Boro Prez Diaz takes hits on two community board votes

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. took two political torpedos last week – both in one night.

Soundview/Parkchester Community Board 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez dodged a board vote to dump him by only two votes, despite Ruben’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

Then Community Board 11 in Morris Park/Allerton voted down Ruben and Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s candidate for new board chairman.

Soundview shakeup

Board 9’s Francisco G. managed to keep his job – for now – after a preliminary vote on a motion to hold a dismissal vote resulted in 15 votes to remove, ten against and seven abstentions.

Ruben dumped – er – failed to reappoint 15 members – almost half the board – last August when their two-year terms expired, reportedly hoping his new appointees would back his push to dump Francisco after almost 20 years there as district manager.

On one side of the issue, the annual Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade run by Gonzalez failed to pay some state taxes for a few years (“We working that out,” sayeth Francisco) and parade work was done from the board office, allegedly on city time (“That was a volunteer.”). On the flip side, Frankie has managed to keep the board fairly independent of the politically powerful Diaz family – BP son Ruben Jr. and state Senate dad Ruben Sr.

Political deal

Meanwhile, over in Morris Park, we’re told Ruben’s candidate for chairman, local Democratic state committeeman Joe McManus, pretty much didn’t stand a chance, despite all the behind-the-scenes politickin’ by Jimmy, and by the BP, who personally phoned a number of board members to make his feelings known.

The odds were stacked after candidate Al D’Angelo of the Morris Park Community Association pledged to throw his supporters’ votes to vice chair – and ultimate winner – Tony Vitaliano if it wound up in a runoff with Joe.

We hear Vitaliano, acting chair for two years during the lengthy illness of the late Dom Castore, was ready to reciprocate.

Another winner

Assemblyman-elect Mark Gjonaj was also a winner in the board vote.

We hear McManus, who vigorously campaigned for incumbent Naomi Rivera might now be facing a Gjonaj-backed challenger for his state committeeman’s job. Mark will certainly be backing early supporter Diane Cerino for her old state committeewoman’s job, after she lost it to a McManus-backed challenger from their mutual Liberty Dem club.

Gjonaj has been keeping his distance from the Liberty Dems, and with that mob scene of supporters at his holiday party at the Lighthouse on City Island last Friday night, could easily form his own political clubhouse.


We got a number of calls from chuckling political types on Wednesday after State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. had us and Jim Odato from the Albany Times-Union in the No. 2 slot on The Rev’s Top Ten Wishes for 2013 newsletter, wishing we’d “learn how to be impartial and objective journalists.”

Speaking of objective, we ran an item last week with the senator telling us he got a phone call from an unnamed person offering him chairmanship of the aging committee – and flat out turned it down.

That came as a surprise after we checked with both GOP leader Dean Skelos and Independent Dem Conference leader Jeff Klein’s now ruling coalition.

But The Rev insists he’s not getting delusional.

“Someone called and asked me what my reaction would be if I were offered it,” he told us. “I’m not lying.”


Now that Senate Dems have replaced Brooklyn’s John Sampson with Yonker’s Andrea Stewart-Cousins as conference leader, folks are wondering if it’ll shake breakaway Bronx Senator Klein and his five-member IDC’s tree. Don’t count on it.

Jeff initially left the Dem Conference because of Sampson, whom he openly can’t stand. He most recently snatched the Dem’s newly won close majority away by forming a coalition majority with GOP conference leader Dean Skelos.

West Bronx Senator Gustavo Rivera, who served as Stewart-Cousins’ chief of staff in 2007, told us he’s hopeful “she’ll be able to bring folks together…and someone that Gov. Cuomo can talk to now.”

Meanwhile, both Diaz and northeast Bronx/Mt. Vernon Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson wound up losers in the Dem conference shakeup, as two of only six members who voted to keep Sampson.

Ruth had hoped for awhile in all the Albany tsuris to be a compromise candidate for the leadership post.


Up the ladder: Christmas promotions last week, with 41st Precinct C.O. Philip Rivera and 5-0 Precinct C.O. Kevin Burke upped to deputy inspectors. Earning Detective Second Grade: Craig Crisfield at the 4-7 squad, Daryl Sims at Bronx Special Victims and Diana Spangenberg at Bronx Narcotics.

Retirement drain: With a slew of boro detectives retiring, some welcome relief with 15 “white shields” upped to detective investigators, a step away from the prized detective’s gold shield, including Bobby Rogers at the 4-5 Squad in Throggs Neck and Danny Kaplan over at Highway 1. Congrats!

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