Levergate raising cane in Assembly vote


We’d say don’t expect a fast re-run – if any – in that scandal-scarred election in the 86th Assembly District.

We hear Gov. Cuomo is opposed to calling special elections, though he could lump a re-run into the Nov. 5 general election if it comes down to that, as he did by lumping this one into the Sept. 10 primary.

Problem still would be that the candidates already blew most of their campaign money.

The best they can hope for is some prosecutor looking at Bronx Party Boss Carl Heastie and his minions and Board of Elections officials over that closer-than-close 1% win over former district leader Hector Ramirez by relative unknown Victor Pichardo for the seat vacated by indicted ex-Assemblyman Nelson (Speak up, please) Castro, turned by prosecutors into an undercover agent leading to the federal indictment of Morrisania Assemblyman Eric Stevenson (see next item).

With all the other charges floating out there over the election – from levers that only worked on the party-backed Picharo’s ballot line, to his poll worker mom turning voters away, to machine ballots sitting unattended on window sills – we just can’t understand how poll workers simply didn’t notice those levers missing and immediately shut down the machines.

Meanwhile, if Pichardo IS declared winner, he’ll have to run for a full term in next September’s primary.

“This time we were not united, said Haile Rivera, one of the losers. “But the next election is just around the corner – and we will be.”

Ah, Bronx politics, back to its good old days. Bring on the investigations….


Former Morrisania state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, who for some odd reason decided to trade politics for occasional commentary in the NY Post, is back living in his Morrisania ‘hood, and we suspect eyeing a rerun for the assembly.

Benjamin blew his political creds with the Bronx Dem Party in 2005 by announcing he was weighing a run for city Public Advocate without first talking to then Party Boss Jose Rivera, a BIG rookie mistake.

He and his wife later moved out of the Bronx, but they’ve set up new digs back in his old district, which could be an early move to take on Assemblyman Eric Stevenson for his seat next year.

Stevenson is awaiting trial on a federal bribery indictment, but that doesn’t mean he won’t run again, as the wheels of justice spin slowly. And it’s always better to negotiate a plea deal as a sitting elected.

That assembly race could be a crowded one, with a bunch of candidates in the Highbridge City Council primary race won by Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson re-casting their eyes toward Albany.


And speaking of Vanessa Gibson, once Jan. 2 rolls around, she will officially be a new councilmember and an EX-assembly member.

We hear her campaign manager and 77th A.D. district leader Benny Catala is looking to fill that Albany seat until a special or the next regular election comes along to fill it.

Under election law, when a vacancy occurs, the district’s County Committee votes on a successor. Said committee composed of the male (i.e. Benny) and female district leader and community residents THEY appoint.

A longtime Bronx Democratic Party stalwart, Benny works for the NY Yankees as its diversity director, making sure womens’ and minority owned businesses get their fair share of team spending.


Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. among a group of electeds scrambling to climb on mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio’s bandwagon shortly after the Sept. 10 primary.

Ruben and Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie went all out for Bill Thompson. Major embarassment for Heastie there. DeBlasio walked away with the Bronx.

And while Thompson may have had a pocketful of contracts (i.e. jobs for party stalwarts) in return for Bronx support, DeBlasio would come in not owing party hacks.


Wireless – Judge Steven Barrett on that Bronx cop ticket fixing case, telling prosecutors at a Sept. 12 suppresson hearing on a ton of stationhouse wiretaps that he’s not so sure now that his original search warrant OK merited going after more than one cop involved in a drug case. Decision expected Oct. 4.

Bronx PC? – Whoever wins for mayor Nov. 5, at least three former Bronx commanders have been mentioned as possible next police commissioners: current First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro, Housing Chief Joanne Jaffe and former Deputy Commissioner of Operations Patrick Timlin. Of course the BIG name being floated is former PC Bill Bratton, whom we believe passed through the Bronx after leaving his former PC’s job in Boston.


That billboard across from Boro Hall that created some uproar over two buxom babes touting Scores “gentleman’s club” in Manhattan gracing it now has an ad for x-box.


Get your tix now for Latin jazz superstar Eddie Palmieri opening the season at the Lehman Center for Performing Arts Sept. 28. When Eddie’s done playing, you might as well chop up the piano for firewood, ‘cause there ain’t no notes left to play in it.


Sept. 22 – Rep. Eliot Engel’s longtime chief of staff Bill Weitz.

Sept. 25 – Assemblyman and Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie.

August 7 – Community Board 11 chairman and former Bronx Homicide Lt. Anthony Vitaliano, only because he keeps bugging me about missing it this year,