OP ED: Voters should tune in for candidate debate on Jan. 27

OP ED: NYC Council District 17 (Bronx) Councilmember Special Election


The announcement of the resignation of former Councilmember Maria del Carmen Arroyo creates a critical vacuum of leadership at a time when the challenges and opportunities surrounding the community have never been more serious. Issues of housing and the fears of gentrification, along with the overburden of homeless shelters, double digit unemployment rates and the dramatic percentage of persons living below poverty level are just a few of the many real challenges that the next Councilmember for Bronx district 17 will need to be prepared to address.

The timing of this announcement during the Christmas and New Year holidays also presented a significant challenge to the district in responding and activating the networks of concerned citizens and community based stakeholders to ensure that the community is informed and aware of these turn of events.

This will not hold us back, we have in short order galvanized a number of community members in coordinating a candidate forum on Wednesday, 1/27/2016 at Pregones Theatre to hear directly from those who want to represent us.

There are many serious questions to be asked of those who would seek to serve in this position; considering it is a mid- term election, what are the most important items of legislation currently on the desk for the new representative to advance?

At this time our neighborhoods and stakeholders are grappling with important land use decisions that will be coming up for consideration. What are your positions on comprehensive neighborhood planning, economic development & preservation? Support for manufacturing jobs?

How do you define predatory development, and most importantly how will the interests of the community be protected?

How do the current development projects throughout the district, (and proposed future development) effect community infrastructure – like schools, parks, public transportation and how will the community manage the impact upon current and future capacity needs?

These and many other important questions and issues must be confronted, on day one by whomever takes the seat as representative for the 17th NYC Council District. We need every community member to know what is taking place, engage in the process and speak up, knowing that the future we hope for depends upon it, we deserve better!

In the event you are not able to join us on at the candidate forum, we are encouraging all community members to coordinate “candidate forum viewing parties” with your local organization throughout the district in an effort to ensure the community is aware of this special election, and ultimately able to fully participate both in hearing from the candidates and lastly during the date of Special Election. For a change we want to be able to demonstrate that our local residents care by voting in significant numbers.

Jessica Clemente, MUP
Chief Executive Officer/President We Stay/Nos Quedamos

The candidate forum will be streamed live at: http://www.bronxnet.org/ and can be seen on BronxNet (Ch. 67)/Fios (Ch. 33).

Special Election is scheduled for 2/23/2016. You can still register to vote—below are the deadlines for Voter Registration

1/29/2016- Last day to postmark application for Special Election 2/3/2016—Change of Address for Bronx Special Election

2/13/2016-In person registration for Special Election. Must be received by the Board of Elections to be eligible to vote in Special Election