Malcolm Smith Hub

New York State Senator Malcolm Smith And City Councilman Arrested in Plot to Fix NYC Mayoral Race

New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and City Councilman Dan Halloran have been arrested in a plot to fix this year's mayoral race, the NYT reports:

SmithMr. Smith, a 56-year-old Democrat, and Mr. Halloran, a Queens Republican, were among about a half dozen people facing charges in the federal corruption case, the people with knowledge of the matter said. Others include the mayor of the Rockland County city of Spring Valley, Noramie Jasmin, and her deputy, the people said.

The paper says both were arrested this morning. Smith was taken in handcuffs before sunrise from his home in Queens.

Sen. Smith has said he was considering running for mayor of New York City as a Republican, and the scheme centered on bribe payments he made to Mr. Halloran in exchange for the councilman’s assistance in setting up meetings with Republican leaders as part of his effort to get on the ballot, one of the people said.

The criminal complaint is set to be unsealed this morning before a judge.

Mass Confusion in New York Senate as GOP Seizes Control

The NY Times reports:

Monseratte_espada "A raucous leadership fight erupted on the floor of the Senate around 3 p.m., with two Democrats, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, joining the 30 Senate Republicans in a motion that would displace Democrats as the party in control. It was a noisy and acrimonious scene on the floor of the Senate as Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Republican from Binghamton and the party’s deputy leader, shouted for a roll-call vote, while Democrats attempted to stall the vote by asking to adjourn the session. All 30 Republicans stood with their hands raised, signaling a vote for a change in leadership. Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate joined them, each raising his hand. It appeared that Republicans had won the vote by a 32-to-30 margin. If the Republicans retake the chamber, Dean G. Skelos, of Long Island, would likely be the new majority leader."

Espada Elizabeth Benjamin of NYDN:

"The deal that enabled the Republicans to woo Democratic Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate to their side in today's coup has been months in the making and will result in an unusual degree of power-sharing in the chamber, according to one insider with knowledge of the deal. Assuming it all holds - and that isn't a foregone conclusion (I smell a major lawsuit) - here's what we know: Aside from Democratic Senate President Pedro Espada Jr., shown here being sworn in to his new leadership post along with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos in the wake of the coup, there will be as many as 10 Democrats who get committee chairmanships."

Press releases: Smith: "I'm still majority leader." Monseratte: "I'm still a Democrat."

At this point there's no real evidence that this chaos erupted over the marriage equality bill. Espada is pro-marriage equality and Monserrate, at least according to the recent NY1 survey, is undecided.

Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell told New York magazine he's not giving up hope: "I believe that it's still coming regardless of who controls the Senate. Every year more Americans and more New Yorkers support my right to a marriage license.

Pedro Espada and Dean Skelos: Swearing in... The NEW RULES.

Paterson Governor Paterson gave a press conference late yesterday excoriating the Republican move: "The actions taken on the senate floor today need to be exposed for what they are, an unnecessary distraction to government, dressed up in the cloak - falsely - of reform and good government...I don’t care if I am the only one standing, but someone has got to stand up and say that this is wrong."

Swearing in video plus PRESS CONFERENCE with Skelos and Governor Paterson, AFTER THE JUMP...

Malcolm Smith Caught Between Governor and Anti-Gay Preacher

The NYT yesterday ran a piece on New York Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and the pressure cooker he's in on marriage equality — on one side he's got Governor David Paterson pressuring him to move the marriage equality bill forward, and on the other a spiritual "mentor" he has known for more than two decades, Reverend Floyd Flake.

FLAKE Said Flake to his congregation this Sunday: “I don’t care what the politicians think. Ain’t nothing perfect about laying down and signing a license with somebody who got the same body parts you got."

The paper reports: "Mr. Smith, who went to work for Mr. Flake in 1986 as a Congressional aide, said the minister’s views on the subject have not weakened his own resolve to see same-sex marriage legalized. Though they speak nearly every day, the two men said they have not broached the topic recently. 'He knows what my position is. I know what his position is,' Mr. Smith said. 'He looks at it as a religious matter, and I look at it as a legal matter.' Mr. Smith said he arrived at his decision to support same-sex marriage two years ago when he began considering it a matter of equal rights."

In related news, two thousand people are expected tomorrow in Albany for the Empire State Pride Agenda's Equality and Justice Day of lobbying for marriage equality.

