Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Journalist Rafael Martínez Stood Up to Espada When Nobody Else Would and He is Still Getting Hurt

Journalist Rafael Martínez

If there was any value left in the local Pulitzer or TV news Emmy awards, a journalist who most of his City Hall colleagues try to discredit and humiliate because they feel he is not worthy of their status, should win this year. Rafael Martínez Alequín, long a pariah among the City Hall press corps, did what his colleagues don’t bother to do anymore. He investigated Pedro Espada - and in so doing, broke one of the biggest stories of the year.  Because Martinez is a blogger his work has been ignored by the Main Street Media and the physical violence he received at the hands of Espada and his indicted son was covered up by the Bronx DA. 

Martínez was attacked and threatened at a campaign rally, when he attempted to ask Espada a questions about his out of district residence and non profit medical heath care organization he funds with government money and uses as his personal piggy bank. Martinez’s was attacked by Espada son, his camera was broken and he was told that if he continued to investigate Espara he would be put in a body bag by those close to Espada.  Yesterday Espada Was Charged With Stealing From a Health Network He Controlled (NYT) Not one word in today's articles about the indictment, about how journalist Rafael Martínez bravely stood up to Espada when nobody else would. 

Shame on the NYP  The Post takes some credit for taking Espada down.
Martínez was attacked because Espada’s knew he was doing the job of a real journalist and the so-called real journalists were of no danger to him. Espada knew that if you’re a member of the ruling political class, the mainstream media and DA's will protect you. Espada's plan worked until he joined Monserrate and held the state hostage for over a month with no government that the NYP called the circus.

It was only after Espada paralyzed state government that the real federal investigations began.  All the information about Espada and his son looting the health care organization he funded and controlled was wildly known for years.  It was not until the rich establishment of the city was embarrassed by the senate take over that they moved against Espada.  The could care less about Martinez charges before the take over that Espada was ripping off health care funds to the residents of the Bronx.  

The Bronx DA did all he could to get Espada son off the hook, when he prosecuted the attack on Martinez caught on video, as a minor pushing match where 75 year old reporter was knock to the floor, his camera broken and his life threatened at the campaign rally which was all on tape.   Pedro son was plea bargained to paying Martinez $400 for the broken camera.  No other charges.
Rafael Martínez also produced a video in which he interviewed several Bronx neighbors of State Senator Pedro Espada, who had never seen Espada in the building before. The excellent video, which shows Espada’s car parked later that night at his real home in Mamaroneck, proves outright that Senator Espada had never lived at the address he listed as his official State Senate residence. An old lady tenant even confronted Espada, who is was at the time second-in-line to be Governor, in an attempt to intimidate her, took a picture of her while Martinez was interviewing her. As a reward for his five-star video did Rafael make the front page of the dailies? On the contrary, not one of his City Hall colleagues or the old press talked about Martinez when they did stories about Espada' Mamaroneck home after the state senate takeover.

It is not only the press who is trying to marginalize Martínez. It took Norman Siegel defending Martinez to defeat the Mayor’s attempt to throw Martinez out of City Hall by not renewing his press pass, despite the fact that Martinez has covered City Hall for 30 years. Siegel’s lawsuit has already resulted in Martínez getting a new press pass, and is about to allow other bloggers the right to have a  press pass.  Martínez said a lot of the old media blame him for losing their parking permits, one of the outcomes of Martínez lawsuit.  Some way to treat a bad guy who AG Cuomo called "The Most outrageous abuse of public office that I have ever seen.     A Journalist Breaks Through City Hall's "Blue Wall of Silence"

More than Espada Take Credit for Ethics Laws they Ignore 

Shortly before his indictment announcement, Espada released a self-congratulatory open letter to New Yorkers taking credit for “reform” in Albany.  Pedro boasts of passing ethics laws that he ignored (NYP)

Double Dip Vito Lopez
Assemblymen Vito Lopez, Denny Farrell and Jose Rivera are the latest to take advantage of loophole that lets them “retire” and collect pension checks while still in office.* The Syracuse Post-Standard makes the case for blocking criminal ex-lawmakers from collecting their pensions.


Computer Scamsters Took Mayor Mike to Cleaners for $80M

Bloomberg Rewards "City Time" Corruption?

