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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Espada Defiant in Confusing Concession Speech

When Pedro Espada Jr. stepped down from the podium in the back of La Luna Lounge in Tremont after giving a short, fiery and somewhat confusing concession speech into a crush of reporters, the small but raucous crowd began chanting.

"ESPADA! ESPADA! ESPADA!" they bellowed.

One of the most vocal chanters was Mike J. "Hollywood" McCray, "a.k.a 'Nine Milli,' but not because I like guns, if you know what I mean," he said. When asked what he thought about Espada's loss, McCray's face momentarily dropped. "He lost? I thought he won."

Laura ("but everyone calls me 'Cookie'") Rosario was equally perplexed. "We win? No, we lost?" she said. No matter, Rosario said, "I'm proud and I'm glad I worked for him. I'm still a winner."

Rosario and McCray were typical of Espada's supporters last night. They didn't realize what was saying to them -- there were no TVs in the place to show results -- and they didn't believe any of the negative press surrounding Espada's re-election campaign, even as it became the overriding theme of nearly every news story about him.

McCray, sporting a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey and toting a Heineken, said he voted for Espada because "he comes to the hood. Homeboy is all over," he said. "And he gave me some of them platanos the other day."

After Espada exited, McCray and others provided an animated background for television reports filming their segments for the evening news.

Sitting at one of the tables, sipping a Budweiser and chatting to two other older white men, was Steve Pigeon, the Buffalo political activist who became Espada's $150,000-a-year general counsel after helping him orchestrate last summer Senate coup, along with billionaire Tom Golisano.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Pigeon said, adding that he felt coverage of the race was obviously "one-sided" and that the media had turned Espada into some kind of "Beelzebub."

"There was no fair reporting about him," Pigeon said.

No one gave Espada credit for bringing some reform to Albany as a result of briefly siding with Republicans last summer, Pigeon said, citing the end of "three-men-in-a-room" decision making and the empowering of committee chairs. (Many pundits brushed the reforms off as mostly cosmetic at the time.)

Talking to reporters, Espada said much the same thing. "What I tried to do was become an independent voice," he said, "at a great cost to myself and my family." 

"I think he was dealt a bad hand," Pigeon said. "But you haven't seen the last of him -- or me."


  1. Hey Mr. Kratz,
    Why did you have to point out the race of Mr. Pigeon and the people to whom he was talking, but neglected to tell your readers the races of "Nine Milli" and "Cookie." What a racist.

  2. Well, interesting point, but I don't think it makes me a racist. Nine Milli is black and Cookie is Hispanic. The entire audience of Espada supporters were black and Hispanic, but there were these three older white gentlemen, including Mr. Pigeon, in suits and ties sitting at a table. They were unique in that setting and I thought it was worth pointing out.

  3. Was one of the men with Pigeon, Hank Sheinkopf? He was a major contributor to Pedro's campaign. I've missed his insightful and unbiased commentary post-election. Has BxNN put a call in to him for comment?

  4. The most cogent thing Espada said in his speech: "We (he and his crew) must get better at politics."

    Yeah -- he's got that right. His fake rent freeze bills, his "Food for Votes" events, his lies about saving senior centers, his illegal deceptive mailings from dropped candidates, his outrageously wasteful spending of tax dollars on a do-nothing staff of sycophants (The one thing they did seem to do is show up and lug bags of fruit for his campaign), and his general thuggery and fear mongering just did not and will not work.

    I'm going to bet he learns nothing and doesn't get "better at politics". Just as well. Let him try to run again like his "amigo" from Queens -- Monserrate. He'll get the same result as Hiram.


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