Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gang Warfare

All of our friends over at 32BJ are going all out to try to insure that the state senate has a democrat as leader. As Liz tells us: "This week, some 8,000 Bronx members of 32BJ will receive direct direct mail pieces targeting two of the so-called Gang of Three - Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr. and Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. - in an effort to crank up pressure on the dissidents to come back to the Democratic fold and back Malcolm Smith for majority leader."

Senator Kruger must be feeling really left out of all of this; why are all the other guys getting the attention?, he must be asking himself. The effort by the union, of course, would have zero impact in Kruger's district-as would that of the other members of the coalition: "The mailers, which are in both English and Spanish, are part of a wider campaign by a number of labor interests that were instrumental in helping the Senate Democrats win a majority of seats this fall for the first time since 1965 and don't want to see the fruits of their labor scuttled by three renegades. Other union members of this pro-Democrat alliance include: Unite-HERE/ New York Hotel Trades Council, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and the Communications Workers of America."

And last we checked, the Dems need 32 votes, so someone better start showing Kruger some love. The union folks aren't the only members of the tail wagging dog coalition. however: "Also involved in the push to co-opt the Gang of Three are: NARAL Pro-Choice NY, the Empire State Pride Agenda, Tenants PAC, and the Working Families Party. All have a wide range of policy agendas - from same-sex marriage to protecting rent regulation - the success of which hinges on the Democrats having control of both the Senate and the Assembly (not to mention the governor's office)."

None of these actors will have any impact on Kruger, and the gay rights and abortion folks will only antagonize, not only Diaz, but many of his church-going constituents as well. Diaz, for his part, is taking a holiday to tend to his flock: "Sen. Ruben Diaz, one of the so-called “Gang of Three,” said that he’s taking a break from the whole Senate leadership issue for the holidays. “I took a vacation from this problem, this issue, for the last two weeks,” he said.”I have not met with anyone. Not with the Sen. Smith, not with the Republicans, and not with the two guys.” When asked why he was taking a break from it all, he said, “I’m a minister, I’m involved with the the church. After the new year, we’ll be talking with people."

Which apparently is what the other two gang members are doing as well-believing that the ball is in Smith's court; since it was the putative leader who agreed to a deal, and then didn't. But the clock is certainly ticking, and the Monserrate mess ain't helping matters much for Smith and his flock; with one Democratic constituent even going so far as to demand that Hiram not be sworn in with the assault charges pending.

As the NY Daily News reports: "Marcia Pappas, president of the state chapter of the National Organization for Women, told the Daily News Monserrate should not take office until the charges against him were resolved. "Certainly if there's an indication that he's a perpetrator of domestic violence, the leadership in the Senate needs to take the appropriate steps," she said."

Which begs the question: "What leadership?" Since, without Hiram, the Dems are one vote short; something that can't be simply taken with a grain of assault.