City Council District 16 - Democratic Primary

           
 
          
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Preferred Candidate - Pedro Alvarez - Dem
Age: 45 Occupation: Chief of Staff, Councilmember Joel Rivera’s Office
Education: St. John’s University (BS), Syracuse College of Law (JD)

 

Pedro Alvarez is a 20-year resident of the community that he now seeks to represent. He is one of the founders and the current board chairman of Family Life Academy Charter School. Alvarez has also been active in numerous non-profits, including the American Latin Association of NY and the Department of Youth and Community Development. As a Councilmember, the candidate says he will represent the interests of all of the residents of District 16. For Alvarez, the key issues are education and housing-sector reforms. He advocates a system of co-ops to bolster local businesses and create safer neighborhoods. In education, Alvarez hopes to replicate his charter school’s success in the public sphere. He is supportive of Citizens Union’s reform agenda but says that his constituents do not understand the importance of reform. However, Alvarez has an open mind regarding reform and would work to connect reform issues to the problems that his constituents face every day. Alvarez understands and possesses knowledge of policy issues which coupled with his deep connection to the community earns Citizens Union’s preference.




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Vanessa L. Gibson - Dem
Age: 34 Occupation: Member, NYS Assembly
Education: SUNY Albany (BA), Baruch College (MPA)

Vanessa Gibson, currently the Assemblymember for the 77th Assembly District wants to be part of the change in leadership that is happening on the city level and is looking to have more of an impact on her constituents. She has already established connections, experience and has an understanding of the District 16 which she claims gives her an edge. Her priorities include passing the living wage bill, paid sick leave and creating sustainable green jobs in the Bronx. On reform issues she supports participatory budgeting, more equitable distribution of discretionary funding and early voting, stating that she supports a bill to lower the voting age so more young people can participate in elections. Gibson also advocates for making the City Council less speaker driven by giving chairs of committees more leeway. During her time in the state legislature, Gibson has attempted to close loopholes and limit outside income but stated that she cannot legislate common sense. While she did not have a full understanding of certain reform issues, Gibson seems willing to learn and work towards a more accountable government for New York City.



 
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 Daryl L. Johnson - Dem
Age: 42 Occupation: Full-time Candidate
Education: USC Irvine (degree not reported), Cornell University (degree not reported)

Daryl Johnson was born and raised in New York City. Although he began his career in the private sector, working with the Associated Press and Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and MMC, Johnson is a longtime community activist. He has been President of the Morris Avenue Tenants Coalition, a community-based organization representing over 200 families, since 1996. As a Councilmember, Johnson would take an analytical approach to providing for more affordable housing and deterring gun violence in the district. Regarding reform, Johnson will advocate for more equitable and needs-based discretionary funding. He has also pledged to implement participatory budgeting and increase outreach to constituents of all ages and ethnic groups. Citizens Union believes Johnson is a thoughtful reform-minded candidate that would serve the district’s diverse communities very well, but questions his ability to connect effectively with constituents.




 
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Bola Omotosho - Dem
Age: 52 Occupation: Clinical Researcher, Montefiore Medical Center
Education: University of Ife (BS), University of Ife (MD)

Bola Omotosho has been serving his community in the Bronx for over the past 20 years. He has chaired Bronx Community Board 5 as well as the Board of Directors at Mount Hope Housing Company Inc., a non-profit instrumental in housing dozens of struggling families. Omotosho says he is running because he wants to help his community on a larger scale. More than any other issue, Omotosho is passionate about health. He wants to help his community navigate the new Obamacare system before tackling affordable housing and education issues. On reform issues, Omotosho wants to promote transparency and accountability. If elected, he will push for Town Hall-style meetings to distribute discretionary funding and reach out to previously inactive segments of his constituency. Omotosho is a charismatic activist, but his lack of knowledge about the inner workings of the City Council may prove problematic. Citizens Union is concerned about Omotosho’s ability to effectively promote legislation, if elected.



 

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Carlos M. Sierra- Dem
Age: 35 Occupation: Community Liaison CUNY Citizenship NOW!
Education: Bronx Community College (AA), Lehman College (BA)

Carlos Sierra is a father of two, running to improve the conditions in his district including sanitation and other problems associated with poverty. Sierra grew up in the district and relates to the problems faced by those in the district. He is currently working on a community survey to pinpoint the issues the community wants addressed immediately. On reform issues Sierra supports reforming the way discretionary funding is distributed in order to bring more resources to his district as well as strengthening the position of Public Advocate. Sierra was very vocal about his disappointment in the term limits overturn, stating that it allowed elected officials to play musical chairs. Citizens Union appreciates Sierra’s passion for the community and his independence from the party machine, but believes that his platform is not broad enough to effectively serve in the City Council.
 

 


 
Carlton Berkley - Dem
Has not returned questionnaire
Candidate could not be schedule for an interview