Latino Power in Albany? More Pressure on Paterson

monserrate.jpgHmm. Yesterday Assemblyman and ousted Bronx Dem boss Jose Rivera called for the Governor to appoint a Latino to Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat. Now the Times-Union tells us that Hiram Monserratte, erstwhile member of the race-conscious Gang-of-Four State Senate rebels (with whom he maintains financial ties), has expressed his displeasure at a dearth of "diversity" in recent judicial nominees ("countless number of qualified women and Latinos serving as judges throughout our State" etc). Gang member Ruben Diaz feels similarly.

The nobility of minority appointments to one side, this seems a prime opportunity for coalition-building among politicians who might otherwise be relegated to foot-soldiers in the Democratic sweep of Albany. Malcolm Smith still doesn't have the Gang's backing for Majority Leader, and they're supposedly meeting with billionaire Tom Golisano today, who's been known to help out politicians he likes.

It would be a neat trick if these local pols could claim some victories before the Legislature even convenes. The state is short of money and the Governor's fastest route to getting the majority he needs to pass a budget -- especially with the Republicans being so uncooperative -- might be to accommodate these legislators with people instead of perks.


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