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No family affair for this political seat

Bronx Times

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Term-limited City Councilwoman Annabel Palma laughing off a rumor she’s thinking of backing her hubby for the job in the 18th Council District covering Soundview, Parkchester and Castle Hill.

We recently reported local state Senator Ruben (The Rev) Diaz Sr. said he’s ready to give up the schlep to Albany (and lower salary) after this term for the easy commute to City Hall (and $112G salary).

William (Willie) Rivera, who’s also eying Annabel’s seat, recently made an aborted carpetbagger run for term-limited Joel Rivera’s Council seat next door in E. Tremont, with Councilman Jimmy Vacca protege Richie Torres clobbering his challengers.

Whoever winds up running for Annabel’s seat may have to kiss at least two rings - hers and local Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda’s.

Both told us they’ll want a strong say in who gets to climb the greasy political pole in the primary there.

With half of Luis’ district covering Parkchester and Castle Hill, his 200-plus member political clubhouse could easily help swing the vote.

As for Annabel’s political future, “maybe I’ll run for Senator Diaz’s seat,” she joked (?).

MORRISANIA SEAT

With incumbent Assemblyman Eric Stevenson up to his chin in trouble with the feds, whatever the outcome of that bribery case, we’d say his seat in Morrisania’s 79th Assembly District is up for grabs next year.

We hear on good authority that former local Assemblyman Michael Benjamin recently moved back into the nabe from New Jersey with an eye on the seat. But then, we don’t hear there’s any great interest from the Dem organization in backing him.

Meanwhile, we hear attorney Marsha Michaels could be a a favorite for County backing, especially after she helped Civil Court Judges Liz Taylor and Eddie McShane get elected. Aaand, she has strong roots in Concourse Village West, which has the strongest voting bloc in the district.

CHALLENGES

After all the saber rattling on both sides, it looks as if Senator Jeff Klein may avoid a strongly backed challenge for his north Bronx/lower Westchester seat next year.

Jeff, who heads the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, and regular Senate Democratic Conference members have been circling each other like two bar room brawlers ever since Jeff joined his conference with Senate Republicans to form a majority, despite the regular Dems holding the ELECTED majority.

West Bronx Senator Gustavo Rivera (Do NOT invite these two to the same bar room), told us regular Senate Dems are looking to protect a couple of seats and take on some Republican ones to narrow the gap.

While term-limited City Councilman Ollie Koppel has been rumored to be looking at a run against Jeff, it doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction at the moment. But never count Ollie out of anything.

LIGHTS OUT

One of our new favorite bartenders, Joe Jemma at Antonio’s Trattoria on Belmont and Crescent avenues over in Little Italy, tells us – between a stream of jokes – that local restaurants are missing all the customers they used to get before the Bronx Zoo pulled the plug for lack of funding on the its annual Holiday Lights Show. And if you want to know all about your horoscope sign, just ask Joe.

COP CORNER

While it giveth with one hand, the NYPD (read that micro-manager Ray Kelly) taketh with the other.

With great fanfare, it just released a new interactive map giving Bronxites and other New Yorkers a look at the number and types of felony (but not serious misdemeanor or shooting) crimes in their precincts - down to their blocks. Go to www.nyc.gov/nypd.

At the same time, it (read that Kelly) ordered local precincts NOT to give out information on crime complaints - basically blotter items - to local newspapers, referring them instead to the overworked and not always media-friendly office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, where a staffer told us we could always file a Freedom of Information Act request if we wanted to view a specific complaint. The PD suddenly claims the names and addresses of victims and other sensitive info is on the complaints, which reporters have been viewing for decades.

Is this outgoing Commissioner Kelly’s slap at the media? Who knows? But we’d expect incoming commissioner Bill Bratton, a very press-friendly guy during his last reign at 1 Police Plaza, to modify THAT order toot sweet.

SWITCHED AT BIRTH

Our last column giving congrats to Soundview Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and his wife on birth of new baby mistakenly listed his mother-in-law Virginia Molina (which we swear we saw on his Facebook). But either way, mom Virnalisy and baby Gracielas doing just fine.

MR. BRONX

Thwaites Place and Barker Avenue in Pelham Parkway North will soon also be known as “Elias Karmon Way.”

City Councilman Jimmy Vacca saw his street naming bill officially approved Tuesday, Dec. 10 to honor the longtime community activist, philanthropist and businessman nicknamed “Mr. Bronx” for his dedication to the borough.

Karmon served on an arms’ length number of local boards, nonprofits, religious and other boards, as well as serving as president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce.

“Now ‘Mr. Bronx’ will be a part of the borough forever,” sayeth Jimmy.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

Dec. 14 - Assemblyman Jose (Papi) Rivera.

Dec. 15 - Congressman Joe Crowley’s chief of staff Annmarie Anzalone.

Dec. 15 -City Councilman Ollie Koppell.

Dec. 20 - Bronx environmental activist Karen Argenti.

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