Saturday, September 29, 2012

Analizan campaña electoral y Asamblea General

Analizan campaña electoral y Asamblea General

Un panel de periodistas analiza la campaña electoral nacional, la participación del presidente Obama y su contrincante Mitt Romney en la Iniciativa Global Clinton, y los mensajes de los jefes mundiales en la Asamblea General de la ONU.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Senator Diaz has Bronx Pols in Panic Mode El Diario NY

My sources tell me that after he got over his loss to Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares was seriously considering running against Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

It turns out that after meeting with supporters Linares decided to lay low for a while and let things calm down, but he is quietly planning to run again for the state Senate in two years.

District Leader Mark Levine has a little problem. I hear that Levine, who was the favorite to replace Councilman Robert Jackson, was drawn out of the district under the lines proposed by the redistricting commission. Turns out, that unless things change, Levine may not run for Jackson's seat because he is an owner and not a renter, so moving may prove to be more difficult under those circumstances. I called Levine to see if the rumors were true, but he did not respond to my call.

Levine would have probably received the blessing of the new political godfather, State Sen. Espaillat in his bid to replace Jackson. Remember that Levine was a candidate for Espaillat's senate seat until he lost to Congressman Rangel. If Levine would have run for the Senate seat his chances of winning would have been pretty good, because Espaillat and Linares would have fragmented the Latino vote creating a path for Levine, so I refuse to believe that Levine stepped aside without obtaining something in return.

I also called District Leader Manny De los Santos to see what his political plans are, now that Levine may not be running for the seat, remember that De los Santos was allegedly asked to step aside by the Godfather and his minions to let Gabriela Rosa run for the assembly seat, Manny can make the argument that it's his turn to get the nod, he did not respond to my call.

Another rumor circulating in Washington Heights is that Alianza Dominicana founder, Moises Perez, is quietly exploring the possibility of running against Ydanis Rodriguez. The problem, I hear, is that Perez lives in New Jersey, so we'll see what happens.

In The Bronx there is a rumor going around that some people are very concerned about the growing influence of State Sen. Rev. Ruben Diaz, and his conservative agenda. It is a known fact that the Reverend has established himself as the undisputed leader in the Eastern parts of the Bronx. Remember that Assemblyman Marcos Crespo was once part of his staff. And that the Reverend muscled both Assemblyman Peter Rivera and former District Leader Ken Padilla out of the political arena, he then quickly proceeded to replace Rivera with his protege, Attorney Luis Sepulveda.

Senator Diaz backed Mark Gjonaj over Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, and he lit a fire under Senator Gustavo Rivera even though the candidate he endorsed, Manny Tavarez, lost, he put Rivera on notice. Apparently the Reverend enjoy's taking down anyone with the surname Rivera.

He also has an ideological brother in arms in conservative Councilman Fernando Cabrera, and you can bet your bottom dollar that when East Bronx Councilwoman Annabel Palma's term ends, the Reverend will definitely have a say on who will replace her.

Add to that having your son in Borough Hall, so whether or not you agree with the Reverend you would have to be a fool not to admit that he is sitting pretty right now.

Linares buscaría de nuevo el Senado estatal -

Linares buscaría de nuevo el Senado estatal -

Roberto Perez | 09/25/2012  |  La Opinión

Mis fuentes me dijeron que después que se le pasó el resquemor por haber perdido ante el senador Adriano Espaillat, el asambleísta Guillermo Linares estaba considerando seriamente postularse contra el concejal Ydanis Rodríguez.

Resulta que después de reunirse con partidarios Linares decidió mantener un perfil bajo durante un tiempo, y dejar que las cosas se calmen, pero tiene planes de lanzarse nuevamente para el Senado estatal en dos años.
El líder de distrito Mark Levine tiene un pequeño problema. Estuve escuchando que Levine, quien era el favorito para reemplazar al concejal Robert Jackson, fue sacado del Distrito 7 bajo los términos propuestos por la comisión de redistribución de distritos. Resulta que, después de todo, Levine no puede postularse para el escaño de Jackson porque es un propietario y no un arrendatario y no quiere mudarse. Llamé a Levine para ver si los rumores eran ciertos, pero no me devolvió la llamada. Levine habría sido probablemente el favorito para recibir el apoyo del nuevo padrino político, el senador estatal Espaillat. Recuerden que Levine era candidato al escaño de Espaillat hasta que éste perdió ante el congresista Rangel. Si Levine se hubiera postulado para el escaño en el Senado sus posibilidades de ganar habrían sido bastante buenas, porque Linares y Espaillat hubieran fragmentado el voto latino creando un camino para Levine, así que me niego a creer que Levine se hizo a un lado sin obtener algo a cambio.
También llamé a líder de distrito Manny De los Santos para ver cuáles son sus planes políticos, ahora que Levine talvez no se postule para el escaño y recordar que él se hizo a un lado para dejar que Gabriela Rosa aspirara para el escaño por el Distrito 72, por lo que puede reclamar que es su turno para obtener el visto bueno, pero tampoco me devolvió la llamada.

Otro rumor que circula en W. Heights es que el fundador de Alianza Dominicana, Moisés Pérez, sigilosamente está explorando la posibilidad de lanzarse contra Ydanis Rodríguez. El problema, según escuché, es que Pérez vive en Nueva Jersey, así que veremos qué pasa.

Se rumora en El Bronx que algunas personas están muy preocupadas por la creciente influencia del senador estatal reverendo Rubén Díaz, y su agenda conservadora. Es un hecho conocido que el reverendo se ha establecido como el jefe indiscutido en partes del Este de El Bronx. Recuerden que el asambleísta Marcos Crespo fue parte de su personal. El sacó al asambleísta Peter Rivera y al líder de distrito Ken Padilla fuera de la arena política, y sustituyó a Rivera con su protegido, el abogado Luis Sepúlveda.
Respaldó a Marcos Gjonaj sobre la asambleísta Naomi Rivera, y puso bajo fuego al senador Gustavo Rivera y aunque el candidato que respaldó, Manny Tavárez, perdió, todavía puso a Rivera sobre aviso.
También tiene un hermano ideológico en el concejal conservador Fernando Cabrera, y pueden apostar su último dólar a que cuando finalice el término de la concejal por East Bronx, Annabel Palma, el reverendo tendrán voz y voto sobre quién la sustituirá.
A esto se añade que tiene a su hijo en Borough Hall, así que si está o no usted de acuerdo con el reverendo, tendría que ser un tonto para no admitir que él está en la mejor situación en estos momentos.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Espaillat Hands Linares his Political Obituary El Diario NY

Roberto Perez | 09/18/2012  |  La Opinión

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat can now call himself the county leader of Northern Manhattan, after the beating he gave Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. Espaillat delivered Linares his political obituary, and although the mailer sent by state Sen. Espaillat accusing Assemblyman Linares of treason in the Latino community, in which he appears holding hands with Congressman Rangel was over the top and inappropriate, in my opinion Espaillat did it to put the final nail in Linares coffin and so discredit him within the Dominican community, that he has no chance of ever coming back.

Guillermo Linares made a big mistake by challenging Espaillat. Even Espaillat's detractors give him credit for his work ethic. I've heard, that Adriano is the type of person who will wear out three pairs of shoes campaigning, while Linares gives the appearance that he would be more comfortable in the halls of Columbia University, than in the streets of Washington Heights.

Linares has also shown once again, that he has no political coattails, considering that his daughter Mayra, had the money and name advantage over the newly elected Gabriela Rosa, she still lost by 10%. And in 2002, the candidate who Linares supported to replace him in the City Council, Victor Morisete, came in a distant fourth against Miguel Martinez, the winner who was backed by Espaillat. I don't know how Linares could have calculated so poorly.

The last vestige of the Linares political machinery, is District Leader Albania Lopez who either has to kiss Espaillat's ring, and hope for leniency, or be prepared to fight, or face the political guillotine.

On another note, Espaillat was present at the African American Parade Breakfast Sunday with District Leader Mark Levine and Gabriela Rosa. In an interesting twist, when Congressman Rangel spoke, he stressed the need for unity and peace among the communities living in the areas he represents and when Espaillat left the breakfast, he hugged the Reverend Al Sharpton, who was the leader in the fight to create two congressional seats in the Bronx and Manhattan to avoid the problems that currently exist between African American leaders and Latino elected officials. Espaillat proved he does not need the county machine, so any peace agreement he negotiate's, if he chooses to do so, will be from a position of power.


I was told by an Espaillat supporter that District Leader Maria Luna, is also considered guilty of political betrayal, and has to watch her back as well.

