By Anthony Rivieccio
City Council and Mayoral candidates are already starting to come out and fundraise, although the election itself is in 2021. Besides dealing with coronavirus, the candidates have several new rules to deal with, most notably, ranked choice voting and up to 8-1 fundraising matching funds.
And with the many upsets in NYC politics the last couple of years, there are already several candidates, per district, running for City Council
But let's not forget the biggest and most symballic one: Borough President.
In recent years many have questioned the real power of this office. In some ways they are still very influencial. The office appoints community board members and has a tremendous say in Land Use zoning projects.
On the other hand, just looking at the pandamic as an example, the Boro President had little power to assist. So in many ways, the Boro President is just a " cheerleader" for it's Boro and it's citizens.
But many also know it can be used as a " springboard" for several other potential higher offices. Others might look at it as a way to " save" their influence in borough politics, especially if they are being " termed" out.
Enter the first two frontrunners: Former Assemblywoman & City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson & City Councilman Fernando Cabrera.
Vanessa Gibson from the Bronx 16th Council District , has represented her district well. For her Boro Presidency run, as it was recently written in " City & State" magazine, she has been practicing her Spanish.
Gibson, who's 40 years old, is a Democrat who represents much of the South Bronx. She chairs the Capital Budget Subcommittee and was just elected co-chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus.
She was born and bred in Bed Sty, Brooklyn . Former Bronx Assemblywoman & Boro Vice President Aurelia Greene has been her long time mentor. She believes that the Bronx needs more affordable housing. She is used to " zoning controversies" leading the charge with the Jerome Ave Zoning . She was in favor of closing Rikers Island and is an advocate of the " smaller local jails" approach. But she has been in trouble with the " Conflict of Interest " Board using her " relationships" to attempt to get out of a traffic ticket. She was fined $5000.
Fernando Cabrera, from the 14th council district, further north, has been in office since 2010. His leadership positions in the NYC Council include Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee and Co-Chair of the Gun Violence Task Force. Council Member Cabrera is a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus and is a staunch advocate for tenants, youth and seniors.
Council Member Cabrera is also senior pastor of New Life Outreach International in the Bronx. He challanged and lost running for a State Senate seat and he recently challanged but changed his mind, running for the Congressional seat, now held by AOC.
While we believe there could be more " candidate announcements" coming, these two have openly declared their intentions for this seat.
More importantly we believe many new campaign strategies have to be implemented because of the lingering effects of Coronavirus. Since " full based" community meetings won't take place till 2021, we believe all declared candidates have to develop " out of the box" strategies. Watching what these two do above in early campaigning should be a fascinating watch.
Anthony Rivieccio has been founder of The Northwest Bronx Democrats , a community & political organization since 2003. Their target areas are: Fordham, Kingsbridge , Kingsbridge Heights , Bedford Park, Norwood , Allerton. The current President is Shiela Sanchez.
You can find our Facebook Group page by just going to Facebook search and tying in: "Northwest Bronx Democrats". We feature daily: NYC, Bronx community and political news, activities & events. Our close to 2000 members include several distinguished : activists, NYC agency staff directors, elected and party officals-, including Councilpeople, State Assembly, State Senate & Congressional representatives, and numerous people of interest.