Miriam Jumps into Council RaceBy Jose B. Rivera
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?
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).
What do you think? Let us know.