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.
Although New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg died this morning, his memory lives on, according to two of his former colleagues from across the Hudson River. Read More
Land of Rand
It’s not just conservatives who are critiquing Sen. Chuck Schumer and the rest of the so-called “Gang of Eight” for their immigration bill.
Freshman Congresswoman Grace Meng, a steady liberal hand, is also urging to re-assess the latest version of the proposed federal immigration overhaul. But her warnings come with a unique twist: potential damage to Asian-American immigrant families.
In her first such letter to lawmakers on a major piece of legislation, Ms. Meng, New York’s first Asian-American Congresswoman, told Mr. Schumer, New York’s most politically powerful voice in Washington, that she has concerns about certain provisions of the sweeping reform bill, which is set to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
Earlier this week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul reportedly endorsed a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. And although Mr. Paul disputes that exact phrasing to describe his speech, it was a notable announcement from the Tea Party conservative as the U.S. Congress debates the issue. Indeed, New York’s own Senator Chuck Schumer, part of a bipartisan octet negotiating a comprehensive immigration bill, praised the move last night.
“I think the bottom line is having Rand Paul come out for something not that far away from our group of eight is really helpful,” Mr. Schumer said on Inside City Hall. “After all, he’s the hard right. He’s the Tea Party. And if he can be for it, so can most Republicans. And that gives me a lot of hope we can pass a bill in both the Senate and the House. And the House will be even tougher than the Senate.”
Senator Chuck Schumer may have broken the record for most puns crammed into a political press release with his response to the news five people and two companies were busted by federal officials for illegally smuggling honey from China. Though his statement was quite brief, Mr. Schumer managed to fill it with an un-bee-lievably high number of honey-themed puns.
“This successful sting operation is sure to be a buzz kill for would-be honey smugglers,” Mr. Schumer said. “For too long, foreign smuggling of this product has created a sticky situation for domestic honey producers. We need a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to honey laundering.”
Earlier this morning, Democratic lawmakers gathered in Washington D.C. to unveil the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which is legislation that would ban “military-style” assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. The press conference announcing the bill featured New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, the legislation’s House sponsor, as its first speaker. Needless to say, Ms. McCarthy–whose husband was killed in a 1993 shooting spree on the Long Island Rail Road–made it clear it wasn’t going to be a speech that stuck to the script.
“This battle has been a very lonely battle for many, many years,” Ms. McCarthy began. “You know, a lot of words can be said. I’ve got a great speech here and my staff worked on it a long time and I’m probably going to do what they always tell me not to do. That means just talk from my heart.”
Ms. McCarthy expressed particular frustration that gun control legislation has stalled in Congress but argued that the recent massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school would be the catalyst for change.
Cup of Joe
WASHINGTON D.C. — Long Island chef Butch Yamali is telling Senator Chuck Schumer to go duck himself after the Inauguration.
Senator Schumer was able to put his own New York-centric spin on today’s festivities in his capacity as chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. However, Mr. Yamali doesn’t feel Mr. Schumer went far enough to honor his home state and is holding a press conference tomorrow to “formally rebuke” the senator for not having Long Island duck at the inaugural meal at the Capitol Building.
Desperately Seeking Schumer
At the inaugural reception earlier this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden proved he still has the ability to go off script.
As various speakers–including President Barack Obama–stood behind the room’s podium to offer toasts, Mr. Biden offered a heap of praise on Mr. Obama before quickly announcing his toast would instead go to one of his former colleagues in the U.S. Senate, New York’s Chuck Schumer.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn appeared at a Greenwich Village library this morning to unveil a 9/11 tile memorial, but the question that was clearly on everyone’s mind was a New York Times story about Mayor Michael Bloomberg trying to recruit a host of political heavyweights to enter this year’s mayoral race. Ms. Quinn, who has all-but-officially announced her campaign and has enjoyed a close relationship with the mayor, deemed the reports he has tried to woo other potential successors as “just silly.”
“I’m not going to comment on silly political parlor games, it’s just silly,” Ms. Quinn said. “When the mayor’s race starts, what New Yorkers are going to be focused on in is who has the best record…trust me I’m happy to put my record up against anybody.”
Late last night, the New York Times reported Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his advisers have reached out to at least a small slew of big-name candidates to run for Mayor of New York City, ranging from Senator Chuck Schumer to New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman. The news was reported as a slight to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, widely thought to be Mr. Bloomberg’s preferred candidate in the race. However, Mr. Bloomberg denied the report on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier today.
“The article was so erroneous,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “It goes after one of the people who’s really made a difference in this city, Chris Quinn, our speaker in the City Council, who really has done a great job. Without her, it would have been a lot tougher, let me tell you.”