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New Bronx C.O. in, others out

PC Bratton shakeup hits the Bronx

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COP SHAKEUP

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s major department shakeup on Tuesday includes a new commander and deputy for the Bronx, where crime drops have been dramatic.

Assistant Chief Lawrence (Larry) Nikunen, executive officer of the Intelligence Division, is swinging in to replace Carlos Gomez, who earned his spurs here for a third star as chief of the Housing Bureau.

With all the Rikers Island assaults lumped into the 41st Precinct’s (and borough’s) numbers, Gomez had to eat a three percent annual jump in crime that should have been a three percent drop. We hear moves are underway to separate those numbers from the borough’s stats, also giving Longwood-Hunts Point folks a break on their car insurance rates.

Along with Nikunen, Deputy Chief Terence (Terry) Monahan, an old Bronx hand, will be returning after a few years in the wilderness as No. 2 guy at Queens Boro North.

A lot of cops were hoping Terry, a talented and well-respected guy, would get his second star and the Bronx command. But he’ll certainly bring solid backup as Nikunen finds his comfort zone in the borough.

Also transferred, Inspector Kevin Catalina of the 44th Precinct in Highbridge, with no immediate replacement named; Boro adjutant, Inspector Kevin Harrington, as C.O. of the Detective Bureau’s Grand Larceny Division to fight those soaring stolen cell phone and Ipad thefts, and Deputy Inspector Kevin Nicholson, former C.O. at the 49th Precinct in Morris Park, as C.O. of the new Information and Technology Division.

ENEMY TERRITORY

Given that the ratio of registered Bronx Dems to Republicans is 12 to 1, or about 40,000 registered believers, we at least give Westchester County Exec Rob Astorino creds for Bronx moxie.

The potential Republican challenger for the Gov. Cuomo’s seat chose to kick off his campaign on the steps of the Bronx County Building on Thursday, March 6, with Bronx Republican Party officials there to offer support.

This of course did not sit well with bedrock Dems Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. and state Senator Gustavo Rivera.

Diaz said the GOP wannabe “should have had the decency to apologize for having called our residents illegals who ‘can’t necessarily keep a house.”

The Beep called Astorino’s words “divisive, bordering on outright racism.”

Rivera threw in his dos centavos, noting that “scapegoating entire communities is no way to earn support and win elections here.”

Meanwhile, the Bronx Republican Party which is backing Astorino still has to go through the state party convention in May before a final candidate is selected.

But Bronx GOP Chair John Greaney said he just can’t see supporting Donald Trump - if he even decides to go that far.

“If you look at history,” Greaney said of The Donald, “he led us to the altar a couples of times – and left us standing there.”

And don’t look for any congressional candidates on the Republican line.

“We decided not to put any ‘place holders’ on the ballot for congress,” said Greaney, “and none of the incumbents approached us. Our main effort is to build the local party.”

DON COQUI

Jimmy Rodriquez certainly knows how to throw a party. He’s re-imagined the former Lighthouse Restaurant on City Island into the Latin-themed Don Coqui, a combination restaurant/club scene with all-white banquets, hot, costumed waitresses and a genial atmosphere that’s been missing from the Bronx since his old Jimmy’s Bronx Cafe days over on West Fordham Road decades ago.

The place has already drawn sports figures, cops, lawyers, politicians and a general happy crowd. And with City Islanders keeping their wary eyes peeled for any signs of trouble, Jimmy and his partners are being EXTRA sensitive. Trust us on that one.

POLITICAL BOSS

While there’ve been some grumbles here and there over his leadership style, lack of jobs for the party faithful and other gripes, it looks like Bronx Democratic Boss Carl Heastie won’t be facing any challenges for his job when the party meets at it’s judicial convention shortly after the September primary.

Even a reported contender, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, had words of praise for the job Carl’s been doing - and a no-thank-you, “I don’t want its headaches” speech with Carl in the room at Luis’ birthday/fundraiser Thursday, Feb. 13 at the F&J Pine.

VAN CORTLANDT,

STILLS & NASH

Don’t know if this qualifies former Crosby, Stills & Nash’s David Crosby for the Bronx Walk of Fame, but amateur historian and ex-city Commisioner of Records Brian Andersson tells us he was startled to see Crosby on Jimmy Fallon’s show noting that his middle name is Van Cortlandt. Brian did some digging, and it turns out the singer/career stoner/and sperm donor to singer Melissa Etheridge is a direct descendent of Jacobus Van Cortlandt, the original property owner of what late became Van Corlandt Park.

YO, TEACH!

With Councilman Fernando Cabrera gathering his forces to mount a strong challenge against him, State Senator Gustavo Rivera should have some interesting first-hand material about political campaigns to teach his class on state and local government at Pace University downtown.

ON BOARD

George Damalas, moving over from former City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.’s office, to press secretary for E. Harlem/South Bronx state Sen. Jose M. Serrano.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

March 12 - City Councilman Ritchie Torres.

March 16 - Rep. Joe Crowley.

March 19 - Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson.

Reach Editor Bob Kappstatter at (718) 742–3395. E-mail him at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.
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