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No growth spurt - but hot rumor - for Klein’s breakaway Dems

Bronx Times

SQUELCHING THE ALBANY RUMOR MILL

Perspiring minds wanna know.

The buzz was on this week over whether Bronx Senator Jeff Klein had added another minority member to his breakaway – and co-ruling – five-member Independent Democratic Conference.

This after Brooklyn Democratic Senator Eric Adams, who is African-American, accepted Jeff and coalition partner GOP leader Dean Skelos’ offer to chair the Aging Committee.

The quick answer from Jeff’s camp was no, Adams is still with the Democratic Conference, whose members are grumbling they should rightfully rule the Senate with an ELECTED majority of 33 members, although one of them – Simcha Felder of Brooklyn – is now sitting with the Republicans.

But Adams’ acceptance of the committee chairmanship is being seen in some quarters as an answer to charges of racism by both the IDC, which recently added Malcolm Smith, who is black, and in the lily white Republican camp.

“Jeff and Skelos are trying to fix trap doors people are trying to set for them,” said an Albany insider.

As for word that some lower case conservative Republicans having to face the voters are starting to bridle at Klein pushing Gov. Cuomo’s more liberal legislative agenda (i.e. recently passed gun control, and upcoming minimum wage hike), “They know all the issues and are letting the process play itself out,” said the insider. “Skelos and Jeff know what they can ask of each other.”

SCRATCHED

That crowded horse race to fill the City Council seat in the central Bronx just narrowed down, with potential challenger Radame Perez scratching himself off the race card.

Radame called us Monday to let us know that between “increased responsibilities as a community developer” and the expected birth of twins, now just wasn’t the right time for the 36-year-old developer and community leader, who didn’t rule a political role down the road.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t be a player in the race. As head of the Tremont Business & Community Organization, as well as president and CEO of dad Jose’s Mastermind Development Corp., Radame can throw some heavy duty support to any candidate in the race to fill term-limited Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera’s seat. EMBERS

Speaking of the 15th C.D. race, last week we mentioned a bit of fracas candidate William (Willie) Rivera got into over his Aviation Volunteer Fire Company, taxes and donated fire engines after 9/11.

His press secretary Thomas Musich emailed us to clear up at least part of the mystery, writing that Rivera “voluntarily submitted their financial statements, in toto, to the Bronx District Attorney’s office for review. Said office proceeded to conduct an independent and extensive audit that led to William Rivera, and the organization being exonerated of any and all fiscal malfeasance suggested or implied...”

PARK THIS!

Forget about taking guns away, Bronx community board chairmen and cohorts around the city are swearing the city will have to pry their prized official parking placards “away from their cold, dead clammy fingers,” as they say.

Feb. 1 was the deadline set for all chairs across the city to surrender those dashboard cards that allow the unpaid heads of the local boards to park just about anywhere around the city – short of fire hydrants and bus stops WHILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, of course.

But they may have some legitimate gripes. Morris Park Board 11 Chair Tony Vitaliano said it’s ridiculous he’ll now have to make trips to Borough Hall on the car-unfriendly Concourse without help parking. “With all the money I’m making in this job,” he joked sarcastically, “it’s ridiculous.”

Ditto complaint from north Bronx Board 12 Chair Father Richard Gorman, kvetching about parking downtown around City Hall and city agencies.

FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Riverdale City Council candidate Andrew Cohen picked up the endorsement last Friday of City Council Speaker Chris Quinn.

With the recent endorsement of the Ben Franklin Reform club, he’s already looking like the 500-pound gorilla in this race to fill the seat of term-limited Ollie Koppell.

PARTY PARTY

It was packed last Wednesday night as the Bronx Democratic County Committee (that’s its fancy name) held its annual Winter Reception (read that fundraiser) at Michaelangelo’s Restaurant on Arthur Ave.

A party operative told us while other county organizations hold four fundraisers during the year to feed the party coffers, this one and the annual summer biggy at Marina del Rey pretty much stretch donors’ pockets.

COP CORNER

Upped. If anyone deserves the title Mr. 49th Precinct, it’s Police Officer Vic DiPierro, the longtime community affairs guy at the Morris Park/Allerton stationhouse. Now you can call him Detective DiPierro, upped to Detective Specialist in promotion ceremonies at 1 Police Plaza last Jan. 25.

Also promoted, Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper, newly arrived at Bronx Detective Boro, upped to full bird inspector; Soundview’s 4-3 Detective Squad veteran Rene (Birdman) Narvaez making prized first grade rank, and Morris Heights’ 4-6 downstairs/upstairs veteran Gerald Heanue to detective second grade. Congrats.

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