Community Archive

Rafael Espinal at Solidarity Space

Rafael Espinal speaking at Solidarity Space
Left to Right: Ross Barkan and Rafael Espinal. Photo by Rachel Brody.

At A Glance

  • Solidarity Space and Bklyner are hosting a number of in-depth forums for the Public Advocate.
  • Councilman Rafael Espinal of Brooklyn was interviewed by Ross Barkan and Kadia Goba, and took audience questions.
  • Topics focused heavily on affordable housing and green initiatives.
  • Barkan dug into Espinal’s background with the Conservative Party and his transition to progressive politics.

Continuting with their successful Public Advocates series, Solidarity Space hosted Rafael Espinal to talk to Bay Ridge residents about his candidacy for Public Advocate. Rafael answered questions from Ross Barkan, and Kadia Goba (from Bklyner), and then took audience questions.

The conversation covered Espinal’s background of public service in East New York, as well as some thornier origins with the Conservative Party. He also emphasized his green initiatives and advocacy for community gardens. Questions focused heavily on affordable housing and the economy, with additional emphasis on education programs, hate crime legislation, and his opposition to the BDS movement. You can check out the full livestream over at Solidarity Space’s Twitter account.

Show Notes


Recording Overview

Councilman Rafael Espinal, who has also served in the NYS Assembly, spoke at Solidarity Space. Born and raised in East New York, he now represents North Brooklyn. We’ve hit the highlights below; listen to the full recording for more information.

As a New Yorker, Espinal says he’s concerned about the NYC’s trajectory and the impact of rising costs on the average New Yorker. He wants the city and state to come up with comprehensive plans that really help the people who live in NYC, and makes the city livable for all.

Topics In This Recording

  • The recent Awnings Act, which Espinal introduced last year but only passed recently.
  • His feelings on abolishing the Public Advocate’s office.
  • What kinds of legislation he would push for as Public Advocate.
  • How he would balance the desire for green space against the need for low-income and affordable housing, both as it relates to homeowners and apartment-dwellers.
  • The Amazon HQ2 deal.
  • Development and affordable housing in East New York.
  • His position on universal rent control; how he defines it and his level of support for the concept, including commercial rent control.
  • His own evolution, from his relationship to the conservative party and Vito Lopez to his more recent endorsements of Bernie Sanders.
  • ICE’s presence in courthouses arresting undocumented immigrants.
  • As second in line to the Mayor, should he be asked to step into the role of Mayor, what does he feel his qualifications are?
  • He talks about his educational background and why he chose to enter public service.
  • What reassurances he can give homeowners, that their property values won’t suffer from having affordable housing increases.
  • Where does he stand on placard abuse, and how would he deal with the problem?
  • What other offices would he be interested in, if he doesn’t get the Public Advocate role?
  • The process related to the recent L-Train shutdown (and un-shutdown), and how the city and state relate to one another about the MTA
  • Education policy, his educational experience, and what he sees as the future of improving NYC’s schools.
  • The R Train and what, as Public Advocate, Espinal will do to make sure the trains have improved service.
  • Climate change.
  • The rising number of hate crimes in New York City.

Read more about Rafael Espinal


Check out more from Solidarity Space’s Public Advocates series

We have already posted audio from Jumaane William’s appearance, with more to come soon!

Credits
This episode was recorded at Solidarity Space, a community space in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Recording is by Rachel Brody. Post-production and editing are by Daniel Hetteix.

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