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No ‘soup’ for these candidates

Bronx Times
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NO $$$ FOR YOU!

Along with city Comptroller John Liu’s mayoral campaign, the city’s Campaign Finance Board turned into Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi Monday, Aug. 5 with a bunch of Bronx wannabe’s, telling them “NO MATCHING FUNDS FOR YOU!”

The CFB denied Liu’s campaign $3.5 million, citing evidence of pervasive campaign finance law violations, but it gave no reason for denying Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo and a bunch of other City Council candidates 6-1 matching funds.

They have at least two more chances to submit their applications and survive CFB audits. But with the clock ticking down to the Sept. 10 primary, it doesn’t give them much time to get the money to cover their expenses.

“It basically means at least a two-week delay in getting your mailings and other campaign material out to the voters,” said one Bronx campaign manager.

“And by then,” they added, “voters’ mailboxes will be stuffed full of campaign mailings from all the citywide races.”

Gibson and Arroyo - With a slew of outside challengers eyeing the seat, Vanessa’s been carrying Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie’s flag to keep party control of term-limited Councilwoman Helen Foster’s seat in the 16th C.D., covering Highbridge/ConcourseVillage. With ten - count ‘em, ten – candidates in the race there, the CFB turned down Vanessa and five others.

It’s no great loss for Vanessa to give up her Highbridge assembly seat for the Council, with a bigger salary and no more schleps to Albany.

And Mott Haven’s Arroyo has her own particular problems with her nominating petitions riddled with fraudulent signatures that could very well knock her off the ballot.

Crowded 15th - Meanwhile, in that crowded 15th Council District race in the central Bronx, the CFB turned down matching funds for Joel R. Rivera (NOT the real current term-limited Councilman Joel Rivera), Albert Alvarez and Raquel Batista. Richie Torres got his full 87Gs and Cynthia Thompkins got 31Gs in matching CFB funds.

CFB press secretary Matt Sollars declined to cite a specific reason for the turndowns, instead citing five potential reasons:

“Candidates need to satisfy a two-part fundraising threshold (for City Council it’s 75 contributors within the district and $5,000 in matching claims). Candidates also need to be on the ballot, have an opponent on the ballot, and demonstrate compliance with the City’s Campaign Finance Act.”

DARK HORSE

While much of the talk has been focusing on the three potential leading candidates for disgraced Assemblyman Nelson Castro’s west Bronx seat, there’s a buzz going around that a potential dark horse in the race could emerge the winner.

Longtime local political wannabe Haile Rivera, who made his bones as an Obama campaign operative, has been receiving attention in the 86th Assembly District’s African-American community.

“He’s been invited to speak at the local black churches, where his Obama connections are looked upon favorably,” said one local political source not connected to any races there.

Even with the majority of the district Dominican, there are still serious questions about just how many of them vote, as opposed to a strong African-American voter turnout.

Split vote - Three of the leading candidates are Dominican-American: Former district leader Hector Ramirez, current female district leader Yudelka Tapia, and Victor Pichardo, who’s being backed by Bronx Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie. Castro-backed candidate Kenny Nunez is also Dominican, but not expected to pull any significant votes.

But with the three leading contenders potentially splitting the Dominican vote, the African-American vote could be the key to winning for fellow Dominican Haile, especially with mayoral wannabe Bill Thompson expected to bring out a large turnout of Bronx black voters. Quien sabe? (Who knows?).

BATTING AVERAGE

Boy, getting our facts wrong really sucks - as Party Boss Carl (The Silent) Heastie put it – about our recent column on the race for Nelson Castro’s seat, with Heastie griping about three - count ‘em three – mistakes.

Carl and Hector Ramirez did get into a shouting match, but not over Hector accusing him of being behind his firing at the city Board of Elections. Hector has since clarified that one, saying it was over Carl picking Senator Gustavo Rivera staffer Victor Pichardo to run for the seat.

Carl also noted that Hector did not run for district leader the year he challenged Castro.

Oy! So many races, so many candidates to remember!

As to Castro “clobbering” Hector, despite Carl’s backing, hey, a hundred votes is still losing, especially when the almighty party is behind you.

So we’ll take heat for two out of three goofs on that one.

ROBOCALL GRANNY

South Bronx Assemblywoman Carmen (Granny) Arroyo raised eyebrows at the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics with her filing claim that she won $28,000 “casino gambling.”

Now someone who doesn’t like the ethically-challenged Arroyos is making robocalls.

Introducing himself on the recording as Albert Molina, he asks call recipients who have dirt on Granny to call Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission on political corruption at 518 485-8477.

Molina’s ax to grind, we hear, is that he was backing Ralina Cardona against Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito in the 8th Council District in East Harlem and the South Bronx before the Arroyos got her kicked off the ballot.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

Aug. 10 - Tony Cassino, community activist and burr in the saddle of Riverdale’s Ben Franklin Reform Dem Club.

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