Bell Fights Off Challenges, On Council Ballot
Queens Supreme Court Judge Phyllis Orlikoff Flug tossed out a challenge by candidate Ruben Wills after it appeared she would have more than enough signatures to qualify.
Bell will have to move from her Far Rockaway home to Jamaica by Election Day in order to be seated should she win the six-person race, experts say. “She is in the process of moving,” a spokesperson told reporters recently. The fiancée of slain groom Sean Bell is in a nonpartisan special election for the Jamaica, Queens seat vacated by the death of longtime Councilman Thomas White Jr.
“Time will tell, but this may turn out to be the decisive victory in this race,” said City Councilman James Sanders, a Bell ally. “She has proved herself seaworthy.”
Bell has the support of Sanders, Congressman Gregory Meeks and black activist Al Sharpton.
Bell needed 899 signatures of registered voters to head off the pre-election challenge by Wills, the favorite of the Queens Democratic Party, and she has them, said Wills’ lawyer, Martin Connor.
A victorious Bell declared, “Today we have sent a clear message that the campaign for change won’t be hindered by unsubstantiated claims by my detractors.” Bell, 26, took her fiancé’s last name after he was gunned down by cops outside a Jamaica nightclub on their November 2006 wedding day.
She later led the fight to have the undercover cops who killed her fiancé tried for murder.
They were found not guilty in a bench trial and the federal government declined to prosecute them on civil rights charges.
She recently won a civil case against the city.
Bell legally took her fiancé’s name after his death.
Her challengers in the election include Alan Jenkins, a former councilman who was censured for sexually harassing two female staff members.
Bell is currently a sophomore at York College.