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Albany glass half full for Klein

Bronx Times

JEFF’S ALBANY GLASS HALF FULL

It’s been a rough session in Albany for Jeff Klein – with some lessons learned.

Sharing Senate leadership with Republicans, the founder and head of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference took heat from a number of outside interest groups for failing to move the women’s equality and campaign finance reform measures pushed by Gov. Cuomo.

Adding Malcolm Smith to his four-member IDC to counter lack of racial diversity charges, also bit him on the, er, ankle, after the feds indicted Smith and Bronx GOP leader Jay Savino on bribery charges.

Obviously, the duly elected but sidelined majority Senate Democratic Conference has been relishing the situation.

But Jeff is putting a positive spin on it.

“I think it was a great session. We showed that you CAN govern in a bi-partisan fashion, looking for compromise, looking to negotiate. This was about finding common ground,” he told us.

“If for some reason if you don’t accomplish what the so-called advocates want, I don’t think that’s fair – and it’s not true,” as he rattled off a list of accomplishments, including the task force on Hurricane Sandy relief (lotta waterfront communities in Jeff’s north Bronx district), speed cameras for school zones, etc.

“I think the things that directly help our constituency, the things that people actually know and care about are things we were able to get done. There weren’t a lot of people walking around my district asking me why we didn’t do campaign reform.”

As for the Malcolm Smith episode, Jeff shrugged “Hey, he lied to us.” But as part of a lesson learned, Klein said he’s not interested in luring any more regular Democratic Conference members to the IDC, unless of course they come knocking.

As for the upcoming January session, “we have to be mindful that we have to get out of the gate with OUR agenda,” sayeth Jeff. “Not the governor’s, not Dean Skelos’ agenda, not Shelly Silver’s agenda, but OUR agenda.” Whew!

POWER BROKER

NY Observer’s Politicker column naming Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. “a charismatic 40-year-old with the build of an ex-athlete,” as a key player in winning Latino and other votes for mayoral candidates - in this case Bill Thompson.

“Mr. Díaz, through the benefits of attentive Spanish-language media, is recognizable to Latinos beyond the Bronx.... “his personal appeal and reach could be worth several thousand votes for the Thompson camp.”

PROBLEMS FOR AC

Speaking of BP’s, former BP Adolfó Carrion, who hitched his mayoral wagon to the Independence Party - after ditching his Democratic registration - could find his uphill ride to the November general election hitting a big bump in the road.

Word was making the rounds recently that the STATE party could be looking to create a write-in campaign for any of the other mayoral candidates to run in the party’s September primary against AC. But that would mean their candidate hustling to fill their nominating petitions. And darned if we could even find a phone number for the state party....

PETITIONS

Petitions for office are due at the city Board of Elections by midnight, Thursday, July 11 - too late for this week’s column deadline to pick apart to see who’s in and who’s out.

But there is SOME early news, with Riverdale’s Ben Franklin Reform Dem Club flexing its political muscle. With an army of 80 volunteers, it boasted collecting over 4100 signatures on its nominating petitions for its endorsed candidates, including Council wannabe Andrew Cohen, who only needs 450 to qualify. It’s also endorsed Boro Prez Ruben, who has a minor challenge, but is staying neutral so far on the mayor’s race.

And look for candidates seeking 6-1 matching funds from the city’s Campaign Finance Board after the July 15 filing deadline there.

SHORT CHANGED

While City Councilmembers Annabel Palma, Fernando Cabrera, Jimmy Vacca and Maria del Carmen Arroyo will get their chance to serve a third term - if they win the September primary, any newbies coming into office will have to settle at most for two four-year terms before its ‘Here’s your hat, there’s the door’ time. Third termers Joel Rivera, Ollie Koppell and Helen Foster will be hitting the bricks, come Jan. 1, looking for their next lives.

PAPERWORK

Okay, so Bronx D.A. Rob Johnson, newly appointed by Gov. Cuomo to the Moreland Commission to root out Albany corruption, failed to file three required disclosure statements on who were the five who kicked in $5,000 to his 2007 unchallenged reelection run, as the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reported.

We eagerly await seeing who kicked in the money, with Johnson catching on his paperwork shortly, according to his spokesman Steve Reed, adding that they’re working on more missing info on contributions from his 201 race.

Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan) to the borough’s growing Muslim community as they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. And especially thank you for those three suspended alternate side parking days Aug. 7-9.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

July 16 - Bess Myerson, first Jewish Miss America, 1945.

July 17 - Singer Diahann Carroll.

July 18 - Singer/songwriter and Belmont native son Dion Francis DiMucci.

BRONX TRIVA

We were talking recently about the film Awakenings with Robin Williams, who played former City Islander Dr. Oliver Sacks, and where some of the scenes were filmed. They actually DID film on City Island, where Sacks lived at the time, but the hospital in the film was NOT in the Bronx.

Director and Bronx gal Penny Marshall used Kingsboro Psychiatric Center on Clarkson Avenue in Brooklyn to portray Bainbridge Hospital.

And in case you didn’t recognize them, that was Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore playing a ward patient, and future action flick star Vin Diesel as an orderly.

AFTERTHOUGHT

Oh, and the Bronx Democratic Party holds its annual fundraising dinner Wednesday night at Marina del Rey....

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