Fact-challenged Democratic socialist darling Brooklyn Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn) has been in public office for nearly a year — but she still hasn’t secured a district office to meet her constituents.
Salazar’s website lists her “temporary” district office as 250 Broadway in downtown Manhattan — which is the state office building across from City Hall.
That’s quite a ways from portions of her 18th senatorial district, which runs from Greenpoint and Williamsburg to Bushwick, Cypress Hill and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and East New York.
A trail of controversy dogged Salazar on the campaign trail last year, when it was revealed she misrepresented her education, her religious background, her birthplace and her economic status, dipping into a trust fund to help finance her campaign.
But she still trounced 8-term veteran Dilan despite the scandals.
Now, Salazar is blaming the lengthy delay in renting an office on fiscal and bureaucratic rules in the state Senate, as well as finding a space that is compliant with the Americans with Disability Act, according to an interview with Kings County Politics.
“Whenever we find spaces — and we’ve found a lot — they have not met the pretty strict requirements, budget-wise and otherwise, of the Senate,” she told the news site.
“In every scenario, I’m a legislator – I’m not able to directly negotiate with a landlord. They negotiate directly with the state, and it typically is a long process. A lot of new incumbents have been dealing with this; the bureaucracy of it is frustrating.”
Her predecessor, former Sen. Martin Dilan whom she defeated in last year’s Democratic primary, said high rental costs in the district are a problem. But he said going nearly a year without a district office is unacceptable.
Dilan said he always had a district office during his 16-year tenure.
“Salazar should have a district office. There’s no excuse not to have a district office,” Dilan said.
“Salazar is going to have to step it up. She had a campaign office in the district last year. She should have a district office.”
Salazar insisted she’s not ignoring her constituents.
Salazar spokesman Michael Carter said constituent services were provided from February through August from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through two different temporary offices at 1068 Broadway and South First in the district).
“We rented these offices without using any Senate resources. After we had to close our Williamsburg temporary office due to the expense, we have been holding regular constituent service office hours in libraries around the district,” Carter said.
He also said the senator and her staff do constituent house calls on Mondays as needed.
Each senator is provided $40,000 a year for office rent, which comes to $3,300 a month. Other rookie senators have secured office space.
A spokesman for Senate Democratic Majority Leader Andrew Stewart Cousins said the delay in finding a district office lies is not Salazar’s fault.
“The responsibility for finding an Office is with the Senate not the Senator and she has done everything she can to find a proper office,” said Senate Majority spokesman Mike Murphy.
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