Tag Archives: liberal politics

A New York Story: Senator Found Not Innocent But Not Guilty

Bookmark and Share   On his New York State Senate Web site the top story his office offers reads “Senator Monserrate Celebrates Central American Culture and Heritage in Corona, NY”. It’s not exactly an intriguing or compelling story about courageous or innovative leadership that tackles any of the problems facing troubled New Yorkers but it is a much less controversial read than “Senator Monserrate Awaits His Fates After Slashing Girlfriend In Face”. But perhaps it is the safest story to highlight when you have little in the way of meaningful political accomplishments and you actually are waiting to here a verdict in a case where you are accused of slashing your girlfriend in the face and dragging her around the streets of New York as she cries and bleeds.

092209_hirammonserrate_emk07.JPGSuch is how Queens, New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate has spent his day until at about 3;45 this afternoon a judge stated that Monserrate was not innocent but he was found “not guilty” of the most serious charges against but guilty of lesser charges.

Based on the slashing accusations outlined above, a grand jury charged Monserrate on three counts of felony assault on his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo. He was originally arrested for the incident on December 19, 2008 and later that same day, pled not guilty to the charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon along with three counts of misdemeanor assault.

The incident apparently involved an argument between Monserrate and Giraldo that took place in in his Queens apartment. Originally Karla Giraldo reported to police that Senator Monserrate was intentionally responsible for acts that ultimately cut her under the eye with broken glass. Giraldo later recanted her story and claimed that it was all an accident. From that point on, she became an uncooperative witness in the case. As for Senator Monserrate, in an official public statement he said “Listen, the reality is that from the very beginning I have said this was an accident. My girlfriend said it’s an accident. This is an accident and we look forward to the dismissal of all these charges based on the truth”.

As the case proceeded, Monserrate waived his right to a trial by jury. According to his attorney, Joe Toccapina, a jury consultant and polls revealed to him that Senator. Monserrate could not get a fair trial before a jury anywhere in the state. The move only raised doubt about what was really going on behind the scenes especially since the judge ultimately deciding Monserrates’s fate is Justice William M. Erlbaum of State Supreme Court in Queens. Before even going to trial, Erlbaum has been making procedural rulings that have all gone against the Senator. Yet Monserrrate and his defense still preferred their chances with one judge as opposed to their chances with a jury of 12.

Monserrate's Victim/Girlfriend Karla Giraldo

Monserrate's Victim/Girlfriend Karla Giraldo

With none of the court related details in the case public as of yet, it was hard to tell if the initial story that Karla Giraldo would be considered more true than her retraction. After making herself an uncooperative witness, she had to be subpoenaed into court and forced to appear in court. Being what could be considered a hostile witness, any attempts to explain her initial claims that Moneratte assaulted her could have possibly been not be taken at face value but even more than Giraldo’s changing testimony was video that was placed into evidence in the matter.

Surveillance cameras in the Senator’s apartment building, caught Monserrate and Giraldo on the night of the incident in question. On it Giraldo is seen crying and fleeing down a staircase, with Monserrate rapidly coming down behind. As Giraldo comes off the stairs she begins knocking on a neighbors door at the bottom of the steps. Next thing you see is Monserrate yanking her away and whisking her off. The cameras then catch a struggling Giraldo losing a bag that gets caught on a banister and as it falls to the floor, Monserrate continues to pull her to an exit and outside of its doors. The video evidence continues as exterior surveillance cameras then catch Senator Monserrate tightly holding on to Giraldo and pushing and prodding her down the street outside of his apartment as she cries.

The tape did not necessarily provide all that is needed to make an airtight conviction here, but it was enough for  Judge Erlbaum to find Monserrate guilty of reckless injuring Giraldo.  According to Erlbaum, it was obvious that Giraldo was not someone being willingly escorted out of the building and down the street.  The reckless injury is considered a misdemeanor.

A neighbor who was called as wittness in the case had testified that he had a very loud and raucos fight on the night of the event,  but faced with Monserrate and Giraldo’s statements in court, Judge Erlbaum could still not convict the Senator of the most severe charges in the case. 

The judges decision could have put Monserrate behind bars for as much as seven years in prison if he found him guilty of assault.   That meant that Senator Monserrate was not alone in his intense interest in the verdict. New York Democrats also awaited to see if they had to continue contending with the combative, loose cannon that Monserrate tends to be. Many would not have minded seeing a decision of guilt in the case.  Had he been found guilty, legislative rules would have required his immediate expulsion, a result that would havel pleased some of his legislative colleagues.

Not long ago Monserastte and one other Democrat Senator joined together in a move that paralyzed the New State legislature. Attempts to remove the then leader of the senate, a Democrat, Monserrate and State Senator Espada switched to join with Republicans and provided an even split which created a deadlock that could not be broken. The impasse was further cemented due to the fact that there was no Lieutenant Governor who could provide a tie breaking vote. When Governor Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign amid scandal, then Lt. Governor David Paterson became Governor Paterson, thereby creating a vacancy in the LG position.

There were no existing procedures to replace someone in the job and when David Patterson tried to appoint someone, members of the state senate challenged the action in state court.

Since then the courts have determined that Paterson could legally appoint someone to the seat but at the time, Monserrate’s escapades helped to stop all business from being conducted due to the deadlock that he created all because he did not like the democrat Senate Leader.

