Remember how grassroots groups in the Bronx invited us up to the Bronx to Espada’s so-called town hall yesterday, which was only open to “registered participants”? Well, he cancelled the thing and then issued this absolutely ridiculous statement to the press. I couldn’t help but chime in with my analysis, bear with me.
Joint Statement from State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. (D-Bronx) and Reverend Diego Delgado, Pastor of the Church of the Mediator”
For the safety of the congregation and community residents who signed up to ask questions about job creation and economic development, affordable housing and rent relief for tenants, education, senior services and a number of other issues important to poor and working families in the 33rd district, we are postponing the town hall meeting that had been scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the Church of the Mediator. The meeting will be rescheduled for those who registered to attend so their questions can be answered and their concerns addressed in the civil environment that was intended. This was never a closed meeting, but space limitations required that participants register in advance.
Really? Space limitations? Isn’t the whole point of a town hall to allow open dialogue and communication between concerned residents and their electeds?
It is despicable that political rabble-rousers who are outsiders — and we emphasize ‘outsiders’ — would come into our community under the guise of democracy and tenant advocacy and vow to disrupt a town hall meeting in a House of Worship.
Yeah, housing groups and other advocates who operate on the ground in your district REALLY constitute a bunch of “outsiders”. Or do you just define everyone who disagrees with your conduct as a State Senator an outsider?
We have seen this group in action before — the same people who are paid a small stipend and a food voucher to some cheap restaurant to appear at events to disrupt, spit on people, use obscene language, intimidate and push people around. These people are not from our community, they know nothing of the struggles of our community, and they show up to do the bidding of a political party, which operates under the guise of representing working families and whose days are numbered, and a billionaire who never stepped foot in our neighborhoods until now.
Mr. Espada, we have seen you in action before, and we watched you give free food to residents and then ask them to “sign here”, a signature which was conveniently located on one of your petitions. No wonder you fear that every New Yorker is being paid off by a billionaire to express certain views. It has nothing to do with a desire for good governance and pushing for better leadership in Albany. I suppose you also think that your actions as a State Senator and Majority Leader and Housing Committee Chair–like the ones we celebrated at our State Senate Coup Anniversary Party, which was co-sponsored by nine grassroots organizations, including two from the Bronx–have had no ramifications either in or beyond your own district? New Yorkers should just stand by and take it when their legislature ceases to function for two months.
Oh, by the way, speaking of intimidation and disruption–maybe you should rein in your son before preaching to others about treating people with respect.
Where were these outsiders when we stopped the Mayor from closing senior centers in our community, when we restored the free MetroCard for thousands of students in our local schools, and when we stopped the Governor from making deep cuts to classrooms in our school districts? Why aren’t these people supporting a five-year rent freeze for struggling families in our community? We know the answers. They are phonies with no ties to our community. We are not going to allow them to desecrate a House of Worship and a community event, or place the safety and well-being of the good parishioners and citizens of the 33rd district at risk.”
You’re totally right, Mr. Espada. These “phonies” are only in for themselves. That’s why they’re protesting a closed-door “community” event to which you only invite people who agree with you.