Last week, while most national attention was focused on Tea Party victories or losses in congressional and U.S. senate primaries, New York state came out ahead when state Senate leader Pedro Espada lost his primary challenge to first-time candidate, and my friend, Gustavo Rivera. It wasn't even close, with Rivera getting 62 percent of the vote to Espada's 33 percent.
In case you missed it, Espada was in the pocket of the city's landlords, subject to no less than four government investigations, was caught on video tape throwing money at housing advocate protesters, has a history of voter intimidation and has been called "the poster boy for Albany corruption," which is saying a lot.
Meanwhile, I had made my case for Gustavo on several occasions and went so far as to perform at two comedy fundraisers, promote him online, record a video endorsement and, most importantly, go canvassing door-to-door in the Bronx. It was that decision, to campaign for a real race, that famously cost me my Foursquare mayorship of Delicatessen.
But it was all completely worth it to be able to see Gustavo's victory speech, embedded below. It's easy for people of decency and common sense to feel left out of our often insane political process, which elevates and protects those without our best interest at heart, but Gustavo's victory is a reminder that we still have some say in this participatory democracy experiment, and it's wins like these which keep me going.
Thanks to all who helped in whatever way you could. Let's keep making moments like these possible.
Gustavo Rivera Declares Victory in the Bronx from Jon Reznick on Vimeo.