VNNA Candidates Night 13th Council District

VNNA Candidates Night 13th Council District

By Robert Press

The Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance held a candidates night for the hotly contested 13th City Council race. Currently there are seven candidates ruled on the ballot by the New York City Board of Elections. Four candidates will face off in the  Democratic primary, while three candidates will face off in the Republican primary, and there is also a primary in the Conservative Party of two or three candidates in the Republican primary that will be decided in court. 

Interim Acting President of the VNNA Sharlene Jackson Mendez conducted the candidates night since the President of the VNNA Bernadette Ferrera was forced to take a leave of absence  according to the VNNA by-laws that state any officer must take a leave of absence to run for public office. 

Only four of the seven candidates attended the VNNA Candidates Night, Democrats John Perez and Irene Estrada, and Republicans Kristy Marmorato and George Havranek. Incumbent Democratic Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez, Democratic candidate and President of the VNNA Bernadette Ferrara, and Republican candidate Hasime Samantha Zherka were no shows to the VNNA candidates night. All candidates should show up to let the people know what they have done if they are the incumbent as to why the voters should re-elect them, and all challengers showing up to say why they are better candidates than the current Council member and why voters should vote for them.

The two hour long candidates night included introductions by each candidate present, questions from the Acting Interim President Jackson Mendez to the candidates on a wide range of topics of concern to the Van Nest community which included Public Safety, Public Charter and Parochial  school education, the condition of NYCHA buildings in the 13th Council District, and questions from the audience which were geared to the Van Nest community. The answers to the questions were basically the same from the candidates with the often I agree with what that candidate said with a minor difference here or there.  

Opening statements from the candidates were, Irene Estrada of her work with the Clergy Coalition, and that she was against 1900 Seminole Avenue, and that past Republican Mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa was supporting her. George Havranek mentioned that he ran sports programs, is the President of the Spencer Estates Homeowners, he was a member of Community Board 10 and was not reappointed to the board for opposing the Bruckner Upzoning. Kristy Marmorato said that she grew up in Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay and now lives in Morris Park, She is a wife, mother of a six year old child, has two elderly parents in the district, and works in the Health Care industry. John Perez that he is not shy to stand up for what is right, he wants to help those who can’t help themselves, the assault on the Bronx cannot be done by one community  but that it must be a team effort and that his U.S. Army experience as a team leader will make it work for the district.  



(L – R) Candidates present at the VNNA Candidates Night, Democrat John Perez, Republican George Havranek, Republican Kristy Marmorato, and Democrat Irene Estrada.

VNNA Acting Interim President Sharlene Jackson Mendez reads a question to the candidates that were present. VNNA Secretary Marion Manfredi is also in the photo seated on the right.

Candidate John Perez as he gives his opening statement.

Candidate Kristy Marmorato giving her opening speech.

Candidate George Havranek giving his opening speech. There is no photo of candidate Irene Estrada giving her opening speech.

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