Rangel Walks (Updated)

Yesterday we drove, today we walked.  On Thursday Congressman Charles Rangel led a caravan from Harlem to Inwood.  Today we accompanied Rangel as he walked across Harlem’s 125th Street, from St. Nicholas Avenue to Lexington Avenue.  He received a good welcome, greeted warmly by many as he strolled through his home turf.

Song Break:

Rangel, a Frederick Douglass High School graduate, encountered a group of Frederick Douglass Academy students and promptly launched into what appeared to a school song.

Update – Walking:

Here’s a look at Rangel’s reception, with a post-walk conversation with Rangel.

Rangel Rolls Uptown

Congressman Charles B. Rangel rolled through upper Manhattan in a honking cacophony today, leading a caravan of Green Cabs and livery cars from Central Harlem to Inwood.  We rode along.

Update – Rolling With Rangel:

We look at Rangel’s ride uptown and his comments to the participants afterwards.

NY Times Endorsement:

We spoke with Congressman Rangel at the conclusion of the caravan.  I asked him for his reaction to the New York Times endorsement of Adriano Espaillat, published in today’s print edition.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Middle School Summer Enrichment Edition

On Tuesday Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an expansion of middle school summer enrichment programs, along with the selection of 271 providers for those services.  He described the expanded after school programs as, together with universal pre-K and the community schools program, part of his efforts at broadly improving the school system.  de Blasio was joined by Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Council Member Andrew Cohen.

Press Q&A:

On topic questions included: what defines a “community school”, whether community schools are only located in low-income neighborhoods, whether there is a plan to extend universal pre-K to three year olds, how much more expensive community schools are to operate than “regular” schools, why was the UFT not at this announcement, whether academic gains are expected from community schools and how will such gains be measured, what programs are added to “regular” schools as they are converted into “community” schools, potential changes to the admissions process for specialized high schools and whether the seats announced today are new programs or new spaces.

Off topic questions included: the ISIS in Iraq and potential threats to New York, his hair color in a World Cup themed picture, the City’s negotiations with CW Capital concerning Stuyvesant Town, whether he concerned that religion-affiliated CBO’s pre-K programs will involve some religious instruction or indoctrination, the Rent Guidelines Board and a possible rent increase, rating his administration on it’s FOIL responsiveness, whether subway dancers are a “sign of urban decay”, whether he is contemplating a special district for failing schools and whether there is symbolism is seeking to bring the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn rather than Manhattan and whether he has coordinated that effort with Hillary Clinton.

Here is the full Q&A:

Rangel Roundup – An Overview of the Approaching CD13 Primary



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Congressman Charles B. Rangel faces his electorate one week from today, in a heated June 24th Democratic primary. Winning on June 24th will mean virtually certain reelection in November to what he says will be his final term, while losing will end his 44 years in Congress. There are four candidates next Tuesday but it’s mostly about Rangel, with the two biggest campaign moments coming straight from his lips. Here’s a close look at the race, featuring our extensive coverage at NYTrue.com: Continue reading

CD 13 Debate – The BronxTalk Edition (Updated)

Congressional candidates Adriano Espaillat and Michael Walrond joined host Gary Axelbank today on BronxTalk for their fifth debate.  (Close looks at their prior debates are here, here and here.)  The debate, which will be broadcast Monday at 9:00 p.m.*, features a 30 minute discussion among the three.  Charles Rangel cancelled his scheduled appearance, and the show left an empty chair on-set to mark his absence.  (We’ll bring you some clips from the debate after it airs on Monday evening.)

Both Espaillat and Walrond spoke with the press afterwards, discussing Rangel’s absence, top issues in the Bronx portion of the district and more.

Update – Bronx Issues:

I asked both candidates about what they see as the greatest difference in the needs of the Bronx portion of the district from the needs of the Manhattan portion of the district:

Espaillat:

Here is Espaillat’s full press availability:

Walrond:

Here is Walrond’s full press availability:

*  The broadcast schedule, as provided by BronxTalk, is:

On Monday, June 16 at 9:00 p.m. it will be televised on BronxNet Channel 67 (Cablevision) and 33 (Verizon), and MNN Channel 34 (TWC), 82 (RCN) and 33 (Verizon) .  

Espaillat For Senate?

As Adriano Espaillat heads toward his June 24th primary in the 13th Congressional District Democratic primary he faces a decision of whether to also prepare to run for reelection to the state senate.  Should he lose in the congressional primary he can still run for state senate, as the primary for state senate and other state offices remains in September.  To do so, however, he’ll need to submit petitions signed by registered voters for his state senate candidacy to the Board of Elections by July 10th.

In 2012 Espaillat lost to Charles Rangel in the congressional primary and then successfully ran for reelection to the state senate.  Whether he is considering the same scenario for 2014 is a topic he would rather not focus on, with it’s clear implication that he’s planning for the possibility of losing again to Rangel.  On Wednesday I asked Senator Espaillat whether he would pledge to not run for state senate.  He did not directly answer, only stating that “I am not circulating petitions for the state senate right now.”  Whether others are doing so on his behalf, or whether he will do so between now and July 10th was unsaid.

