January 7, 2009

Challengers for Melissa?

East Harlem- January 7, 2009. Now that the year has begun, it is time to turn our attention to one of the many upcoming elections that will take place this year. It’s hard to believe but East Harlem’s City Council race is fast upon us. Who knew time would past so fast?

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-ViveritoCurrent East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito has the greatest advantage in being the incumbent. She has been the most visible elected official in East Harlem for any kind of event since her election in 2005. This says much about here determination to represent the community. And it says a lot about the lack of attention other elected officials don’t pay to our community.

Councilwoman Mark-Viverito attained her current position by garnering 25% of the vote in the September 2005 Democratic Primary. If the number of those who support her remains the same, then she can expect a tough uphill fight in the upcoming Democratic primary from the challengers below. If she has increased support during the last four years, then all challengers will face the uphill battle to unseat her.

Just who are these possible candidates? The rumor mill is churning with the following names as potential candidates and challengers to Councilwomen Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Nelson Antonio Denis
Former East Harlem Assemblyman Nelson Antonio Denis has been rumored to be interested in the city council seat. He has a history of being a hard and dedicated campaigner and a great public speaker. He also has a history of unseating incumbents. Not a bad skill especially if one wants to unseat an incumbent. Other Denis pluses are his ability to bring diverse groups of people together, his genuine friendliness, and his retention and dissemination of salient facts. In other words, he gets along with others, knows what he is talking about and how to convey to an audience.

Hector Santana

Former Adam C. Powell, Chief of Staff, and Empire State Development Corporation administrator has also been rumored to want to run for the East Harlem city council seat. Mr. Santana is experience in putting together business initiatives which pan out and work. He has been instrumental in creating the East Harlem Tourism Board. He has also implemented business initiatives in both East Harlem and Washington Heights. He volunteered at ground zero after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. It seems Hector Santana is ready to seek elective office,

Possibilities

How does all this pan out? It all depends on two things. How much stronger or weaker Councilwoman Mark-Viverito has gotten over the last four years and how her challenger’s do during the campaign. Incumbencies are a great thing to have when you win by a majority, but when you win with only 25% of the vote the odds may not be with the incumbent. Only time, a lot of work and energies will tell. It will also greatly help the councilwoman if she continues to received the support of the 1199 union.

It remains to be seen if anyone will in fact challenge Councilwoman Mark-Viverito. What what success if any they may have. Four years is a long time for the Councilwoman to solidify her base of support and add to it. Odds are always in favor of the incumbent, incumbent slayers not withstanding. What do you think?

Posted by Jose at 3:00 AM

September 21, 2008

Open Letter to the Community

East Harlem - September 18, 2008. Congressman Rangel e-mailed this open letter to the community. East Harlem.com presents it here for your information:

The campaign season has begun, and to no great surprise, I'm now a Republican talking point. But I assure you, I've brought no dishonor to my family, the Congress, my constituents, or my country.

Photo the statue erected in honor of Dr. J. Marion Sims in 1894 on East 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue, on the border of Central Park.My Democratic colleagues in the House – and, privately, many Republicans – have rallied on my behalf. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team have embraced me while denouncing Republican politics as usual. My colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee and members of the New York delegation are standing tall by my side. Most importantly, my family, neighbors, constituents, pastors, and community leaders are solidly with me.

Last July, the Republican Party declared guerrilla war against Democrats and since then has made every effort to smear me and members of my party. It wasn't enough that they had denied 10 million American children healthcare, blocked extension of unemployment benefits, and tried to scuttle $2 billion in promised 9-11 recovery funds for New York.

My record in the Ways and Means Committee and 38 years in Congress is unassailable, so they've pried into my private life and used insinuation and half-truths to write stories that sell papers – what car I drive; where I live; where I vacation with my family; and how I handle my personal finances. They've piled on, even questioning my motives for raising funds for a public college in my district.

I've never violated the public trust, so I'm not worried. I've laid all the available facts on the table and answered every allegation, all of which were based on inaccurate newspaper stories. At my request, the Ethics Committee is investigating whether I've committed any errors of omission. Independent experts are being called in to correct any mistakes in my government filings. In the meantime, my work as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee has not been affected in any way.

For now, nothing is more important than victory in November. So, I'll continue doing my best to help elect Barack Obama president and to expand the Democratic majority in Congress. At stake are all the hopes of Americans to turn this country around and ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren.

The devastating meltdown of the economy has made even clearer the urgent need for an end to policies that favor war over prosperity and greed over fairness. Next year, the nation's priorities must be the creation of jobs, health care for all Americans, the best education for our children, security for our seniors, and the restoration of fairness to our tax system. Those aspirations will be realized only with President Obama in the White House and a strong progressive-minded Congress behind him.

Thank you for the prayers and all of the support over the years.

Sincerely,
-Charlie

Charles B. Rangel
Member of Congress

Posted by Jose at 1:03 AM

August 19, 2007

Johnny Runs For District Leader

Johnny C. Rivera, a community activist for most of his life is running for a leadership position within the Democratic Party, he is running for District Leader in Party A in East Harlem. Although Mr. Rivera has usually been seen as one who helps others with their political campaigns , this is the first time that Mr. Rivera is the candidate.

Johnny C. Rivera is a product of East Harlem, born and raised.

Congressional Representative
Mr. Johnny Rivera was Congressman Charles B. Rangels representative in East Harlem, where he was the director of operations for more than three years. In his autobiography, Congressman Rangel specifically mentions Johnny: Holding down and keeping me up in El Barrio/East Harlem is Johnny Rivera, who shares his experience with me and is a great Community Adviser. Those are remarks befitting someone who has impacted positively on El Barrio/East Harlem.

Photo of Democratic Party candidate, Johnny C. Rivera, photo taken August 18, 2007Community Commitment
Johnnys commitment to Community Service began many years earlier when he was a teenager participating in the Youth Action Program. He learned form this experience that in spite of being poor we have a duty and responsibility to serve our community and be part of the solution. Later on, he organized a successful protest demanding that the local elected officials stop blocking state funds to renovate an abandoned building to be used for affordable housing. The protest was a rousing success, the funds were released and the building was renovated providing much needed housing for the people of East Harlem. This magnificent accomplishment won Johnny recognition from the Citizens Committee of New York City who conferred upon him their prized New Yorker for New York Award.

Johnny also partnered with philanthropist Eugene Lang to create the celebrated I Have a Dream Program back in 1982, which provided graduates of elementary school PS 121 located on East 102 Street, with assured college tuition and enrichment programming. Johnny developed the intervention model used to prevent high school drop-outs and increase access to a college education that is used throughout the Nation and also abroad. In her celebrated book, titled Within Our Reach, Elizabeth Schorr writes, It became the mission of trouble-shooter Rivera to carry the message (stay in school and go to college) in his frequent encounters with the youngsters. Since the first program at P.S. 121 in 1981, the I Have a Dream Program has helped over 15,000 students from low-income communities nationwide reach their education and career goals.

School Board Member
Thereafter, Johnny Rivera was elected to the school board and served as its president. In that capacity, Johnny lobbied City Hall for funds to restore the Auditorium in PS 57, and as a result, $1.3 million dollars were earmarked for the renovation.

Community Board # 11
Since then, Johnny has also been the Chairman of the Land-Use Committee for Community Board #11, served on the Professional Advisory Committee to the Little Sisters of the Assumption and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, the Youth Action Program, and the East Harlem Block School Nurseries.

Mr. Rivera graduated from Hunter College with a degree in Political Science, and is presently earning a Masters Degree in Urban Policy at the Milano School for Management and Urban Policy of the New School. He and his lovely wife have been married for 13 years, and they have an 11year old son who attends a local public school. Mr. Rivera and his family are life long residents of East Harlem.

Webmaster's Note: East Harlem.com rarely endorses candidates for local offices. But Johnny C. Rivera is one of the few exceptions in this year's races. Johnny is a very determined individual who can re-build and strengthen Part A. You can't do better than vote for Johnny.

Posted by Jose at 9:29 PM

August 18, 2007

District Leadership Endorsements

East Harlem, August 18, 2007. It's been a while, but East Harlem.com is coming out with endorsements this year in the races for District Leader. We are happy to endorse Johnny C. Rivera in Part "A" and Harry Rodriguez in Part "B" of the Democratic Party . (From left to right in the photo to the left is Johnny C. Rivera and incumbent Democratic District Leader Harry Rodriguez.). Don't forget to vote for these gentlemen.

Photo of Mr. Johnny C. Rivera and Democratic District Leader, Mr. Harry Rodriguez Editors Note: East Harlem, October 22, 2007. Mr. Johnny C. Rivera was unsuccessful in his attempt to become the Democratic District Leader in Part "A" of the 68th district. But he put up a great fight, and has forged many new relationships which can only help foster a better East Harlem. East Harlem.com looks forward to Mr. Rivera's next race. He will eventually succeed.

Mr. Harry Rodriguez trounced the competition and even fielded County Committeemen of which this author is proud to serve. Thank you for the opportunity Mr. Rodriguez.

Posted by Jose at 5:36 PM

February 12, 2007

Irag, Determination and the Lack thereof

East Harlem, February 14, 2007. The war in Irag has divided this nation between those who support it and those who wish for the United State to pull out unilaterally. Of course both options can not be right. There is only one correct option to take.

Protestors protesting Army Career Center.Most Democrats advocate pulling out of the war. They site many reasons. For instance they say we were duped into the war with lies. And now they say that lives are being wasted each and every day. That "the cost is too high"

Other Democrats and Republicans do not advocate a withdrawal at all. They say that it would give the wrong signal to this nation's enemies and bring further terrorism to our country.

This writer believes that regardless of the reasons for the start of the war, that pulling out of the war like frightened little chickens will indeed embolden our enemies. Enemies who respect neither diplomacy or any type of reason (remember 9/11). They only respect the utmost cruelty as is evident in their fighting amongst themselves.

Seeing the United States pull out of the war will send the wrong signal to all terrorist. They, who only respect force, will see us as not having the stomach to defend ourselves. We will become targets until their terrorism hardens us to the point of saying "no mas" and taking very direct and absolute action.

Those who advocate pulling out of the war are very naive. They believe the world will leave us alone if only we "behaved". They forget the lessons of history on ignoring evil, which is that the worst thing to do about evil is nothing. It only encourages it further. History tends to repeat itself because we will always have those bent on forcing their will on free men everywhere. Free men, must first of all be men about their fate and defend their freedom. Free men takes chances in defending their freedom and many do pay the ultimate price for that freedom with their very lives.

It sickens this writer that many are using the excuse that "people are dying" to try to end the war. Yes, unfortunately many brave men and women are dying in Irag. We should honor them for their contribution to that nation and our nation's freedom. The military has always known its job and done it's job, that of being prepared and that of fighting in times of war. It's what they do Dammit! The argument is like saying that we should not have policemen on the street because they might get hurt. It's foolishness.

Getting hurt and dying are possibilities for our brave men and women in the police force and in the U.S. military. They are trained well to fight well. They are not trained to think like those back home advocating withdrawal. Who not only do not want our nation's troops to do what has to be done, but they themselves have not contributed to our freedom and then criticize those that do from a safe distance.

The U.S. needs to increase it's participation in this war and expand it to neighboring Iran, whose expected nuclear weapons will not make things easier in the future. Iran has helped create the road bombs which have killed many of our brave men and women. And we do own them a little something for the Hostage taking back in the 1980s. It's time we settle all past business with Iran.

We will have to fight that fight with only half a backbone though. As the two ultra-liberal coasts engage in reliving the 60's with sad protest showing only how much afraid we are of defending ourselves. Again, it is sickening. What would World War I and World War II, Korean veterans think about our lack of will? I know what terrorist are thinking, they are beginning to believe that we do not have the will to fight them, and so they will continue to hunt us in the hopes of bending us to their way of thinking.

It's up to you America. Fight now or fight later after we have been nuked once or twice. After that I know we will have righteous indignation and take the appropriate action.

At that time, those who did not advocate for the defense of this nation should be held responsible for making matters worse by weakening our resolve and by encouraging the enemy. Since we are at war, those who help the enemy whether through encouragement or by wanting a cowardly withdrawal should be tried for treason and punished to the fullest extent of the law. This should be reserved for elected officials only. Who should know better. They should have chosen to defend this nation's freedom instead of posturing as an apostle of peace. A strong defenses brings about peace, not the fear of war, withdrawal or inaction.

Until then the brave will continue their struggle to defend this nation. May God Bless them. Keep them in your prayers. We are lucky to have such brave men and women amongst us.

President John F. Kennedy - Inaugural speech, January 1961,
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Whatever did happen to those Democrats of old?

Posted by Jose at 8:46 PM

March 19, 2006

State of the Neighborhood

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito's first State of the Neighborhood report to the community as originally reported on the Gottham Gazette.

