Senator Diaz: Stopping Malcolm Smith was Paterson’s Idea


Our colleague John DeSio via Bob Kappstatter points us to this wonderful interview with state senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., one of our favorite local politicians, in The Capitol. “I’m going to tell you something that I haven’t told anyone,” promises Diaz. (An ellipsis follows. Maybe he was trying to go off-record and interviewer Chris Bragg couldn’t understand him.) “This thing of getting together at the beginning and trying to stop [state senate majority leader] Malcolm Smith, that was the governor’s idea. And I’m telling you right now here, the governor was part of it. He doesn’t want Malcolm Smith to be there either, and he knows that.” He speculates that Paterson’s gay marriage bill — which Diaz strongly opposes — is meant to hurt Smith and “bring down some Democrats from upstate.” Nonetheless, Diaz says, “In public, I’m going to keep pushing Malcolm Smith.”

Diaz also calls the MTA proposal being worked in Albany now “a gimmick… [they say] give me tolls, we give you a rebate. Once you give them tolls, I assure you that after a year or two they are going to say they can no longer afford a rebate so they’re going to take it out.”

He also likes Bragg’s alternative to the Gang of Three label hung on senatorial holdouts Diaz, Pedro Espada and Carl Kruger — the “Three Amigos.” “We call ourselves the Three Amigos. We have jackets.” Asked if they have a secret handshake, Diaz says, “We have a secret handshake with the governor.” Photo by Candice M. Giove.