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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Ruben Diaz, Dem 12,925 - 81 percent
Lorraine B. Murphy, Rep 2,133 - 13 percent
Elizabeth Rodriguez, Grn 343 - 2 percent
Dalia Flores, Lbt 330 - 2 percent
William Newmark, Con 184 - 1 percent
Ruben Diaz 9,600
Armando Montano 2,891
Elizabeth Rodriguez 2,858
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Lucy Cruz (can't run
- Ruben Diaz (Dem)
- Lorraine B. Murphy (Rep)
- William Newmark (Con)
- Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gre)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
Ruben Diaz has not filed.
to Armando Montano
Lorraine B. Murphy has not filed.
William Newmark has not filed
to Elizabeth Rodriguez
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
18 candidates' statements on the issues, at Savvyvoter.org
Amadou Diallo's soft brown eyes look over the corner of Wheeler
and Westchester Avenue in the South Bronx.
The mural, over 20 feet in size, shows Diallo's face and his
gravestone, and the words "The American Dream" in red, white and
blue lettering. But the mural is not just a memorial for Diallo;
it is an angry denunciation of the police: There are four police
officers in Ku Klux Klan hoods, and the Statue of Liberty is holding
Since its unveiling in April, unknown vandals have defaced the
mural, or painted over it. But each time the Harlem artist who
painted it, Hulbert Waldroup, returns within a few hours, and
does it all over again.
The mural is just the most visible evidence that the Diallo incident
is still alive and vivid in this neighborhood, where in 1999 the
unarmed West African immigrant was shot and killed in the vestibule
of his apartment building on Wheeler Avenue, in a shower of 41
bullets fired by four white poli ce officers, who had mistaken
him for a criminal and his wallet for a gun.
Although community relations with the police have improved since
the Diallo incident, the candidates running for City Council in
the district say that the issue of police distrust still exists,
especially since the four police officers involved in the shooting
were acquitted of all state charges in February 2000.
Community leaders praise Deputy Inspector Michael Phips at the
43rd precinct, who was appointed after the Diallo shooting, for
his new "open-door policy" and for welcoming community members
to call him directly.
"Relations have improved somewhat, but we still have a long
way to go," said the Reverend Ruben Diaz, one of the four candidates.
Meanwhile, candidate Elizabeth Rodriguez feels that the bad publicity
surrounding the Diallo trial has hurt the neighborhood.
"Soundview was portrayed as the worst neighborhood in the city;
it's not even the worst in the Bronx," said Rodriguez. "That is
insulting to me and my commu nity. We are as good as any other
community, with the same kind of people. I'm not afraid to walk
down Wheeler Avenue at any time of the day."
But while City Council candidates want to keep Diallo's memory
alive, as a reminder about the neighborhood's history with police
brutality, they also want to address other issues in their campaigns.
Both Diaz and Rodriguez said that improving education and funding
for after school programs are their top priority for the community
now. (The other two candidates, Hilda Hernandez and Luis Diaz,
could not be reached).
Though the area has one of the largest growing populations of
school age children in the city, the funding for after-school
programs is less than almost half the other districts in the city.
"We don't have a recreational facility for students, a place
where they can go after school and be off the streets, doing something
constructive," Rodriguez said.
Diaz said the school age population is growing rapidly in the
Bronx because of new home construction, which is good for the
area, but the school construction has not kept pace.
"We've been promised another high school for 10 years, but we're
still waiting for that to be built," said Rodriguez, who has been
chairman of community board 9 for eight years. "We need more beacon
schools and an elementary school too."
Some community leaders have criticized current Councilmember
Lucy Cruz, who was elected in 1991, for the stagnant state of
education and youth programs in the district and blame her for
lax participation in community affairs in the last few years.
Cruz, who has been battling ongoing illness in recent years, is
seldom seen at City Hall.
In a recent protest in front of a Bronx school where a teacher
was accused of sexually assaulting students, Diaz charged that
the Board of Education is incompetent and unaccountable, and called
for abolishing it, replacing it with a commissioner who is appointed
by the mayor.
Rodriguez doesn't think the Board of Education should be abolished.
One of her main goals is to improve parent participation in the
children's education. "Before you make the parents accountable
the parents have to be educated with the new material that kids
are being taught. My older son had to help my younger son because
I didn't know this math."
