Political Roundup: Bronx Ballots, Clan Jose Rivera, July 18

Political Roundup: Bronx Ballots, Rivera Clan, Urban Youth Program

Bronx ‘Rising Voices’ Ballot Follies Underway 

The county leader of the loosely-knit ‘Rising Voices’ confederation, Richard Soto was at the Bronx BOE overseeing his usual slate of ‘Bizarro’ candidates running across multiple assembly districts. Many naive observers wonder why he runs candidates every year–usually to little success. One naive young staffer for a Bronx Assembly Member was heard to ponder aloud, “Does he make money off this?  Or does he think he’ll get lucky one day and one will eventually win something?” Listen up, son. Bronx Supreme Court Justice Fernando Tapia won his initial civil court judgeship in an upset with help from Richard Soto.

Ischia Bravo. Photo via Facebook

Ischia Bravo. Photo via Facebook

Jose Rivera Versus Ischia Bravo for State Assembly

Former executive director of the Bronx Democratic County Committee Ischia Bravo is expected to face off against incumbent, Jose Rivera for state assembly in the 78th district.

The Daughter Also Rises 

Attempting a comeback is Jose’s disgraced-by-scandal daughter former Assemblyman Naomi Rivera, who is seeking the 80th District’s Female District Leader spot.  Many observers suspect she is looking to retake her assembly seat via special election in 2018 if Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj runs and wins Jimmy Vacca’s City Council seat that is open due to term limits in 2017. Nothing like long term planning and having no shame. [Another source says Rivera ultimately did not submit petition signatures for female district leader.]

Insurgent Power Couple: Michael Beltzer and Samelys Lopez, 'Star-Crossed District Leaders'

Insurgent Power Couple: Michael Beltzer and Samelys Lopez, ‘Star-Crossed District Leaders’

Local Leaders in Bronx Districts Vie for Ballot

“Power couple” activists Samelys Lopez and Michael Beltzer submitted over 3500 signatures (on bullet petitions) to earn spots on the ballot as District Leaders, in the 78th and 85th Assembly Districts, respectively. They assert that they are running to empower their communities to engage more meaningfully in the political process, increase voter turnout and encourage others to run for local and lesser known political positions. Are Bravo, Lopez and Beltzer — all once active in the Bronx Young Democrats — running because they realized “waiting their turn” could take a generation…or more?

Blake Touts 4,000 Petition Signatures and $54K War Chest

Assemblyman Michael Blake says he walked  through more than a few pairs of shoes to collect nearly 4,000 signatures–8X the requirement to get on the ballot. Touts raising more than $54,000, with more than $45,000 in cash on hand. Nearly 60 percent of donations came from within New York State and averaged $211. A far cry from 2014, when he raised nearly a quarter million dollars, mostly from donors outside New York State.

Strong Move On Incumbent Assemblyman Arroyo

Architect Jackson Strong is challenging veteran Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo in the 84th district.  Jackson is running grassroots campaign where he claims to have knocked on thousands of doors in the AD, including that of Arroyo’s grandson.  Jackson, a CB#1 member for six years, is running on a platform of housing affordability (but who isn’t these days).  Strong believes changing the scaffolding law (Section 240) would allow for more construction and development savings, which would lead to more affordable housing opportunity through the Bronx. Construction unions and state trial lawyers association oppose reforming Section 240.

Mr. Salamanca Goes To The Bronx BOE

Frosh Councilman Rafael Salamanca was also “in the house” with his chief of staff – in the middle of the day, in the middle of the workweek – and was also reviewing his opponents petitions with an eye on invalidating their signatures. Salamanca was recently elected in a February special election to replace Maria del Carmen Arroyo who left government for a hefty six-figure executive post with Bronx social services nonprofit giant, Acacia Network.

Governor Cuomo Announces Plan to Expand Urban Youths Job Program

20160718_173231Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an additional $30 million dollars in funding for the Urban Youth Job Program earlier this week, whose goal is to connect at-risk youth with employment opportunities across the state.

From the Unemployment Strikeforce to the Urban Youth Jobs program, we are making smart investments to tackle unemployment in communities where it is most pervasive, and connect tomorrow’s workers with the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century workplace,” said Cuomo at a bill signing ceremony held at Hostos Community College.

Congressman Tim Ryan Calls Attention to Food Deserts

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), joined by activist and actor Shailene Woodley and other nutrition advocates spoke out in favor of increased access to healthy foods for low-income families via the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), earlier this week.

The program is the largest in the fight against hunger and provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families, with over 45 millions Americans receiving SNAP benefits each month.

From Ink Stained Wretch To Party Hack 

Former Newsie Bronx bureau chief, Bob “Kappy” Kappstatter — and now born-again consultant to Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda — joined the County crew at the BOE.  Our spy wants to think both he and Kappy appreciated the absurdity and irony of it all.

Short Takes

  • Asked about buzz saying IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein is a potential candidate for Mayor, our spy expressing a mix of doubt and surprise said, “I always thought he was eying Guv. But then again, Jeff’s an ambitious dreamer and schemer.”
  • Elex lawyer and County killer Sarah Steiner is repping both Assemblyman Michael Blake and State Sen. Gustavo Rivera — neither of whom are favorite sons of the County Dems. Hmm.
  • Conservative CM Fernando Cabrera (and pal of Sen. Rev. Diaz) is taking another tilt at Sen. Rivera. A shadowy Independent Expenditure group run by a “charitable” charter school advocate organization is said to be aiding Cabrera.
  • Convicted perjurer and FBI snitch Nelson Castro dropped his bid to seek his former Assembly seat when he and Hector Ramirez couldn’t come to terms on joining forces. Castro claims AM Victor “Landslide” Pichardo is invisible. 
  • Ol’ Landslide is being challenged by his nemesis Hector “So What If I’m Under Indictment For Election Fraud” Ramirez, who must think that the third (Assembly bid) time will be the charm.
  • Maxine Turner is challenging her former employer CM Vanessa L. Gibson for district leader in AD77. Must not have been a less than stellar reference letter. 
  • Ghost of Eric Stevenson as the jailbird ex-assemblyman’s former aide, Ralph Ponvil, tries to unseat freshman Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. in the 18CD.
  • Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj faces off against challenger Irene Estrada in AD80. This will be Estrada’s third attempt in the past two decades. 

Contributors Koi Germany, Robert Guiffre, and Anthony Rivieccio. 

If you have a political item (conjecture or bochinche), please submit to tips@thebronxchronicle.com, subject line: Political Roundup. 

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