Who is Carlos Menchaca ?
Carlos Menchaca, center, poses for a photograph with his idols, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, left, who supports NSA spying, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, right, who The Daily News described as the most inactive New York delegate to Congress in 2011.
How real can Carlos Menchaca be ? He is running for the 38th City Council District City Council from Brooklyn based on a fine line that the advocacy for work he was paid to do after Hurricane Sandy makes him most qualified for that post. He is running in opposition against incumbent Sara Gonzalez. At the time of his ascendancy in Red Hook circles, Mr. Menchaca was a paid staffer/informant for New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and he was tasked to do electioneering work on her behalf, in an effort to fluff her image among people, who suffered damage as a reslut of Hurricane Sandy
Here is a video of Mr. Menchaca made in 2011 by a prominent Brooklyn blogger in which Mr. Menchaca introduces himself as representing New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's office :
After Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Menchaca was dispatched to Red Hook, Brooklyn, to collect political information that could help Speaker Quinn's mayoral campaign efforts. Once she was done with him, Speaker Quinn turned to support the incumbent, Ms. Gonzalez. Although Mr. Menchaca likes to spin his Hurricane Sandy work in a positive light, look at how writer Zoltan Gluck portrayed Mr. Menchaca's lack of community sensibilities :
The agenda of the small business coalition was captured succinctly by ReStore Red Hook founder, Monica Byrne, at a community meeting in early November : “We will not stop until every single small business in Red Hook re-opens its doors again.” As a vehicle for fund-raising, grant applications, and political lobbying, ReStore Red Hook has become a pivotal actor in the dynamics of recovery and reconstruction in the neighborhood. The example of a large grant awarded by the Brooklyn Community Foundation in December for Sandy recovery work is symptomatic. Through personal connections with Carlos Menchaca, Christine Quinn’s official liaison in Red Hook, a coalition of five organizations in Red Hook (including NGOs, residents and small businesses) were able to secure a large grant from the Brooklyn Community Foundation. Without any community oversight over how such funds ought to be disbursed, 80% of the funds were ultimately allocated to ReStore Red Hook. In a neighborhood where over 70% of the population lives in public housing, to allocate 80% of incoming resources to small businesses along a gentrifying corridor simply callous. It is also a form of institutional racism reproduced and replicated through everyday practices. By mobilizing cultural, legal, and political capital to control incoming resources and funnel them towards small businesses, this coalition is indirectly working to disempower and displace the working-class Black and Latino community of Red Hook. (Race, Class, and Disaster Gentrification * Tidal)
Even after he curried favour with Speaker Quinn's office by doing her bidding, he was betrayed by Speaker Quinn. Then, the work that Mr. Menchaca did on her behalf was portrayed as furthering the pain of gentrification in Red Hook.
The election system seems to be broken if people, who get paid to do community work, then turn around and portray that paid community work in a way to offer it as evidence of sufficient qualification for running for public office.
First, if Mr. Menchaca wanted to portray his work in support of people, who suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy, in a positive light, then he would have had to have done it from a noble place, not as part of a paid political staff member for Speaker Quinn's political machine.
And second, Mr. Menchaca's contributions to the hurricane recovery effort should have actually helped those with the least, and not aggravated the pressures caused by gentrification, as pointed out by Occupy activists.
Maybe Mr. Menchaca is trying to use a strategy from Speaker Quinn's own political playbook. When she was young, Speaker Quinn was once the paid executive director of the Anti-Violence Project. She later used her paid work at that agency to parlay it as evidence of her commitment for advocacy work in her campaign for the New York City Council in 1999. If Speaker Quinn's real record of advocacy is any indication, Mr. Menchaca would do better to just come out right now and openly represent himself to be a tool of business interests. That would spare voters the need for him to be dishonest with the community he intends to represent.