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Sunday, May 24, 2015
Primary '14

Klein wins key Riverdale endorsement over Koppell

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Masao Katagami/The Riverdale Press
State Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein speaks to the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club inside the American Legion lodge on Corlear Avenue on May 22.
Masao Katagami/The Riverdale Press
Former Councilman Oliver Koppell makes his pitch to the club.
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Over the past five decades, former Councilman Oliver Koppell helped make the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club the most powerful political group in the northwest Bronx. But passionate speeches by him and a number of supporters were not enough to surmount the clout state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein has accumulated in this part of the borough.

The club voted to endorse Mr. Klein over Mr. Koppell in this year’s Democratic primary by a vote of 96-38 at the end of a heated meeting on Thursday night.

“The Ben Franklin Club truly, over the years, has been the conscience of the Democratic Party in the Bronx,” Mr. Klein said after the ballot. “I think it’s an important mandate, and it feels good to me.”

The vote, which included 11 abstentions, came at the end of a nearly three-hour-long meeting at the American Legion post at 3035 Corlear Ave. The evening started with a roughly half-hour-long discussion about whether to hold the ballot at all.

The decision was a painful one for many members of the club, which has endorsed both candidates in previous races in which they did not face each other.

Mr. Koppell and his wife were among the minority who raised their hands against holding the ballot.

But once the club decided to vote on an endorsement, Mr. Koppell gave an ardent speech centering around the main claim of his campaign. He contends that the ruling coalition between Mr. Klein’s breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) and senate Republicans marks a betrayal of the Democratic Party’s — and the Ben Franklin Club’s – values.

“I say, Senator Klein, in light of what you did, and what you said and what you pledged — have you no decency, Senator Klein?” the former councilman said, evoking a famous quote from the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954.

Speaking after his challenger, Mr. Klein described his recent legislative accomplishments and said he formed the IDC out of disillusionment with the Democratic majority that ruled from 2010 to 2012.

“A lot of things have been thrown around — traitor, not true to the Democratic Party. Well, I want to set the record straight,” he said.

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XenaRamirez

So is Dinowtitz is both Brutus while Cohen is Judas. One the back stabber, the other taking a few pieces of silver to sell out his mentor. When this this community see some diverse leadership?

Friday, May 23, 2014 | Report this
bronxrunner

I agree with you Xena that Riv needs something other than these leeches and parasites, but "diversity" should not be the end goal. After all, we have a black president that has continued Wall Street's wars, spies on the citizens, forced people to pay more for health insurance, kills children rammpantly with drone strikes, foments "color" revolutions in other countries, takes multi-million dollar vacations on the taxpayers dime, and basically lied about every single thing he supposedly stood for. But it's ok because he's "black"?

Friday, May 23, 2014 | Report this
GreenJohnRey

Bruce Feld spoke most eloquently, as did Jeff Dinowitz. If any Democrat came into this meeting undecided, and with an open mind, either or both of these outstanding speakers would have won them over through their remarkable powers of persuasion. Even I, an enrolled Green, might have been won over by their oratorical skill, had I not continually reminded myself that I was at this meeting only as a non-voting observer and as a guest. I had to continually remind myself that the candidate whom I was supporting was Carl Lundgren, who would run on the Green Party line in the November general election against whichever Democrat wins the June 24 primary, and that the outcome of the primary should be a matter of indifference to me. Yet it cannot be a matter of indifference to any concerned citizen that the winner of the Democratic primary is most likely the next incumbent state senator in the 34th SD; and how can we not wish for that incumbent senator to be the candidate who is the most qualified, and with the most integrity, and who most shares our progressive values? So I pose this conundrum. Nevertheless, it is not good to leave any political meeting angry, and it is important to maintain one's composure and equanimity, which most participants did, and admirably so.

Friday, May 23, 2014 | Report this
Ellenh

The most striking thing about this article is how poorly written it Is. Several sentences starting with the word "but", it was difficult to get passed. Not sure who is doing the hiring of reporters/writers at the paper but someone needs to either send this reporter to a basic English Grammer class and writing class or find someone else who can write an article that is well written and concise.

In any event., it was no surprise that Klein won the endorsement. Cohen and Dinowitz, cowards extraordinaire did a good job sealing that fate. When Klein leaves politics he will have a great career in used car sales.

Sunday, May 25, 2014 | Report this
Jackbx

Recently the NYS Assembly passed a package of pro-tenant legislation.

http://assembly.state.ny.us/Press/20140513/

Jeff Dinowitz co-sponsored 4 of the bills and voted for all of them.

What does he have to say about the fact that each and every one of these pro-tenant bills will be blocked by Skelos and Klein in the Senate?

But endorsing Jeff Klein, Jeff Dinowitz is making his votes in the Assembly irrelevant. One cannot claim to be pro-tenant and pro-Skelos/Klein. The 2 are mutually exclusive.

Sunday, May 25, 2014 | Report this
bronxrunner

Jack, may I respectfully say that you are working under false assumptions. George Carlin said it best...."It's a big club, and you ain't in it."

Never assume a career pol like Dinowitz actually cares about Klein blocking or supporting anything he does. That's not the essential point of their game. The point is currying favor with "power" so that you can retain your job. If any of these people actually had to work in the real world, they would quickly find that they are incapable of it. Thus they will do anything to retain their particular form of welfare.

Politics only attracts narcissists, sociopaths and psycopaths. None of these personality types could care less about "tenants rights" other than the "street cred" it gives them to fool and delude the people who still are ignorant enough to believe in this system.

Monday, May 26, 2014 | Report this
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