Hispanic Senators Meet with Governor Paterson
The L Word
By Ken Lovett
Gov. Paterson used the "L" word--as in legacy--during a meeting this afternoon with Hispanic senators.
Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx) said Paterson told the group he wants to finish off the year not only with a sound budget, but legislative accomplishments as well.
"He used the word 'legacy,'" Espada said. "He used it. I used it and some of the other senators used it. He said, 'I'm here until Dec. 31st and we may not get another shot to work in our respective capacities.'"
The governor started the meeting, which also included Sens. Martin Dilan, Ruben Diaz, and Jose Peralta, by bringing up his controversial comments on illegal immigration during last week's John Gambling radio show. Paterson told the group, Espada said, that he wanted to correct the record "and that if there were any tensions, to deal with it. There weren't any."
In response to a caller on Gambling's show last week who questioned the cost of educating illegal aliens, Paterson said illegal aliens "obviously shouldn't be here" and urged the caller to contact immigration authorities if he knew of any. "The important thing is to report it to INS and let's get moving so that we reduce that number," Paterson said.
Paterson yesterday told the group he wants to do more to help illegal immigrants and agreed to work on various reform measures, including ensuring a "bigger, better census count," Espada said.
The governor also told Espada he liked his idea about tolling the East River bridges and joked, "where was I last year" when Espada opposed it.
The group also discussed farmworker issues and a proposed consolidation of the Parole Board that Espada said could lead to the only Latina member being replaced.
"It was a good meeting," Espada said.
Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook couldn't immediately confirm what was discussed.