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They’re chomping at the gate in this race

Bronx Times

The race for the 15th Council District in the central Bronx is starting to look like the starting gate at Aqueduct.

At least seven candidates have declared or are ready to run for the seat being vacated by term-limited Joel Rivera of the mighty clan Rivera.

The district covers chunks of Bathgate, Belmont, Crotona, Fordham, East Tremont, Van Nest and West Farms.

With so many challengers in it to win it, a key question is who’ll get Dem Party backing in the all-important primary. Or will the party let this one turn into a real free-for-all?

Our hunch is it’ll step in, paving the way for its anointed one.

On the list: Joel’s chief of staff Alberto Alvarez; west Bronx female district leader Yudelka Tapia (who still owes the city Campaign Finance Board $47,774 in penalties and $59,930 in unspent funds from her last campaign. She did, however, give the CFB receipts they requested for her expenditures.); Kenny Agosto, district leader in Van Nest/Morris Park’s 80th A.D.; William Rivera, who may have some ‘splainin’ to do over finances and a local volunteer fire company; immigrant rights attorney Raquel Batista, and Dem Party Exec Director Ischia Bravo.

The candidate being touted as the thoroughbred in this race - if and when he declares - is Radame Perez. He’s a savvy guy, but he could have some issues involving minimum wage and non-union workers from his job with developer dad Jose, a biggie in the Bronx business community AND Dem Party. With those connections, he can certainly raise the bucks - and his profile.

And not to leave out a real dark horse, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, whose district covers a big chunk of the council territory. As we’ve written before, returning to the City Council would give the 76-year-old Jose a bigger salary – and pension - and cut his commute. We’re told Jose’s just waiting to see how much of the city Districting Commission’s new council lines wind up within his assembly district.

And no, daughter Naomi (Snooki) Rivera, who lost her Morris Park assembly seat to Mark Gjonaj, can’t legally run for his assembly seat should Papi Jose switch. She’d need to move into his district at least a year before running.

Joel, however, could, since the state redistricting commission stretched Papi’s lines exactly one block around Joel’s apartment building.

But we’d say Joel would be happier focusing full-time on his new real estate career.

SURPRISE!

NOT!

That would be Riverdale’s Ben Franklin Reform Dem Club, whose members endorsed Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for reelection and attorney Andrew Cohen to fill the City Council seat being vacated by term-limited Ollie Koppell.

Cohen has been pretty much joined at the hip by Assemblyman and club macher Jeff Dinowitz, so not much of the surprise there. Also showing up to seek seat endorsement: announced candidates Cliff Stanton and Shelley Keeling.

Ruben got 98 votes for, and four against (GASP!).

STATE OF THE BORO

And speaking of the BP, invites went out last week for Ruben’s fourth annual State of the Borough speech. This year’s will be Feb. 19 at James Monroe High School over on Boynton Ave.

And maybe – just maybe – the city will have finally decided on a developer for the Kingsbridge Armory – if anyone – by then.

WABBIT WAIT

Convicted of looting their Soundview Healthcare center, ex-state Senator Pedro (The Wascally Wabbit) Espada Jr. and his son Pedro G., now have a new federal sentencing date: April 12.

JUDGEMENT DAY

From a judge friend:

“Each day I must listen to each side with an open mind, without bias; I must respectfully allow each side to speak, and listen to their carefully crafted legal arguments, including the precedent often cited. I hear calls for fairness, and also demands for sanctions. Then, I drop the kids off at school and go to work.”

OUTTA THE GATE

William Russell Moore off and running to challenge Councilwoman Annabel Palma for her Soundview seat, with a Jan. 19 fundraiser at the Bronx Grill on E. Tremont.

To boost turnout for the $50-a-head affair, it was labeled the 1st annual Moore Power Award Gala, with “trailblazer awards for outstanding community service and lifelong achievement.”

COP CORNER

•Schiffman Shuffle. One of our favorite jokesters, retired NYPD First Grade Det. Stanley Schiffman, recently honored by the Detective Investigators’ Association for 50-plus years of service with the NYPD and lately as a senior investigator in the Bronx District Attorney’s debriefing/video statement room.

We nicknamed Stanley “the NYPD’s standup interrogator” years back for his deceptively deadpan, monotone non-stop stream of jokes and card tricks with suspects in The Box that has them begging for mercy.

Stanley is still magically producing confessions - and tips leading to local and federal arrests and convictions, according to his award, with what he calls his Schiffman Shuffle.

•Takedown. Say buh-bye to Baldie, Smooth, Poo Black, Butter, Scooter, Shep and seven other members of The Organization crack and heroin gang from around Longwood’s John Adams Houses, taken down last week by cops and feds and facing dime-to-life federal time.

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