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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Erik Martin Dilan, Dem 7,331 - 87 percent
Miguel Alonso, Ind 627 - 7 percent
Yolanda J. Martin, Fun 333 - 4 percent
Germania Taveras, Con 163 - 2 percent
Erik Martin Dilan 3,220
Heriberto Mateo 2,066
Louis Hernandez 1,377
Ricky Perez 1,369
Michelle Romero 753
Luis Booth 557
Miguel Alonso 535
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Martin Malave-Dilan
(can't run in 2001)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Miguel Alonso
to Louis Hernandez
to Erik Malave-Dilan
to Heriberto Mateo
to Ricky Perez
to Michelle Romero
to Germania Taveras
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
According to the Board of Elections, Democratic candidate Yolanda
Martin and Liberal Party candidate Urpiano Rafael Dominguez did
not have enough signatures to appear on the ballot. Still, six
Democratic candidates will appear on the ballot in September.
For more details, see the Campaign Update. Posted
Ricky Perez, community affairs officer for the 75th police precinct,
cruises the streets of Cypress Hills in an unmarked sedan. In
1993, he recalls, looking out the window, 126 people were murdered
within his police precinct -- the most ever in New York -- helping
the area earn the nickname "the killing fields."
"The way the media portrays this area people probably think it
is Vietnam," says Perez.
This year, Perez hopes to make the transition from police officer
to politician, and as he drives he waves to people he knows. Then
he points out one particular location, a park that was refurbished
by the current Councilmember Martin Malave-Dilan.
"Aside from putting up some lights in a park, Martin Dilan has
not done anything in 10 years," says Perez. "So I'm not afraid
of running against Martin Lite."
Perez is referring to one of his four opponents in the race for
City Council, the current council member's 27-year-old son, Erik
"I've been involved with the community my whole life, says Erik
Malave-Dilan, who says there is more to his candidacy than his
last name. "I've coached basketball since I was 15. I've been
involved with my church. As a member of the 32nd school board
I have helped take three schools off the list [of failing schools]."
Although crime is down and the economy is looking up in district
37, the candidates are waging rough-and-tumble campaigns that
live up to the area's reputation.
Councilman Martin Malave-Dilan believes Perez's candidacy is
a political payback orchestrated by Congressman Edolphus Towns.
The councilman ran against Towns twice and lost. He now believes
Towns encouraged Perez to move into the district last year. "If
he wants to be a carpetbagger, that is his thing," Martin Malave-Dilan
says of Perez, who has been endorsed by Towns and his son Assemblyman
In a recent television debate, candidate Miguel Alonso also questioned
the young Dilan's candidacy. "I've worked in the community for
the past 12 years," says Alonso. "I've only seen you active in
the community for the past year."
Pushing the mud slinging aside, there are real challenges facing
Wyckoff Heights, Cypress Hills, and East New York.
First, the area schools are a concern. Test scores are near the
bottom in both reading and math citywide, and 91 percent of students
are eligible for free lunches. "We need to get money to build
new schools," says Heriberto Mateo, president of school board
19. "The schools are very crowded."
Perez hopes vacant lots can house new schools and community centers,
like the two Police and Community Together Centers he helped found.
"Someone needs to stand up and be accountable," says Perez. "Why
are our schools the worst? Because no one has been held accountable."
Economic development is another key issue. There have been recent
improvements in the area and in 2002 the Gateway Center, which
will be the largest mall in New York City, is slated to open in
Alonso, a former teacher and now corporate trainer on Wall Street,
hopes he can connect the neighborhood and the business world together.
Michelle Romero, a legislative assistant for Assemblyman William
Boyland, hopes her experience in the State Legislature will aid
the economic situation in the 37th district. "The small businesses
need a lot of support with the upkeep," Romero says. "Basically,
some leave sooner than we would like them to leave, and we'd like
to keep them here."
As for crime, which has dropped 82 percent since 1993, the candidates
credit the good economy, an increased police presence, and community
groups that have worked to get guns off the street. However, some
feel police and community relations may have suffered in the process.
In the end, the race for district 37 is likely to be a battle
of words between the Dilans and Perez and which allegation is
more likely to sway the voters, "nepotism" or "carpet bagging"
According to the Board of Elections, Democratic candidate Yolanda Martin and
Liberal Party candidate Urpiano Rafael Dominguez did not have enough
signatures to appear on the ballot. So now there are eight candidates running
in district 37 (six Democrats, one Independence candidate, and one
On August 15, the candidates were invited to a forum at the YMCA on Jamaica
Avenue. (Candidates Heriberto Mateo and Germania Taveras did not attend.) The
candidates were asked how they would respond to community concerns, such as
school overcrowding, graffiti on neighborhood buildings, and the lack of
"If you are elected to the City Council, what will you do to insure that our
neighborhood receives more funding for school construction," asked Alana
Robinson, from the organization Cypress Hills Advocates for Education.
Overall, the candidates had similar responses, saying they would use the
office to fight for neighborhood schools, but each also added his or her own
take on the problem.
"My intention, if I get elected to City Council, is to work with federal,
state, and city elected officials to bring in money to this community," said
Miguel Alonso. "Being a former teacher has shown me the condition of our
schools, and we definitely need funding to rebuild, renovate, and construct
new schools in our district."
