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The Bronx Family Feud

                     Ruben Diaz Jr., center, Joel Rivera, left, and Carl Heastie, right

 The call of “Don’t forget to vote on April 21st” practically overpowers the latest Hot 97 hits pulsing from an audio store on the corner of Fordham Road and Jerome Avenue in the west Bronx.

Evening rush-hour riders depart from the screeching number 4 train, slide down two flights of stairs to the street to get a flyer, a handshake and a wide, mustached smile.

“I am running for Bronx borough president in two weeks,” Assembly member Ruben Diaz Jr. says, stretching out his hand.

Running might be an overstatement. For Diaz, who practically has a set of keys to borough hall already, walking would be a better characterization.

The seven-term assembly member has only token, Republican opposition in next week’s nonpartisan special election to replace former borough president turned-Obama administration official Adolfo Carrión. For such a high profile position, the lack of opposition is relatively unheard of.

Just weeks ago, Bronx Democrats were preparing for a brawl between two political dynasties who have been wrestling over control of the county’s Democratic party for months. Since that race has failed to materialize, Bronxites — left with little choice — can now ponder what this means for the county’s new and old political guard. Read more..


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Rebellion is escalating against Bronx’s Dem chief Jose Rivera

Rebellion is escalating against Bronx’s Dem chief Jose Rivera

That revolt against Bronx Democratic Party Boss Jose Rivera is percolatin’.

We’re told party secretary Aurelia Greene, dean of the Assembly delegation, is weighing joining the Rainbow Rebellion of dissatisfied black, white and Hispanic legislators, and has already taken a preliminary step.

Aurelia didn’t return our calls, but we’re told she’ll be among those who won’t be “binding” (submitting) their nominating petitions for the Sept. 9 primary with the party for filing with the Board of Elections - just in case. Petitioning starts June 3, with filing deadline July 10.

Ditto Assemblymen Carl Heastie of Williamsbridge-Wakefield, Michael Benjamin of Morrisania, and Soundview’s Ruben Diaz Jr. Fellow rebel Jeff Dinowitz of Riverdale always does his own.

On the fence - for now - Assemblymen Peter Rivera of Parkchester, Luis Diaz of the West Bronx and Mike Benedetto of the East Bronx, will file their petitions through the party - but are using an outside lawyer instead of party legal counsel Luis Sepulveda.

• Hardening the battle lines, attorney and longtime party insider Stanley Schlein - until recently Jose’s consigliere - is “in discussions” with the rebel camp, and will be vetting petitions for some of its members.

“You don’t lose your political consigliere who knows all the inner workings,” said one former partycrat, “and not be in a lot of trouble.”

• Some quarters say that if things really get serious, Jose “overtly or covertly” just might support challengers against the rebels.

Jose may be paying for his sins, real or perceived, and those of Councilwoman Maria Baez, who’s been running day-to-day party affairs, for alienating the Rainbow Rebels with all-Puerto Rican-all-the-time spoils and nepotism.

A few possible scenarios that could emerge when the leadership vote is taken at the party convention right after the Sept. 9 primary, or maybe even before it:

The canny Jose either outmaneuvers or makes peace with the rebels; he bails and takes that vacant County Clerk’s job; he’s ousted, or he becomes a weak figurehead leader.

That last option, however, could shrink party clout citywide, especially when jockeying begins for leadership roles in the next City Council.

We just can’t wait for the County Dinner in July. Hoo, boy!


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