Volume 78 / Number 10, August 6 - 12, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since
1933

Villager ‘educates’ Connor on prison bill funding

By Josh Rogers

State Senator Martin Connor claimed falsely last week that a prison bill he voted for contained $643 million for New York City schools.

In a Villager article, “Education and traffic are issues in Senate primary,” Connor said he supported keeping mostly empty Upstate prisons open because voting against the bill would have killed money for schools and many other worthwhile items in the budget. Connor was responding to a criticism by his Democratic primary opponent, Daniel Squadron, who said the $150 million for the mostly empty prisons would have been better spent on new schools.

Connor said Governor David Paterson “caved” in to Republicans and allowed the prison money to be included in the overall budget. He made the comments Tuesday night July 29 as The Villager was going to press.

When he was told last Wednesday that the bill in question had no money for schools, Connor changed his view of Paterson’s actions. He said Paterson aides gave assurances that they would be able to quietly move the prisoners out, thus driving down the costs of the expenditure.

Connor said last Wednesday that he voted for the bill because it included other important allocations, including $202 million for workers’ compensation, $3 million for civil legal services for things like tenant-landlord disputes and $22 million for voter education. Connor said he was in a “Catch-22” and that had he voted against the bill, he would have been unfairly attacked for voting against good programs. Connor, though, was willing to slam Squadron, who said he would have voted with the eight Democratic state senators who opposed the prisons.

“You can quote me — say it’s a shame he doesn’t think civil legal services and workers’ compensation are important,” Connor said.

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