Candidate Gives View on Upcoming Primary Election

Candidate Gives View on Upcoming Primary Election
by David Greene

As voters prepare to make their decisions in the upcoming Primary elections being held on Tuesday, September 12, underdog candidate Michael Beltzer made his case for his bid for City Council in District 18.

The seat which covers Soundview, Castle Hill and Parkchester is currently held by Annabel Palma, who is unable to run due to term limits. Beltzer faces an uphill battle as he squares off against a slew of challengers including State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., William Russell Moore, Amanda Farias, Elvin Garcia, Eduardo Ramirez and Carl Lundgren.

City Council candidate Michael Beltzer talks with supporters during a recent event

City Council candidate Michael Beltzer talks with supporters during a recent event

Despite appointing Beltzer as a member of Community Board 9, Beltzer said of Palma, “The community has some mixed reviews on her.”

Asked about the backing of Diaz by the Bronx Democratic machine, Beltzer explained, “It was very interesting that they cited mentor-ship as he mentioned a few people that he had mentored who endorsed him, but they couldn’t find anyone else he’d mentored to take that seat?”

Beltzer said of Diaz, “His consistent services are better than others, but in terms of representing the community fully, again the community is split as a lot of people feel that he doesn’t fully represent everybody in the community.”

With German and Dominican roots, Beltzer, 31, was born in Queens and raised on Long Island and moved to the Bronx a decade ago. A graduate of SUNY Stoney Brook with a degree in sociology and political science, he later earned and MBA in finance and investment from Baruch College.

The father of a 7 year-old girl, Beltzer explains, “She’s really the one that ties me to the work of what I do in the community is done through a lens of the future and for her, I want her to have a better future, a better community to grow up in.”

Besides being a member of Community Board 6, Beltzer is also a member of Friend’s of Soundview Park and is a member of the 43rd Precinct Community Council.

If elected, Beltzer vowed, “I’d continue to be an independent voice for the community, really to be hands on. A lot of what I do is just being in the community and listening to their needs and trying to address the concerns that are important to them.”

“I don’t want to just get elected to office,” Beltzer continues, “and then I’m standing out there on the steps of City Hall by myself, just with my colleagues. I want the people involved, the people should be demanding things from government… I have my own ideas that I think are great, but my ideas have to be tested with the community and the community should be leading with a lot of ideas. I don’t want to be making rules and policies and changes in the community that the community hasn’t had any input and hasn’t vetted.”

Beltzer sees problems in the community with public safety, a need for more police enforcement and would like to see the NYPD’s Neighborhood Coordination Officer expanded, as well as more lighting and better cameras.

Beltzer adds, “Transportation is a big concern in the area, as a lot of it is a two-fare zone, so unfortunately it takes an hour and-a-half or two hours to get to work and sometimes your waiting for the bus a half hour or 45 minutes and these are seniors with disabilities and that’s unacceptable in a city as great as ours, we should have a world class transportation system.”

Beltzer’s biggest complaints seem to be with the state of public schools, when he stated, “My daughter is going to school where the playground is sinking, she’s drinking water out of led pipes and getting services in the hallway and the gym class is run by her teacher… that’s not right. I fought to get the orchestra program restored in our school, it was only $20,000. We got it restored, but only after the parents got involved and I had to call the news, it shouldn’t have to be that way.”

Beltzer would also like, “removing a lot of the political influence and the pay-to-play culture that we have in the Bronx.”

Beltzer added, “Last year I ran for District Leader, which is an unpaid and volunteer party position that’s basically suppose to educate people about the voting process, what candidates are in the race and what’s going on with all of that, but unfortunately there are a few elected officials in the Bronx who also hold that position, so there holding two positions and I view positions like district leader and state committee person and county committee should be for community leaders who are doing things in the community to empower them, to make changes in policy and to have a real say.”

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