“It is also important to remember that something like 95,000 of our city employees who are, who are on CityTime and have nothing to do with any of this continue getting their regular paychecks. And so we're going to make sure that this project continues." CityTime Update: Mayor Bloomberg Responds

BREAKING: NYC Payroll Consultants Charged With Ripping Off $80 Million * Six charged in $80M 'CityTime' rip-off

Comptroller John Liu: Mayor's Budget Plan Is Risky For NYC

New York Economic Meltdown A Kitchen-for-Rent Is a Lifeline for the Laid-Off (NYT) * NYT) * Overtime Pay Soars At FDNY Amid Gap(WSJ) * Bravest burn through overtime at alarming rate (DN) * New York Seeks More Money to Implement School Reforms(WSJ) * Understanding Unemployment in New York (WSJ) * Shanty office adds to despair of Bronx jobless (DN) * NYSUT officials are gearing up for a property tax cap fight. * Mayors from across the state have united in their call for a wage freeze. More here.* There’s no “magical” quick fix for Medicaid, warns outgoing LG Richard Ravitch.* OTB The Saratogian urges its readers to call their senators and demand an OTB overhaul.* A number of rescue plans for the NYC OTB are being floated, but have scant chance of passing prior to the end of the month.* CUNY students protested outside Cuomo’s Manhattan office.

Paterson Fires Everyone

In a move deemed “highly unusual,” Paterson asked for resignation letters from some 2,500 political appointees to clear the decks for the governor-elect.* Michael Goodwin takes Paterson to task for his “nonstop bitch-a-thon.” * The TU is angry at Paterson for vetoing the gubernatorial records bill, and doesn’t see his compromise executive order as a satisfactory solution.*  Gov. Paterson: I had no idea Eliot Spitzer liked hookers

How to Turn Off Voters There are numerous problems with the voting process in New York that need fixing before the next election. (NYT Ed) The 2010 General Election brought out 4,756,679 voters throughout the state. This represents a turnout of 44.5 % of registered voters. This is the fourth lowest turnout for a gubernatorial election since 1932.




Region Is Reshaped as Minorities Go to Suburbs (NYT) * Census: Over half of Manhattanites are college grads (DN)

A look at why the FDNY remains devoid of minority firefighters.* FDNY's Black Firefighter Problem  * FDNY'S BLACK FIREFIGHTER PROBLEM


 Students Walking In to A Broken School System

CUNY freshmen need remedial classes (DN) * Gonzalez: Class system in the city's schools (DN) * New York's public schools must stop awarding lifetime job guarantee of tenure just for showing up (DN Ed) * Outgoing Schools Chancellor Attends Final PEP Meeting (NY1) * More and more affluent parents hire high-powered lawyers and advocates to sue the city for reimbursement of their kids' tuition at fancy private schools, while special needs kids from poorer neighborhoods must go to local public schools.* New chancellor won't break ranks on bus-service cuts (SI Advance)

Here is a statement that had to wait until after the election

DiNapoli: NYC Expects ‘Unrealistic Level’ Of State Education Aid

Save Brooklyn? Fuhgeddaboudit  A plan to create a historic district for downtown Brooklyn drew intense opposition from residents and business owners at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing. * Brooklyn: The Brand (NYT) * Superfund Site Morphs Into Cultural Hot Spot(WSJ)

Terrorism   2010 In Review: Terror Plot Headlines Year In Manhattan

What Are They Hiding?

Law and Order   WABC weather gal in 'rape' lie: cops Heidi charged with making up assault tale (NYP)90-yr.-old rages at mug-thug cowards (NYP) * Gym rat 'caught stealing' at Jeter's SoHo spot (NYP) * Slay acquittal for brawl teen (NYP) * 'Special K' cop charge (NYP) * Grand jury gets Soho House slay case(NYP) * Discovery Raises Suspicion of a Serial Killer (NYT) * No Theft Conviction, but Items Remain Seized (NYT) * Police Hunt Possible Serial Killer in Long Island(WSJ) * Cops call in FBI as serial killer case develops - none of four bodies on beach is Shannon Gilbert (DN) *  Man shot by Mike's guard to sue the city for $5 million (DN) * Oscar-winning composer facing January rape trial (DN) * Demented B'klyn son charged in slay of ma (DN) * Second Mistrial Declared In NYPD Sodomy Case (NY1) * NYPD deputy dares cops to go on summons strike (DN) *  State Probes Rushmore Deals(WSJ) * Rip-roarin' Torn guilty (NYP) * Mistrial declared in 2nd NYPD subway sodomy case (WABC)

Media and New Tech  Bloomberg Hires 2 to Lead Opinion Venture

The New Superpowers

We’ve Only Got America A A rising superpower (think China) and a rising group of superempowered individuals (think WikiLeakers) are currently challenging the world system. (Friedman, NYT)