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Friday, October 3, 2008

Rebel Dems Open Office

Assemblyman Carl Heastie, at right in tie, prepares to cut the ribbon. (All photos by Peter Mullin)

To chants of “O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma,” Assemblyman Carl Heastie cut the ribbon on what the so-called Rainbow Rebels are claiming is the new Bronx Democratic headquarters. The one time laundromat, located at 914 E. 163rd St., was adorned with a red, white and blue banner proclaiming Heastie Chairman of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, numerous Obama-Biden campaign signs, and even a life-size, cardboard Barack Obama cutout standing in the window that at one point found itself posing for photos with Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Assemblyman Ruben Diaz poses with Obama cardboard cutout.

Several fellow members of the so-called Rainbow Rebels accompanied Heastie, who along with Assemblyman Jose Rivera is claiming to be the Bronx Democratic leader following Sunday’s meetings at the Utopia Paradise Theater. Assemblymen Jeffrey Dinowitz, Michael Benedetto, Michael Benjamin, and Assemblywoman Aurelia Green, who were all elected as party officers by the Rebels Sunday night, stood with Heastie as he christened the new building, which will also serve as a Bronx headquarters for the Democratic presidential candidate this November.

“This is a critically important election,” said Heastie. “And we will do all we can to elect the Obama-Biden ticket.”

In regards to the split Bronx Democratic factions, Heastie added that what happens next is up to the Board of Elections and hoped that “the courts could stay out of it” so that the party might come together sooner and in time to help regain Democratic control in the State Senate.

Late to arrive to the festivities was Senator Efrain Gonzalez, the recently defeated incumbent who has represented The Bronx in Albany since 1989. Preaching a theme of “moving forward,” the Senator said that he will continue to work for the people of the Bronx adding, “You don’t have to be elected to be effective.”

Efrain Gonzalez with Hector Ramirez, district leader in the 86th.


  1. Anonymous said...
    As a proud Puerto Rican,I am very sad to say, I am ashamed of Jose Rivera. He has conducted himself without honor.

    No one can deny Mr. Rivera's impressive progresive record, and all of his brave accomplishments of the last 3 decades. From keeping our hospitals and community colleges open to helping rebuild our communities,to fighting for the rights of the people of the Bronx, South Africa and Vieques.

    However, in the last six years, we saw a tragic departure of those priciples that has defined a man and his movement.

    Now, the future of all Bronxites and of the Democratic Party of the Bronx lies in turmoil.
    Jose Rivera's selfishness that has led us to this abyss, has made a veiled attempt to give the perception that all Puerto Ricans and Latinos are in sympathy with this mockery of a democratic convention. This embarassing demostration only proves, that smoking mirrors and violence is the only way Puerto Ricans know how to conduct ourselves. This is wrong.

    The vast majority of us are decent, hardworking people. We are not thugs. We are in struggle for real heathcare, education, and true economic opportunities.

    The majority of the people of the Bronx question Jose Rivera's leaderhip. Nepotism and cronyism that rivals Jimmy Stewart's Mr. Smith goes to Washington must not be allowed to continue.

    We have all seen the product of the last six years:Yankee Stadium over the people and their parks; a contraversial filtration plant and the lack of real permanant jobs; the abuse of emminent domain and the monoply of overzealous developers and greedy landlords keeping Blacks, Latinos and poor whites in perpetual poverty.

    Nature abhores a vaccum. Although, I would perfer a Puerto Rican, I cannot stay with a poor latino leader just because he is latino.

    We must pick the best leader who will deliver for all of the people. We all have to eat. That's the American dream.

    Today, our nation's economy may be literally destroyed due to selfishness and a failure of true leadership, just as last night,when I witnessed that very same level of selfishness that led us to a critical failure of leadership.

    These are very serious times for our borough of The Bronx. We desprately need change at all levels of government.

    We cannot and will not capitulate to what transpired lastnight. We must not let it end this way.


    PS Tranquilo Bobi Tranquilo! Soy Boricua de pura sepa para que lo sepa! Cuando nosotros apprenda conportarnos como latinos unidos puerdemos a rescatar nuestro posicion otravez.

    Una Boricua orgulloso!

  2. I am amazed that people keep harping on this nepotism. I am assuming that the rebel rebellion politicians are different and will be different. They are creating a very high standard. I hope they can live up to it and not hired or support any relatives in their offices or for public office. Otherwise that is hypocrisy at its best.

    Also, if the goal of the rebellion is unity, why would any of elected officials who are supporters of Jose Rivera expect a tough election next year or 2010? (See Kappstatter article regarding term limits) If Carl Heastie wins, to obtain true unity he has to bring all elected officials in the Bronx together and, as was the historical position of the Bronx Democratic Party, protect his incumbents. I expect the same treatment of the Rebellion politicians if Jose Rivera remains the Chairman.

    It should all end after the court decides and the party should move forward UNITED for the sake of the Bronx residents.


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