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May 18th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “State Legislator Facing Expulsion Says He’ll Resign,” describes a lawmaker faced with repeated incidents of sexual harassment who does not seem to recognize the severity of the charges against him.
A 71-year-old man, Vito Lopez was once a powerhouse with seniority and a political machine back home that was second to none. I’m not quite sure about the standards during his rise to power, but he is smart enough to realize that his current behavior is unacceptable under any circumstances. Sheldon Silver is correct in his move to expel him.
Mr. Lopez, however, is contemplating a run for the New York City Council, a concept that has horrified the current Council speaker, Christine Quinn, who is running for Mayor. Yet Mr. Lopez was easily reelected to the Assembly even after the sexual harassment charges became public.
It is unusual for the New York Times to elevate regional stories to the lead spot on its front page, and I would submit it is the seriousness of the scandal and the need to spread awareness that lies at the heart of the decision. The more people understand that Mr. Lopez’s actions are unacceptable for someone in the public trust, the better we will all be.
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