A Few Snapshots Of The Society Around US
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
It was reported this weekend that a homeless man, after saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker, was himself stabbed and then lay dying on a Queens street in a pool of his own blood as more than two dozen people strolled by.
The incident happened more than a week ago at 88th Road and 144th Street, Jamaica, but wasn’t reported until security video tapes helped police figure out what happened. And sadly those tapes also revealed that some 25 people saw Alfredo Tale-Yax on the ground and just walked by – some gawked or stared but did nothing to aid the dying homeless hero. One even took a picture of him with his cell phone.
Tale-Yax had come to the aid of an attacked woman but was stabbed several times in the chest and collapsed as he chased his assailant.
Almost two hours after the attack, firefighters responding to a 911 call of a non-life-threatening injury found Tale-Yax’s lifeless body.
According to the NY Post online, “Cops said they received four 911 calls at around the time of the attack reporting a woman screaming, but found nothing. They received no other 911 calls.”
Several reports have likened the incident to the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese, on the street and in an alleyway of Kew Gardens in 1964. With dozens of witnesses and a prolonged attack, no one acted and Kitty Genovese died in Queens of indifference.
Forty six years later, it appears Tale-Yax suffered a similar fate.
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a bill into law last week, making failure to carry proof of citizenship or legal status a crime in her state. Any immigrant who can’t produce the documentation can be arrested, fined $2,500 and jailed for up to six months. The law would make it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant and require police to question individuals about their immigration status if they suspect they could be in the country illegally.
In reaction, Democrats on Capitol Hill have called for Congress to immediately take up comprehensive immigration reform. Republicans appear to be resistant claiming an agenda which is already filled with priorities.
The Arizona law, clearly the toughest in the nation against illegal immigrants, empowers local police to determine whether people are in the country legally. The Big Brother aspect of the legislation has caused a nationwide reaction although polls show a majority of Arizona residents approve of it.
Arizona has long been at the center of the immigration struggle since its border with Mexico is the nation’s most frequent entry point for illegal immigrants. Last year it made it a crime for a government worker to give improper benefits to an illegal immigrant.
Wouldn’t it just be easier to make them wear yellow armbands?
The ACLU and other groups have vowed to sue to block the bill from taking effect.
Certainly such legislation will have a shuttering effect on legal immigrants as well as Americans who may appear to a police officer to be other than a “typical” American.
As a paper of record of the most diverse county in the nation, we applaud our multicultural society and hold it out as an example for others who have forgotten that this has always been a nation of immigrants. Immigrant rights and our rights are so intertwined that limiting the freedoms of one is limiting the freedoms of us all.
Last Friday, when Governor Brewer signed the law, was a sad day for our nation. We look to our electeds in Washington to act immediately and formulate a meaningful immigration policy based on safety, humanity and the recognition of an individual’s basic civil rights.
Espada Bedeviled By FBI, IRS, AG; Sampson Undisturbed
By HENRY STERN
By HENRY STERN
The roof is falling in on the State Senate’s most conspicuous scoundrel.
Senator Pedro Espada, Jr., elected leader of the Democratic majority in the State Senate, was sued last Tuesday by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who alleged multiple crimes involved with Espada’s management of the Soundview Health Center.
Then, early last Wednesday morning, the Soundview offices were raided by agents of the FBI, IRS and NYS Attorney General, who removed 30 large boxes of records.
The de facto leader of the senate Democrats reacted to the lawsuit with characteristic indifference. John Sampson said he would not strip Espada’s title as majority leader over the charge. “This is a civil matter. There hasn’t been any indictment. He deserves his day in court like any other person with respect to a civil matter.”
“That means any one of us that gets involved in a civil matter, such as maybe a landlord-tenant dispute or a collection agency, any civil matter (could face the same thing). I think that’s the wrong road to go down. There has been no indictment.”
We believe that it is quite possible that the masters of Albany have never heard of the Honor Code, adopted by many colleges and military academies.
“A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” — United States Military Academy.
The key word here is ‘tolerate.’ Whether or not the Albany kingpins can be proven to be liars, cheaters and thieves themselves, it is clear that they tolerate such behavior on the part of their colleagues. Senators Neil Breslin of Albany and Martin Golden of Brooklyn stand alone in calling for Espada’s withdrawal as majority leader. While it is true that indictments and civil complaints are merely accusations, the overwhelming weight of Cuomo’s civil complaint should make it clear to anyone that there has been considerable misconduct in the financial management of Soundview.
The irony here is that the reason Espada is majority leader is his hegira last summer, which ended after a month when he rejoined his tribe of Democrats on condition that they award him the position they had denied him in January 2009, when they elected Senator Malcolm Smith. To regain their Senate majority, which they had lost as a result of the desertion of Espada and his co-conspirator, former Senator Hiram Monserrate, the Democrats chose John Sampson for the new position of conference leader, replacing Smith in substance as Democratic leader, although Smith remains as president pro tem of the Senate. Smith, Sampson and Espada all receive large staffs and lulus.
Senator Espada says that he is innocent of all wrongdoing, and that the charges against him are political retaliation for his dalliance with the Republicans. There may be a kernel of truth in the retaliation allegation, because Espada has been engaged in the same pattern of conduct for many years, and it was relatively recently that he became an object of intense pursuit by the authorities, state and federal. In prior years, Espada won a few preliminary skirmishes with the law (if winning is defined as not being convicted). This may have emboldened him to believe that he could get away with using Soundview as, in the words of Cuomo, a “private playground.”
Hopefully, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York will complete its investigation with the assistance of the newly acquired Soundview records, and we will move to the next phase of the case. If Espada is to be prosecuted, which seems likely, where will the case be tried? And how much time will be consumed by motions before the trial.
It is beyond the competence of even diligent bloggers to measure and compare sins of avarice and lust. However, when one weighs Monserrate’s losing his temper when he thought that someone he loved might be straying, with his colleague Espada’s systematic operation of a health center now alleged to have $14 million less than it should, it would appear that, in terms of damage to the public interest and the public purse, the expelled Monserrate may have caused lesser public and greater personal harm. This does not minimize Monserrate’s crime, which would have been a felony except for the trial judge’s scruples about reasonable doubt. But if the voters had re-elected Monserrate, he would still be a senator, since no one suggested refusing to seat him. What he received was an unscheduled recall election, which he lost by a 2-1 margin.
Espada is more intelligent than many of his colleagues. It is sad that he did not devote his gifts to legitimate public service. His brook too wide for crossing probably was his desertion from his party on June 8. The coup succeeded for the moment, but eventually the weight of the establishment, shown when the Court of Appeals upheld the appointment of Richard Ravitch, brought the insurrection to an end. And you should know what happens to unsuccessful conspirators. If you don’t, read up on what Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did in a similar situation.