Is Council Speaker Using City Resources to Tout Aide’s Campaign

On Monday, a tipster told the Bronx Chronicle that Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was seen chauffeuring her handpicked heir Diana Ayala to campaign events in her city car (escorted by her NYPD security detail) last weekend. On Saturday, Speaker Mark-Viverito and her former chief-of-staff Diana Ayala tweeted about campaigning at the Patterson Houses Family Day.

Speaker Mark-Viverito tweeted that she was “proud to endorse @DianaAyala2017 and campaign on her behalf to become the next Council Member for District 8.” A Council spokesperson acknowledged that the Twitter account is Mark-Viverito’s personal account. By publication, there was no response about the use of the city car.

As Council Speaker, Mark-Viverito gets a city car and security detail to accompany her to events around the city. City rules, however, do not permit the use of city resources to promote political candidacies.

An attendee at the family day event recalls seeing Diana Ayala leaving the Patterson Houses in the Council Speaker’s city vehicle.

Diana Ayala (@DianaAyala2017) _ Twitter

Diana Ayala (@DianaAyala2017) _ Twitter

Ayala also tweeted a set of photos showing her former boss campaigning with her at the Patterson Houses event. In one of the photos, Speaker Mark-Viverito appears to be handing some Ayala campaign lit to an unidentified woman.

Speaker Mark-Viverito is term-limited and has expressed concern that the number of women, especially Latinas, in the City Council could fall from its high of 14 back in 2009. There are presently four Hispanic women in the City Council; three are term-limited and a fourth is not seeking re-election. And it’s possible that in 2018 there will be zero wise Latinas serving in the New York City Council.

The Democratic primary election is Tuesday, September 12. Polls will be open 6AM – 9PM.

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