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Will the real Joel please stand

Bronx Times

What’s in a name? A potential spoiler in a hot City Council race named Joel Rivera.

No, not term-limited City Councilman Joel Rivera who’s backing longtime chief of staff Albert Alvarez to succeed him in his central Bronx district.

We’re talking about Joel R. Rivera, who’s dropped his middle initial on photo-less campaign posters in the crowded race. Opponents are calling him “The Fake Joel Rivera,” hoping to ride mayoral candidates’ coattails.

But hey, he says he has good reason to drop the R.

“There’s a candidate running against me that has my same first name, Joel Bauza. There’s a candidate running against me that has my same last name, William Rivera. And the incumbent happens to share my first and last name,” said Joel R., who works for City Comptroller John Liu as a $57,000 a year community relations associate.

“I’m writing my own name legacy, serving the Bronx for 20 years,” he said, adding that “if you look on my palm cards, I don’t have one picture on them, I have two pictures.”

Joel R. predicts that with a mayoral race on the ballot, what would normally draw about 3,500 to 4,000 votes in the district on an off-year, will bring out 10,000.

Meanwhile, the “real” Joel Rivera told us he’s been door knocking with his protege to boost his lead against a large field of challengers.

The strong candidate at the moment appears to be Richie Torres, protege of another councilman. Torres has been a longtime vol and later staffer for Jimmy Vacca, who no doublt would like to see Torres voting in the council to help Jimmy succeed Chris Quinn as Speaker.

The real Joel Rivera tells us that despite the heavy union endorsements Richie has been racking up, he shouldn’t expect too many union folks out there working for him. “They’ll be busy working the mayoral race,” sayeth Joel.

Other developments in the race:

•Add veteran pol and 80th Assembly District male leader Kenny Agosto to the list of challengers. “With so many running in this race, anybody can win by a few points,” said Kenny, who works for Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson.

•Attorney and former community organizer Raquel Batista is sporting Kim Kardashian’s current profile look, campaigning with a baby due in August.

• Legal Aid attorney, retired cop and 46th Precinct Community Council prexy Cynthia Thompkins kicked off her campaign at a May 9 fundraiser at The Clock on Bruckner Blvd. in sorta-hip Sobro.

SCANDAL

With all these recent bribery arrests around town, including Morrisania Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and Bronx Republican Party Chairman Jay Savino, both allegedly for chump change, we are reminded of ex-Chicago columnist Bob Greene citing a supposed quote from a veteran Illinois state legislator to freshman legislator and future Chicago mayor Richard Daly: “Don’t take a dime. Just hand ‘em your business card.”

PARTY JOB BANK

From a Bronx Democratic Party insider on the lack of jobs for Bronx and other county party loyalists:

“No one’s eaten at the mayoral table for 12 years, and from a year or so ago at the City Council unless you’re signing on the dotted line for Christine Quinn for mayor.”

SCHMOOZEFEST

Now that’s the way to run a business breakfast!

We’re talking about the 15th Annual Bronx Bankers Breakfast at Villa Barone as part of Bronx Week. Four hundred leaders in the fields of banking, business, real estate and tech had plenty of time to “work the room” before sitting down to scrambled eggs and speeches.

Moments:

The Sound of One Hand Clapping: Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. head Marlene Cintron introducing ex-Bronx BP, ex-Democrat and mayoral wannabe Adolfo Carrion to silence in the room. Not ONE single clap. Nada. Bubkis. And that was a prelude to his latest filing with the city Campaign Finance Board, reporting he only raised a paltry $18,00 over the past three-month reporting period.

Both hands clapping: Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. telling the room to “Cheer louder than that!” after speaking of a makeup hug with Mayuh Mike over finally seeing the city pick a developer for the Kingsbridge Armory.

•Loansharking: After Gov. Cuomo and others hammered Bronx Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie over his assembly bill to allow check cashers to charge 200% interest on “pay day loans,” guest speaker state Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky (out of Matthews Avenue, Pelham Parkway), making nice with Carl, telling him “We want to work with you.”

COZY CLUBHOUSES

Riverdale’s Ben Franklin Reform Dem club and the Chippewa Dem club in Throggs Neck smarting over Citizens Union watchdog group listing them in top 20 of 224 political clubs around the state failing to account for whether they kicked in real or in-kind campaign donations to local electeds, effectively making the clubs political action commitees, required to register with the state to show where the money went.

Citizens Union found more than a third of the state’s 579 active political clubs weren’t registered as campaign committees.

GOP LOSS

Longtime Bronx Republican Party exec secretary and Morris Park/Allerton 80th Assembly female district leader Debra Jaffee resigned from the party May 9 in protest over selection process of new party leader John Greaney.

“Hardly any of the district leaders were there to vote,” sayeth Debra, who’s now weighing her political options.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

May 10 - Gaaak! How could we ever forget?? Former Morris Park Assemblywoman Naomi (Snooki) Rivera.

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