Rubén Díaz Sr. says he faced rejection from his colleagues the moment he got to the City Council last year because "over there, everybody is controlled by the homosexual community."
"When I get to the City Council, I find that the City Council is controlled — most council members out of 51 council members — over there, everybody is controlled by the homosexual community," the Bronx councilman said last week during an interview with "El Desahogo," or "The Relief," a Spanish-language show geared to cab drivers.
He added that the City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is a homosexual who is married to another man.
Johnson, who is gay and single, is demanding an apology. In a statement, Johnson's communications director said, "Council Member Díaz Sr.'s homophobic comments are offensive to both the Speaker and the body, and have no place in New York City. He should apologize to all of his colleagues, and the entire LGBTQ community."
Díaz has a long history of making homophobic remarks. That's why many were surprised when last year he was selected chair of a newly-created committee for for-hire vehicles.
Johnson was elected speaker with the help of the Bronx Democrats, led by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.
On the same radio show, Díaz explained how the deal was made. "My son, the Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., and Marcos Crespo, we all sit down and they ask me, he says, 'Daddy, what is it that you want in the Council?' 'Well, I want to be the transportation committee chair, because I want to work with taxi drivers,'" Díaz Sr. said.
But that transportation committee is still chaired by Ydanis Rodríguez, a Manhattan councilman and candidate for Public Advocate. As a compromise, Díaz says the Council gave him the new committee in charge of regulating the taxi industry.
Johnson denies this account. "All of the appointments are based on merit, expertise, and familiarity with issues covered by each committee. Council Member Díaz Sr. Represents many of the for-hire vehicle drivers this Council has been trying to help in a time of unprecedented turmoil in the industry, and the Council has produced excellent work in this legislative session," Johnson's communications direction said in a statement.
Díaz also says he wants to keep Rodríguez happy and that's why he's endorsing his colleague for Public Advocate.
Looking for an easy way to learn about the issues affecting New York City and what local politicians are doing to solve them?
Listen to our "Off Topic/On Politics" podcast: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | iHeartRadio | Stitcher | RSS