- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf State Dems Pushing Bronx Committee to Oust Espada, 'Complicating' Things | Bronx News Networkbronx

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

State Dems Pushing Bronx Committee to Oust Espada, 'Complicating' Things

A letter from the State Democratic Committee asking the Bronx County Democrats to oust Senate Majoriy Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. from the party, first reported by the NY Post yesterday, has "complicated" things for Bronx Democratic leaders, who have, up until now, stayed neutral in the 33rd District senate race.

It also puts Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the chairman of Bronx Democratic Committee, on the hot seat. If the Committee decides to act on the formal request, written by Edgard Santana, the deputy to the state Democratic party's executive director, Charlie King, Dinowitz would preside over any quasi-trial proceedings and then make a final ruling on whether Espada should remain in the party. 

"Ultimately, it's Dinowitz's decision," said Assemblyman Carl Heastie, the chairman of the Bronx committee's executive board (which makes him the borough's party boss).

Dinowitz is not taking the decision lightly. First and foremost, he says he will have to figure out whether Santana has the standing to make such a formal request. He may have to live in the district, Dinowitz said, but he's not sure. He's going to check all the party rules and by-laws before making a determination on whether to proceed or not.

"The answer is, I don't know the answer [at this point]," said Dinowitz, adding that he only received the letter this morning after first reading about it yesterday in the Post.

Espada spokesman Steve Mangione, responding to an e-mail, did not comment on the letter, but said he would get back to us with a comment as soon as possible.

Now, even if Espada is "convicted" and ousted from the party, Dinowitz said it will take time and Espada will be able to appeal any decision that is made in Bronx Supreme Court. (The Post also reported this weekend
that Espada could be facing new criminal charges for lying on a grant application for his health care clinics.)

If you've been following Bronx politics (or Espada) for the past decade, this may feel like watching re-run. 

Dinowitz recalled that in 2002, the party also tried to oust Espada after he stood up with then-Majority Leader (and Republican) Joe Bruno and declared that he was a Republican. The party ruled Espada out, Dinowitz said, but he appealed and ultimately retained his Democratic affiliation. (Espada ended up losing his old senate seat that year to Ruben Diaz, Sr.)

The party eviction proceedings and inevitable appeal (if Espada is ousted) could last well beyond the September 14 primary, meaning Espada will most likely remain on the ballot as a Democrat when it counts the most.

If the Democrats really want Espada out of office, their best option would be to defeat him at the ballot box, Dinowitz said. (For the record, neither Dinowitz or Heastie took a position on whether the party should or should not try to get Espada out of office.)

"I've always felt that the best way to change who is in office is through an election," Dinowitz said, adding that legal options rarely work. "I'm not going to say whether this should move forward or not. But obviously, the point [of whether he should be a member of the party] would be moot, if he loses the primary."

So far, the Bronx Democrats have remained neutral in the 33rd District Senate race, which features four Democratic challengers in addition to Espada: Desiree Pilgrim Hunter, Fernando Tirado, Gustavo Rivera and Daniel Padernacht.

Heastie and Dinowitz both said the request to oust Espada "complicates" any potential plans to throw their support behind any of the candidates. If they do so now, they said they risk tainting any possible proceedings.

It should be noted that the Bronx committee could have made things less complicated by making an endorsement earlier. Dinowitz wouldn't say whether the committee had planned to endorse any particular candidate, but he did say that, personally, he was planning on endorsing somebody, though he wouldn't say whom.

Dinowitz said that although Espada has stood up with Democrats on a couple of key issues, including marriage equality and farm workers rights, he has stubbornly and frustratingly refused to address any of the housing legislation passed by the heavily-Democratic assembly, including the repeal of vacancy decontrol.

Last year, Dinowitz pointed out that Espada told a crowd of more than a thousand people at a rally at St. Nicholas Tolentine that he would support the repeal of vacancy decontrol, which allows landlord to jack up rents in rent-regulated apartments after they become vacant.

Dinowitz also questioned the timing of the request, which comes in the middle of the petitioning process, where candidates need to gather the required number of signatures to get on the ballot. His number one priority, Dinowitz said, is completing his petitions by the July 15 deadline. Oh, and there's also the matter of completing the state budget, which is now more than three months overdue.


  1. Let's not forget that Dinowitz--the great reformer--endorsed Espada in the 2008 Primary.

  2. I guess anonymous is anonymous for a reason. He (or she) is wrong. I did not endorse Espada in 2008.
    Jeffrey Dinowitz

  3. This may all be happening because there is a clear progressive alternative to Pedro Espada, Jr. in this race. Indeed, the best way to defeat someone is through voting. Let's all get behind a candidate with experience and integrity -someone who we all know can defeat Espada in the 33rd district!

  4. Who do you propose, Get Espada Out Now? I'm backing Gustavo Rivera, who meets all of your criteria. His large body of experience standing up for this community speaks for itself, and gives him rock-solid reformer credentials that this district needs so badly. Gustavo is clearly the candidate that can, will, and should take out Espada.

  5. Well Jeffrey, You INDIRECTLY DID. I believe you, and the 100 Democrats supported Efrain Gonzalez and your lack of output-----put---Espada The Winner. One must question: If you can not carry a simple person (you supported and endorsed) to victory---how can you lead the NEW Democratic Party. But Oh Yes, now that Charlie King has given you your marching orders to get rid of Espada and your quote in todays Daily News that "it is not the time to do this" once again, shows how "unified" the Bronx democratic Party is. Right Jeff?

  6. A letter has been received by the Chair of the Bronx County Green Party organization (BCGP) requesting that an administrative tribunal be convened to consider expelling Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr. from the Green Party. Even though Sen. Espada is not currently enrolled in the Green Party , a preemptive expulsion would effectively bar the senator from hijacking the Green Party line in his reelection bid. Bronx Green Party Secretary John Reynolds has written to NY State Senate Democratic Party leader John Sampson that if all else fails an exorcism could be conducted to expel Pedro Espada from the state senate. Reynolds indicated that the Green Party's Rev. Malachy or Rev. Billy might be willing to perform the exorcism, and that he, Reynolds, would be willing to assist. Reynolds also stated that he would request absolution for any voter who had previously cast a ballot for Espada provided the voter repented of the error, and promised to vote for Reynolds in November.
    NOTE: John H. Reynolds is running for NY State Senate in the 33rd Senate District on the Green Party line.


Bronx News Network reserves the right to remove comments that include personal attacks, name calling, foul language, commercial advertisements, spam, or any language that might be considered threatening, libelous or inciting hate.

User comments are reviewed by BxNN staff and may be included or excluded at our discretion.

If what you have to say is unrelated to this particular post, please visit our readers' forum.