In this wild and crazy Democratic Town Committee season, a race to watch is the 138th District where City Librarian Scott Hughes and former zoning commissioner Pat Fardy have joined forces with seven other neighborhood activists to try to wrest political control of the Upper East Side from a veteran slate that includes city employees Martha Santiago and Richard Paoletto who’s also a member of the City Council.
The anti-establishment vote in the neighborhood has been a presence in recent elections including last September’s primary drubbing of the endorsed candidates for school board. This is an area where Connecticut’s Working Families Party, in particular, has shown organizational strength. Hooker and JFK schools are the voting precincts. Hooker is historically the higher-turnout area above Beardsley Park. The Democratic Party establishment has relied largely on the JFK precinct in the lower end of the district above Boston Avenue to bail it out of close races. JFK is also prime turf for absentee ballots with a large senior citizen vote.
Hughes and Fardy will be joined on the ticket by Ann Barney and James Morton, son of the late political leader Margaret Morton. Barney and Andy Fardy challenged then-City Council incumbents Paoletto and Bob Curwen four years ago. Morton was also a candidate in what appeared to be a splitting of the anti-party vote.
Elections officials as of Monday morning were still reviewing the petition sheets of slates trying to qualify for district primaries. When the dust clears on primary night March 4, a new 90-member Democratic Town Committee will be seated to select a chairman and endorse candidates for public office. So far the only possible challenge to Chairman Mario Testa is Black Rock District Leader Danny Roach.
The 138th challenge slate: Scott Hughes, Noel Sepulveda, Ann Barney, Pat Fardy, James Morton, Twana Jackson, Melanie Jackson, Pearlye Sams Allen and Nadia Pearce.