a bronx tale
Nelson Castro and Victor Pichardo have a few things in common. They’re both ambitious, Dominican-American and hand-picked candidates of the Bronx Democratic machine.
But Mr. Pichardo, 28, is hoping to traverse a very different path than Mr. Castro, the fallen former Bronx assemblyman revealed in April to have been a wired-up informant for almost his entire Albany tenure.
Forced to resign his West Bronx seat in April, Mr. Castro has created a rare open race in the borough where the diplomatic Mr. Pichardo, backed by the Bronx Democratic Party and powerful labor unions like the Hotel Trades Council, is poised to win in September.
Strongly Worded Letters
One City Council member was not pleased with a televised mayoral debate held on Wednesday, but her ire was reserved for the questioned asked, not the answers given.
In a letter obtained by Politicker, Councilwoman Annabel Palma slammed NY1, NY1 Noticias and the Latino Leadership Institute, who hosted the debate focused on Latino issues. Specifically, Ms. Palma accused the organizations of turning the debate from “substance” into “farce.”
I want candy
Albany is apparently a sweet place to be.
In his latest “What You Should Know” missive, State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. wrote that the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats governing the State Senate with Republicans, is dominating Albany and gobbling up all of the “candies” that Democrats can’t feast upon any more.
Indicted Assemblyman Eric Stevenson will today lose his executive post with the Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus, multiple sources told Politicker.
Mr. Stevenson, arrested in April for allegedly accepting $20,000 in bribes to steer legislation, is not seeking re-election as second vice president of the caucus. He must submit a letter of resignation to officially quit the caucus altogether, however.
The influential 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers Union weighed in on two City Council races today, boosting Brooklyn’s Carlos Menchaca and the Bronx’s Ritchie Torres, in their bid for office this year.
“Carlos Menchaca has the background, experience, and judgment working people need in the City Council,” Kevin Finnegan, 1199′s political director, said in a statement. “A product of Bronx public housing and Bronx public schools, Ritchie Torres reflects the community he is running to represent in City Hall,” he said in another
Ben Kallos, a candidate for City Council on the Upper East Side, was apparently offering campaign internships in the south Bronx.
That was according to the campaign website of Pedro Alvarez, a Bronx City Council candidate, which bore a striking resemblance to the website of Mr. Kallos. Under an “internships” section that was removed after Politicker contacted the Alvarez campaign, the text was identical to the Kallos site, even going as far as to mention Mr. Kallos several times.
As the four biggest Democratic mayoral campaigns push against one another for every voter in the five boroughs, their focus has often turned to the Bronx, home to constituencies that none of them can lay natural claim to.
And, earlier today, former Comptroller Bill Thompson was the latest to announce Bronx officials’ endorsements in the form of Congressman José Serrano and his son, State Senator José Serrano. The duo labeled Mr. Thompson a “coalition builder” who can reach out to their heavily Hispanic communities.
Church & State
Cops resemble “slave catchers.” Sal Albanese never smoked a joint. The Bloomberg Administration has locked the men of God out of City Hall.
These were all arguments presented at yesterday’s peculiar mayoral forum, moderated by clergymen in the Bronx.
“How do you make the city safe with the thugs who are running around from the police department undercover who are from the outer boroughs and Long Island?” Randy Credico, a comedian and long-shot mayoral candidate, boomed. “They have thousands of undercover cops that are whacked out on steroids, going around like slave catchers, this is true, like slave catchers did back in the 1860′s and 1850′s in the wake of the fugitive slave law.”
As the fiery Rev. Rubén Díaz Sr., a New York State Senator, thundered against same-sex marriage in the nation’s capital, his son, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., was about to do the very opposite. The younger Díaz was joining a wave of politicians who have recently reversed their positions in favor of gay marriage, but his father said he was unswayed by the momentum against him.
“Marriage is sacred. Marriage is an institution established by God and it should stay that way,” he said. “The majority is not always right. 2,000 years ago the majority chose the rabbi and rejected Jesus. Now, the majority are rejecting the Bible and not choosing Jesus. I know my conviction and I know I will not change my view. I could be only one in the whole world and I would not change my view.”
As expected, Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro, who wore a wire to help indict his colleague, Eric Stevenson, announced his resignation today. Stepping down from office, in addition to cooperating with federal authorities, were steps he took in order to avoid prosecution himself.
“Today I announce that I am resigning my seat in the New York State Assembly, effective Monday, April 8, 2013,” Mr. Castro said in the statement, which can be viewed in full below. “On July 31, 2009, I was indicted by a Bronx County Grand Jury for committing perjury in a 2008 civil matter, held prior to my election to the Assembly. I appreciate the seriousness of my misconduct. Thereafter, I agreed to cooperate with …. various investigations aimed at rooting out public corruption.”