Espaillat & Economic Development (Updated)

State Senator, and congressional candidate, Adriano Espaillat unveiled his self-described “Economic Development for All” plan today in East Harlem.  Espaillat criticized the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone as unduly favoring so-called big-box stores and neglecting small businesses.

Following his own statement and statements from several supporters, Espaillat answered questions from the press, including whether he believes that Charles Rangel has willfully neglected small business owners, how does he reconcile his criticisms with the reality that many local residents decried the lack of shopping and services before this “big-box” mall existed, whether his “40/40/20” housing formula, in place of the common “80/20”, is a state or federal issue and his view of Congressman Rangel’s argument that Rangel’s experience allows him to more productively represent the district.

Update – Rangel Advisor Chimes In:

As soon as Espaillat concluded, Rangel advisor Charlie King held his own press conference.  King, a long time politico whose resume includes running as Andrew Cuomo’s would-be Lieutenant Governor in 2002 and serving as executive director of the Democratic State Committee under Andrew Cuomo, launched into a series of attacks on Espaillat.  Among King’s critiques, what King termed Espaillat’s attack on President Obama’s affordable housing policy, what he regards as a lack of legislative accomplishments by Espaillat and Espaillat’s lack of support among sitting members of congress.  He also described Espaillat as moving from supporting Rangel “100% of the time” to running against him only because “the lines changed.”

King basically deflected my question about Espaillat’s description of Rangel as essentially powerless in Washington in the aftermath of his tax and Rangel Center troubles.  When an Espaillat supporter, after prefacing his question with a reference to “middle east … dictators … in power for such a long time, 30 years, 40 years” asked “when is too long”, King first noted Espaillat’s 18 years in the state legislature, but then veered off message saying that “if someone wants real change” they should consider the third candidate, Michael Walrond.