Political Arena

Espaillat at 100


Headlines covering U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat’s first 100 days in Congress may have focused on a questioner who was nearly dragged off by security after seemingly rushing the podium, but it turns out the rookie congressman gave a speech, too. 

Espaillat kicked off his speech by promising to focus more of his attention on the Bronx, which includes 20 percent of his district. He did so by touting his office on Grand Concourse, the first time a representative of the 13th congressional district has had a Bronx office since the district was redrawn in 2012. 

Of course, Espaillat only has two predecessors: Adam Clayton Powell and Charles Rangel, both of whom, he said, were legends in and of themselves. 

“But I’ve got my own story,” Espaillat said. “I’ve got my own elbows to throw here.”

And that he does. Espaillat is the first member of Congress to have formerly been an undocumented immigrant, and the first to be Dominican-American. In his first few months in office, the congressman has sought to make immigration issues, a key point of his platform, and that’s a point he emphasized in his speech when talking about sanctuary cities. 

But Espaillat also made his speech about mobilizing against President Donald Trump, by uniting various civil rights movements across the country including Black Lives Matter, immigrant groups, environmentalists and feminists. 

“If we can connect those four movements, we can have a national movement that can’t be stopped by anybody,” he said. “You have mobilized. You have gotten the word out, and other states have followed suit.”


CB8 to elect new leaders

Daniel Padernacht, the chair of Community Board 8, held his last board meeting as chair this month, as he will likely step down to make room for another. 

After serving the customary three years as the board’s chair, Padernacht could find himself replaced by vice chair Rosemary Ginty, according to some sources on the board. 

For years, the board’s vice chair has been a sort of de facto next choice to take the spot after their predecessor steps down, but recent history has told a different story. 

Tensions rose within CB8 in 2014 when Padernacht beat out then board vice chair Maria Khury in a race to be chair. At the time Khury said the election had been tainted by racial bias, citing it as a reason for her 24-16 loss. 

But only time will tell as elections are set to be held at the June board meeting next month, followed by a two-month board hiatus for the summer. 

Public meetings 

This week’s meetings include the education committee of Community Board 8 on May 22 at 7:30 p.m., in the board’s office at 5676 Riverdale Ave.

On May 21, the board’s housing committee is set to meet, though a location has yet to be secured. 

According to the agenda, the committee will discuss 2019 budget concerns for the buildings department and the New York City Housing Authority.

There also is no secured space quite yet for the parks committee, set to meet May 23 at 7 p.m. On their agenda, the committee is set to discuss the parks inspection reports results.