Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 shaping to be exciting year for Bronx City Council Candidates

January 16, 2013

What do these individuals have in common: Albert Alvarez, Pedro Alvarez (not related to previous), Ralina Cardona, Walter Newsome, William Rivera, Carlos Sierra, Yudelka Tapia, Raquel Batista and Felipe De Los Santos?

In case you did not, all these individuals are registered candidates for office. While many are under "undetermined"- meaning they have not declared for which district they are running for - some have made public statements of their intentions. In some cases, it's juts what we hear on the streets.

We will do a quick rundown of who they are although we admit, some we have no idea who they are so we will just say "information not available".

Albert Alvarez: has been Chief of Staff to Councilman/Majority Leader Joel Rivera, who represents the 15th Council District since 2001. We are assuming that Albert will be seeking to replace his boss. His first reporting shows he raised $2,511 and spent $116.

William Rivera: Rivera has declared he's running for the 15th Council District, same district Albert Alvarez is seeking. His first reporting shows he raised a mere $300 and spent zero.

Ralina Cardona: Ralina is a respected community activist in the South Bronx. She's also the New York State Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, also known as LULAC. It sis believed she will be running in the newly-ran 8th District, which is represented by Counilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito. 30% of the district are Bronx voters so given that she's a known Bronxite, she has a real shot at the seat. Her first reporting shows she raised $5,550 with $0 spent. 

Pedro Alvarez: Pedro is known in some local circles due to his support of candidates in the past. He is a tax-preparer who runs P. Alvarez & Associates located at 23 East 170th Street (corner of Townsend Ave). In 2009, Alvarez supported Carlos Sierra (see below) for City Council. From what we hear, he's running for District 15. His first reporting shows he raised $6,310 and spent $1,499.

Walter Newsome: According to his Linkedin page, Newsome served as an "Elected Official at Bronx Democratic County Committee," "Project Manager at Wilson Elser" and "Special Projects Coordinator at The Office of the District Attorney" in the Bronx.    

Like, Pedro Alvarez, he is running for the 16th Council District, which is currently    

represented by term-limited Councilwoman Helen Foster.  His first reporting shows he raised zero and spent zero.

Felipe De Los Santos: De Los Santos is Project Manager at HHH Continuum of Care. His Linkedin page also mentions he served as an "Intern/Assistant to Special Counsel at New York State Senate." De Los Santos is also running for District 16, hence his slogan "Team 16."

Last month, ran this story where De Los Santos was quoted and you can say, profiled to some extent. He has put out an 8-minute video which he discusses his campaign. You can see video here

According to the article on, De Los Santos is a law student at Seton Hall University, a resident of nearby Riverdale from Dominican parents. If he remains committed, and could raise some cash, De Los Santos' campaign could change how we do politics in the Bronx. He does have an uphill battle but determination is what matters. 

Carlos Sierra: Sierra is making a second try to represent the residents of the 16th Council District. In 2009, he ran a very low-budget campaign and despite lacking any significant support from any union, groups or elected officials, Sierra received an impressive 37% of the votes vs Councilwoman Foster. One would think that given such impressive numbers in 2009, Sierra would be the leading or favorite candidate of the Bronx Democratic Party. However, this is not the case. Unlike the last time around, there will be more than one Hispanic candidate on the ballot (assuming Pedro Alvarez, William Rivera and Felipe De Los Santos are able to get on the ballot).  In his first reporting, Sierra raised $14,805 and spent $779. We must admit, Sierra did pretty well for himself. To his benefit, there's no incumbent on the ballot so we'll see what happens in the coming months. We suggest he seeks a professional consultant, an experience and known Campaign Manager and work his neighborhood.  

Raquel Batista: Batista served as Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Compliance  for Vantage Properties. Prior to this position, she served as Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. She's also joining the crowded field of candidates in the 15th Council District (like Albert Alvarez, William Rivera & Yudelka Tapia - see below).

Batista is not a party insider or soldier. She has been making the rounds of several events of the Bronx Democratic Party but our sources within the party tell us that she's really someone who they have no relationship with.  

In her first reporting, Batista raised an impressive $20,005 and spent $1,106. For someone who is said to not be known or having any relationships with the community, this is definitely an impressive amount of money raised. In fact, Batista out-raised all the other potential candidates. $20,000 makes a very strong statement and gives credibility to Batista's campaign.

Yudelka Tapia: Tapia has also decided to run for the 15th Council District. Although she resides in the 14th, Tapia is taking advantage of redistricting (which permits candidates to run for any district even if they do not reside in them) and this has caused some party officials to wonder if Tapia will be seeking office every time an election comes around. This is the fourth time Tapia seeks office. She has been a candidate for Assembly once and for City Council twice. She might get lucky this time around. If she's unsuccessful, Tapia might need to consider another career in politics. 

In her first filing, she reported $16,178 in donations and spent $3,543, mostly in attorneys handling her case. As Bronx Times Boro Beat reporter Bob Kappstatter reported in his October 25th, 2012 column, "Yudelka COULD run, but without new matching funds unless she pays off $47,774 in fines and repays or accounts for $59,930 out of the original $78,828 in matching funds."

It is no doubt that Tapia is considered a loyalist of Bronx Democratic Party Chairman Carl Heastie and loyal supporter of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. However, such loyalty and friendship has not been able to elect her into office (except District Leader in the 86th Assembly District).

Tapia might want and need to ask for the endorsement of State Senator Adriano Espaillat, since she oversaw the Bronx operations for Espaillat's 2012 unsuccessful Congressional campaign.

Two other individuals that did not show any filings with the Campaign Finance Board but that have surfaced as possible candidates in the 15th Council District are Radame Perez, supermarket owner/successful real-estate developer and Ischia Bravo, Executive Director of the Bronx Democratic Party

This is it folks...for now! 2013 is definitely shaping to be an exciting year for us Bronxites. We wish all candidates the best. 

Hope you found our analysis useful and if you feel we have made an error, feel free to comment. We will publish everyone's comments. 

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