Monday, February 15, 2010

Monserrate saga continues

The Hiram Monserrate saga continues!

The former state Senator and his lawyers plan to return to court on Thursday to assert in a federal lawsuit the decision to expel him from the state Senate violated his civil rights. He remained defiant as he spoke to reporters late last week.

"I will continue to serve," Monserrate said as the Daily News reported. "I will continue to help be a problem solver and deal with the many, many needs [of] my community."

I was literally in a Las Vegas hotel room getting ready for an event when news of Monserrate's expulsion broke. A flurry of tweets, breaking news e-mails and even phone calls ensued, but the 53-8 vote certainly amounted to a collective repudiation of the former police officer's conduct over the last 14 months -- his conviction last October for assaulting his girlfriend, (and the role he played in the Senate coup last June, among many other things.)

One political strategist told Boy in Bushwick last month he thought lawmakers would vote to expel Monserrate
ahead of the budget process so he would not be able to "screw around again." Some gay activists outside New York speculated Monserrate's vote against a bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry sparked some lawmakers to support his expulsion. In the end, however, it appears as though the ethically-challenged legislature drew a firm line in the sand: a domestic violence conviction amounts to an unfitness to serve in public office--even in the New York State Senate.

Monserrate will continue to portray himself as a martyr as he fights this decision, but it is time for Albany to move forward from this extremely unfortunate episode. The state's deficit continues to balloon, the economy remains week and gays and lesbians cannot legally marry in New York. The people's business remains far from finished, and the ongoing Monserrate saga should no longer distract from getting it done.

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