Even if you have a much-craved "objective," starting a successful protest movement is tough. Staten Island resident Joe Valentin wants his brethren rise up and boycott the Port Authority due to its recent fare hikes, and stood outside the Rossville Shopping Center all day yesterday to rally support. But he had no luck garnering disciples. "I talk to people; everybody supports what I'm doing, they want to thank me, but that's not what I want. I want them to do something," Valentin told the Staten Island Advance. What Valentin doesn't realize is that a boycott of the PA is a boycott of Love.
Valentin, a retired gas worker and "self-proclaimed borough loudmouth" wants a flat E-ZPass rate of around $5-6 for crossing into New Jersey and a guarantee that that they wouldn't rise in the future. To spread his message, he's selling $5 placards to recoup the $1,000 he spent making them. "I'm not going to stop until I see signs everywhere…We're an Island; we're trapped, it's not fair, they can't punish us for it."
One man who said he was a PA police officer told Valentin that the issue was "overpaid supervisors," then "hastened off." Another said that "it's a good idea," before giving Valentin "an apologetic half-smile" and continuing on his way.
Somewhat heartening to Valentin should be Marie Wausnock, who emailed the Advance with her petition to urge politicians to roll back the fare hikes. "People in Egypt used social media to take down a government," Wausnock writes, "We here in America, the greatest country in the world, should be able to use social media to beat up the PA a little bit and pressure our elected officials to do what they were elected for: to represent the people of Staten Island." Internet petitions certainly help, but perhaps these two should touch the hearts of Staten Islanders the way Occupy Wall Street does: through their stomachs.