Party vs. Gustavo still percolating

In a world full of game playing people, goes one of our favorite sayings, God took pity and invented the empty smile.

This segues to our prior column on Bronx Democratic Boss Carl Heastie and his minions being mightily ticked off at west Bronx Senator Gustavo Rivera for his over-the-top support of Melissa Mark-Viverito in the Council Speaker’s race while the party machine backed – and lost with – Manhattan’s Dan Garodnick, only to be fed crumbs by winner Melissa in chairmanships and jobs.

We wrote that Boss Carl was angry enough to talk about backing a candidate against Gustavo, but softened it to thinking about letting Gustavo face reelection without party backing. Carl, of course, was reported furious that it leaked out to your humble ink-stained wretch.

Enter Gustavo, who called us to say he and Carl met and that everything was just hunky dory with them.

“I have always enjoyed a good relationship with the county organization, which was only strengthened with our work together to get [Assemblyman] Victor Pichardo elected over the summer,” sayeth Gustavo. “I will continue working with them in years to come, and certainly during this election cycle.”

To which we say maybe Gustavo should still think about relying on fellow “progressive” electeds and unions to help keep him in office come primary time.

Meanwhile, we’ll stand by our original column….


As if Gustavo didn’t have enough tsuris with the Party, seems fellow state Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., making a speech on the senate floor about Martin Luther King and civil rights, pointed out Gustavo for making fun of his “heavy accent.”

“Nothing has changed. People make fun of you, for your color, for your accent, for your kinky hair,” sayeth The Rev, whom we admit to sometimes having a problem understanding. “People make fun of you.”


While folks tell us Michael Benjamin has been reaching out to build support for a run for his old Morrisania assembly seat now vacated by convicted Eric Stevenson, we hear the Bronx Democratic machine has already settled on backing Marsha Michaels, an attorney who worked to help Eddie McShane and Liz Taylor get elected judges. ∫Big edge: she’s got strong roots in Concourse Village West, THE major voting bloc in the district.


Wow, we haven’t seen this much local activity from Congressman Jose Serrano in, well, since he was last running for reelection. Seems like the South Bronx rep has been all over the place lately, voting on the city’s Industrial Development Agency board against funding FreshDirect’s move (and saying some not so nice things about the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp.), opposing city subsidies for a soccer stadium, holding a forum on ferry service for the east Bronx, inserting legislative roadblocks to selling the General Post Office on the Conc.

Don’t expect much help for Joe from the Bronx Democratic machine, smarting over Jose backing Melissa Mark-Viverito for Council Speaker. And just wondering if the congressman might be expecting a challenge from somewhere? Like maybe a certain state senator from Soundview? Nah!

And then again, he’s always been reelected with no less than 92 percent of the vote.


Buddy Stein, editor at the Mott Haven Herald, out with a story on FreshDirect’s lobbying efforts through some big bux lobbying firms, noting that since the Herald broke the news that former Sustainable South Bronx head Majora Carter was a paid consultant to FreshDirect, “she has refused to speak to its reporters, saying through the company’s communications director, Carter’s husband James Chase, that the Herald would have to agree to submit any story in advance and agree to a series of pre-conditions governing what words it could or could not use.”


The Bronx Republican Party’s Lincoln Lunch Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Villa Barone Manor is being touted as a preview of some candidates running for statewide office.

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, reported weighing a run against Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, will be keynote speaker, introduced by Westchester County Exec Rob Astorino, considering taking on Gov. Cuomo.

Bronx GOP Leader John Greaney will presiding over the affair in a county where Dems outnumber the GOP 12.2 to 1.


Councilman Jimmy Vacca showing up at Community Board 11’s meet in Morris Park Thursday night, Jan.23, talking about his new chairmanship of the technology committee, saying he don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout technical stuff – but is excited to learn about the increasingly important field.

He boasted on his Facebook page about his four years as chairman of the transportation committee, successfully shepherding 44 bills into law, and planning “to soon be the most tech-savvy member of the body!”


Touchy feely. We saw a lotta paranoia among former Bronx chiefs we ran into while covering 1 Police Plaza for the Daily News. But we hear that since Ray Kelly’s departure and new PC Bill Bratton’s arrival, the place now feels like the Wizard of Oz, going from black and white to Technicolor. We might even stop calling it The Kremlin and rename it The Palace.


The Liberty Democratic Association held a special election Jan. 26, replacing outgoing president – and new City Councilman Ritchie Torres – with Monica Major, the borough president’s education director. Also elected: new treasurer Marjorie Velazquez Lynch, and new secretary Andrea Siegel.

Club also endorsed Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj for reelection.


Bronxite Ismael Malave moving over from City Controller’s office as a senior investment analyst to Public Advocate Letitia James’ office as director of government relations and community affairs.


Jan. 25 – Chamber of Commerce President Lenny Caro

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

Feb. 1 – Bronx Times publisher Laura Guerriero

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