By Anthony Rivieccio
I have lived in the 80th Assembly district for over 4 decades. I am a college graduate, local businessman, college professor & community activist, in our lovely district.
After being in charge of the 204th St/ Bainbridge Ave Merchant Association, from 2003-2009, where I first met Gene DeFrancis (as the Allerton Ave Merchant Association President), I became more involved in my community, from being appointed to our local community board to founding our local political organization, Northwest Bronx Democrats.
Gene and I had a local interest in 2005, to try to stop Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) from being developed in our mutual areas. 15 years later, we now sadly, even better, know why we do not support BIDs.
Since then, we have fought very hard in trying to improve the quality of life in our affected areas — from sanitation to temporarily housing to parks. This is why we supported Mark Gjonaj in 2012 as Assemblyman ( being the 1st organization to do so) to supporting his replacement Nathalia Fernandez, afterwards.
Nathalia is sadly leaving us, going for higher office , announcing her run for Bronx Boro President in 2021. Our immediate concern: That leaves an empty Assembly seat. So, in theory , even if she won this November against anyone, she would leave this seat in 2021.
We wish her the very best in her Boro President race. She says she’s ” in it to win it” and we believe her. We wish her nothing but the best in this venture.
But if this secnerio takes place- then there would be an Assembly ” special election” for this seat in 2021- something that gets us so concerned that our organization decided to put together a 2022 80th AD exploratory committee to put together an Assembly slate from top to bottom.
So my decision was not to let Bronx County, who does not live here, make this decision for our community, but the community and businesspeople who do live here.
Gene firmly believes, especially now during COVID, that small businesses, residents, and yes landlords, all need assistance. He also believes the Assembly district, from Pelham parkway to Mosholu Parkway and Norwood is oversaturated with temporary housing and drug methodone clinics.
He also believes in the support of religious freedom, to the point where he is advocating to remove Yemen, from the current government travel ban.
We need an Assemblyperson. We are Democrats. We support Democratic ideals. We have lived here, many of us for a long time, and some in the organization do not agree with this decision- but one thing we all agree on is that we will control our own destiny- not County- not some outside political apparatus–we will!
So just like Republican Cindy McCain is crossing over party lines to support Democrat Joe Biden for President, because as she says,”He will represent all Americans.” Today, I support Gene, because I refuse to have our district non represented in 2020 and beyond.
Gene will represent all residents and businesses in the 80th AD. Why do we know this? Because he’s been doing it all of his life in the district, because sanitation, parks and quality of life do not have a party label. They have a determental effect on our community and district, something Gene has been fighting for his whole life in the District — local issues first!
Anthony Rivieccio has been founder of The Northwest Bronx Democrats , a community & political organization since 2003. Their target areas are: Fordham, Kingsbridge , Kingsbridge Heights , Bedford Park, Norwood , Allerton. The current President is Sheila Sanchez.