As town’s most impoverished borough, the Bronx has seen its deep-rooted issues exacerbated by the pandemic. It at the moment ranks because the state’s unhealthiest county, with coronary heart illness and weight problems afflicting many within the borough. Whereas the Bronx’s unemployment charge stood at 4% in December 2019, it has soared as excessive as 24% through the pandemic, leaving scores of Bronx residents jobless.
Nevertheless it doesn’t suggest the entire Bronx’s successes have been obliterated. Building of latest residences stays sturdy throughout the borough, although different large-scale initiatives—together with the development of 4 Metro-North stations alongside an present Amtrak line and the Kingsbridge Nationwide Ice Middle—stay in limbo for at the least 5 years.
5 Democratic candidates for the Bronx Borough President race are hoping to revive positive factors made within the borough within the final decade underneath the present seat-holder, the term-limited Ruben Diaz Jr. Within the final week, the sector narrowed after Bronx Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., the perceived front-runner within the race, introduced he’s withdrawing his identify.
Although their places of work include management of a modest discretionary funds, Borough Presidents don’t have any important legislative energy, and are broadly perceived as cheerleaders with a strong megaphone. These are the contenders vying to steer the Bronx and make their borough a high precedence for town.
Council Member Fernando Cabrera, 56, has represented the 14th Council District within the northwest Bronx since 2010 and at the moment serves because the Council’s majority whip and chair of the Authorities Operations Committee. And whereas he is a registered Democrat, he is by far probably the most conservative candidate in comparison with his rivals, given his weekend work as an ordained senior pastor at New Life Outreach Worldwide within the Fordham part of the Bronx.
As a borough president candidate, Cabrera seeks to develop the Treatment Violence mannequin, which locations violence interrupters to quell any beefs in high-crime areas, a program that is already applied in elements of his district. He additionally guarantees to champion extra reasonably priced housing in areas of the Bronx, persevering with a trigger he pushed when he voted for the Jerome Avenue rezoning, the biggest authorised rezoning within the borough. The rezoning ushered the creation of 1000’s of items of reasonably priced housing and infrastructure enhancements alongside 77 blocks throughout the avenue, but in addition exacerbated fears of displacement from longtime residents. Borough-wide, Cabrera additionally seeks to have the NYPD’s harbor patrol unit completely dispatched to the Bronx, the place the unit doesn’t at the moment function.
Quick Reality: With Salamanca Jr. now not within the race, Cabrera now leads with probably the most marketing campaign donations at $155,000 in comparison with Salamanca’s $534,000.
The youngest candidate within the race, Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez, 32, at the moment represents the eightieth Meeting District that spans Morris Park, Allerton, and Norwood neighborhoods of the Bronx. It is a district whose voters lean Democrat however are typically extra socially conservative. Fernandez has efficiently campaigned there by presenting herself because the “bridge” between the outdated and new methods of politicking. Since 2012, Fernandez has risen from marketing campaign volunteer, workplace supervisor, and chief of employees for her then-boss, former Meeting Member turned Council Member Mark Gjonaj, whose district she now represents.
As a candidate, Fernandez helps revisions to the Space Median Earnings method that helps information lease costs in reasonably priced housing residences, altering it to solely embody present incomes of Bronx residents and exclude these in wealthier Westchester and Rockland counties. Fernandez additionally helps a inexperienced jobs program that might make use of Bronx residents to construct environmentally-friendly infrastructure initiatives. Fernandez can be a proponent of police reform, and has advocated for a pilot program through which communities are given an opportunity to resolve their variations earlier than the police are known as.
Quick Reality: Ought to Fernandez win the borough presidency, she could be the primary Latina to carry the job.
City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, 41, is vying to be the primary Black Bronx borough president. A term-limited Council Member for the sixteenth District, Gibson’s platform is basically targeted on implementing a jobs program for Bronx residents reeling from the financial downturn introduced on by the pandemic. Gibson has additionally touted her essential vote in approving the Jerome Avenue rezoning effort, which got here after securing a legally binding group advantages settlement.
On her marketing campaign web site, Gibson is pushing to put money into the growing old transit system, pushing for the creation of group faculties that present holistic companies to college students, and increasing town’s Well being Bucks initiative, which gives low-income New Yorkers with present certificates for buying produce. Earlier than declaring a run, Gibson touted her expertise engaged on the state degree as an Meeting Member to assist steer higher assets to the Bronx. Gibson additionally believes in higher investments for teenagers, such because the Summer season Youth Employment Program and re-entry applications supposed to maintain children from getting caught up in a cycle of crime.
Quick Reality: Gibson had as soon as represented the 77th Meeting District, which was vacated by Aurelia Greene, who grew to become Bronx Deputy Borough President.
A retired NYPD lieutenant, Samuel “Sammy” Ravelo, 52, is the one candidate to not have held legislative workplace. Ravelo is against the Defund the Police motion, which he known as “misguided,” and desires to fund the NYPD extra and advocate for higher officer coaching. Investments towards schooling are additionally a precedence for Ravelo, who, in gentle of the pandemic, advocates without cost high-speed web throughout a borough the place such a service has fallen quick. Ravelo, who ran unsuccessfully for the sixteenth Congressional District, might have to brush up on his data of some essential capabilities of the borough presidency; in a latest debate he referred to the Uniform Land Use Evaluate Process—the general public assessment course of for any reasonably priced housing growth—because the “United” Land Use Evaluate Process.
Quick Reality: Ravelo is the one candidate who was as soon as an undocumented immigrant.
Although he hasn’t formally declared, Luis Sepulveda, 56, has raised funds and made the rounds in working for the highest borough spot, collaborating in boards with different candidates. However Sepulveda’s political prospects dimmed two weeks in the past after he turned himself in to police for allegedly choking his spouse, the most recent in a string of home violence claims made towards Sepulveda. A state Senator for the thirty second District, Sepulveda is touting his expertise in Albany, taking credit score for relocating weigh stations in Hunts Level, dismantling the Cross Bronx Expressway, and getting ensures from a tech-based agency to ascertain a STEM program at a college. Sepulveda can be seeking to prioritize higher protections for undocumented immigrants, persevering with that development he started on the state degree after his invoice to supply undocumented immigrants drivers licenses.
Quick Reality: Sepulveda lately visited the South Bronx Instructional Campus for town’s rollout of a vaccination clinic in his district — days earlier than his arrest.