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Surrounded by Dems, Bronx GOP parties

Bronx Times

ALIVE AND ...WELL?

Bronx Republicans are alive and ... well, outnumbered by Bronx Dems 11-to-1.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not putting on a brave face, backing some local candidates - and some (gasp!) Democrats on their ballot line - and of course, waving pom poms for Republican mayoral candidate (and borough native son) Joe Lhota.

They all came together Wednesday, June 12 at Maestro’s for their annual Lincoln Dinner, with state Republican Party Chair Ed Cox (yes, Tricia Nixon’s husband) cheerleading and introducing guest speaker Lhota.

The evening’s honorees were John and Grace Cerini as biz and community couple of the year and Pastor Joselyn Nataniel as woman of the year.

The elephant in the room, you should excuse the expression, was the recent federal bribery indictment of longtime party leader Jay Savino, who stepped down, replaced by new chair John Greaney.

“It’s been an educational experience for me,” the 61-year-old Greaney told us in a bit of understatement, having had only six weeks to put the whole annual affair together.

With 41,760 registered GOP voters in the borough, Greaney spoke at the dinner of reaching out to the community and invigorating the party.

That includes its executive committee voting to put two Dems on its ballot line: Joel (that’s with an R in the middle) Rivera, who’s running in the 15th Council District race in the central Bronx, and Ralinda Cardone, who’s in a crowded field challenging East Harlem/South Bronx Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito.

We hear there was a bit of a split over the Rivera choice, with one party faction pushing for Dem Cynthia Thompkins there.

RAINBOW RACE

Just when we were trying to be soooo PC and saying ‘So what?” to writing about three of the candidates running for City Council in the central Bronx’s 15th C.D. being gay, they all go and talk about it.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” as the old Seinfeld quote goes. Richie Torres, Cynthia Thompkins and Kenny Agosto all wave the rainbow flag.

Oh, and Rev. Joel Bauza, who’s also in the crowded race, is anti-same sex marriage, but otherwise not in attack mode over the gay issue.

And how this all relates to the local folks, remains to be seen.

HARDBALL KLEIN

Don’t mess with Jeff.

Riverdale Councilman Ollie Koppell recently wrote an op-ed piece in the Norwood News publicly urging Senate co-leader Jeff Klein to do the right thing and be a “genuine Democrat” and get public financing of state elections passed in the Senate.

Jeff, leader of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, took umbrage and bit Ollie’s head off in ink, with a follow-up op-ed piece.

Klein reminded Koppell he had held public hearings and worked hard to get support his campaign finance reform bill. But “despite my best efforts,” Senate Dems and Republicans ran scared from passing the bill.

He then laced into Koppell for shepherding legislation through the assembly when he served in Albany “that created party housekeeping accounts—large party slush funds.”

But Klein wasn’t through with Koppell, noting that he was the prime sponsor of the Council bill that lifted term limits, giving him and fellow members – as well as Mayuh Mike – third terms. Ouch!

OLLIE OOPS!

And speaking of Ollie, fellow ink-stained wretch Adam Wisnieski at the Riverdale Press recently noted Koppell, like other City Councilmembers who advise the borough president on appointments to local community boards, nixed reappointing Bob Abbott.

Seems it may be Ollie has a grudge from two years ago when Abbott supported a board member who gave a $50 contribution to Tony Cassino, who was challenging Ollie at the time.

NEXT?

We can’t quite imagine former state Senator Pedro (The Wascally Wabbit) Espada heading off to five years of obscurity as a guest of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, for looting his Soundview Healthcare center.

The feds didn’t waste any time hauling him off at his sentencing Friday, June 14.

As one savvy Bronx mover and shaker put it: “He was the Puerto Rican John Gotti.”

IRISH AYES

Congrats to ex-Boro Hall budget director Bob Nolan, elected prez of the Bronx County Ancient Order of Hibernians. Bob is a busy guy, already president of the AOH division 3-East Bronx group, board member of the city Health and Hospitals Corp., president of the North East Bronx Senior Center at St. Benedict’s and newly re-elected counsel to the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance.

On his latest accomplishment, Bob tells us wife Susan joked, ‘So when are going to take a paying job?”

IN AND OUT

While we wrote in last week’s column about filing to run against Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Rafael Schweitzer of the Bronx Park East Community Association tells us he’s not really THAT serious about running against Jimmy in the November election, even though he officially filed. Just wanted to wave the Green Party flag, he said. Now he’s out of it. “I decided it would not be beneficial to my community to be on the ballot as a Green Party candidate,” sayeth Schweitzer.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

June 17 - Maricka Scott-McFadden, deputy chief clerk of the Bronx Board of Elections.

June 19 - State Senator Jose M. Serrano.

June 25 - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

June 25 - Singer/songwriter Carly Simon.

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