OPINION: Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Phony Defender of New York Values

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, an iconic social justice warrior of selective outrage, has been one of the leading resisters to the Trump administration in Washington-vowing to fight to keep NYC a sanctuary city and promising to protect the city’s undocumented from deportation. But when it comes to standing up for real life flesh and blood immigrant New Yorkers, like ourselves, the Speaker is in our language: “Ausente!” 

But Mark-Viverito is very much “presente” when it comes to defending and embracing killers of New Yorkers. She doesn’t have time for us, or law abiding citizens, but she does have time to fly to Puerto Rico to give a convicted terrorist a warm welcome after he was released from prison-the same low life whose terrorist organization killed NYC police officers. 

When the Speaker led over 1,000 protestors over to Trump Tower in a “March for Immigration New York” she loudly proclaimed how she would, “push back against the rhetoric of hate…”  At the recently organized conference on sanctuary cities she led Mark-Viverito promised “to be Trump’s ‘worst nightmare.’” 

Push back the rhetoric of hate while defending Oscar Lopez-Rivera and enveloping this killer in a warm embrace? Is self awareness now a super power?

What is clear from all of the Speaker’s passionate outrage is that she believes that Donald Trump threatens the basic values of NYC, and that we all must fight back against the president and his cohort of corporate elites to insure that the new administration doesn’t “roll back” all of the gains we have made in protecting the rights of immigrants and the historically disadvantaged.

Wow! Donald Trump doesn’t represent NY values but the terrorist loving Mark-Viverito does? When you examine her record closely, you can see she is the mistress of selective outrage.

That’s because over the last 2 and ½ years this champion of immigrants has been the worst nightmare for the over 6,000 immigrant medallion owners whose lives and livelihoods have been under attack from Uber- a $60 billion corporate predator that has been given a total outrage pass from the normally irrepressible Speaker.

This is the same company that the progressive group Public Citizen found was undermining democracy all over the country-and NYC is certainly no exception. 

Two years ago when the council was debating a cap on Uber — one that Mark-Viverito refused to support-she told the press that her only concern was congestion, not the value of medallions: ”Not of primary concern, she said, is the value of city-issued cab medallions…To me the concern of the value of the taxi medallions is not what’s at issue here…” 

Yet, even though the number of cars for hire has escalated in just two short years from 40,000 to 107,000-and one of the city’s foremost traffic experts puts the blame squarely on the rise of Uber and its imitators-Mark-Viverito will not allow any remedial action to take place. 

When it comes to Uber, the Council Speaker, through her inaction, is the “dog that didn’t bark.” Even when a Stanford and MIT study came out documenting that Uber discriminated based on race and gender, Mark-Viverito-someone who normally jumps up and down like a puppy searching for a newspaper whenever a social justice issue arises, couldn’t even utter a discouraging word. 

Bark-less Mark-Viverito’s lack of concern over the decimation of the lifelong investments of thousands of NYC immigrants is breathtaking. As was recently reported, taxi medallions are experiencing a 70 percent devaluation because of the city’s failure to regulate companies like Uber. 

Even in the midst of the Delete Uber campaign, when activists attacked the $60 billion corporate darling for undermining the efforts of protestors to call out the Trump immigration ban, the normally omnipresent Mark-Viverito was, “un desaparecida.” If you Google “Delete Uber and Mark-Viverito” you get exactly zero hits. 

As a result of the Speaker’s actions and inactions over 6,000 immigrant taxi medallion owners have been decimated. Homes have been foreclosed, marriages dissolved and equity wiped out without even a “Que lastima” from the Speaker.

Mark-Viverito raises political hypocrisy to new heights. In the name of New York values, she loudly attacks far away objects that she has little power to intimidate or control, and embraces terrorists who kill New Yorkers — all the while allowing a corporate predator free reign to flout those very New York values she pretends to cherish.

Her disgraceful Uber lap dog actions are an affront to very struggling immigrant who put his or her faith in the city when they bought a taxi medallion-and her terrorist embracing behavior is a disgrace to every law abiding citizen of this city.


Gloria Guerra and Nino Hervias are members of Taxi Medallion Owners and Drivers Association

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