Election Night Open Thread: Rivera KOs Espada

Three of these ##http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/03/17/caption-contest-re-name-this-foursome/##four grinning guys## are up for election tonight. Photo: ##http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2009/03/four-amigos-together-again.html##Daily Politics##

The early returns are in, and Pedro Espada is going to have to make up some ground to retain his seat in the State Senate. Other incumbents don’t seem to be in as much jeopardy.

Update: It’s official. Espada has conceded the race to challenger Gustavo Rivera.

It also looks like congestion pricing antagonist and former Westchester Assembly Member Richard Brodsky will not be serving as New York Attorney General.

  • Mike

    It’s not transportation-related, but I’m just thrilled to see Bill Stachowski go.

  • Andrew


    “They’ve successfully ganged up on me this evening,” Espada said. “We’ll see what politics brings. I am not quitting. I told the audience here tonight that they have never ever defined me as a quitter and I am not going to stop now.”

  • Andrew

    Doesn’t look like Levine’s going to make it. Oh well.

  • Wow, Carl Paladino

  • It’s a step down for Brodsky since he ran unopposed for the State Senate two years ago.

  • I’m really, really worried about Carl Palladino. Not just because of the aura that surrounds him, but he could really short-change transit riders by withholding even more MTA money and maybe even could make it easier for counties to back out of the MTA sales tax (which would make things even worse because then those counties would lose rail service which is dangerous). And I’m not ruling him out for governor; he could easily beat Cuomo because of the energy of his supporters and the apathy of most everyone else (read: about 80% of the state).

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m not worried about Palidino. People show up on Election Day, when for most legislative seats it is usually too late. Then they expect the Governor to solve their problems, which the legislature prevents.

    I’m worried about Cuomo. The best way for all the interest groups in Albany to work together is to slash wages and benefits for future public employees, but expect less from them, borrow money, and cut public services — and to make sure pensions and tax exempt debts held be seniors get paid.

    The policies of the 1970s fiscal crisis oare being help up as a model. Everyone got their pension, those with seniority kept their incomes and were no longer expected to work, the debts got paid, the political class expanded, and the real estate industry made a lot of money as prices recovered.

    Meanwhile, the police stopped preventing crime, a few million NYC school children were not educated (fortunately others came in to replace them, outbidding them for housing, so business got their labor force), and the transit system collapsed. But that mostly affected people who did not matter.

  • Glad to see Espada go, but it only proves that if enough of the establishment lines up against an incumbent, he/she can be beaten. And the only way you get that kind of alignment against an incumbent is when they have pissed off enough of the insiders.

    I wish more elected officials would get behind more insurgents, but of course they are always looking out for #1, not advancing democracy.

  • I’m shocked that Rick Lazio lost, and sorry Mark Levine didn’t win either. Still, for his first time out, he got a respectable 39% of the vote against Adriano Espaillat, who had both the advantages of incumbency and ethnicity in his favor.

    We should all be rejoicing that two out of the Fare Hike Four are out of the running–Monserrate and Espada. Now, what is it going to take to get Ruben Diaz, Sr. out of there? Can someone explain to me how he manages to stay in office? He is a laughingstock of a politician.

  • Bolwerk

    @Urbanis: there’s room for cautious optimism about Diaz. The only way Diaz stays relevant is if the Dems don’t gain or lose seats, which is of course entirely possible. If the Dems lose, the Republikans aren’t going to be very welcoming to him. If they gain two or three seats, the Dems aren’t going to need him to pass every last bill. I know he never behaved as outrageously as Espada, but I can’t imagine the caucus generally is happy with him either.

    Personally, I find that Kruger clown a lot more offensive than Diaz. I know the Dems, lacking balls as they do, won’t do this, but it would be pretty funny if they just asked them both to go sit with the Republikans.

