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Primary ‘14

Moreland Commission haunts Klein-Koppell debate

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Photo by Osjua Newton
Oliver Koppell goes on the attack in a Monday debate with state Sen. Co-majority Leader Jeff Klein.

In a Monday debate between state Sen. Co-majority Leader Jeff Klein and his Democratic primary challenger, Oliver Koppell, Mr. Koppell did not quite call the incumbent corrupt. And Mr. Klein did not exactly say Riverdale’s former councilman is a liar and an elitist. But they came pretty close.

“He didn’t say a word, by the way, when the governor cancelled the Moreland Commission,” Mr. Koppell said of the investigative body whose inquiries, including a look at Mr. Klein, were abruptly stopped in the spring. “Now they didn’t find anything… But it was in the midst of looking at his things. We don’t know whether there’s something there or not.”

“Once again, my opponent is telling half-truths,” Mr. Klein shot back. “I have no business clients. I have no clients that have any business before the state. So I am not required to disclose them.”

Animosity between the onetime allies reached a fever pitch during the 30-minute session on the cable access program “BronxTalk,” one of two debates in the most closely watched state race of the year. You can see it here. Mr. Klein touted legislative accomplishments such as universal preschool funding and boasted of endorsements from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and every Democratic incumbent in his 34th state Senate district. Mr. Koppell repeated the premise of his candidacy, that Mr. Klein’s two-year-coalition between his group of breakaway Democrats and Senate Republicans makes the powerful senator unworthy of election to a fifth term.

Ironically, the long-serving Bronx politicians evinced the strongest anger at each other when discussing their agreement on the issue of terms limits.

Mr. Klein said Mr. Koppell’s support for overturning City Council term limits previously enacted by popular referendums showed his challenger thought he knew better than constituents — a consistent theme of the debate for Mr. Klein.

The former councilman picked up the topic later in the debate, drawing Mr. Klein to say he is also, in fact, opposed to term limits.

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hhudsonpky

As it stands now I'm giving my vote to Klein. Koppell's office was quite condescending when I contacted them regarding an issue here in Central Riverdale a few years ago and I certainly didn't forget it. Klein understands that he's in office to serve his constituents, and his office has generally been very responsive when I've contacted them. I'm not sure what Koppell's angle is, but I don't think he has the best interests of Riverdalians in mind, which is scary considering that he is a resident of Fieldston.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Report this
alansaks

Either the previous commentator is a paid Klein stooge or he/she has spent the last 45 years in a coma.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Report this
TomMabe

No, he's not a paid stooge. Mr. Koppell had no problem with the Van Cortland Green project on Broadway, as he was quoted in a September 12 article, Councilman Oliver Koppell said he didn't recall if he was told the plan included the mentally ill. In any case, he supports it (http://bronx.news12.com/news/riverdale-community-petitions-against-van-cortlandt-green-housing-proposal-for-seniors-mentally-ill-1.6062211). Yes, he does live in Fieldston where they restrict access to public roads. I would still like to know if Mr. Koppell would advocate for one of these group homes or similar projects in Fieldston?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Report this
BronxPro

It's so depressing, electeds like Klein and, especially, Dinowitz pander to the NIMBY constituents. Koppell takes a principled stand and does not oppose supportive housing (for senior citizens!)and he gets knocked for it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Report this
TomMabe

BronxPro, we are talking about being OK with an oversaturation of group homes and projects for the mentally ill in one part of his district and none in his neighborhood of Fieldston. When Mr. Koppell advocates turning one of the mansions on Fieldston Road into a group home for mentally ill senior citizens then we'll talk about taking a principled stand.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Report this
Ellenh

I agree with Alan Saks, the first post sounds like a paid advertisement.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Report this
hhudsonpky

@Ellenh & alansaks

I am real, and I am a young Riverdalian who moved to Central Riverdale roughly several years ago. I love the neighborhood and plan on staying here a long time, and I decided to become more involved in local issues. When I contacted Koppell's office regarding an issue along the Henry Hudson Parkway, the person I spoke with was very condescending, and basically almost chastised me for calling, which I did not appreciate, and found rather rude given the fact that from what I've seen and heard, the local politicians here are supposed to have a rather "open door policy" to hearing from constituents here. That situation happened when Koppell was still in office, and I made a mental note not to forget it.

While it wasn't Koppell himself, why would I want to cast my vote for a person when their office seems to treat people as if they're a nuisance? Klein's office meanwhile has been pretty responsive. Even if they can't help, they reach out and explain what they are trying to do or have done. That in my mind means a lot. I'm not by any means saying that Klein is perfect, but he has my vote because of how his office has treated me and what he has done for the community of Riverdale since I have been here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Report this
bronxrunner

Lol. all the commenters here are really funny to me. Y'all are debating the relative merits of two politicians, as if either one gave a crap about you, your issues and your lives. I know it's hard to realize when you're suffering from battered wife syndrome, but after all this "debate" in this comment section, the realization that you're all just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic has yet to occur to any of you. As I do in all elections, I'll sit back and enjoy the hilarious spectacle of yet another election cycle where lots is promised and nothing is delivered. That is why I say if you vote, you have no right to complain.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Report this
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