El grave error de Linares -

El grave error de Linares -

Roberto Perez 09/18/2012

La Opinión

El senador estatal Adriano Espaillat ahora puede llamarse a sí mismo el líder condal del Norte de Manhattan, después de la paliza que le propinó al asambleísta Guillermo Linares. Espaillat entregó su obituario politico a Linares, y aunque el anuncio publicitario enviado por el senador estatal acusando a Linares de traición a la comunidad latina, en el que aparece el asambleísta dándole la mano al congresista Rangel estaba de sobra y fue inapropiado, en mi opinión personal creo que Espaillat lo hizo para poner el último clavo en el ataúd de Linares y así desacreditarlo dentro de la comunidad dominicana, de tal manera que no tiene ninguna posibilidad de volver a lanzarse.

Guillermo Linares cometió un grave error al desafiar a Espaillat. Incluso los detractores de Espaillat le dan crédito por su ética de trabajo. Según me han dicho, Adriano es el tipo de persona que acaba tres pares de zapatos haciendo campaña, mientras que Linares da la apariencia que estaría más cómodo en los pasillos de la Universidad de Columbia que en las calles de Washington Heights.

Linares también ha demostrado una vez más, que no tiene 'cola que le pise', teniendo en cuenta que su hija Mayra -aunque tenía la ventaja del nombre y el dinero sobre la recién elegida Gabriela Rosa-, perdió por un 10%. Y en 2002, el candidato que Linares apoyó para que lo sustituyera en el Concejo Municipal, Víctor Morisete, llegó en un distante cuarto frente a Miguel Martínez, el ganador y quien estaba respaldado por Espaillat. No sé cómo Linares pudo haber calculado tan mal.

El último vestigio de la maquinaria política de Linares es la líder distrital Albania Lopez que, o bien tiene que besar el anillo de Espaillat, y esperar clemencia, o se enfrenta a quedar fuera del ruedo político.

En otro orden, Espaillat se presentó en el Desayuno del Desfile Afroamericano el domingo con el líder de distrito Mark Levine y Gabriela Rosa . En un giro interesante, cuando el congresista Rangel habló, resaltó la necesidad de la unidad y la paz entre las comunidades que viven en las áreas que él representa y en el momento que Espaillat dejaba el desayuno, le dio un abrazo al reverendo Al Sharpton, quien fue líder en la lucha para crear dos escaños en el Congreso en El Bronx y Manhattan para evitar los problemas que existen en la actualidad entre los líderes afroamericanos y los funcionarios electos latinos. Espaillat demostró que no necesita la maquinaria del condado, por lo que cualquier acuerdo de paz que negocie, si decide hacerlo, será desde una posición de poder.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Análisis de las elecciones primarias -

Análisis de las elecciones primarias -

Juan Manuel Benítez conversó con Zenaida Méndez, del Caucus Nacional de Mujeres Dominicanas, Roberto Pérez autor de The Perez Notes, y con el profesor John Gutiérrez, de la Universidad John Jay, sobre los vencedores y perdedores de la jornada electoral.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Ben DeJesus is currently directing the PBS documentary “Tales from a Ghetto Klown,” which captures the journey of actor/playwright John Leguizamo’s as he struggles to mount his latest one-man show on Broadway and beyond. The film will premiere nationwide on PBS, during the network’s prestigious Summer Arts Festival in July 2012, with the generous assistance of Latino Public Broadcasting.

DeJesus began his career in television with an internship at MTV, and successfully worked his way up to become a producer/writer for three seasons of the highly popular show, MTV Cribs. During several years at MTV Networks, Ben also produced and wrote segments for MTV News VJ’s Chris Connelly, John Norris, Suchin Pak, Sway Calloway and VH1’s All Access.

In 2003, Ben stepped out on his own as an independent director/producer and entrepreneur to open Diamante Pictures. He soon landed the summer ad campaign for The N , delivering over 25 spots to the Nickelodeon Network, and went on to produce several spots for ESPN, MTV, TV LAND, Nick@Nite and more. Soon after, DeJesus co-produced the boxing documentary “ Bazooka: The Battles of Wilfredo Gomez ,” which premiered at Lincoln Center and was acquired by HBO. Since 2005, Ben DeJesus grew Diamante Pictures into a full service production and postproduction facility in the heart of New York City that delivered over 75 hours of programming for broadcast, 100+ commercials, 35+ music videos, 100+ webisodes and over 25 dvd titles. His work has reached over 75 million views on YouTube alone.

Ben has also directed commercials for companies including Ford, Mazda, AEG Live, AT&T, Samsung and others. As a music video director, Ben works with some of the biggest names in pop, urban and Latin music, directing and producing dozens of videos for artists including Sean Kingston, Fat Joe, Aventura, Jay Sean, Chino & Nacho, Angel & Khriz, Nina Sky, NORE, Voltio, Xtreme, Doug E. Fresh, I Wayne, Machel Montano and more. His work as co-director of Don Omar’s hit “ Reggaeton Latino” garnered substantial media attention with its visual and historical homage to Latino culture, with MTV calling the video “the anthem for the Reggaeton movement.” Ben DeJesus has not only established a successful track record as a director/producer but also as a creator of original content for record labels, online companies, and television networks. DeJesus also created, produced and directed the reality series Xtreme: On The Verge , which premiered in 2009 as the top-rated among new shows for NBC/Universal’s mun2 network.

Since then, he has continued to produce several 1 hour specials for mun2/NBCU including “Romeo Santos: Inside the Formula” and others. Now as Chief Creative Officer of NGL Media, a leading online Latino video content creator and distributor, Ben is charged with delivering a high volume of innovative, original and branded digital content.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Viverito May Fall on the Sword in the Redistricting Game? El Diario NY

POR: ROBERTO PEREZ | 09/12/2012 | El Diario

Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito is not happy with the proposed maps that have been released. My sources tell me Viverito put a lot of effort into cultivating the Upper West Side of her district and has now lost it as part of redistricting. Council members Robert Jackson and Inez Dickens have the Upper West Side rather than Viverito. According to the proposal, Viverito, who now only has a small part of the Bronx, would now have half of her district there, she would now have parts of Councilwoman Arroyo and Councilwoman Helen Foster's districts.

I learned that Viverito is not too thrilled with having to represent more of ​​the Bronx and is not too familiar with the areas she would now be accountable for. And now that technically, half of the district is in the Bronx, the seat can now be considered part of the Bronx and the Bronx Democratic Party can lay claim to it when Viverito leave's office.

I talked to people who have no stakes in any of this, to see why Viverito has to be the one that fall's on the sword, and some suspect that Councilwoman Inez Dickens may have had something to do with it. Everyone is aware that Dickens, and Viverito are not friends and that both covet the Speaker of the City Council post. Dickens may very well have made a backroom deal to undermine Viverito. But, the political world is shrouded in secrecy, so we may never know.

So, we shall wait and see, but be assured that Viverito has hit the ground running in the Bronx. She was at the Bronx Democratic Party BBQ this year. I guess she's aware that she needs the party leaders in the Bronx and needs to be in their good graces. But, what some people found ironic about Viverito's attendance at this years gathering, was that no one remembers her ever being at the BBQ in the past.

Moving on, some believe that Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was railroaded as well with his new lines. By including the parts of Inwood that are in Councilman Robert Jackson's district, Rodriguez seat goes from being 81.4% Latino to 66.2%, as areas west of Broadway become whiter, the likelihood that a Latino hold's this seat in the future decreases.

Viverito pierde el Upper West Side El Diario NY

POR: ROBERTO PEREZ | 09/12/2012 | El Diario

La concejal Melissa Mark Viverito no está contenta con el mapa electoral propuesto que se ha dado a conocer. Mis fuentes me informan que Viverito puso mucho empeño en cultivar el Upper West Side de su distrito y ahora lo pierde como parte de la redistribución electoral. Los concejales Robert Jackson e Inez Dickens tendrán el Upper West Side en vez de Viverito. De acuerdo con la propuesta, Viverito, quien ahora sólo tiene una pequeña parte de El Bronx, tendría allí la mitad de su distrito, pues le tocarían partes de los distritos de las concejales Arroyo y Helen Foster.

Me enteré de que a Viverito no le entusiasma tener que representar más del área de El Bronx y no está demasiado familiarizada con las zonas que ahora va a representar. Y ahora que desde el punto de vista técnico, la mitad del distrito está en El Bronx, se puede considerar como escaño de El Bronx y el Partido Demócrata de El Bronx se lo puede apropiar cuando Viverito deje su puesto una vez que se termine su gestión.

