Alesi Lives to Tell the Tale

ALBANY—Vote counts, court orders and locked doors aside, demonstrators from Citizen Action made it even more difficult for a Republican-led coalition to consummate the coup it initiated Monday by trying to get into the State Senate chamber.

“It was an absolute crush of people,” State Senator Jim Alesi told me by phone afterward. “For me, I’ve got a weak ankle anyways and I’m not the biggest guy in the world. I just sort of stood back and just watched everybody.”

Finally, he had to try and enter the chamber, past what he described as “not an Oldsmobile” of a demonstration. His fellow coalition members did conduct a brief session.

“I was getting pushed as it was, and then someone stepped on my foot. I had nowhere to go but down,” he said. He said that someone spat in the face of a female counsel who was with him.

Alesi told me he wasn’t thinking about legal action of any sort, but felt the protesters’ intent was to “physically intimidate and jostle people.”

Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action, told me “I don’t think any of that’s true. It was a peaceful demonstration. The guards were all right there, so I don’t know how that could have happened.”

Alesi Lives to Tell the Tale