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Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York
Tel. 718-991-3161

You should know that the New York Post has spent a lot of time and
resources on its writers and photographers to investigate New York State
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s driver. On Sunday, September 29, Candice
Giove’s article “Silver’s driver making wasteful Albany-NYC trips” accuses
Speaker Silver of wasting New York taxpayer money that pays for his driver.

Why can’t the Assembly Speaker have a driver? What’s the big fuss?

You should know that Sheldon Silver is one of the most powerful politicians
in New York State, and it only stands to reason that he may have some very
powerful enemies out there. Does anyone really think that it is
irresponsible for Speaker Silver to hire a retired NYPD officer to drive
him to and from events in New York City and in Albany?

How is this a real ground for criticism?

Anyone with a car knows how hard it is to find parking in any busy city.
Can you imagine if Speaker Silver was expected to attend a meeting or event
and couldn’t find a parking spot in the area – and had to drive around and
around, causing him to be late or miss an event? Even we meager elected
officials who don’t have Speaker Silver’s responsibilities and his heavy
agenda – even we bring someone to drive us so we’re not late for events and
meetings.

I think that not only Sheldon Silver should have a driver, but Senate
Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea
Stewart-Cousins, Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff
Klein, and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb should, too. In their
capacities as leaders in the State Legislature, they all share very similar
security and parking concerns as Speaker Silver, and they all should all
have drivers and a security detail.

If Speaker Silver’s driver/security detail were flying to Albany with him,
then maybe the New York Post could consider that their “AHA!” moment and
condemn the driver for racking up frequent-flier miles. But this coverage
by the New York Post of the Speaker is near the top of the list of the most
ridiculous and wasteful use of media resources I have ever seen.

The NY Post also reported that Speaker Silver’s staffer denied that the
Speaker has a driver, and I cannot understand how or why anyone would panic
and not just say, “Yes, he does,” when asked about this by the New York
Post or anyone else.

My dear reader, I can understand the New York Post’s criticism of Sheldon
Silver in other matters, such as those involving William Rapfogel, the
Aqueduct Racetrack racino bid, the misuse of the Speaker’s address on Grand
Street, the scandal involving disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez, etc. etc.
But I cannot understand the New York Post’s criticism of Speaker Silver for
having a driver. Give me a break!

Ladies and gentlemen, it makes no sense for the New York Post or anyone
else to criticize Speaker Sheldon Silver for hiring a driver who clearly
serves as his security detail – and who, by the way, is making a lot less
money than many, many people with less responsibility who work in our local
and state government. Even New York City’s Mayoral candidates have been
designated security details! Again, I have to ask: What’s the big fuss?

This is Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

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