By Bill Parry
The race between state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) and Hiram Monserrate for City Council District 21 grows more contentious each week.
Monday, Moya presented his five-point action plan to address community needs in East Elmhurst, a neighborhood he has not represented during his time at the state legislature. Moya is running to fill the seat vacated by City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst) after she surprised the Queens political community with her announcment that she would not seek re-election in order to spend more time with her family.
“I have spent every day with East Elmhurst residents recently, and I heard repeatedly about the need for action on these urgent community needs,” Moya said. “We developed this plan based on the unique challenges and opportunities in the East Elmhurst community. For instance, the airport construction has made parking much too difficult for local residents and I’m determined to fix it. I look forward to working with community leaders to improve the lives of working families and seniors who live in East Elmhurst.”
Moya is determined to end hotel-to-homeless shelter conversions that the city has established at several hotels surrounding LaGuardia Airport in the last two years. He pledged to prioritize East Elmhurst residents for job hiring at LaGuardia and airport-related construction jobs.
Citing the recent deaths of two toddlers, Moya promised to make Astoria Boulevard and Ditmars Boulevard safer for pedestrians. He plans to create a residential parking permit, as precious parking spaces have been lost to airport workers and construction workers. Moya will also work with Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand property tax relief for seniors who face soaring cost of living expenses.
Monserrate, who is challenging Moya in the Sept. 12 primary to reclaim the City Council seat he lost after convictions for assault and corruption, dismissed Moya’s plan and the candidate himself.
“In the seven years Assemblymember Moya has been in office, he has done zero for his district,” Monserrate said. “To be clear, that is zero projects, zero legislation that actually passed into law — including failing to pass the DREAM Act. As a result of Moya’s failure in leadership, our community is dirtier, less safe and it has some of the most overcrowded schools in the state. Moya’s promises are like lines drawn on the sand at the beach … worthless.”
Monserrate suggested “Moya’s real five-point plan is: Take money from landlords; take money from billionaire developers; take money from lobbyists; take money from other politicians; and take orders from his political bosses.”
East Elmhurst’s current representative, state Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Corona), stood with Moya Monday, as he did two weeks ago when Mayor Bill de Blasio and Moya endorsed each other at Corona’s Antioch Baptist Church.
“Francisco Moya understands what our community needs. His five-point plan is focused on improving the quality of life for all of East Elmhurst’s residents and is the leadership we need in city government,” Aubry said. “Francisco is a partner I can trust and look forward to working with him to make this plan a reality.”
Meanwhile, over 100 women who reside in East Elmhurst and Corona rallied with Monserrate Saturday at the Silver Spoon Diner near LeFrak City. The event organizers invited Monserrate’s wife, Michelle Monserrate, to speak and she closed the rally with a special announcement.
“Life is all about new beginnings.” she said. “Hiram is now my husband and yes, we are expecting a baby soon. And we plan to raise our baby right here in this community.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr