Friday, October 16, 2009

Hiram Survives

We have not commented, at least before now, on the ongoing trail and tribulations of our friend Hiram Monserrate. But with Hiram getting acquitted of all of the most serious charges-and likely avoiding incarceration-we are ready to speak our peace.

When Hiram Monserrate was in the city council he was a fearless and relentless champion of small and minority business owners-taking on the giants of real estate when some of his colleagues were content to sit on the sidelines; or were either cowering or acting as self serving sycophants. In the fight for the merchants at the Bronx Terminal Market he, and he alone, stood up for the beleaguered merchants when Deputy Dan was corrupting the democratic process-in the ultimate sweetheart deal-for his friend Steve Ross, the head of the Related Companies.

And when local supermarket operators and restaurant owners were seeking a method to reduce onerous garbage disposal costs, Monserrate-along with Councilman Joel Rivera-lead the way. Hiram has always lead the way, while others simply pretended to be small business champions.

Which is a perfect segue into a discussion of the comments of Eric Gioia: "Monserrate also may be able hang on to his Senate seat - a prospect that galled Councilman Eric Gioia, who was the first Democrat out of the gate demanding that Monserrate resign. "There is no room in government or in the Democratic Party for people who commit such heinous crimes against women," he said. "Elected officials should rightfully be held to a higher standard."

Well, it may have been a "heinous" misdemeanor, but that comment, coming as it does from someone who has consistently shied away from any fight that might help a small business-while at the same time trumpeting his own small business family background-is gratuitously offensive.

Americans, by and large, believe in forgiveness and redemption. Hiram has a long road back-and he knows it-if he is going to recover the reputation sullied on that winter night last year. But, in our view, he deserves the chance to do so-and we will do all that we can so that the Hiram Monserrate that we have known can once again serve the interests of those who lack resources and the wherewithal to fight the power.