Herewith our holiday Naughty and Nice list, earning candy canes or coal:
Boy, this is an easy one this year:
•Soon-to-be ex-Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera.
Snooki already took her lumps of coal this year, first with a big scandal over putting her boytoys on public payrolls, with one saying he had no qualifications to run a non-profit she pumped tons of funding into, while her current lad supposedly held a full-time job in Brooklyn while paid as a staffer. Investigations are now underway.
Then she - at least some supporters maybe - launched a rather nasty campaign against primary challenger Mark Gjonaj, but lost big time when he not only outspent her, but outfoxed her by having a lawyer to go to bat for tenants facing a major rent hike at Tracey Towers, her supposed “voting stronghold” that delivered mega-votes for Mark.
•Pedro Espada. What can we say, after all these years of enjoying so much ink from the Wascally Wabbit’s hijinks, both as a state senate shakedown artist and sticky-fingered head of Soundview Healthcare. The Wabbit finally lost his Teflon coating in federal court, heading off to the pokey in January.
• Ex-Councilman Larry Seabrook. Bagel Larry as he was being called after turning a $7 bagel sandwich and Snapple into a $177 expense account, could wind up a cellmate with the Wabbit after also heading off to Chez Fed, convicted of pumping $1.5 mil in city funding into do-nothing non-profits run by his mistress, family and pals.
Oh that Jeff Klein! Depending on where you stand, Senator Jeff pulled off the political coup of the decade, forming a coalition government between GOP leader Dean Skelos’ crew and Jeff’s Independent Democratic Conference, adding former Dem Majority Leader Malcolm Smith as a fifth - and minority group - member.
He basically snatched victory and Senate leadership away from Senate Dems, who could end up with a 33-30 ELECTED majority, depending on final vote counts in two close upstate races.
The Democratic naysayers are grumbling the coup deprives voters of their duly elected Dem majority – and freezes out black and Latino legislators.
But Jeff argues they mucked it up anyway when they last held power (ever so briefly) , and still remain a fractured and fractious body unable to pass any real legislation.
Big question now is whether Skelos and Klein can sell raising the minimum wage, changing a marijuana-possession law that’s led to numerous stop-and-frisk arrests and other hot-button issues to conservative Republicans who have to face the voters come election time.
•All those folks who volunteer their time and energy on local civic groups, precinct councils, community boards and other organizations that work to better their local community. You know who you are!
•Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. already scratched one holiday present from his Santa’s list - running for city Public Advocate. But we’ll give him a candy cane for plugging away as the borough’s number one booster, despite some grueling poverty and the highest jobless rate in the state.
And we’ll see what the city Economic Development Corp. leaves under this tree to finally fill the long vacant Kingsbridge Armory....
Councilman Jimmy Vacca. While Ruben may have been the Grinch, stealing a potential run for boro prez from the Energizer Bunny of the east Bronx, Jimmy keeps on going, setting the gold standard for others in public office.
And speaking of Vacca, with Ruben now likely to stick around for another two four-year terms as borough president, that puts the kibosh on any plans Jimmy had to run for BP next year.
While he can join a crowded field eyeing the council Speaker’s job next year, Jimmy will still be term-limited out of office after his next term, leaving him with four years in legislative limbo.
If Ruben HAD run for Public Advocate, Jimmy was seriously weighing a run for BP.
He could still be eying one eight years from now, but like ex-BP Adolfo Carrion, being out of the public eye for a couple of years can make it a helluva lot tougher to climb back on the bandwagon.
One Bronx Dem Party insider suggested - we think tongue-in-cheek - that Jimmy might trade jobs with local Assemblyman Mike Benedetto.
If that unlikely event ever DOES occur, remember you read it here first....
MAKING THE ROUNDS
We’d almost forgot the Bronx has a new congressman, until Charlie Rangel showed up last Friday at the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce annual banquet at Maestro’s.
Also joining a platoon of electeds showing their props, former Board of Ed president/city Comptroller/mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson, who’s recently been seriously cranking up making the rounds.
Dec. 11 – Rosita Dolores Alverio (actress Rita Moreno).
Dec. 14 - Assemblyman Jose Rivera.
Bronx Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie meeting with GOP County Boss Jay Savino at the Pelham Diner.
Carl was overjoyed (NOT!) to see us schmoozing with Jay when he walked in for their meeting. Jay got a big laugh out of it.