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Sad Demise of Monserrate

TimesLedger Newspapers

It was with no pleasure that we watched last week as former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate pleaded guilty to misusing money to fund his unsuccessful 2006 campaign.

Monserrate’s downfall began when he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and slashing her face with a broken glass. He was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2009 and sentenced to three years’ probation. Even though his victim refused to testify, surveillance tape caught him dragging the woman through a hallway.

He was then expelled from the Senate on a vote of 53-8.

Monserrate was later arrested for secretly funneling more than $100,000 to his campaign. According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment paid $48,000 in salary to employees “for doing pretty much nothing else except working on [his] campaign.”

For a man who once served in the NYPD, neither crime is excusable. The misuse of funds was a criminal act for which he could spend many years in prison.

Monserrate had been a respected figure in the districts he served. He let constituents down. He will not be remembered for any accomplishment but for fraud and domestic abuse.

Punishment Should Fit Crime

Under standards imposed during the Bloomberg administration, the city can now boot or tow cars of owners who owe as little as $350 or have five unpaid parking tickets in the course of one year.

The mayor says the tougher standards will “save lives.” Nonsense. The tickets accompanied by excessive fees will help balance a bloated budget.

With added fees, the cost to get a car back can double the amount owed. They include a $185 tow fee, $70 for the sheriff and $35 for the pound. The fee is more than double the normal towing charge.

The City Council should stand up to the mayor on scofflaw towing. The standard should be reset to something reasonable like $1,000. The fees should be cut in half.

Time to bring the mayor back to planet Earth.

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