Why Are These Men Smiling?

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Photo: nydn.com

Pictured here are, from left, State Senators Carl Kruger, Ruben Diaz Sr., Pedro Espada, and Hiram Monserrate. This picture was taken the day they passed a watered-down version of the so-called Ravitch plan to finance the MTA. The plan, in its original form, would have helped prevent the massive fare hikes and service cuts that the MTA approved yesterday. But these four ganged together to cut out the key element to the plan: tolls on the East and Harlem River bridges.

According to Mike Lupica, these tolls, set at $2 and collected by EZ-Pass technology so as not to slow traffic, were supported by nearly every major leader in the city: "politicians, labor leaders, community activists, even patrician Metropolitan Transportation Authority board members." The people who didn't support them were these four, who are worried about reelection ever since they rebelled from the Democratic caucus over unrelated issues like marriage equality and their dislike for leader Malcolm Smith earlier this year (Monserrate, who's got other problems, later joined the caucus). The Daily News' Elizabeth Benjamin snapped this photo two weeks ago, when the gutted version of the Ravitch plan was passed. Look how happy they are! (Fittingly, that's Malcolm Smith hidden under Ruben Diaz's thumb.) Benjamin observed that the four of them look like the "cats that ate the canary." To us, they look like four dudes that are just begging for a sucker punch.

Blame 'Gang of Three' traitors - Carl Kruger, Ruben Diaz Sr. and Pedro Espada - for MTA fare hike [NYDN]
Four Amigos Together Again [NYDN]
Earlier: MTA Approves Fare Hikes