Petitioning season around the bend, with hoopla and hijinks already under way


While Bronx voters went big time for Bill de Blasio, we haven’t seen any real mayoral rewards coming back to the borough. Could that be because Bronx Democratic Party Boss Carl (The Silent) Heastie and Boro Prez Ruben Diaz pulled out all the stops for former city Comptroller Bill Thompson ‘til his crashing defeat in the Democratic mayoral primary?

They then did a quick One-Eighty-Degree political turn to Bill dB for the pretty-much-predictable general election, which left the new mayor owing the Bronx little if anything in poltical plums.

That could change very shortly, we’re told.

We went off-the-record with our source on this one, lest we upset the apple cart, but stay tuned for some mayoral payback any day now.


It’s not official yet, but County and the local Democratic clubs are preparing their petitions NOW with the expectation that Gov. Cuomo will finally decide to set May 29 for the opening date to start gathering nominating petitions for state offices. That’ll also open the gate to some heavy legal challenges, including a residency issue against Michael Blake, who’s challenging County’s annointed favorite, attorney Marsha Michaels, for Morrisania’s 79th Assemblyt District seat vacated by federally convicted Eric Stevenson.


Riverdale’s venerable Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club held its 54th annual dinner Thursday evening, May 1 at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale.

Too late to report on it ‘til next week, but we’d expect some interesting body language there between Senator Jeff Klein and ex-City Councilman/Assemblyman/Attorney General Ollie Koppell, who as of Wednesday column deadline was STILL sitting on the fence over challenging Jeff, as well as between Jeff and Senator Gustavo Rivera, the regular Senate Democratic Conference’s pit bull who’s been attacking Jeff and his breakaway Independent Democratic Conference that pulled the rug on them in the Senate. And of course, from City Councilman Fernando Cabrera who’s STILL playing coy about challenging Gustavo. Talk about empty smiles!

And lest we forget, the club meets May 7 to endorse either incumbent Congressman Charlie Rangel or Adriano Espaillat in the June 24 primary.


And speaking of that congressional race, shame, shame on Democratic Rising Voices Coalition leader Richard Soto, who’s backing Yolanda Garcia in that race, for slipping a piece of campaign lit looking awfully like an eviction notice under tenants’ doors, listing real estate and landlord contributors to Espaillat. From general angry reaction, looks like the dirty trick blew up in Richie’s – and Garcia’s faces.

Garcia recently made it on to the primary ballot with just enough valid petition signatures. Which means, she could be a spoiler in a too-close-to-call race.


Venancio (Benny) Catala, longtime Bronx Democratic Party go-to guy, political guru and district leader in the 77th Assembly District in Highbridge, says he’s decided NOT to run for the assembly seat left vacant by Vanessa Gibson, who successfully ran for the City Council seat vacated by term-limited Helen Foster.

Benny, who’s been working his weight down from “imposing” to “cuddly”, cited health reasons, though he IS running for reelection as district leader.


Westchester County Exec and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino, keynote speaker at the Bronx-Manhattan North Assocation of Realtors last week at Marina del Rey, had some problems making his own sales pitch to the room.

Politics aside, he could hardly be heard above the noise of folks chattering away, making deals no doubt, at the April 24th affair. Noise level went up even more decibels during speeches by Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. and long list of evening’s honorees.

Problem likely was they were all waiting for their dinner to be served. Can’t chew and talk and the same time, as they say. Eats finally arrived late – at nine o’clock when most were ready to leave, with association bigwigs grumbling about moving the affair next year if Marina folks don’t change the meal timing.


May 1 – Former state Senator Efrain Gonzalez.

May 9 – Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke.

May 9 – William Martin Joel – otherwise known as singer/composer Billy Joel.

Reach Editor Bob Kappstatter at (718) 742–3395. E-mail him at

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