"As a representative in City Council, I will make sure that our community is
represented fairly;" said Louis Hernandez, "and since I am working now with
two state senators -- Olga Mendez and Nellie Santiago -- and others to make
sure we get our fair share of construction, I will also make sure that we get
our fair share of smaller class size."
"I can assure you that I will march with you in front of the Board of
Education and I will scream loudly in front of city hall to make sure we get
the funding necessary to make sure our kids get a proper education," said
Ricky Perez. "And that's non-negotiable."
Erik Martin Dilan said he would target the School Construction Authority. "As
your next City Councilman, the first thing I will do is call for the
abolishment of the School Construction authority, which is infamous for its
overruns and mismanagement in fiscal areas when it comes to building
schools," said Dilan.
Candidate Michelle Romero advocated community involvement as a way to improve
the quality of local education. "We should work together with the
community-based organizations and take the essential solutions that we have
found with those organizations in this district, and in New York City, to
improve the quality for our children in their education," said Romero.
Candidate Luis Booth said he would raise private funds for schools. "My
approach is, if we cannot get money through some kind of state funding,
perhaps we can get some kind of private funding from foundations or venture
capitalists to help with our seat shortage," said Booth.
After the event, current City Councilmember Martin Malave-Dilan played down
the notion that there is a feud between the Dilans and Congressman Edolphus
Towns and his son, Assemblyman Darryl Towns, who have both endorsed his son's
opponent, Ricky Perez.
"The Towns and I like each other just fine," said Malave-Dilan. "Darryl was
sitting near me tonight and we shook hands. There is no feud."
The two candidates are splitting the endorsements from rival camps within the
Brooklyn Democratic organizations. Perez has also been endorsed by
Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, Bronx Borough President and mayoral candidate
Fernando Ferrer, and State Assemblywoman Diane Gordon. Erik Martin Dilan has
been endorsed by Assemblyman Vito Lopez and DC 37, the largest municipal
labor union in the city.
Miguel Alonso is a former teacher and now works as a corporate
Luis Booth came to the United States as an exchange student
from Guatemala in the late 1960s. He holds a master's degree in
Erik Martin Dilan works as a manager in an office equipment
company. He is a member of school board 32, where he serves as
the chairperson of the African American Heritage Committee. Dilan
was born and raised in the district and graduated from Norman
Thomas High School. He graduated from St. John's University with
a major in business administration and currently lives in Bushwick.
Urpiano Rafael Dominguez (no information available)
Louis Hernandez is the associate chief of staff to the
mayor. He began his career in city government by working for the
Department of Transportation. Hernandez was born in Brooklyn,
went to Abraham Lincoln High School, and attended John Jay College.
He has lived in Cypress Hills for eighteen years.
Yolanda J. Martin (no information available)
Heriberto Mateo is the director of the city's Human Rights
Commission and president of school board 19.
Ricky Perez is community affairs officer in the 75th police
precinct. He works closely with two community centers in his district,
the Police and Community Together Center and the East New York
Community Anti-crime Project. Perez moved into district 37 last
year, and has worked in the district for 13 years.
Michelle Romero has been a legislative assistant to State
Assemblyman William Boyland since 1987. She was born in Brooklyn
and graduated from Clara Barton High School. Romero attended a
trade school for computer technology in Manhattan. She lives in
East New York.
Germania Taveras (no information available)
City Council district 37 in Brooklyn has a five-way race for the
Democratic primary. But much of the focus of the campaign is on
candidates Erik Malave-Dilan and Ricky Perez, and a feud between
the two men who back them. Another candidate in the five-way primary
race, Michelle Romero, is a legislative assistant to State Assemblyman
William Boyland. She also hopes to bring close ties with Albany
to the service of the district, with an eye toward securing state
money to foster small-business development. Economic revitalization
is on the mind of candidate Miguel Alonso as well, but he plans
to use the connections he developed on Wall Street to make the
case to the private sector for investing in the depressed area.
Education is near the top of the agenda for most of the candidates,
especially Heriberto Mateo, president of Community School Board
19, which splits the district with District 32.. (Daily
Ask the five candidates about district 37 and you get five different
answers. Perez, Malave-Dilan, Alonso, Mateo, and Romero give their
views of the district and why each thinks he or she is the best
A 50-acre piece of land in East New York will soon be developed
into the Gateway Center shopping mall bring much needed business
to the area. The mall, which will open in 2002, is expected to
be the largest suburban-style shopping centers in New York City.
It should draw customers from both central and southern Brooklyn,
possibly as far south as Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, as well as
from parts of Queens, like Ridgewood and Ozone Park. (New
The five candidates for City Council see East New York and Bushwick
differently. One of them, Ricky Perez, has only lived in the district
for a year, but he worked there for thirteen years as a police
detective in the notoriously high-crime 75th Precinct (NY-1)
A look at the potential for family dynasties in this year's Council
races. Are the family members of current politicians born leaders
or seat warmers? (Gotham
The names of some term limited Councilmembers will still appear
on the ballot this year. That is because their family members
are running. Erik Malave-Dilan, the 27-year-old son of Martin
Malave-Dilan, joins the family affair. (Daily