Photo of Councilwoman Melissa Mark-ViveritoMayor Michael Bloombergs State of the City speech focused on many of the issues that I seek to address and make a priority during my term in office. Chief among them are housing and health.

The neighborhoods in my district include El Barrio/East Harlem, part of the Upper West Side and part of the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. In East Harlem alone we have 10 housing projects, including the large Wagner Houses complex. One section of the district reportedly contains the lowest-income census tract in the city.

Bloomberg talked about reducing poverty in his State of the City address. This year, well launch a public-private task force modeled on our task force to end chronic homelessness that will attack chronic unemployment and poverty in the homes and neighborhoods where the need is greatest, he said. Well launch our first pilot programs in three communities where the problems have long been entrenched Bushwick, Melrose, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. I welcome creative approaches to tackling our pressing issues. As legislators it is our responsibility to ensure that the public policies that guide this city address the systemic problems that contribute to such inequities. The Mayor has committed himself to seriously tackling these concerns in a non-partisan manner and I welcome that approach. I look forward to the work of this public-private task force as it seeks to determine the underlying causes of chronic unemployment and poverty and will join the dialogue as it progresses.

Affordable Housing, Public Housing

Despite the income disparity of many of my constituents with other parts of the city, were seeing property values rise as the area begins to gentrify. That creates an urgent need to maintain the affordable housing stock that already exists, as well as develop new units. I seek to address our affordable housing crisis by looking at innovative ways that we can safeguard Mitchell Lama housing units as well as looking at public policy and legislation that will facilitate the creation of new affordable units.

The mayor noted in his address that he would build or preserve 165,000 new units in the next seven years as part of his $7.5 billion housing plan. I welcome the challenge, but we must first address how we define affordability if we seek to tackle the issue effectively.

Weve also got to address problems residents are facing in our public housing. After serving as council member for only several weeks, I am finding that the vast majority of constituent requests are related to public housing concerns. My district is home to ten percent of New York Citys public housing stock -- one of the highest concentrations in the city. The challenges that confront New York Citys public housing system will be a priority during my tenure and I will work alongside tenant leaders and New York City Housing Authority to ensure that we improve existing conditions.

Diabetes, Asthma, AIDS

On the health front, a recent New York Times article highlighted East Harlem as an epicenter of the diabetes epidemic in the city. The article pointed out that residents of this part of my district die of diabetes at twice the rate of people in the city as a whole. Bloomberg also recognized this crisis in his address, saying the citys goal is now to reduce the number of New Yorkers at the highest risk for diabetes complications by 20 percent by the end of 2008. The first step will be reporting blood sugar test results to the Department of Health. I will seek to work with my districts health facilities to raise greater awareness among all constituents and will work alongside the Department of Health to ensure that we are aggressive about reducing the number of individuals at high risk.

Whats more, district 8 also has one of the highest rates of asthma in the city, and the second highest HIV infection rate. We have to address these issues by allocating greater funds to prevention and engaging our communities in visible public educational campaigns as a means of raising awareness.

Between health and housing, my district desperately needs big-picture problem solving as well as help with every-day troubles.

Service Provider Summit

Currently, we are still assessing how we will structure the constituent services division of our office. I see myself, and the work that I will engage in, as one that will facilitate change within the district. My office will work in partnership with the local stakeholders to fulfill our greater vision of community empowerment. There are many agencies providing great services to this district. It is my aim to build a strong, cohesive partnership with them that I believe can work in tandem with this office.

I will hold a series of service provider summits in order to develop a better sense of the work they are engaged in and to outline the ways we best can work together. Its a critical role: working in partnership with the service organizations and also being able to hold them accountable for the work theyre directed to do. I will be looking at how to serve as that nexus for my constituents.

I have had instances where people have walked into our office seeking help filling out paperwork for a myriad of benefits. Ideally, my office would link that constituent up with a local service provider better suited to assist them. For example, we have constituents walking in with concerns about enrolling in Medicares Part D drug benefit. A senior center here already does exactly that kind of work. So from this office, we can call and make an appointment for the constituent and follow up afterwards, making sure he or she went to the senior center and that the visit ran smoothly. This kind of relationship will enable us as an office, and me as a city council member, to help my constituents while maximizing our time to tackle large-scale issues like public housing or the affordable housing crisis. It is my hope to serve as a strong voice for a community that has been greatly disenfranchised.

Melissa Mark Viverito represents district 8 in the New York City Council

http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/fea/20060130/202/1741

Posted by Jose at 7:00 PM

September 28, 2005

Melissa Wins! Hard Work Ahead

East Harlem - September 28, 2005. Melissa Mark Viverito has won East Harlem's city council seat, beating Felipe Luciano by less than a few hundred votes. But Melissa has a lot of hard work ahead of her.

Photo of Councilwoman Melissa Mark ViveritoShe garnered 25% of the vote and barely beat Mr. Luciano. There is no shame in this, it is what is it is. A win is a win is a win. What is the best thing about squeaking by? Builidng on it of course!

Melissa has the opportunity to consolidate future support and an other possible term if she plays her cards right. Mostly, reaching out to all the players, institutional heads, leaders both moral and political and the public at large. This is important because although she won, more people voted against her than for her (3 to 1). And Melissa needs to increase her votes from 25% to 50%+1.

Being the smart young lady that she is, Melissa will probably aim for 75%-100% of the vote. I know I would.

There is a lot to celebrate in Melissa's win. (1) East Harlem Finally has a representative in the city council. This is as oppose to have a West Sider represent our community. It should never ever happen again. (2) One of our own (insert Puerto Rican here) is representing us again and boy it's been a while. (3) Melissa actually lives in the community. This writer should know, she is a neighbor of mine. (4) Melissa offers a fresh new start.

Issues Melissa should concentrate on: Housing, Housing and Housing. And did I mention Housing? Both for the under and middle class, but no more luxury housing. And the community board must be representative of the community in it's makeup. Nothing further need be said on that issue.

Other than that, the Councilwoman should just reach out to everyone. Give yourself away and you will find that your efforts will be rewarded ten fold. JBR

Posted by Jose at 4:39 AM

September 7, 2005

City Council Candidate's Forum

Democratic candidates vying to be the next representative of the 8th City Council District gathered at a forum August 16, 2005 to discuss how each would address the interest of the immigrant community if they were elected to the coveted position. Story by Leon Tulton

Photo of Candidates for City Council sitting at tableAddressing the mostly Latino audience, the candidates, who are Nelson Denis, Joyce Johnson, Felipe Luciano, and John Ruiz, answered the questions of the moderator and residents about concerns ranging from immigrant street vendors being harassed by the police to access to affordable housing. The common themes that the candidates stated were helping undocumented immigrants to integrate into the larger community, improving the local schools, and creating more affordable housing for life-long residents.

Denis, founder and director of a free community legal clinic and former state assemblymember, argued that he would fight for the immigrant communitys right to vote in municipal elections. He stated that many residents, who are undocumented, lack voter representation and the power to vote would make elected officials accountable to their needs. Theres no reason why any immigrant who works, pays taxes, pays rent, and has kids in our public schools should not be entitled to vote in the municipal election regardless of citizenship, Denis said. This is a nation of immigrantsIts un-American.

Johnson, director of operations of a Bronx charter school and former executive director to former-New York City School Chancellor Rudy Crew, explained that she would utilize immigrant coalitions in the community to act as a liaison between herself and the immigrant community. Much of the immigrant community has fear [of approaching elected officials about their concerns], she stated. Johnson cited how many immigrants are exploited by unscrupulous employers (i.e. being denied health benefits or paid below the federal minimum wage) and are afraid to tell their stories of abuse for fear of being reported to immigration officials. Im going to [go to] them neighbor to neighbor to say What are your problems, what are your needs and how can I help because Im here to serve the community.

Luciano, a former broadcast journalist and former co-founder of the Young Lords Party, the Latino equivalent of the Black Panther Party, argued that he would use his position as a councilmember to insure that immigrants will be able to sell their products on the street without being harassed by the police. According to Luciano, he explained that earlier immigrants, such as Italians and Greeks, made a living by selling their products on the streets like todays group of immigrants. He added that the descendants of the earlier immigrant groups have suffered from cultural amnesia and now are treating the new generation of immigrants as their ancestors were treated. They are picked up, their [products] are thrashed, they are ignored and discriminated [by the police], Luciano explained. Those are the things that I want to rectify because they [Latinos] are the next group [of immigrants].

Ruiz, a retired New York City firefighter and Democratic District Leader, also reiterated the problem of immigrant street merchants being harassed by the police due to their undocumented status. I think that the desire of every immigrant who comes to East Harlem is to be documented and become a U.S. citizen, he said. They want the right to an American life. Ruiz stated that he would as councilmember expand the work that his organization does in helping immigrants obtain a individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) that allows them to pay taxes without a social security number. He argued that immigrants with a ITIN applying for legal status or U.S. citizenship are perceived more favorably by the U.S. government because they are contributing revenue.

Regarding the issue of education, the candidates agreed that the quality needed improvement and each stated their own reasons why local schools have failed the communitys children and ways to remedy the problem. The schools have historically been failing schools, Johnson described the declining quality of the communitys learning institutions. She stated that a good-quality education is a key component for residents to improve their lives. Denis explained that he would pressure City Hall to demand from the state the money awarded to the city from a 2003 state court of appeal decision that ruled that the state must spend an additional $4 billion on the citys public school children. More than half of our population does not have a high school diploma, Denis said. He explained that factors such as family and work obligation may force a person to drop out of school. Denis proposed that he would expand the use of neighborhood schools for evening and adult education programs such as computer literacy and G.E.D classes. Both Luciano and Ruiz argued that they would add vocational training courses to local schools as alternatives to academic classes. Luciano added that he would also advocate for more certified teachers and the inclusion of history reflecting the countries of immigrant students as part of the academic curriculum. We need an educational system that is diverse, he stated.

All the candidates also agreed that affordable housing is an important issue that affects both immigrant and non-immigrant residents in the district. The contenders stated that many of the housing in the community, especially new apartments being developed, do not follow the 80/20 housing formula that requires 20 percent of the units in a residential building be affordable to low-income tenants earning no more than 50 percent of areas median income. Theres a tremendous overdevelopment of inaccessible and unaffordable housing, Denis charged. There should be no more than 25 percent of your income [going to rent.] He stated that part of the problem that contributes to a shortage of affordable housing is when landlords dont release (a.k.a. warehousing) affordable apartments that were vacated until the housing market increases. Denis said that he would create an anti-warehouse bill that would prevent landlords from holding out on apartments when affording housing is needed. He added that he would advocate for the establishment of regional landlord-tenant courts in the community where tenants being displaced and who dont have access to the legal system can go to resolve housing issues without leaving the area. Johnson and Ruiz argued that they would push for the preservation and additional development of Mitchell-Lama housing. Both claim that the Mitchell-Lama housing will allow young professionals who want to stay in the community to raise their families without being priced out. Ruiz also suggested that he would advocate for the 80/20 housing formula to be revised. According to Ruiz, he proposed a 50/25/25 formula that would allot 50 percent of the housing units to market value prices while the remaining two 25 percent will be dedicated to middle class and low-income families.

Luciano explained that he would use the councilmember position as a bully pulpit to argue for the elimination of the Urstadt Law, a state law that removed the decision-making power about rent regulation from the city government in 1971. We need to bring home rule back to New York City, he argued. Luciano stated that the return of power to regulate the rent in the city would help to ease the increasing rent in communities like East Harlem.

The 8th City Council district is an area that is split between the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx and a mosaic of communities, consisting of East Harlem, Manhattan Valley, and parts of Mott Haven. These neighborhoods in the district are diverse in racial, class, and economic composition. Although the community is affectionately known as El Barrio by its long-time residents of Puerto Rican descent, the area has become home to a new growing immigrant populace primarily from Mexico. The current elected representative of this district, Philip Reed who has served as the areas councilmember for eight years, will not be running for re-election due to the citys term limit mandate. In an earlier article published July 29th on Gothamgazette.com, Councilmember Reed had some advice to whoever is elected his successor. Voters want to know that youll hard for them and be fair and straight forward, the article quoted him. The rest of it, they are very forgiving.

Writers note: Since the forum was conducted in Spanish, this writer contacted the candidates to schedule a one-on-one interview to reiterate their statements for the purpose of this article. Melissa Mark Viverito, another candidate who attended the forum, was contacted numerous times to arrange an interview. However representatives from her office did not respond in time for this story.

You can reach Leon Tulton at leontulton@yahoo.com

Posted by Jose at 12:37 AM

September 5, 2005

Liberals Blame Misery on President Bush

East Harlem, August 5, 2005. America's crazys reacted knee jerk style after Hurrican Katrina hit New Orleans, by blaming President Bush for moving too slowly. Congressional "leaders" and the left wing media spent all of Friday reporting about the Federal Government being "Too Little Too Late".

Photo of President BushIn the media's haste to bash President Bush, they lost their common reporting sense. Every where the media turned misery was there to be reported about. And yes there was (and is) enough misery to cover three southern states (Louisiana, Alabama and parts of Mississippi).

How the media expects there to be no misery is beyond this writer's comprehension. How the media expects the US Federal government to ensure that every single person and every single acre of land is "taken care of" by the fourth day is beyond reason. Yet this is exactly the media expects by the way it is reporting the news.

Some facts are in order. The Hurricane hit Monday. No way to tell what is damaged and who is hurt until it passes. Tuesday, is spent getting to places to assess the damage. No single entity can be at all places in such a short period of time to give a complete picture. Wednesday, progress is being made with the assessment. Relief can be brought in, but it can't be at all places within a 24 hours period. Thursday, a better picture emerges as to what needs to be done. The bigger the picture of what needs to be done, the more planning is needed to get things in order to do them. Since we are talking about three states, it has to be planned right, done right. Yet left wing wackos begin their howling basically calling for everyone to be helped at once! Which we all know is not possible in such a short period of time. Massive amounts of relief materials and workers have to be organized and moved.

Now that relief is getting into the states, the media has shifted its focus to what could have been done (bad hindsight) and how many have suffered. Congressional "leaders" including some from New York protested that the President was too late, that he may have been biased. Kinda silly since the south voted for the President.

In a time a crisis doesn't the nation deserve the leadership of this country to present a united front, to rally all of us to get involved and or give? But that is not what the Democratic Leadership of this country did. They decided to make this a partisan political issue. And for the second time in my life I am ashamed to be called a Democrat (the first being when the democrats in congress walked out of the capital in protest of the impeachment of President Clinton, when they should have been embarrassed for the nation and impeached him for abusing his power over a subordinate. Democrats are funny, when it came to Sen. Packwood, it was "get rid of him, he is abusing women", but when President Clinton did it, it became a private matter. But who ever said liberals have morals?

This writer does not believe we should have two sets of rules, one for democrats in office and another for republicans in office. As a Christian I believe that when either do wrong, then they shoud suffer the consequences.

Today the wackos marched in New York City against the President for what they consider his slowness in getting aid to the south. Where were they when Clinton sent troops to Africa? Where were they when the Cubans and Sandinistas killed political prisoners?

When will they speak up against the atrocities occuring in China, North Korea? But, they won't, as they love those socialist/communist countries. A pity they don't move there and let the rest of us freedom loving people live without their complaints.

In short it is a shame that four days after this nation's biggest natural disaster that Democrats, Liberals, the left wing media and other assorted Wackos, are throwing stones instead of lending a hand.

Posted by Jose at 12:21 AM

November 27, 2004

Serrano Wins

East Harlem, November 2, 2004. Bronx Councilman, Jose Serrano, beat incumbent State Senator, Olga Mendez in the 28 State Senate general election. Mr. Serrano won by over 81% of the vote. He garnered 47, 915 votes compared to Senator Mendez's 10,365 votes.

Photo State Senator-Elect, Jose SerranoCouncilman Serrano, the son of Congressman Jose Serrano, was practically guaranteed the win after State Senator Mendez left the Democratic Party to become a Republican. Senator Mendez was not helped by the fact that she was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to office in the continental U.S. Nor that she has help to bring needed funds to the community in her over 25 years in office.

Senator Mendez will be missed. She is a fighter and cared deeply for her community. With many hispanics voting Republican lately, it can be said that Senator Mendez even pioneered that movement.

As for Councilman Serrano, State Senator Elect Serrano, he is on his way to the state house. This writer had an opportunity to speak with him before election day. Although he knew I supported Nelson Denis, his then Democratic challenger, during the Democratic Primaries, he did what most local East Harlem politicians do not do. He thought nothing of it. He did not try to chastise, or become critical. He did say that East Harlem is too factionalized and that factionalization gets one nowhere. He went on to say that we need to unite in this community. Hel also mentioned one of my favorite topics as one of his first areas of concern, that being of the housing issue and gentrification.

This writer will miss State Senator Mendez. She is a dynamic leader. But this writer also looks forward to helping Senator Serrano and any elected official who can put the community's agenda ahead of their own and unite us all.

Posted by Jose at 10:06 PM

July 25, 2004

Nelson Denis Gains Strength

East Harlem - July 25, 2004. Former Assemblyman, Nelson Antonio Denis' campaign for State Senate has been steadily gathering steam in El Barrio.

Mr. Denis has received the support of many East Harlemites, including The Women of El Barrio, Melissa Mark Viverito, the East Harlem Clergy Association, the East Harlem Gladiators, James De La Vega, Marie Dickson, Willie Mae Goodman, Cedric McClester, Sr. Leontine O'Gorman, Carmen Quinones, and former opponent, John Ruiz, who has decided to run for the State Assembly instead.

Mr. Denis recently opened his campaign office at 413 East 114th Street (between First and Pleasant Avenues. This is where the Denis campaign will coordinate their great effort to ensure that East Harlem is not absorbed by the Bronx Political Machine.

Mr. Denis faces two opponents from the Bronx. One is a child prodigy of a famous congressman and the other not well known. In either case, non are from El Barrio, or know much about it. And East Harlem is very picky about it's leadership. East Harlemites can smell the good, the bad and the ugly from miles away. This writer puts East Harlem squarely in Mr. Denis' corner.

How about the The Bronx you might ask? Well the people of the Bronx may be in for a pleasant surprise by the highly driven, very energetic and charasmatic leader who is Nelson Antonio Denis. They have never seen someone speak as elquently and with such vigor as Nelson Denis can. And he can do it in Spanich too. He will leave them breathless. Junior will not have a chance (Jose Serrano, Jr.)

Wish to know more?
Nelson Antonio Denis Campaign Headquaters
413 East 114th Street (between First and Pleasant Avenues
New York, NY 10029
212-568-0230
NelsonDenis248@aol.com

Posted by Jose at 11:51 PM

May 28, 2004

Puerto Rican Flag

A very well written article by Democratic District Leader Evette Zayas and 68th Assembly District Intern Yelimar Quinones. Our thanks to Assemblyman Adam Powell's Office for this article.

ATTENTION!!! ALL PUERTO RICANS WE INVITE YOU TO TAKE PRIDE IN OUR FLAG!


Pride is something people demonstrate in different ways. One way Puerto Ricans demonstrate pride is by displaying their flag during times of celebration. The biggest celebration known to all Puerto Ricans is the Puerto Rican Day Parade. At times people say I am proud to be a Puerto Rican. Why is it that Puerto Ricans display the Puerto Rican flag to show their pride? An answer to this question can be better understood by learning about the origin of the Puerto Rican flag. The historical origin of our flag tells the history of a people that wanted their land to be distinctly recognized for what it was, not for who it belonged to. As time goes by and people are willing to accept and understand other peoples culture, new alternatives are being sought to teach our children about themselves and others. One of the subjects that should be taught to our children is flag etiquette and that is something that unfortunately a lot of us Puerto Ricans have failed to take into consideration.

According to recent research conducted by Evette Zayas, District Leader 68th Assembly District Part A and Constituent Liaison to Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, and Yelimar Quiones, intern to Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, in pursuit of Puerto Rican awareness, the following data was collected to serve as a guide in understanding the Puerto Rican flag:

Dating back to 1892, Puerto Rico and Cuba were the only two Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere that remained under Spanish rule. It was in 1892 that a group of patriotic exiles from the Cuban Revolutionary Party came together in New York City. It was this group who believed that by working with one another, Puerto Ricans and Cubans could get independence from Spain. In 1895, the Puerto Rican revolutionaries organized themselves within the Cuban Revolutionary Party. They were known as the Puerto Rican Section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, led by Dr. Julio J. Henna who was then appointed as president of this division.

As a part of their efforts, the Revolutionary Party decided to create a flag. This flag would be a symbol of their cause and would be used to rally support for the independence of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Some controversy surrounds the fact of who actually designed the flag that we recognize as our flag today. Some of those recognized for being the creator are, Jos of the Matta Terraforte, Antonio Velez Alvarado, Manuel Besosa, Gonzalo (Pachn) Marn, and Ramon Emeterio Betances. It has been hard to pinpoint who exactly created it because of all the excitement at the meeting in Chimney Hall, no one thought to have the persons name written. Nonetheless on December 22, 1895, in the general assembly of Chimney Hall, the flag was adopted as a revolutionary symbol of independence from Spain. The design of the flag was the design of the Cuban flag, simply inverted. The flag consists of 5 stripes that alternate from red to white. Three of the stripes are red with the other two being white. To the left of the flag is a blue triangle that houses one white five-pointed star. Each parts of this flag have their own meanings. The three red stripes represented the blood from the brave warriors. The two white stripes represented the victory and peace that they would have after gaining independence. The white star represented the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.

A few years after Puerto Ricos revolutionary flag was created, on November 28, 1897 Spain granted Puerto Rico a Charter of Autonomy. The Charter of Autonomy meant that Puerto Rico had the right to self governing. As a result, Puerto Rico was able to elect its own residents to be in Spains government to represent Puerto Rico. Those elected officials had the power to accept or reject commercial treaties introduced by Spain. After electing its representatives, Puerto Rico became self-governing on July 17, 1898. Unfortunately three months earlier Spain and America had broken out into what is known as the Spanish-American war. Only a few months later, on October 18, 1898 Puerto Rico had been seized by the Americans and their government was now a military one. This meant that the Puerto Rican people were under the control of the American armed forces.

This was a very sad time in history for the Puerto Ricans. For the first time in their history they had had a quick glimmer of what it was to be autonomous (self governing) and before they could fully understand what that meant to be, they were taken over with no say on their part, which meant no more elections. On December 10, 1898 under the Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico along with Guam and the Philippines were given to the United States as spoils of war (benefits given to a winner of a war). This seemed devastating to Puerto Ricans. It was not until May 1, 1900 that Puerto Rico was finally granted a civil government (a government that is run by the people) under the Foraker Act after having been under a military government for two years. The Foraker Act allowed Puerto Ricans to vote for their local officials but not for their governor. He was appointed by the United States President.

For the following seventeen years after 1900, Puerto Ricans were simply considered property of the United States. Though under the U.S. rule, Puerto Ricans were not given any American rights. This changed when President Woodrow Wilson on March 2, 1917 signed the Jones Act. This act gave Puerto Ricans American citizenship along with the freedoms outlined in the United States constitution. However, those in government positions were appointed by the United States.

Decades later in 1946 Puerto Rico saw its first Puerto Rican governor, Jesus T. Pieiro. But it was not until 1947 that the United States Congress gave Puerto Ricans the right to vote for their governor. Unlike Pieiro Luis Muoz Marn was the first Puerto Rican governor to be elected by the people, not appointed by the United States. In 1951, Puerto Ricans, under U.S law, were granted the right to draft their own constitution. The new constitution was then voted on by referendum (direct vote from the people on a proposed public issue), gaining the approval of the Puerto Ricans. On July 25, 1952 Puerto Ricos status shifted from being a U.S. territory to becoming the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricos status as a commonwealth, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, indicates that it has a special status as a self-governing, autonomous political unit voluntarily associated with the United States. It was at this same time that the once revolutionary flag of Puerto Rico became the official flag representing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in a worldwide context as its own entity. The symbolism behind the flag somewhat changed when the flag was approved by Puerto Ricos established legislature. The red stripes from that point on stand for the blood that has been shed in the name of the democratic three branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The white stripes represent the freedom and liberty provided by our government. The blue triangle represents the Republican government (a government with a President) that Puerto Rico is under and the lone star within the blue triangle is the symbol of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Knowing what the flag represents is the first step in regaining our sense of pride and passing it on to our future generations.


Puerto Rican discovery week as we believe it to be is about the heritage and the cultural awareness of Puerto Ricans. As time goes by and people are willing to accept and understand other peoples culture, new alternatives are being sought to teach our children. For instance, our school system has adopted charter schools to enrich our children where the traditional schools that we grew up with are still educating our children on HIS-STORY. Societys acceptance of charter schools as the new wave of teaching our children is contrary to the teaching method of the past. In addition to learning the everyday academics they incorporate the sharing of cultural ideas. Traditional schools should take notice of this and implement the same.

One of the subjects that should be taught to our children is flag etiquette. Flag etiquette is something that unfortunately a lot of us Puerto Ricans have failed to take into consideration. But do not feel embarrassed because the fact is that many of us do not even know that such a thing exists. Our flag is a representation of not only our land but it is also a representation of the struggle of a people. The following information should serve as an important tool in knowing how to handle and display our beautiful flag which is so rich in history.

Traditionally it is addressed as the "Puerto Rican flag" but the Official name of the flag is "The Flag of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico."

