NY1 Excludes Occupier Congressional Candidate George Martinez From Debate [updated]

[UPDATE] This morning, Michael Nitzky of NY1 announced the postponement of the debate due to the untimely passing of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s mother. We send our deepest condolences to the Velazquez family. We hope that the postponement provides the time for the management of NY1 to reconsider its position and include Mr. Martinez as a candidate in all future debates, because he was put on the ballot by the people of the 7th District.

Out of respect for the Velazquez family Bum Rush The Vote & their supporters in the Occupy Wall Street movement have canceled their action scheduled for 4:30pm today at NY1′s Chelsea Market Studio and encourage all supporters to join them at 7pm tonight for a rally with speakers and performances at the Yippie Museum Cafe, 9 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012.

Yesterday, the Bum Rush the Vote campaign came up against another roadblock in their grassroots experiment of participatory democracy as NY1’s Inside City Hall barred Hon. George Martinez from participation in a debate of the 7th Congressional District.

“Our longstanding policy at NY1 when we’ve held debates is to give seats to candidates who we consider to be viable…who are on the ballot…[and] getting donations from voters in the district and spending the money on basic campaign expenses,” said Bob Hardt, Political Director at NY1, which is owned by Time Warner Cable company.

While Mr. Martinez has indeed been approved by the Board of Elections, and submitted all required Federal Elections Committee (FEC) paperwork, he was not required until recently to submit an FEC financial disclosure form because his campaign had succeeded in getting nearly 3,000 signatures and his place on the ballot without spending the minimum disclosure amount of $5,000. To us, this represents a victory for people-powered, grassroots politics, not a lack of “viability”!

Over the course of the day yesterday, hundreds of people spoke out in support of Mr. Martinez and against the censorship that NY1 would impose by barring a candidate from a debate because of the amount of money his campaign has/hasn’t raised. The group had planned a rally and press conference at NY1’s Chelsea Market studio this afternoon, with allies from OWS.

This morning, Michael Nitzky of NY1 announced the postponement of the debate due to the untimely passing of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s mother. We send our deepest condolences to the Velazquez family. We hope that the postponement provides the time for the management of NY1 to reconsider its position and include Mr. Martinez as a candidate in all future debates, because he was put on the ballot by the people of the 7th District.

Out of respect for the Velazquez family Bum Rush The Vote & their supporters in the Occupy Wall Street movement have cancelled their action scheduled for 4:30pm today at NY1′s Chelsea Market Studio and encourage all supporters to join them at 7pm tonight for a rally with speakers and performances at the Yippie Museum Cafe, 9 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012.

The following is our previous advisory announcing yesterday’s action.

[NEW YORK, NY] A scheduled debate on NY1’s Inside City Hall tonight between 3 of the candidates from the 7th Congressional district has intentionally excluded the race’s 4th candidate, long-time community activist and occupier candidate George Martinez. In response to this blatant attack on the free speech rights of a congressional candidate, Bum Rush The Vote will hold a protest action and press conference outside of NY1’s Chelsea Market studio (75 Ninth Avenue) at 4:30pm today, June 11.

When reached by email for comment on the exclusion of Mr. Martinez from the debate roster, NY1 Senior Political Producer Michael Nitzsky responded, “Every candidate who has been invited to appear in our debates has filed with the FEC and shown that they have fundraised and spent money as a candidate. Your campaign has not done so.”

Yet, current FEC records – which can be viewed here: http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_detail/H0NY12159/ - show that Mr. Martinez has indeed filed with the FEC, although he was not required, until recently, to file a financial disclosure form because his campaign earnings/spending did not exceed $5,000. This decision to not raise significant outside funding for his campaign was a central tenet of Bum Rush The Vote, which aims to create a new template for participation in politics without large sums of money.

“Nearly 3,000 people from the community have signed petitions to have Mr. Martinez on the ballot, and we haven’t raised enough money to be considered for this debate?” said Jelani ‘Smash’ Mashariki of Occupy The Hood.

Bum Rush the Vote is demanding that Mr. Martinez be allowed to participate with his fellow candidates in tonight’s debate. They will gather with Mr. Martinez outside of the studio at 4:30p.m., along with members of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy The Hood, and allied groups to demand equal treatment for all balloted candidates.

The Bum Rush premise is simple: Controlling politics without money is power, people power. Our goal is to create an open-source, crowd-sourced DIY campaign.  All of the resources we need to accomplish this goal are available to us due to the fantastic technology that we now have access to.  We started this campaign with no money, and are using our resources in a very efficient and frugal manner.

WHAT: Protest Action & Press Conference
WHERE: NY1’s Chelsea Market studio (75 Ninth Avenue) 
WHEN: Monday, June 11th, 4:30pm (TODAY)

About George Martinez
George Martinez is an adjunct professor of political science at Pace University, a celebrated hip-hop emcee and founder of The Global Block Foundation. George is an active member of the End Corporatism Affinity Group of Occupy Wall Street and a primary organizer of Occupy Bed Stuy, Occupy Sunset Park and an active member of Occupy The Hood (a group whose nation-wide organizing with low income communities continues to be some of the most effective and celebrated work within the Occupy movement.) Outside of his Occupy resume George was the former District Leader (51st AD) and former Assistant Director for the NYS Attorney General. He is currently a member of U.S. Cultural Envoy to Latin America and Asia and a member of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. You can follow George on Twitter at @hongeomartinez

To request a fact sheet, high resolution photos, or to arrange an interview with George Martinez or a representative of his campaign please contact Deputy Campaign Manager Cecily McMillan at cecilymcmillan@gmail.com or via phone at at (404) 468-1034. For more information on Bum Rush the Vote visit http://BumRushTheVote.net

Comments

4 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Rebecca,

    Trying to share this on Facebook, and getting this error message.

    The content you’re trying to share includes a link that’s been blocked for being spammy or unsafe:

    http://fbexternal-a.akamaihd.net/safe_image.php

    • Author admin,

      We sent a letter to Facebook and it seems to have been addressed, but for some reason our images are not embedding with the share. We do not yet know if this is a Facebook problem or an adjustment that we need to make. Sorry for your inconvenience, thanks for sharing!

  2. NoTown,

    3000 signatures. In a town as large as New York and a district as large as the 7th. You obviously have -NO- idea of what ‘viable’ means if you consider this microscopic portion of the citizenry, to be a representative number.

    No wonder Politics is beyond the entire Occupy group.

    PS: There are quite a few black-hat hackers involved with the Occupy group who are probably using imbedded code in images (They did it with several Anonymous sites and at least 3 of the ‘Occupy’ related websites), to track and/or attempt to execute code.

    • Author admin,

      To hold the signatures comparatively the signatures were the second highest of those collected by the 4 candidates running. His collection exceeded that of Dilan & O’Connor. This was not an oversight on the part of his campaign, but rather a strategic one to stop wasting their time getting signatures when they already got on the primary ticket.

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