Adolfo Carrión, Jr.

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Adolfo Carrión, Jr.
1st Director of the Office of Urban Affairs
In office
February 19, 2009 – May 3, 2010
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Derek Douglas
12th Borough President of the Bronx
In office
January 1, 2002 – February 19, 2009
Preceded by Fernando Ferrer
Succeeded by Ruben Diaz
Member of the New York City Council
from the 14th district
In office
January 1, 1998 – December 31, 2001
Preceded by Israel Ruiz
Succeeded by Maria Baez
Personal details
Born (1961-03-06) March 6, 1961 (age 53)
Manhattan, New York, United States
Political party Independent
Alma mater Kings College
Hunter College

Adolfo Carrión, Jr. (born March 6, 1961) is a politician from City Island, located in New York City, New York.[1] He served for seven years as the Borough President of the Bronx, for a year as the first director of the Office of Urban Affairs in the Obama Administration, and then for nearly two years as Regional Director for HUD's New York and New Jersey Regional Office.[2] He left HUD in February 2012.[3]

In late 2012, Carrión left the Democratic Party to begin exploring a run for Mayor of New York City, and in February 2013 he was granted the Independence Party nomination.

Background[edit]

Adolfo Carrión was born in Manhattan, in 1961, of Puerto Rican descent. His family moved to the Baychester section of the Northeast Bronx when he was in fourth grade. He attended public school at John Philip Sousa Middle School and Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx. Later, he graduated from The King's College, a Christian liberal arts college in Westchester County at the time, where he majored in world religions. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a Protestant minister, and became an associate pastor at a Bronx church.

Carrión went on to serve as a public school teacher in the West Bronx at Intermediate School 115 and CIS 234. During that time he participated in CCNY-based Salvadori Center program which uses the built environment as a teaching tool. Eventually, he went back to school to earn his Master's Degree in Urban Planning from Hunter College, part of the City University of New York. Upon graduating, Carrión worked for three years at the Bronx office of the New York City Department of City Planning.

He later served as District Manager for Community Board 5 in the Bronx (where he was responsible for overseeing the delivery of services to 150,000 residents within his district), was hired as Vice President of Human Services and Community Outreach at Promesa, a community development organization, and served as Chairman of the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade.

He currently lives with his second wife, Linda Baldwin, an attorney and former City Planning colleague, and his children, Raquel, Sara, Olivia, and Adolfo James (A.J.) on City Island.[4]

Political career[edit]

Carrión decided to run for New York City Council in 1997. He won the election and served one four-year term representing the 14th Council District, which includes the West Bronx neighborhoods of University Heights, Morris Heights, Kingsbridge, and Fordham. While on the Council, Carrión belonged to its committees on Economic Development, Education, Higher Education, Environmental Protection, Governmental Operations and Land Use. He also served as chairman of the Special Subcommittee on the 2000 Census.

Although Council members are allowed to seek reelection, Carrión did not run for a second term. He had been rumored to be a leading candidate to become the next Speaker of the City Council, but he chose instead to run in the hotly contested 2001 election to succeed Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer, who was at that time prevented under the City Charter from seeking a third term in office.[5] He edged out then-Councilmember June Eisland and State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. for the Democratic nomination and then won the general election on November 6, 2001 with a landslide 79% of the vote.[6] He easily won reelection in 2005[7] with 87%.[8][9]

Adolfo Carrión would have been limited by the City Charter from seeking a third term as Borough President until a narrow October 2008 vote of the New York City Council allowed third terms for elected city officials (including incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg).[10] The media frequently speculated that Carrión would be a candidate for Mayor of New York City in 2009. However, on December 13, 2007, Carrión announced that he would be a candidate for New York City Comptroller in the 2009 election.

On December 6, 2008, Carrión announced in a speech at Yale University that President-elect Barack Obama had selected him for a cabinet level position.[11] In February 2009, he took office as director of the newly created White House Office of Urban Affairs Policy.[12] Carrión’s work at the White House resulted in the establishment of a White House Urban Policy Working Group and the first interagency review in 30 years of the federal government’s engagement with urban and metropolitan areas.

Carrión's position at the Domestic Policy Council ended on May 3, 2010, when the Obama Administration named Carrión Regional Director for HUD's New York and New Jersey Regional Office.[13] He left HUD in February, 2012.[14] As Regional Administrator, Carrión was responsible for overseeing nearly $6 billion in HUD investments in New York and New Jersey.

