New Council lines, Ed Koch and long knives….

That heated brawl over slicing E. Harlem’s 8th Council District in half and pushing it even further up into a mega-chunk of the South Bronx has been settled.

The oh-so-strictly-non-partisan Districting Commission issued it’s revised proposed lines on Monday, restoring most of the southern half of E. Harlem to Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s district, including La Marqueta, El Museo del Barrio and Mt. Sinai Hospital, as well as Randall’s Island, instead of sticking it with distant and less accessible Queens.

To make up for restoring more of E. Harlem, the commission sliced southern Highbridge from her Bronx territory, which sweeps across Mott Haven.

The new lines also mean the Bronx will only have eight and a half Council seats instead of a full nine.

And with her E. Harlem political base restored, it’s unlikely Melissa will be seeing any Bronx challengers for the seat.

Now it’s up to the City Council to take a final vote on the new lines, which can be viewed at


Neil Barsky, whose timely documentary “KOCH” just opened in theaters around town, told us last week that shortly before the born-in-the-Bronx iconic ex-mayor died, he told Neil that he wanted “to go quickly” – and not, as the inimitable mayor put it, “piece by piece, like slicing salami.”


WEB UPDATE: Maybe it was eagerness on our part, but Feb. 18 is the DEADLINE for board membership applications. Any bloodletting will be in May-June when the board memberships are announced. Mea culpa.

We have to figure a lot of community board members are nervously waiting for Feb. 18 to arrive, when Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. announces new board appointments – and re-appointments.

With some close votes expected on the Kingsbridge Armory plan over at Board 7, and some swing votes at Board 9 in Soundview where Ruben’s trying to dump longtime district manager Francisco Gonzalez, we’d bet some members won’t be around much longer. Just sayin’….


The rumor mill was buzzing this week over a shakeup at Bronx Democratic Party HQ, with executive director Ischia Bravo reportedly leaving to run for term-limited Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera’s seat in the 15th C.D. covering E. Tremont and surrounding territory.

Stand down. It ain’t happening.

While she may have a future as a savvy potential candidate sometime, somewhere, the timing wasn’t right this time, Ischia told us. And Dem Boss Carl Heastie gets to keep using her talents.

Meanwhile, the big question is, with a still crowded and potentially growing field, who the party’ll support in the September primary. Unless the heavens part, party backing is pretty much a ticket to a win.


And speaking of that race for Joel Rivera’s council seat, west Bronx Democratic district leader Yudelka Tapia who IS running for it, is heading to Bronx state Supreme Court after losing her appeal last week with the city’s Campaign Finance Board to void a $47,774 penalty and repayment of $59,930 in unspent campaign funds from her 2009 Council race in Morris Heights’ 14th C.D. against Fernando Cabrera, who also toppled longtime incumbent Maria Baez there.

Yudelka, who blames her old campaign treasurer and “bad communication” with the CFB, is hoping to clear up the issue in time to qualify for 6-1 matching CFB funds for the upcoming primary race.


While the committee chairmanships for Bronx electeds are pretty lean over on the state Senate side, five of the borough’s 11 assemblymembers have glommed chairmanships and leadership roles in the current Albany session.

Jose Rivera is assistant Majority Whip; Carmen Arroyo, chair, Majority Program; Jeff Dinowitz continues as chair of Consumer Affairs; Mike Benedetto got Veterans Affairs, and Nelson Castro now chairs the Task Force on New Americans.

Castro, who came to the states from the Dominican Republic when he was 11, is the first Dominican-American elected to public office in the Bronx.

Over in the Senate, west Bronx Senator Gustavo Rivera, who’s been leading the charge to shape up the Bronx health-wise says he’s happy as ranking member of the Senate Health Committee.

Meanwhile, Bronx senator Jeff Klein continues to CO-rule the roost there in a coalition body between his five-member Independent Democratic Conference and the Republican Conference, despite Dems holding a 32-30 ELECTED majority if you don’t count Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, who’s sitting with the Republicans.


Newbie Parkchester/Castle Hill Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda named one of New York League of Conservation Voters “Thirteen new environmentally minded candidates” who just took their seats in Albany.

It noted that Luis, who graduated from Hofstra University in 1988 with a degree in Natural Biology, “has always been a strong environmental champion of the Bronx. Having created the Cross Bronx Expressway Initiative, Sepulveda has been successful in raising awareness of the traffic congestion and health issues caused by the Expressway.”


We broke the news that Highbridge state Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson had decided to run for the local 16th City Council district seat being vacated by term-limited Helen Foster. Now Vanessa will make it official, kicking off her campaign Feb. 21 at the Bronx Museum of Arts, joined by Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie, Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. and other heavyweights to make her look like someone to beat. More about this race in later columns.


Bronx Dems are hot, so we’ve heard.

The County Committee and Bronx Young Democrats’ll be cooking Monday, Feb. 11 at a Valentine’s Day Mixer at BESO Lounge, 320 E. 204th St. from 6-9 p.m. Tab is $5 for appetizers served with drink specials. RSVP: 718-679-9000 or [email protected].


Jan. 31 – Bronx mover and shaker (and BFF) Kathy Zamechansky

Feb. 1 – Bronx Times publisher Laura Guerriero

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