Category Archives: DMV

Weird but True

And all happening this past week:

Monday or Tuesday night, my wife was having trouble with my home computer, so I checked it out. When she typed in a URL, it would come in backwards. So would show up as moc.loa.www – and, BTW, it didn’t work. I rebooted – the universal solution to all computer problems – and ended up with no Internet connection at all, so I had to call Time Warner, who do the voodoo they do and fixed it remotely.
My work fax is tied to my work e-mail, but I don’t receive very many faxes. Generally, those I do get are junk faxes. But Wednesday morning, I got this letter from the NYS DMV explaining why a woman’s driver’s license was suspended for medical reasons. Below that, I see the woman’s rebuttal as to why the suspension was not medically necessary. Clearly, this fax has been sent to the wrong number – mine – so I looked up her number and left a message explaining what happened. She called me back late that afternoon and thanked me for letting her know that her letter had been waylaid.
Ash Wednesday was a cold and rainy-turning-to-icy night. Carol, Lydia and I went to church, then I took Lydia home on the bus, since Carol had a church meeting. We left the light on the front porch. About 8:45 p.m., the doorbell rang. I assumed it was Carol who left her meeting early and didn’t want to fumble with her keys. Instead, it was this woman I did not know, who appeared drunk and/or stoned, who wanted me to call her a cab. Apparently the cell phone in her hand wasn’t working. So I closed the door, got our portable phone, opened the door and started calling taxi companies for her, first from the numbers as she recalled them, then from the Yellow Pages. I let them each ring over 10 times and got no answer – this was six or seven different companies, a couple I called twice. Finally, I got one who said a cab would be there in 45 minutes. The woman on the porch asked, “It’s coming, right?” And I said yes, but I didn’t give her a time frame. I felt sorry for her, since it was cold and wet out, but I was disinclined to let her in since 1) she appeared wrecked, 2) I had my daughter in the house and 3) the woman was smoking a cigarette, with a very long ash that had somehow stayed intact. About 20 minutes later, I looked on the porch, but the woman wasn’t there. Twenty minutes after that, my wife got home; the woman was still gone. Thirty minutes after THAT, or over an hour after I had called the taxi company, I heard beeping in front of our house, which I assumed was the cab; whether the woman ever got on it, I’ll never know.
Wednesday night into Thursday, I sneezed in my sleep and bit the left side of my tongue. Boy, that hurt!
I was on the bus Tuesday night, Primary Night in New York and elsewhere, heading to the polls. This woman I know only from riding the bus was telling this story – not just to me, but anyone within earshot – about a dream she had had the night before: There was a terrorist attack on Washington in early November 2008. President Bush declared martial law and postponed the elections. It was later discovered that the Bush administration had planned and executed the bombing itself.
The woman telling the story then explains how she woke up screaming and her upstairs neighbor ran downstairs to see if she was all right. He was about to call 911.
I won’t even get into talking about my WORK computer, which died – as in as though someone pulled the plug – a week ago Friday thrice, Monday thrice, and Tuesday once, went to another computer, which did the same thing once on Wednesday.


DMV and Immigration QUESTIONS

If you’re not from New York state, you may not be familiar with this issue. If you ARE from NYS, you can’t help but know about it.

From a September 21, 2007 press release by the governor:
“Governor Eliot Spitzer and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner David Swarts today announced an administrative policy change that will give all New Yorkers the opportunity to apply for state driver licenses without regard to immigration status. Tied to the policy change, the Governor and Commissioner also announced plans to implement a new regime of anti-fraud measures to increase the security of the licensing system as a new population of New Yorkers comes into the system.”

What this means is that Spitzer’s new DMV procedures will allow illegal immigrants to get driver licenses, which would, among other things, increase their employment opportunities. This has set off a firestorm of criticism, some of which has been captured here.

Basically, the reductivist positions are that those opposing the measure are racist xenophobes who want to keep marginalizing the immigrant population, while those supporting the proposal are not only weakening a well-recognized form of identification, but making the country safe for terrorists.

One religious collective, ARISE, sent out this notice this week:
Gov. Spitzer’s rule change around immigrant access to a New York State Driver’s License has, as I am sure you have heard, generated a political firestorm and a flood of anti-immigrant rhetorical venom.

ARISE clergy made public statements supporting Gov. Spitzer on moral, religious, legal, security, and economic grounds at a press event last Monday, October 1, in Albany, and received pretty good coverage, but since then the anti-Spitzer forces have been very successful getting their anti-immigrant message into the headlines with heated but unfounded claims about security, legality, and terrorism.

To provide a measured and thoughtful reply, and to amplify rational and humane and fair messages about the overheated driver’s license controversy, ARISE is participating in two events:

1. PRAYER VIGIL FOR FRANK MEROLA, leading spokesperson for county clerks opposing Spitzer’s rule change.
Friday, Oct 12, 10:30am
Rensselaer County Clerk’s Office
Across from Emma Willard statue, near 2nd & Congress in downtown Troy
This event is co-sponsored by NY State Labor Religion Coalition, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Emmaus House, Capital District Worker Center, and ARISE (list in formation).

2. STATE PRESS CONFERENCE for allies supporting the driver’s license rule change: good for public safety, good for homeland security, good for legal process, and good for working families in NYS
Monday, Oct 15, 12 noon
LCA Press Room, 130 Legislative Office Building

A prayer vigil: love that tactic.

But here’s the thing: I see both sides. Changing the driver’s ID may be problematic, especially when the state is trying to make the case to the federal government that the driver’s ID is as good as a passport when going to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. On the other hand, allowing people a better chance to earn a living wage is a concern for me.

So what do YOU think?

(Hmm, today is the traditional Columbus Day.)