The Democratic seat for Council Representative of District 38, belongs to incumbent Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez. Gonzalez elected in 2002, has been re-elected twice, and is trying for a third term in the upcoming general election on November 3rd. Running against her – lawyer Robinson Iglesias. With a Democrat victory in the last two elections, the victory is decided in the primaries.
Brooklyn’s District 38 encompasses Bay Ridge Towers, Borough Park, Brooklyn Waterfront, lower Park Slope, Red Hook, Sunset Park, and Windsor Terrace. It has an estimated population of 158,644, majority of who are renters. The Hispanic population is the largest, making up nearly half of the residents at 47.5%, with Asians and Pacific Islanders making up 25%, and White people making up another 20%. ‘Black’ and ‘Other’ are minority groups in the district making up less than 10% combined.
Both candidates actively campaigned in the neighborhood, giving out fliers, and making announcements on loudspeakers.
Both candidates were raised in District 38. They had overlapping interests in the issues of immigrant rights, affordable housing, and neighborhood improvement. Both candidates, not surprisingly, emphasized their civic engagement backgrounds. Gonzalez, before her role as Councilwoman, was chair of Community Board seven within District 38. She was also the Executive Director of the Hispanic Young People’s Alternatives. Gonzalez has emphasized that the youth will be one of her focal points should she remain in office- she wrote on her campaign website that alternative to incarceration programs will be a project she will implement.
Iglesias, recipient of the Harvard United Nations Award, made transparency a cornerstone of his campaign. This was one of the many allusions he made to sully Gonzalez’ character as a candidate. Iglesias also repeatedly mentioned Gonzalez’ absence at both council meetings, and a debate on News12. According to a BoroPolitics web article Challenger Call her Sara ‘Gone-zalez’ Iglesias said Gonzalez only attended 70% of mandatory meetings.
“She doesn’t represent the people in the district,” Iglesias said in an interview with BoroPolitics. “We have the hardest-working people here and she’s someone who doesn’t show up.” According to the article, his campaign declined to provide evidence of this.
Iglesias also made remarks which reference Gonzalez’ seeking a third term. “Ask yourself, during the last eight years, has the City Council done anything to significantly improve your life? Then ask yourself, was extending their own term limits done for their personal interest or yours,” Iglesias wrote.
Although Iglesias focused many of his efforts on invalidating Gonzalez’ candidacy, with no acknowledgment of his claims- Gonzalez’ campaign strategy was clearly to ignore Iglesias.
In the primaries, held on September 15th 2009, Gonzalez secured 63% of the vote, and Iglesias 37%.
On the November 3rd general election, Sara Gonzalez will run against Republican Allan E Romaguera. Romaguera has run twice for District 12 in the past, and lost.