With one claiming to be unavailable and the other refusing to return phone calls or emails, it appears that the BronxTalk debates for the Democratic primaries in the 80th AD and the 33rd SD will be held without participation from the incumbents.
On Wednesday, a staff member in Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera's office told BronxTalk producer Jane Folloro that Rivera had a "campaign street effort" all week and would therefore be not available to tape a debate with challenger Robert Giuffre that was to have aired on Monday, September 6 at 9:00pm and through the week during BronxTalk's regular schedule.
As a result of Ms. Rivera's absence, Mr. Giuffre will be interviewed alone by host Gary Axelbank on the program.
In the hotly contested 33rd SD primary, neither Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. nor his chief of staff Alex Diaz have returned any of numerous phone calls or emails requesting the Senator's participation. As a result, only challengers Gustavo Rivera and Dan Padernacht will debate live on the program on Monday, August 30 at 9:00pm.
"This is yet another low in Bronx elected representation," said Axelbank. "One would think that incumbents would be eager to boast of their records on the eve of a primary or at least feel a sense of responsibility to their constituents and the democratic process itself. Unfortunately, that's not the case. It's the height of arrogance and disrespect."