The episode left a bad taste in many Democrat’s mouths and wouldn’t mind seeing Monserrate eliminated as a player in state government. This is especially the case since there is no risk of Monerserrate’s senate seat falling into Republican hands. The district is solidly Democrat. So much so that if they decided to run Rod Blagojevic for the job, he would be a shoo-in.

Having been found not guilty, state business marches on with an incompetent Governor, an inepot state assembly and a corrupt and ridiculously ineffective state senate that now has a leader who is described as a “thoroughly undistinguished legislator”, whose major claim to fame is that he once tried to block a District Attorney from prosecuting a Democrat Assemblyman and Democrat Party County Chairman on charges of corruption.

All of this allows us to draw a very appropriate comparisson  between the charges that once surrounded Senator Hiram Moneserrate and his once alleged abused girlfriend Karla Giraldo. Monserrate is very representatives of New York State government and Giraldo represents the citizens of the state.  Just as Giraldo was originally seen as being beaten up by Monserrate, the citizens of New York are being beaten down by state government. The only difference is that Monserrate could have been  punished if he was found to have assaulted his girlfriend while the New York State legislature is not likely to be punished anytime soon for their assault in the quality of life of New Yorkers.

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Recently, Democrats took control of Monmouth County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders. Since 1986 Democrats have long been locked out of leadership in government on the county level in Monmouth County New Jersey. They have not held a single seat on the county’s governing body.  Not since recent years when, slowly, they have managed to elect one and even two new Freeholders. The most recent election helped elect another Democrat. The importance of that third Democrat Freeholder was pivotal. On a board of 5, it meant control of county government. The Republican loss of control in Monmouth may or may not have been deserved. But what is not deserved, is the certain lack of quality that Democrat control is promising to bring.

Since winning their third Freeholders seat, Democrats have gone out of their way to demonstrate that politics, not policy will rule the day.The first thing that the liberal troika of Freeholders did was to discuss who would become their ringleader. The three of them held private conversations that led to a private vote which elected one of them to be the Freeholder Director. Never mind that there were two other members of the board that should have been consulted and a part of the decision. They were Republicans and after all, who really cares about the democratic process?


So with partisan politics at the forefront, Democrats held their own election and released an independent press release that informed the people, including the two Republican Freeholders, of who will be the new director. You would think that the new liberal regime would at least try to seem inclusive and decent but no, not these guys.

Now, days after installing their own leader, the new leadership is promising to cost county residents even more money than their policy initiatives will burden taxpayers with.

They are pushing for the creation of new positions. New, high paying positions. Positions that spread some of their own responsibilities, such as oversight, to people other themselves.

In several areas, the liberal Freeholders want to create new bureaucratic positions that they intend to fill through the time held tradition of patronage.

To make matters worse, the new regime is trying to replace existing county employees, who are Republican, with fellow Democrats simply because they are not Democrats.

That is not unheard of in the world of partisan politics, but what is a bit of real impropriety, is that they are trying to replace those who hold jobs that are classified as civil service positions. Individuals holding civil service positions can’t be removed from the job without just cause yet something as menial as the law is not getting in the way of the Democrats. Without any proof or evidence, they are trying to claim that some of these civil servants have been insubordinate and inept. Proving that is going to be hard, especially since such charges were not levied by Democrats until they took control of the process.

Liberal State Party Boss, Assemblyman Joe Cryan

Liberal State Party Boss, Assemblyman Joe Cryan

To add insult to injury, the new liberal Freeholders have left the decision of who to hire in Monmouth County up to Joe Cryan, an Assemblyman from Union County who represents the towns Elizabeth, Kenilworth, Roselle and Union, New Jersey. Even more important than his Assembly leadership, or lack of it,  is the fact that Joe Cryan is the chairman of New Jersey’s Democrat State Committee.

So not only have Monmouth County Democrats kicked off their reign with increased spending and a patronage driven direction, they have relinquished authority to a state party boss from a different county. Assemblyman Cryan’s own legislative chief of staff confirms this and admits that the Assemblyman has contacted state personnel departments and Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics about finding candidates for the Monmouth County positions of chief financial officer, directors of the human resources and human services departments, and the newest  new post of inspector general.

Isn’t this great. Not only is a state employee of a state legislator using state time to respond to political party business, his liberal party chief boss is appointing people to posts in a county that he neither lives in or is elected or hired to represent.

But at least the Democrats running Monmouth County’s Board of Freeholders will win favor with the state liberal party chieftain. I mean so long as the needs of party politics are being fulfilled, the citizens of Monmouth County will be taken care of.

Or will they?

The games being played by county Democrats prove that the people of  Monmouth are not the priority. Nor are the problems that need solving or the future troubles that need avoiding. Politics is what these characters have shown us to be their priority and as such, we have to hope that the state liberal party boss, Assemblyman Joe Cryan from Union County cares as much for the people of Monmouth County as he does for the people living in the towns of the district that he represents.


A visitor from Holland was chatting with his American friend and was jokingly explaining about the red, white and blue in the Netherlands flag. “Our flag symbolizes our taxes,” he said. “We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them.”

“That’s the same with us,” the American said, “only we see stars, too.”

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