With only a little more than two weeks remaining until a successor is chosen to fill the City Council vacancy left by Hiram Monserrate, the diverse campaigns in District 21 are filled with surprises.
Julissa Ferreras and Eduardo Giraldo were the only two candidates who did not attend the Board of Election (BOE) hearing on Tuesday, February 3 where candidates Angel Del Villar, George Dixon, Francisco Moya and Carlos Pena defended the petitions they submitted to the Board. Of these, the only accepted petitions were those from Dixon and Moya. However, though rejected, Del Villar and Pena had the opportunity to appeal at yet another hearing on Monday, February 9.
“We went to court and the judge gave a crazy order,” said Del Villar, who explained that the petitions were again denied because the judge ruled the objector had not been properly served with court appearance papers. Del Villar, a lawyer, said that he had complied by not only attaching the court appearance papers to the door of the objector’s home, but also mailing them by certified mail. The case is now before the appellate division.
“I’m hoping they are more objective since they are not the same judges in the county court which are appointed by politicians,” he said.
On the other hand, Pena said he would not defend his petitions this time but instead “his project was to prepare for the September campaign,” when the seat will again be up for grabs.
In the meanwhile, the other candidates have shifted gears in preparation for February 24th when voters will go to the polls.
“We have to turn out the vote and make ourselves be counted,” said Giraldo. “I am a candidate from the community, for the community. I don’t represent any machinery.”
Giraldo said his campaign had $30,000 and had also received the $58,000 in public funds available for campaigns.
On the other hand, Moya said he had raised more than $50,000 and hoped to have around $60,000 raised for the next BOE funds declaration date. According to the campaign finance Internet site for the New York City BOE, Moya had also received $53,000 in public funds. Now, Moya said, his focus is to get the votes.
“We have just been out there knocking on doors taking the message straight to the voters who share the same idea for change in their neighborhood,” Moya said.
Dixon, who has around $47,000 from fundraising efforts and public financing, said his funds will be used to produce print materials and get the word out.
Similarly, the Ferreras campaign has been focused on identifying the voters and getting the message out. Recently, Ferreras received the endorsement of powerful healthcare service workers union, the SEIU 1199 East. She also said that she wants to work with these groups in fighting for a prevailing wage, especially in these economic times.
“I think it makes a great difference, it’s not only about fundraising,” Ferreras said.
- Additional reporting by Pete Davis