With that DREAM Act going down in flames by two votes in the state Senate, Jeff Klein still walks away looking good for at least trying, according to one Bronx frenemy, while two other less enamored Bronx pols bashed him.
Senate colleague and sometime critic Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. noted in his latest blog that realists knew the act to provide state college tuition aid to children of undocumented immigrants wouldn’t pass Republican muster, but Klein, the Senate co-leader with the Republicans, actually managed to bring it to the floor for a vote, with all five members of his breakaway Independent Democratic Conference voting for it.
If he hadn’t, wrote The Rev, Klein would have opened himself and his IDC up for mud slinging from the “true majority” regular Democratic Conference.
“But surprise, surprise,” noted the Soundview senator, “it all backfired and instead, Senator Jeff Klein and the IDC are today stronger than ever. In fact, they have made a hero out of Jeff Klein.”
But west Bronx Senator Gustavo Rivera, the Dem Conference’s Klein attack dog, said the failed passage “once again demonstrates how the Independent Democratic Conference is not able to deliver bi-partisan support for progressive legislation.”
And potential Klein challenger, former Attorney General and recently term-limited City Councilman Oliver Koppell, got his licks in, charging Klein “orchestrated a tragic performance … Arranging to put the DREAM Act on the floor with no advanced notice at a time when a potential Republican supporter was absent assured the bill’s defeat.”
Ollie said in an interview with the New York Observer’s Politicker column that he’s waiting to see how the final state budget shapes up before deciding to take on Jeff and his million dollar warchest.
Soundview Councilwoman Annabel Palma may not be chairing any committees this term (her request to new Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito if she couldn’t keep her Welfare Committee chair), but Annabel still retains some clout as head of the Bronx delegation. She was recently reelected to the post, where she reps the Bronx in city budget negotiations and advocating for funding for fund-worthy borough groups.
Health and Hospitals Corp. dramatically announcing (drum roll please) that North Central Bronx Hospital’s labor and materinity unit – whose sudden closure and move to Jacobi Medical Center last August turned out to be a disaster – will be reopened “sometime later this summer.” Which is what it has been saying all along, while pols, nurses and community groups are demanding it open by April.
How come it was so easy to close so fast, instead of simply dealing with the short staffing, and is taking so long to reopen. Perspiring minds wanna know….
Looks like former Morrisania state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin couldn’t get any satis-traction trying for a re-run in his old 79th A.D. to fill the seat held by federally indicted Eric Stevenson. Benjamin bowed out March 14 on his corruptioncrusher.com/blog, noting “I’m a ‘recovering politician’ and I won’t commit the sin of political hubris. I served. I now serve in a different way.”
ST. PADDY’S PARADE
Sure an’ t’was a grand day for the Irish at the Bronx St. Patrick’s Parade, t’was, t’was.
• Flagged: Bronx gay rights activist and Democratic Party vice chairman Lew Goldstein marching with the rainbow flag, to the consternation of not a few pols trying to keep their distance on the parade route – NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT….
•Road apples: Note to new Sanit Commissioner Kathryn Garcia: You might want to ask your people at Sanit District 10 why a crew of Sanit workers were lamppost leaning in full view of some “gifts” from the NYPD’s Mounted Unit at Sunday’s Throggs Neck St. Paddy’s parade, forcing marchers to step around them until some good citizens grabbed some paper towels and plastic bags to clear the parade route for marchers.
On the job: New boro commander, Assistant Chief Lawrence Nikunen overseeing the parade, with a host of elected and community leaders walking over to introduce themselves and welcome him to the Bronx.
•Munchies: It wouldn’t be a parade without Senator Jeff Klein’s shamrock cookies being given away. At the annual Columbus Day Parade in Morris Park, Jeff passes out mini-canolis.
Steven Reed, longtime spokesman for Bronx District Attorney Rob Johnson and former CBS radio reporter, kicking it in for “travel, classes and playing with the grandkids.” Interviews for the $130G job now underway.
OUT OF THE GATE
Newbie City Councilman Ritchie Torres boasting in his March 13 newsletter his new 15th Council District office at 573 East Fordham Road “has been able to resolve over a hundred cases from constituents in the areas of housing, social services, quality of life and public safety.”
Got a problem in the district? Call Torres’ office at 718-842-8100.
To former Boro Hall press staffer Lizbeth Perez on the loss of her husband, Andreas Panagopouolos, 43, who was working at home when their E. Harlem building collapsed Wednesday, March 12.
Besides losing her husband, all the contents of their apartment were destroyed. Friends have posted a website for anyone wishing to donate money. Go to: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/6864
“What a wonderful place The Bronx has become.” Robert DeNiro in Awakenings (1990)