WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York
Games People Play
You should know that there are people playing Lieutenant Columbo games in the New York State Senate, and in the process, they have turned the Senate Democratic Conference into a mere rubber stamp for the political gains and purposes of others.
We all remember the television program, Columbo, where Police Detective Lieutenant Frank Columbo used to let people believe they were so smart and intelligent that they were capable of getting away with murder.
You, dear reader, should see how Senator Dean Skelos and the Republican Senate Conference play dumb and allow pieces of legislation such as gun control (just as they did with gay marriage) come to the Senate Floor knowing that every Democrat will vote for it, pass it and approve it – and later, Senator Skelos turned on his Columbo-like dumb-act saying that it was not the Republicans but the Democrats who did it.
You should also know that in the near future, Senator Dean Skelos will be allowing the Minimum Wage Bill and the so-called Reproductive Health Bill to come to the Senate Floor, knowing that the Democrats will be voting for both, and in the process, bringing legalized late-term abortion to New York State.
All of those bills are being allowed by the Republican-controlled Senate – against the will of the Republican voters in the State – but Senator Skelos will reap many benefits from those votes without being blamed for them and without being held accountable. In the process of using the Democratic Conference as their rubber stamp, you should know that Senator Skelos and the Republicans are keeping the benefits that come with being the Senate Majority.
It was so very interesting to watch, observe and see Senator Greg Ball, a Republican, accomplishing his agenda by including exactly what he wanted into the gun legislation bill, and then – oh, how he played Columbo like a real master, using the Democratic Conference as a rubber stamp! Senator Greg Ball stood up on the Senate Floor, attacked the Governor, spoke and voted against the bill – all so he could make his Republican constituents believe that he was no part of it.
Then, there is Governor Andrew Cuomo, covering himself behind the pretense that he has ended the use of Member Items and Capital Funds. As you all know, Member Items and Capital Funds were the only way that a State Legislator used to be able to help those struggling groups such as little leagues, senior centers, schools, and not-for profit organizations in their districts. The Governor got the Senate Democratic Conference and the Democratic Assembly Members to vote against their own community interests and against themselves, while on the other hand, the Governor created his own, private, HUGE Member Items - or should I say, Governor Items and Governor Capital Funds for his disposal, making everyone believe that he did away with the system – and in the process, using the Democrats as rubber stamps.
And finally, there are those “geniuses” and "smart" Senators who were dead set on not accepting Senator Jeff Klein back into our Conference and making him the Majority Leader. “We're better being in the Minority,” they used to go around bragging. You should know that those same Senators are the ones now responsible for our own Democratic Conference being used as a tool by Jeff Klein and the Independence Democratic Conference to bring to the Senate Floor and approve a Democratic agenda that gives all the credit and recognition to Senator Klein and the IDC.
The IDC are the ones who get the credit and all the benefits from the Governor while our Democratic Conference – who provide the votes – gets zero, nada, nothing. We are the ones being used to approve all those pieces of legislation and they all know that without our votes, nothing will get done – and again, we get bupkis, and we get no respect.
Perhaps it would have been better if we had not listened to the “geniuses” in our conference.
Jeff Klein is the one getting all of the credit, using our Democratic Conference and our votes while we are being left out of every negotiation, not being consulted, and being taken for granted by one and all.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are games that people play, and if you don't know how to play them, you’re out of luck because others will play you and make believe they are Lieutenant Columbo, using you however they can and making you just a rubber stamp.
This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.