Where and in what place the flag should be flown
If weather conditions permit, the flag should be flown in or near the public buildings during workdays and on the following holidays:
New Year- Jan 1 Remembrance Day- May 30
Three Kings Day- Jan 6 USA Independence Day- July 4
Eugenio Maria de Hostos Birthday- Jan 11 Luis Muoz Rivera Birthday- July17
Washington's Birthday- Feb 22 Constitution of PR Day- July 25
Abolition of Slavery Day- Mar 22 Jose Celso Barbosa Birthday- July 27
Jose de Diego Birthday- Apr 16

The flag should be flown in or near voting locations during general or special election days
During school sessions the flag should be flown in or near the schools

Display in Offices, Businesses, Dependents of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
The Puerto Rican flag should always go to the left of the flag of the United States of America.

Display next to the United States of America Flag
The Puerto Rican flag should be flown from a pole adjacent to the pole where the USA flag is flown. The Puerto Rican flag should always stay to the left of the USA flag and both are to be flown at the same height. The Puerto Rican flag should be raised after the United States flag is risen and put down before the United States flag

Display in front of a building
When the flag is to be flown in front of a building in front of a window or balcony, the blue equilateral triangle should stay on top of the pole unless, the flag is raised at half mast.

Display on a Vehicle
The flag should not be put on the hood, the motor cover, the sides, the back of any vehicle be that vehicle a car, train, etc.
When the flag is to be displayed on a vehicle it should be securely attached to a pole.

Display when a pole is not used
The flag should be displayed, extended flatly, vertically or horizontally, in a way that it falls freely without any folds.

Display on a street
When the flag is displayed over a street, the flag should suspend itself vertically with the base of the blue triangle facing downward.

Display on a wall
If the flag is placed horizontally on a wall, the colors should stay completely displayed, with the triangle facing to its right. In other words, to the left of the person who looks at it.


Display in parades
The flag when in a parade must always be to the left of the United States of America flag, making sure that both stay at the same height and at the same angle.
If there are other private or public organizations, there flags follow directly behind the two flags or to the left of them.

Prohibited Usages
The flag should not be knitted or bordered over cushions, bandanas or similar articles, nor be printed on napkins, be they of any material, neither on boxes, nor on any article that is disposable.

Respect for the flag
No person should mutilate, damage, profane, step on, insult or depreciate the flag with words.

How to destroy the flag
When the conditions of the flag are at the point that it cannot longer be used, it should be destroyed in private, in a respectful manner, preferably incinerating it.

How to Wash the flag
In cases where it must be absolutely necessary to wash the flag, the washing of the flag should be in private and in a respectful manner.

How to Fold the Flags
The flag should be folded according to a system accustomed for the United States flag, in other words, in a triangle form. The folds should be done in a manner in which the star of the triangle of the flag is shown on the top part of the triangle, folded once.

Care- Prohibitions for the flag
It should not be permitted that the flag touch the earth or floor, or be drug in the water. Neither should the flag be held, displayed, used, or put away in a way that it gets scraped, stained, or easily exposed to getting damaged.
The flag should not be used to cover the roof of a business.

Because of our past Puerto Rican leaders who fought for our symbol of representation, we are now able to display our flag during times of celebration. We have to also remember that in the celebration we have to honor the plight & fight we have endured to get us to this stage. Puerto Ricans usually display the flag more prominently during the Puerto Rican discovery week that is celebrated the second week of June from the 6th to the 13th. This is the time when you will see the Puerto Rican flag waving from apartment windows, and on the antennas of cars. In addition to being fastened to the hoods of cars, and hanging from community lamp poles. Puerto Ricans have taken wearing their pride as part of their wardrobe. Wearing the flag as part of someones wardrobe is a misconception of their pride. The flag was brought about for other reasons. Reasons that present Puerto Ricans are not aware of and after reading this research we hope that all Puerto Ricans become enlightened and regain a sense of pride. The history of our flag should be a part of our celebration during Puerto Rican discovery week. The celebration of who we are and where we come from and what our flag symbolizes should be taught. The flag is depicted by red & white stripes with a 5 point star resting in a blue triangle. No where in the history of the flag was there an adoption of super imposing a half naked woman on the flag, congas or any musical instruments, not even the coqu. Although we are proud of our Puerto Rican women, the music we play and listen to, and our mascot, el coqu, we should not allow the altering of our flag to include other prides we may have of Puerto Rico, to be super imposed on our flag. Often times we see a surge in pride around the time of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Many of us put our flags out for display and simply leave it up forgetting that there is a proper way of handling this beloved symbol. Leaving the flag out from one event to another simply allows the flag to be frayed and tattered. This is extremely disrespectful. It appears to be that after an event such as the parade passes, our flag loses its value. This gives a sense that we only proudly display our flags when all others are in accordance with our celebration but once the attention steers away, so does our respect and pride.

Fifty two years later our flag is still a symbol of the Puerto Rican identity. We should take pride and respect our flag by adhering to the flag etiquette and not allow our flag to be demo grated. We should not participate in supporting flags being sold with super imposed images of half naked women or any other kind of images we may think depicts Puerto Ricans. We as Puerto Ricans should be aware of our heritage and our rich history. We should always take pride in displaying our flag.

There is a struggle behind every flag. And what you have read was our struggle.


Posted by Jose at 7:19 PM

May 15, 2004

Rosado Joins The Race

East Harlem - May 15, 2004. Former Democratic District Leader and Community School Board # 4 member, Felix Rosado has decided to run for State Senate. He will join former fire fighter and current District Leader, John Ruiz, and former State Assemblyman, Nelson Denis in seeking to win the September 2004 Democratic Primary.

Mr. Rosado has run in the state senate democratic primary before (in the mid to late 90s), against then Democrat and incumbent State Senator Olga Mendez, but was unsuccessful. He also came in second in last year's City Council race against incumbent Councilman Philip Reed.

With State Senator Olga Mendez changing to the Republican Party, Mr. Rosado has only one person to beat in this year's Democratic Primary - Mr. Nelson Denis. Both Mr. Rosado and Mr. Denis are popular political leaders with a solid base of support. But Mr. Rosado may have a slight advantage over Mr. Denis in that he ran last year's city council race and still has most of his support intact.

Mr. Denis has not run for political office in a few years and may have to rebuild some of his political base. But remember, Mr. Denis has had Assembly wide support.

It will be an interesting three-way race featuring the "Formers", former fireman, vs a former District Leader, vs a former Assemblyman. What's the wild card in this race? Congressman Charles Rangel, who is throwing his support behind John Ruiz. Can it translate into a win for Ruiz? Who knows, but that's what makes elections such an interesting spectator sport. Who will you support?

Posted by Jose at 7:46 PM

April 29, 2004

Nelson Denis Runs for State Senate

Former State Assemblyman, Nelson Antonio Denis declared his candidacy for State Senate on Thursday, April 22, 2004. He declared in typical Nelson Denis fashion, at the Yorkville Democratic club at 225 East 93rd Street. The club endorsed Mr. Denis by an overwhelming vote over Jose Serrano Jr, from the Bronx, and East Harlem District Leader and former fireman John Ruiz.

Mr. Denis outlined his platform and shared his experience as a State Assemblyman who represented East Harlem from 1996 until 2000. He also mentioned his impressive credentials as a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School.

The Yorkville endorsement was very significant, since the state Democratic Party is actively seeking the strongest candidate to run and win against incumbent State Senator Olga Mendez, who switched parties from Democratic to Republican in December 2003. Mr. Denis received all but one vote from the Yorkville Democratic club. That lone vote went to his opponent District Leader John Ruiz.

It will be very interesting to see how former Assemblyman Nelson Denis changes the dynamic of the State Senate race in East Harlem. Mr. Denis is very popular in the community and still garners a lot of support, as does incumbent State Senator Olga Mendez.

Mr. Ruiz has picked a bad time to run for higher office. His candidacy is like a saber tooth tiger caught between two wooly mammoths. You my dear reader can guess the outcome.

Ultimately it will be a battle between two very tough and tenacious candidates. None is a push over and none is likely to wither under the pressure of the horrific battle to come. Because former Assemblyman Denis and State Senator Mendez are so loved in this community, this campaign will be both fascinating and hard for alot of us to watch.

Posted by Jose at 10:13 PM

April 14, 2004

Senator Mendez's Race

East Harlem-April 14, 2004. Senator Olga Mendez may have a tough race on her hands in her bid to seek reelection to the 28th State Senatorial District in East Harlem. Then again, she may not.

Senator Mendez is a very popular figure in the East Harlem community. She was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to office on the 'mainland'. She is tough and generous. To most East Harlemites she is a figure of iconic proportions. Bigger than life, so to speak.

Many (including this writer) love her most persistent trait, that of speaking her mind no matter how anyone takes it. She has had an almost stubborn insistence on speaking her mind, quite freely and without reservation. This total freedom to express herself has gotten the senator respect from all quarters even from her enemies. It's as if she is able to do what we all wish we could, but can't for various reasons.

Senator Mendez recently switched political parties. She went from being a Democrat for the people, to being a Republican for the people. And that has made many local democrats angry. They feel betrayed, and they smell an opportunity. A few are contemplating challenging her for her seat, and one is actually actively running. Newly elected Democratic District Leader, John Ruiz has announced he is running for her seat. And can be seen meeting voters around the community on weekends.

The question here is this, does opportunity naturally translate into an easy win? Not necessarily. Senator Mendez has always been a formidible opponent. No one has ever garnered more than 33% of the vote against her. It's is said that since opponents almost always get 33% of the vote when running against Sen. Mendez, that she has just that much 33% who can be counted to vote against her. But that means that 67% of the voters like her just as she is.

The State Senatorial election comes down to getting just 18% more of the voters to vote against her in this election in order to barely win by 51%. This may sound easy, but it isn't. Again, remember the senator's popularity, her history in the community and the bigger than life figure she projects.

Does it matter that she is a Republican when she can deliver just as much and more than likely more than she could with the Democratic Party? And wouldn't a smart electorate play both parties against each other in order to get more for the community? This writer does not think it matters that she is a Republican. She is still the same person we all love. She is right when she says that the Democratic Party (especially the top level of the Manhattan Democratic Party Leadership) has all but ignored our community and taken it for granted.

This writer is not sure how the voters will feel on election day. They may be angry enough to vote Olga out of office. Or they might remember that Senator Olga Mendez has been there for us for over 20 years. Remember, many an East Harlem elected official has run on both Democratic and Republican lines at the same time. These same Democratic Republicans are now upset she is running on the Republican line. Interesting heh?

Does no one else see the bravery and principle it takes to stand for your community by stepping out and declaring an alternative to things as they are? It can never be said that Olga has no backbone. She is an vertabrate in a sea of jelly fish.

When given the choice I hope they vote for someone with gumption, pride and a long history in our community. And not just see the Republican label next to her name. She is still the same Olga we all love.

To John Ruiz I say, just wait a little longer. Your turn will come. And this writer has no doubt that you will be a good State Senator. This writer does not want to loose a community treasure just yet. How about John Ruiz for City Council?

Posted by Jose at 12:55 AM

February 23, 2004

Councilman Reed Sworn In

Community leaders and elected officials gathered Saturday, January 31, 2004 to witness the swearing-in of New York City Councilmember Philip Reed for his final term as representative of the 8th Council District. Story by Leon Tulton.

Reed has served on the City Council since January 1998 and has been re-elected in 2001 and 2003. He represents a two-borough district comprised of East Harlem/El Barrio, Manhattan Valley, Mott Haven, Randalls Island, Wards Island, and Central Park situated in Manhattan and the Bronx.

Standing on stage with flags representing the Puerto Rican and African-American mosaic of his community, Reed took the oath to be the elected leader of his constituents once again. During the oath, the councilman demonstrated his commitment to representing his constituents in both boroughs when he added three important words. And the Bronx, he quickly corrected City Clerk Victor Robles when he promised to serve all within his district, stirring applause from members of the audience. Robles, who performed the swearing-in ceremony and is originally from East Harlem, commended Reed for his service to the community. A politician worries about the next election, he said describing the difference between a politician and an elected official. [But] an elected official worries about the [welfare of the] next generation.

Addressing the attendees at Public School 163, Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Ph.D. of the Center of Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York-Hunter College and master of ceremony opened the event by testifying about Reeds commitment to affordable housing in the community. Phil has fought very hard to preserve and to strengthen regulations that keep our homes affordable in order to keep long-time residents here, the former legislative aide said of his ex-boss and long-time friend. Vargas-Ramos explained that Reed funded the construction of 3,700 housing units during his tenure to fight the economic pressure that would have resulted in higher rents in the community. This is Philips third swearing-in ceremony and I hope that this ceremony serves as testimony of what he has accomplished in the City Council as our representative and as our leader, the master of ceremony said.

