t too much emphasis on the reader’s gender. It’s mentioned, but not lingered upon.

    HOWEVER, I can also understand that some parents don’t want their kids in the middle of this. That’s their right, too. To some, this seems like indoctrination, if the comments here and on the rest of the web are any indicator. It really isn’t.

    All the same, parents should have a choice. I don’t think this should be in the public schools. Parents should have a choice in the matter. I do think having this as part of elementary school curriculum is probably the next step. I don’t know if I feel that is so wise. Maybe keeping it at libraries, where parents can opt in with their kids by choice, is the fairest way to go about this.

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