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Town Committee Wars–The I, Me, Mine Of Politics (Absentee Ballots Too)

February 24th, 2016 · 7 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events

More than 1,000 absentee ballots have been mailed by elections officials in three of 10 Democratic Town Committee districts competing in Tuesday’s primary with 27 seats up for grabs. This is as retail as retail can get when it comes to identifying voters and dragging them out. In these low-turnout primaries that may not hit 10 percent among registered Democratic voters in the respective districts, a premium is placed on absentee ballots that could represent 50 percent of the total vote in some precincts.

Political insiders are competing to join the 90-member Democratic Town Committee that endorses candidates for public office and selects a chairman. No matter what happens Tuesday it appears Town Chair Mario Testa’s in strong position for another two-year leadership term.

Most voters have no clue about the function of town committee members. They generally vote by the force of personalities. Please, I need you to come out and vote for my slate! Or in some cases of candidates bulleting votes, just come out and vote for me. It happens. These races are not winner slate take all. The top nine vote producers are elected to the DTC. So there is some I, me, mine campaigning going on.

The candidates:

On the West Side 132nd  District former City Council President Lisa Parziale has assembled a slate of nine against long-time district leader Mike Freddino and incumbent City Council members Evette Brantley and John Olson.

Joining Parziale on the slate, Public Facilities Director John Ricci, school board member Howard Gardner, former City Council member Bob Halstead, Carol Cocco, Gabrielle Parisi, Gail Santini, Jessica Materna and Oyiboka Benson.

Anthony Lancia, Elaine Pivirotto, Rolanda Smith, Vernon Thompson Jr, Reggie Walker and Marcus Brown round out the Freddino slate.

On the East Side 137th District veteran pols Maria Valle, Juan Hernandez and Vidal Agosto have formed a slate against long-time establishment operatives Gil Hernandez, City Clerk Lydia Martinez and City Council member Aidee Nieves. The latter slate also includes education advocate Jessica Martinez, Joel Rosario, Teresa Davidson, Maria Hernandez, Anderson Ayala and Alreta Taylor. Rosa Franco, Grisel Seda, Noel Sepulveda, Tageldin Banaga, Guillermo Marin and Jacqueline Richardson fill out the Valle-Agosto slate.

The Upper East Side 138th District has three slates, with 27 candidates, on tap. School board member Maria Pereira has forged a slate of insurgents: Michelle Fox, Angel Figueroa, Eric Alicea, Dolores Fonseca, Rafael Fonseca, Helen Losak, Andrea White and Erris Roy Allen. They are challenging a slate led by City Council members Anthony Paoletto, Nessah Smith as well as Martha Santiago, Kelly Perez, Sonia Belardo, Ty Bird, Kevin Monks, Robert Curwen Jr. and James Morton.

A third slate is also competing led by former city councilor and school board member Leticia Colon and activist Charles Hare. Jose Ramos, Lee Roy Owens, Samia Suliman, Sonia Kirkland, Martha Gil, Marybel Torres and Alfonso Rodriguez round out that slate.

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