There are three things I value most in life – family, friends, and community. I am running for City Council because I know I can make a positive difference in the lives of my neighbors and improve my community through public service. I’ve been active and involved in this community for more than a decade and a half, and I have seen first-hand the positive changes that can be made with strong leadership and community activism. Like many of you, I have been disappointed by the political scandals that have shaken our faith in government and its ability to address our needs. With your support, I will work hard to reform the system and build coalitions throughout all of our diverse neighborhoods to improve our community and city.
So here’s who I am: I have lived in the Bronx almost my entire life. My wife, Laura, and I have been blessed with two wonderful kids, Andrew (6 years old) and Julia (3 going on 13). I was raised by a single mother who came to New York from Puerto Rico as a teenager and worked hard to give me and my siblings a better life. In 1993, I purchased a home in north Riverdale, where my mother lives with us and is the best babysitter in the world!
Prior to moving to Riverdale, I lived in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx for 15 years. There I attended JHS 143, John F. Kennedy High School and Fordham University. I went on to law school at New York University, and practiced corporate law at a Wall Street law firm. But after four years of working for corporate clients, I realized that my true calling was in public service. So in 1994, I went to work as an Aide and Counsel to Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. It was a special experience to work within my own community and have the opportunity to help others every day.
In 1996, I was appointed Director of Pro Bono Affairs for the New York State Bar Association. There I worked to ensure that low-income New Yorkers have access to our justice system with the help of pro bono lawyers and legal aid programs. I lobbied Congress and the State Legislature for more funding for legal aid programs, and helped to create pro bono programs throughout New York State. In 2000, I joined the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, where I manage the pro bono efforts of our more than 500 lawyers. Today, I am proud to say that Milbank lawyers donate nearly 40,000 hours a year to those who can not afford a lawyer.
In 2001, I was appointed to Bronx Community Board 8, and from 2004-2008 I had the honor of serving as its Chairman. In that capacity, I worked on virtually every major issue facing the community from zoning to schools to parks to parking. During that time I also served on the Croton Filtration Monitoring Committee, where I advocated for Bronx jobs, better air quality, and financial accountability at the massive water-filtration plant being built in Van Cortlandt Park. I also served on the Task Force to develop the Kingsbridge Armory into a large commercial center.
In order to better understand the needs of our schools, I served as Principal for a Day at both PS 81 and PS 24 on three separate occasions. As a result of that experience, I created a unique collaboration among more than a dozen local public and private schools known as the Coalition of Riverdale/Kingsbridge Schools (CORKS). Through this organization, local schools have begun to develop close partnerships to enhance their academic, athletic and after-school environments.
My interest in helping young people led me to serve as Board Chairman of two organizations – the Riverdale Nursery School & Family Center, and Adolescent and Family Comprehensive Services in the south Bronx. I also serve on the board of Bronx Legal Services, a program that provides free legal services to thousands of Bronxites a year.
In order to increase participation in the political process and identify strong candidates for public office, I founded the Northwest Bronx Democratic Alliance (NBDA) in 2001. Since that time the NBDA has supported outstanding candidates like Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and NYS Senate Deputy Minority Leader Jeff Klein. In 2005, the NBDA was one of the only Democratic political clubs to endorse Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Over the years I have been honored for my public service by numerous organizations including The Legal Aid Society, inMotion, MFY Legal Services and I was twice named a National Finalist for a White House Fellowship. But my biggest honor is being a dad and someone who has hopefully made a difference in my community.
Tony on Government Reform:
"City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's belated reform package does not go far enough.....Every tax dollar dispensed through this system should be divided evenly among all 51 Council districts."
- The Riverdale Press, 5/15/08
Tony on Creation of Hudson Waterfront Park:
"It is not a huge park, but a serene area that brings people who appreciate nature."
- The New York Times, 12/8/06
- The Real Deal, 6/1/06