- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Reception for BP Candidate Ruben Diaz, Jr. a Bronx Political Pow-wow | Bronx News Networkbronx

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reception for BP Candidate Ruben Diaz, Jr. a Bronx Political Pow-wow

A reception for BP candidate Ruben Diaz, Jr. on Thursday, March 12 was a who's who in Bronx politics, as the borough's power brokers, elected officials, and aspiring candidates for city-wide office gathered together to express their support. The gathering, organized by City Comptroller Bill Thompson's chief of staff Ismael Malave, Jr., began at 6pm and included live salsa music and a buffet of pernil and arroz con gandules. But the real excitement didn't begin until minutes before Ruben arrived, when other elected officials began to trickle in to the room.

Ruben was announced upon his arrival with his wife and two sons and worked the room for over 30 minutes before being introduced by a cadre of local electeds. Council members G. Oliver Koppel and Annabel Palma offered their excitement about the likelihood of Diaz, Jr. becoming the next leader of the borough. State Assembly members Adriano Espillat and Jeffery Dinowitz talked about the many years Ruben has represented the Hunts Point community in Albany. And Bronx County Democratic Party Chair, leader of the Rainbow Rebels, and long-time Assembly colleague Carl Heastie told the crowd Ruben would be missed in the Assembly (especially by him as they sit next to each other on the floor), but that Albany's loss is the Bronx's gain. Also present at the event were council members Bill de Blasio (likely candidate for public advocate), John Liu (candidate for City Comptroller), and Eric Gioia. Comptroller Bill Thompson, an almost certain Mayoral candidate, addressed the crowd briefly after Ruben spoke.

Notably absent from the gathering was the Rivera clan (Assembly members Jose and Naomi, as well as Council member Joel). While present, State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. did his best to stay out of the lime light, going so far as to turn down a request that he say a few words about his son's BP candidacy. Equally surprising was the absence of Diaz, Sr.'s fellow Three Amigo Senator Pedro Espada and the presence of his son Pedro G. Espada (or perhaps not so shocking considering rumors Pedro G. is eying Ruben's Assembly seat).

While Ruben's brief address was not full of details on his plans as BP, he expressed a desire to continue to improve upon the image of the Bronx, addressing unemployment issues and ensuring that people who fought to hold communities together during the borough's years of arson and abandonment can afford to remain in those neighborhoods and enjoy their rebirth.

The evening even had some star power, with Bronx hip hop icon Fat Joe flying in from Miami to throw his support behind Ruben (kudos to my date Ms. Speller for spotting him first). The two shared an amusing anecdote on how they met. Ruben was walking across the street on the way home from a Bronx community meeting when an SUV almost hit him. Ruben turned to see Fat Joe in the passenger seat and said, "Hey, you're Fat Joe," to which Fat Joe replied, "Hey, you're Ruben Diaz!" Since meeting, the two have collaborated in giving back to the community, with Fat Joe funding the renovation of a Bronx public school library in Diaz's district and playing Santa Claus to give presents to local children during the winter holidays.


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