Yesterday was one frakking eventful day in NY politics. Let’s review:
Good News: The NYS Senate voted overwhelmingly to tell Hiram Monserrate to take a hike.
"I feel a lot better about us as an institution right now, that we finally did something that was correct. It was a step forward," said Albany Senator Neil Breslin.
For those who have blocked out this one and/or weren’t following the story, Monserrate is part of the “thug and thief” tag-team that started the state senate coup last summer. He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault charges recently but acquitted of felony charges, prompting many to demand that the senate Fire Monserrate.
While Monserrate will go to court to overturn the senate’s decision, the panel that recommended expelling him did a great job digging up a long line of precedents on the right of state legislatures to expel members for intolerable conduct. I doubt Monserrate will succeed in overturning this.
Bad News: We got thumped in yesterday’s special elections for four assembly seats.
Republican Bob Castelli (who is a fan of the tea partiers, apparently) beat Westchester County Legislator Peter Harckham by about ten points. I volunteered for Harckham, who is a great guy and one of the best and most effective legislators in Westchester, and his campaign did pretty much everything right. Democratic voters are angry and dismayed and don’t want to come out to vote for Democrats. Young people were especially absent on this one – on a college campus (SUNY Purchase) with over 1,000 registered to vote, only 25 pulled the lever on election day. The state controls tuition, marriage equality, and tons of other key issues – young people need to come out and vote, if only to fight for our interests in the face of state budget squeezes.
Elsewhere, David Weprin held on to his brother’s old Assembly seat in Queens, but other than that, we lost yesterday, failing to capture a vacated Republican seat in Nassau County and failing to hold onto a Democratic seat in Suffolk County.
Against the backdrop of these setbacks, etc, our leaders clearly need to learn a key lesson. To avoid a backslide into Republican dominance, Democrats will need to be bold, buck the national leadership when the national leadership is failing, show a commitment to fighting for results. We need to be a party worth believing in.
NYC Councilman Larry Seabrook turned himself in to the Feds yesterday after they announced an amazing, sixty-six page indictment. From the DN:
The litany of larceny for the married politician ran the gamut from funneling $322,800 to his girlfriend through dicey nonprofits to collecting $177 in expenses for a $7 bagel and diet soda.
"I don’t know about the bagel," said his defense attorney, Murray Richman. "But bagels can be expensive."
I’m shocked his lawyer didn’t claim instead that a $177 bagel is only a little worse than the $175 burgers available at the Wall Street Burger Shoppe. *Sigh*…