Hundreds of Soundview residents demanded change at P.S. 47 on Tuesday, November 3 and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson won the Bronx in a landslide but incumbent Michael Bloomberg eked out a third term.
The independent mayor, listed as a Republican on the ballot, beat Thompson, a Democrat and the city’s comptroller, 51 percent to 46 percent. Bloomberg spent more than $100 million on his campaign. Thompson spent less than $10 million.
Turnout at P.S. 47 on Beach Avenue was down compared to 2005, when Bloomberg defeated Democrat Freddy Ferrer, a poll worker reported. Turnout also decreased citywide: 200,000 less votes were cast in 2009. Bloomberg won only two Assembly Districts in the Bronx: the 80th District (Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Allerton, Norwood) and the 81st District (Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Woodlawn).
Soundview belongs to the 18th Council District and was supposed to be a battleground between incumbent Democrat Annabel Palma, a former 1199 SEIU healthcare worker, and Green Party candidate Walter Nestler, a parks expert from Clason Point who raised an unexpected $14,389 and $38,700 in public funds.
But Palma crushed Nestler 88 percent to 3 percent. Republican candidate Leopold Paul took 8 percent and Conservative Party candidate Arqui Sanders took 1 percent.
Soundview resident Hector Lopez voted for the first time since 2006 and chose Thompson. Lopez is no fan of politics; he concentrates on his own work, he said.
“Somewhere down the line, all the elected officials screw us, Republican or Democrat,” Lopez sighed.
Noberto Perez voted for “the Democrat” because he wanted to property and utility tax increases curbed. The self-described “blue dog” Democrat thought the mayoral campaign was all “anger and spin.” Perez voted for Sanders. He hopes Palma will curb Soundview street crime and graffiti but won’t hold his breath.
“The City Council candidates don’t even need to campaign,” he said. “Nobody challenges them.”
Palma raised $46,948 and $22,138 in public funds. She spent $50,853 on her campaign. Abraham Torres, 59, a state Education Department worker, picked Thompson because the Democrat seemed more open to union negotiations, he said. Jobs were on Torres’ mind. Too many friends are laid off and in trouble, he added.
Joseph Conduah, 47, a transit worker, voted for Thompson because Bloomberg has refused his union a raise. He chose Palma because she “looks out for unions.”
“Thompson understands the common man,” Conduah said. “Bloomberg doesn’t understand. He’s rich.”
Kishore Tilak, 39, an assistant manager at Goodwill Industries, picked Bloomberg. He trusts that the mayor will pull the city out of its economic hole and feared a Thompson tax hike. But beautician Kaku Wilson, 31, thought Thompson would restore sanity to test-obsessed public schools. Her daughter, KiAnna, attends P.S. 47 and has no gym class.
“We need a change,” Wilson said. “Bloomberg has no money for the schools but has money to build a baseball stadium? In my opinion, children come first.”
Wilson was one of 421 people to vote for Nestler, she hinted.