Was it sour grapes or hubris that gave rise to the coarse partisan comments of Shams Tarek, the new Communications Director for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) – who is quoted in the local press criticizing Senator Frank Padavan for a letter he wrote to the sentencing judge in the case of disgraced former Democratic Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin?
Mr. Tarek, former chief of staff to Councilman Jim Gennaro - who narrowly lost a State Senate election bid to Frank Padavan – offered a well-rehearsed vitriolic rebuke to Padavan for writing the letter that did not ask for leniency, but simply asserted the fact that Padavan and McLaughlin worked on legislation together in the State Capitol.
In an unseemly attempt to link Padavan with the misdeeds of McLaughlin, Tarek writes, "It seems that Senator Padavan's campaign slogan that 'Nobody cares like Frank' is especially true if you're a corrupt politician who steals money from little kids." How much deeper into the political morass can we sink? Tarek’s remark epitomizes the sort of mudslinging tactics that sour so many people on the political process.
To impugn the reputation of Senator Padavan by implying a connection with the deplorable conduct of Assemblyman McLaughlin is repugnant and quite a stretch, even for a political operative like Mr. Tarek. Civility in politics is scarce enough, and the poisoned tone set by Communications Director Tarek does nothing to elevate the discourse. His method of “communication” seems to be vituperation and represents everything that is wrong with politics today.
Prior to McLaughlin being caught with his hands in the cookie jar, he served as president of the NYC Central Labor Council, a blatant conflict-of-interest position he held for years while Assemblyman. Party officials weren’t troubled by that behavior, nor are they troubled by the behavior of former Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who is on trial for slashing his girlfriend’s face in an injury requiring more than 20 stitches, judging by their complete silence in this matter.
Mr. Tarek’s transparently phony outrage about Padavan’s letter only serves to increase voter cynicism about politics-as-usual and its sliding scale of ethical “standards” that seem to appear and disappear at will. This makes it harder for City Council candidates like myself, who don’t subscribe to this type of political partisanship, to connect with those “now” turned-off voters.
City Council Candidate, 23rd District