Monday, January 12, 2009

Candidates Lining Up to Grab Council Seat by Lisa L. Colangelo - NY Daily News

Read original...

Hiram Monserrate (above) was elected to the state Senate, then arrested Dec. 19 for felony assault. (l to r) Francisco Moya, George R. Dixon, and Julissa Ferreras vie for his vacant seat. Pace, Schwartz/News

The Field of candidates hoping to replace Hiram Monserrate on the City Council is getting crowded.

At least three people -- including Julissa Ferreras, Francisco Moya and George R. Dixon -- have said they will be on the ballot for the Feb. 24 special election in the 21st District, which includes parts of Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst and Elmhurst.

Meanwhile, Monserrate’s influence on the race is in question since his Dec. 19 arrest for felony assault. Cops said Monserrate cut his girlfriend’s face. Monserrate said the injury was from an accident with a glass.

“I’m running on my record and working with every part of the district,” said Ferreras. “I’m getting a lot of calls. People in the community are very excited.”

Ferreras, 32, said she is hoping to "make history" as the first Latina to be elected in Queens.

She has worked with several local community groups, including Libre, a nonprofit that received city funds to provide English-language instruction and job placement. Investigations revealed the group lacked paperwork to show how it had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I have answered those questions to the voters and my supporters," she said. "I am willing and able to work with any agency to answer any questions."

Ferreras emphasized that she has received the endorsement of more than a dozen Council members and wants to focus on issues such as affordable housing and child care.

"I can go in and have colleagues I can work with," she said. "That speaks volumes."

Moya, a Democratic district leader, said he is best qualified to serve the neighborhoods because he has worked on the local and national levels.

Moya, 33, started the Corona Gardens Neighborhood Association when he was a teenager. He went on to work in Washington for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.

"We are on the brink of an affordable housing crisis," said Moya, who works in government affairs for a large media company.

He also said the district needs to look at downzoning to handle overdevelopment.

"The response from the people in the community has been overwhelmingly positive," Moya said of his candidacy.

Dixon, a 59-year-old Democratic district leader, said he is throwing his hat into the ring because the district is his "home."

Dixon, a Vietnam veteran, who is an executive board member of the East Elmhurst/Corona Civic Association, helps organize the Flushing Meadow Soap Box Derby and formerly served on Community Board 3.

"I have been involved in activities with young people and seniors," said Dixon, who owns a graphic arts and design company. "I have gained the trust of my fellow citizens."