Thursday, April 20, 2006

Politics: Like father, like son?

On April 9th, I pointed out that the homophobic New York State Senator (and Reverend) Ruben Diaz, Sr. had just gotten away with redirecting public government funds towards personal expenses and paying the salaries of some of his family members ("Does Elliot Spitzer need a homophobe's support for NYS governor?").

Now comes word that Ruben Diaz, Jr., the Reverend's son - who also happens to be an Assemblymember - steered $1.2 million dollars in legislative grants under at his discretion to pay for his dad's salary back when Sr. was leading the Soundview Community in Action Center. In addition, today's Albany Times Union says that the money was also used to pay for the salaries of Jr's mom (and Sr's ex-wife) as well as Sr's current wife, despite the women being missing in action for months at a time, according to current Soundview staff members.

Reverend Diaz, the dad, has joined the right-wing Liberty Counsel in their suits challenging public funding for the Harvey Milk School, which mostly caters to LGBT youth of color, and New York State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan's 2005 ruling in favor of marriage rights for New York State same-sex couples. In a March 21st speech saluting the Liberty Counsel for their work, he riled against "the barbaric use of public funds to create a special school for gays and lesbians while thousands of children in my district and in other areas of New York City suffer and continue to be denied access to a safe environment and the quality of education they deserve"

No word yet on what the Revered thinks about the barbaric use of public funds for nepotism and patronage
or on how he is able to reconcile his misdeeds as a politician with his life as a man of the cloth (and, just to be clear, it must be said that Jr has never shown his dad's homophobic streak to my knowledge and has, at times, intervened on the community's behalf when his father has gotten carried away with homophobic fervor).

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