Personas con las que hablé que no tienen velas en este entierro me informaron que sospechan que la concejal Inez Dickens puede haber tenido algo que ver en el asunto. Todo el mundo está enterado de que Viverito y Dickens no se llevan y que ambas persiguen el puesto de presidente del Concejo. Es muy posible que Dickens haya hecho un acuerdo tras bambalinas para minar a Viverito.

Amanecerá y veremos, pero tengan por seguro que Viverito ya arrancó con fuerza en El Bronx. Estuvo en la barbacoa del Partido Demócrata de El Bronx este año saludando a todo el mundo. Me imagino que se da cuenta que necesita que los líderes del partido en El Bronx la apoyen o al menos congraciarse con ellos, mientras que antes parece que no era así.

Cambiando de tema, hay quien piensa que al concejal Ydanis Rodriguez le hicieron una jugarreta. Alguien me contó que al incluir las partes de Inwood que eran del concejal Robert Jackson, en el distrito hay cada vez más población blanca. El futuro de este escaño está en veremos, pues a medida que las zonas al oeste de Broadway tienen más mayoría blanca, las probabilidades de que un latino mantenga este puesto disminuyen en el futuro.

Monday, September 10, 2012

NYS Senator Espaillat Admits to Circulating Controversial Mailing

Note: NYS Seantor Adriano Espaillat admitted to sending out a controversial campaign mailing that accursed his challenger, Asemblyman Guillermo Linares, of betraying the Latino community for his support of Congressman Charlie Rangel over Espailat in a recent primary. Durin a debate this evening on NY1 News' Inside City Hall program, when confronted by the host and Linares with the fact that his camaign has sent out this mailing, Espailat did not deny that he did and went on to attack Linare on other isues, ignoring questions about the mailing. He reportedly stormed out of the studio, angry that the question was asked at the very end of the debate.

Congressman Rangel has called for a news conference tomorrow morning in northern Manhattan to discuss this mailing that decribes as "a divisive message that pits one community against another." In his NY1 Noticias' Para Que Los Sepas commentary, journalist Gerson Borrero denounced the flier as "irresponsible."

NiLP does not endorse candidates and we do not publish partisan campaign literature, but we felt it was important to disseminate the one below that was first reprinted by blogger and El Diario-La Prensa columnist Roberto Perez. In the high profile and highly contentious race in the New York State Senate's 31st District in northern Manhattan and part of the Bronx pitting two Dominican candidates, the incumbent Adriano Espaillat and his challenger, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, a flier accusing Linares of betraying the Latino community for endorsing Congressman Charlie Rangel over Espaillat in the recent primary is circulating.

This mailer raises troubling ethnical questions. Is this type of negative campaigning appropriate? Are these types of narrow nationalistic political appeals a healthy thing? And what does this say about Black-Latino relations? As this week's local primaries approach, it gives us reason to pause and ponder about the nature and future of Latino politics.
---Angelo Falcón

MESSER Responds to Mailers From Stavisky's Campaign

State Senate candidate John Messer, who is running against Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, sent me an email responding to the negative mailers being sent out against him.


I am pretty sure that you have heard about or seen the outrageous flyers/mailers that Toby Stavisky has mailed out.

Any chance that you can discuss on your radio show how she must be nervous and running scared to be sending out these outrageous and personal attacks with half truths and lies? And, that a race should be about what our visions are for the future and the community.

As you know, this is a very important and critical race and your voice is important to the community. After appearing on your radio show - media from all communities contacted me.

Your message reaches people. They understand you. You're real. Please make sure your listeners see thru these attacks for what they are and that the community doesn't vote based on mailers intended to divide rather than bring the community together.

Please make sure your listeners come out and vote this Thursday and if you need a copy of these outrageous flyers, let me know.

Thanks, John :)

80th AD Assembly Race is Getting UGLY.....

80th AD Assembly candidate Adam Bermudez sent me copies of a bunch a negative mailers, being sent out by both the Gjonaj campaign and Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera's campaign.

I have to give Bermudez credit, for a guy who is considered a long shot to win this race, he has been very aggressive in trying to get his message out, with the limited amount of resources that he has. The candidates in this race are going to any lengths to outdo each other. There is even a mailer with Gjonaj posing with President Obama.

Bermudez even sent me his own by-line along with copies of the mailers, here it goes NEGATIVE MAILERS BACK AND FORTH IN THE 80TH ASSEMBLY WAR

Here is the rest of Bermudez email

Naomis canvassers are telling people in the projects near my house where I petitioned, that I 'dropped out' and this was right after I gave her a dig in the Daily News "the writing is on the wall"

Gjonaj people shove him and barack palmcards in peoples faces at train stations, get nasty, I got an official apology from the Gjonaj campaign manager because I told the people to stop harrassing people walking off the EL getting something shoved in their face that they have to take.

And then there me, keeping it clean, ready to debate tomorrow night hours after I have my first meeting Speech and Debate coach at Fordham Preparatory in the afternoon. I'll probably walk to Norwood from Fordham and meet with voters at the Subway at 204th and then walk over to Lehman College for 8:30, 9pm Live Debae with Gary Axelbank, no Naomi, Mark has ALOT to answer for...ask Gary.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Note: NiLP does not endorse candidates and we do not publish partisan campaign literature, but we felt it was important to disseminate the one below that was reprinted by blogger and El Diario-La Prensacolumnist Roberto Perez. In the high profile and highly contentious race in the New York State Senate's 31st District in northern Manhattan pitting two Dominican candidates, the incumbent Adriano Espaillat and his challenger, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, a flier accusing Linares of betraying the Latino community for endorsing Congressman Charlie Rangel over Espaillat in the recent primary is circulating.

It is not clear who sent this out, but it raises troubling ethnical questions. Is this type of negative campaigning appropriate? Are these types of narrow nationalistic political appeals a healthy thing? And what does this say about Black-Latino relations? As this week's local primaries approach, it gives us reason to pause and ponder about the nature and future of Latino politics.
---Angelo Falcón

Negative Mailer Attacks Linares
Accusing him of Betraying Latinos
By Roberto Perez
The Perez Notes (September 9, 2012)

The race between Linares and Espaillat is getting nasty folks. As we all know, there is a lot of bad blood between the two men, and this mailing will only make things worse . . .

Note: NiLP does not endorse candidates and we do not publish partisan campaign literature, but we felt it was important to disseminate the one below that was reprinted by blogger and El Diario-La Prensacolumnist Roberto Perez. In the high profile and highly contentious race in the New York State Senate's 32nd District in northern Manhattan pitting two Dominican candidates, the incumbent Adriano Espaillat and his challenger, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, a flier accusing Linares of betraying the Latino community for endorsing Congressman Charlie Rangel over Espaillat in the recent primary is circulating.

It is not clear who sent this out, but it raises troubling ethnical questions. Is this type of negative campaigning appropriate? Are these types of narrow nationalistic political appeals a healthy thing? And what does this say about Black-Latino relations? As this week's local primaries approach, it gives us reason to pause and ponder about the nature and future of Latino politics.
---Angelo Falcón

Negative Mailer Attacks Linares
Accusing him of Betraying Latinos
By Roberto Perez
The Perez Notes (September 9, 2012)

The race between Linares and Espaillat is getting nasty folks. As we all know, there is a lot of bad blood between the two men, and this mailing will only make things worse . . . 

Linares Betrayal?

Negative Mailer Attacks Linares Accusing him of Betraying Latinos

The race between Linares and Espaillat is getting nasty folks. As we all know, there is a lot of bad blood between the two men, and this mailing will only make things worse.

Here's how it goes in both english and spanish.

When Guillermo Linares had the chance to help send the first Latino from Northern Manhattan to Congress...

Cuando Guillermo Linares tuvo la oportunidad de ayudar a enviar al primer latino del norte de Manhattan al Congreso...

...He chose instead to betray us.

...El eligio traicionarnos.

And that's not the first time he's hurt our community.

While illegal drugs plague our neighborhoods, Linares has taken thousands of dollars from a campaign donor now in prison for his role in an illegal prescription drug ring-and refused to give the money back. Linares has taken even more money from notorious car wash owners whose illegal business practices hurt members of our community who just want to build a better life.

