By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
You can get a taste of his fighting spirit—which is very much like Chairman Kruger's—from an excellent clip available on his State Senate website, in which he uses the new video equipment that the Democrats appropriated from the old Republican misleaders. In the clip, the Vice Chairman explains what he and his fellow senators are trying to accomplish with their own MTA funding proposal, one that does not include any miserable bridge tolls and which sharply cuts the amount of payroll tax included in the so-called Ravitch rescue plan.
But let him speak for himself:
"It is a very responsible proposal," he says, speaking into his Senate-financed camera. "What it did not do is give the MTA a blank check. It seeks the MTA to be accountable, to be responsible, to be transparent, and to really undergo the kind of auditing that any corporation or agency should undergo before it starts asking for more money."
In a separate statement issued last week, and forwarded by his press aide, Espada said that all this talk about imminent fare hikes is really just a scare tactic. "I believe there is ample time for Albany to step in and prevent these massive fare hikes and service cuts," he said. But, with the people's money, it is most important to be careful, he said. "Fiscal prudence must prevail," he stated.
Espada knows whereof he speaks. At the exact same time that he is insisting on transparency from the transit agency, he is doing the same with the State Board of Elections. The agency has been giving him a hard time about the fact that he has yet to file what it deems proper campaign expense statements from his 2008 primary and general election contests.
Actually, if the board's lawyers would only listen, they would see that Espada has already made several filings for a committee called "Espada for the People" (what else would you call it?). OK, there was a slight oversight in that the committee had the wrong designation—a political action committee, versus an election committee—but is that really important? It is all being straightened out.
And the fact that there were no expenditures at all listed on his "11-day pre-primary" filing? Or that the general election reports are still among the missing? Again, this is the kind of nit-picking that only bureaucratic pinheads would engage in.
What do they think he is? The MTA?