Today’s news:

Hassell-Thompson eyeing senate minority leadership

Bronx Times

ALBANY ANTICS

So Bronx state Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson’s chapeau is in the ring to lead the struggling Democratic Conference.

Present leader John Sampson of Brooklyn is a dead man walking for all the anger over his bumbling reign.

Not a lotta folks in his inner circle, including some possibly touched by an Aqueduct Raceway probe, are that eager to take the spotlight - and the heat.

“It’s like a circular firing squad, and Ruth is the last one standing,” said one Albany insider - NOT Senator Jeff Klein, who’s likely gloating over Sampson’s demise.

Another Albany insider said Ruth at one point was dreaming of a run for congress, until Charlie Rangel stepped into the redistricting picture.

Some folks are questioning why the tradition of a African-American conference leader, especially since Sampson, and Malcolm Smith of Queens before him, have run the conference into the ground, with Smith blowing rare majority control of the Senate to smithereens.

There is serious buzz that someone like Mike Gianaris from Queens or perhaps a Latino, like Malave Dilan of Brooklyn, might be a better choice.

Whoever replaces Sampson, Klein will still be sitting pretty with his breakaway four-member Independent Democratic Conference and its swing vote with the 32-30 Republican majority.

GUN SHY

Glad to hear Mayuh Mike admit he’s “concerned” the city’s controversial Stop-and-Feed-the-Numbers program hasn’t made a dent in shootings.

But he DID say Ray Kelly is “working on it.”

That’s the same line we’ve heard countless times from detectives stuck on their cases.

We know Mike and Ray tremble at the name Amadou Diallo, but bringing back the Citywide Anti-Crime Unit, disbanded after the horrible chain of events that night, just might be a better answer. One good anti-crime team, which could SMELL a gun, would get more weapons off the street than 50 rookies looking to make a boss look good at Compstat - while destroying community relations....

MARTIN LUTHER

SEABROOK

Councilman Larry Seabrook, whose hands are now being kept out of the funding cookie jar by Speaker Chris Quinn, starts his fraud and theft re-trial Tuesday, June 19 in Manhattan federal court after the jury deadlocked last time.

Prosecutors have already asked the judge to bar The Fox’s lawyer from comparing him to Martin Luther King in opening statements.

This brings to mind a lawyer we once covered named Jerry Lewis, a short man with a pencil mustache, what looked like a hairpiece worn backwards and a gravelly Brooklyn voice who usually repped low-level mob guys.

Jerry’s closing argument to the jury would mention Jesus, Moses and other faith and race leaders to cover the jurors, ending with: “And in the woids of dat immortal fallen civil rights leaduh Martin Lutuh King, let my client be able tuh say, ‘Free at last Lord, free at last!’”

FOX TAIL

While the feds are trying again to nail The Fox’s tail to the barn door, Andy King is looking - again - to win term-limited Larry Seabrook’s City Council seat in 2013. This time, King tells us he HAS the backing of his Local 1199 SEIU union. A host of Bronx and city electeds, union leaders and others are on the committee for a June 19 Manhattan fundraiser.

REVERSE PLAY

Looks like a reverse play - or (mea culpa) bad sourcing on the party pick for Bronx Surrogate. Our “Weak Throat” had us writing Party Boss Carl Heastie was measuring Bronx Supreme Court Justice Darcel Clark for judicial robes for the plum job. But when petitioning kicked off June 5, the party had Acting Supreme Court Justice Nelida Malave-Gonzalez on their list for the job, which assigns (we assume party-loyal) lawyers to administer (at handsome fees) the estates of persons who die without wills.

HERMANOS

Assemblyman Peter Rivera flanking Gov. Cuomo at Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. Was that a show of support for a possibly rocky Senate confirmation hearing for Peter as Andrew’s new state labor commissioner?

WABBIT FOOD

Daily News Brooklyn Federal Courthouse reporter John Marzulli turning a fancy phrase last week on Pedro Espada dumping his lawyer, calling the Wascally Wabbit “the piggy pol.”

Still waiting for word on who’s going to take over the Wabbit’s Soundview Healthcare income hutch, with Urban Health Plan reportedly talking behind the scenes with the state health department to take over care of its 20,000 patients.

SPOILER

Irene Rukaj, who got knocked off the ballot twice before challenging Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, is running again. Will Snooki or challenger Mark Gjonaj try to challenge her petitions lest she wind up a vote-drainer for one of them? We shall see....

RANGEL DEBATE

Charlie Rangel a no-show at that candidate’s debate on BronxNet Monday night, co-hosted by BronxTalk’s Gary Axelbank, the Riverdale Press and the Norwood News.

Then again, why commit Rangelcide??

Got some hot gossip? E-mail Kappy at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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