It was Jimmy Vacca's 39th birthday party last night at Villa Barrone, but it was Vacca Housing Coordinator and candidate for the 15th City Council seat Richie Torres who got the presents. Close to 200 people cane in the cold snowy weather to help Councilman Vacca celebrate his birthday (with many different answers as to just how old Jimmy is), but Vacca did say that he spent 26 years as a district manager and now seven in the city council.
On hand to help celebrate Councilman Vacca's birthday were two good friends of his also in elected office, Assemblymen Mike Benedetto and Mark Gjonaj. Of course Jimmy's mother Elizabeth was in attendance also.. While Benedetto and Gjonaj spoke of their friendship with Councilman Vacca, both also had only words of praise for Vacca staffer Richie Torres. When it came for Councilman Vacca to speak, he thanked everyone in the room for coming out in such horrid weather. While he started talking about how he met staffer Richie Torres who was a student at Lehman High School, Vacca said that the Department of Education was not going to close down Lehman High School as was planned this year. In 2004 Mr. Torres spent a day as an honorary District Manager, and in 2005 Torres worked on the Vacca's campaign for City Council. Jimmy then introduced Richie Torres after some more words of praise for the young man.
Torres opened up by saying that the 15th council district was one of the poorest districts in the city, and how he attended Bronx public schools while living in public housing. He went on to say how his single college educated mother lost her good paying job of $13.00 only to find work at the minimum wage which was $5.15 then. Torres went on to talk on how he was given a chance by Councilman Vacca, and how that has paid of in not only tonight's event for him, with the endorsement of not only Councilman Vacca but also assembly members Benedetto and Gjonaj. Torres ripped into all the empty stores on Aurthur Avenue, and said good schools and good jobs are what is needed in the 15th council district being careful not to step on any toes such as the current 15th Councilman Joel Rivera.
Left- Councilman Jimmy Vacca with old friend Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.
Right - Councilman Vacca thanks all who came to his 39th birthday party as assembly members Mike Benedetto and Mark Gjonaj listen.
Left - Councilman Vacca along with assembly members Benedetto and Gjonaj stand with State Committeeman Joe McManus as they raise 15th council candidate Richie Torres arms in victory.
Right - another shot of the group.