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Friday, June 12, 2009

Bronx News Roundup, June 12

Lots of stuff to get to today. Let's get into it.

Want to start out with the Albany standstill, otherwise known in the Bronx as Pedro Espada-gate.

The Republicans, along with Espada and fellow rogue Democrat Hiram Monserrate (Queens), managed to get into the Senate chamber yesterday, but couldn't conduct any business because Monserrate bailed from the chamber, saying he was working to bring more Democrats into the new "coalition" government. Espada stayed.

The Times reports that Espada, who has apparently risen to Senate President in the new leadership structure, would be acting governor if Governor Paterson were incapacitated or were to leave the state, which would have some interesting implications. The Times writes: "it appears the State Constitution gives Mr. Espada the authority to issue pardons -- potentially to himself -- thought there is some doubt about the legal fine points."

It's funny the Times would mention this, since Espada has yet to be convicted of anything, though there are legal investigations surrounding his South Bronx health care clinics and claims of residence in the Bronx.

Yesterday, speaking in the Senate chamber, Espada talked about how his "home" -- in Mamaroneck (Westchester County), not the Bronx -- had been burglarized and saying that it may have had something to do with his recent decision to support Senate Republicans. In the fall, a court ruled that his Bedford Park condo could legally be considered his primary residence, but residents of his building say they've rarely, if ever, seen him there. CBS news reported that Espada's Westchester neighbors say he lives there at least five nights a week.

The Daily News' Juan Gonzalez says Espada's claims of Latino empowerment "the most cynical part of this sordid affair." Gonzalez points out that a key piece of rent regulation legislation -- repealing rent decontrol, which would put 200,000 apartments back under rent stabilization rules and help thousands of Latino tenants -- was on the verge of becoming a reality. Now, it appears to be a long shot.

(This is interesting because on Tuesday, Josephe Starburg, head of the biggest landlord advocate/lobbying group, ironically called the Rent Stabilization Association, praised Espada's move, saying "the crazies" -- by which he means tenant advocates -- were beating him up.

In other politically-related scandal news, City Council member Maria del Carmen Arroyo's nephew, Izquierdo Arroyo, resigned from his post as chairman of a South Bronx charter school after he and an associate were recently charged with emblezzling money from a nonprofit building management company.

In Bronx Supreme Court, a former police officer was sentenced to prison for one to three years for killing a drunk driver in Longwood in 2007.


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