On Thursday, September 13, Say no to Guillermo Linares

Check the facts: New York Post 8/5/12 NYS Board of Elections

Y esta no es la primera vez que el ha lastimado a nuestra comunidad

Mientras las drogas ilegales inundan nuestros vecindarios, Linares ha tomado miles de dolares de un donador de campana-que esta en prision por su papel en una red de drogas ilegales-y rehuso regresar el dinero. Linares ha tomado aun mas dinero de conocidos proprietarios de auto lavados, cuyas practicas ilegales de negocios danan a nuestra comunidad, que solo busca una vida mejor.

El Jueves, 13 de Septiembre Di No a Guillermo Linares.

Verifiquen Los Hechos: New York Post 8/5/12 NYS Junta Electoral

At the bottom of the mailer, there is a picture of Assemblyman Linares holding hands with Congressman Rangel.

I have the PDF of the actual mailer. Anyone interested in seeing it, feel free to email me at

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Roberto Ramirez on THE PEREZ NOTES

This is an interview, I conducted with former Bronx Democratic Party Leader and Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez on June 5th 2008. Roberto is now a partner at the consulting firm the MirRam Group. Roberto talks about his start in politics and gives an analysis of democratic politics on a local and national level. There is a slight audio glitch in the recording, so please excuse the poor quality of the audio. This interview is a part of THE PEREZ NOTES ARCHIVES

Roberto Ramirez, Sr. is a licensed attorney and graduate of NYU law school. Mr. Ramirez presently serves as Of Counsel to the national labor law firm of Whatley, Drake & Kallas, LLC. and from 1998-1999 served as Of Counsel to McConnell Valdes LLC, one of the largest Hispanic-owned law firms in the world, offering services in areas of corporate and commercial practice.

Mr. Ramirez is credited with being the architect behind Fernando Ferrer’s 2001 and 2005 mayoralty campaigns. Additionally, Mr. Ramirez has served as a political strategist and consultant for the campaigns of candidates such as William Thompson for Mayor and Carl H. McCall for Governor as well as the campaigns of state wide candidates such as Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer.

From 1990 to 2000 Mr. Ramirez served as a New York State Assemblyman representing the 78th Assembly District in The Bronx. During his tenure as a legislator, Mr. Ramirez chaired several committees including the Subcommittee on Urban Health Care, the Administrative Regulations Review Commission (ARRC), the Social Services Committee and the Real Property Tax Committee.

In 1996, Mr. Ramirez was elected Chairman of the Bronx Democratic County Committee becoming the nation's first county leader of Puerto Rican heritage, and a member of the Democratic National Committee. Additionally, in 1998, Mr. Ramirez was appointed to the Committee to Promote Public Trust and Confidence in the Legal System to address public trust issues and develop a strategic plan to improve the justice system.

In 1998, the New York Post recognized Mr. Ramirez as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in New York City” and he was listed in New York Daily News as one of “50 New Yorkers to Watch in 1999”. In 2003, and in 2005, the Post named him one of “New York State’s 25 Most Influential Latinos”.

Tom Greco on THE PEREZ NOTES Pt. 2

Tom Greco on THE PEREZ NOTES Pt. 1

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Second-Longest Running Show Now on Broadway is Uptown

NEW YORK — The second-longest running show now on Broadway is not in the Theatre District, but uptown in Washington Heights.

In this sliver of a neighborhood on Manhattan’s upper Upper West Side, Broadway is the high street in the Dominican American community — and there hasn’t been a curtain call in over two decades on the rivalry between Guillermo Linares and Adriano Espaillat since both ran for City Council in 1991.

Linares won to become among the first Dominicans elected to public office in the U.S.

El Diario/La Prensa columnist Roberto Perez calls this rivalry “the Washington Heights version of the Hatfields and the McCoys.” He also wrote that their late August debate at the Hamilton Heights Social Club Los Bravos “felt more like a cockfight arena than a forum.”

On Thursday, Sept. 13, the two men square off against each other in yet another Democratic primary — this time for the state Senate seat that Espaillat holds.

Linares gave up a run for his Assembly seat to seek the Senate seat that Espaillat was giving up to challenge incumbent Charles B. Rangel in the newly-drawn and newly Latino-majority 15th U.S. Congressional District.

Rangel, with Linares’ support, won that race by a hair — just 990 votes — in a rare June primary that was rattled by questions over the balloting. Following his loss, Espaillat decided to try to keep his Senate seat in the separate September primary. (Full disclosure: I did some work last spring writing campaign literature for the Rangel campaign.)

The new 31st State Senate District hugs the east bank of the Hudson like Chile does the Pacific, covering Inwood to Hell’s Kitchen (with a few blocks of Chelsea thrown in) — but its heart is still Dominican Washington Heights.

It had been Eric Schneiderman’s district until he ran successfully for state Attorney General in 2010 when Espaillat won a three-way primary for it.

Espaillat has the distinction of being the first Dominican American elected to the State Assembly in 1996, knocking off longtime incumbent Brain Murtaugh in a primary.

He also fended off a strong challenge from Miguel Martinez, a former ally, in 2008. (Martinez served in the City Council from 2002-09, when he resigned amidst a conspiracy scandal in which he was ultimately convicted.)

Linares served in the Council from his historic election in 1991 until he was term-limited out in the 2001 election. He was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg as Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs in 2004, where he served until taking the Assembly seat that Espaillat gave up to run for the state Senate.

Bloomberg pledged to back Linares’ current campaign by raising $100,000 for him.

Espaillat and Linares debated on Manhattan Neighborhood Network on September 4. In the debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters, they tended to agree on most issues, while attacking each other over their commitment to stronger rent laws and the failure of the state to adopt nonpartisan redistricting this year.

Espaillat said, “I believe very strongly this primary [by Linares] is being bankrolled by the landlord interests. My opponent has received $40,000 from the landlord lobby to push me out.” Linares did not dispute the donation.

On tenant issues, Linares said that as a City Council Member in 1997 he “was one of the few who stood up to the Speaker to prevent vacancy decontrol,” which was approved in the Assembly with Espaillat’s vote and virtually every other pro-tenant member as part of the renewal of the rent laws that the Republican Senate would allow only in that weakened form.

Espaillat takes credit for getting the rent laws renewed in 2012. “For the first time, we were able to pass slight improvements,” he said.

Linares told Gotham Gazette that, as landlords try to renew their J-51 tax break this year, he will insist on “strengthening of the rent laws and eliminating vacancy decontrol” as part of the bargain.

Nevertheless, Tenants PAC, which endorses candidates based on their commitment to tenants’ rights, is going with Espaillat in this race, calling him “a major player in the fight for stronger rent laws and the preservation of affordable rental housing.”

At the cable TV debate, Linares cited his endorsements from Councilman Robert Jackson, State Senator Tom Duane, former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, former Councilwoman Ronnie Eldridge and former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

Espaillat cited support from Congressman Jerry Nadler, Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, Citizens Union (the sister organization of Gotham Gazette) and Tenants PAC.

Linares has District Council 37 of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Espaillat has the United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, the Working Families Party, and the Hotel Trades Council.

The split between the opposing political camps is long and deep.

Moises Perez, a longtime community leader and the former director of the now shuttered Allianza Dominicana social services center in the district who managed Rangel’s re-election bid, said it doesn’t stem from a dispute over the issues. “It’s about political ego,” he said.

The men have competing political clubs — Linares’ Concerned Democratic Coalition of Northern Manhattan and Espaillat’s Northern Manhattan Democrats for Change.

There was a brief peace between the two in 2010 when Espaillat ran for Senate and Linares for Assembly without running opponents against each other.

“The community would rather see us working together,” Espaillat said. “[Linares] wants to run against me for Senate. Wants to impose his daughter for the seat he left behind. This is not a blueblood district — the royal kingdom where titles are passed by sons and daughters. There are plenty of people with leadership qualities in the community.”

Both men are tenacious, though Linares is more low-key and seemed to be waiting his turn to run in 1991 and saw Espaillat as jumping the gun by challenging the longtime incumbent Stanley Michels in 1989.

“When we faced off in 1991 [for City Council], I had been serving this neighborhood for 15 years,” Linares said. “I have been an activist since I landed here as a teacher.”

Espaillat countered: “He is a go-along kind of politician.” Linares said: “In order to represent all groups and constituents, I had to earn their respect.”

He also added that he stuck with Rangel over his fellow Dominican because the longtime congressman “is an ally of our community” who he has worked with for years.

Both men took Ed Koch’s pledge not to vote for a redistricting plan for state legislative districts unless it was independent and nonpartisan.

When Senate Republicans reneged on their promise to Koch to take politics out of the process and Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided not to put up a fight over it, Espaillat was among those who walked out of the chamber during the vote on the partisan lines that added a 63rd State Senate District designed to help the Republicans hold the slim majority they regained in 2010.

