Let's be honest: the man should have resigned after he was convicted in court for misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend at the end of last year. Unfortunately, Monserrate didn't do the right thing then, and he won't do it now. It is because of elected officials like him that so many people across the city and the country hold the government in such contempt these days.
If the Senate votes to kick him out, Monserrate is now promising to sue to stay in his office.
What a class act.
His attorney, Joseph Tacopina, is arguing that the Senate has no legal ground to expel him from office; an expulsion, Tacopina said, would be unconstitutional. Completing this ridiculous defense is Monserrate's insistence that he is beholden to the people of the 13th Senatorial District, and to them only.
He even had the gall recently to praise himself (inarticulately) for having “co-authored bills, three of the bills that you might see on the wall that I introduced are signed by Governor Paterson and are law today during this very tumultuous time.”
Sorry, Hiram, but the bills we “might see on the wall” do not excuse your behavior. And we don't feel sorry for the tough times you've gone through.
Putting legal semantics aside, Monserrate broke the law. Since then, defending himself in court and in the court of public opinion has consumed most of his time, time that could and should have been spent in the service of solving the issues of his district and state.
Clearly, the senator has his mind elsewhere now - we dismiss his claim otherwise - and because of that simple but all important fact it cannot be said that he is representing his constituents to the best of his ability.
Doing just that is central to the oath of office taken by elected officials. When they violate it, they should resign.
In some ways the saddest part of this is the silence so far on the part of many of his Senate colleagues, and most of his constituents. Their combined silence seems to pardon his actions. Are other senators afraid of going after him too hard because they're scared they might receive the same treatment if they ever land in his shoes?
More people in central Queens should stand up for what is right. And more Senators should follow their lead.