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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Andrew J. Lanza, Rep 26,129 - 73 percent
Janey Moran, Dem 9,405 - 26 percent
Henry J. Bardel, Ind 503 - 1 percent
Andrew J. Lanza 4,144
Alexander A. DeMarco 1,253
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Stephen Fiala
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
Henry Bardel has not filed
to Alexander DeMarco
to Andrew Lanza
to Janey Moran
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
Keeping Staten Island on the Map
Earlier this year when Staten Island Councilman Stephen Fiala
cast the deciding "no" vote on a bill to overturn term limits
and made front page news with his passionate
speech, it looked like the 33-year-old Republican was set
to be a star in the new City Council.
But in June, Fiala surprised many when he announced that he would
not seek reelection and instead would accept a county clerk position.
The move is a good one for Fiala -- the 10-year appointment pays
$125,000 a year and could be used as a springboard to run for
higher office -- but it sent the Republican party in district
51 scrambling to fill his spot on the ballot.
But district 51 is now not only without an incumbent, and without
even a frontrunner known for his eloquence, it is also suddenly
without the issue that has driven the district, indeed the whole
borough, for decades. The Fresh Kills landfill, the city's major
garbage dump, which is in district 51, was finally shut down in
Several of the most prominent Staten Island Republicans, including
Fiala, recently endorsed Andrew Lanza, but he is likely to face
a primary challenge from businessman Al DeMarco and Department
of Taxation and Finance employee Louis Lepore.
"Andy [Lanza] is a great guy, but he's a new kid on the block,"
said DeMarco. "He's an attorney from Wall Street, but people out
here are not lawyers, they are small business people like me."
Two other challengers, Democratic candidate Janey Moran and Green
Party Chairman Henry Bardel, also said they also have a shot.
"Without an incumbent, it is a more open race," said Moran, who
also has the backing of outgoing Staten Island district 49 Councilman
Jerome O'Donovan and the Working Families Party.
Lanza, a lawyer and former prosecutor for the Manhattan district
attorney's office, refused requests for an interview. Louis Lepore
could not be reached.
The other candidates agreed that (now that Fresh Kills is closed)
over-development in the largely suburban and affluent area is
one of the main issues of the election.
Staten Island's South Shore is one of the fastest growing communities
in New York. Today, there are 450,000 residents in Staten Island,
tripling in population since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened
in 1967. The number of Staten Island residents has increased 30
percent in the last 10 years alone.
Area roads, infrastructure, and schools have not kept pace with
growth, the candidates said, but they disagree on exactly how
the problems should be addressed.
"In order to grow properly, roads and infrastructure must meet
the needs of the community with properly planned construction,"
said Moran, who thinks new development should be slowed and controlled
through better planning. Moran added that if elected, she would
also focus on education and place new schools in areas where they
are most needed.
Green candidate Henry Bardel, a retired New York City Parks employee,
advocates for a complete moratorium on housing development and
wants to rehabilitate vacant buildings.
"The increasing development onto Staten Island's wetlands and
estuaries is ripping away the beauty and nature that this island
was known for years ago," said Bardel. He also argues that community
board members should be elected rather than appointed by the borough
president, which would free them to make more considered and independent
decisions about new development.
Republican Al DeMarco said the area should be selective about
the kind of houses it builds. "We should start building four and
five luxury homes in the district, instead of building 500 town
homes," said DeMarco.
"We will seek to preserve what makes life in this community worth
living, whether it's continuing the down zoning process or making
sure education on the South Shore is second to none," Lanza said
in a recent campaign speech.
Another impact of the growing population is increased traffic
congestion, since there are few mass transit options. Only one
train line leads into the area, and recently the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority reduced bus service in Staten Island.
As a result, private bus companies are now operating in parts
of district 51, but many say the service is unreliable.
Moran said she would rather see the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority handling bus service because she feels the city could,
and should, do a better job. Bardel said he would be in favor
of private bus service, as long as the workers can unionize. "That
is a large issue in my campaign," said Bardel, "I have always
felt that New Yorkers can have a better quality of life as long
as city services are properly funded and are working for the people."
In March, the area saw a major victory with the closing of the
Fresh Kills landfill, which received most of the city's trash
for the last 52 years.
"Life after Fresh Kills will be 300 percent better," said DeMarco.
