Arroyo Says She Will Quit City Council At End of 2016

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In a surprise announcement Monday night, Democratic City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo said late Monday that she’s resigning her South Bronx seat effective Dec. 31, citing family issues.

Arroyo, the daughter of longtime Bronx Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, was first elected in February 2005 and has just over two years left in her final term. “After much consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to resign from the City Council,” she said in a statement.

“I must now dedicate my time and efforts to address pressing family needs,” she added, without further explanation.

Multiple sources say that Councilwoman Arroyo is the sole caretaker for an adult daughter, “a non-combat veteran,” who suffers from PTSD and severe depression and who reportedly has a daughter of her own.

Arroyo was elected to the city council in 2005 in a special election to succeed Jose M. Serrano, who vacated the seat to run for the state Senate.

Arroyo’s seat will be filled through a special election, possibly as soon as February 16, 2016. According to the City Charter, Mayor de Blasio has to call a nonpartisan,  special election within 45 days of a vacancy in the  City Council.

Several names of possible candidates have come to the fore as likely contenders in that February 2016 special election. Local entrepreneur and community activist, Julio Pabón, who lost to Arroyo in the 2016 Democratic primary after nearly having the incumbent Councilwoman bounced from the ballot for petition fraud, says he is gearing up for the early election.

Arroyo was reelected to the City Council in 2013 despite three of her campaign workers getting charged with forging almost 100 signatures on her primary ballot petitions, including Derek Jeter’s and Kate Moss’s.

In addition to Mr. Pabón, Rafael Salamanca, the district manager of Bronx Community Board 2 in Hunts Point, is considered a likely candidate. Mr. Salamanca has already registered a 2017 campaign committee with the NYC Campaign Finance Board. Under the city’s public campaign finance program, qualified candidates have individual local contributions matched 6 to 1. The first $175 of donations from individual NYC residents are matched $6:$1 with a cap of 55% of the spending spending limit for City Council elections. Participating candidates are eligible to receive up to $1,050 in public funds per eligible contributor.

The Mott Haven Herald reported that Arroyo’s chief of staff, Joanne Otero, is interested in replacing Arroyo as council member until the end of her term in 2017. Otero reportedly held a fundraiser at Charlie’s Kitchen in Port Morris last week to jumpstart her candidacy for 2017 when Arroyo’s term would expire due to term limits.

Observers of the Bronx political scene offered the names of other possible contenders. Among those thought to be interested in succeeding Arroyo are Ululy Martinez, an attorney and government relations director at Cablevision, Rev. Frederick Crawford, Rev. J. Loren Russell, and Ralina Cardona, who tried to unseat Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in 2013.

Asked about the large field of potential  contenders, Pabón said, “The more, the merrier. We support democracy in the Bronx. Let the people decide.”

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