Friday, January 4, 2013

11th Council District Race

Riverdale Report
By Robert Press

BRONX, NEW YORK, January 4- As was the case four years ago, the term limit law will kick into effect for many of our city council members, as well as some Borough Presidents and citywide elected officials such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Four years ago City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council at Mayor Bloomberg's urging overturned the term limit law, but that will not happen this year.

Here in the 11th City Council district four years ago Anthony Perez Cassino ran against incumbent Councilman G. Oliver Koppell. Perez Cassino lost big, but the story was that Ari Hoffnung who also announced his intention to run for Koppell's seat withdrew after the term limit law was overturned so Councilman Koppell could run for another term. Hoffnung had raised over $80,000 for his 2009 campaign that remains in limbo as he continued to keep his campaign committee alive for a possible future run. Hoffnung told me that at the beginning of January he would be making a decision as to running for Koppell's seat this year or not. Two candidates have already announced Mr. Cliff Stanton and Andrew Cohen. If Hoffnung was looking for the local political establishment to support him, he can forget about that as all the local elected officials have endorsed the Cohen candidacy. It would be an uphill battle for Mr. Hoffnung who is currently Deputy Controller for the city, and I don't see him or anyone else with a chance of winning entering this race now especially with the talks of a June primary and March petition process.

As we look at both Mr. Cohen and Mr. Stanton as candidates for city council from their palm cards and first mailings there seems to be something missing, and that is a long political background. On Mr. Cohen's material (which is quite simple) we see a large photo of the Cohen family with his four-year-old daughter Sarah holding up her thumb which many see as a sign of approval for her daddy. On the palm card and inside the mailing Cohen gets right to the point in his qualifications for the council seat, with his law and community experience. At the bottom is a photo with the four local elected officials who have already endorsed Mr. Cohen's candidacy. There is also a question on the back to be mailed back to Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Stanton's material is more complex with his mailing showing him standing in the middle of Independence Avenue next to one of the illegal stop signs that the PS 24 Parents Association paid for. The Department of Transportation Bronx commissioner said several of the illegal signs were confiscated. Inside are photos of Mr. Stanton with his daughter, what appears to be a member of the armed forces, and him talking to a few seniors. He mentions his involvement in local schools, a free senior van service he started recently started, his endorsement of the Mayor's “innovative senior center program”, being an entrepreneur, creating a neighborhood watch, and tries to take credit for the awarding of the “Slow Zone” by PS 24 and 141. There is also mention of him being treasurer of KRVDC, and that he developed or supported projects such as the ice skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park, summer pedestrian mall on Johnson Ave., plaza on Riverdale Ave., and the KRVDC free movie night series. Mr. Stanton also has a question on the back of his mailing, but unlike Mr. Cohen's this one does not need a stamp.

In comparing the two candidates we will have more in future columns. I intend to ask the questions of the candidates that you want answered, and I will tell you what each candidate said including if they tried to dodge the question, or would not give an answer.

Since Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz sponsored the Riverdale Slow Zone, city council candidate Cliff Stanton wants to take credit for the Slow Zone, and city council candidate Andrew Cohen has put on his Facebook page a photo of him raking the asphalt for one of the three new speed bumps on Independence Ave. (nine in all in the seven block slow zone), you now know who to blame when you have to repair your car. I still can't understand why two speed bumps are being placed on Palisade Ave. (nowhere near the schools), and not one is being placed on the HHP service road one block from the schools where over hundreds of children walk. Then again Assemblyman Dinowitz lives on the HHP service road less than two blocks from the schools.

If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at 100percentbronxnews!@gmail,com or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.

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