Target the Subway Perverts

We applaud City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. for putting the spotlight on the problem of sexual harassment in the subway. According to Vallone, a majority of women who ride the subway have been the victim of some sort of sexual harassment. This is unacceptable.

In one initiative, Vallone called on the NYPD to compile a list of sex offenders and publish their names and photographs online. The department already has a list of sex offenders and the names of the Level 2 and 3 offenders are published under the Sex Offender Registration Act.

But this has done little to deter creeps who put their hands on women in the subway. Posting pictures could help, but it could result in innocent riders being falsely accused.

Recent history has shown that when the NYPD targets a particular crime, it can be effective. If Vallone is correct, the police commissioner should focus attention on the subway gropers. Although a misdemeanor offense, it is a crime that has had serious impact.

The city should increase the number of undercover officers on the subway. The arrest of the subway perverts should be a public spectacle that says this crime will not be tolerated.

Democracy Alive and Well

Gay marriage advocates are upset over the defeat of the same-sex marriage bill last week in the state Senate. No legislation in recent memory has so deeply divided the people of this state.

The bill was voted down 38-24 after passing in the more liberal state Assembly. The borough’s first openly gay councilman, Daniel Dromm, has already called on the electorate to vote the five senators from Queens who voted against the bill out of office.

We think it wrong to judge the motives of those voting against the bill. To suggest the people voting against this bill see gays and lesbians as second-class citizens is not true.

There is legitimate debate over whether Albany legislators should vote based on the will of the people who elected them or their conscience. Critics of the vote say some legislators put political expedience and survival over principle. That is likely the case on both sides of this issue.

Last week’s debate and vote showed the strength of the democratic system.

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