Reverend Patricia Bumgardner of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York offered Reed some advice during the invocation on being a leader in the community. She advised the councilman to continue his stand of fighting for the needs of her constituents. This is the calling of a true civil rights leader,
Bumgardner said describing the responsibility of his role as a community leader.

Elected leaders representing the federal, state, and local governments came to the ceremony to show their support for Reed. U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner of the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens explained that there are four qualities that make a leader successful: being smart, hardworking, being nice, and knowing when to be tough. The people of this community can check all four when it comes to Philip Reed, the congressman said. You have the fortune to be represented by the finest. New York State Assemblymember Keith Wright of the 70th Assembly District told the audience that Reed is a leader who is truly a part of his community. He recalled how he saw the councilman traveling through his district on a bicycle as opposed to being isolated from the community in a car. There I was walking [in the neighborhood] and all the sudden I see Phil riding on his bike to work, Wright said. I should be calling him Super Councilman.

Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields spoke about her years of working with Reed before and after she was elected to her current position. Weve been able to serve a district and a borough where weve been able to make change, she said. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau also praised the councilman for his work in the community. You [the constituents] are very fortunate to have a man as dedicated as Philip Reed, he said.

Other community leaders were asked to comment about Reed at the conclusion of the event. Manhattan Community Board 11 Chair David Givens stated that he was happy that the councilman was re-elected to another term. He explained that Reed was instrumental in obtaining funding from the city to rehabilitate the Thomas Jefferson Soccer and Baseball Field. Givens also praised the councilman for compelling the city last summer to commit $12 million to develop more affordable housing in the community. Were [Community Board 11] very pleased that hes been re-elected and we look forward to those [redevelopment] projects coming to completion, Givens said. Violeta Galagarza, founder and director of Keep Rising to the Top, an East Harlem-based dance company that performed at the swearing-in ceremony, explained that the councilman demonstrated his commitment to supporting the arts in the community by helping to obtain funds for her organization. Galagarza admitted that she initially did no know who Reed was when he approached her at a performance for U.S. Representative Charles Rangel. She stated that her group was later chosen as one of three dance companies in the community that Reed wanted to fund. That [Reeds action] just opened my eyes to see a Black American supporting a Boricua [a term used by young Puerto Ricans to re-identify themselves with the original name of their homeland Borinquen], Galagarza said. Its very hard to see that support in the community and hes been there for the past five years. City Council Deputy Majority Leader Bill Perkins described his relationship with Reed as a very productive and fruitful partnership. Our districts border one another, Perkins said about the geographical proximity of the areas that he and Reed represent. I think what were seeing in Phil Reed is a leader for the future.

Posted by Jose at 10:02 PM

January 22, 2004

Political Races 2004

Never let it be said that the politics and politicians of El Barrio are boring. This year's races promise to be more exciting and heated than ever before. Our factionist political groups are about give new meaning to the word political infighting.

On the Congressional side of things we may have Congressman Rangel being challenged by Adam Powell. Though let me emphasize that this race is very unlikely as Assemblyman Powell will probably not choose this time to run for congress.

Still, if Powell did decide to run, this would be race is interesting on a few levels. The most glaring being that of Powell taking back a seat which his father occupied, but which was won by the Congressman Rangel. A son's revenge, if Adam Powell should pull it off. Cong Rangel, like Senator Mendez is very well liked and therefore very hard to beat.

Then there is the African-American vs. Puerto Rican thing. Cong. Rangel being perceived as the African-American and Adam Powell being perceived as the Puerto Rican. Funny thing is that both are African-American and Puerto Rican. But on the streets of El Barrio, Rangel is seen as African-American and Adam as the Puerto Rican.

Now East Harlem Hispanic activist have been feeling pretty stomped on by Harlem Politicos, especially by County leader Assemblyman Denny Farrell. Three Hispanic Democratic District Leaders Felix Rosado, Harry Rodriguez and Carmen Quinones have gone to court over this lack of respect from their county leader. In short, some of the Hispanic leadership of East Harlem would like to see one of their own sitting on the Congressional seat. Or at least someone more in keeping Puerto Rican goals and aspirations. But not all feel this way. Remember I am just reported what is being felt out there. I am just the messenger. Don't hold your breath waiting for this race, as was stated at the beginning of this article, Adam Powell will not likely challenge Congressman Rangel this time around.


The next major race is the State Senate. State Sentor Olga Mendez, switched political parties and is now a Republican. And most Democratic analyst believe that has sealed her fate and that she will loose any reelection attempt. But they forget that the Senator is well loved especially by those who actually vote in this community, the seniors. So expect her to pull a mighty win regardless of her party affiliation.

Who will be her challengers? Democratic Distict Leader John Ruiz has announced his candidacy. And many throw Milissa Mark Viverito as a possibility (though she has not given any indication of this, so forget it).

Anyone who does run against the senator is forgetting some very important facts. One is that the senator is a very popular person. Two, she is especially liked by those who vote most often in our community, mainly the seniors. And third party affilation will not matter. Just because the Senator is now a Republican is no reason to believe she is vulnerable. She is not vulnerable due to her extremely high popularity. She is also very influencial in bringing money and programs into the community. This at a time when our Mayor and Govenor are both Republicans. Neat trick, wouldn't you say. Prediction, Olga Mendez will be reelected no matter who runs against her.

On to the Assembly race. Don't look for Adam to run for Congress this time around. He will run for re-election to the Assembly and win. Still, let's daydream shall we? What if Adam did run for Congress this year? Who will jump into the Assembly race? Remember Adam Powell can not run for Congress and the Assembly at the same time. Both seats are up this year at the same time.

Vapor speak has it that former Assemblyman Nelson Denis is thinking about running for office again. Would he run if Adam Powell challenges the great and mighty Congressman Rangel? Then there are all those brand spanking new female Democratic District Leaders. Can an empty Assembly seat entice one or a few of them to change gears like an electron out of its orbit and run for the Assembly to replace Adam? Candy? Evelyn? Let's see what happens. If none of them run and if Adam does challenge the Congressman, heck, I'd be tempted to run. (After winning the Lotto of course, hey who has the money?)

Lastly, how about the Presidencial race? Look for Kerry to win the nomination and then loose to President Bush in November. That's how it'll go. Don't blame me. It's just a prediction of what will happen.

Posted by Jose at 5:26 PM | Comments (1)

September 9, 2003

Reed Wins Third Term

East Harlem, September 9, 2003 --Councilman Philip Reed won his primary election against 5 Democratic challengers. Reed garnered over 54 percent of the vote. And in a heavily Democratic district where no one votes Republican is the more than likely winner in the upcoming November General Election.

Many Hispanics, who long for representation from one of their own, split their vote among the challengers. Thereby denying that possibility. The silver lining appearing to be that of Mr. Rosado's strong showing. He is now in the position of front runner should he decide to run for this seat again in four years.

Ms. Melissa Mark Viverito came in third. A good showing for her first attempt at elective office. Mr. Ruben Dario Vargas surprised everyone by coming in fourth, followed by community activist and entrepreneur, Mr. Edwin Marcial who came in fifth and Mr. Woody Henderson who came in sixth.

Hispanics must now regroup, consolidate and try to reach a consensus for future races. Not an easy thing to do. As egos would have to be left behind for that to happen. They must also work hard to get out the vote. Although Hispanics are the majority in East Harlem, they tend not to vote. Whereas African-Americans who make up about 34% of the population vote in high percentages and are therefore the determining factor in East Harlem elections. Regardless, Councilman Reed did well and deserves to be congratulated --Congratulations Councilman Reed on your win.

Race Results with 100% of the Election Districts Reporting. Thanks to NY1 and the A.P. for the results.

Candidate Votes % of Vote
Phil Reed 4478 54.52
Felix Rosado 1589 19.35
Melissa Mark Viverito 973 11.85
Ruben Dario Vargas 467 5.69
Edwin Marcial 414 5.04
Woody Henderson 293 3.57


Posted by Jose at 4:56 PM

June 25, 2003

Melissa Jumps in the Council Race

Picture of Melissa Mark ViveritoEast Harlem community activist Melissa Mark Viverito has become a candidate for City Council. Melissa has started collecting signatures for her petitions around the community. She is a member of Community Board # 11, board member of the Violence Intervention Program, Homeowners Association of East Harlem, and the founder of the Women of El Barrio.

Her political platform includes: Small Business Development, creating employment opportunities, preserving affordable housing, developing community leadership, youth empowerment and a commitment to accessible and effective constituent services.

Melissa Mark Viverito will compete in a crowded field of democratic hopefuls which include, Democratic District Leader Felix Rosado, community activist Edwin Marcial, news reporter Felipe Luciano and incumbent Councilman Phil Reed (the courts permitting).

As always in East Harlem politics, this should prove to be a most interesting race.

Posted by Jose at 4:12 PM

September 5, 2002

Women of El Barrio's Candidate Debate

Picture of some of the candidates sitting behind tables at the Women of El Barrios first candidates debate.East Harlem - September 5, 2002. The Women of El Barrio held their first candidate's debate at Junior High School 117 between Second and Third Avenues on 109th Street. Although all candidates were invited, not all chose to attend, citing scheduling problems.

John Ruiz, the rapping fireman, Carmen Quinones, a Democratic District Leader, and William Gerena, a local community activist squared off in their quest to become the next Assemblyperson. They were very cordial and polite to each other.

The event was moderated by Melissa Mark-Viverito, one of the Women of El Barrio. Melissa asked the candidates questions previously collected from the audience. Each candidate had 5 minutes to address a range of questions from Women's Rights, Housing, Economic Development and their views on public access for the handicapped among the many asked.

Democratic District Leader Felix Rosado fielded questions on the State Senate side of the race. Felix was also polite and cordial to everyone . It is interesting that two of the candidates, Felix Rosado and William Gerena were candidates from third Parties. Gerena is running under the banner of the for the Green Party.

Audience participation was excellent. It's is always great to see those at a candidate's debate well engaged in the political process. And the numbers of those who attended the event was good. Congrats to the Women of El Barrio for getting organizing this event this year. I am sure it will not be the only one, and we will be hearing more from the Women of El Barrio in the coming months.

Pictures From the Debate
William Gerena
John Ruiz
Carmen Quinones
Felix Rosado
The Women of El Barrio

Posted by Jose at 3:52 PM

March 25, 2002

Term Limits

Picture of artful watchMembers of the City Council have recently begun to question the current end of their terms in office. Leading the charge is Harlem's own, Councilman Bill Perkins.

Under the current law council members who were reelected in 2001 to a two year term would not be eligible to run in 2003 for a four year term. Councilman Perkins sees this as unfair. He says that members first elected in 1997 and reelected in 2001 would have a total of 6 years in office under the current law as oppose to a total of 8 years during a non redistricting years where all terms are four year terms. And when two terms will add up to 8 years in office.

Opponents of those leading the charge to change the current law say that this council members have always had shorter terms during the redistricting years after the census. They say that Councilman Perkins and others who want to change the law are only thinking of themselves and that it would take a vote on changing the City Charter to change the law.

But some council members believe that all it will take is a vote before the city council to allow the council members affected to allow them to run in 2003. If push comes to shove, this issue may end up in court. Pitting the city council against reformers.

Who is right? It well may be that if there is a vote on the City Charter, that you the voters will decide. But if you wish to put your two cents head over to the East Harlem Discussion Forum

Posted by Jose at 12:25 PM

March 17, 2002

State Senate Race 2003

Picture of the three candidates for State Senate, Senator Olga Mendez, Dem. District Leader, Felix Rosado, and Malin Falu.The 2002 East Harlem State Senate Race
East Harlem, March 17, 2002 - It looks like the East Harlem State Senate race is beginning to heat up earlier than usual with the news that Spanish radio personality Malin Falu may enter the race against State Senator Olga Mendez.

Falu, a popular figure in her own right, may pose the first serious challenge to State Senator Mendez since Felix Rosado began running against Mendez in the early 90s'

Falu has stated that "It's time for a change", and that 24 years is enough time in office. She argues that East Harlem needs new blood to facilitate change in the community.

Democratic District Leader Felix Rosado countered that he would be the best candidate against Mendez and that Falu has no "history" in the community, and that Falu does not even live in the community.

Senator Mendez feels that she has strong support in the community and that it will take more than a new comer to knock her out of office. She mentioned her long career in the state senate and her history of helping the community through legislation and through her own influence. Her seniority in the state senate is also a plus.

Felix Rosado states that he too has a long history of community activism, being a former Community School Board # 4 member, Democratic District Leader, campaign manager for many elected to the school board, various judges, and candidates throughout the city.

This race can only get more interesting as September draws closer. What do you think? Who will you vote for? Add your two cents by going to the East Harlem Discussion Forum

(Picture above provided courtesy of East Harlem's Siempre Newspaper)

Posted by Jose at 12:19 PM

November 4, 2001

Bloomberg For Mayor

East Harlem - November 4, 2001. East Harlem.com has endorsed Mike Bloomberg for Mayor.

