The Bronx is REALLY in the house now - the state Senate, that is.
Tuesday’s announcement that Senator Jeff Klein’s breakaway Independent Democratic Conference had joined Senate Republicans to make a majority coalition over Senate Dems will likely bring funding, programs and legislative juice to the borough.
Former Democratic conference leader Malcolm Smith joining the four-member IDC fold on Monday pretty much closed the deal with GOP leader Dean Skelos.
The Dems were only holding a razor-thin margin to begin with in the 63-member chamber.
Senate Dems were none too happy over the development, with spokesman Mike Murphy calling it “a coup against all New Yorkers who voted for Democratic control of the Senate.”
Smith’s defection also opens the door to potentially more Dem defections to the IDC. And as an African-American from Queens, he also breaks up the IDC’s white bread look and gives it another downstate member.
Smith has not been a happy camper in the Dem camp, deposed as Dem majority leader in 2009 by former Bronx Senator Pedro Espada in a deal to save Dem control back when the Four Amigos/Banditos, including Bronx Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., were blackmailing both sides of the aisle to swing control to either party.
Adding to the Dems woes for control has been the recent defection of newly elected Brooklyn Dem Simcha Felder, who’s said he’ll sit with the Republican caucus.
The Dem leadership and some members have branded Jeff a party traitor for cozying up to Republican Skelos to push key votes through.
But Jeff’s argument is that whether they held a majority or not, the Dem conference is already badly fragmented, often unable to muster a unified vote on needed legislation that Jeff can negotiate with Skelos.
STIRRING THE POT
Senator Diaz loves to make ripples in the political pond, so it’s no surprise his latest Rev-o-gram jumped into that Albany fray over Jeff Klein’s push for a three-conference coalition chamber - even before Tuesday’s announcement.
While proclaiming his loyalty to the Dems, the Soundview pol claims that “people have been whispering in my ear” about forming his own Senate Conservative Conference.
Grumpy and pretty much sidelined since he lost his senate battle over same sex marriage, The Rev claims he counts two conservative Democrats and at least ten conservative Republicans that could come together, especially for two upcoming hot button social issues: the Woman’s Reproductive Health Act, “which will most certainly push New York’s already staggering abortion rate even higher, and a controversial bill to legalize the medical marijuana in New York.”
His advice? “Think very carefully about approving Jeff’s group as a third conference “because you just may be opening Pandora’s Box.”
City Council Transportation Committee chair Jimmy Vacca’s favorite Department of Transportation Commissioner, Janette (My way or the highway) Sadik-Kahn, has done it again.
For the second year in a row, the commissioner responsible for more than 250 miles of bicycle lanes and hundreds of lost parking spaces raised the fees at municipal parking lots around the city - and then had to yank them after jumping out of the gate too fast.
Turns out the fee hike, while in the city’s proposed budget modifications for the DOT, was never officially rubberstamped by the council’s finance committee.
After Jimmy got a letter complaining about the increased fees, he got on the horn to Council Speaker Chris Quinn, who got on the horn to Sadik-Kahn, who yada, yada....
We’re stepping outta the Bronx, just to run this classic quote from new Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio.
We knew Frank as a straight-talking community board district manager and future pol back in our Brooklyn days, and we see he hasn’t lost his touch. Or maybe he absorbed the wit and wisdom of former Party Boss Meade Esposito - talking about the city Districting Commission stretching some lines a few blocks for former party boss and disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez to run for the city council.
“If you’re going to do something stupid,” sayeth Frank, “at least be smart about it.”
Well, the battered Republicans still rule the House of Representatives, but two Bronx congressmen recently added some borough juice on the Democratic side.
As Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 113th Congress, Bronx/Queens Rep. Joe Crowley will be the fourth-ranking Dem under Leader Nancy Pelosi. A member of the Ways and Means Committee, Joe’s also chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership.
With redistricting, the seven-term rep from the 7th Congressional District gave up representing Co-op City, handing it back to Eliot Engel, who was recently named Dem co-chair of the foreign affairs committee.
Dec. 1 - Former Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. head Joe Ithier.
Dec. 3 - Riverdale Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz.
Dec. 5 - Morris Park Assemblyman-elect Mark Gjonaj.
©2012 Community News Group