Fight For Control Of Upper East Side

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.



  1. Is it possible one of several reasons for the decreased voter turnouts in City elections in recent years has been the lack of competition? Well this slate indicates there is an experienced group of neighbors willing to compete. This neighborhood has sometimes lamented the lack of an NRZ, or other representative groups, however having gotten to know several members of this slate what you may not have enjoyed is not critical to what you currently are showing … a diverse group of neighbors (can we assume there are no residency issues here?) with ideas for changing the way things are done in the City. And with these folks the changes can be expected to emerge with integrity. Time will tell.

  2. This could be a very exciting race to watch. I guess it all comes down to getting out the vote in the district. This slate could easily create an upset. There is a lot of talent out there.

  3. Martha Santiago and the TC need to be replaced. The district is actually run by Judy and Mike Marella and Martha goes along for the ride. I spent 20 years on the district’s TC and resigned because I could not take Martha’s one-sided approach to everything that concerned her and our two council people. In her eyes the people in the district could go pound sand.
    Just look, in this district we have no NRZ, our library is a storefront, we have very little police protection. But Martha has a city job with big raises, Paoletto was made a department head and Mark Anastasi’s kid got a city job plus a seat on the TC. Do you think with Santiago, Anastasi, Paoletto, Marella and Monks the mayor gets any heat from this group? Imagine, 5 out of 9 seats filled by city employees or a relative. It’s time for them to go.

    1. Andy,
      Also, don’t forget what Martha did when you resigned.
      You resigned and Martha hand-picked your replacement with the rest of the people voting or approving your replacement. Additionally, I never resigned. Yet Martha assumed because you resigned, I would resign as well and she replaced me without ever talking to me.
      I never submitted a resignation letter. I never indicated to her or anyone else I was resigning. I had no intention of leaving the town committee, but Martha needed yes people around her so she illegally had me removed.
      I wrote to the mayor–he didn’t care.
      I wrote to the city attorney–he didn’t care.
      I wrote to Denise Merrill–she personally called me and expressed outrage but it was out of her realm of authority.
      The only person who allegedly had the power to do anything about it was Nancy DiNardo–she chose to do nothing.
      Martha needs to go.

  4. Mojo, what Ann Barney and I wrote were facts we dealt with while on the TC under Martha’s leadership. The only way any new ideas can come forward is by presenting the facts to the voters.
    The voters need to know how underrepresented they are by the sitting TC members, who are where they are for their own benefit.
    Sorry Mojo, the things that were written needed to be said.

    1. Mojo,
      History lessons that include facts are good, no? It allows others to counter the re-telling if they can. And when folks in leadership positions are referenced in what appear to be unflattering ways, the previously untold is revealed and can in turn become part of the record. In the end we shall all pass and be gone. A voice is gone from the scene. In the meantime silence is not in order.
      Perhaps more voices will spring up on OIB, for the media, or at the polls. Are there more history lessons out there? Who will rise to teach the taxpayers/voters? Time will tell.


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