This is our first endorsement in over two years. Bloomberg is New York City's best hope and exactly what is needed during this time of crisis. Sure politics is fun, but Mr. Bloomberg's opponent has chosen to be too partisan, too politically dirty for our taste. East Harlem Online feels that Mark Green ran a nasty campaign during the last week of the Democratic Primary and can not be forgiven. Latino's will never forget.

East Harlem's greatest State Senator, Olga Mendez says
"This is a time when we must pick someone with experience in dealing with tough economic circumstances, someone who can bring business to the City and who can work with the President and the Governor to get New York its fair share. I am very upset about the kind of negative campaigning with racial overtones used in the final days of the Primary Election. I love my party, but I cannot support a candidate who would have behaved in such a way. In the Primary I endorsed Freddy Ferrer, but now I am endorsing Mike Bloomberg for Mayor. We must not think about party politics, but about people and what is best for them. As President John F. Kennedy once said, "Let us not seek a Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer". Mike Bloomberg will work hard and lead all New Yorkers forward; Mike Bloomberg is my choice for Mayor"

East Harlem.com could not have said it better. Mike Bloomberg has the experience and attitude to bring this city out of the current crises. The Big Apple can only shine under Bloomberg's leadership. We encourage our readers to go out and vote and to vote for Bloomberg.

Posted by Jose at 1:31 AM

September 5, 2001

City Council Debates 2001

East Harlem - September 5, 2001. The two Democratic candidates for the 8th City Council district debated at PS 50 this evening. A third invited candidate, Republican, George C. DiMartini did not attend.

Candidate Felipe Luciano speaks during the debate with vigorThe debate was sponsored by ACAB Corp. & Affiliates, The Cultural Committee of Community Board # 11, The East Harlem Chamber of Commerce, The East Harlem Council For Community Improvement, East Harlem Online, SCAN and co-sponsored by Human Service Consortium, Little Sisters of the Assumption, East Harlem Citizen Committee, Siempre Newspaper, Church of GOD of 100th Street, East Harlem Pilot Block / Taino Towers. It started at 6:16 PM and ended at 7:20 PM

People started entering the school as early as 5:30 PM and attendance was estimated to be over 120 people before the night was done. John C.Rivera moderated the event. Councilman Phil Reed and Felipe Luciano took turns answering questions previously submitted to one of the event's sponsors, Deborah Quinones.

The candidates' took turns fielding questions about economic development, the proposed move of the Museum of the City of New York, the 116th and 125th Street corridors, public policy and funding among others. The event was taped by East Harlem Online and will hopefully be made available in the very near future. Below are pictures of the event.

Posted by Jose at 1:32 PM

August 6, 2001

Miriam Drops Out of Race

Its official. Miriam Falcon Lopez, has redrawn from the 8th Councilmanic District Race in El Barrio sighting a lack of funds for candidacy.

Ms. Lopez collected the required number of signatures for her petitions, but was only able to raise around $6,000 dollars. Fellow candidate Felipe Luciano has collected over $23,000 and incumbent Phil Reed $76,000.

With Ms. Falcon's departure from the race, only two candidates remain, Felipe Luciano and incumbent Phil Reed. This is a race which many Hispanics have wanted. A one on one against Phil Reed, whom they feel has not represented their interests at the city council. But political insiders warn that it will not be so easy to beat Councilman Reed. They site his larger funds and the fact that African-Americans vote in higher percentages than Hispanics do. Regardless, it will be a more interesting race with just two candidates running.

The photo above shows East Harlem Democratic District Leader, Mr. Harry Rodriguez reading about Miriam's withdrawl from the City Council Race in the newspaper.

Who will you vote for? How do you think this race will shape up? Let us know at:
East Harlem Online Discussion Forums (this link will take you directly to that topic)

Posted by Jose at 4:10 PM

June 9, 2001

Meeling Eng - City Council Candidate

Picture of Meeling EngEast Harlem - June 9th, 2001 Current Community School Board District # 4 Member, Meeling Eng has jumped into this years East Harlem city council race. As I will do with all East Harlem city council candidates, Meeling has decided to write about herself and her candidacy (below):

Meeling: In her Own Words
As it is known now, for me it will always be El Barrio!
Let me tell you about myself. I was born in El Barrio 56 years ago and am proud to be Puerto Rican. My mother is Puerto Rican and my father is Chinese. My father would always tell me "Do what is right" and "Remember you will never lose any sleep over anything!

I lived at James Weldon Johnson Houses for the last 30 years. In those 30 years I have accomplished a lot. I was educated in El Barrio. I too attended El Barrio's Public Schools. I have also chosen to work in my community, assisting Senior Citizens. I have been working with Seniors for over 20 years in various agencies. I am now working with the Theater Art Senior Nutrition Program at 120 East 110th Street.

School Board Member
In addition to working with Seniors, I have also started working with children. My work with children prompted me to run for election as Community School Board District # 4 member. I have been a school board member for the past 12 years. I believe I have a good job working with the Seniors and the children.

Working on the School Board I have strived to better the community, to help people deal and cope with some of their problems.

1989 - 1993
My I worked closely with teachers and administrators to rid our schools of drugs and weapons.
I am currently working hard to improve our children's learning and to increase test scores.

1993
Those who voted for me had at least one school board member who didn't own anything to anyone. A vote for me was a vote for parents, not politicians.

1996
In 1996 the political bosses ran slates of candidates. They even disqualified three good board members during the election process at the board of elections. But parents were not fooled and voted the three board members in via absentee ballot! The political bosses thought they could control the school board, but in the end, they did not.

1999
Listen to the children, what are they talking about? Parents, you are our eyes and ears in the schools and the home. And I have not forgotten about Special Education. Children and Parents must be included in policy making, not excluded.

What I believe
My theme for the city council election is "Different faces, Different faces, unite the human race." This is what our community is about. I offer no promises, but I will fight for what is right. Dignity for a human life. I can't afford to cater to certain ethnic groups as some would have you believe. I will support and defend all groups, partly due to my family heritage. And lastly, because catering to any group is just plain wrong. I say cut the pie equally. I stand for joining forces and uniting races to work and collaborate for the good of the community.

Presently there are hardly any programs for youth, adults or our seniors. The scaling down of social programs has had a great impact on our community. What do we do? How can we help?

We educate them, that's what we do as Parents, adults, grandparents, family and friends .. We need to educate everybody equally both young and old everybody, both white and black everybody

Teachers need to be retrained to be more sensitive to our children

Children need to be re-taught to be more sensitive to our teachers

We all need to take a course in Sensitivity!!! And back to basics
In closing.

The community needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Take a look around as we are walking to the train station at 103rd Street, 116th street and 125th street. What do you see? Old dilapidated buildings. The Board of Education needs to renovate PS 109 and give it back to District #4. Children, adults and seniors are hanging out with nothing to do? What do we do about it? Who do we complain to? I'll tell you who! The local Politicians We need to get together and with one voice remind our elected officials that we are still here and that many problems remain unsolved. And we need to get out and Vote. Remember me when you vote in September's Democratic Primary.

Posted by Jose at 9:14 AM

May 24, 2001

Miriam Jumps into Council Race

East Harlem - May 24, 2001. Miriam Falcon Lopez, Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV's District Administrator has thrown her hat into East Harlem's city council race.

"I am the best candidate for the job, I don't believe that Felipe Luciano is ready for the job", says Ms. Falcon Lopez.

Ms. Falcon Lopez, a former district liaison for Congressman Charles Rangel recently left her position with the congressman and decided to work with Assemblyman Adam Powell IV, in order to push a more Hispanic agenda for East Harlem.

It remains to be seen just what affect her candidacy will have on the electorate. With so many candidates to choose from, will any of them receive a majority of the Democratic vote?

Hispanic Issue
According to the latest census data, Hispanics constitute 52% of East Harlem's population (60,900+) and African Americans constitute 40% of the population (45,000). These figures have excited local Hispanic leaders. There is now talk of "what is suppose to be", meaning total Hispanic representation of elective offices in East Harlem.

But Hispanics looking to elect one of their own to the city council seat may face an even steeper climb towards that goal because of the number of Hispanic candidates seeking the seat. Current Hispanic candidates include, Miriam Falcon Lopez, Edwin Marcial, community board member, Felipe Luciano, a journalist and former Young Lord, and school board member, Mee Ling Eng With so many Hispanic running and splitting the primary election vote, will it be possible for one of them to beat out incumbent Democratic Councilman Phil Reed?

A Different View
East Harlem Democratic District Leader, Carmen Quinones has advised caution and level headedness during the city council race. Ms. Quinones does not agree with the passions generated by those advocating a Puerto Rican vs. African American race strategy. Instead, she prefers that people get over their differences, and unite behind the best candidate. Her fear is that we are being divided from outside of East Harlem.

Regardless, it is becoming a very interesting political year in East Harlem which and it's getting more fascinating by the day (for all us political junkies).

Discussion
What do you think? Let us know. Visit the East Harlem Online Discussion Forums to add your two cents and to see what others think about our ever growing city council race.

Posted by Jose at 4:25 PM

February 1, 2001

Council Race 2001

Mr. Felipe <br />
              Luciano East Harlem - February 1, 2001. East Harlem's 8th Councilmanic district race is heating up with the addition of Felipe Luciano as a candidate for city council. Other candidates for this council seat include the incumbent Councilman Phil Reed and Community Board # 11 member, Edwin Marcial.

Mr. Luciano, a news reporter and community activist, has moved back into East Harlem, where he gained national fame as a Young Lord during the early 70s. The Young Lords, if you remember, took over a church (with guns) on 111th Street and Lexington Avenue to demand school breakfast and better education for East Harlem's children. He then went on to become a local news reporter. He currently works at Fox News, a local television station.

Reaction to Mr. Luciano's candidacy has been both joy and frustration. Joy in that East Harlem Latinos feel that they finally have a candidate who can take back what they consider a Hispanic City Council seat. Frustration from those who feel that Mr. Luciano is an "outsider" and that a "homegrown" candidate would better serve the district. Needless to say, that fellow candidates Marcial and Reed are not too happy by Mr. Luciano's candidacy. Though Councilman Reed does not seem to feel too threatened by it.

Councilman Reed is looking to hold on to his seat and is backing a plan to end term limits for City Councilmembers. He was also looking to run for Speaker of the City Council, but with Councilman Bill Perkins doing the same, it is possible that Mr. Reed will settle for another Council post or chairmanship.
Councilman Reed

Mr. Edwin Marcial, a Community Board # 11 member and local entreprenuer has been running for the council seat since the summer of 2000. He has been trying to get support from local activists, elected officials and community residents. Mr. Marical recently lost a bid to become Vice Chair of Community Board # 11, having been beaten by Vice Chair Cora Shelton. Mr. Luciano's entry into the councilmanic race is not good news for Marcial. Although Marcial is known in the district, Mr. Luciano's name recognition may easily overshadow Marcials name and good work.

Some Hispanic political and community leaders are quietly overjoyed that Mr. Luciano has jumped into the council race. And they will reveal themselves in due time. Many East Harlem Hispanics feel that Harlem politicians have over stepped their boundaries by running and winning in a Hispanic district. They feel the weight and oppression of another ethnic group running their affairs. Puerto Rican self determination/actualization is at stake. "We have been too fair in including others, to the point of taking ourselves out of power", says Rafael Perez, a local community resident.

Others are upset at the current composition of the community board, which currently has a 50% African American make-up versus a 39% Hispanic membership. Almost the exact opposite of East Harlem's ethnic makeup (37% African-American and 47% Puerto Rican). Those upset by the board composition blame Councilman Reed and Borough President C. Virginia Fields for the imbalance.

Mr. Edwin Marcial
If Hispanic leaders wish to re-take the 8th Councilmanic District, they will have to convice Mr. Marcial or Mr. Luciano to drop out of the race. Something which is easier said then done. During the 1997 Councilmanic race, three Hispanics split the Hispanic vote and Mr. Reed won the election. (Mr. Reed still garnered more votes than the three Hispanics combined (see Reed Wins). But this time Hispanic leaders may feel they have a chance to re-take the seat, if only one Hispanic runs versus Councilman Reed.

This City Council race will end in September during the Democratic Primary, where one of the candidate's will be chosen by the voters to represent the Democratic party in the November race. It is a fact of East Harlem political life that the candidate who wins the Democratic Primary will go on to win the November election. Republicans are never elected in East Harlem. The race will be interesting, hard fought and may get nasty before a winner is declared in the Fall. East Harlem Online will follow this race closely.

