HAMILTON: Councilman Scott is right on the effects of the Child Support Scofflaw Resolution

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By: Ken Hamilton

Even though Councilman Ezra Scott wasn’t even the glimmer in his father’s eye back in the 1960s, he nonetheless appears to know and understand the nature of something that industrial arts teacher Mr. Simonian then taught his classroom of boys about the advantages of using the right tools to get a job done effectively and efficiently. 

Based upon a unanimously approved Niagara Falls NY City Council Driver’s License Scofflaw Reform Initiative resolution that passed in July of 2017, it’s a principle that Scott wants applied in law concerning the suspension of a driver license for a person’s failure to pay child support.  I think that it should be an amendment to the hell-bent New York State law concerning the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Mr. Simonian was the industrial arts teacher at what was then Beech Avenue School when at the beginning of their first class he gathered the boys around a workbench that had boards, nails, rags, a brick, a pair of rubber gloves, a bucket of paint, a hammer and a paint brush.  He then proceeded to show us how to use a brick to drive a nail into the board; and after many strokes and adjustments, the nail’s head was flush with the brick-scarred board. 

Simonian then took the second nail and the hammer, and with far fewer strokes the nail’s head was driven flush into the board with nary a hammer mark.  Then putting on the rubber gloves, he dipped the wadded rag into the bucket of red paint, picked up the second board and then smeared the rag across the board’s covering it with red paint and showed us the results.  Picking up the paint brush and dipping the tip into the bucket, he proceeded to put on a nice, neat and even coat of paint on the board.  When finished, he asked which side looked the best.  We all agreed that it was the side painted with the brush as was with the hammer-nailed board.  He then explained that it is always best to use the proper tools to do a good, quick job. 

When the state’s scofflaws uses the suspension of driver’s licenses to punish parents over child support payments, it’s far worse than elementary school boys using bricks to pound a nails, and that’s a point that Scott seemingly wants to hammer into the heads of lawmakers at the county and state level. Buffalo’s Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is the most recent New York State Assembly’s Democratic Majority Leader.  She wants to legalize recreational marijuana.  Though I am against it, I am far more against her using the often jobless, poor inner-city, young males as the poster boys to pass her bill.  In today’s culture, inner-city no longer connotes just African-Americans, of which is Stokes.  She claims that it will stop the police from picking up these young men for being in possession of small quantities of the drug.  Everyone knows that the bill is really about the additional tax revenue, and in the end you’ll have even more of these young jobless people out on the streets.  It’s easy enough to simply decriminalize “small quantities” to stop the cops, if it was just about the boys. Is it so that lawmakers can now have legal pot parties? Who knows?

My argument is that the police don’t know that these youngsters even have marijuana until after they pick them up!  As it relates to suspension of driver’s licenses, those caught driving while using any quantity of an opened container of the buzz-bud ought to have their licenses suspended, because the purpose of a driver’s license is to ensure the safety of other drivers on the road.

So then, how does a parent who’s behind on child support – often the other kind of inner-city parent who is struggling to make the car payments that they need to get to work to earn the money to make the child support payment – make the money to pay child support if the state takes their license away, even though they are no danger to other drivers?  It would appear that the state is pounding nails with bricks and painting with rags in order to reduce the red in the state’s budget while hammering parents who try their best to comply with their child support requirements.  According to his languishing resolution, it would appear that Scott’s point is just that. 

The time is right for Scott’s resolution to pass through the county and into state law.  He needs to start hammering Legislator Steed to get off his butt and get it done, and for Scott to hit the Buffalo bricks and keep ragging Peoples-Stokes until he’s red in the face and getting it done.

It’s elementary. Ask Simonian.

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