a bronx tale
During a rare visit to the Bronx today, some of Bill de Blasio’s most prominent backers pushed back on charges that the mayoral front-runner has spent too little time in the borough while campaigning for mayor.
During last night’s final debate, Mr. de Blasio was forced to respond to criticism that he’d spent too much time in Manhattan and Park Slope and not enough time in places like the Bronx and the Rockaways since securing the Democratic nomination.
Mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio made a rare appearance in the Bronx today, greeting excited voters, handing out candy to trick-or-treating kids and talking up his campaign’s get-out-the-vote efforts in the election’s final stretch.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is not a fan of famed graffiti artist Banksy’s latest work.
Mr. Diaz Jr. fired off a statement today chastising the British artist for one of his latest piece, which depicts a child scrawling “Ghetto 4 Life” on a wall in the South Bronx as a butler ironically stands by.
Anthony Weiner took one of his strongest shots yet against Mayor Michael Bloomberg Sunday afternoon, criticizing the mayor’s attitude dealing with teachers and the teachers’ union.
“Would any business treat its employees—meaning teachers—as badly as their boss is treating them?” the ex-congressman said following a Memorial Day service in Co-op City in the Bronx.
After a frenzied meet-and-greet with commuters in Harlem, ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner made his first appearance–that we know about–at a mayoral forum last night in the Riverdale section of The Bronx, where he tried to make a case to voters about why they should consider electing him again.
“For me, it’s good to be anywhere,” Mr. Weiner told members of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club–one of the few clubs he said endorsed him back in 2005–a day after formally jumping into the race with a video posted on his campaign website.
Not So Fresh Feeling
The plan to open a new headquarters for online grocer FreshDirect in the the Bronx continues to draw a mixed reception from local politicians and community members. Today, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito sent a letter to the NYC Industrial Development Agency asking them to slow the approval process for the $74 million in tax exemptions being provided to the company as part of a $127.8 million package of grants, tax credits and other incentives from the City, the State, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. Meanwhile, Mr. Diaz and the BOEDC announced they reached an agreement with FreshDirect to address concerns of those opposed to the plan and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in support of the FreshDirect facility.
Keepin' It Fresh
Local activists in The Bronx have criticized the deal to keep the headquarters of online grocer FreshDirect in the five boroughs as insufficiently transparent and an improper use of city funds, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the project at a press conference this morning.
“We don’t go negotiate deals open, nobody would ever deal with the city, you couldn’t negotiate a deal,” Mayor Bloomberg said in response to a question from The Politicker.
Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced the online grocer FreshDirect will be setting up shop in the Bronx with an expanded headquarters and operations center at Harlem River Yards. The trio of New York politicians beat out New Jersey and that state’s governor, Chris Christie, who aggressively lobbied and offered a $100 million bid to woo the FreshDirect facility across the state line.
FreshDirect will spend $112.6 million on the headquarters, which will be augmented by $127.8 million in grants, tax credits and other incentives from the City, the State, Borough President Diaz’s office and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz is offended by the plan to keep Congressman Charlie Rangel in Washington by dramatically changing the contours of his district to include parts of The Bronx and Westchester.
“What a joke! What a farce! What a lack of respect to Sheldon Silver, to the rest of the Assembly members and to the people of the Bronx!” Mr. Diaz said in a statement sent out today. “We do not need Charles Rangel to come to the Bronx.”
The Politicker first reported the proposal to change Rangel’s district after Veteran Assemblyman and Harlem powerbroker Herman “Denny” Farrell revealed it at a town hall meeting last Friday. Mr. Farrell said the plan would give Mr. Rangel “a district that can be won” because his longtime stronghold in Harlem is “no longer black.”
Eyes on the Prize
According to sources familiar with the situation, State Senator Adriano Espaillat plans to run for the House of Representatives if a predominantly Latino Congressional District is drawn in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx when the redistricting process is completed later this year. If his Congressional campaign is successful, Senator Espaillat would be the first Dominican in the House of Representatives.
In a boost to Senator Espaillat’s congressional chances, sources indicate his longtime rival, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, is leaning toward announcing his support of Mr. Espaillat’s potential Congressional campaign.
Congressman Charlie Rangel currently represents much of the area, but Mr. Espaillat is not thought to desire a direct match with the veteran representative.