Diaz, who is the president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization,
frequently appears at television press conferences about Bronx
issues, but his activism is not without controversy. In 1996 he
was forced to resign from the Civilian Complaint Review Board,
after publicly announcing his religious objections to homosexuality.
That is why it came as a surprise to some when the Bronx Democratic
Party decided to endorse Diaz as their official candidate, because
the party had been one of the key groups that called for his removal
from the board.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board position has remained opened
since Diaz's resignation. Recently he has supported the nomination
of Iris Baez to fill the position.
Religion has played an important role in Diaz's life and he believes
it is the one of the main reasons why he judges his son, Ruben
Diaz Jr, a success as a member of the New York State Assembly.
"My son grew up in church with me and that has made him more
sensitive, more human, more bound to earth. Religion makes people
aware of their neighbors and conscious that someday they will
have to answer to someone."
Rodriguez, who is also running as a Democrat, said Diaz is using
his son's name to boost his campaign.
"I served the people on a volunteer basis for 10 years and after
I leave work I do community work. My neighbors are the ones who
encouraged me to run."
There are now eight candidates running for City Council district
18 in the South Bronx, including six Democratic candidates.
"Our community suffers total neglect from our elected officials"
said Barbara Jones, who has been Democratic District leader since
1992. "District 18 hasn't been represented adequately for the
past 12 years."
Jones hopes to decrease class size, build more schools, and expand
after-school programs to include not just homework assistance
but art activities as well. Jones would also like to see only
teachers, school administrators, and parents with children in
public school as members of the central Board of Education.
William Newmark, who is running under the Conservative party,
said he believes people in the district are ready for a change
because of unfulfilled promises made by Democratic elected officials.
Newmark favors of school vouchers because they create competition
and give parents a choice. "Anything the teacher's union opposes
is a good idea," said Newmark.
While some new homes have been built in the last few years in
the South Bronx, Newmark said that it is not enough and the only
way to increase home building is to get rid of rent stabilization
and have apartments rented on market price. "The liberals say
everybody's going to be thrown out on the street but in other
cities where they don't have rent stabilization, nobody is thrown
out on the street," said Newmark.
Democratic candidate Armando Montano said if he is elected he
would try to get parents more involved in the schools and hold
meetings on Saturdays if needed. He also believes members of the
central Board of Education should be elected rather than appointed.
The other Democratic candidates Hilda Hernandez, Lorraine Murphy
and Sandra Love did not respond to requests for interviews.
Love, who has been endorsed by State Senator Pedro Espada Jr.,
recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for filing erroneous
documents that illegally diverted a state grant to the Soundview
Health Center where she works. Love told local press that the
transfer was legitimate and that she pled guilty due to pressure
from the district attorney, to save money on legal fees, and to
spare her family from further embarrassment. The district attorney's
office said that "$6,000 of that money was funneled to the committee
to re-elect Pedro Espada Jr." Love maintains she used the money
for a Puerto Rican theater group.
"I also have worked very hard in the very community for the past
20 years I know the issues, I've lived the issues and I think
I would be the best candidate," Love said at July 9th press conference.
(See the Campaign Trail for more details.)
Ruben Diaz is the pastor of Christian Community Neighborhood
Church. He founded the Christian Community Benevolent Association
in 1977, has operated three senior centers and a home attendant
program for 1,000 clients in addition to the South Bronx Senior
Transportation Network, which provides transportation for seniors.
Diaz is also the president of the New York Hispanic Clergy and
served on the Civilian Review Complaint Review Board
Hilda Hernandez (no information available)
Barbara Jones has been Democratic District leader in the
76th Assembly District since 1992. A former city employee, she
served as president of the Parkchester Chapter of the NAACP and
as secretary of BCFM-Black Citizens for a Fair Media.
Sandra D. Love is the senior vice-president of the Soundview
Armando Montano, who runs a private law practice, served
for 16 years as legal counsel for former State Senator Larry Seabrook.
He has worked with the State Assembly Task force on Bilingual
education, and has assisted his community with legal council cases
involving the Latino Voting Rights Committee, Community District
12 and Latino Artists to save El Museo del Barrio. He received
his Bachelor's degree in City College and his law degree from
University of Pennsylvania.
Lorraine B. Murphy (no information available)
Elizabeth Rodriguez works as the Assistant to the Chairperson
and administrator at the Department of Rehab Medicine at New York
University School of Medicine. She is founder and president of
the East Bronx Community Action Committee, an organization formed
about 16 years ago because of the city's building of homeless
shelters in the Bronx. She has served as Community Board 9 Chairman
for the last eight years.
