Saying No to Vito
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.
His opponents have announced a protest outside of his first City Council fund-raiser tomorrow, but Assemblyman Vito Lopez told Politicker he’s not rattled by their efforts.
“It seems like they’re putting a lot of time and energy into preventing me from running, even though I haven’t yet decided to run,” Mr. Lopez, the ex-Brooklyn Democratic Party boss facing allegations that he repeatedly sexually harassed staffers, explained earlier today. “You wonder–they’re a reform group–why would they want to spend energy to prevent somebody from running in an election? That doesn’t seem like reform.”
La Vida Lopez
The New Kings Democrats went there, and fast.
Only a couple hours after news broke that Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who is battling sexual harassment allegations, registered a campaign account for a City Council run, the Democratic club launched a “molester free zone” campaign, complete with a fairly direct flier, illustrating exactly how negative the marquee race will get should Mr. Lopez officially enter it.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez says he’s still mulling a run for the City Council, but two mayoral candidates have already endorsed his potential opponent in the race. Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio offered their formal endorsements today for Antonio Reynoso, the chosen candidate of Brooklyn’s anti-Lopez faction to replace term-limited Councilwoman Diana Reyna.
Neither endorsement is surprising. Although Mr. Lopez, the former head of Brooklyn’s Democratic Party, still has a large footprint in the Bushwick-based district, he became politically radioactive following sexual harassment allegations last year. The controversy furthermore sent a shockwave through the City Council’s redistricting process when the lines were allegedly redrawn for Mr. Lopez’s benefit. Ms. Quinn had a particularly harsh reaction to the accusations and subsequently tabled the map, vowed to defeat Mr. Lopez and held a fundraiser for Mr. Reynoso.
A little over a month ago, the New York Post reported on the possibility of Assemblyman Vito Lopez running for term-limited Councilwoman Diana Reyna’s seat in 2013, despite only the recent sexual harassment scandal that left his brand badly broken.
We, in addition to many Brooklyn politicos in the area, were initially very skeptical of the idea. After all, surely he would be too politically toxic to launch a campaign for a new office. However, sources say Mr. Lopez is “seriously considering” the move and has continued to reach out to friends and supporters to discuss the campaign since the Post first broke the news.
Members of the City Council’s Queens delegation are fighting back against the Department of Education’s plan to close eight schools in Queens. All of the schools were part of the Restart or Transformation model programs. The delegations held a rally against the closures yeasterday and is sending a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
“The common dominator to the eight schools slated to be closed is that they all service high rates of English Language Learners and Special Needs children,” Councilwoman Diana Reyna said at the rally. “By turning his back to students with the highest need, Mayor Bloomberg is abandoning the principle of equal opportunity for all children regardless of race or disability. This Mayor claims to be known as the “Education Mayor,” but I think a more accurate title is the ‘Highest School Dropout Mayor.’”
Councilwoman Diana Reyna’s Chief of Staff, Antonio Reynoso, who had long been rumored to have interest in her seat in 2013, is now talking openly about it.
“Born and raised in this district, I really feel that I’ve got a pulse on the community. I’ve been here, and I’ve lived it, and I know the issues that affect this community,” Mr. Reynoso said in a recent interview with Roberto Perez. “As a leader and a representative, I’ll be sure to represent the interests of my community, and this community in the 34th District.”
54th Assembly District
A reader passed along the following invitation to a fundraiser hosted by Brooklyn Councilwoman Diana Reyna which features Council Speaker Christine Quinn as a host.
Normally, a fundraiser for a council member headlined by the leader of the body would hardly matter for much, but in this case Reyna is a sworn foe of powerful Brooklyn Democratic Party head Vito Lopez.
Make the Road NY community organizer Jesus Gonzalez is slated to make his campaign for the State Assembly official tomorrow alongside a host of Brooklyn elected officials, including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Council Members Diana Reyna and Charles Barron.
Gonzalez has been coy about his intentions to run for the seat even as he Read More