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Bronx Democratic Party spanking South Bronx congressman; Klein’s revenge for hosp keeping him out of the loop on Riverdale project

Rep. Serrano, Montefiore Med Center on the political freeze list

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SERRANO FREEZE

Looks like the Bronx Democratic Party has left South Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano on his own this time around to gather nominating petitions for the June 24 congressional primary.

Not that he faces any serious challenges since Soundview Councilwoman Annabel Palma decided not to go after his seat.

Jose has been feeling the chill from the party, starting big time from Borough Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. after he quashed $3.5 million in city funding for FreshDirect’s proposed move from Queens into his district, as well as trying to slice federal Empowerment Zone funding to Ruben’s economic arm, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp.

“He’s been an absentee congressman, and the elected officials are collectively making their point to him,” said a party insider.

Serrano did not respond for comment as of print deadline.

MONTE FREEZE

You can read about Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz’s Albany measure that sunk Montefiore Medical Center’s plans to build an 11-story medical facility smack dab in the middle of Riverdale elsewhere in the Times Reporter. But suffice it to say, Klein went full tilt after Monte after they never even bothered to initially inform him of their plans.

And, as Jeff told us, “they refused to listen” to him, Dinowitz and local Councilman Andrew Cohen “that this project was just not good, so you gotta do something. They didn’t pull the plan the way they said they were going to do and embarrassed me, and Cohen and Dinowitz.”

When the state Department of Health responded to Klein calling for a Certificate of Need process with all the reasons not to issue it, “it was like a roadmap for the legislation that we finally got passed.”

As for losing potential campaign donations from Monte and developer Simone Development, Jeff, who’s riding high as co-leader of the Senate with his Independent Democratic Conference, didn’t seem concerned. “We won.”

It also couldn’t hurt, of course, that Jeff would like those Riverdale votes should former City Councilman and everything else Oliver Koppell decide to mount a challenge. Ollie said he’s waiting for the outcome of the state budget, which passed last week, to decide. So, stay tuned....

IN THE BAG

Seen: East Bronx City Councilman Jimmy Vacca handing out plastic bags at the Council leadership meeting Thursday, March 27 on a proposal to charge 10 cents for shoppers who ask for plastic bags, with Jimmy tweeting “Wanted to give my 2 cents...err..10 cents on the bill!”

NO SPECIALS

Gov. Cuomo putting the kibosh on calling special elections for eight vacant Assembly seats and two Senate seats, including the 77th Assembly seat in High Bridge/Concourse, vacated by now Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, and the 79th in Morrisania, last held by federally convicted Eric Stevenson. It also screws Bronx Dem Party Boss Carl (The Silent) Heastie from backing party-annointed favorites to the seats. Let democracy reign in the regular September primaries.

VINNY’S KIDS

East Bronx mobster Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano’s three sons will shortly be leaving the streets of Throggs Neck, heading off to Chez Fed after all three pleaded out to the feds for dealing marijuana big time.

Vincent Jr., 32, was the latest to plead out in Manhattan federal court March 26, with his two brothers entering guilty pleas in February.

While dad, former E. Tremont Avenue beauty salon owner and acting head of the Bonanno crime family, is doing two life stretches at the Super Max lockup in Colorado for mob murders, Vinnie Jr. faces 46 to 57 months in the slammer when sentenced July 18. Brothers Stephen, 29, and Joseph, 27, face similar time.

The boys DID try to make a go of it by opening an ice cream shop on E. Tremont Ave., maybe to offer their pot customers some munchies?

RANGEL-ING

Kind of a female David going up a couple of Goliaths, but add community activist Yolanda Garcia to the list of challengers looking to topple Congressman Charlie Rangel for his seat in the 13th District taking in a stretch of the northwest Bronx. Richard Soto, head of the Democratic Rising Voices Coalition, is backing her to get on the ballot line with Rangel, state Senator Adriano Espaillat and Harlem minister Michael Walrond.

BLOVIATING

Note to certain politicians who only seem to crank out press releases when they suddenly find themselves running scared for reelection: Useless press releases with such generic headline words as “lauds, applauds, condemns, praises, welcomes, urges, implores, calls for” will automatically be vaporized. Spare those trees, please

TONGUE TWISTER

We got our boroughs turned around in last week’s column talking about Westchester County Exec Rob Astorino, the potential Republican challenger to Gov. Cuomo, being guest speaker at the April 24th awards gala of [insert correct name here:] Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors at the Marina del Rey. There!

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

March 28 - Michael Pantelidis, communications director for Councilman James Vacca.

March 29 - Paul Del Duca, longtime chief of staff to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

April 1 - Gay activist and a Bronx Democratic Party vice chair Lewis Chaim Equality Goldstein.

April 1 - South Bronx/E. Harlem Councilwoman and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

April 3 - Soundview Councilwoman Annabel Palma.

April 5 - Greg Faulkner, chief of staff for Councilman Fernando Cabrera.

Got some hot gossip? E-mail Kappy at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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