Today’s news:

Bronx pols want an extra seat at the Council table

Bronx Times

If anyone was happy with the city Districting Commission’s proposed new Bronx council lines at its local hearing last week, we sure didn’t see them there.

From neighborhoods sharing three councilmembers to the borough shortchanged on a ninth council seat, commission members certainly got an earful at the Jan. 9 Hostos College hearing.

Riverdale Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and term-limited council Majority Leader Joel Rivera both argued the borough should have – nay, is entitled to – a ninth council seat.

As the poorest, most heavily minority borough, said Dinowitz, “it frankly opens the process up to litigation.”

The commission is working under the mandate of the federal Voting Rights Act with 2010 Census numbers to come up with fairly equal and racially balanced council districts of 160,000 or so residents.

Rivera said that with an estimated 100,000 undocumented residents, a ninth seat is “doable, feasible and possible.”

Current proposed commission lines will mean splitting east Harlem in half, pushing the 8th Council District into a major chunk of Mott Haven and lower Highbridge - which still only gives the Bronx an edge of a few hundred residents in the new district, apparently not enough to count as that ninth seat.

SWEAR WORDS

Notes from last weekend’s swearing-in ceremonies for new Parkchester/Soundview Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda and Morris Park/Allerton Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj:

Luis got some chuckles from the politically savvy in the audience at St. Raymond High School for Boys over rumors that he has his eye (with the backing of State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.) on Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s job as Bronx Democratic Party leader. “I hope you remain County Leader for a very long time,” Luis told him from the podium.

Yes, that was U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer in biking togs, with helmet parked on the podium, after pedaling up from Park Slope to say nice things about Luis. He showed up suitably suited on Sunday for Mark. Ever the sharp pol, Chuck drew loud cheers when he told the audience he’d look for Mark’s input on the new immigration bill to make it easier for Albanians to come to the U.S.

State Senator Jeff Klein, along with a few other electeds at Mark’s ceremony had to make a fast turnaround to head BACK to Albany where the session was heating up, including that vote on toughening state gun laws.

Talking to the crowded auditorium at Christopher Columbus High School about Mark’s success as a businessman, Jeff told the audience Mark was such an honest broker Jeff even bought his Yates Avenue house from him.

• Mark’s ceremony took about 3 1/2 hours – with no bathroom break – but it wasn’t a record breaker. City Comptroller John Liu, heading out for another stop, told us he remembers one from Queens a couple of years ago that went well over that.

JOINT TALK

State Labor Commissioner and former Parkchester/Soundview Assemblyman Peter Rivera, at Hostos College Jan. 10 giving a local Powerpoint presentation on Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address, including Cuomo’s call for decriminalizing possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Peter said that back when he was an assistant Bronx D.A. running the complaint room, he automatically tossed pot cases.

TRACTION

More negative news for former Bronx Boro Prez Adolfo Carrion. The latest Quinnipiac Poll giving MTA Chair Joe Lhota 23% of the vote in the Republican primary for mayor, gives AC 3%. Good news: He beats Doe Fund founder George McDonald, who pulled 2%.

RENT STRIKE

Looks like Senate Republicans are adopting the catch phrase of 2010 gubernatorial candidate Jimmy “The Rent Is Too Damn High” McMillan.

They smacked Soundview Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. and Manhattan’s Liz Krueger for topping the standard $50G rent limit for their district offices.

In Diaz’ case, Daily News Albany Bureau Chief Keith Lovett reported The Rev’s new lease on his district office at 900 Rogers Place will go for $67,937, but then again, that’s for 3,155 square feet, “downright palatial” compared to the senate average of 1,734 square feet.”

FUZZY FACE

Great interview by the Times’ inimitable Clyde Haberman with acting MTA Chairman and ex-Bronx Boro Prez Freddy Ferrer, who is now sporting a “Roberto Ramirez” fuzzy beard look. This after ditching that long time trademark soup-strainer on his upper lip.

KING OF THE HILL

New northeast Bronx City Councilman Andy King held a grand opening Tuesday for his new 12th Council District office at 940 E. Gun Hill Road. Convicted predecessor Larry Seabrook’s new digs, with a five-year lease, will be determined March 8 by the federal Bureau of Prisons.

BRONX BABIES

Soundview Assemblyman Marcos Crespo an Albany no-show at the Jan. 9 vote reelecting Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver. He was home with wife Virna Lisy on standby for a special delivery. Raquel Ester Crespo arrived Saturday, Jan. 12, weighing a healthy 6.15 lbs.

BRONX BIRTHDAY:

Jan. 7 - Alleged cardshark Stanley Schlein.

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