Dromm says senator harassed him

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Bill Parry

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) claims he was harassed by a state senator over his support for same-sex marriage and needed top state officials to intervene to stop a flow of offensive e-mails.

Dromm said Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx) ignored more than a dozen requests to stop sending the unwanted e-mails.

“I just wanted to make a complaint about the guy because it was pretty upsetting,” Dromm said. “He was always calling us sinners going against the will of God and I was continually bombarded by them day after day.”

Dromm was a leader during last year’s marriage equality debates and his side came under attack from Diaz, a Pentecostal minister from the Bronx, one of the most vocal opponents of same-sex marriage.

“I don’t even know the guy, but I know he’s at the other end of the spectrum on the issue,” said. Dromm, an openly gay lawmaker. “He knows where I stand on marriage equality in the state, and while I believe he has a right to his opinions, I think I have a right to be removed from his e-mail list when requested. I think that should be honored. To do otherwise is harassment.”

Dromm said his office provided the e-mail address to Diaz’s staff upon request when he was elected councilman of District 25.

“We gave it to them in the spirit of collegiality and I started to receive his daily newsletters. After the debate, the newsletters became more offensive and bigoted and that’s when I asked off the list,” he said.

After the requests were ignored for nearly a year, Dromm sent letters to Senate Coalition Co-leaders Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and Dean Skelos (R-Mineola) and Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers). Only then did Dromm stop receiving the Diaz newsletters that he found offensive.

A spokeswoman from Diaz’s office said, “The senator said he would not comment on the subject.”

Meanwhile, Dromm rallied Jackson Heights neighbors last week to draw attention to a growing garbage problem created by a Starbucks, at 37th Avenue and 79th Street. Dromm sent Starbucks a letter notifying the coffee house of its non-compliance with the city administration code that states businesses must place their garbage on the curb at designated times.

“Starbucks is in regular flagrant violations of city laws, it’s unacceptable and must be corrected immediately,” Dromm said. “Coffee grinds and sandwiches are regularly strewn across the sidewalk. Boxes with the Starbucks logo are never broken down or bound. In fact, Starbucks boxes are regularly piled on the sidewalk littering the neighborhood.”

Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) played a key role in bringing the franchise to 37th Avenue but now says, “I helped bring Starbucks to this community in the hope of further enhancing the business climate in the neighborhood, as well as the community’s quality of life. Thanks to our patronage, the shop is thriving. Now it’s time for Starbucks to be a good neighbor, or we’ll stop being good customers.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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