WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York
Is There No Competent Hispanic to Serve as New York City's Next Police Commissioner?
You should know that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's days are numbered as Mayor of the City of New York. He has only a little less than three months before he's out of public office.
You should also know that along with Mayor Bloomberg’s departure will also come the departure of New York City's Commissioners, special assistants, and many workers who were hired and appointed to serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. In other words, thousands of people who now drive special vehicles and travel with drivers and bodyguards - beginning on January 1, 2014 - will be seen walking down the street and riding the subway like anybody else.
One of those many positions that will become vacant is the Commissioner of New York City Police Department. Raymond Kelly, the current Police Commissioner who has served for the past twelve (12) years in Mayor Bloomberg's Administration, is one of those many people who will have to pack his bags and move on.
One of the first orders of business for the newly elected Mayor will be to select all of his new Commissioners - including the most important Commissioner of all: the Commissioner of New York City Police Department. This department has never had a Hispanic Commissioner. Police Commissioners have been African American, Jewish, Irish, Italian, etc. - but never Hispanic.
You should know that the highest position ever reached by any Hispanic in the New York City Police Department is held by Rafael Pineiro, the son of a Spaniard father and a Cuban mother. Rafael Pineiro holds the position of the 1st Vice-Commissioner of New York City Police Department. In other words, he is the one who directs the day-to-day operations within the department.
We have all heard that New York City's Democratic Mayoral Candidate, Bill De Blasio, has already begun to prepare a list of names, so if he is elected, he will be prepared to choose from that list and nominate the next Police Commissioner.
You should know that this topic has been covered several times in print, on the radio and television, and online – and we know that Bill De Blasio does have a list of potential nominees. We also know that Bill De Blasio's list for potential Police Commissioner does not even mention names that are Hispanic.
We all heard Bill De Blasio say: “One person who’s been a very key adviser to me is Bill Bratton. I will certainly consider him.” Bill Bratton was Police Commissioner under Rudy Giuliani's Administration.
Another name mentioned to serve as New York City's Police Commissioner is Philip Banks, who is an African-American and serves as the Chief of Department in Bloomberg’s New York City Police Department. Bill De Blasio described Chief of Department Philip Banks as: “someone I’d consider.”
To this date, there has been no one of Hispanic descent that Bill De Blasio has mentioned to serve as New York City's Police Commissioner.
I wonder what is the reason that among all of the people who Bill De Blasio may be considering for Police Commissioner, that there is not even one Hispanic on that list? Could it be that among so many thousands of Hispanics in New York City, no one is qualified to serve as Police Commissioner?
You should know that I did not support Bill De Blasio in the Democratic Primary, so I really have no right to demand much from him. In fact, the majority of New York's Hispanic elected officials did not endorse Bill De Blasio either. Even New York's largest Spanish language newspaper, El Diario La Prensa - whose logo is “The Champion of the Hispanics” - did not give its endorsement to Bill De Blasio.
I refuse to believe this is the reason that no Hispanic is being considered for the role of Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
My dear reader, although there was not much support for Bill DeBlasio by Hispanic elected officials, it is well known that the Hispanic community and the Hispanic vote came out and overwhelmingly supported Bill De Blasio on election day. As such, our community deserves a lot more consideration - and respect!
You should know Bill DeBlasio's public relations specialist, Roberto Perez, analyzed the voter breakdown and wrote a column to show all of us that the Hispanic community got out the vote for Bill De Blasio even though Hispanic leaders did not support Bill De Blasio.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to recommend to Roberto Perez that he be sure to show his column to Bill DeBlasio so his boss understands and appreciates that he won the Hispanic vote - even without the support of their leaders. With these facts available to him, we will then see if Bill DeBlasio can demonstrate respect for Hispanics.
I am Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.