Friday, August 27, 2010
You just can't beat the Bronx for political theater and intrigue. Celeste Katz of the Daily Politics Blog posted a story by Bob Kappstatter (covers Bx. politics for Daily News) that says the Bronx Democratic Party is behind the city Board of Elections attempt to invalidate State Assemblyman Nelson Castro's party registration on a residency issue. Castro's opponent is district leader Hector Ramirez, who is backed by County. Of course, it should be noted that the new Executive Director for the Board of Elections is George Gonzalez, who was put there by Carl Heastie, the Bronx County Boss. I think I need to take a shower.
Well they waited almost to the end, but Diaz and Dinowitz finally took the plunge and endorsed a candidate in the race to knock off State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada. Today they formally backed Gustavo Rivera. Ironically, Ruben's dad, State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. has endorsed Espada. Now lets see if D&D deliver with troops on the ground in the next 15 days!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The Daily News reports that State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada still owes the Board of Elections over $13,000 -- after he has repeatedly promised to pay this debt. Apparently, last year Senate President Malcom Smith even threatened to take action against him unless he paid this debt, but to this day he remains the Senate Majority Leader. Accusations of stealing $14 million from his health care business, $20,000 of taxpayer funds spent on sushi, living outside his district, and owing thousands of dollars to the board of elections -- what does it take to get kicked out of a leadership position in the Senate?
Monday, August 23, 2010
Elizabeth Benjamin reports on her blog, Capital Tonight, that Ed Koch is about to endorse Gustavo Rivera in his effort to defeat Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada. Koch is leading the movement for reform with his New York Uprising group, so this is a key endorsement for Gustavo. It was also reported that State Senator Eric Schneiderman (who is running for AG) also endorsed Gustavo. That makes Mr. Schneiderman a pretty rare bird -- a Bronx politican willing to endorse someone against Pedro Espada. Stay Tuned.
Friday, August 20, 2010
City Councilman Fernando Caberera become one of only a handful of Bronx elected officials to endorse an opponent of Pedro Espada. Bronx News Network is reporting that he will endorse Gustavo Rivera today. Thus far only Councilman Koppell and Anabel Palma are the only Bx. electeds have weighed in on this race -- which is regarded as one of the most important in the state. Oh, I forgot, the Bx. BP Diaz had "breakfast" with Gustavo a few weeks ago -- great. Maybe he does not want to upset his State Senator dad, who just endorsed Espada so he will probably wait until the last minute to do say anything. I thought there was a Bronx County Leader? The clock keeps ticking as Dinowitz and Heastie sit on their hands.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
NY Times reports today that the challenger to Assemblyman Peter Rivera, Luis Sepulveda, is aggressively courting the Bangladeshi vote. Apparently, there is a large contingent of people from Bangladesh in their district (could be as high as 2500), but no one had ever bothered to ask for their vote. What was also interesting is that the article noted that only about 5,100 people voted in primary in 2004 -- out of 53,000 registered Democrats!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Politicker NY reports that 9 elected officials have endorsed Gustavo Rivera in the race to oust Pedro Espada. What's the most interesting thing about this article? Not a Bronx elected official in the bunch. Where is the leadership?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Elizabeth Benjamin of The Daily News reports that although Espada has low poll numbers he still may win. The theory is that as long as it is not a head to head contest with one other candidate he may pull it out. At this point his two opponents are Gustavo Rivera and Dan Padernacht. Rivera has received the lion's share of endorsements, but the poll shows that virtually no one knows him in the district. What is really scary is that the poll shows that 78 percent of dems in his district know Espada's name--higher than Andrew Cuomo. Thankfully, 47 percent say they want him kicked out! This is the most watched race in New York state this year. Much of the effort and support to oust Espada has come from outside the Bronx. So I ask the same question again, where are our Bronx "political leaders"?
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Ed Koch is on a rampage in exposing state elected officials who refuse to sign his pledge to reform Albany through ethics reform, independent redistricting, and responsible budgeting. And he is naming names! Take a look at the list of Enemies of Reform he has compiled through the organization he founded -- New York Uprising. The Bronx gang is all here: Assembly -- Peter Rivera, Jose Rivera, Naomi Rivera, Michael Benjamin, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Michael Benedetto, Carl Heastie, Carmen Arroyo, Marcus Crespo, Nelson Castro, and Hector Ramirez; Senate -- Ruben Diaz, Sr., and Ruth Hassel-Thompson. Let's hand it to the Senate -- this time it seems many more Senators are finally open to doing something about fixing the mess up there!
Friday, August 13, 2010
The Northwest Bronx Democratic Alliance hosted a night of jazz and politics at Ibiza Lounge at 242nd and Broadway on August 12th where it formally endorsed Kathleen Rice for AG (see photo of Rice, yours truly (left) and NBDA president Saul Scheinbach to the right) and Mark Levine to replace Eric Schneiderman in the State Senate. No smelly, boring clubhouse meeting here. Thanks to all those who turned out -- now it's time to clean up Albany!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sporting a white cowboy hat, State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. crossed the Verrazano to promote a unity rally between the African-American and Hispanic communities. Sounds like a wholesome idea, but it definitely set-off local State Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Matthew Titone, who shadowed the group holding, get this, a wig and red high heels. The point they were making is that “If they are going to act like media whores, they should at least dress the part,". You will have to read more about this nutty story to figure this one out, but needless to say it involves members of the State Senate.
Gustavo Rivera, a little known figure running to unseat Pedro Espada (who unbelieveably still serves as the Senate Majority Leader), has picked up some powerful union allies. 1199 SEIU and 32BJ both endorsed his race to oust the ethically challenged Espada (see City Hall News article). These unions deserve a lot of credit for getting involved in this race. But it's hard to believe that so few Bronx political "leaders" have not jumped in as well. It is recognized state-wide as the most crucial seat that must be changed if the State Senate is to have any respect. Yet there is silence from the Bronx County Leadership -- that means Carl Heastie, Jeff Dinowitz, etc. The Bronx BP Rubin Diaz had a very public "lunch" with Gustavo yesterday but would not endorse yet. What does it take? It is mid-August, so there is only about a month to go in this race. If Gustavo does not pull this one out, it won't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.
Monday, August 9, 2010
It looks more and more like Adriano Espaillat would fit right into the dysfunctional State Senate. Errol Louis, a respected columnist for the Daily News writes a story entitled "Ethics or ethnicity: A tough choice for uptown voters: A lapse by Espaillat may put Dominican loyalty"
It appears that Espaillat's communications communications coordinator is also a journalist who wrote articles praising him in a publication called El Nuevo Diario -- all while on Espaillat's payroll. This is on top of an earlier story in The Post about his friends working for a not for profit that he funds.
Was out of town for a bit of R&R and had no internet service (believe it or not parts of NY are still waiting), so sorry about the blog snooze. But I am back in business now and plenty to report. Take a look at this article from the Gotham Gazette about a challenge to State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., one of the "Four Amigos" who shut down the Senate for a while along with Pedro Espada while they threatened to switch parties unless their demands were met. It appears from this article that like most Bx. primaries this one won't be too competitive either -- more time spent at the Board of Elections with challenges than campaigning. Seems the Senator thinks he is more popular than the President since he is quoted saying "I got 40,000 people to show up in front of Paterson's office on a Sunday. Who else can do that? Barack Obama, that's who -- or at least he could have. Probably not anymore." Interesting to note that while Senator Diaz has threatened to switch parties and has been one of Espada's staunchest supporters, no one has ever asked that his party affiliation be challenged.