Happy post-Father’s Day to all Bronx dads. (OK, not just Bronx dads.) If you did anything in the Bronx for Father’s Day and have a good pic, please share (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll try to post some. My wife and daughter took me to the NY Botanical Garden for it’s Big Backyard BBQ and Music Festival (photo of great band, Roosevelt Dime, above).
As stated in my last post, debate on Democratic Congressional race in District 13 is on TV tonight at 9 p.m. Charlie Rangel didn’t show up for it.
Speaking of which, here’s two pics of Rangel’s most recent campaign mailing. On the second page, it has four attacks on Espaillat’s record, one with a footnote no. 4, but there is no actual footnote for “4” listed below. And accusing him for failing to pass the DREAM Act, something Espaillat supports, ignores arguments that the Independent Democratic Conference (led by state Senator Jeffrey Klein) put it to a quick vote before it could secure sufficient Republican support to pass it. Espaillat did, however, take part (as did Klein) in the highly unpopular repeal of a tax for commuters to NYC and told the Daily News that he regrets it .
Congressman Charlie Rangel didn’t participate in today’s Bronx debate with challengers Adriano Espaillat, a state senator, and Rev. Michael Walrond, according to BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank and the Daily News. The debate will be broadcast this Monday, June 16 at 9 p.m. on Cablevision channel 67 and Verizon channel 33. The 13th Congressional District began including Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Norwood and Bedford Park, in January 2013 after Rangel defeated Espaillat in the 2012 Democratic primary.
Former Council member Oliver Koppell, a veteran Riverdale-based politician who occupied several other key political positions, may have an uphill climb to defeat incumbent Jeffrey Klein, a Democrat who has formed a separate committee to partner closely with Republicans. Some key former Koppell allies are backing Klein, but
Koppell is gathering support and enthusiastically taking it on. City Limits files a detailed report.
Former assemblyman Eric A. Stevenson is headed behind bars for three years for taking bribes from a company wanting legislation to temporarily ban additional adult day care centers. In February, I reported in City Limits that Governor Cuomo was publicly struggling with a decision of whether to have the election to refill District 79 soon or wait until the regular primary on Sept. 9. The latter date won out and there won’t be an assemblyman in that district for another six months following the general election. The same is true for District 77, an office former-assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson left when she became a member of the City Council.
The city celebrated its Shop Healthy Program in the Bronx. Through advertising, the project highlights healthier foods which the Department of Health says works by drawing more customers to food that’s better for them.
Congressman Charles Rangel, who now represents part of the northwest Bronx, leads challenger Adriano Espaillat, now a state senator, 41 to 32 percent in a poll conducted by the New York Times, NY1, and Siena College. (Data chart included.)
And according to the Daily News, Rangel and another candidate in his district have a lotta dough. And Espaillat? Not so much.
The ninth murder this year in the northeast Bronx’s 47th Precinct took place on East 229th Street yesterday. That’s eight more murders than there were last year at this time. The New York Times covered this problem May 18 as well.
(To find out more about crime in your precinct or neighborhood, click here and here for city data from NYPD and DoITT. Tell Bronx Matters if you think this data is helpful or how it can be more helpful.)
Speaking of food, a historic pizza joint, Patsy’s Pizzeria, is opening a Morris Park location next month, the Daily News reports. According to the story, the 81-year-old Patsy’s is considered to be the first pizzeria that sold pizza by the slice.
The Ghetto Film School, based in Mott Haven, is partnering with 20th Century Fox to open a partner school in Los Angeles, the Daily News reports.
If you’d like to get e-mail updates on Bronx Matters blog posts, see bottom of page at left. Thanks! -Jordan
By Bob Kappstatter
The ever-controversial (and lovin’ it) Bronx state senator and Pentecostal minister Ruben (The Rev) Diaz Sr. —along with a host of city and state Dominican-American politicians — has laughed himself into the President Obama “birther” controversy.
Those electeds may have some ‘splainin’ to do over their lack of protest after the audience at a luncheon meeting of Diaz’ Hispanic clergy organization erupted in loud and long laughter after former Dominican Republic President Hipolito Mejia joked about Obama’s supposed African birthroots.
Mejia, one of two current presidential candidates courting local Dominican voters for the May 20 election , was caught on video in his opening remarks at the April 4 meeting of Diaz’ New York Hispanic Clergy Organization joking that “If Obama who came from Africa and grew up over there can become the President, why can’t any of you reach as high considering you have a more amusing [ethnic] mix than Obama’s?”
While Diaz is shown roaring with laughter along with the rest of the audience, Mejia’s comment has been roundly condemned on the island nation, with 31 of its 32 senators there sending a letter of apology to President Obama.
But as for local city and state electeds at the luncheon, they’ve so far apparently remained silent in condemning the remark – and the response from the politically powerful Diaz and the roomful of conservative Hispanic preachers – whose congregations represent a strong voting bloc.
