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Showin’ the money in hot council race

Bronx Times

SHOWIN’ THE MONEY

It looks like those financial filings with the city Campaign Finance Board for the hot race in the central Bronx’ 15th Council District could be changing the playing field.

One leading contender wound up at the bottom of the seven declared and one undeclared challengers for bucks in the bank, while another posted an $8,000 contribution from himself to boost his braggin’ rights.

That would be William “Willie” Rivera, who included the donation on a campaign filing showing him with $35,300 in his warchest as of March 15.

The top earner was Richie Torres, who reported $61,438 in campaign donations. The 24-year-old candidate has the heavy backing of Councilman Jimmy Vacca, for whom he’s worked - as a volunteer, then staffer - since he was 16.

Surprisingly, Albert Alvarez, who has the backing of local term-limited Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera, came in at the bottom of the pack, showing only $18,163 raised.

Meanwhile, 86th Assembly District female leader Yudelka Tapia, who owes the CFB $47,774 in penalties and $59,930 in unexplained expenditures from a previous race, is hopefully awaiting a favorable court ruling to clear up that little matter. She filed a fresh intake of $22,760 .

Other candidates and their campaign dough are: Joel Bauza, $28,036; Joel R. Rivera (no relation to the councilman), $19,975, and Cynthia Thompkins, $1,035. Undeclared candidate Raquel Batista filed $31,450 in campaign bux.

The importance of the filings is that depending on certain factors, candidates can reap 6-1 matching funds on a goodly amount of the money raised.

Willie Rivera boasted in a news release that his second place rank was “achieved without union support or explicit support from electeds.”

That obviously was to counter Torres’ endorsements from three heavyweight unions – the New York Hotel Trades Council, the 70,000-member 32BJ SEIU, and UFCW local 1500, which represents over 30,000 local supermarket workers and retail food workers.

Vacca, who wouldn’t turn down Torres support for Council Speaker should Torres win, also wrangled local Assemblymen Mike Benedetto and Mark Gjonaj to throw their support his way.

MAYORAL MOVES

First it was Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Sunday, March 17 it was Comptroller John Liu’s turn to make the rounds of the boroughs to officially announce a mayoral run, hitting two coffee klatches in Riverdale among his stops.

And a mystery quote (bet savvy political folks can quess the source) on Quinn’s current polls showing her pulling 36 percent of the primary vote: “Think about a souffle....”

COP VIDEO BRAWL

This cop wasn’t smiling for the camera - and neither was Ed Garcia Conde, who writes the Welcome 2 Melrose blog, after a Sergeant Angel Delgado from the Operation Impact team in the 40th Precinct had the cuffs slapped on him after Conde started videotaping a confrontation with a volunteers outside the Bronx Documentary Center Thursday evening, March 14.

Conde’s video looks more like the cop was interfering with Conde than the other way around. It wound up with Conde hauled in to the stationhouse and slapped with two summonses, one for an open container (a broken beer bottle Conde claims was in a plastic bag and being thrown out), the other for attempting to create a dangerous situation (getting the sergeant’s bad profile?). Conde’s now working with his lawyer to file a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

KA-CHING!

The City’s law department is hiring nearly 30 new lawyers to fight back against a string of lawsuits filed against the police department - with the largest number of suits in the Bronx, according to a Reuters report.

Bronx juries traditionally love to give a payday to plaintiffs in civil suits involving cops, with the city usually pushing for a small settlement rather than going to trial in the Boogie Down.

FUTURE LEADER?

Bronx Democratic Party leader Carl Heastie proudly posting pix on Facebook of three-year-old daughter Taylor seated at his desk in the state Assembly chamber in Albany. Wonder if she met “Uncle Shelly?”

COME ON DOWN

Bronx Beep Ruben Diaz Jr. wants to see the East Bronx meet the rest of the Bronx - at Yankee Stadium.

His Second Annual “Borough President’s Cup” Tournament, co-sponsored by his office, AT&T and the New York Yankees, drew a healthy turnout of other Bronx Little League teams, leading up to the championship game at the new Yankee Stadium in September. But nary a team from the east Bronx joined in the tournament.

Last Wednesday, he and Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T New York, handed out equipment grants to the participating teams, whose members must maintain a B-average in school, 90 percent or greater school attendance and a demonstrated commitment to community service.

COP CORNER

•NYPD GREEN - It was corned beef and arroz con gandules at Bronx Homicide Lt. Sean O’Toole’s famous annual St. Patrick’s luncheon (with big help from Mrs. O’Toole) as squadies, bosses, retirees ( including former Homicide Lt. Tony (The V) Vitaliano, now chairman of Morris Park Community Board 11) and other guests showed up Thursday, March 14 in the squadroom at Bronx Detective HQ in the old 41st Precinct “Fort Apache” stationhouse on Simpson Street. And of course, the traditional bagpiper.

•BELATED CONDOLENCES - To family of Lt. Steven Cioffi, 40, a lifelong resident of Throggs Neck, who died recently of cancer. All signs point to the sudden and rapid disease being a result of his having worked at Ground Zero after 9/11, so we hope there’s a finding to help his wife and two young children with benefits.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

March 16 - Rep. Joe Crowley

March 18 – Miss America 1984 Vanessa Lynn Williams

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