City Councilman Oliver Koppell will endorse Mayor Michael Bloomberg's re-election bid, he said during a phone conversation late this morning.
Mr. Koppell is endorsing Mr. Bloomberg because he feels the mayor has been an effective administrator, he said.
But he later added he's also endorsing Mr. Bloomberg in part based on the belief that the mayor — who many say has a fondness for innovation that comes with a resistance to criticism — would be more receptive to Mr. Koppell's views if he made the endorsement.
"The implication was that I would be viewed more as part of the team," Mr. Koppell said, if he issued an endorsement. However, he said, the Bloomberg campaign made "no specific promise" that reaching across party lines would get him a better seat at the table.
The Bloomberg campaign was not immediately available for comment.
The councilman's reasons were mainly based in the mayor's record, he said.
"I’m doing it because I believe he’s been a very good manager of the city," said Mr. Koppell. "He, with the Council, have put us in a position where notwithstanding the deep recession on Wall Street the city’s in an even keel financially, better than most."
He also cited improvements in education and the administration's willingness to work with local residents to tighten height restrictions in Riverdale/Kingsbridge-area zoning law.
Mr. Koppell, a Democrat who won his party's primary by an overwhelming margin thanks in part to the backing of a local political club, is bucking both his party and his closest political allies by making this endorsement.
"It’s very disappointing that Oliver has endorsed a Republican candidate," said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, second in command of the Bronx's Democratic apparatus and one of Mr. Koppell's closest friends and political allies. "It’s inexplicable, but he’s certainly free to do whatever he wants, including endorsing the Republican."
The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, a local political power center in Democratic politics, backed Mr. Koppell's re-election bid — but not before a healthy spate of hand-wringing after the last time the independent-minded councilman bucked his supporters. In 2008, the longtime legislator backed the established leader of the Bronx Democratic party although the BFRDC, and Mr. Dinowitz, were a major force in the insurgency that later deposed him. Mr. Koppell also angered his base by supporting Mr. Bloomberg's push for the legalization of a third term for council and mayor.
"Everyone, I guess ultimately has the right to make their own decisions, even bad decisions. And I put this one in that category," said Bruce Feld, a longtime leader in the Ben Franklin club. "What the consequences are, are we going to change the locks on the club? There will be people who are unhappy, just as I am unhappy."
Friday, October 2, 2009
Here are a couple of things people in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area might like to know this morning:
- The MTA announced a couple of weeks ago that there would be fewer No. 1 trains running in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx; now it appears that at least, you will know when it's going to get to your station.
- Bar-on-every-block Broadway in Riverdale/Kingsbridge will see the effects of a recently released report on the State Liquor Authority. The Albany Times-Union reports:
Even if only partially implemented, the commission's recommendations would result in the most profound changes to the way the SLA operates since its creation after the 1933 repeal of Prohibition. The public would see streamlined regulation of an industry with $9 billion in direct annual economic impact in the state, including faster license approvals and enhanced enforcement. Practical changes like expanded hours for alcohol sales and wine and spirits sales in stores currently limited to beer sales are also possible.
- Bronx-born Rep. Alan Grayson has stirred debate for his use of the word "holocaust" in a recent statement — and the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area's Rep. Eliot Engel is among those to weigh in. Among the questions: Is there a difference between a "holocaust" and "the Holocaust?"
“To me, there’s only one Holocaust, and I think excessive use of that word has the effect of trivializing the Holocaust,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, 62, who represents the Bronx neighborhood where Grayson grew up. “I know that wasn’t Congressman Grayson’s intention at all. I wish he would not use that word.”
Posted by N. Clark Judd at 9:31 AM
Thursday, October 1, 2009
City residents complained all summer that seeing orange so often — in the form of parking tickets — now has them seeing red. Maulleigh // flickr photo (Creative Commons)
If you're one of the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area residents who feels particularly beset upon by traffic enforcement agents that many say are becoming more aggressive, here's some good news: The New York Times reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the city's meter-minders will go through sensitivity training.
Local media like The Riverdale Press throughout the city have been pointing out that, at the very least, residents of New York feel that the men and women of the NYPD's traffic bureau have become more aggressive, to the point where they prevent people who are momentarily double-parked from driving away (they used to just pull up behind a driver and blast their sirens once to get the driver to move along).
It was a constant refrain all summer. Local merchants in Kingsbridge say they're starting to feel the economic consequences. Mr. Bloomberg, who is now in the heat of a campaign to win four more years governing the ungovernable city, announced the sensitivity training as part of a plan to make it easier to park in the city.
Posted by N. Clark Judd at 2:34 PM
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