A Queens City Council race is filled with controversy as a man who once held the seat is trying to win it again, even after being convicted of mail fraud and attacking his girlfriend. Our Gene Apodaca has more.
Six weeks before the Democratic Primary, the race for an open City Council seat is gaining momentum--and getting muddy.
“When you see corruption scandals year after year, time after time in public office again I think the voters are fed up with that,“ said City Council Candidate, Francisco Moya.
State Assemblyman Francisco Moya is talking about Hiram Monserrate, who once held the council seat in Northern and Central Queens's 21st District before being elected to the State Senate. While serving in Albany, he was convicted of slashing his girlfriend with a broken glass. Monserrate later spent two years in federal prison after misusing public funds in his City Council days.
“I’ve definitely made my mistakes in the past know I’ve paid my debt for those mistakes and for those sins but life is about moving forward and new beginnings,“ said Monserrate.
After running unsuccessfully last year to be a Democratic district leader, Monserrate this year is running on several issues, including affordable housing. He’s also a critic of the Willets Point Development, and more recently has taken on the city's Board of Elections, challenging its decision to move a longtime polling location from Lefrak city, a primarily African-American Community.
“We’re now fighting to bring the machines back so whatever someone did or didn’t do, it is clear it wasn’t effective,” said Monserrate.
Moya, who has spent seven years in the state Assembly, credits himself with helping raise the minimum wage, as well saving several senior centers from being closed.
He too promises to address the affordable housing issue, along with school overcrowding. As for the polling site at Lefrak, he believe his opponent is a little late to the game.
“My opponent has been away for a while so I think that he hasn’t seen or heard the news what we’ve been doing in fighting for these issues,” said Moya.
The remaining candidates are Yonel Letellier Sosa, the former chief of staff to Senator Jose Peralta, Erycka Montoya, a former community liaison with the City Council, and Christina Furlong, a community activist.
Each now is fighting to have their names put on the ballot, after their petitions were challenged.
The board of elections is scheduled to hear from them on Tuesday, with a possibly civil hearings later in August.
Voters have a short amount of time to make their decision. The Democratic Primary for District 21 is September 12th.