On February 26, 2013, Carrion announced during an interview with the EFE news agency, that he will run for the mayor of New York as an independent candidate.[15] He also unsuccessfully pursued a Wilson Pakula designation to secure a spot in the Republican primary.[16]

Affiliations[edit]

Aspen Institute

Carrión was chosen by the Aspen Institute as one of 24 of America’s most promising emerging leaders to be a member of the Aspen-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership.[17] The fellowship consists of 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats and focuses on the ethics and responsibilities of public office and teaching democratic principles. This is only the second class of fellows from the Institute, and Carrión is the only member from New York.

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)

On July 1, 2007 Adolfo Carrión was elected president of NALEO, the nonpartisan leadership organization of the nation's 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials. As President, he announced an increase in efforts to help file naturalization papers for eligible legal permanent residents before impending fee increases take effect as part of NALEO’s “ya es hora” campaign.[18] He previously served as Vice President and Treasurer. NALEO is a national organization that offers training and technical assistance to enhance the leadership skills and political empowerment of Latino appointed and elected officials.

County Executives of America

Carrión served as Vice-President of International Affairs for the County Executives of America, an organization committed to empowering county executives by making their voices heard at all levels of government and by offering economic opportunities and programs to improve local services.[19]

New York Blood Center

Adolfo Carrión serves as the Chair of the Volunteer Leadership Team of the New York Blood Center in the Bronx.[20] As the Bronx Chair, he helps the NY Blood Center meet its goal of closing the blood deficit that forces the New York region to rely on donations from other parts of the country.

Projects[edit]

Yankee Stadium[edit]

Main article: Yankee Stadium

After his election as borough president, Carrión helped to bring the City and George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, together for negotiations over the construction of a new Yankee Stadium.

Early in his presidency, Carrión had advocated Community Benefits Agreements intended to ensure that construction in the borough would help as many residents as possible. In the end, $800 million will be invested in construction of a new Yankee Stadium with at least 25% of the contracts going to Bronx businesses and at least 25% of the jobs going to residents of the Borough. In addition, $160 million will be invested in many public parks including a running track, tennis facilities, and softball and baseball fields on parkland around and including the original Yankee Stadium. Carrión has helped to bring in funding to improve other parts of the community, including $65 million to be invested in restoration of the pedestrian Highbridge, the oldest bridge in New York City which connects the Bronx to Manhattan, and $91 million to be invested in constructing a new Metro-North Station at the new Yankee Stadium. Also being planned in the area is a Yankee Stadium Sports Museum and a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) fitness/health club.

Bronx Terminal Market[edit]

Just south of the new Yankee Stadium is the 1,000,000-square-foot (93,000 m2) Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market, which replaced a dilapidated public market and the closed Bronx House of Detention.[21]

Hunts Point Vision Plan[edit]

Carrión worked with Mayor Bloomberg and community leaders to re-envision 690-acre (2.8 km2) industrial area on the Bronx waterfront.[22][23] Key components of the plan include $110 million invested by the City for infrastructure improvements, $85 million development of the Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point, $25 million development of the Produce Market, the construction of the new Barretto Point Park, the South Bronx Greenway Initiative,[24] and a re-use plan for the Marine Transfer Station which As of 2007 is still in negotiations.

Issues and controversies[edit]

Party affiliation[edit]

Until the New York City Charter was amended in 2008, it prevented Carrión from seeking a third term as Borough President. He raised money for City-wide office and it was widely speculated that he was contemplating running for Mayor of New York City. On December 13, 2007, however, he announced that he was running in the 2009 New York City Comptroller's race to replace the existing Comptroller (William Thompson, Jr) who, at the time, was also term limited. As events turned out in 2009, Thompson ran for Mayor while Carrión left the Borough Presidency before the end of his second term in order to accept his post in the Obama administration.

Navy bombing exercises in Puerto Rico[edit]

In 2001, he and three others including the Rev. Al Sharpton travelled to Puerto Rico to protest the Navy’s bombing exercises on the island of Vieques. The “Vieques Four” were imprisoned by the federal government for more than 40 days for protesting the policy.[25] Their actions led to President Bush’s imposition of a permanent moratorium on weapons testing on the island[26]

Fire in the Bronx[edit]

On March 7, 2007, a fire engulfed the row house at 1022 Woodycrest Ave in the Bronx, killing 8 children and one woman. The two families affected were those of Moussa Magassa, who lost four children, and Mamadou Soumare, who lost four children and his wife.[27] Carrión worked with business and community leaders to raise over $200,000 for the two families, including support from the New York Yankees who financed the cost of the funeral and the Soumare family’s travel arrangements to Mali.[28][29] When the incident occurred, Mr. Soumare’s application for permanent residency was still pending approval, so Carrión worked with other elected officials to secure permission from immigration officials for Mr. Soumare to return to the United States after burying his family in Mali.[30] The fire was caused by a space heater and touched off a fire safety awareness campaign by Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Fire Department.

