UPDATE 9/13: Francisco Moya has defeated Hiram Monserrate for the District 21 City Council seat, 55.6% to 44.4%.
As New Yorkers hit the polls to vote in a slate of primaries today, one race in particular could carry major implications for NYCFC fans.
State Assemblyman Francisco Moya of Queens is one of two Democrats vying for the party’s nomination in the race for the City Council seat in District 21. Not only is he a New York City FC supporter, but he is also close with David Villa, a titanic figure in the majority-Hispanic district that includes Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona.
Notably, it also includes Willets Point, one of the key sites bandied about as a potential NYCFC stadium site, including by local politicians like Melinda Katz, the Queens Borough President. And on Friday, Villa got into the mix himself: the Moya campaign released a Spanish-language robocall in which the New York City captain and La Liga legend implored district residents to support Moya over his opponent, former District 21 Councilman and State Senator Hiram Monserrate.
“It’s like if Derek Jeter were calling to baseball fans,” Moya said of the recording, which is available here:
Along with Villa, Moya has been endorsed by such figures as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who replaced Monserrate in 2008 and is retiring at the end of the current term.
With the NIMBY scourge precluding most substantive discussions about potential NYCFC stadium sites, Moya may present the latest, best chance for real public progress toward the land deal fans in the Five Boroughs have dreamed of from the jump. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have fans in high places.
But let’s not hand Moya the W just yet.
Monserrate, who was removed from the State Senate in 2010 following a conviction for third-degree assault and sentenced to two years in prison on unrelated fraud and conspiracy charges in 2012, is seeking a comeback. While a return to his former Council seat may seem unlikely, he has received more than twice the number of donations from District 21 residents than Moya (h/t NYT). And he’s got his own plans for Willets Point.
“Our community needs permanent affordable housing now, not a soccer stadium, not another parking lot, and not another mall or a casino,” he said in an official statement this summer.
“In the seven years he’s been a public official, Francisco Moya has not delivered one tangible result to our community,” he added.
Willets Point, in the shadows of Citi Field in Corona, has long been considered a community in serious need of redevelopment. Unfortunately, various plans over the years to bring affordable housing, commercial investment, and environmental remediation to the “Iron Triangle” haven’t gotten off the ground.
Whether or not New York City FC plays a role in the neighborhood’s revitalization — or whether local residents will be left hanging while the bureaucrats continue to avert their eyes — will come down to more than one man in one City Council seat. And certainly, there more issues than simply this one of paramount importance to the residents of District 21. But Moya’s relationship with the club, as well as its famous star man, does add a fascinating wrinkle to a heated, combative race.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is not meant as an endorsement of any particular political candidate.