WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York
What is it, Senator Adams: Ignorance, Vengeance or Pure Greed?
You should know that the latest bombshell in the saga of what's going on in the New York State Senate has been contributed to by Brooklyn State Senator Eric Adams, who suddenly and unexpectedly jumped ship to accept the Chairmanship of the Senate Aging Committee that was offered to him by Senators Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein.
As you know, even though the Democrats have 33 Senators making them the Majority of the State Senate – and thereby entitling them to be in control of the Chamber – this has been impossible to achieve due to 4 Democratic rebel Senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valsesky, and David Carlucci – none of whom are Black or Hispanic.
These 4 Senators decided to abandon the Democrats and join the Senate Republicans – none of whom are Black or Hispanic – thereby preventing Black and Hispanic Senators from ruling as the Democratic Majority and obtaining the primary leadership roles in the New York State Senate.
Since that time, the Republicans and Senator Jeff Klein (leader of the rebel Democrats) have been very active trying to find any token Black or Hispanic Senator to join their Coalition, in order to prevent any appearance that their coup was, in fact, against the minority community. In that process, they have been quite successful after luring Senator Malcolm Smith to their side – and this week, they hit a home run by convincing Senator Eric Adams (from Brooklyn) to join them and accept their offer of Chairmanship of the Senate Aging Committee.
You should know that some people have been asking me why a leader like Eric Adams, who is well-respected, has a good reputation, and has been fighting on behalf of his community since his days as a New York City Police Officer and Captain, would allow himself to be used in this manner and give more power to the Republicans. They want to know how Senator Adams could put a nail into the coffin of the Democratic Leadership in the New York State Senate.
Some of these same people have tried to explain why they believe Senator Adams has done such a thing. There are those who believe it's because of ignorance; others conclude that it was an act of vengeance; and the rest just say it was because of pure greed.
Here are some of their explanations.
The first group of people understand that these offers by Republicans to certain Black and Hispanic Senators are only to serve in minor Committees, and that this is nothing except window dressing. They believe that the Republicans would never allow Senator Adams to do anything important or independent because “they” will always control and rule what should be done in the State Senate. They also say that since Senator Adams is running for Brooklyn Borough President, many Democrats might be inclined to reject him as he has rejected them … unless he has been instructed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to do this in exchange for the Governor’s endorsement, and for the Governor’s help campaigning and fundraising for him. If this is so, I’m afraid we’ll have to disregard the reason of ignorance.
The second reason some people offer is an act of vengeance. You should know that many people believe that when Senator John Sampson was the New York Senate Democratic Conference Leader, it was Senator Adams who was the power behind the throne. When a coup was organized by Senator Liz Krueger, Senator Mike Gianaris and others to bring Senator Sampson down and install Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins as the Conference Chair, Senator Adams lost all of his power and influence in the Conference – and in an act of vengeance, he is helping to bury what's left of the New York State Senate Democratic Conference and its new leaders.
The third reason, pure greed, has a more complicated explanation by some people about what Senator Adams has done. You should already know that any Senator who becomes Chair of a Committee receives a “lulu,” and the amounts of these lulus depend upon how important the Committee is. In the case of Senator Adams, the $12,500 he will now receive as the Chair of the New York State Senate Aging Committee will not make a dent in what he's already receiving. We already know that Senator Adams is a retired New York City Police Captain, receiving an annual pension of what is believed to be $92,000 per year. If you add those figures to the base salary of $79,500 as a New York State Senator, and also add in the per diem stipends Senator Adams receives for daily expenses while in Albany – $171 per full day and $61 per half day – we know that this lulu will not make him much richer. I don't believe that Senator Adams would jump and compromise his principle and his standing in the community for just $12,500, when he doesn't need that.
However, all of these questions – Was it ignorance? Was it vengeance? Or was it pure greed? – that people are asking me and the possible reasons for Senator Adams jumping ship and joining Governor Andrew Cuomo and those working behind closed doors to keep the Republicans in power and us minorities in the back seat of the bus, can only be properly answered by Eric Adams himself.
This is Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.