Posted by Jose at 8:55 AM

November 14, 2000

Concede Mr. Gore

East Harlem - November 14, 2000. Enough is enough. East Harlem Online implores Vice President Gore to end his ill fated attempt at capturing the White House and do the right and legal thing by conceding the election to George W. Bush.

We ask this first because it is the outcome of the election. Secondly, we ask because laws govern this nation. We feel bad that some residents did not take the time to read their ballots correctly (4% Vs 96% who did), but that is their responsibility. In New York City we take the time to look at the names on the election machine. In Florida residents who had the butterfly ballot hand ample time to see the ballot; in the newspaper, and the sample mailed to them by the Democratic Party before the election. Nor is it the first time these residents have seen this ballot. They had the same type of ballot in 1996. Lastly, the ballot was approved before hand by both parties. How much voting education do these people need?

It is a shame that Mr. Gore has chosen to take advantage of the butterfly ballot to hold onto power. He is actively encouraging and inciting people to come to his unconstitutional way of thinking. That he MAY have won the popular vote (wait till the overseas ballots come in), has no relevance to this race. It is the electoral college that determines who wins the presidency. You can't try to change the rules midstream. As much as many in my community would like to see a Democrat in the White House, I can not be anything other than a fair and law abiding Democrat. I ask that Vice President Gore do the right thing and put an end to this mess. We need to move on. Else the backlash will come. And in the end, Democrats will have to pay for your lack of good judgement and adherence to the Constitution.

Jose B. Rivera
President/Founder
East Harlem Online

Posted by Jose at 7:13 PM

April 22, 2000

President Dooms Elian Gonzalez

The taking of Elian Gonzalez early this morning is proof positive that Liberal Democratic politicians can no longer be entrusted with our welfare. President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno should be held responsible for their cowardly deed. Elian Gonzalez deserves better than to be sent back to Cuba.

I ask, Mr. President, would you send Chelsea to Cuba to live? Then again with the President's political world view he just may be comfortable in Cuba. It should fit like a glove.

I am ashamed to be a Democrat and an American today. Even worst than when the President refused to resign given that he had sexually abused a member of his staff. We are becoming a nation without shame.

It is unfortunate that the Attorney General has chosen to use Nazi tactics to forcibly remove Elian from his Miami home. Like cowards, they choose not to confront those who love Elian in the middle of the day. Instead, like Nazi storm troopers, they came in the dead of night (like the cowards they are) to remove Elian. You'd think that the President and Janet Reno could be MAN enough to do it right. But cowards know no right and have no shame.

Yes, I agree that the child should be with his father, but I do no believe that Elian should ever be sent back to Cuba. Just as Jewish people understand the horrors of Germany, and our African American brother and sisters can understand the evils of slavery, the Cuban people understand the serfdom of life in Cuba today. The President and Attorney General should be held responsible for this action. They should not ever be allowed to forget just what they have done. The year 2001 can not come soon enough for me. It is time this nation elect a man of honesty and honor.

This writer is not too happy with Representatives Serrano and Rangel. Just as they disappointed me with their actions in regard to the President's impeachment, they have now bitterly disappointed and angered me with their actions regarding the Freedom of Elian Gonzalez. I wonder how freely they would hand over their family members to Fidel Castro? President Kenney would not have handed Elian over to Communists.

East Harlem Online would like to send our deepest condolences to the Miami Gonzalez family. We will support whatever you deem necessary to bring Elian back to Miami and to Freedom and we support whatever action you take (legal and moral) against the communist sympathizers who did not help in this matter. There are other "groups" who will not deserve the support of the Hispanic community in the future. We will remember.

For the first time, I will vote Republican in this year's upcoming election. I can no longer in good conscious vote for communist sympathizers at any level of government.

Law is made for the people, not the other way around. Long Live Freedom

Jose B. Rivera
East Harlem Online
President and Founder
Brother in Christ

Get in touch with the following, it may be helpful in the future when your home is invaded
:
National Rifle Association -Support the First Amendment and protect your home from thugs! And yes, I am a member!

Editor's Update: (January 16, 2005) It's been a few years, but Elian Gonzalez is still in that inprisoned island, no thanks to Bill Clinton and Janet Reno. It's sad really, that this happened. A better solutions could have been reached without sentencing Elian to a life of communism. But remember that is the politics of the liberal left, who don't really believe in freedom, are not tolerant at all and whose belief in God is thinner than a sheet of paper.

Posted by Jose at 2:22 PM

July 25, 1999

It Take A Village...

I am sure that you have heard the phrase, "It takes a Village to raise a child". But how many of you have seriously thought of what it means, what it implies? Whether or not it rings true? Does it take a village to raise a child?

What it means?
The phrase as it is generally used means that, let's say in East Harlem, it takes the community to raise your child. Those who use the phrase (and take it seriously) would say that the community includes the school which your child attends, the church you worship in and all the people who "watch" over your child on his/her way home. It also includes your family, the barber or hairstylist, the butcher and society in general. After all don't your taxes pay for services which help your child through his/her journey through life? (Again school, police, fire and other municipal services, road repair and state parks etc..)

The thought behind the phrase means that without society, without help, or assistance, a child can not be raised. Parents are not solely responsible for raising your child. In the post-Great Society information age, your child is really the responsibility of the state. Only the power of the state (the village) can guide your child through this difficult life. First Lady Hillary Clinton is very fond of this saying and is often found repeating it. (As if repeating is believing).

The Truth
Look back on your life. Does it hold true for you? Did the village ever come to your aide when your family needed the help? For most readers out there the answer will be a resounding NO. The phrase "It takes a Village to raise a child", is both inaccurate and untruthful. This writer's parents struggled with five children, four of which attended Catholic school (the best education at the time) with no village in site to help pay for the tuition. When this writer's father went unemployed, the village was no where to be seen. No did the village come to our aide when hospital bill had to be paid or the groceries had to be done. Baby-sitting was not paid for by the village. The money came from my parent's wallets. It seems that most fellow villagers need to live and survive, so they need to charge for services. Do we have two villages? The village in which I grew up in did not assist without proper payment. It does not sound like the village that Bill and Hillary often speak about. I sure would like to know where THAT village was my entire life!

The village that Bill and Hillary speak of, does not in fact exist. It is a village of some distant future being projected into the now (purposely, of course) in the hopes that it sticks in the minds of the listener. It is a sneaky veiled attempt at socialism. And as we all know socialism does not work and is DEAD. Why liberals continue to espouse this 'falsehood' is beyond the imagination of this writer. It takes a village to raise a child, as public policy has only been attempted in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and any other socialist government. Anywhere this phrase has been made into public policy, parents have suffered, as in not being in control of their child's future or life (Soviet Union, China...etc). "It takes a village..." is a cozy, feel warm, feel of community type of socialist mumbo jumbo psycho babble. It has never held true in the United State of America, where parents work hard and do have the largest measure of influence in their children's lives.

The truth is that nothing is free, and that parents must continue to work hard to make a future for themselves and their families. The school systems is part of society yes, but is paid for with our tax money. It is a service which we pay for. It is not provided for by the government. The money the government spends on our behalf is OUR money. Remember, the government does not generate any money in and of itself. It produces nothing. It just takes OUR money and re-channels it. So the government at all levels (local, state, federal) is paid for by us. Not different from going into a store an purchasing something. Liberals would have you believe that the money that the government uses is their money (the government's) and it is being used for our good. BS, it is our money being used as part of the covenant with the government (as per the constitution). Yes, Liberals do think it is really their money, but that's an other story.

So this writer is pretty tired of hearing this saying. If you happen to see me in the street, a meeting, a party, the last thing you wish to tell me is "It takes a village,..", The next time someone tells me that "It takes a village...." I will tell them where to go, preferable they can go to that same village somewhere near the capital of China.

Questions for you to ask those who say "It takes a Village.."
1. Who is in the village of which they speak (who does it include) (family does not count).
2. Is the service free? If not, it does not reconcile with the village of which they speak.
3. Does it include neighbors? (if so, do you have to Reciprocate?, If so it does not count)
4. If this village is in China, Cuba, Canada, England or the past (Soviet Union) it does not count.
5. Any village where a service is not done without payment, before hand (as in taxes) or after does not count, as it is not the village which liberals talk about.

The village will exist, when Jesus comes.

If you wish to comment on this article feel free to e-mail your response by using the e-mail link at the bottom of this page. Responses will be posted at the end of this article pro and con.

Posted by Jose at 3:44 PM

January 24, 1999

Perspective - Election 98

An Activist Perspective on the Election of 1998 ( NY state elections)
Reginald Neale, Secretary - Citizens for Open Access to Legislation

New York State, where all 211 Legislative seats were supposed to be up for grabs, yet the historical odds against a legislator being defeated in a bid for reelection average 50 to 1, and a quarter of those running had no opposition at all. At the end of this edition, I'll give you the surprising statistics on what actually happened this time.

Since our election laws allow those with big bankrolls to control the airwaves, many voters may have believed that the candidates they saw trashing each other on prime-time TV were the only candidates.

There were actually TEN candidates for New York State Governor. Al Lewis/Grandpa Munster has some serious activist credentials, but many pundits reacted to his gubernatorial candidacy with amused derision, focusing on the most extreme of his public statements. Hard for them to imagine that anyone but a mainstream pro could possibly have any useful input on the political process. Inconceivable that "leaving it to the experts" might be an ingredient in our most serious and persistent problems.

It IS true that only a mainstream pro can get elected in our state, and that's no coincidence. Those who dominate the rule-making process have made sure that getting on the ballot and getting elected takes lots of money and the right connections. The money often comes from cozying up to special interests; the connections come through following the party line.

In the few races that were competitive, we were subjected to mind-numbing repetition. No distortion was too extreme; no ethnic slur too tasteless. Apparently nothing says 'civic responsibility' better than 30 million bucks worth of issue-deficient attack ads. It's not difficult to figure out who loses when candidates who are anxious to talk about the issues are drowned out; when front-runners refuse to expose their positions to debate.

The commercial media did not seem anxious to have its spokespersons commandeer advertising time/space for careful examinations of candidate positions - when there were any - on crime, education, health care etc. Big temptation for them to jump right to the important stuff: the reported size of each candidate's war chest. The top candidates, who were paying enormous sums for exposure in these same media, were probably grateful for the help
in diverting attention from real issues. It's way easier just to trash your main opponent worse than he trashes you, and ignore the others.

There are reasons why campaigning in our state has degenerated into a disgusting farce. One of those reasons is that New York refuses to give up its greed-based campaign finance laws, laws that encourage legislators to develop close relationships with deep-pocketed contributors. Which also means that the rest of us have to be satisfied with whatever attention legislators have left over from constant money grubbing. You think this is a trivial issue? This year, the Legislature met for 62 days. During this period legislators held 201 fund-raisers. Continuing the trend of recent years, there was a better than 3 to 1 ratio between fund-raisers hosted and official days worked. Seems to me this reveals an unfortunate truth about legislative priorities.

Here's the 1998 election statistic: If you bet against an incumbent legislator this year, the odds were a lot higher than 50 to 1; they were INFINITE! Not one incumbent lost a reelection bid!

Aren't elections supposed to be about choice? Isn't it the availability of choices that forces government to be responsive to voters? Maybe it's time to tell your state legislators you want electoral reform and campaign finance reform. More on this in the next edition; also - the Budget, pay raises, pork, remedies...

Reginald Neale, Secretary - Citizens for Open Access to Legislation (C.O.@.L.)
Comments/flames to neale@servtech.com

Posted by Jose at 1:37 PM

November 1, 1998

Obstructed Leadership

"This community needs an enema"

East Harlem finds that many of it's youth of the 1970s have reached a plateau in terms of the leadership positions open to them. Many of the leaders of the 1970s who took over from the leaders of the 1950s, have not groomed or left to make room for those who have come after them. Instead, they stay on, holding on till the last, trying desperate against time to hang on to power. This has left the youth of the 1970s with less than the best experience from which to eventually take over if and when their time comes, and also negates the community from receiving a fresh new approach to the communities' problems. The generational obstruction is seen mostly in the social programs and in the political world of East Harlem. This articles will endeavor to bring up the topic of another group which is seen as "holding us back" (us being, the youth of the 1970 and of course those of the 1980s).

Social Workers and East Harlem
It has been felt by many activists and residents of East Harlem that the time for help from Social Workers has past. Social engineering has proven a failure and the macro theories held dear by social workers (based on "change the environment and you change the man"), have proven ludicrous. Change a man's heart and you will change a man. Another objection to (especially to Anglo ) social workers is that they are not of our culture. Being removed from our culture is a hindrance in their ability to "help us". Which brings us to the next point. Who is anyone to help us? Who are they that they can help? Sometimes social work seems to help the social worker more (provides a purpose in life and a way to feel good about themselves), more than they help the general population. Though a lot of their early work did help those of the first half of the 20th century. This is not an indictment of all social workers. Just a general call for them to begin their exodus out of the communities in which they are now entrenched. Especially, African-American and Hispanic communities. We are ENOUGH, we can and now know enough to help ourselves. By staying in our communities, Social Workers are in affect saying the we are not enough and that only through their intervention can we hope to make it. We are not perfect, but many of us have college degrees and the expertise needed to advance our own groups.

