It’s a really hard time to be a Latina and a local politics wonk.
Leslie Acosta — one of two Latino state lawmakers from Philly, and the only Latina in the state legislature — has been convicted of conspiring to commit money laundering. She hasn’t been sentenced yet, and is reportedly cooperating with the prosecution of Renee Tartaglione, her former boss at a Fairhill mental health clinic who has been charged by the feds with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funding. (Tartaglione has pleaded not guilty.)
Acosta is the daughter of a politician, as is Tartaglione, and both are heavily enmeshed in legacy politics that seem as unscrupulous as they are melodramatic: full of feuds and deals cut over the Puerto Rican version of a cortadito.
Now, the thing about Acosta is that she had appeared, mostly, to be above the mischief and trash talk of Barrio politics, and came off as earnest, thoughtful and affable. So much so, in fact, that it began to appear possible that there would be some sort of détente enacted between the Democratic machine-backed Acosta and the fiercely independent councilwoman the Democratic machine loves to hate, María Quiñones-Sánchez.
But the promise Acosta offered — and the possibility of two industrious Latina pols working in concert to better the lot of some of the poorest residents of the city — has gone up in smoke.
As a Latina who writes about a Latinx community that is too often neglected and far too often underestimated, the disappointment I feel is more than just personal. Read more »