Today’s news:

Boro in basement for voter turnout

Bronx Times

ABSENTEE VOTE

One of the big reasons the Bronx Democratic Party manages to keep a tight grip, protecting incumbents, whether they’re worthy or not, is the abysmal voter turnout in many of its districts, where at most only 3,500 or so registered voters bother to traipse to the polls.

In fact, the borough has the worst voter turnout record in the city, according to a new study by WNYC, New York City’s public radio station.

Even the supposedly better informed, working and middle class east Bronx is a voter wasteland, according to the study, which breaks down voter percentages and numbers by Census districts.

While heavily white Riverdale/Fieldston had a 41-43% voter turnout in the 2009 mayoral election, and heavily African-American East Concourse/Concourse Village had the highest turnout with 45% voting, turnout in the east Bronx ranged from the feeble mid-teens to the mid-20s percentile.

Check out the map at project.wnyc.org/non-voters/.

OFF THE HOOK

Boy, those Arroyos keep managing to just barely scrape by, though Assemblywoman Carmen (Granny) Arroyo’s nephew Richard (Little Ricky) Izquierdo DID wind up doing jail time for embezzling $200Gs from a nonprofit she and Councilwoman daughter Maria del Carmen Arroyo pumped funds into.

Latest Great Escape was for Councilwoman Arroyo, whose nominating petitions were riddled with fraudulent signatures. Maria, of course, was unaware of it all.

She even referred three of her petition gatherers to the Bronx D.A.’s office.

Out of her original 3,339 signatures, a judge finally left her with 600 legit signatures, enough to squeak through the 450 minimum to make it on the Sept. 10 primary ballot against challenger Julio Pabon, who blew the whistle on her petition hanky panky.

DOUBLE DUTY

While Bronx Democratic Party consigliere Stanley Schlein and noted election lawyer Henry Berger were busy knocking challengers to party incumbents off the ballot – and working to keep Councilwoman Maria del Carmen ON the ballot, Stanley’s also been busy repping mayoral wannabe Bill DeBlasio, even though Bronx Dems are backing Bill Thompson.

Stanley’s response: “Hey, I’m a lawyer.”

This of course makes for a perfect segue to that joke about lawyers, sharks and professional courtesy...

TIGHT RACE

And in the political Take Nothing for Granted Department:

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. officially launched his re-election campaign Aug. 12, with a YouTube message to voters (http://youtu.be/ditm8oREQ8s), boosting building “the ‘New Bronx’ together.”

Ruben’s got about a half mil in his campaign kitty, to fight off lone challenger and former Highbridge district leader Mark Escoffery-Bey, who’s got $38Gs, with Campaign Finance Board 6-1 matching funds bringing it to about a quarter mil.

HATCHET JOB

Former City& State political blogsite staffer Seth Barron has been drawing some positive attention with his citycouncilwatch.net/blog, skewering politicians and parties.

His latest salvo is at the Bronx political establishment, writing that County Leader Carl Heastie “has little actual authority and is barely holding on,” but with any immediate signs of reform “not likely.”

As for Joel Rivera, son of longtime wily Assemblyman/deposed county leader Jose Rivera, and brother of former do-nothing Assemblywoman Naomi “Snookie” Rivera, Barron lists Joel’s accomplishments from 12 years as Council Majority Leader as “a prime mystery of the Council,” having introduced fewer than two pieces of legislation per year,” with almost none even making it into committee.

As for taking care of his 15th central Bronx district, Barron notes Rivera ranked 4th among fellow borough council members this term for total combined capital and expense funding.

That’s not to say Joel hasn’t always been a pleasant, smiling guy, now more focused on his post-Council career as licensed Realtor for RE/MAX.

He’s been backing his longtime chief of staff, Albert Alvardo to replace him, while a fellow challenger named Joel R. Rivera has dropped his middle initial hoping folks’ll think he’s the REAL Joel.

COP CORNER

Black eye - Whichever way you choose to look at federal judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling that the NYPD overstepped it’s Constitutional boundaries on limitless and shaky stop-and-frisks, let it be a lesson for the next police commissioner that turning legitimate enforcement into a numbers game can turn around and bite you on your ... badge.

CONGRATS

To Raquel Batista, running for the City Council seat in the central Bronx 15th C.D., giving birth Monday, Aug. 12 to a daughter, Carmen.

BRONX PASSINGS

Former Taft HS student Edith Gormezano, later known as singer Edye Gorme, at age 84 in Las Vegas, with hubby Steve Lawrence by her side.

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