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Breakfast With Espada
May 21st, 2009

Just got back to Albany after spending the day with Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. We discussed policy and controversy in between and during Espada’s many commitments in his district. The interview was arranged on Wednesday afternoon and began Thursday morning at Espada’s Bronx apartment while he enjoyed a bowl of cereal with lactose free milk.

Yes, that Bronx apartment — the one Espada is accused of not really inhabiting, the focus of that whole residency investigation by the Bronx district attorney. The conversation continued while Espada hosted a forum on how minority-and women-owned businesses can benefit from stimulus money, a hearing on mayoral control of the schools at Bronx Community College and finally at the 731 White Plains Rd. Soundview Health Center, in between staff meetings and a discussion on how to promote the Bronx with a representative from Yes the Bronx.

Some of the issues discussed were:

– Mayoral control: Espada said he is generally in favor with some modest tweaks to incorporate parental input. Espada said he is not in favor of the Better Schools Act proposed by some of his anti-control colleagues. “Too often we hear Bloomberg as people’s main concern, rather than the kids,” said Espada.

He and said that he thinks Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith will be able to pass a school governance bill with the help of some Republicans. However, Espada said he was upset that Smith was quick to jump to Republican votes as a solution rather than trying to hash out consensus with his members.

– Gay marriage: Espada said he thinks gay marriage is an issue of “civil rights” and that he should be counted as a yes vote if the bill comes to the floor. However, he said he felt no rush to pass the bill and thought it was reasonable for debate to continue past the end of this session. He said if the bill were to come to a vote this session and fail, it would “deal a serious blow” to the cause. He estimated that Democrats are about seven votes short of passing such a measure and said he had not measured Republican support.

– Vacancy decontrol: Espada insisted that he will allow Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ bill on decontrol of rents in apartments that become vacant of to come to a vote in June. This seemingly contradicts Crain’s, which reported Espada as having said his friend Sen. Carl Kruger could bury the measure in the finance committee. Espada did say he does not think the measure will have the votes to pass. When asked about allegations by Michael McKee of Tenants PAC that he is in the pocket of developers, Espada insisted that he is neither in the pocket of “tenants or landlords” and joked that they both should “watch out.”

– The Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Espada said he will be sending Gov. David Paterson a letter asking him to issue an executive order allowing Inspector General Joseph Fisch to audit the authority.

– His long delayed district office: Espada will soon unveil his new office in the old Sears building at 400 East Fordham Road in the Bronx. Espada said he was told it would be a better idea to put his office in a “store front or something” but decided to go “bigger.”

– His missing campaign finance filings: Espada said he thinks he will have his filings listing campaign contributions and expenses in order by July, many months past the deadline. He said that the delay has to do with the not having the proper guidance from the State Board of Elections. Espada has been promising to have his filings in order for months.

– Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s investigation into the misuse of funds at Espada’s Soundview health clinic: Espada denies any misuse . He said that he has nothing to fear from the investigation but called on Cuomo to issue a statement absolving him of guilt when the inquiry is over. Espada said that Eliot Spitzer “regrets” not issuing a statement absolving him after his investigation led to three Soundview executives pleading guilty to funneling funds meant for AIDS outreach to one of his political campaigns, “Because,” said Espada, “What goes around really does come back around.”

By on May 21, 2009, 10:23 pm
In category: Albany,Education,Eye on Albany,Gotham City,Governing,Housing | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Breakfast With Espada”

  1. Bob Smith Says:
    May 22nd, 2009 at 9:27 am

    David King reports all this from Mr. Espada without any indication that he questioned Mr. Espada on the credibiliity or the absurdity of Mr. Espada’s statements.

    – blaming the late filings on the State Board of Elections
    – thinking he should have received a written absolvement after three of his employees were CONVICTED of stealing from a non-profit to fund Mr. Espada’s campaign

    You could have printed a press release from Mr. Espada.

  2. David King Says:
    May 22nd, 2009 at 10:19 am

    This was intended to be a quick account of the interview. We will have full coverage in the coming days.

  3. A true Bronxite Says:
    May 22nd, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I agree with Bob….a press release would have been suffice. Espada is so full of it. This guy has not filed with the Board of Elections as of yet, because then he can be actually charged with filing a false instrument. It’s sad that he continues to believe that he can fool everyone.

  4. Grabiel Says:
    November 24th, 2012 at 9:53 am

    This is the second media outelt to mention Espada’s apartment without linking to the original story over on the boogiedowner website. we’re used to seeing city wide media outelts such as the DN rip stories off of little blogs, but why have you guys done it as well? Shouldn’t you support other local media by at least linking to the original post? You guys used to link to other bronx websites with regularity, but recently not as much. You guys obviously provide the most objective and thorough coverage of stuff, but I’m just wondering why you seem to not link to the “little guy” anymore? In fact the boogiedowner website went through an entire change in editorial oversight without as much as a mention of the news here. What gives? Waiting for my tax refund to come through so i can shave a slice off for y’all, but i’m starting to reconsider b/c things have just seemed a little off around here lately.

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