Attendees expected include Governor David Paterson; Assemblymembers Daniel O’Donnell & Richard Gottfried, & other elected officials; Kate Hathaway, PFLAG member & mother of actor Anne Hathaway;  Alan Lubin, NYS United Teachers; Bishop Prince Singh, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester; Donna Lieberman, NYCLU; Arrie Moore, Spectrum Transgender Group of Western NY; Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun; Alan Van Capelle, Empire State Pride Agenda.

NY Gov Paterson Hands Reins to Malcolm Smith on Marriage Bill

New York Governor David Paterson appeared to dial back his rhetoric yesterday on New York's marriage equality bill, which has been full-throttle since he announced he was reintroducing it, in a public gesture of handover to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith.

Paterson_small Said Paterson: "On this particular bill, there are a lot of other issues related to it. Senator Smith knows the inertia of the Senate better than anyone else . . . I'll stick with his final judgment."

Newsday reports: "Smith (D- St. Albans) supports gay marriage, but has said he would not allow a vote if defeat was likely. 'I'm very concerned about putting a bill on the floor that's going to be symbolism and not pass. . . . I'm going to count until I know that I have 32, if not 34, votes,' he said last week. After Paterson's comments Wednesday, Smith was asked for a response. Before he could reach the microphone, the governor quipped, 'Senator Smith agrees with me completely.' Smith replied, 'Absolutely.' ... Wednesday night, Paterson spokesman Peter Kauffmann said the governor had been 'consistent' in his statements Wednesday and last week. Paterson believes that legislation in general should be debated but was not demanding that Smith bring the gay marriage bill to the floor regardless of whether it had sufficient support, Kauffmann said."

Archbishop, Democratic Bigot Senator Balk at Marriage Equality Bill

Not a surprise, but Democratic state senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. says he's organizing a protest against same-sex marriage legislation, City Room reports:

Diazsr "Only hours after Gov. David A. Paterson said he would introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, about 100 people attended a meeting on Thursday at the Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the Bronx, where State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. is the pastor, to discuss plans to protest. The church meeting, led by Mr. Diaz, was organized by the New York Hispanic Clergy Association. In attendance were Hispanic bishops and pastors from churches across the city, as well as some congregants. Mr. Díaz told those in attendance that they were starting to plan a large rally to be held some time in May."

Diaz also immediately enlisted the help of newly-installed Archbishop Timothy Dolan, calling for a meeting with the Catholic leader.

The New York Daily News reports: "Diaz, a Pentecostal minister, blasted Paterson for introducing the measure during Passover and a day after city Catholics welcomed new Archbishop Timothy Dolan. 'It's a slap in the face,' Diaz said.  Dolan also promised to fight Paterson's proposal."

Smith Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who was not present at yesterday's press conference, released a statement shortly after the presser: "I have been and continue to be a strong supporter of marriage equality and remain steadfast in my commitment to passing the marriage equality legislation submitted today by Governor Paterson. No person should ever be denied their civil rights or the basic freedoms others can enjoy...I am fully committed to continuing the process of securing the 32 votes necessary for passage and ensuring that all New Yorkers can realize the right of marriage equality which is fundamentally theirs."

Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, and state senator Tom Duane promised to fight for the votes to pass the bill at yesterday's press conference.

My video of their remarks, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's,

Continue reading "Archbishop, Democratic Bigot Senator Balk at Marriage Equality Bill" »

Smith, Olbermann, Corzine, Schumer and Gillibrand at NY HRC Dinner


New York Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and Senator Chuck Schumer all spoke at the Human Rights Campaign's New York dinner over the weekend. Newly-appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also sent a taped message.

Gillibrand_2I posted about Smith's remarks earlier this week. Said Smith: "I know one of your top priorities is the recognition of marriage between same-sex couples — something that I strongly support, something that I believe in and something that we will make happen together...Although we do not have the number of votes at this time needed to pass the marriage equality gender bill this legislative session, we are committed to pursuing its passage. And the question is not if; the question is when. So our work still needs to happen for it to happen this year. But I’m going to need your help, and I’m going to need your prayers."

You can watch all of them, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Smith, Olbermann, Corzine, Schumer and Gillibrand at NY HRC Dinner " »


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