LEADERLESS VOTE BOARD
Two years after the departure in disgrace of its last executive director, the city Board of Elections is still without a replacement, who given the board’s inner political workings, is supposed to be a Democrat from the Bronx.
Bronx Republican Dawn Sandow has been holding down the fort as deputy director there since the Oct., 2010 departure under a cloud of Bronxite George Gonzalez.
With an annual salary of $189,000, “It’s the most coveted job in the city,” sayeth a savvy political observer.
The reportedly top candidate in line to step into the job is Bronx Democratic board commissioner Naomi Barrera, a private attorney.
We were told that once Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie delivered the Bronx to keep Charlie Rangel in Congress, Manhattan Dem County Leader Keith Wright was supposed to keep his end of the bargain and pave the way by okaying for Barrera. So what happened?
Well, for one thing, Carl failed to deliver the Bronx, though he came close.
But state Senator Adriano Espaillat edged Charlie out by a close 233 votes (out of 5,386 votes cast in the borough).
Less than 9% of registered Bronx voters showed up for the June 26 primary.
But we hear the real problem is a hangup between Manhattan Dem Boss Wright and HIS member on the ten-member equally divided Democrat-Republican elections board, Gregory Soumas, who according to our Dem sources is digging his heels in over Barrera’s selection.
And of course, Mayor Bloomberg would love to see the heavily political board cleaned up, especially after its chaotic handling of the most recent presidential and state-level election. But then again, he’ll soon be gone – after the next election….
The city’s Districting Commission is back at it again, looking at new City Council lines after a ticked-off Council Speaker Chris Quinn told them those carefully designed lines the oh-so non-partisan body drew to pull disgraced Brooklyn assemblyman Vito Lopez into a potentially easy-to-win Council race had to go.
Besides Vito being disappointed, we’d guess East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito is none too happy over seeing her district adding a major chunk – actually a bigger chunk in Mott Haven and south Highbridge. Some folks are now even calling it a BRONX seat.
Melissa had been hoping to see her east Harlem 8th C.D. spread over to the upper West Side, but the Harlem polit-ocracy put the kibosh on that.
With one last term to run for in the primary this year, you can bet she’ll be seeing competition for her newly redesigned seat from some Bronx contenders.
With the commission back to the drawing board, its NEXT round of hearings start Monday in Manhattan, with the Bronx hearing set for 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Hostos Community College on the Lower Conc, or if you are one of those folks who love to nickname nabes, LOCO.
VOTE, AND VOTE OFTEN
Boro Prez Ruben D. has started a campaign, as least on his Facebook page, to get 100,000 Bronx Democrats to vote in the Aug. 3 mayoral primary so “you’ll see how we’ll be taken seriously from then on.”
“Unfortunately,” he adds, “we usually get about half that number. What’s even more baffling is that we currently have 500,000 registered Democrats in our borough! Hmmmm.”
The Soundview/Parkchester Community Board 9 member making that narrowly defeated recent motion to oust longtime district manager Francisco Gonzalez has strong ties to the clan Diaz – Senator Ruben Sr. and BP son Ruben Jr. , who dumped almost half the board to install potential Francisco-booters there.
Their hatchet man – through loyalist and new Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda – was William (Willie) Rivera, the state committee member in Sepulveda’s newly-designated 87th Assembly District.
Luis is pushing Willie to fill term-limited Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera’s central Bronx seat in an already crowded race in the neighboring 15th C.D.
Advice from a savvy political pal to newly elected legislators – and incumbents too: “First do no harm.”
It’ll be “See ya!” for Larry Seabrook Tuesday, Jan. 8, when the disgraced former city councilman faces sentencing for stealing $1.5 mil in taxpayer bux to pad the payrolls of do-nothing non-profits in his northeast Bronx district with his mistress, family and pals. We hear Larry will be away for ten years. And our other favorite all-time political character, ex-state Senator Pedro (The Wascally Wabbit) Espada, is due for sentencing Feb. 22. Unless he’s got a Cigarette boat tied up in Mamaroneck for a quick getaway to Cuba, we expect he’ll pull four to five years, thanks to “all the good works he’s done” with his Soundview health clinic chain.
BAD NEWS GUY
Bronx political activist Ari Hoffnung has moved from being City Comptroller John Liu’s deputy comptroller of public affairs to overseeing a flock of fiscal reports on the city’s economy and budgetary outlook. Sounds like writing obits….
Jan. 2 – Brooklyn City Council candidate Tommy (Tommy Tune) Torres, who made Bronx news as former Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera’s boytoy/staffer while holding down a Brooklyn teaching job.