Opinion: Hoylman on Albany: It’d be funny if it weren’t true

State Senator Brad Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman

By State Senator Brad Hoylman

I was recently asked to speak at the inauguration of a local judge. When it was my turn to give remarks, I told the packed crowd that the judge had asked me to speak about Albany. Without much prompting, the crowd broke into giggles. It’s telling that our state legislature is a punch line.

I think some of us can’t help but laugh because the corruption in Albany has taken on comic proportions. Consider the fact that the criminal acts perpetrated by former Republican Leader Dean Skelos were so brazen as to have been committed after the governor created a special commission under the Moreland Act to investigate public corruption in the state legislature and after the U.S. attorney announced that he had personally taken up the cause. It’s pathetic, sad – and yes, even funny – that Skelos was so arrogant and inept as to pursue his transgressions while federal prosecutors were busy listening to his every word.

The Skelos conviction is just one example why the public has lost confidence in state government. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other reasons, too. Since 2000, 41 state elected officials have been accused, indicted or convicted of official misconduct, including five legislators this year alone, among their ranks, of course, Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver. In the Senate, it’s breathtaking that since 2008, five consecutive leaders of this body have been arrested.

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Man leaps to his death at Straus Houses

The incident worried some residents of 344 East 28th Street about roof accessibility. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The incident worried some residents of 344 East 28th Street about roof accessibility. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 29-year-old resident of the Straus Houses at 344 East 28th Street was found dead outside the building in apparent suicide early last Thursday morning. The Daily News reported that the victim was found in the building’s courtyard around 3:08 a.m. A representative from the NYPD said that the man’s injuries were consistent with a fall and the incident is currently being investigated as a suicide.

Tenants Association President Aaron Humphrey said that he was still awake when the man fell, and he called 911 to report the incident. The Daily News had reported that the man jumped from his apartment on the ninth floor. Humphrey noted, though, that based on the location of the victim’s apartment windows and where he was found, it would be impossible for him to have jumped from that window, meaning that he may have jumped from the roof. However, the NYPD could not confirm to Town & Village before press time from where the victim had jumped.

The incident incited concerns about roof accessibility among some tenants, and one resident said that officers from the 13th Precinct informed tenants at a recent meeting that the motion sensor for the roof door had not been on.

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