Espaillat attacked Linares for voting for the redistricting plan — as most Assembly Democrats did. Linares countered that he is “fully supportive of an independent commission” to draw the lines and attacked Espaillat for voting for the partisan lines 10 years ago as an Assembly member.

Linares said his priority as Senator will be passage of the New York DREAM Act to “allow undocumented students who meet in-state tuition requirements in New York to access state financial aid for higher education,” according to the bill’s website.

It passed in the Assembly but was “dead on arrival” in the Senate, Linares said, a status that is unlikely to change unless Democrats can re-take the chamber.

While the Senate race is the main event, the undercard Assembly contest is almost a proxy fight for the two men. One candidate is blessed by Espaillat — Gabriela Rosa, a member of Community Board 12 and a senior policy advisor to Assemblyman Denny Farrell; while another is backed by Linares — his daughter Mayra Linares, a community activist, district leader and recent aide to Cuomo.

The voters could instead opt to go an independent route by electing either Melanie Hidalgo, a member of Community Board 12, or perennial candidate and community activist and career Air Force veteran Ruben Dario Vargas.

A debate among the four Assembly candidates at the Centro Cultural Deportivo Dominicano on Amsterdam and 163rd Street, founded in 1966, drew more than 200 people for a high noon Spanish-language showdown on a beautiful Saturday in the middle of Labor Day weekend. It began with the playing of the national anthem.

Three of the candidates — Linares, Rosa and Vargas — squared off in an MNN cable debate as well. While most spoke in generalities about the issues, on mayoral control of the schools, Linares came out in favor of “more involvement of parents.” Vargas was in favor and Rosa was opposed to the system of governance that began under Mayor Bloomberg.

Rosa said she would be “independent and a team player.” Vargas said: “We have to stop people being selected by political machines because their hands are tied.” And Linares replied, “It is important to have relationships and know how to work with others.”

Trying to stick it to Linares, Rosa said: “Mine is a community candidacy, not inherited.” Linares said she has been involved in the community since she was “5 years old handing out fliers.”

Mayra Linares told the Gotham Gazette that she was “born and raised in this community” and has lived in three of its neighborhoods — Washington Heights, Marble Hill and now Inwood. She was attacked by her opponents for taking landlord money; but, like her father, she promises to support tenants “100 percent.” Tenants PAC is backing Rosa.

No poll has been released in the two races, but some prognosticators gave Espaillat the edge in the contest over the Senate seat because he has just come off a high-profile tussle over Rangel’s spot in Congress. Mayra Linares is seen as the favorite in the Assembly race simply because of her name.

Whatever the outcome, the battles of Washington Heights show no signs of letting up any time soon. In a city where incumbents are rarely subjected to serious challenges, the voters uptown almost always get lively, competitive races.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story said that Espaillat vowed during his Congressional race that he would not try to keep his Senate seat if he lost. Ibrahim Khan, a spokesman for Espaillat, said the candidate never made that claim.


Andy Humm is the co-host of the weekly Gay USA cable TV show, a contributor to Gay City News, and a former city Human Rights commissioner.


Roberto Perez was already a self-described “political junkie” when he was introduced to state politics through CUNY’s Model New York State Senate.

He produced and hosted a political radio show while he was a liberal arts student at LaGuardia Community College. “Now I’m doing my own thing,” he said earlier this month, referring to “The Perez Notes,” an online program he produces and hosts that focuses on politics, entertainment and the arts.

Perez, 35, has interviewed scores of elected officials for bilingual blogs he posts at the website, which has received more than 39,000 visitors from 120 countries since its inception in 2009.

He credits participation in the Model Senate for his success. “You learn about how government works at the state level,” said Perez. “It helped me enormously to achieve my goals.”

Perez was among more than 120 young adults — most of them Latinos — gathered at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work in East Harlem on July 14. They were there for the first reunion of alumni of the annual Model New York State Senate Session, which is in its 16th year.

The all-day event provided an educational and networking opportunity for the alumni, many of whom were meeting each other for the first time.

Since its inception in 1997, the Model Senate has served nearly 1,000 students from CUNY and the State University of New York, giving them a chance to develop their leadership potential and understand the importance of public service as they learn what it might be like to walk in the shoes of legislators.

In preparation to role-play as sitting senators, the students get four weeks of training that CUNY provides through the CUNY Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.

They study democracy and legislative representation, the demographics of state counties, and major public policy issues debated in Albany. Their training also involves legislative decision-making and boosts their organizational, research and public speaking skills.

The project culminates with a mock legislative session on the Senate floor in Albany during the annual Somos el Futuro (We Are the Future) conference of Hispanic lawmakers. El Futuro’s mission is to create opportunities that increase participation of the Puerto-Rican/Hispanic community in the public policy-making process. During the mock session, students debate and vote on real legislation affecting New Yorkers, on issues from rent regulation to hydrofracking.

The Model Senate came about at the request of the New York State Assembly and Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, which sponsors Somos el Futuro.

Due to the growing representation of Latinos in New York City, the Model Senate is viewed as an opportunity to foster leadership among Latinos and for young graduates to “participate in shaping the future,” according to Jay Hershenson, Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and a Model Senate founder.

“These 16 years have been a tremendous success,” Hershenson told the gathering. “What motivated me has to do with the fact that I want CUNY students to have the same public service opportunities as their colleagues at Yale and Harvard. ”

About 60 Model Senate participants are recruited each year by the Office of Student Affairs and Activities on CUNY campuses. To be selected, students must have at least 15 credits, be in good academic standing and have demonstrated an interest in public service and leadership.

Several of the project’s graduates are in public service, including State Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Queens and the first Dominican American elected to the State Senate, and State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, who mentored many project participants.

“To have our grads serving in those leadership positions is terrific,” Hershenson remarked.

Addressed by several speakers including political leaders during morning and afternoon sessions, the alumni were also afforded breaks during which to socialize.

“It’s been great networking, seeing what people are doing,” said Gloria Colon, a political science, public policy and sociology major graduating this summer from LaGuardia Community College. She enters City College in the fall. A 2011 Model Senate alumna, Colon played the role of the Senate Majority Leader, discussing redistricting.

“It was a great experience,” Colon said. “We got to sit in the seat of Senators, learned about demographics. Eventually I want to teach. I’m not sure I want to be elected, but I want to speak for the disadvantaged.”

Describing her 2010 Model Senate experience, Lissette Altreche, a nursing student at the College of Staten Island, commented: “It’s very motivational; I gained a lot from it. I want to reach out to children. I always had a passion to help people, but I just didn’t know how I was going to do it.”

Alexandra Ruiz, who earned a master’s degree in history at Queens College, moderated the afternoon session. She said the 2010 Model Senate was “a crash course” when she wanted to get into government “and gave me the perspective necessary to effect change.” Ruiz is the founder and executive director of Immigration Advocacy Matters, an organization that supports the immigrant community.

For Perez, who played the role of a conservative upstate Republican senator dealing with legislation affecting sexual predators and who now talks and writes about policy, his involvement “helped me understand government,” he said.

Former Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez (a Model Senate co-founder with Hershenson, former Democratic State Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez and the late Brooklyn College political science professor Edward T. Rogowsky) elaborated on the Model Senate’s evolution.

“We knew the only way to get to be a voice in government you needed to know how to affect it from the outside,” Cortes-Vazquez told the alumni. “You have to get to know people who are going to affect what happens to you. This room alone can change New York politics.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., told the group, “You may not want to be an elected official but may want to be a doctor; all of that has to do with governance and policy. If a bill being debated in Albany has to do with Medicare, this group should be represented.”

As to the Model Senate’s future, “Our goal is to keep the connections among them going,” Anthony J. Maniscalco, director of the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program, said.

He told the alumni, “We want to continue to network, you with each other and with us. We want to reconvene with you on a regular basis so we can step into the future with you.”

The NiLP Political Junkies' Guide to Latinos and the 2012 NYC Primaries

The NiLP
Political Junkies' Guide
to Latinos and the
2012 NYC Primaries
By Angelo Falcón (September 6, 2012)

While the focus on Latino politics so far this year has been at the national level in terms of the Presidential election, it is as important to focus on its base at the local level. Having just gotten through a process of redistricting of Congressional and state legislative districts, as well as the Congressional primaries two months ago, New Yorkers are now preparing to vote in local primaries in early September before casting their votes in November's general election for President, the Congress and state legislative seats.