While residents are rejoicing that the landfill will not grow
any larger, it will not shrink anytime soon. The laws maintain
that the landfill must be maintained for the next 30 years and
methane gases and water quality in the area will continue to be
an issue. Once the landfill settles, it may be converted into
a park or a golf course.
The most immediate impact of the closing, however, may be that
Staten Island no longer receives the attention in City Hall that
it has in recent years. Some in district 51 hope that the new
council member can keep the area on the political agenda now that
Fresh Kills is closed and the Republican mayor is on his way out.
"I hope that the candidates realize what good things have been
happening here on Staten Island," said Marie Bodner, district
manager of community board 3, "and that they will continue the
current path towards improving the quality of life for people
on Staten Island."
There are two primary races in the district 51 City Council race. In the
Republican primary. Andrew Lanza will face Alexander DeMarco. Lanza enjoys
the endorsement of the Staten Island Republican political leaders and a
$80,000 advantage in fundraising over DeMarco. Carl Larson, the owner of a
private security agency, is challenging Henry Bardel for the Independence
party nomination with a write-in campaign.
In the general election on November 6, Democratic and Working Families
candidate Janey Moran will try to pull off an upset in an area with a long
history of Republican leadership. Statistically it is not an impossible feat.
Registered voters in district 51 are evenly split between the two major
parties -- 38 percent are registered Republicans and 39 percent are
registered Democrats. But the 19 percent of voters who are not registered
with either party have a history of voting Republican.
Henry Bardel is a retired employee of the New York City
Parks and Recreation department after working there for 34 years.
He is the chairman of the Staten Island Green party and an active
member of the local community board.
Alexander DeMarco is president of the Great Kills Merchants
Association and the South Shore Business Alliance.
Janey Moran is co-president of the Tottenville High School
Parent Teacher Association. She is also a member of the 123rd
Precinct Community Council and the District Attorney's South Shore
Justice Council. She is also on the executive board of the Village
Greens Homeowners Association.
Andrew Lanza is a member of the Republican Party's executive
committee. He is a partner at a Wall Street brokerage firm and
a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney's office.
South Shore City Council candidate Janey Moran yesterday called
on legislators to restore funding to the Project Read program.
Speaking to a group of about 15 parents outside PS 42 in Eltingville,
Ms. Moran said the elimination of the program "is a tremendous
step backward for the children of Staten Island." The city has
moved to eliminate the program because of state budget cuts to
education. Ms. Moran, who has served as a PTA president at PS
4, Arden Heights, and Tottenville High School, has been endorsed
by the Democratic and Working Families parties. Project Read is
a $4.5 million intensive after-school language arts program targeting
students in grades one through four. Ms. Moran said the three-year-old
program has led to a 12-percent increase in reading scores among
fourth-graders on Staten Island. About 4,000 District 31 students
were taking part in the program, she said, and educators were
hoping a similar program would be put in place to help students
with math. (Staten
South Shore City Councilman Stephen Fiala announced he will resign
from office effective today to accept an appointment as county
clerk, a position he had sought publicly since March. (Staten
Describing herself as a "good soldier" who has served the community
for over 20 years, South Shore City Council candidate Janey Moran
yesterday said that education would be one of her top priorities
if elected to the Council. (Staten
Pledging to limit over-development and expand bus service on Staten
Island, borough president candidate Jerome X. O'Donovan and City
Council hopefuls Michael McMahon and Janey Moran last night signed
a contract with the Working Families Party to solidify its endorsement.
City Councilman Stephen J. Fiala having announced he will not
run for re-election to his seat, Great Kills lawyer Andrew Lanza
announced his candidacy for the seat yesterday at the Great Kills
Little League. Flanked by family and surrounded by about 50 supporters,
including Fiala and Congressman Vito Fossella, who represents
the area, the 37-year-old Republican businessman said he chose
the Great Kills site to make his bid because the ballfield complex
is a "shining example of what's right about the South Shore."
The Democratic candidate for the South Shore seat is Janey Moran,
a PTA president from Arden Heights. The Green Party candidate
is Henry Bardel, chairman of the Island's Green Party, who is
also running under the Liberal Party banner. (Staten
With no surprises, but a few lively moments thrown in, Staten
Island Democrats last night ratified their slate of candidates
for the fall 2001 elections. (Staten