It’s one thing for Hiram Monserrate to be a free man, having served his time for stealing taxpayer money and having gotten a break over roughing up his girlfriend and slicing open her face with a broken glass.

It would be another thing altogether for him to hold a seat on the City Council, as he hopes. That’s why 44 people who already do voted to prevent anyone convicted of public corruption from serving in a number of elected positions including member of the Council. Only one lawmaker dissented, and the mayor backs the bill.

Monserrate, who is challenging Councilman Francisco Moya for the 21st District seat in Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst, says he served his time and should be able to exercise his rights as a citizen. But how can he be trusted with taxpayer money when he misappropriated more than $100,000 before? And if he’s allowed to run, he’ll also get public campaign funds, $8 for every eligible $1 he raises — another reason to say no.

Monserrate is free to remain a community activist and Democratic district leader, but he cannot be trusted with the powers and responsibilities of a city councilmember.

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