New York Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. represents a Bronx district, but is his primary residence on East 201st Street., where he owns an apartment, or on Beechwood Drive in Mamaroneck Village, where his family has owned a home since the 1990s?
The question, which arises periodically, was again of interest this week when Mr. Espada was elected Senate president after joining fellow Democrat Hiram Monserrate and all of the Republicans to seize control of the Senate on Tuesday, June 9.
With the two Democrats, the GOP had 32 of 62 votes, returning them to a majority they had held for over 40 years prior to last November’s elections.
And with Mr. Espada back in the news, the hilly Beechwood neighborhood in Mamaroneck was once again besieged by the press. “They camp up and down the street every time he runs for election,” said a Beechwood resident, who did not want to be quoted by name for fear of angering Mr. Espada or his associates. “They accost the neighborhood children and film into our living room windows.”
As for Mr. Espada, “I see him from time to time, ” said the neighbor.
An online telephone directory shows Mr. Espada at the Beechwood address. A listing of runners in the New York City Marathon includes a home address of Mamaroneck for both his wife, Connie Espada, and son, Alejandro Espada. Another son, Romero Espada, was once registered to vote in Mamaroneck and is pictured as a junior in the 1998 year book for Mamaroneck High School.
However, Senator Espada cites the Bronx apartment as his primary residence. And, to date, his political opponents have not been able to prove otherwise. This time, though, there may be more motivation than ever for them to try.
Control of the Senate and the fate of major legislation hangs in the balance. Before the The “GOP coup,” the Senate had been poised to vote on topics as diverse as gay marriage and mayoral control of the New York City schools. No further work is likely until the issue of control is resolved – and that may take some time.
Mamaroneck’s Actual Senator Weighs In
“Mamaroneck is the only town in New York - perhaps in the United States – that has two state senators,” joked Suzi Oppenheimer, the actual senator representing the district that includes Mamaroneck. She has lived on Claflin Avenue in Mamaroneck Village for over 40 years – though she admits to owning a vacation home in the Berkshires.
She sees the current situation as “nothing but a power grab on the part of the GOP to overturn last November’s election.” She said, “The are trying to bribe everyone, but not me. They know there is nothing they could possibly offer me to join their coalition.”
She suggests the current Republican control is not “a permanent condition.” Both Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate are from overwhelmingly Democratic communities, and the party will be working to elect “true Democrats – who would not be entertaining sitting with the Republicans,” said Ms. Oppenheimer.
As for her own work on the Senate Education Committee? ”Well, if I remain chairman of the education committee, it is very good for education. And if I don’t, it is not good for education,” she said. “I’ve put in some wonderful legislation that has moved through committee – like the school mandate relief bill of 2009 and the paperwork reduction bill and the Wicks Law exemption for five years statewide.” Those bills were just leaving committee and had yet to be voted on in the full Senate or in the Assembly.
Ms. Oppenheimer has little hope of getting back to work on these items any time soon. But, “We will be working to win the support of the Senate and the Assembly next year,” she said.