Political Buzz: REBNY Gala, Blake and the IDC


Republican Bizman John Cerini to Announce 13th Council Bid Tomorrow

Local small business owner, John Cerini, will announce his candidacy for New York City Council during the Bronx GOP’s field office grand opening/open house this Saturday, January 28 at 3:00PM at 3029 Middletown Road in Pelham Bay.

(Pictured) Public Advocate Letitia James, REBNY President John Banks, Mayor Bill de Blasio and developer Hal Fetner of Fetner Properties.

(Pictured) Public Advocate Letitia James, REBNY President John Banks, Mayor Bill de Blasio and developer Hal Fetner of Fetner Properties.


Last week, the Real Estate Board of New York held its annual gala.  REBNY’s annual banquet attracts a veritable who’s who’s in New York City, although this year, some developers skipped the event to attend Donald J. Trump’s presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.  Among the politicos attending, Public Advocate Letitia James, Mayor de Blasio,and Bronx Democrats consigliere Stanley K. Schlein. Paul Massey, a real estate executive circulated around the room talking about the successful fundraising start to his run for mayor.


From left: Sid Davidoff of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron; John Banks of Real Estate Board of New York, attorney Stanley Schlein. Photo credit: The Real Deal

From left: Sid Davidoff of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, John Banks of Real Estate Board of New York, attorney Stanley Schlein. Photo credit: The Real Deal

Harlem City Council Special Election

Nearly a dozen candidates have filed to run in the February 14 special election to fill the Harlem City Council (District 9) seat left vacant when Inez Dickens joined the State Assembly in January. Eleven candidates have filed fundraising reports with the NYC Campaign Finance Board. And it appears at least two candidates — Larry Scott Blackmon and Mamadou Drame — may be ruled off the ballot because staff at the city’s Board of Elections found  that their independent party names (in the City Charter-mandated nonpartisan election) were too similar to major party names. The NYC Board of Elections Commissioners meet next Tuesday to vote on the staff recommendations.

BP Diaz, Gillibrand Backs Blake for DNC Vice Chair

Assemblyman Michael Blake’s campaign train for one of four Democratic National Committee Vice Chair posts is quickly gaining momentum as it hurls towards the February 26 vote in Washington DC. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in endorsing Blake. Gillibrand said Blake would “bring invigorating change in leadership to the [Democratic] Party.”  The Diaz and Gillibrand endorsements follows those of over 20 DNC voting members, state party leaders and elected officials from across the country.

IDC Leader Jeff Klein Sitting Pretty in the Cat-Bird Seat

This week, Bronx-Westchester Senator Jeff Klein was the cat’s meow as his Independent Democrats Conference gained an eighth member — Senator Jose Peralta, who represents Corona, Queens. The breakaway conference now boasts an African American (Senator Jesse Hamilton III/Bklyn) and two Hispanics (Peralta and Washington Heights freshman Senator Marisol Alcantara). A spokesman for the mainline Democratic conference lamented, “we have Democrats here in New York propping up an artificial Republican Majority.”  Adding, “We need elected leaders that will put people ahead of personal gain.” A Working Families spokesman blamed Governor Cuomo for the new IDC addition: “The governor has consistently failed to unite his own party against Trump Republicans.”

Remember When…

Last fall, Democratic State Senate insiders claimed Democrats were competitive in nine districts but only need two to flip control of the Senate from GOP to Democratic control. You may recall that despite Gov. Cuomo’s public efforts to work for a Democratic majority, many of those Senate Democrats didn’t trust him. As it turns out it didn’t matter because the Trump wave upstate and on Long Island enabled Republicans to maintain outright control  of the Senate Chamber. Democrats will have to wait until 2019 to show that they can be better lawmaking than their 2009 colleagues who turned the Senate into a national laughingstock.

Moves Behind the Move Continue

Convicted felon and former Bronx State Senator Efrain Gonzalez, Jr. was unable to vote last year — even though his federal term of incarceration ended last August.  At the time, a spokesperson at the City BOE said Gonzalez was “not active and not in the [poll] book.” She said that Gonzalez will have to re-register when his parole is completed this year. Meanwhile, Gonzalez is still trying to vacate his conviction. Efrain says he’s still repaying his $600/month court-ordered restitution. And he is looking to have his out-of-state travel restriction lifted so he may visit his hometown of Coamo, PR.


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