WNY ‘Concerned-Citizens’ group to host forum for commissioner candidates


A group of politically active West New York residents, simply referring to themselves as “concerned-citizens,” will host a forum open to all town commissioner candidates at the end of this month, just before the May 12 municipal election. 


By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The electoral forum, sponsored by Concerned-Citizens – led by musician Josh Breakstone – and to be moderated by The NJ League of Women Voters will be held on Thursday, April 30 at The Riviera Towers Community Room, located at 6040 Kennedy Blvd E) at 7:30 p.m.

“The forum represents an opportunity for local residents to hear directly from the candidates before the May 12 Municipal election and where they stand on issues that concern local residents most,” group spokesman Matthew Cheng said in a statement.

“It will not be a debate – questions to be asked at the forum will be supplied to candidates in advance and each will, in turn, have the opportunity to state his position with regard to each of those questions.”

Confirmed participants include “The Future is Now” slate of Juan Espinal and Jeanne M Stefonetti, the “WNY United” team of Count Wiley, Carlos Betancourt, Myrli Sanchez, Thomas  Leung and Hector Hernandez, and the “Hope for the Future” slate consisting of Michael Corso, Anthony M DeFino, Gabriela B Reynoso, Armando M Galis-Menendez and Maria Melendez.

Independent candidate Patrick Cullen, who has come up short twice in the two most recent board of education races, has also committed to the forum and is running under the “Our Town is Not for Sale” slogan.

Pablo Fonseca, a campaign spokesman for Mayor Felix Roque’s re-election slate, said he had not heard about the event until reached by Hudson County View and would check on his team’s availability.

Cheng also noted that the concerned-citizens are making an effort to register voters ahead of the May 12 election.

In the Walsh form of government, no one technically runs for mayor, with that position being decided amongst the five commissioners that are elected, but the top challenger for Roque’s seat is Wiley – who was elected with his fellow doctor in May 2011.

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  1. I am honored to participate in this long overdue Candidate Forum. To my knowledge, WNY has never had a candidate forum for municipal candidates. I salute Matthew Cheng for being a part of this noble effort and Joshua Breakstone for organizing this Forum and to the League of Women Voters for sponsoring this.

    Patrick R. Cullen, Jr.
    WNY Commissioner Candidate,
    Column F

  2. The “Hope for the Future” slate consisting of Michael Corso, Anthony M DeFino, Gabriela B Reynoso, Armando M Galis-Menendez and Maria Melendez seem to be a solid bunch. They seem like a competent group that will listen and accomadate the men, women, and children of WNY’s needs and concerns.

  3. I hope they ask Michael Corso, Gabriela B Reynoso, and Defino some questions becaue they are all excellent speakers. I am sure Gailis-Menendez and Maria melendez are excellent as well, but I have seen Michael Corso speak in front of large audiences and always come out on top. Funny thing is some of those audiences when Michael Corso debated and presented in front of large groups, similar to the League of Women Voters was on behalf of Corso’s runningmate Anthony Defino’s legendary father whom was probably the best Mayor the city has ever had.

  4. I wonder if John Heinis of The Hudson County View would be willing to mediate a debate in early May right before the election to see how the different candidates handle themselves in front of a huge audience of WNYers, which would be fantastic. On a warm spring night off Keenndy Boulevard with the NY skyline as a backdrop. That would be WNY at it’s best and the voters can get a good feel of what they want based on the candidates platforms. Such tagteam debates matches as Corso & Defino vs. Wiley & Betancourt would be fantistic and a great canvass to see whom the winner will be. I would also like to see Roque vs Cullen because I think Cullen would blow Roque off the stage as long as Cullen maintains himself. Rogue might be too busy looking at the pretty lights across the river. So let’s see will John Heins mediate a debate outside in early May for the candidates and will the candidates participate for the people of WNY. Hope so… Maybe The Hudson County View can organize the event as an impartial party to the event. What do the candidates feel about this? Wish some of the candidates would step up to this forum and commit or decommit to a debate for the people and in front of the people instead of on still image signs with fake smiles. .

  5. Thanks MJC. I accept your kind words and your good advice. I welcome a debate with Mayor Roque. We do need a full-time mayor to take ownership of that job, rather than a self-proclaimed “figurehead” who has relied too heavilly on the self-serving advice of others. Mr. Fonseca’s comment that Mayor Roque was unaware of the forum is disingenuous. Mayor Roque should not employ others to filter important communications. If Mayor Roque chooses not to attend this candidate forum, his absence will correctly portray an individual who is either incapable or unwilling to defend his record.

  6. Roque is a coward. He can’t answer a question without a lawyer next to him telling him what to sayand he knows the other candidates will make him look like the fool he is.
    He can’t defend his record of corruption so he’ll make some excuse not to come. Maybe he’ll hide behind his running mates and send some of them.
    Pablo Fonseca is a liar who wouldn’t know the truth if it hit him in the face.

  7. The forum last night was great. It was moderated by the League of Women Voters and each candidate got to have their say on the questions. Many things I agreed with and some I didn’t but it is good to know where they stand. Roque did not show up, but then again who really expected him to, since he only spends two hours a week a town hall anyway.