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The state Senate is considering contacting the state police if ousted Sen. Hiram Monserrate, who is running for an Assembly seat, does not return his Senate-issued parking placard.
Monserrate, who formerly represented the Jackson Heights area in the Senate as a Democrat, was expelled in February after he was convicted of misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo.
Travis Proulx, spokesman for the Senate Democratic Conference, said the Senate has notified Monserrate twice in writing — once in February and once in May — since he had been expelled asking him to return the placard, which allows members of the state Legislature to park in metered spaces without paying tolls or in no-standing areas.
Proulx said both notices have been ignored and the Senate is planning to write him again. It has been more than six months since Monserrate was last in office.
“Monserrate has no right or privilege to be using this placard in New York or anywhere for that matter,” Proulx said.
Proulx said the parking placards are 8 inches tall and 10 inches wide. He said he did not know if Monserrate was actively using the placard, as it is hard to track who is driving any vehicles with placards.
“We really rely on people to act in good faith,” Proulx said.
The Senate is willing to get the police involved, but they want Monserrate to mail the placard back.
“He is not using it in any way that benefits the public,” Proulx said. “It only benefits himself.”
Mike Nieves, campaign manager for Monserrate, said he had no comment on this issue.
Monserrate is running for the Jackson Heights Assembly seat left open after Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) ran for Monserrate’s Senate seat and won. Monserrate also ran for his former Senate seat in a bid to get re-elected in March. Monserrate’s competitors for the open Assembly seat include Democrat Francisco Moya and Republican Humberto Suarezmotta.
Nieves said Monserrate is mounting a traditional campaign, made up of knocking on doors, going to events, canvassing for votes and doing phone drops.
“All we have to reiterate is the good work he’s done as a city councilman and a state senator,” Nieves said.
Nieves said that while Monserrate lost the Senate election, he drew 4,100 votes, which Nieves sees as a good base.
“Hiram is the guy who everybody loves to hate, but he’s not the guy the voters love to hate,” Nieves said. “The system hates him because he’s anti-establishment.”
Nieves said he had no comment on Moya’s campaign.
“I never run a race caring about what the other side does,” Nieves said. “I run a race caring about what my side does.”
Monserrate was charged with misdemeanor assault in October 2009 following a December 2008 incident in which he slashed Giraldo’s face and pulled her through the lobby of his apartment by her hair. The courts placed a full order of protection against Monserrate to prevent him from seeing Giraldo, which was reduced last month.
Monserrate and Giraldo have reconciled.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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