On Thursday, September 13, 2012, primaries are being held in New York City for the Democratic, Republican, Independence and Working Family parties in all the boroughs except Staten Island. Based on the candidates list issued by the New York City Board of Elections, there are more than 90 Latinos and Latinas running for offices in the State Senate, Assembly, the judiciary and for party positions as district leaders, county and state committee members, and judicial delegates. Because New York City is such a Democratic town, winning the party's praimries is tantamount to winning the general election.

The interaction between local and national politics is at the heart of the general electoral process as it is for Latino politics. New York City gets short shrift in such discussions because it is a solidly blue state whose role seems to be largely relegated to that of a campaign finance piggy bank for the Presidential candidates. In this regard, Latinos, as a low income community, are not particularly important.

However, how the national campaigns impact local races, and how local races impact nationally are important political interactions to understand. The Democratic Party dominates politics in New York City, but it is led by a Mayor who is politically independent and has a national voice. Latino politics in the city can generally be defined by its relationship to a Democratic Party that has largely politically marginalized this community. As the national Democratic Party takes the Latino vote for granted, this has been the case as well locally. The result is a fragmented Latino political class with no effective vehicles to organize itself. Organizations such as the statewide Puerto Rican/Hispanic Legislative Task Force, NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislators, NYS Senate Puerto Rican and Latino Caucus, and the NYC Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) have not provided effective avenues for coordination or aggregating and promoting Latino policy interests.

The relegation of Latino politics to the lower level of the Democratic Party apparatus, the county organizations, has made the promotion of Latino leadership to state- and city-wide positions difficult. It has at the same time promoted the creation of Latino political factions between and within the counties based on machine versus reform as well as ethnic interests, that in turn define ho Latino politics interacts with other communities, interests and political structures. When the growing forces of the gentrification of Latino neighborhoods and policymakers' and the media's efforts at deracializing the city's political and policy discourses to preserve White privilege are introduced into the mix, the current dysfunctional nature of Latino politics becomes more understandable.

By reviewing the upcoming local primary races, it is possible to get a sense of the overall state of Latino politics in New York City and of why it is of such minimal significance nationally. This guide to the Latino primary candidates attempts to provide a much-needed overview of Latino politics in the city that is missing in the academic literature and is not covered by a media that focuses on the most local and sensationalistic aspects of this community's politics. The goal is to provide some baseline citywide information that can contribute to a deeper analysis of the nature and future of Latino politics in New York City.

Overview of Latino-focused Primaries

The two most highly profile Democratic Party primary races with Latino candidates are those in the 31st State Senate District in Northern Manhattan, and the 80th Assembly District in the Bronx. These are both unusually competitive and have received significant media coverage.

The State Senate race in upper Manhattan between incumbent Adriano Espaillat and challenger Assemblyman Guillermo Linares is a carryover from the highly contentious June 26th Democratic primary for Congress in District 13 in which Espaillat unsuccessfully challenges incumbent Charles Rangel.

Latino politics can be described as consisting of a number of regimes that developed within specific neighborhoods, organized around the basic organizing geography of the city's local political organizations, the county. In broad strokes, these are:

The Bronx, which is dominated by the following Puerto Rican Political families: the Riveras, the Diazes, the Serranos and the Arroyos. As the only borough where Latinos constitute a majority of the population and with the largest number of Latino elected officials, it is the center of Puerto Rican and Latino politics in New York. It is also the only borough where Latinos had control over the dominant Democratic Party county organization. Assemblyman José Rivera, as chair of the Bronx Democratic County Committee for a number of years, was the dominant political figure, he was challenged in 2010 by a coalition that included State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. and his son, the current Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr. Rivera's political family includes Councilmember Joel Rivera and Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera.

Congressman José Serrano and his son, State Senator José Marco Serrano, are currently marginal players in the borough's overall politics, as are the Arroyos, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo and her daughter, Councilmember Maria del Carmen Arroyo. Congressman Serrano broke with the Democratic Party machine in 1985 and for several years identified as a reformer, but he eventually returned to the fold. The reform element in Bronx Latino politics today is perhaps best represented by State Senator Gustavo Rivera (who successfully challenged the now convicted Pedro Espada), and allies like Assemblyman Nelson Castro.

Another Bronx political tendency is represented by State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. who is an evangelical pastor who promotes a socialy conservative agenda and is an outspoken opponent of same sex marriage. He is joined as a politically active evangelical leader by another pastor, Bronx Councilmember Fernando Cabrera. Because of his scialy conservative views, he has come out in support of Mark Gjonaj in his challenges to inclubent Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera.

Manhattan, where Latino politics revolves around four regimes: Dominican-dominated Washington Heights-Inwood, Puerto Rican-influenced East Harlem, and the Lower East Side, where Puerto Ricans are players in the general lower Manhattan political area. These Puerto Rican influenced areas in lower Manhatta, however, are dominated by NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Council President Christine Quinn, characterized by tremendous White gentrification and a strong organized gay political community.

Brooklyn, which has a large highly dispersed Latino population, has, until recently, had a Latino politics that developed largely in the shadow of and partially in opposition to the Kings County Democratic machine controlled by the now disgraced Italian-American Assemblyman Vito Lopez. As Baruch prof and NiLPster Nicole Marwell put it about Lopez: "It's not that he thinks he's above the law, but that he thinks he can do things that are legal but not necessarily appropriate, with impunity, in certain kinds of social settings."

In the northern part of the borough's neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Bushwick and East New York, there is the faction characterized by the reform coalition of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Councilwoman Diana Reyna on the one hand, and, on the other, the Vito Lopez-connected political family and extended family of State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, his son Councilman Erik Dilan, and Councilman Dilan's former chief of staff and current Assemblyman Rafael Espinal.

In the southern part of the borough is the Sunset Park area, where Latinos are a minority of the population but are represented by two seemingly unconnected Latino elected officials, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez. Ortiz is the chair f the NYS Puerto Rican/Latino Legislative Task Force, which organizes the statewide Somos El Futuro Conferences, and is also rumored to be interested in running for NYS Comptroller.

Queens Latino politics are centered in the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst. Although Latinos are the largest racial-ethnic group in the borough at 27 percent, it is among the last counties to elected Latinos to public office. It is also has the most diverse Latino population in the city, where Puerto Ricans and Dominicans are a minority among Latinos but dominate their political representation. State Senator Jose Peralta, who is Dominican, is the senior Latino elected in the county, who has made known his plans to run for Queens Borough President. The other Latino elected officials are Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who is Dominican, and Assemblyman Francisco Moya, an Ecuadorian, who is the first non-Caribbean Latino to be elected in the borough.

In Staten Island, which has the smallest and youngest Latino population in the city, is the only county with a Latino elected officials who is Republican: Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis , who describes herself as being of Cuban and Greek heritages. The only other Latino elected as a Republican in the state represents an upstate district and is also Cuban.

New York State Senate Primaries

There are four contested races for State Senate with Latino candidates, three in the Democratic an one in the Republican party. Those in the Democratic Party are some of the most interesting, if not all seem competitive.

In northern Manhattan, there is the race for the 31st State Senate District between incumbent Adriano Espailat and Assemblymember Guillermo Linares. This could b one of the most competitive, with Espailat being the incumbent and having just emerged from a well-publicized, although unsuccessful, challenge to Congressman Rangel. Linares' campaign is well-funded and has the support of te pro-Rangel coliation that includes Puerto Rican politicos from the South Bronx and East Harlem.

In the northwest Bronx, there is the primary for the 33rd State Senate District between incumbent J. Gustavo Rivera and challenger and sports agent Manuel R. Tavares. Taveras' challenge is widely viewed as payback for Rivera's backing of Espaillat in the Congressional primary against incumbent Rangel. Rivra is expected to win reelection.

In northern Brooklyn, incumbent Martin Malave Dilan is being challenged by Jason A. Otaño in the 18th State Senate District. Otaño is being backed in this challenge to Dilan by Congresswoman Velazquez and other reform elements in their opposition to the county leadership of scandal-ridden Vito Lopez. Although Otaño will be couting on Lopez's recent problems affecting support for Dilan, Dilan has the advantages of incumbency and name recognition.

Then in Queens, there is a Republican primary for the 18th State Senate between Assemblyman Eric A. Ulrich and former Giuliani appointee Juan D. Reyes, to select a challenger to incumbent Democratic State Senator Joseph Addabbo. Reyes is being endorsed by the Republican county organization, while Ulrich is being backed by the Senate Republicans. This past year, the Senate Republicans had expressed their desire to work more closely with the Latino community, so this failure to endrose one of the very few Latino canidates they have is surprising in some circles.