Congestion pricing[edit]

Carrión was the most vocal outer-borough supporter of Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan which would charge drivers a fee to enter Manhattan between the hours of 8am and 6pm in an effort to reduce congestion and minimize the City’s air pollution. On June 15, 2007, Carrión held a press conference with Mayor Bloomberg and nearly a dozen other elected officials from the Bronx to announce their support for the plan, though he stressed that proposed improvements to mass transit would need to be clarified before this plan was implemented.[31]

Carrión’s endorsement is significant because it dispelled the myth that politicians with a large percentage of constituents who commute into Manhattan would be intrinsically against the measure.

German military training video controversy[edit]

In April, 2007 a video filmed in June 2006 surfaced on YouTube depicting a German military training exercise in which a German Army instructor orders a recruit to pretend he is in the Bronx and to fire on a van full of African-Americans who are insulting his mother in the worst way. The soldier fires and yells obscenities in English, whereupon he is instructed to yell louder next time.[32] Upon seeing the video, Carrión demanded an apology from the German government and that appropriate action be taken against the offending officer.[33] Carrión, who had just returned from Germany on a tour to promote tourism to the Bronx, offered to return to educate officials about the borough. He also offered to host a contingent of government and military officials to give them a tour of the area. As a result of his remarks, the German Army instructor in the video was relieved of duty and denied retirement benefits.[34] Mayor Andreas Breitner of Rendsburg, the town where the video originated, and German Consul-General Hans-Jurgen Heimsoeth issued formal apologies for the incident.[35]

City Island[edit]

The local district attorney’s office has investigated some construction work on a piece of property owned by Carrión, in response to facts reported by the New York Daily News. In 2007, Mr. Carrión had a porch and balcony added to his Victorian home on City Island, Bronx. According to documents obtained by the Daily News from the contractor, Nationwide Maintenance of the Bronx, and from the New York City Department of Buildings, “the project’s estimated cost was $50,000. Carrión wound up paying less than half of the estimate — $24,000.[36]

Hugo Subotovsky, the architect for the project, was seeking approval for a Bronx development called Boricua Village and obtained it while working on Carrión’s house project. The New York Daily News' reports about the subject imply that Carrión, as borough president, was instrumental in this approval. The New York Times reported that the project had widespread community support and that though Carrión did recommend the necessary zoning changes after reviewing the project, borough presidents only advise and “cannot kill proposals.” Carrión himself claims that his hiring of Subotovsky had nothing to do with the Boricua Village project.[37][38]

