At a debate in Jamaica last week, State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) said that the charges he is facing for attempting to bribe his way onto the 2013 Republican mayoral ticket are based on racially motivated officials attempting to gentrify Southeast Queens.
He promised to provide names during his retrial in January, which would reveal the people who are trying to get him and other prominent Black leaders out of City politics. Essentially, he said he is an innocent man caught in the middle of a political conspiracy.
However, all of the details he is ignoring do not seem to match this theory. He is one of six people who were arrested in 2013 for the failed bribery scheme.
Three of them are black and three are white. Former City Councilman Dan Halloran was found guilty for his role in the scheme last month. Considering Smith was allegedly the centerpiece of that scheme, it is hard for us here at QConf to believe that he had nothing to do with the plot.
Also, Smith’s opponents in the upcoming September primary, former City Councilman Leroy Comrie and attorney Munir Avery, are both Black. So, if this alleged culprit has some grand gentrification motivations, he seems fairly short-sighted.
Either way, it will be difficult for Smith to find time to represent the residents of his district while he is the middle of a trial and with Councilman Ruben Wills’ (D-Jamaica) powers in limbo.
Southeast Queens needs elected leadership who have the time and the ability to get things accomplished in the community.