Today’s news:

All Hail Melissa

Bronx Times

WHAT A FINISH!

We had sources all over the place, with some telling us South Bronx/East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito had a solid lock on 30 councilmember votes going into Wednesday, Jan. 8’s election for Council Speaker, with 26 needed to win. Other sources said Manhattan’s Dan Garodnick, backed by Bronx Dem Party boss Carl Heastie and Queens Boss Joe Crowley, was two votes away from snatching victory from Melissa as of the day before the vote.

Then the day of the vote, Garodnick withdrew and Melissa had the entire 51-member council vote.

As one insider told us, she ALWAYS had the votes, while the other side – read that Heastie and Crowley’s camps – were blowing smoke up a certain part of the council and media’s anatomy.

Stay tuned for next week’s column, where we’ll be picking through the rubble on this one.

Meanwhile....

WINNERS

Among the Bronx crowd supporting Melissa:

Newly elected Councilman Richie Torres who formally nominated her at the vote, former Bronx Boro Prez Freddy Ferrer, E. Harlem/South Bronx state Senator Jose M. Serrano, state Senator Gustavo Rivera, and gay activist and Democratic operative Lewis Goldstein.

PIT BULL

Senator Jeff Klein don’t take no prisoners when it comes to even a hint of a challenge. That’s why we hear - from OTHER published sources (Thanks a pile, Jeff!) that he’s just added pit bull NY Post investigative reporter Candice Giove as his new communications director.

Giove, out of the Riverdale Press-Review, has done a number of investigative pieces, including an embarassing one on then Morris Park Assemblywoman Naomi (Snooki) Rivera, complete with sexy Facebook page lingerie shots, and her “boytoy” beau she had working part-time on her staff while he was drawing a full-time paycheck from the Board of Ed in Brooklyn.

We suspect Giove will be doing her best to chop now ex-City Councilman Ollie Koppell off at the knees if he goes ahead with a rumored challenge to Jeff for his Senate seat. Ollie just can’t keep away from public service. Even after serving as state Attorney General, he served a stretch as president of his local school district board.

THREEFER

Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. managed to do the hat trick at Borough Hall on Thursday, Jan. 9, holding his inauguration ceremony, officially kicking off the Bronx’s year-round centennial celebration (it officially became a county in 1914), and hosting the swearing in of the entire Bronx City Council delegation.

For frosting on the cake, Diaz and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce also unveiled a commemorative plaque celebrating the centennial, while the Empire State Building was lit that night in the colors of the Bronx flag (orange, white and blue ).

Meanwhile, Ruben and staffers are busy grinding out his annual rah-rah State of the Borough, set for Thursday, Feb. 20 at Hostos College on the Grand Conc.

RIVERA CHALLENGES

Looks like veteran Assemblyman Jose (Papi) Rivera may have some early challengers lining up for his Fordham/Kingsbrige/Tremont seat. We hear former challenger Ricky Martinez and ex-Community Board 7 District Manager Fernando Tirado could both eying runs against Jose. Stay tuned.

COP CORNER

All in the family. It’s a real cop family affair for Inspector Kevin Harrington over at Bronx Boro Command. His niece and nephew just graduated from the Police Academy to join his four brothers, two brothers-in-law and sister-in-law on the job.

“I’ve got one brother in the Fire Department,” wisecracked Kevin, “but we don’t talk to him.”

Major move. Detective Felix Ramos over at the 4-8 Squad in E. Tremont swung over the Major Case Squad by new boss, Lt. Ralph Cilento, who formerly ran the 4-8. Congrats, pal.

RETIRING

Riverdale resident Joe O’Brien kicking it in after 16 years as silver-tongued spokesman for Congressman Eliot Engel. This after lengthy stints in the mayor’s office and 11 years as an ink-stained wretch at United Press International. We’ll miss that quick Irish wit. Best of luck, pal.

RECORD RECORD

Bronxtalk cable-TV host Gary Axelbank doing some housecleaning recently, paring down 7,000 vinyl records collected during 15 younger years as a late night rock ‘n’ roll DJ at WDHA in Dover, NJ. and at WRNW in Westchester County. Donating 2,100 of them to Goodwill.

OH MAMA!

Here’s an unabashed plug to the Bronxmama website at bronxmama.com/ for its list of 50 things to do in the Bronx in 2014. Check it out.

CONDOLENCES

To Miriam Schwartz, female district leader in the 80th Assembly District in Morris Park, on the loss of her husband Arthur “Artie” Schwartz at age 86.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS:

Jan. 2 - Joe Thompson, head of White Plains Road Business Improvement District and 49 Precinct Community Council.

Jan 10 - Actor Sal Mineo (1939 - 1976)

BRONX QUOTE

“I was born in Harlem, raised in the South Bronx, went to public school, got out of public college, went into the Army, and then I just stuck with it.” – Colin Powell

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