After they participated in a rally on the City Hall steps against budget cuts to community boards, I asked three borough presidents who served in the legislature what they thought of yesterday’s Senate coup.
“It’s unfortunate that we would allow ourselves, as Democrats, to join the Republican Party,” said Ruben Diaz Jr. of the Bronx, who served more than a decade in the Assembly. “That is not acceptable.”
When I asked him about possible viable challengers to one of the Democrats in the coup, Pedro Espada of the Bronx, Diaz said, “I don’t know the answer to that question right now.”
Diaz also said there’s no real pride among Latinos in seeing one of their own become Senate president pro tempore.
“There’s a way to do it and if you do it the right way, then there would be a sense of pride. But to do it with Republicans—for the most part, Latinos are Democrats, people in the Bronx are Democrats—and they really don’t accept any type of marriage between Democrats and Republicans when they know how harmful Republicans have been to us.”
“I thought I’d seen in all in the last coup attempt,” said Scott Stringer of Manhattan, who also served in the Assembly. “This breaks new ground. This is unbelievable.”
“Whoever takes control better start thinking about public campaign financing, real reform and starting to deal with rent-protection. That’s what voters want, from Democrats and Republicans and people have to get their act together now.”
Helen Marshall, who served in the Assembly for nine years, said “there was a lot of disloyalty” and “that narrow majority was really rough to deal with.”
She criticized Tom Golisano, not by name, for playing a role in the coup, saying, “I think that is an infringement that borders on something not so very nice.”
When I asked her if she’s surprised that one of the Democrats in the coup was Hiram Monserrate, who represented the same Corona neighborhood Marshall once did, she said, “Not really.” She smiled as she said it.
Then she said, “You don’t want me to say that on the camera, do you?”