Taking it too far?
By Adam Wisnieski
State Sen. Adriano Espaillat compares Councilman Oliver Koppell’s endorsement of him to Pee Wee Reese accepting Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.
The photo to the right is a screen shot from Mr. Espaillat’s campaign website. Mr. Espaillat is running for Congressional District 13, which includes Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights and Van Cortlandt Village. If he beats Rep. Charles Rangel and three other challengers, he would be the first Dominican-American elected to Congress. Since he decided to run, Mr. Espaillat has often compared himself to Jackie Robinson, a man who faced racial discrimination, even on his own team, when he broke the color barrier in baseball. Pee Wee Reese’s acceptance of his black teammate is even memorialized in a statue, which sits in front of KeySpan Park in Brooklyn. The statue is of Pee Wee Reese with his arm around Jackie Robinson, much like in the photo above.
So is Mr. Espaillat saying Mr. Koppell is Mr. Reese — even though Mr. Koppell has long accepted his Dominican colleagues, including supporting Mr. Espaillat himself in his bid for state Senate? And is he comparing himself to a man who broke the color barrier by going up against a discriminatory rule that excluded him? It sure seems like it.
State Sen. Jeff Klein has the power to bring the state Democratic Conference to its knees. Mr. Klein, who heads the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, announced at last week’s Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club endorsement meeting that if Democrats were in a position to take back the majority in the Senate, he would not vote for any old Democrat for majority leader, but the “right Democrat.”
More specifically, he said he would not endorse current Minority Leader John Sampson for the post. His rift with Mr. Sampson is one of the major reasons Mr. Klein defected from the Democratic Conference to form the IDC.
KeywordsAdam Wisnieski, Political Arena, politics, Adriano Espaillat, Oliver Koppell, Jeff Klein, Democratic Conference,