All that talk of behind-the-scenes wrangling over who’s going to be the next City Council Speaker has so far overlooked the most important part of the negotiations – the committee chairmanships and myriad other jobs that go with the final deal.
This is where the five Democratic county leaders really get into the (No) Smoke Filled Room.
“If you buy into the way things went with the past several council speakers,” a longtime Bronx/City Hall insider told us, “when they got elected, not just the key chairmanships were divided between the county leaders, but also positions within the Speaker’s office, the Council, and administrative positions. It’s almost like they have an organization chart, and the county leaders carve up the jobs.”
As far as HOW MUCH each county leader gets, “he who brings the most Council votes to the table has the most juice.”
That would be Bronx/Queens Congressman Joe Crowley, head of the Queens party. With up to 15 council members following his marching orders, he’s looked at as the potential king (or queen) maker.
Add Bronx party boss Carl Heastie and other county leaders reportedly leaning to support Crowley’s choice to bring in the City Council’s majority vote for the anointed new Speaker.
“So that just blasts the so-called Progressive movement in the council to smithereens,” our wise political friend predicted of those council members looking to water down the Speaker’s power.
PROFIT AND LOSS
With west Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera in hot water over allegedly trying to shake down Kingsbridge Armory developers for $100,000 a year for 99 years for a basically defunct religious non-profit he was affiliated with, we can only say:
Former Senators Efrain Gonzalez and Pedro Espada Jr., former City Councilman son Pedro G. Espada, and ex-City Councilman Larry Seabrook are all currently cooling their heels in the federal pen for “dipping their beaks (see Godfather II)” into non-profits.
With Gov. Cuomo saying he has no plans at this point to call special elections to fill some vacant assembly seats around the state, it looks like Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson’s 77th A.D. seat in Highbridge/Concourse may have to remain vacant for awhile.
Vanessa won the November election to fill term-limited Helen Foster’s City Council seat there, and will be sworn in Jan. 2.
Cuomo recently told the Politicker blog that “It’s a balance of the cost and the hardship of the election versus the community’s right to representation. But we don’t have any plans as of now.”
That could mean waiting until the September primary (or June, if the legislature shifts it back to then) until a potential winner is declared – with Bronx Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie screwed out of picking a replacement and having to deal with an open election. He got stuck with the same problem in a tight and dirty little race to fill disgraced Assemblyman Nelson Castro’s west Bronx seat, though the party-backed candidate, Victor Pichardo squeaked in.
Local 77th A.D. District Leader and organization insider Venancio (Benny) Catala, who ran Vanessa’s successful Council race (with strong backing from the Bronx Democratic machine), is looking like the leading contender at the moment. But some of the losers in the council race, have also reportedly been emboldened to go for the assembly seat. Stay tuned.
The Bronx Democratic Party is holding its annual Holiday Party Monday, Dec. 9 at the UFT offices at 2500 Halsey Street just below Westchester Square. Free food, free booze, and the public invited, sez the flyer.
As for us working journalists, we of course will pay.
The Liberty Democratic Association holds its sixth annual awards dinner Thursday, Dec. 12 at Maestro’s.
Among this year’s honorees: Congressman Charlie Rangel, UFT Bronx Rep Jose Vargas, 49th Precinct Community Council prexy Joe Thompson, and Dr. Hamud Al-Silsi of the Bronx Muslim Center.
Congrats to Soundview Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and wife Virginia Molina on birth of daughter Graciela Sarai.
The loss of Bronx Times Reporter’s hard working ace reporter and photo assignment editor David Cruz, off to greater glory as new editor of the Norwood News, replacing Alex Kratz, now running a writing center at a South Bronx charter school. And as we tell all new editors (from personal experience), good luck and God have mercy on your soul.
Congrats to Sgt. Brendan Rafter, makin’ the money, named as commander at Soundview’s 4-3 Detective Squad;Ellis Deloren of Bronx Robbery, and Sharon Harvey at the 4-5 Squad in Throggs Neck, both upped to detective second grade.
Former northeast Bronx Democratic Assemblyman Vincent Marchiselli passed away Nov. 29 at Lawrence Hospital, in Bronxville at age 85. The former funeral home owner served in Albany from 1974 to 1984 as part of the borough reform movement that battled Dem party bosses. He was narrowly defeated in the redrawn 82nd district by Larry Seabrook.
Nov. 27 – Phil Foglia
Dec. 3 – Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz
Dec. 5 – Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj
Dec. 11, 1931 Rita Moreno (Rosita Dolores Alverio)
“I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take ‘em to Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me.” Robert DeNiro, Taxi Driver (1976)