CD 13 Slugfest: Round 4 (Updated x 2)

Congressman Charles B. Rangel, State Senator Adriano Espaillat and the Rev. Michael Walrond slugged it out tonight in their fourth debate.  Held at Lehman College in the Bronx, and hosted by NY1, the debate featured sharp exchanges as the electoral clock ticks louder.

All three candidates spoke with the press afterwards, continuing some of the debate themes and addressing some additional questions.

Rangel:

Rangel’s time with the press was quite a performance.   Intensity, flashes of wit and indignation at questions he regarded as flawed in their premise demonstrated his political skill.  Topics included his discussion of Espaillat’s 2012 “traitor” memo and comments last weekend by the Rev. Al Sharpton, whether Espaillat is hedging his electoral chances by preparing to run for re-election to the state senate should he lose this race, Rangel’s health, Eric Cantor and the Tea Party, the importance of local v. federal issues for a member of congress, deportation and Rangel’s description of Espaillat as a “trainee.”

Update – Espaillat:

Espaillat remained focused, attacking Rangel’s support of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which repealed Glass-Steagal, and a recent amendment of Dodd-Frank and asserting that Rangel “lied on the record.”  Other topics included Rangel’s reference to Espaillat as a “trainee”, whether he will petition for re-election to the state senate, why he believes he could accomplish anything in a tea party-dominated House and a recent uptick in marijuana arrests.

Update #2 – Walrond:

For a first time candidate and political outsider, Michael Walrond appears to have a pretty firm grasp of the basics of running, promoting yourself and attacking your opponent.  Topics included Rangel’s record, his congressional censure, whether Walrond should attack more in debates, whether he’s a spoiler, what he thinks he could accomplish in a tea party-dominated House, his work in Harlem, lessons from the defeat of Eric Cantor and whether he’ll be a “loyal Democrat” if elected.

Espaillat East Harlem Endorsement

State Senator, and 13th Congressional District candidate, Adriano Espaillat was endorsed by a group of Mexican-American business and civic leaders in East Harlem today.  (Charles Rangel held a similar endorsement press conference last month.)

Deportations:

Here is Senator Espaillat responding to a question of how he would “put pressure on the president to end the policy of deportations”:

(Afterwards, I asked Senator Espaillat for his view of Puerto Rico’s status – his answer is available here.)

Puerto Rico’s Status & New York’s 13th Congressional District

We asked Congressman Charles B. Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat for their views on Puerto Rico’s status.  Puerto Rico is, of course, a commonwealth of the United States, although many Puerto Ricans prefer statehood or independence.  A substantial portion of the voters in the 13th Congressional District are of Puerto Rican descent, with particularly heavy concentrations in East Harlem and Jerome Park and Norwood in the Bronx, and many maintain a strong attachment to the island.

Building & Running in Sugar Hill (Updated x 2)

This morning Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference at The Sugar Hill Project, an affordable housing project under construction on West 155th Street in Sugar Hill.  Congressional District 13 primary rivals Congressman Charles B. Rangel and New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat were among the many elected officials joining the mayor.  The Sugar Hill Project is in the 13th Congressional District.

Update #2 – Congressional District 13:

We look at the 13th Congressional District primary-related portions of the press conference, including my question to Mayor de Blasio of whether he plans to endorse a candidate in the race:

We spoke separately, and exclusively, with Congressman Rangel and Senator Espaillat.

Rangel:

I began by asking Congressman Rangel how the race, with barely two weeks remaining, is shaping up:

Espaillat:

I began by asking Senator Espaillat whether he expects the controversy over Congressman Rangel’s comment to continue:

Rumblin’ With The Rev (Updated)

Congressman Charles B. Rangel, State Senator Adriano Espaillat and the Rev. Michael Walrond, candidates in the 13th Congressional District Democratic primary, joined the Rev. Al Sharpton this morning at the National Action Network’s House of Justice.

Congressman Rangel’s remark about Espaillat during a taped debate yesterday; “just what the heck has he done except say he’s a Dominican?”, has been a focus of attention.  Rev. Sharpton spoke about during his onstage remarks, and each candidate spoke about it with the press afterwards.

Update – Candidates & The Rev:

Here’s an in-depth look at their visit.

Candidate Q&A:

Following their onstage remarks, each of the candidates spoke with the press outside the the House of Justice.

Rangel:

Espaillat:

Walrond:

Rangel In The Heights

Congressman Charles Rangel held a press conference in Washington Heights this afternoon, hosting fellow Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-Il) and Jose Serrano of the Bronx.  New York City Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal also attended.

They discussed immigration and possible congressional action on the immigration laws, but the real energy was devoted to pushing Congressman Rangel’s re-election.

Puerto Rico:

I asked the three members of congress for their view on whether Puerto Rico should remain a commonwealth, become a state or gain independence.  Congressman Rangel seemed particularly reluctant to respond, noting that it’s a very deep and involved issue.  Here’s what they had to say: