The Coming Council | City Council Watch

Seth Barron_Daily CallerThe Coming Council | Seth Barron

In considering the run-up to the 2018 Speaker election, we have to remember that the next council will have a different composition from the current one…though not by much. Almost all of the existing councilmembers are eligible for re-election.

Here is a list of the term-limited councilmembers, along with a few notes on their likely replacements. See if you can detect any pattern.

Annabel Palma. State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is said to be interested in the job, and will probably get it. Assuming he wins, the council will have two ordained Puerto Rican evangelical ministers. (Fernando Cabrera is half Puerto Rican/half Dominican.)

Jimmy Vacca. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj can have the council seat for the asking.

Melissa Mark-Viverito. MMV wants her deputy chief of staff Diana Ayala to succeed her but her former opponent Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez will have the inside track to win the seat.

Dan Garodnick. There is a host of contenders for the seat, and with the amount of money that will probably be raised in this race it is hard at this moment to pick a winner. Among some of the likely candidates are:

Renee Cafaro, an Ohio mall heiress who lives in the Plaza;

Keith Powers, former staffer for Jonathan Bing and currently working at Peter Vallone’s lobbying firm;

Jeff Mailman, Liz Crowley staffer; has a twin brother and a campaign website;

Marti Speranza, state committeewoman;

Bessie Schacter, state committeewoman;

**ADDITION** Mark Thompson.  Executive at powerhouse lobbyist Capalino, Thompson wanted to run in 2013 when it seemed like Garodnick was going to run for comptroller.  Thompson got Ed Koch’s (!) endorsement.

Rosie Mendez. Carlina Rivera is likely to take over this seat, with biker/pastor Rick del Rio–who challenged Mendez in 2013–putting up a fight. Rivera has worked for the Good Old Lower East Side for several years and is well regarded by local clubs and elected officials. However if Rick del Rio and Ruben Sr. both win, then there will be three Puerto Rican evangelical pastors in the council.

Inez Dickens. Dickens will probably resign from the council to take over Keith Wright’s assembly spot when he wins Charlie Rangel’s congressional seat. I don’t know enough about the current roster of likely candidates in Harlem at this point to venture a guess. However, it will probably be whomever Rangel, Wright and Dickens get behind.

Vinnie Gentile. Though Justin Brannan, straightedge punk rocker and Gentile’s staffer, andLinda Sarsour, professional self-promoter, have been frequently discussed as likely candidates to succeed Gentile after 15 years, Peter Abbate will probably resign his assembly seat to join the council.

Darlene Mealy. Henry Butler is the former chair of Brooklyn CB 3 and currently district manager. He is also President of VIDA (Vanguard Independent Democratic Association), which was Al Vann’s and Robert Cornegy’s base. Butler has a pretty good shot. Also in the running may be Alicka Ampry-Samuel, who is Latrice Walker’s chief of staff, and who ran for the seat in 2005.

That’s it. Only eight CMs are term-limited. Notice that half of their seats will probably be filled by existing state legislators. An effect of the Council’s awesome salary “reform” has been to make the seat even more attractive for party insiders who are tired of schlepping to Albany, for only half the money and double the campaigning.

The odd case of the Council’s own dangling man Ruben Wills remains to be disposed of, however. After not showing up for work so far in 2016, it is hard to imagine he is planning to run for re-election. How is it he hasn’t gone to trial yet?

But as for the other 42 CMs, it is pretty safe to say that they will all be elected again. You have to be pretty bad to lose re-election to the Council. Last time Sara Gonzalez was the only CM to be defeated, and she was egregiously bad, even by existing standards.

Speaker-wise, it is safe to assume that Gjonaj and Diaz will both go along with whatever Bronx County boss Crespo decides. Similarly, the probable Brooklyn CMs will stand with Seddio. Manhattan is always a mixed bag when it comes to blocs. The Progressive Caucus is seeking to add a member or two to its eroding coalition, but the winds may be blowing the other way. Rosie Mendez never joined up, so why should Carlina Rivera? Robert Rodriguez is no MMV ally, and already has his own alliances in Albany. A Dickens/Wright proxy is not going to throw in with the Progs either.

So if things shake out as they did last time, with Bronx/Queens versus Brooklyn/Progs, then the independent votes of Manhattan could play an important role. Keep posted to City Council Watch for more detailed analysis.

ITEM: Which Astoria councilman received a $2500 contribution from Solomon Rubin, the CEO of the Allure Group, which made $72 million on the Rivington House deal? Costa Constantinides ducked repeated questions about how he knew Rubin, or why he got the contribution. The CM’s aide informed City Council Watch that he was returning the money…though the CFB shows no refund date on the item.

ITEM: Over Memorial Day weekend Melissa Mark-Viverito tweeted multiple times that it was the anniversary of the arrest of her hero Oscar Lopez Rivera…who is, after all, in prison for his involvement in bombing plots that killed people in New York City. Then on Memorial Day itself she put out a tone-deaf statement about veterans, as though she doesn’t get the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

ITEM: When Bill de Blasio says “I think investigations are unfortunately, in modern American public life, they are part of the [inaudible] now. You can basically assume there will be investigations,” does he understand that the only other people who talk about criminal investigations as part of the job description, are criminals?

City Council Watch is a good government, anti-corruption muckraking project established by Seth Barron. He can be reached at Follow on Twitter at @NYCCouncilWatch.

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