On September 24, Christina González, a Green Party candidate for the open District 7 New York City Council seat in upper Manhattan, was arrested in a Harlem subway station on her way to protest the hiring of former CIA Director and U.S. General David Petraeus by the previously tuition-free City University of New York (CUNY).
Gonzalez is determined not to let the arrest detract from her campaign. She explained recently that the incident was prompted by the fact the city’s public transportation has become prohibitively expensive for many New Yorkers. More than 1.6 billion people use the subway yearly in New York City, and while some view public transit for being “just for poor people,” the average New York straphanger makes $55,000 a year, hardly a working-class wage.
Gonzalez says she believes public transportation should be free for the public, as it is in many other countries, and she typically asks the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) attendant or police officers in the station if they can let her on. Although this method has worked in the past, on that particular day she ran into some officers from her local Harlem precinct, who told the subway booth attendant not to cut her any slack.