Not long after registering my name and taking a seat in the waiting room, my name was called out. gYou have been dismissed, as per the district leaderh, the election worker informed me.
I know immediately exactly what had happened. I already knew that I had been banned from working in Brooklyn by Belinda Lindros, the Republican Female District Leader in the 40th Assembly District in Brooklyn. However, I was mildly surprised that her ban in Brooklyn extends all the way to the Bronx.
Accordingly, this morning, I went down to the Kings County Board of Elections to plead my case. Ray Brigada, the manager there, informed me that my information was correct, that Belinda Lindros has banned me from working. In other words, Belinda fired me.
I worked as an Election Inspector in the Primary Election on September 13. However, even before I reported to work that morning, I was informed by someone who knows her well that if Belinda Lindros saw me working at a polling place, she would have me thrown out.
Sure enough, at about 6:00 PM, Belinda walked in. She recognized me right away, said hello, and then called over the coordinator, whose name was Pat, and they went into a big huddle.
Their conversation lasted more than a half hour. The moment Belinda left, Pat called me over and told me that I could not work there any more. She did not throw me out. In fact she said that she needed me until 9:30 PM and that I would be paid my $200 for the days work, but I could not work there and more.
Just before Belinda had arrived, the same Pat had told me that she was very happy with my work, especially since I could speak Spanish, and she was putting my name down as a worker for the next election. She told me that next time, just come directly to her polling place, without the need to check in with the Brooklyn Board of Elections first.
However, after Belinda had left, Pat told me that this was rescinded. I could not come there to work any more.
I told Pat frankly that I had already been told that if Belinda saw me working I would there, be thrown out. I asked Pat if that is what happened. Pat did not admit this, but she did not deny it either.
The reason is obvious. In 2004, I ran for election against the official candidate designated by the party. Even before I announced that I was a candidate, I was introduced to Belinda by a party regular. I was shocked to observe that Belinda is a far left-wing Democrat in her political views, to the left of Ted Kennedy if such a thing is possible, so I could not understand how she came to be a Republican District Leader. Now, I know the answer. There are few Republicans in Brooklyn and yet by law the Republicans get to give out 50% of the Board of Elections jobs. The Democrats get the other 50%. Thus, being a Republican gets Belinda a job, and, like so many workers for the Board of Elections, just about nobody else would be willing to hire her for any other sort of job.
I had always thought I had cordial relations with Belinda. True, I had run for election last year against her candidate, but I had not thought that she would take that personally. Also, although my political views are considerably to the right of hers, I did not think she would go so far as to ban me from working in a simple poll workers job.
But she did. I have been speaking all day long to persons familiar with her and with the Board of Elections and nobody has expressed any doubt that Belinda has in fact banned me.
I feel that there is a legal issue here. There are four district leaders in each Assembly District. One male Democrat, one female Democrat, one male Republican and one female Republican. I find it odd that there is the politically correct system of having an equal number of male and female district representatives, but why not also have one green, one purple and one polka dot person?
There are not only Republicans and Democrats in New York City. There are also Greens, Reds, and even (gasp) Libertarians. Why do only the Republicans and the Democrats get the jobs?
Belinda gets to appoint 15 poll workers at each polling place. However, at the polling place where I worked on September 13, NONE of the workers Belinda had appointed showed up to work. This should not be a surprise. A election inspector must show up for work at 5:30 AM and then work all the way through to 9:30 PM, and for this 16 hours of unpleasant work only gets paid $200. Not many people are willing to do this work any more, so the right to appoint poll workers is no longer a political plumb.
In my case, if I had not shown up for work on September 13, my polling place would have been in severe difficulty. There were only ten election inspectors who came to work for seven election districts. Pat, the coordinator, did not call headquarters for reinforcements because she felt that she could handle it with what she had, which is admirable and which she did. However, I was the only election inspector there who could speak Spanish and since many of the voters could not speak English, having me present there was vital.
My election poll worker number is 165833. Anybody can look it up on the Board of Elections computer and see that I have been banned from working.
I do not believe that a REPUBLICAN District Leader, who is merely a party official, not a public official, should be allowed to ban me from working anywhere in New York City.
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Here are the petitions I have filed in the United States Supreme Court, in HTML Format: