“We didn’t lose today; we won. We showed the Bronx political machine that the people will no longer remain silent…For the first time in Bronx political history we sent an incumbent running by challenging Maria del Carmen Arroyo.” Julio Pabon said last night as he addressed a dining room at Yolanda’s Italian Restaurant in Melrose,full of campaign volunteers and supporters on our challenging of a political dynasty.
With 92% of precincts reporting as of 8AM this morning after, Maria del Carmen Arroyo won the primary with 4,081 votes (68%) while challenger Julio Pabón received 32% of total votes (1,882 votes).
Although Julio Pabón did not win outright, in many ways the people have won.
The results show that almost a third of the district does not approve of del Carmen Arroyo’s reign of corruption. We went in as an unknown candidate at the 11th hour– and the fact that we achieved so much –is nothing less than validation that we are on the right path and struck a nerve with the electorate with our message.
Our political writer, Rob Giuffre, correctly predicted an Arroyo win and said, “The only reason why Arroyo will win is due to incumbent advantage, low-turnout and low information voters. ” While this remains a reason, it is not the only reason.
A huge part of the problem is that few if any politicians in the Bronx have the chutzpah to go against the established political machine because they fear for the future of their careers and care not of the people they are elected to serve.
Case in point is our Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr who is coward #1. When Julio Pabón began making the requisite calls to the elected officials in the Bronx and announce his intentions, Ruben Diaz Jr told that privately he supports him but publicly he can’t go against an incumbent because it will look bad.
Let that sink in. Our borough president chose to endorse someone who is at the center of so many corruption scandals because it would go against the establishment and look bad.
In other words he told the citizens of District 17 that we could rot because he chose political ambition over what is ethical and was in the best interest of the Bronx.
As long as we continue to allow folks with no backbone like Diaz to remain in office, the Bronx political landscape will remain a cesspool of corruption.
Although we have ousted several politicians whether through voting them out or being indicted on their corrupt ways, we are moving too slow to get the change we need and deserve.
As for the campaign, would we do it again? We’d do it tomorrow. Last night was the birth of the Innovative Progressive Democrats in the Bronx.
Thank you all for such outpouring of love and support that has not been seen in the South Bronx in such a long time. My friends and family grew by the dozens thanks to this campaign.
We are stronger now than when we entered the race and if anything, this has made our resolve that much stronger to end corruption in the Bronx.
With great love, admiration and solidarity,
Ed García Conde
The “Mayor” of Melrose