Ruben Diaz: ‘We Do Not Need Charles Rangel To Come To The Bronx’

 Ruben Diaz: We Do Not Need Charles Rangel To Come To The Bronx
Senator Ruben Diaz (Photo:

Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz is offended by the plan to keep Congressman Charlie Rangel in Washington by dramatically changing the contours of his district to include parts of The Bronx and Westchester.

“What a joke! What a farce!  What a lack of respect to Sheldon Silver, to the rest of the Assembly members and to the people of the Bronx!” Mr. Diaz said in a statement sent out today. “We do not need Charles Rangel to come to the Bronx.”

The Politicker first reported the proposal to change Rangel’s district after Veteran Assemblyman and Harlem powerbroker Herman “Denny” Farrell revealed it at a town hall meeting last Friday. Mr. Farrell said the plan would give Mr. Rangel “a district that can be won” because his longtime stronghold in Harlem is “no longer black.”

“There are not enough African American residents in Harlem to keep Charles Rangel in his position, and there is no one to blame but Charles Rangel himself – and his colleagues,” Mr. Diaz said. “They allowed African Americans to lose Harlem to others communities.”

Mr. Diaz picked up on the plan after Daily News columnist Bill Hammond described it as “an insider’s view of how the ugly gerrymandering sausage gets made” in an editorial in today’s paper.

“These words expressed today in a Daily News column by Bill Hammond … practically confirmed to the world what I have been asking all along about our representatives in Albany,” Mr. Diaz said. “Are they are all a bunch of sell-outs or do they have the best interest for our community as their top priority?”

Mr. Diaz particularly took umbrage at Mr. Farrell’s claim the Assembly waited until Mr. Rangel’s district was mapped to draw the rest of the State’s federal legislative lines.

“I say, ‘Charlie we can’t draw anything else in the State till we draw you. That’s always been our position– we do you and then everything,’” Mr. Farrell said.

Mr. Diaz described Mr. Farrell’s comments as “an insult” to politicians in The Bronx.

“When I hear that Denny Farrell practically say that the Assembly will not do anything until ‘we do’ Charles Rangel. I must wonder who is the real Speaker, Sheldon Silver or Denny Farrell.  I also wonder how my Bronx colleagues will respond to this insult. I’d like to know how they can allow themselves to be disrespected like that,” Mr. Diaz said.

Mr. Diaz wasn’t the only one who was angered by the plan described by Mr. Farrell. At a newspaper roundtable today, Mr. Rangel blasted the proposal.

“I’ll be damned if I want the district to go to Mt. Vernon. … Hell, Canada sounds just as likely,” Mr. Rangel said. “the head of the dragon would be in Mount Vernon, the belly would swell up in the South Bronx, the neck would get from the belly to the head, and the tail would be Harlem.”

Mr. Rangel said the district was unlikely to withstand scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice and said he would make staying in Manhattan his top priority. At the town hall last week, Mr. Farrell a longtime friend and ally of Mr. Rangel’s, said the congressman originally “blew up” when presented with the plan before eventually agreeing to it. Based on his comments today, it sounds like Mr. Rangel has changed his mind again.

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