Bronx Political Chatter is a no holds-barred, irreverent look at politics in the Bronx. Bronxites have long lacked an independent forum to express our views about local politics and politicians. Bronx Political Chatter is a place for you to openly express your views, ideas, criticisms and suggestions, and to make our elected officials more accountable for the decisions they make. So this is your turn to be heard.
In a very unusual moment during the normally staid MTA Board meeting, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota blasted Bronx board member Charles Moerdler calling him a liar -- and that was just the beginning. As the NY Times reports, after Moerdler disagreed with the chairman about a proposal to reduce MTA board meetings, Lhota called his thinking "flawed", "erroneous" and "actually scurrilous.” He went on to say "To make statements in public like this, similar to the statement that you made when you only parked in that parking spot for a few minutes when it was documented by camera that it was over four hours — enough of lying to this board.” Lhota is referring to an incident reported by the Daily News in which Moerdler is accused of parking his car illegally and using MTA placard. To which Moerdler replied, “Mr. Chairman, character assassination does not do you credit.” He further added, that he “will not challenge” Mr. Lhota, to which the chairman responded, “I wish you would” and he should “Be a man.” Mr. Moerdler, who has been a member of Bronx Community Board No. 8 for over 30 years, has been described in a prior article in the New York Daily News as talking "with an amazing and bizarre Victorian-era accent. When he opens his mouth, you half-expect him to call for the butler and ask for tea and crumpets."
As this article from the NY Times details, former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada (now a convicted felon awaiting sentencing), is still ripping off the health center he was convicted of cleaning out. Seems that his family sold the assets for about $600,000 and divided the proceeds among the brood. So he raises the form of doubling dipping to a new level. The Feds now want to get his bail revoked because he was told by the judge not to have any dealings with the health care center. In the meantime, the center owes millions to creditors and the IRS. You get the feeling he is going to continue to get paid by this organization while he is sitting in the can for the next decade.
It's rare that even a scandal can bring down an incumbent -- especially in the State Legislature -- but last week two went down at the ballot box including our very own Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera. As the NY Times reports, Rivera was weighed down by allegations that she hired current and former boyfriends who were not qualified. The story reports that "Ms. Rivera was defeated in the primary, 52 percent to 41 percent, by Mark Gjonaj, a real estate agent and community activist who was a first-time political candidate. She has served in the Assembly since 2005 and comes from a powerful Bronx political family: she is a daughter of Jose Rivera, an assemblyman and Bronx political leader, and a sister of City Councilman Joel Rivera." This is a rare event, and proof of that can be found in the handful of other state elected officials who have even been indicted and still held onto their seats last week. Of course, despite the serious allegations and a lackluster record, virtually the entire Bronx political establishment endorsed Rivera including BP Diaz, Carl Heastie (the Bronx Boss), and Jeff Dinowitz (the Heffie of Bronx Democratic County Organization)