State Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. has apparently struck a deal with Senate Republicans in which he is now president pro tempore of the Senate, and Republican Dean Skelos is majority leader.
That means that after not-quite five and a half months of Democratic control, the Republican Party may once again seize control of the state Legislature's upper house.
This, a frustrated Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz just called to tell me, is exactly the set of circumstances he and the Riverdale political establishment sought to avoid — by supporting the incumbent, Efrain Gonzalez Jr., even though he was under indictment.
Mr. Gonzalez pled guilty earlier this month to fraud charges in connection with routing $400,000 in taxpayer money to his own pocket while a state senator. He was under indictment before last year's primaries, in which Mr. Dinowitz and Riverdale's Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club endorsed him.
"He would have been returned to office and he would have lost his job … and we would have had neither Efrain Gonzalez Jr. nor Pedro Espada. Of course we knew that at the time," Mr. Dinowitz said.
He later added he knew they were endorsing someone who was likely guilty of stealing taxpayer money, not that they knew for a fact that Mr. Gonzalez had done the deed.
Given what was at stake, he said, the ends justified the means.
"You already saw the difference in having a Democratic senate … in terms of the bottle law, the Rockefeller law," Mr. Dinowitz said.
The Democratically controlled state Senate has passed reforms to the much-maligned Rockefeller drug laws, loosening sentences for low-level offenders.
The reforms also allowed judges to seal the records of some criminals, which caused a stir the Republicans used to their advantage.
The Senate also extended the Bottle Bill to add a deposit to bottled water.
"Now they’re going to put into power people who are going to oppose the interests of New York City when it comes to housing … who are going to oppose a lot of other positions," Mr. Dinowitz said.
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