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Life after Monserrate

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Ousted state Sen. Hiram Monserrate will not go quietly into the night. Having been removed by his fellow senators, the embattled politician has gathered the 5,500 signatures needed to get his name on the March 16 special election ballot.

He was accused of slashing his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass after he found another man’s police union cars in her purse. The woman who at first told hospital workers Monserrate attacked her later changed her story. Monserrate was convicted only of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.

Monserrate challenged the action in federal court and was defeated. He is now considering an appeal. He is lucky he is not in prison. If his girlfriend had not changed her story, he most likely would have been convicted of felony assault. He should face the reality that he has an anger problem and should step out of the spotlight.

With the state on the brink of financial disaster, the state Legislature has important work to do. The fate of public education and mass transit hang in the balance. Queens needs a strong voice in Albany, not a voice tainted by scandal and shame.

From Bad to Worse for Paterson

The resignation of his public safety director, Denise O’Donnell, could be the writing on the wall for the state’s embattled governor. O’Donnell quit last week when she learned from a New York Times story that state police reportedly pressed an alleged victim to drop domestic violence charges against David Johnson, a top aide to the governor.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has launched an investigation into the charge that state police tried to “improperly influence” Sherr-una Booker, the woman the aide reportedly attacked. Two other Paterson aides may also have contacted the woman.

“The behavior alleged here is the antithesis of what many of us have spent our entire careers working to build, a legal system that protects victims of domestic violence and brings offenders to justice,” O’Donnell wrote in her resignation letter. She claimed she had been misled about events by the state police superintendent.

It is time for Gov. David Paterson, who ended his short-lived election campaign last week, to reconsider his options.

Updated 5:48 pm, October 10, 2011
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