Panelists Discuss Latino Issues in Mayoral Race, Carrión’s Run

(From L to R) Maite Junco, Erica González,  Debralee Santos,  Carlos Vargas Ramos and Raysa Castillo at the CCEM-EDLP panel on October 2. (Voices of NY photo)

Panelists at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism discussed Latino issues and the 2013 mayoral elections. From left to right: Moderator Maite Junco, editor of Voices of NY; Erica González, editor of El Diario-La Prensa; Debralee Santos, editor of Manhattan Times; Carlos Vargas Ramos of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and Raysa Castillo of the Dominican Women’s Caucus. (Photo by Voices of NY)

A panel of journalists and Latino political experts gathered this week to discuss Hispanic issues and the 2013 elections, including the candidacy of Adolfo Carrión in the Independence Party, reports El Diario-La Prensa in an article by Juan Matossian translated here and LatinTrends in a web posting summarized further below:

The candidacy of Adolfo Carrión has many wondering how his run for mayor will impact the Latino community in New York City.

This was one of the questions discussed at a panel jointly organized by El Diario-La Prensa and the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on October 2. The event was part of the newspaper’s centennial celebrations.

Among other issues, the panelists focused on the ability of Carrión, the only Latino in the race, to bring to the forefront issues important to the Latino community. They also debated the question of whether his presence as a third-party option on the ballot will serve as a “spoiler,” taking votes away from Democrat Bill de Blasio.

“A Latino on the ballot is always good news,” said panelist Debralee Santos, editor of the Manhattan Times and The Bronx Free Press. “If he is capable of drawing attention to the Latino agenda, the community certainly gains.”

The panel attracted a large audience from cross sections of life. (Voices of NY photo)

The panel attracted journalists, journalism students and Independence Party supporters. (Photo by Voices of NY)

The panel also included Carlos Vargas Ramos, research associate at Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies; Raysa Castillo, an attorney who is president of the Dominican Women’s Caucus and Erica González, executive editor of El Diario-La Prensa. Maite Junco, editor of Voices of NY, moderated the event.

Castillo said that Carrión’s run in the Independence Party stands out not because he’s Latino but  because it highlights “the third party option.”

Another topic the panel discussed was the low turnout of Latino voters.

“For polling companies, the priority is to interview the true potential voter. Unfortunately, Latinos are less likely to vote than other groups,” said Ramos, a political science specialist.

González, on the other hand, regretted the fact that campaigns have not included the Latino community’s most pressing issues on their platforms.

“No one has spoken about the disconnection of youths, the instability of Latino nonprofits or the crisis in bilingual education for English language learners,” she said.

LatinTrends also reported on the hour-long discussion. According to them, one “interesting” point that was made at the panel was that Latinos won’t always vote for a Latino, whether the candidate comes from the voter’s country of origin or not.

Yes, some may, like many African Americans may have voted for Obama in 2008 and/or 2012, but at the end of the day the voter will vote for the candidate that plans to meet that voter’s needs and the community will do so as a whole to the candidate that is most responsive to their needs.

Another point raised was that a good number of Latinos, who make up 27 percent of the city’s adults, aren’t legal residents.

The polling data has shown a lack of the full range of NYC and has classified Latinos as “not reliable” voters since we don’t vote 100% of the time (i.e., voting in federal elections only). We as Latinos have to take hold of the power of our vote!

According to LatinTrends, the panelists agreed that the issues important to Latinos are similar to those that worry the rest of the city – jobs, education and affordable housing.

Carrión seems to be the one who will push those issues. But why is the mainstream media leaving him out? The mainstream media is keeping things simple because they like things simple and Latinos aren’t simple – we are just too diverse. Plus, there’s somewhat of a racial bias.

Here’s video of the panel:


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