Paterson Appoints Mediators For NY Senate Impasse


david-patersonNew York State Gov. David Paterson is appointing two statesmen to mediate the two-week-long power struggle that has gridlocked New York’s Senate. Paterson also announced that the state’s top judge may preside over a special session of the Senate he will call if senators can’t settle the dispute by early next week. Paterson says former Democratic Lieutenant Gov. Stan Lundine and former Republican state Sen. John Dunne have agreed to act as mediators. Both men are well respected in both parties. Senate leaders would have to accept that help.The Democratic governor also says Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmann will preside over a tentatively set special session to pass critical bills that have been delayed.

Sen. Pedro Espada of the Bronx told a Latino group in Albany that any resolution must include power sharing in the fractured Senate. “What we’re putting together is something that will … create a bipartisan government where 62 senators can co-chair committees,” Espada said before the League of United Latin American Citizens. “Each of them could bring votes onto the floor. In other words, the end of this absolute power.”

The gridlock started June 8 when Espada and Queens Democratic Sen. Hiram Monserrate joined Republicans to form a majority coalition that claimed to have taken power from the Democrats. Monserrate has since rejoined Democrats, creating a 31-31 stalemate.

“It is clear that outside intervention is the only way to resolve this stalemate and finish important business,” Paterson said in a statement.

Pedro Espada Jr. represents the 33rd District for the NY State Senate. He is also currently the Vice President Pro Tempore for Urban Policy of the Senate.

{CBS Broadcasting/Noam Newscenter}