Saturday, February 6, 2016
Political Arena

Cabrera eyes Rivera's seat

By Shant Shahrigian

After easily winning a second City Council term, Fernando Cabrera is considering a much tougher contest to take away state Senator Gustavo Rivera’s seat.

Mr. Cabrera has formed an exploratory committee weighing his options, according to news reports last week. Mr. Cabrera’s office did not make the councilman available for an interview for this article.

With Mr. Cabrera’s 10th City Council district overlapping with Mr. Rivera’s 33rd state Senate district, there are likely many voters who voted for both legislators in different ballots.

Welcoming the possible challenge as part of the democratic process, Mr. Rivera discussed key differences with his prospective challenger in a phone interview.

“When it comes to a lot of social issues, I’m a lot more liberal than he is,” Mr. Rivera said, pointing to his support of abortion rights and gay marriage compared to Mr. Cabrera’s public criticism of both issues.

Further, Mr. Rivera won his seat as a reformer following a corruption scandal that consumed his predecessor, Pedro Espada. But while some news outlets paint Mr. Cabrera as vulnerable for perceived backroom dealing over the Kingsbridge Armory Ice Center, such minutiae are unlikely to sway voters months down the road.

With state Sen. Jeff Klein facing a possible challenge from former Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, 2014’s elections could be a trial by fire for Bronx Democrats’ loyalties.

Mayor reroutes NYCHA funds

Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving to end a Giuliani-era policy of making the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) pay for police services.

Mr. de Blasio’s 2014-2015 budget allocates $52.5 million NYCHA previously gave the NYPD to address thousands of repair requests by residents at sites such as Marble Hill.

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, whose 31st district includes Marble Hill, applauded the move.

“We want to bring about a quick response to repairs that tenants often ask for,” Mr. Espaillat said. “This is money that is much needed in the housing complex that I think can go to other types of services.”

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