That includes upper Manhattan state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who’s challenging Rep. Charlie Rangel in a newly redrawn district taking in Espaillat’s district and a newly-added, heavily Dominican western swath of the Bronx.
Also among fellow elected Dominican-Americans in the audience were northern Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, Bronx Councilmember Fernando Cabrera (who’s half Puerto Rican), Assemblymen Marcos Crespo and Nelson Castro and Castro’s female district leader Yudelka Tapia.
Mejia, who has The Rev’s endorsement, also told the group that as president he would never allow gays to marry or weaken the island’s strict anti-abortion laws. Diaz, a conservative-leaning Democrat, fought bitterly against the state legislature’s approval of same-sex marriage and has led a number of anti-abortion protests.
While the story apparently hasn’t made any ink in the English-language media, it showed up on a local blog with the video.
It also showed up in an email sent out on Monday by Bronx political player and former Obama campaign operative Haile Rivera, who called on Mejia to personally apologize to Obama.
We tried in vain all day Tuesday to connect with Diaz, who was in Albany.
If we had, we’d hoped to also bring up an interesting sidenote.
The Rev has been denying for a number of years a persistent rumor that he was really born in the Dominican Republic and not in Puerto Rico.
But we’re sure he can easily clear the issue up, by producing his birth certificate ….
Bob Kappstatter, the former long-time Bronx Bureau Chief and columnist for the Daily News, is an occasional contributor to Bronx Matters.
The New York World reports: “The state Office of Court Administration will reverse the controversial 2004 merger of the Bronx Criminal and Supreme courts, which attorneys have blamed for lengthy delays that infringe on the rights of criminal defendants.” Read more.
Vince Morgan, a former staffer for Congressman Charlie Rangel who challenged his former boss in the 2010 Democratic primary and planned to do so again, has ended his bid and endorsed Adriano Espaillat.
Community Board 1 residents voted unanimously late last month to condemn the process that led to the approval of the deal that paved the way for Fresh Direct to create its new factory in the Harlem River Yards. The board’s district manager, Cedric Loftin, disagrees.
“Mama’s Boys of the Bronx,” the new TLC reality show that follows a bunch of 35-year-old Italian men who still live at home with their mamas and apparently aren’t shy about reporting and discussion their sexual exploits under the same roof, premiered last night. (Video)
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was a critic of stop-and-frisk when Giuliani was mayor, Michael Powell reports.
Woodlawn Cemetery now has a tour of gravesites foodies will love.
A sculpture installed in West Farms, called “For Closure” is “meant to represent the fragility of the housing market.” (Video)
From reader Jack commenting on previous post.
Not sure what Mr. Kappstatter means by “Charlie Rangel totally screwed out of the Bronx.” The maps I’ve seen aren’t too precise, but from what I can see Rangel’s district (the 13th under Mann’s numbering) does move up the far west of the Bronx starting along the Harlem River around Highbridge. It starts jutting further east around University Heights, covering all of Kingsbridge, Bedford Park, and Norwood. A lot of us Bronxites in the Northwest move from Engel to Rangel.
Kappstatter is also wrong about “only Riverdale” staying in Engel’s district. The maps show Woodlawn and a significant portion of Wakefield and other east Bronx neighborhoods (can’t tell if it stretches as far as Co-op City — don’t think so. That would be interesting though, since Co-op City is Engel’s original base. He first won a seat in Congress as a Co-Op City guy.)
I imagine Engel isn’t happy with all the money he spent on lobbyists (including the convicted tax evader Nick Spano!) Frankly though — his district was absurdly drawn to maximize his Jewish vote. I don’t see Engel running in Rockland — he was only up that far to capture the Jewish vote. The question is — is his Riverdale base strong enough to carry him in parts of Westchester where people will have never even heard of him. (Except that he camps out for the State of the Union) My question — who would run against him? Stewart-Cousins would seem to have a good base for this district. Who are some of the ambitious pols in lower-Westchester who may be tempted?
Bob Kappstatter responds:
Nita Lowey vs. Engel?
And Jack is right, Engel’s new district would swing across the top of the Bronx over to Co-op City (Darn those small maps!), but it’s questionable whether he could still pull votes from there after Joe Crowley (who would lose it in his new district) has had it for a number of years.
Professional political numbersmeister Jerry Skurnik pointed out to me that “Engel’s present district is only 40% Bronx and he hasn’t faced a serious Westchester or Rockland opponent since 2002.”
As for Charlie Rangel, although the new district DOES cut into a piece of the northwest Bronx, Charlie (who’s father was Puerto Rican) would being running in an overwhelming Latino district (55.1% Hispanic, 35.% black), with a large number of Hispanic electeds already chomping at the bit to run there.
“Carlito” might/maybe squeeze through in a primary if they all pile in and dilute the vote.
Right now, this is all so much political bloviating. We shall see, and let the games begin!