The following Latino incumbent State Senators in New York City are not being challenged:

Ruben Diaz, Sr. in the Bronx's 17 SD
José R. Peralta in Queens' 13 SD
José M. Serrano in the Manhaatan-Bronx's 33 SD

New York State Assembly Primaries

There are 9 Democratic primary races for the State Assembly in the Democratic Party that include Latino candidates. There are 2 in Manhattan, 5 in the Bronx, and 1 each in Brooklyn and Queens.

In Northern Manhattan, in the 72nd Assembly District, there is a race for the open seat left by Guillermo Linares to run for the State Senate. The contenders are Linares' daughter, Mayra S. Linares, Melanie Hidalgo, Gabriela Rosa and Ruben D. Vargas.

In Manhattan East Side's 74th Assembly District, incumbent Brian P. Kavanagh is being challenged by Juan Pagan, who ran against him in 2006 and had also challenged incumbent Rosie Mendez in the 2nd Council District in the 2009 Democratic primary.

In the Bronx, there are 5 Democratic primaries for the Assembly involving Latinos. There is the highly publicized challenge in the 80th AD to incumbent and daughter of longtime political boss José Rivera, Naomi Rivera, by Adam R. Bermudez, Mark Gjonaj, and Irene Estrada Rujai. Gjonaj, who is Albanian, is a realtor with the most campaign funds who is counting on Rivera's current tabloid scandals to weaken her position as the incumbent. Gjonaj is reportedly anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-same sex marriage, and has gotten the endorsement of State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. because of his positions on these issues. Rivera has the support of the Democratic county committee as well as Diaz, Sr.'s son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.. One of the highlights of this campaign beyond Naomi Rivera's tabloid coveage is challenger Armando Bermudiez' sining of his campaign song on YouTube, which blogger Gateway considers good enough reason to elect him . . . as a way to stop his musical career!

In the Bronx's 78 Assembly District, incumbent Assemblyman and former Bronx Democratic machine boss José Rivera is being challenged by Democratic State Committeeman Ricardo Martinez. These two have tangled before and Rivera has consistently won reelection with large margins. The 75 year old Rivera has served in the Assembly over 17 years and has been an elected official for 30. One rumor has it that Rivera plans to at some point step down if reelected to make room for his son, Councilmember Joe Rivera, who is term-limited next year. Rivera and Martinez are also running against each other for district leader.

In the Bronx's 84th AD, incumbent Carmen Arroyo is being challenged by retired postal worker Maximo Rivera and Charles R. Serrano. Arroyo has been in office 18 years and was the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in the Assembly.

In the Bronx's 86th AD, incumbent Nelson L. Castro is being challenged by Richard Soto (his brother, Mike, ran unsuccessfully against Castro in 2008). Castro is expected to win reelection. Castro is coordinating his campaign with State Senator Gustavo Rivera, while Soto is working with Rivera challenger Manny Tavarez. Castro is the first Dominican to be elected to the Assembly from the Bronx.

In the Bronx's 87th AD, Daniel Figueroa III and Luis R. Sepulveda vie for a seat left open by Peter Rivera, who was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the position of NYS Labor Commissioner. Figueroa was Rivera's chief o staff and Sepulveda had challenged Rivera two years ago. Sepulveda has the backing of State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., a longtime adversary of Peter Rivera.

In Brooklyn's 54th Assembly District, incumbent Rafael L. Espinal Jr, is being challenged by Juan C. Rodriguez, president of the 75th Police Precinct Community Council, who has the backing of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.

In Queens' downtown Flushing 40th Assembly District, there is an open seat where Martha Flores-Vazquez is up against 2 Chinese and 2 Korean candidates: Ethel Chen, Yen S. Chou, Ron Kim, and Myungsuk Lee. This seat was left open by Grace Meng, who is running for the United States House of Representatives in November. The Democratic county organization has endorsed Korean Ron Kim. Flores-Vazquez, who has raised very little money for this campaign, is apparently depending on a divided Asian vote and some name recognition from her many years of community and public service in the area.

The following Latino incumbent Assmeblymen are not being challenged:

Marcos Crespo in the Bronx's 85 AD
Francisco Moya in Queens' 39 AD
Felix Ortiz in Brooklyn's 51 AD
Robert Rodriguez in Manhattan's 68 AD

Judicial Race

In the Bronx, for Civil Court Judge in 2nd Municipal Court District, Eddie McShan and Juana Valentin are running.

District Leader Races
"Candidate for (Male/Female) Member
of the (party name) State Committee"

Manny Burgos famously defined a district leader as "an un-paid elected official who performs a valuable set of duties on behalf of his or her political party. Each district gets to elect two district leaders, one male and one female, with the same responsibilities. The district leader serves a two-year term." He further explained that you won't see the title of "district leader" on the ballot outside of Manhattan because it is "a nickname. You have to look for 'Candidate for (Male/Female) Member of the (party name) State Committee' on the ballot when you vote in September . . . You won't see it in November's general election-you'll only see it on the ballot every other year (the even years) in the September primary election."

According to Grassroots Initiative: "One female and one male district leader represents the voters within their part of the assembly district. Official duties of the Democratic District Leader include electing the Chair of the county party, setting the party's platform, appointing election workers at local poll sites, and helping to select nominees for civil court judgeships. Other duties include electing the Chair of the county party, helping to select nominees for civil court, attending party meetings and events on behalf of the district . . . The District Leader is an un-paid elected official who serves a two-year term. The individual must reside within the district in which they want to run."

The title of district i leaders also includes State Committee members, which Grassroots Initiative describes as a position for which the main responsibilities "include attending their respective political party's state conventions, participating in the conventions, and lending their full support to the endorsement of the candidates picked by their parties at the conventions. A strong State Committee Member also serves as a liaison between the community and local officials, city government, and political candidates, and brings back information from state and federal elected officials to let the party members of the assembly district know their concerns are being listened to and being acted on . . . The State Committee Member is an un-paid elected official who serves a two year term, and must reside in the assembly district in which they are elected.

There are Latinos running for the following Democratic Party district leader positions (non-Latino candidates in these particular races are included here):

In the Bronx:
77 AD (Male State Committee) - Ahmed Khan, Gregory A. Delts and Apolinar Montilla
77 AD (Female District Leader) - Alberta Daniels, Vanessa L. Gibson, and Yolanda Garcia
77AD (Female State Committee) - Evelyn Rivera, Stephanie Gibbs and Marion Katz
78 AD (Male District Leader) - Jose Rivera and Ricardo Martinez
79 AD (Female District Leader) - Josephine Martinez and Cynthia Cox
84 AD (Male District Leader) - Carlos Sierra and Jose Velez
84 AD (Female District Leader) - Iris Fernandez and Maria Del Carmen Arroyo
86 AD (Male District Leader) - Carlos Enrique Oliveras and Steve Santana
87 AD (Male State Commitee) - William Rivera and Ronald Savage

In Brooklyn:
54 AD (Female State Committee) - Darma V. Diaz and Paula A. Melendez
55 AD (Female State Committee) - Darlene Mealy and Maryam Samad

In Queens:
40 AD (Female District Leader) - Martha Flores-Vazquez

Working Families Party - Brooklyn
45 AD (Male State Committee) - Paul C. Vazquez and Chris Torres

Independence Party - Queens
15 NYS Senate District (Male State Committee) - Rafael R. Gonzalez

Brooklyn County Committee Races

The County Committee positions, according to Nick Juravich, are based on election district "each of which is only a few blocks in size and a few thousand people at most, can elect one man and one woman to serve as representatives to the County Committee." The County Committee acts as a lower chamber below State Committee members of the county party, "meeting regularly to debate issues and determine party stances on them, to plan party initiatives and form committees to carry them out, and, when the case arises, to nominate candidates for special elections and for the bench."

Grassroots Initiative describes it this way: "This position is a stepping stone for individuals wishing to become more involved in politics. Running for this position requires petitioning, which will help you become familiar with the process, and once elected the contributions required of you are minimal. However, individuals can take charge, and it helps provide individuals a platform for leadership. A county committee member represents an election district which is the smallest political unit, usually comprising of 700 - 1000 people, or 1 to 3 city blocks . . . The County Committee Member is an un-paid elected official who serves a two year term, and must reside in the assembly district in which they are elected. Each election district has two to four elected county committee positions. Some election districts require one male and one female committee member."

