A coalition of tenants plans to storm what they're calling an invitation-only town hall meeting being held by State Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr., chairman of his chamber's Housing Committee.
"When calling to RSVP to the event, one is told that the “mailed invitation” must be presented at the door to gain entrance. Tenants and constituents are outraged that their Senator, and chair of the Housing Committee, has stopped every pro-tenant housing bill from reaching the senate floor and has the insolence to put on, yet another, phony theatrical production. A group of about 50 tenants will be demanding entrance into their Senator's secret town hall meeting tonight to ask him to "stop gagging the voice of his community" and sign on to repeal Vacancy Decontrol," said a statement from the tenants accompanied by the invite you see above.
When I asked, Alex Diaz, Espada's chief of staff, said this isn't about exclusion, but merely space limitations of the church where the event's being held:
"Sen. Espada is holding this town hall meeting at the request of Rev. Delgado for his congregation and the surrounding community. Although it is an open meeting, in the interest of safety due to the limited seating and standing room capacity, this meeting will be conducted within the operational parameters dictated by Rev. Delgado relative to these space constrictions and proper etiquette for a House of Worship. As such, Rev. Delgado has asked those interested in attending to register in advance," Diaz replied.
This isn't the first time Espada's drawn the ire of tenants, as you can see from this short video I shot at the State Capitol of protesters storming his office earlier this year.