Social workers would work best if they facilitate others in helping themselves than in trying to execute the actual change. You can't really want something for someone else more than they can. So if we can phase out non-indigenous social workers and only be facilitated by the remaining ones, change may actually come about. For all the East Harlem Institutions who employ social workers, please keep the above observations in mind. Social workers are not evil, it's just that they get in the way of our own maturation, our being able to make mistakes and learn from them and from our evolution as ethnic-Americans.

Political and Social Program Leaders
Another area needing some advice are the older generation of leaders who serve East Harlem in the political and social program world. Hundreds of 30-40 year olds are still playing second fiddle to many community leaders, most of which have had leadership position since they were younger the the current second fiddles. It seems that not only did they not groom new leadership or provide a mechanism for them to advance "through the ranks", but they stubbornly remain and atrophying the leadership skills of a younger generation.

This trend is especially noticeable among the clergy, former anti-poverticians, elected officials and so on. At least with elected officials, one can mount a campaign and eventually take leadership away from them. But clergy and the rest are a much harder group to take leadership away from. It is an old axiom in politics that no leaves their post to let you have their position of leadership. It must be taken from them. It seems to be the only way in politics. Like the social workers, this is not an all out indictment of all East Harlem leaders, just of the ones who wish to stay on forever. This author is over 40 and 25 years from retirement. It would be nice to participate on a higher level before social security starts sending me checks. Lastly, we look for no validation from you older leaders.

About US
We self-validate. We are quicker to learn new technologies and have of course put them to use. We are the bridge between your world and the world that comes after us. A role all generations play. It is past the time to request your absence, this is more of a way of saying, we are coming, how you choose to leave will be your business. We mean no disrespect, but being self-respecting we claim for our generation the right to participate more fully and to participate at the top. We wish to give the world a few turns, to see if our ideas will work, to make our own mistakes and to learn from them. We also seek to create mechanisms to allow the next generation to take their rightful place in our communities and in positions of leadership. Retire, enjoy the last years of your lives in the full knowledge that we have learned a lot, have been taught well, have been self taught and are enough to get the job done.

This is not a matter of petty jealousy. Some of these leaders have been around since they were 25 or 30 years old and they are now approaching 70 and 80. It is selfish not to groom the next generation and inexcusable to stand in their way, leaving only when death takes you. Or to have used us to get your work done throughout the years and now deny us the right to lead. So East Harlem leaders, please, look at what you are doing and don't make it necessary for us to create the infighting so that our generation can have it's say. jbr

I know I will get a lot of flack from the "old timers" and "Social Workers" (and I haven't even begun the teacher's union article yet). But what are we to do? Have you skip a perfectly good generation just so that you can stay on. yeah right....dream on... The youth of the 1970s need to become a laxative, clearing the way, to ensure that positions of leadership open the current obstruction on their way to lead our community.

Posted by Jose at 1:16 AM

October 24, 1998

Gov. Pataki Visits El Barrio

Picture of Fomer Congressman Herman Badillo, State Senator Olga Mendez and Governor George Pataki standing before the crowdOctober 24, 1998 – East Harlem. New York State Governor George Pataki made a rare visit to El Barrio-East Harlem to receive endorsements from local Latino elected officials. The endorsements took place at the new Julia Del Burgos Cultural Center on Lexington Avenue between 105th and 106th Streets.

The governor arrived shortly after 4:45 PM to the rousing welcome of over 200 local community folks. Some there because they wanted to be and others because they had to be (employees of local CBOs whose survival depends on the governor). In other words, politics as usual. Nothing special in terms of arm twisting, it's just the way things are done throughout the city in terms of politics.

Picture of State Senator Olga Mendez speaking
The crowd was happy, excited and enthusiastic. Many carried Pataki/Donohue signs. The excitement in the air gave away the fact that something new, refreshing and historic was about to happen. And they all new it. New in that it is not everyday that the governor pays a visit to our beautiful community. Refreshing in that this crowd was about to go crazy for a candidate for reelection who belonged to the party of the "enemy" - Republican. And historic in that the event itself may be a sign of a new alliance between Hispanics and the Republican Party. And much to her credit, State Senator Olga Mendez, was the one behind it all

Many had written off the Senator Mendez after her bout with breast cancer. But here she was orchestrating an event which would have been unthinkable (maybe even to herself) as recently as five years ago. As we say in East Harlem, "who would have thunk it?"

Picture of the audienceMedia
Two speakers revved up the crowd prior to the Pataki appearance. There was no shortage of media covering the event, network or East Harlem local media. The network media came to ask the governor about his thoughts on the recent killing of an abortion mill doctor. The local East Harlem press came to cover the event.Gilberto Cintron of El Barrio Broadcasting filmed the who event, as did the "Applause" cable show. They will be the only sources from which you may be able to view this even in the future.



Picture of the audience standing up holding up signs which show their support for Governor PatakiPataki finally arrived along with State Senator Olga Mendez, and former Congressman Herman Badillo. The security force for the day looked on nervously as the crowd erupted into "Pataki, Pataki, Pataki!!!"

The crowd was quieted as State Senator Mendez took center stage.  She did a very wise thing. She quite frankly gave her justification for crossing party lines to endorse the governor.  She stated that the Democratic Party had taken Latinos for granted, that necessary moneys were not and had not come into the community. And that through her relationship with Governor Pataki,
things were starting to happen.  She also stated that Latinos should go with the party which best serves their interest. Senator Mendez then went on to endorse Pataki for his reelection for governor.

Those assembled went into another frenzied chorus of "Pataki, Pataki, Pataki". Then it was former Congressman Badillo's turn to speak. He also endorsed the governor. Governor Pataki was next at bat and he spoke about the need to provide employment in areas such as East Harlem. He promised that his reelection would mean more jobs for East Harlemites. He also spoke about his grandparents, parents and how their hard work made it possible for a son of immigrants to become Governor of the greatest state in the greatest nation on the planet. The governor went on to say that maybe someday, one of East Harlem's children could grow up to be not just governor of the state of New York, but "President of this Great Nation".

Again, the crowd erupted into more "Pataki, Pataki, Pataki". The crowd was invited to a free meal on a lower floor of the building and with that Governor Pataki and State Senator Mendez were whisked away. Senator Mendez was seen "holding court" after the event in the backyard patio area of the cultural center. She had pulled it off and done it quite well.

By the way, the food was excellent, the music was great and it was a good opportunity to revisit old friendships.

Picture of a very nicely informal New York City Deputy Mayor Ninfa Segarra

Who Attended
First let it be emphasized that some where there out of curiosity, some came to support the state senator and the governor, and some came because they had too. (Must leave a backdoor for those who wish to deny support in the future). Housing Commissioner and former Democratic District Leader Antonio Rivera was present. It was good to see Tony again. Deputy Mayor Ninfa Segarra was also present. Many local executive directors of CBOs were present (let's leave them alone), former Anti-poverty program directors were present, as were Bronx politicos and local community folks. Outside the event, local political dynamo, Frankie Gonzales, set up a small anti-Pataki protest. Frankie's support for the Democratic party is second to none.

One would think that the unthinkable has just occurred. A nationally well known state senator leading the charge to support a Republican governor. But State Senator Mendez must be given her due. Her support of Governor Pataki, is a smart, politically astute move. And mostly for all the reasons she mentioned. The Democratic party has taken Latinos for granted. When was the last time (or any time) you have heard the media mention the "pivotal" Latino vote. Latinos are the majority minority group in the city and yet are not counted as having any political capital. Latinos will soon be the majority group in the city of New York. Not a minority at all. Yet we all all but forgotten by all parties.

Senator Mendez has taken advantage of something in the wind (of change) that most haven't the sensory equipment to detect. The Republican party can be made responsive to Latino concerns. Latinos need only embrace the party and make their concerns known. Before this revelation, the Democratic party ignored and took for granted Latino issues, people, and the community. It isn't like Chuck Rangel was going to pour money into East Harlem. The Empowerment Zones have a sad history of funding few projects from East Harlem. Harlem on the other hand has no shortage of funded projects.

Picture of the wonderful food served after the speaches were doneFor all that was said and done about the Anti-poverty program politicians, they did provide at least one good thing. They provided a mechanism for Latino unity and political power. The Anglo reformers who helped East Harlem residents dismantle the antipoverty programs, did not provide an alternative to the political machine. This was a disservice to the Latino community.

Senator Mendez brings a fresh approach to Latino politics.   Yes it is not what we would have preferred, but better to get attention, moneys and things done, than to atrophy at the hands of the Democratic Party. Hey, they ignored us. The Democratic party will now have to bring back the faithful with genuine offers, projects and a real relationship with Latino voters.

Senator Mendez's insight and courage are to be congratulated. She took a chance, which could have backfired on her, in an attempt to provide more for her community.She has done well. Not bad for the "elder stateswoman" of East Harlem. Olga Rules!

Posted by Jose at 1:01 AM

September 10, 1997

Reed Wins

Philip Reed WINS!

Philip Reed, former Democratic District Leader from Manhattan Valley, won the September Democratic Primary and then went on to win in the November General election to become East Harlems next Councilman. Councilman Reed will represent East Harlem in the 8th Councilmanic district. Philip Reed Picture, preed.jpg (10200 bytes)

Surprise Victory
He surprised everyone by beating out a healthy field of candidates consisting of whos who in East Harlem politics. This field of candidates included newcomer Federico Colon (former Adam Powell chief of staff), the venerable Democratic District Leader Wilma Sena, community activist and artist Edwin Marcial, school board member and Legislative Council to State Senator Olga Mendez, Jorge Vidro and community activist Curtis Kirkman. The results of the vote were as follows:


Philip Reed 42%
Federico Colon 22%
Wilma Sena 19%
Edwin Marcial 9%
Jorge Vidro 5%
Curtis Kirkman 3%


Mr. Reeds win surprised many because he was not among those predicted to win. Political pundits expected the black vote to be split between Ms.Sena and Mr. Reed, allowing Mr. Colon to squeak in barely in front of Mr. Vidro or visa versa. What did split was the Hispanic vote;

Federico Colon 22%
Edwin Marcial 9%
Jorge Vidro 5%


Enough of the black vote went to Mr. Reed that he was able to fend off Federico Colons growing campaign. Mr. Reed garnered 42% of the vote compared to Mr. Colons 22%. District Leader Wilma Sena came in third with 19% of the vote (a very good showing). Mr. Reed did an amazing job of obtaining and keeping a high percentage of black voters. He garnered more votes than the three Hispanic candidates combined. East Harlem Hispanics continue to vote in lower numbers than Black voters, even though Hispanics make up more of the electorate than Blacks do.

Gnashing of Teeth
Mr. Reeds win has some Hispanic Leaders gnashing their teeth in frustration. They see East Harlem as a primarily Hispanic district and feel they have lost a "Hispanic" seat to the black community. Hispanic leaders point to the fact that they never challenge black leadership in Harlem or Central Harlem. They see these communities as Black, necessitating Black representation. They also see East Harlem necessitating Hispanic representation. This "Black Encroachment" into matters "Hispanic" has some Hispanic leaders "totally upset and frustrated"

They worry about their future and about what Mr. Reed will do in terms of supporting Hispanic leaders in the future. But they have no one to blame but themselves. Hispanic leaders have not engaged Hispanic voters as they should.

A Matter of Trust
Some Hispanic leaders do not trust Mr. Reed to be supportive of Hispanic candidates. One Hispanic District Leader even asked Councilman Reed to pledge his encouragement and support for Hispanics running for elective office in East Harlem. Trust between some Black and Hispanic leaders in East Harlem is tenuous at best and may be the first casualty of Reeds election to the city council.

Formula for Success
It should be an interesting four years for Mr. Reed. He will undoubtedly be challenged in 2001. It is possible that Mr. Reed can pull a "Carolyn Maloney". Council member Maloney stayed in office by providing the East Harlem community with the services it deserved. She gave it her best and everyone noticed it. Mr. Reed will do well to follow her formula. He has already ensured some success by making former Assemblyman Francisco Diaz on his Chief-of-Staff. Mr. Diaz will add a down home feel and his own strategic sense of the community to the Reed office. The Reed-Diaz team is a formidable combination that may hurt those who make the mistake of taking it lightly. 1998 should prove interesting. In addition, Councilman Reeds decisions on political matters will be quite telling, especially as they pertain to 1998s local elections.

East Harlem Online congratulates Mr. Reed on his election to the city council and wishes him well in all his endeavors.

Posted by Jose at 7:02 PM