It has been apparent from the beginning that Juan Ardila is not fit for public office. The 30-year-old was known to have a history of posting racist, misogynistic, and homophobic remarks on social media before he was elected to the state assembly. He was elected last year with a plurality of the primary vote, because three moderate Democrats ran against him and split the non-progressive vote. He ran unopposed in the general election.

When he ran for City Council, he cheered on an anarchist mob that tore American flags off Maspeth homes, urinated on them and set them on fire. He marched with another group through Middle Village to denounce everyone who lives there – conveniently including his opponent – as racist for supporting police. He wants people to give up their cars for the environment and in the name of street safety yet has repeatedly been caught driving recklessly and parking illegally. He also said during a meet and greet that his election strategy was to brazenly pander by changing his messaging when addressing people in different neighbor- hoods. In other words, he’d present as a quasi-socialist to his Ridgewood base, but mom-and-apple-pie everywhere else.

Thanks to ridiculously drawn assembly lines, he currently represents a good portion of our membership. His district will encompass even more of Maspeth after the recently drawn assembly lines take effect in 2025. Despite his past transgressions and open hostility toward us, we thought we’d give him a chance. So, how has he represented us thus far? He has neither attended nor sent a representative to any local civic meeting and has been completely absent in the community. This end of his district seems to be on permanent ignore.
This past March, a Reddit post was authored by a woman who said that someone who had just become an elected official had attempt- ed to sexually assault her and another woman at a party back in 2015 when they were all in college. For about a week, the identity of the alleged assaulter was not revealed. Then suddenly there was a flurry of press naming Juan Ardila as the offender.

Presented with the accusations, first Ardila denied knowing what they were about, then apologized for his past behavior but refused to resign, basically stating that he had “grown as a person” since the alleged incidents. His statement:

“I fully take responsibility for my actions, and I am committed to a process of accountability. I want the public to know that I am deeply apologetic for my past behavior and acknowledge that my actions have caused harm. I recognize that this harm was not only to the individuals who came forward, but extends beyond these victims, and impacts survivors everywhere.”

“I do understand that those who have experienced harm should determine if this kind of process is one they want to pursue and respect their decisions. I believe in second chances and hope to be able to earn one with our community.”

Even if he truly transformed into a gentleman, it’s obviously not good to have an admitted attempted sexual assaulter in power. The clown show reached a crescendo shortly after his mea culpa, when he announced that he hired an attorney to investigate the allegations, and that this lawyer’s findings exonerated him even though the victims were never directly contacted for their side of the story.

Community Board 2 publicly called him out for not being able to rep- resent the district due to the cloud hanging over him and his response was that this was a “personal matter.” No, it’s not a personal matter when you can’t get things done because no one in Albany wants to work with you. It’s not a personal matter when elected members of your own party from district leader up to the governor have asked you to step down. It’s also not a personal matter when you feel the need to hide from your constituents and the press to avoid being questioned about your lascivious behavior. Of late, Juan has been reduced to duck- ing into community garden events uninvited and taking photos for Instagram to attempt to prove his “involvement.” He did this in Long Island City and Ridgewood and was harshly criticized for it both times.

The Ridgewood incident is particularly disturbing to me as I personally nominated this community garden project, on DOE property at the corner of Willoughby and Onderdonk Avenues, for Newtown Creek environmental funding. The soft opening was May 7th and organizers were asked by GrowNYC, which oversees the garden, not to invite elected officials or the press to this event as they were planning a grand opening in the fall when those people would be invited. The only two elected officials to push the garden proposal forward were Council Member Jennifer Gutierrez and former Assembly Member Catherine Nolan. Juan Ardila was nowhere over the 9 years that I worked on this project, didn’t assume power until after it was already in the process of being constructed, and he had no business showing up unannounced and using the garden for self-promotion.

Catherine Nolan had this to say about her successor, “I was, and remain, troubled by his earlier bigoted Facebook comments. I was deeply concerned as to how he would handle the responsibilities of being an Assembly Member. All those accused have rights, too, but Mr. Ardila has admitted to predatory treatment of at least two women and will not be able to represent us fairly in Albany. Mr. Ardila never showed me that he would be an effective advocate for our district and its people. This has proved to be the case.”
This will not blow over and it says a lot that he thinks that may even be a possibility. If Juan is truly “for the people” as his campaign slogan indicated, then he will do the right thing and resign. Thus far, he has shown that he is only for himself and is willing to drag his constituents down as he desperately clings to power.