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      The election for county legislator is over, and my question to the community is do you really know the candidate you chose to represent you? As a volunteer for Ali Mirza’s campaign for almost seven months I feel compelled to inform people about situations that happened during the campaign that they are entitled to be made aware of.

      As the head of his campaign, John Ciotti has to be accountable for those working under and representing him, exactly the same way as any other business would be run, or even the President of the United States.  The following is representative of instances that happened during this campaign, and while I realize one person cannot control the actions of others, Mr. Ciotti had a responsibility to set boundaries and limits which I believe he did not.

      It started out with theft of Ali Mirza’s political signs, from the large ones to the small ones, deliberately taken down by people who would then put up Ciotti signs even though store owners would be protesting that they did not want this.  No sooner were signs put up than they were stolen-think about it-how many Mirza signs did you see, and how many Ciotti signs did you see?

      The situation escalated to the point that Ali Mirza’s Elmont campaign headquarters was vandalized one night-all of his signs were stolen and destroyed, and  John Ciotti and Republican signs were put up in its place, along with bumper stickers on the storefront windows and taping the doors shut.  In the same night Ali Mirza’s personal vehicle was vandalized on his own  property, with the same bumper stickers all over his windows.

      And don’t even think of having a Mirza bumper sticker on your car, because that made you a target to be tailgated, cut off and harassed while driving and minding your own business-numerous times-by vehicles with Ciottti and/or Republican stickers.  Don’t identify yourself in any way as supporting Ali Mirza, an example being the Franklin Avenue Street Fair on October 16th, or you would be verbally heckled and harassed by the workers at the Ciotti booth.  What has happened to our rights to personal choice and freedom?

      But the saddest of all was that people were intimidated when they went to vote, which is supposed to be everyone’s right.  People of different ethnicities who might have a communication problem are “guided” to the candidate they should vote for, and not necessarily always informed of all their choices.  Poll watchers, who have a legal right to observe the process when properly identified were denied access numerous times and told to leave.  Sample ballots on the information table were found to not have Ali Mirza’s name on it; political signs were posted on the same pole as the sign that states they are not to be within one hundred feet of the polls. People are told their name is not in the book and cannot vote-or must call the Board of Elections if there is a problem-anything so that a person gets disgusted enough to just go home without voting.  The list goes on and on, but it all comes down to a violation of a person’s right as a voting citizen, and to me this is totally unacceptable in a democratic society.

      I would find it very hard to believe that Mr. Ciotti was not aware of all these situations, but did he do anything about it?  NO. Was it ever acknowledged to Mr. Mirza’s office by Mr. Ciotti that he was doing anything about these incidents? NO.

      May I just remind you that ALL of these incidents are AGAINST THE LAW.  Is this the person you want in charge of making major decisions that affect your life?  I really don’t care who anyone votes for, just that you know all the facts from now on to make informed decisions in the future.  But we will never improve ourselves as a community unless we learn to work together instead of against each other.

      Patricia Gonzales

       

      Elmont