As the new councilman for District 34, which includes Williamsburg and portions of Bushwick in Brooklyn and South Ridgewood in Queens, Councilman Antonio Reynoso personally understands the issues of his constituents.
He was born, bred and still lives in Williamsburg, a neighborhood he hopes never to leave. Plus, Mr. Reynoso spent seven years under the tutelage of his predecessor, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, working as her budget director, legislative director and, eventually, chief of staff until he quit to campaign for her seat.
Veni vidi vito
Council Speaker Christine Quinn set out to do two things yesterday evening: gather Latino voters for her mayoral bid and undermine scandal-scarred Vito Lopez’s own campaign for the City Council.
Ms. Quinn, the one-time mayoral front-runner, trudged up and down Williamsburg staircases with Mr. Lopez’s electoral rival Antonio Reynoso, the 30 year-old former council staffer the Democratic establishment hopes can block Mr. Lopez from a second act in politics.
After being forced to resigned after a lurid sexual harassment scandal that tarnished powerful Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, now-City Council candidate Vito Lopez has become the leper of the Democratic establishment, shunned by formerly loyal supporters and castigated in the harshest terms.
But ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is locked in an increasingly negative race for comptroller, stands out as the rare candidate willing to offer a few kind words.
The Battle for Bushwick
Former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who resigned after a sexual harassment scandal and is now running for City Council, has a background that is basically made for an attack ad. For example: extremely lurid reports of official misconduct.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t send out negative mailers of his own.
While two scandal-scarred pols hog the media spotlight, another fallen candidate is laying the groundwork for a return to power.
Vito Lopez, the former Democratic boss forced to resign his Assembly seat in disgrace, raised almost $20,000 during the latest filing period and has filed the necessary signatures to make it on the ballot. And–observers say–he just might win.
“Vito is a highly formidable candidate,” an ally of Mr. Lopez’s opponent, Antonio Reynoso, told Politicker today. “He is the favorite in this race.”
As he contemplates a run for City Council, scandal-scarred Vito Lopez isn’t getting any more popular just because he resigned from the State Assembly on Monday.
That was made abundantly clear at a City Hall rally yesterday, where a bevy of women legislators and candidates, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Councilwoman Diana Reyna, again denounced Mr. Lopez’s candidacy and endorsed the disgraced pol’s would-be rival, Antonio Reynoso.
The week before Vito Lopez resigned, the state ethics commission released a scathing 68-page report that detailed a lurid pattern of abuse in his district office.
According to the allegations, the former assemblyman once lamented the existence of statutory rape laws in the presence of a 14-year-old intern. Mr. Lopez demanded massages from female staffers, including one who cried and expressed her discomfort as a former rape victim. At a bar one evening, he grabbed an employee’s hands from across the table. When she tried to pull away, he tightened his grip. When she began to cry, Mr. Lopez said he’d release her only after she counted to 60. When she did, he stared at her for the full minute.
After resigning from his Assembly seat on Monday morning, Mr. Lopez is said to be contemplating a seemingly unfathomable second act: running for City Council. Given the accusations against him, what’s more surprising is that even his detractors acknowledge that Mr. Lopez actually has a viable path to victory.
And Stay out!
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is throwing her weight–and campaign resources–behind City Council candidate Antonio Reynoso in an effort to keep disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez from wining a seat on the council.
Ms. Quinn’s campaign announced the launch of a “Women for Reynoso” campaign Friday, which will “rally women throughout New York in support of Antonio Reynoso and to make sure that Vito Lopez’s career in government comes to an end.”
Describing his conduct as “nauseating,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn again called on disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez to resign from office, but held her fire when it came to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
A day after the release of a scathing report detailing Mr. Lopez’s alleged sexual harassment of numerous young female staffers, Ms. Quinn said Mr. Lopez had no business serving in elected office–much less running for the City Council–and urged New Yorkers to do anything they can to keep him out of City Hall.
His mouth buried in a bullhorn, Lincoln Restler howled at the tinted windows in front of him.
“I see you didn’t bring your daughters to dinner!” the Democratic activist shouted at a slew of dark-suited men slipping soundlessly into the sumptuous Williamsburg restaurant.
“Ooh,” mumbled a grinning police officer. “That was harsh.”