William Newmark, a private political consultant, was county
leader of the Bronx Conservative Party. He worked as an assistant
for 13 years for Senator Guy Vella.
The New York Times today endorsed a candidate in this race.
District 18 (Soundview, Parkchester, Castle Hill) "Armando
Montano, a lawyer with a strong record of public service, is by
far the best candidate. His competition includes the Rev. Ruben
Diaz Sr. the father of the area's assemblyman and the choice of
the county Democratic Party. Mr. Diaz has a track record of allowing
his conservative religious beliefs to shape his political views.
This district has long suffered from a lack of good representation
in the City Council. We believe that could change with the election
of Armando Montano."
State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. has endorsed Sandra Love for City
Council in district 18. Love recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor
charge that she filed erroneous documents that illegally diverted
the bulk of a $95,100 state grant to the Soundview Health Center,
money that had been earmarked for renovating the Teatro de Puerto
Rico in the borough. Love insists that the money went to Soundview
in order to reimburse the center for having saved the theater
in the first place and states that she can prove that. Love also
argues that she pleaded guilty due to pressure from District Attorney
Robert Johnson, as well as to save money on legal fees and to
save her family from further embarrassment. (Bronx
The Bronx district attorney's office says health care administrator
Sandra Love plead guilty to falsifying documents in order to obtain
a state grant. But Love says she plead guilty to filing a form
that had errors on it. Love, who is 18th District City Council
candidate, held a press conference, to clarify her plea bargain
and what she agreed to. (News
Bronx health care administrator Sandra Love has admitted to falsifying
records and misusing public funds. This comes just eight months
after Love and State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. were cleared of
grand larceny charges. (News
Mayoral candidate Mark Green takes goes after opponent, Fernando
Ferrer by criticizing the borough president's stance on the Diallo
Sandra Love, who was acquitted of larceny with Espada last year
in an unrelated case, must reimburse the state Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation $20,000 under the terms of
her plea. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett is
expected to approve the plea deal at Love's sentencing on Oct.
The Bronx Democratic Organization endorsed Adolfo Carrion Jr.
for Bronx borough president, though this by no means assures his
election. His opponents include State Senator Pedro Espada Jr.
and Willie Colón, the salsa performer and onetime candidate
for Congress. Other candidates the organization endorsed: Ruben
Diaz Sr. (district 18), Michael Benjamin (district 16), Jose Marco
Serrano (district 17), Larry Seabrook (district 12) (NY
Rev. Diaz protests with other ministers in front of Bronx school
where a teacher allegedly sexually assaulted students, Diaz blames
Central Board of Education and calls for abolishing it. (Bronx
Diallo mural repainted by Harlem artist just hours after someone
blotted out the controversial images.(New
Diallo mural unveiled featured police officers hooded in Ku Klux
Klan white hoods and a statue holding a gun. The mural painted
by Harlem artist is called "The American Dream,"has spurred mixed
reactions from community members. (New
Diallo mural unveiled featured police officers hooded in Ku Klux
Klan white hoods and a statue holding a gun. The mural painted
by Harlem artist is called "The American Dream." (Court
Rev. Ruben Diaz supports the controversial nomination of Iris
Baez to his former Bronx seat in the Civilian Complaint Review
Castle Hill Community Group opposes the building of a Home Depot
in their neighborhood. Elizabeth Rodriguez holds a hearing at
community board 9 protesting the high traffic the store would
bring to the neighborhood. (Bronx
A ribbon cutting was held outside the new Castle Hill Medical
Center. The ceremony was hosted by former senator Pedro Espada,
Jr., founder and president of Castle Hill Medical Center, and
attended by dozens of residents. Sandra Love, the center's senior
vice president, led the group in a prayer. The new medical center
will temporarily replace the old center in Castle Hill, which
is currently undergoing renovations to expand the medical office
and build a youth center with wheelchair accessibility. (The
Bronx Times Reporter)
Bronx position in Civilian Complaint Review Board has remained
empty since Rev. Ruben Diaz resigned in 1996 for his public statements
against homosexuality. Bronx women nominated for the position.
Bronx lacks voice on police brutality since Rev. Diaz resigned
from his position on the Civilian Complaint Review Board in 1996,
the position has remained unfilled. (The