9 thoughts on “NY State Senator Olga Mendez and the future of El Barrio: Where to next?

  1. Honoring Senator Mendez
    I am pleased that Senator Mendez is being honored by your organization. It is important that our future generation of political aspirants and activists know that Senator Mendez was a good legislator and a loyal Puerto Rican woman to the East Harlem community. I am proud of her accomplishments and hope she stays around to mentor the young and visionary Jose Marcos Serrano. Like your organization, I, too would like to see a passing of the torch and a cooperative transition. I am very passionate about this idea because after i was elected to the NYS Assembly in 1995 the brother of the late Assemblyman Angelo Deltoro did not pass the torch, did not brief me on pending legislation, and did not partake in the transition of my administration. I don’t want us to make the same mistake again and disregard the significant contributions that Senator Mendez achieved on behalf of the Puerto Rican community. Although i did not support her in her relection, i still respect her for the courage and strength to represent our community. While, i did not agree with many positions she took, I think it is important for my children to know that was the first Puerto Rican State Senator from El Barrio. I will work hard to mend fences and build bridges between our newly elected Senator and our outgoing Senadora. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Unity
    Recognizing our leaders– their strengths — and emulating these must be our focus and not picking at old wounds and scars. You’re right to want to build on precedence and push forward. I also agree that vision is needed if El Barrio and other neighborhoods like it are going to thrive, not only survive.

    Political leadership is but one form of leadership. And true leadership is nonpartisan by nature if it is inspired by the people it represents. I think it is important to honor Senator Olga Mendez and her 27 years of service. There is so much knowledge and wisdom in that lady!

    But don’t think she’s falling off the edge of the earth because she is no longer State Senator. On the contrary, she is in the process of reinventing herself.

  3. PR’s and other constituents
    El Barrio is no longer El Barrio. Maybe it never was. It is important to recognize that while we always expect our leaders who are of Puerto Rican descent to represent us — as it should be — we must also keep in mind that they may have a more diverse constituency. That is, they represent us as well as other Latinos and non-Latinos. Effective leadership must then meet the challenges of its entire constituency. I have yet to see a history of New York on a micro level — that examines a district in terms of its constituencies and posits an agenda that serves the common good — if there is or ever was such a thing. I think there is. I believe Barrio Dreams by Arlene Davila provided a good deal of information in terms of the warring factions or constituents that are pitted against each other. But the role of politicians and how they are or are not effected was not addressed. Neither did Davila have this as her intention.

    Such a work would be invaluable for assessing effective leadership.

    Sorry I couldnt be present for the event Celebratng Olg Mendez.

    However, I did hear, Im sure accurately, that she was presented by the Hon Congressman Charles Rangel & the Hon Secretary of State Randy Daniels — both of whom spoke beautifully of her.

    Isnt it odd that this Puerto Rican woman of significant accomplishment was not also introduced by a Puerto Rican, at the very least a Latino.

    How odd!

    I was there and she was introduced by one of the founders of PRdream who is boricua. The polititicians just took over the mike and the hostess subtlely got it back.

    Sorry Clara but the hostess of the evening does not count. You know that.

    If the hostess had been an elected official, then that would count. What counts is the calibre of the elected officials who introduced her; at least a CEO of a major community organization or corporation.

    Im talking about elected officials or community leaders who have been her constituency over the years, not Ms Escalona.

    Im sure Cong Rangel and Secy of St Daniels spoke for some time. Did Ms Escalona speak for 10, 15 minutes.

    Its better to not respond than to quibble in your response.

  7. You shouldn’t especially since you weren’t there!
    You’re right! You weren’t there so that you don’t know the tone of the event which was great. I hope PRdream puts up some of the pictures. There were many taking photographs and videos too. Then you would see how wonderful an evening it was.

    Did you miss my point. I didnt say the event could not have been a success.

    My point, and only point, is that Sen Mendez was NOT introduced by a significant member of the Latino leadership. Ms Escalona is not a political organization or business titan of the community, as fine a person as she may be.

    Hon C Rangel & Hon Randy Daniels are titans of the African American community.

    Thats my point. Where were WE!

    Part of the problem with the current race, if youll pardon the expression, is that Sila Calderon decided not to run for a second term.

    This is unfortunate because she had quite a lot of popular appeal and appeared to be on the right (no pun intended) of most issues.

    I am mystified by players who seek political office gain it then have changes of heart, when the rule of thumb is that you cannot reach your objectives in only one term.

    Of course, the entension is unappealing — seeking to say in office for life; but Silas bowing out has given me pause about her intrinsic worthiness.

    Needless to say, this was music to the ears of Rosello, who I have no doubt would not have run had Sila run for a second term.

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