Carrión did not pay Subotovsky for this work until April 2009. Carrión’s explanation was that he had not yet requested a final survey of his property and that Subotovsky’s “practice was to not bill clients until the permit file at the Buildings Department is complete and closed.”[38] Coincidentally, the bill was not paid until the same week the Department of Investigation raided the offices of the Boricua Village project developer, Atlantic Development Group, as part of a bribery and corruption probe.[39] Initially, Carrión had reported that he owed Subotovsky $3,627.50 for 51.5 hours of work. The check he sent the architect was for $4,247.50.[38][39] As of this writing, there is no information about whether Carrión is still under investigation or not.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pickert, Kate; James, Randy (February 20, 2009). "2-Minute Bio: Urban Policy Director Adolfo Carrion". TIME. Retrieved July 12, 2014. "Is 47 and married to a lawyer. They have three daughters and a son and live on City Island in the Bronx." 
  2. ^ "Obama Administration names Adolfo Carrión as HUD's New York and New Jersey Regional Director". Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2 March 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Adolfo Carrion Leaves HUD to Help Save Cities on His Own". New York Observer. February 16, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ Bronx Borough President's Office. "Bronx Borough President's Official Biography". Archived from the original on 2007-06-17. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  5. ^ New York City Campaign Finance Board. "Candidate Statements for 2001 Election". Retrieved 2007-10-15. [dead link]
  6. ^ Gotham Gazette. "Searchlight on Campaign 2001, The Race for Bronx Borough President". Gotham Gazette. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  7. ^ New York City Campaign Finance Board. "2005 Voter Guide". Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  8. ^ New York City Board of Elections (2007-11-28). "Statement and Return Report for Certification, General Election 2005, For Borough President (BX)". New York City Board of Elections. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  9. ^ Gotham Gazette. "Campaign 2005 Bronx President". Gotham Gazette. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  10. ^ See New York City mayoral elections#Terms and term limits (since 1834)
  11. ^ Ross, Colin (October 7, 2009). "Viewers of Le’s records may be fired". Yale Daily News. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (2009-02-19). "White House Names Two New York Officials to Administration". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Brown, Jereon. "HUD Press Release". Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  14. ^ Chaban, Matt. "Adolfo Carrion Leaves HUD to Help Save Cities on His Own". Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  15. ^ "Adolfo Carrion seeks to be first Latino mayor of New York". Global Post. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  16. ^ Chen, David (2012-11-12). "Likely Mayoral Hopeful Leaves Democratic Party". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  17. ^ The Aspen Institute. "Aspen Rodell Fellowships in Public Leadership, Class II". Archived from the original on 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  18. ^ Angulo, Javier (2007-07-27). "Media Advisory: Final Drive Before U.S. Citizenship Fee Increase". Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  19. ^ The County Executives of America. "CEA Officers and Board of Directors". Retrieved 2007-10-15. [dead link]
  20. ^ New York Blood Center. "Leadership Team, Hudson Valley Blood Services". Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  21. ^ New York City Economic Development Corporation. "Our Projects: Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market". Archived from the original on 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  22. ^ New York City Economic Development Corporation. "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Unveils Hunts Point Vision Plan At New Workforce Development Center in South Bronx". Retrieved 2007-10-15. [dead link]
  23. ^ New York City, Office of the Mayor. "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Unveils Hunts Point Vision Plan At New Workforce Development Center in South Bronx". Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  24. ^ New York City Economic Development Corporation. "Current Projects: South Bronx Greenway". Archived from the original on 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  25. ^ Adely, Hannan; Moss, Jordan (July 11, 2001). "On Eve of Release, Adolfo Carrion Rested and Ready". Norwood News. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  26. ^ Sisk, Richard; Kappstatter, Bob (June 14, 2001). "Vieques Bombs To End In 2 Years". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  27. ^ WNYC Newsroom. "Bronx Fire Draws Thousands of Mourners and Donations". Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  28. ^ Hoch, Bryan (2007-03-09). "Yanks to pay funerals for Bronx victims". MLB.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  29. ^ Meminger, Dean (2007-04-07). "Father of Bronx Fire Victims Receives Gifts from the Community". NY1. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  30. ^ Fernandez, Manny (2007-03-14). "Immigrant Can Return to US After Burying his Family in Mali". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  31. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth (2007-06-15). "Bronx Electeds on Congestion Pricing Bus". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2007-10-15. [dead link]
  32. ^ USA Today; Associated Press (2007-04-14). "German trainer told soldier to picture shooting blacks in Bronx". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  33. ^ Landler, Mark (2007-04-17). "Germany: Racial Video 'Unacceptable'". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  34. ^ NY1. "German Defense Ministry Fires Instructor over Controversy". NY1. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  35. ^ CBS; Associated Press (2007-04-18). "Bronx Pres: Germans Sorry For Army Training Video". WCBS. Retrieved 2007-10-15. [dead link]
  36. ^ Gearty, Robert, Smith, Greg B. (March 23, 2009). "Probers looking at whether Adolfo Carrión got a steep discount on home renovations". New York Daily News. 
  37. ^ Gearty, Robert, Smith, Greg B. (March 10, 2009). "Possible conflict of interest surfaces for President Obama’s new urban czar Adolfo Carrión". New York Daily News. 
  38. ^ a b c Buettner, Russ (March 12, 2009). "Bronx Prosecutors Checking on Work done for Ex-Borough President". New York Times. 
  39. ^ a b Smith, Greg B. (April 25, 2009). "2 years later, Adolfo Carrión pays architect who designed home renovation wrapped up in city probe". New York Daily News. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Israel Ruiz
Member of the New York City Council
from the 14th district

1998–2001
Succeeded by
Maria Baez
Preceded by
Fernando Ferrer
Borough President of the Bronx
2002–2009
Succeeded by
Ruben Diaz