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Crowded Race for South Bronx Seat Pits Party Favorite Against Fresh Faces

By Kate Pastor | September 11, 2017 4:52pm

The Bronx — While the candidate with by far the strongest name recognition in the District 18 Council race is Ruben Diaz Sr. — the Bronx State Senator known for his cowboy hat and socially conservative views  — he is among several candidates running on the Democratic ticket in Tuesday's primary.

The race for council seat, which represents the residents of Soundview, Castle Hill, Parkchester, Clason Point and Harding Park, is a crowded one. 

The seat being vacated by Anabel Palma, who is term-limited.


Michael Beltzer (Campaign Website)

Michael Beltzer, a father who has served on his local community board and on the 43rd Precinct Community Council, says he has worked for a decade as a "community advocate and servant" including time spent with small community and advocacy groups.

His main issues are increasing wages, public safety reforms and improving education. He has been endorsed by the Bronx Progressives, among other groups.

Beltzer has raised $94,667, $23,167 from private donations and $71,500 in public funding. His 364 contributors had an average donation of $64.


Ruben Diaz Sr. (via Campaign)

Ruben Diaz Sr. is a Bronx state senator since 2002, covering Castle Hill, Longwood, Melrose, Morrisania, Parkchester, West Farms and Concourse Village. His son, Ruben Diaz Jr., serves as Bronx Borough President.

He has been a firebrand in the state senate for his conservative views and some candidates during this election cycle have paid a political price for supporting him.

Diaz cast the sole Democratic vote against the state's gay marriage law in 2011, and last year invited Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz to the Bronx, yet he enjoys support from the Bronx Democratic County Committee.

Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, a Democrat covering Assembly District 87, is his campaign manager.

He is in favor of increasing the charter school cap and says he wants to support more affordable housing and funding for senior programs, including housing, and would like to improve public safety. He has been endorsed by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Detectives' Endowment Association, among other groups.

He has raised $141,408, all of it privately. His 346 contributors gave an average contribution of $409, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.


Amanda Farias (via Campaign)

Amanda Farias worked for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. She served as director of special projects for Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and managed the City Council’s Women’s Caucus, worked on issues of equal pay, women’s health care services, and Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). She also held the position of director for participatory budgeting for that council district.

Her policy goals if she wins are to provide more living wage jobs, to advocate for equal work for women and to support small business through Merchant Associations and/or Business Improvement Districts.

She says she will focus on infrastructure issues, including affordable housing and green space. On education, she wants to add more science and computer classes into the curriculum, to bring college preparatory programs back and to refocus on career trades. She also says she will aim to improve community police relations, including increasing transparency for complaints and updating use-of-force guidelines.

She has raised $149,257, $100,100 from public funds. Her 677 contributors gave an average contribution of $73.

She has the support of Citizens Union, a good government group as well as Planned Parenthood and The New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, among others.

She is the only woman running for the seat currently occupied by a woman and is also running on the Women's Equality ticket.

Elvin Garcia

Elvin Garcia (via Campaign)

Elvin Garcia has worked for Friends of Brook Park, an environmental justice organization,  as a community representative for New York State Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, as a field organizer for Obama's re-election campaign in 2012 and then as a Community Affairs Representative for State Senator Gustavo Rivera.

He worked for three years as Bronx Borough Director for Mayor Bill de Blasio and as an LGBT Liaison. He wants to create stronger police-community relations by way of the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) program, obtain security cameras for NYCHA, and pledges to advocate for more summer youth jobs and after-school programs.

He says he will work with the city’s Department of Small Business Services to formalize merchant associations and business improvement districts to strengthen businesses along the Westchester Avenue and Castle Hill Avenue corridors and will work to ensure that the implementation of new ferry service is community oriented.

Garcia says he will fight for the LGBT community and advocate for public housing.

He’s raised $167,951, 67,851 from private funds and $100,100 from public funding. His 638 contributors gave an average contribution of $106.

He made the New York City Campaign Finance Board's list of Top Ten Candidates Ranked by Small Contributions Raised from NYC Residents for having 144 donors who gave $175 or less raising $7,595 from small donors, which made up 55.7 percent of his overall contributions.

He has been endorsed by The National Latinos Officers Association, the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City and Tenants PAC, among others.


William Russell Moore (via Campaign website)

William Russell Moore has tried for this seat before. He ran against Annabel Palma in the 2013 primary. According the New York Campaign Finance Board, he has served as Councilwoman Una Clarke's chief of staff and as deputy press secretary and community coordinator for former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and budget coordinator under Bronx Borough President Aldolfo Carrion, Jr.

He has raised $120 and has spent more than double that, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

He claims he will push back against displacement in the borough by working to raise the household incomes. He says he wants to “save our community from the claws of privatization and gentrification.” According to the New York City Campaign Finance Board he also wants to fix NYCHA and to fight for union wage jobs. 

Carl Lundgren is running as the Green Party candidate. Eisley Constantine is running as a Republican "to stop corruption and put an end to the Diaz dynasty," according to his website, and Eduardo Ramirez is running as a Conservative.