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Campaign season a big pain in the fax....

Bronx Times
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NOTE TO ELECTEDS

We sorta hate election season. That’s when the emails and faxes and phone calls from chirpy voiced flaks inundate the newsroom, looking for ink for the candidates, worthy or not.

It’s especially irksome when they come from electeds who’ve been silent on the news front all year - until it’s suddently time to run again.

It’s a time when we become VERRRRRY selective on what actually rates as ink-worthy.

And as for citywide races, pul-eeze, if we cover one mayoral or other candidate, we gotta cover ‘em all.

So we’re generally taking a pass - unless of course one of ‘em promises to drop their pants on the steps of Borough Hall. That MIGHT get our attention....

MEA CULPA

Francisco Gonzalez, district manager at Soundview’s Community Board 9, was recently wrapped on the knuckles - and in his wallet to the tune of $7,500 in fines – by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board for pretty much running the annual Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade out of board offices over the past few years.

But he sorta defended himself to us, saying “I did nothing more or less than for any organization that would come in here for services. But unfortunately, because I was president at the time, it was determined to be a conflict. I paid the fine, and now it’s behind me.”

Francisco has since stepped aside from the major planning work, taking on the title of chairman of the colorful annual event that draws thousands of parade goers and watchers along the Grand Concourse in early June.

“We won’t be doing anything at the office that would jeopardize my city position,” sayeth Francisco. “It was all to make a great parade in the Bronx.”

JOEL RESPONDS

The media giveth and taketh away.

Case in point, Bronx councilman and Majority Leader Joel Rivera, knocked around in last week’s column for ranking fourth among Bronx members for total capital and expense funding to his central Bronx district, according to citycouncilwatch.net/blog writer Seth Barron.

Then the NY Post tagged him Aug. 19 with having the fourth worst council attendance record, present only 73.7% of the time, with fellow term-limited councilmember Helen Foster as the Queen of No-Shows, AWOL 39.4% of the time, missing 56 of 142 Council meetings.

The ever affable Joel blamed juggling scheduling conflicts with meetings and local district events.

He also sent us a Facebook message saying the same council spending report that Seth wrote about “shows that I received the most in the Bronx and I came in 5th City Wide.

“I tend not to take credit for the funding I bring in. I don’t see it as my funding. I consider it funding for Not For Profits that provide direct services for the district.

“I am not sure how Seth came to the conclusion that Larry Seabrook came in with more funding. That was completely inaccurate.”

And wishing us well, the term-limited Joel also invited us to check out his new website for his real estate business: www.bronxpad.com. “I am proud of it lol.”

OFF THE HOOK

Looks like a bunch of Bronx City Council candidates finally fixed up their submissions for 6-1 matching funds from the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

Pulling in the taxpayer bux: Councilman Andy King, $21,945 in his 12th Council District; Cynthia Thompkins, $2,536 in the crowded 15th C.D. race in the central Bronx; Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, $69,910 in the crowded race in the 16th C.D. in Highbridge, along with Daryl Johnson, $142; Bolo Omotosho, $33,037, and Carlos Sierra, $83,967, while Julio Pabon, who’s challenging long-time 17th C.D. Mott Haven incumbent Maria del Carmen Arroyo, received $4,313.

HEATED DEBATE

Look for some lively debate Monday night, Aug. 26 when candidates vying for disgraced Assemblyman Nelson Castro’s west Bronx seat in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary show up on BronxTalk, with longtime host Gary Axelbank keeping the peace. Show airs at 9 pm on BronxNet’s channel 67 and Fios 33. On the web next day at www.bronxnet.org.

SPLIT CLUB

Looks like the Liberty Democratic Club in the 80th Assembly District is a house divided.

While half the club is supporting its recent new president, Richie Torres, to fill term-limited Councilman Joel Rivera’s seat in the 15th C.D. covering Belmont, Bathgate, East Tremont and Fordham, local District Leader Kenny Agosto and state Committeewoman Maria Gonzalez are backing Joel’s longtime chief of staff, Albert Alvarez.

Kenny, who was recently knocked off the same ballot on a technicality, told us he thinks the 24-year-old Torres “is not ready for Prime Time.”

MOVES

Bernell Richardson, chairman of the board at the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. stepping down for health reasons, with 1st vice chairman and former state Assemblyman Steve Kaufman stepping in to fill the gap - for now, maybe permanently.

The BOEDC, by the way, is the economic arm of the Bronx Borough President’s office - when the news is good - and a non-profit partially funded by his office when the news ain’t so good....

PASSINGS

Former Borough Hall spokesman Fred Winters, Aug. 13 at age 62.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

Aug. 25 - Regis Philbin

Aug. 29 - Former Assemblyman Steve Kaufman

Updated 12:22 pm, August 22, 2013
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