The following are running for County Committee in Brooklyn:

50 AD/62 Election District (ED) (Female) - Migdalia Martinez
51 AD/40 ED (Male) - José Negron
51 AD/40 ED (Female) - Gladys Negron and Carissa Negron
53 AD/11 ED (Male) - Antonio Reynoso and Larry Fernandez
53 AD/53 ED (Female) - Eldia Collado
54 AD/5 ED (Male) - Henry Colon and Jose Almodover
54 AD/41 ED (Male) - Elvin Santiago
54 AD/42 ED (Female) - Nicole Dilan and Shirley Diaz
54 AD/43 ED (Female) - Hilda Bonilla and Melissa Dilan

Judicial Delegate Races

As described by Grassroots Initiative: "Judicial Delegates are elected during the same time as other political positions. Unlike the other political positions, each political party elects judicial delegates. The main responsibility of judicial delegates is to attend a convention where they elect individuals to the New York State Supreme Court. This is an unpaid job, but requires little time, and is a great public service opportunity. It also gives newcomers the opportunity to learn more about petitioning and the political process . . . Judicial Delegates are unpaid elected officials who serve a two year term, and must reside in the assembly district in which they are elected. Each assembly district elects about six judicial delegates."

In Manhattan:
72 AD - Evelyn Linares, Albania Lopez, Fernanda A. Batista, Martha L. Pepin, Mark Levine, Rolando Cespedes, Yokarina Duarte, Judith Amaro, Carmen M. De La Rosa and Angela Y. Moret
75 AD - Mary V. Rosado

In the Bronx:
78 AD - Nilda Velazquez, Andrea Nieves, Nereida Medina, Humphrey Ortiz, and Julian Morales
86 AD - Francisco Feliz, Maria Vargas, Juan Mora, Maria Pichardo, Maria Rosenda, and Yolanda Garcia

Alternative Judicial Delegate Candidates

In the Bronx:
87 AD - Angel Ortiz , Victor Dejesus, Yvonne Rodriguez, Ernesto Calderon, and Julian Sepulveda

In Brooklyn:
60 AD - Migdalia Vega and Delia Benitez

As this review reveals, Latino politics in New York City is a complex phenomenon in need of more serious and detailed analyses than have been offered to far. We have in the past year pointed to the problem, for example, of how the major polls of the city have ignored or undersampled Latinos, in the process largely erasing or distorting the political and policy voice of a community that represents almost a third of the city's population. The dominant party system has also served to fragment Latino political interests and, one can argue, enable the significant corruption that has occurred.

Until effective strategies can be developed within the Latino community to organize itself differently in ways that promote political independence and the development of a relevant comprehensive agenda to hold the political system accountable, the problems of cynicism and low political participation will continue to prevail within the Latino community. As the city prepares for next year's Mayoral election, this presents the opportunity for the Latino political class and activists to come together in new ways to finally develop a citywide agenda for change. Whether they will . . . only time will tell.

Angelo Falcón is president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, (NiLP), for which he edits The NiLP Network on Latino Issues. He is the author of the recent NiLP iReport, "Latinos and NYC Districting, 2012: An Introduction." Special thanks to Roberto Perez and Howard Jordan for their invaluable feedback on this report; any errors belong to the author. Falcón can be contacted at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vito Lopez & His Bag of Dirty Tricks El Diario NY

Roberto Perez | 09/05/2012 | El Diario

There is an old expression that says that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword and this apparently applies to former Brooklyn Boss, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who is known in political circles for his vindictiveness and his schoolyard bully tactics.

In February 2009, I sat down for an interview with National Latino Officers Association President, Anthony Miranda, who had the courage to challenge Lopez for his Assembly seat. Miranda learned the hard way that you don't come after Vito Lopez, when his signatures to get on the ballot were challenged in court. Miranda told me all the dirty tricks that Lopez used not only to remove him from the ballot, but to essentially ruin him. He said Lopez brought a host of witnesses who said he had broken down their door to get signatures, and that he entered buildings with other officers, and showed his gun to collect signatures. Miranda added that the judge who handled the case was kind enough to invalidate his signatures and advised him to step aside because there were too many witnesses who would testify against him. Miranda was still a police officer and was about to retire, so he knew that this could create potential problems, so he followed the advice of the magistrate.

Esteban Duran challenged Lopez for his position as District Leader in 2010, and was also a victim of the harsh political tactics. Duran told me the story during a conversation I had with him in August 2010. Lopez 'tied' him up in court, and he went to trial to fight allegations of fraud. More than 70 people were subpoenaed, and there were more than two dozen witnesses and there was coercion, Duran said, and ultimately, the judge took that into consideration in the decision, ruling that the charges were false. Duran later said that some of the witnesses said that they were told what to say by Lopez people, and were just following orders.

This answers the question of why Assemblyman Lopez has no rival in the Democratic primary. He used his power and influence to steamroll anyone who crossed him. Another thing I find interesting is why no one has asked District Leader Maritza Davila to publicly say what she knows about Lopez and his 'affairs'.

A source in Albany told me that it's not true that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has the wholehearted support of the members of the assembly in this recent scandal revolving around Vito Lopez. The problem is that everyone is afraid of Shelly, and fear the consequences of publicly coming out against him..

It sounds to me that nobody wants to be the next Michael Bragman, the assemblyman from Syracuse who tried to overthrow Silver and was crushed along with former East Harlem assemblyman Nelson Denis, who was also a casualty in that battle.

Los trucos sucios del asambleísta Vito Lopez -

Los trucos sucios del asambleísta Vito Lopez -

POR: Roberto Perez | 09/05/2012 | El Diario

Hay una vieja expresión que reza que el que vive por la espada, morirá por la espada y al parecer es válida para el exjefe de Brooklyn, el asambleísta Vito Lopez , quien era conocido en los círculos políticos por su afán de venganza y su comportamiento de acosador escolar.

En febrero de 2009, me senté en una entrevista con el presidente de la Asociación Nacional de Oficiales Latinos Anthony Miranda, quien tuvo el valor de desafiar a Lopez por su escaño en la Asamblea. Miranda aprendió por las malas que no puedes enfrentar así como así a Vito Lopez, cuando sus firmas para entrar en la votación fueron impugnadas en los tribunales. Miranda me contó todos los trucos sucios que Lopez utilizó no sólo para sacarlo de la boleta electoral, sino para tratar esencialmente de arruinarlo.

Comentó que las tropas de Lopez trajeron testigos que dijeron que él había echado abajo la puerta para conseguir las firmas, que entró en edificios con otros oficiales, y mostró su arma para recoger firmas. Miranda acotó que el juez que llevó el caso fue suficientemente amable para invalidar sólo sus peticiones y le aconsejó echarse a un lado porque había demasiados testigos que declararían contra él. Miranda todavía era un oficial de policía y estaba a punto de jubilarse, así que sabía que esto podría crear problemas potenciales, por lo que siguió el consejo del magistrado.

Esteban Duran desafió a Lopez por su cargo de Líder de Distrito en 2010, y también fue víctima de las ásperas tácticas del político. Durán me contó la historia durante una conversación que sostuve con él en agosto de 2010. Me dijo que Lopez lo 'ató' en corte, y él fue a juicio para luchar contra acusaciones de fraude. Más de 70 personas fueron citadas, había más de dos docenas de testigos y hubo al parecer un poco de coerción, dijo Durán y, en última instancia, la jueza tomó eso en consideración en su decisión, determinando que las acusaciones eran falsas. Durán indicó que más tarde algunos de los testigos afirmaron que esbirros de Lopez les indicaron lo que debían decir.

Esto responde a la pregunta de por qué el asambleísta Lopez no tiene rival en las primarias demócratas. El utilizó su poder e influencia para avasallar a cualquiera que se le cruzaba en el camino. Otra cosa que me parece interesante, es por qué nadie ha pedido que la líder distrital Maritza Davila diga públicamente lo que sabe acerca de Lopez y sus 'asuntos'.

Una fuente en Albany manifestó que no es verdad lo que se dice de que el líder de la mayoría de la Asamblea, Sheldon Silver cuenta con el apoyo de los miembros de la Asamblea en este reciente escándalo que gira alrededor de Vito Lopez. El problema es que todo el mundo tiene miedo de Shelly, y temen las consecuencias de salir públicamente en su contra, afirmó esta fuente.

A mí me parece que ningún legislador quiere ser el próximo Michael Bragman, el asambleísta por Syracuse que intentó derrocar a Silver y luego fue aplastado junto con el exasambleísta por East Harlem, Nelson Denis, que fue también una víctima en esa batalla.