Campaigning in Corona

When is crime a campaign issue? Maybe when campaign aides have to file police reports.

“We don’t have polling numbers, we have Compstat,” said State Senator John Sabini of Jackson Heights after a third police report was filed by his campaign.

On August 14, computers from Sabini’s campaign office was stolen.
On August 17, a 17-year-old girl campaigning for Sabini on 99th Street reported to police that a man approached her, made a lewd/threatening remark, and fled.
On August 23, an 18-year-old volunteer was confronted by three men and punched while putting up posters before a debate with his challenger, City Councilman Hiram Monserrate of Corona.

Monserrate, a former police officer, said of the last incident: “As far as I understand, there was provocation on both ends regarding the affixing of posters.” Although not accused of any wrongdoing, Monserrate said he would not condone any inappropriate behavior by his campaign workers.

But Moserrate downplayed the significance of reported incidents, saying, “There have been a bunch of incidents. They have vandalized my campaign headquarters. We have pictures of it. We have video of it. I have never engaged in trying to report it.” He added, “I think Mr. Sabini’s camp has been very sensational in their press releasing.” [more comments after the jump]

For some reason, this feels like deja vu all over again.

In non-criminal news from this race: Sabini is getting endorsed from David Paterson and African-American leaders today, and Monserrate is getting endorsed by Fernando Ferrer, whom many electeds in that district supported for mayor.

Azi Paybarah

Hiram Monserrate:

“I’m not out here sending a press release or calling the press because there was an incident at my campaign headquarters. That’s not what this campaign is about. Things happen in life, in general, in society. Sometimes people do the wrong things and sometimes people over-react. They could be people associated with his campaign, or it could be people completely unassociated with his campaign. That has nothing to do with it and I don’t try to make an issue where an issue doesn’t exist.”

“The real issues in this district are the rates of HIV, the rates of diabetes, and women who are dying of breast cancer, the high medical needs in this community, the high needs we have for affordability, and the myriad of issues that impact the quality of life of our constituents.”