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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Ex-con pol Monserrate, in second comeback bid, again boosted by Lewis

(Revised 2/10/20)

From the New York Times, 9/10/17, Monserrate, Ex-Senator and Ex-Convict, Seeks Votes Amid Disdain:
But to his supporters, Mr. Monserrate deserves another chance.

Bertha Lewis, the former chief executive of the defunct community organizing group Acorn, who endorsed Mr. Monserrate and has been assisting his campaign, said that his criminal past should not impinge on the race. “He’s a returning citizen,” she said. “Do we actually believe in reform, do we believe in redemption, or is this something abstract and when it comes to individuals, you wear the scarlet letter forever?”
She's not wrong that people shouldn't wear a scarlet letter forever, though presumably there's a higher bar for public service. Now there's an update.

From the New York Times, 2/2/20, He Assaulted His Girlfriend. Now He Wants a Political Comeback.:
Bertha Lewis, the president of the Black Institute and a prominent civil rights activist, said that corruption was so endemic to New York politics that Mr. Monserrate, after serving time in prison, had actually demonstrated more accountability than most public officials.

Asked whether she would prefer someone who had not committed crimes in the first place, she scoffed. “They just haven’t gotten caught,” she said.

Still, others dismissed the idea that Mr. Monserrate had changed as a result of his prison stint. Court records show that he had repaid just $8,400 of more than $79,000 in restitution ordered by the judge in 2012 for stealing public funds. Mr. Monserrate said he planned to finish repaying the restitution in the coming weeks.
If Monserrate had fully reformed, it would be easier to argue for his candidacy, just as people with criminal records can go to law school and move into positions of responsibility. For now, the article suggests he hasn't. Also, I doubt most people would agree that all candidates were essentially criminals.

Lewis is a formidable advocate and, as with Atlantic Yards, can frame things to the advantage of her allies. Remember her December 2012 statement,“This is a promise made and a promise kept, the beginning of the most progressive affordable housing program in our city’s and country’s history." That wasn't true then--the number of family-sized units was far smaller than promised--and it hasn't turned out that way.

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