  • @Bolwerk: Thanks for your analysis and I’d like to share your cautious optimism. I think both Kruger and Diaz are plenty offensive in their own ways–Diaz has made some outrageous statements, and personally I hold him very accountable not just for the fare hikes and deteriorating transit service but for last year’s government shutdown and continued failure to achieve marriage equality in New York State. Remember, he threatened to disrupt the Democrat’s leadership of the State Senate if Malcolm Smith allowed marriage equality to come to the floor for a vote.

  • Bolwerk

    Generally, I see Diaz as more of a moron than a thug (the other three Gang of Four members were all thugs). Kruger is more evil — Dick Cheney to Diaz’s W.. Diaz is clearly homophobic, but he does seem to genuinely care about poor people (not that W. did), and he’s catering to a generally socially conservative constituency. The transit policy Diaz pushes seems to be the usual Democratic angst about anything perceived to harm to the middle class (“drivers”) being bad.

    I am curious if the Republikans will be able to pick back any seats. I despise Republikans, but I don’t know if it would be any worse than what’s been happening.

  • Kruger is definitely worse than Diaz. If you recall, Kruger wasn’t exactly a saint on marriage equality either (he opposed it); he just wasn’t as loud on all the issues as Diaz is, plus Diaz’s corruption is as clear as day as opposed to Kruger’s (only us transit advocates know about Kruger).

    Larry, what are you worried about Cuomo for? I hope you’re not afraid he’s gonna lose (like I am). The main problem is only the far right, which represents a tiny fraction of the population, is geared up enough to vote….and they’ll vote mean-spirited people into office (honestly, Palladino’s aura of anger and hate is probably more frightening than his policies themselves (which are frightening, don’t get me wrong). I expect public servants to act respectable, which this guy isn’t).


The Four Stooges

OK, we have a winner of yesterday’s photo caption contest. Democratic State Senators Hiram Monserrate, Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada, Jr. and Ruben Diaz, Sr. will henceforth be known as "The Fare Hike Four." While we’re at it, we figure if the State Senate is going to treat New York City’s transit riders like clowns and […]

Three Transit Villains Exit the Stage in 2010 Primaries

The votes have been counted in the 2010 primaries, humbling three of the state legislators who killed major transit funding initiatives the past few years. Richard Brodsky, ringleader of the anti-congestion pricing contingent in Albany, vacated his Assembly seat in a bid for Attorney General. He lost convincingly last night. Bridge toll obstructionist Pedro Espada, […]

Give Espada and Monserrate the “Oil Slick” Award

It would be nice to shame every member of the Fare Hike Four, but we’ll settle for the two on the right. Thanks to the folks at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign for pointing us to this excellent survey from EPL/Environment Advocates. State Senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate are finalists for the "Oil Slick" award, […]

Without Espada or Challenger Rivera, District 33 Debates Transportation

Last night’s 33rd Senate District transportation debate pitted two candidates against each other who are unlikely to ever appear on the same ballot: Democrat Daniel Padernacht and Green John Reynolds. Padernacht is running a distant third place in polling for the September 14 primary, after incumbent Pedro Espada Jr. and challenger Gustavo Rivera. Neither Espada […]

Fare Hike Four Looking Out for Number One

If you’re tracking the progress of MTA rescue talks, Jimmy Vielkind’s Albany dispatches at the Politicker are a must-read. I had to highlight this exchange he had yesterday with Fare Hike Four member Pedro Espada, Jr., which pretty much sums up the current predicament: I asked for this thoughts. "I’m elated," he said. "Today’s a […]

Today’s Headlines

MTA Fare Hike Plans Expand: 1-Day, 14-Day Passes To End, Bridge and Tunnel Tolls Up (Post)  Suburban Park-and-Ride Prices Rise, Too (SAS)  Ben Kabak Grabs Subway Ridership and Reliability Graphs Showing Pre-Service Cut Trends In Wake of Service Cuts, Commuter Vans Come Even to the Upper East Side (Metro) New Willis Ave. Bridge, Now With […]