Koppell endorses Bloomberg



City Councilman Oliver Koppell supports Mayor Michael Bloomberg's re-election bid, he and the Bloomberg campaign announced Monday. Mr. Koppell is endorsing Mr. Bloomberg because he feels the mayor has been an effective administrator, he said. But he later added he’s also endorsing Mr. Bloomberg in part based on the belief that the mayor — who many say has a fondness for innovation that comes with a resistance to criticism — would be more receptive to Mr. Koppell’s views if he made the endorsement. “The implication was that I would be viewed more as part of the team” if he issued an endorsement, Mr. Koppell said. However, he said, the Bloomberg campaign made “no specific promise” that reaching across party lines would get him a better seat at the table.

The Bloomberg campaign did not respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment. This is the latest in a string of signals from Mr. Koppell that he is ready to make deals. He is talking with Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is beleaguered by a year of scandals and dissent in the ranks and is likely to face a challenge for her spot as the head of the council, about what kind of committee chairmanship he may get in his third and final term as a councilman.

The councilman, a Democrat, bucked his friends and his political allies because of the mayor’s record, he said.

“[Mr. Bloomberg], with the Council, have put us in a position where, notwithstanding the deep recession on Wall Street, the city’s in an even keel financially, better than most,” he explained. He also cited improvements in education and the administration’s willingness to work with local residents to tighten height restrictions in Riverdale/ Kingsbridge-area zoning law. “It’s very disappointing that Oliver has endorsed a Republican candidate,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, second in command of the Bronx’s Democratic apparatus and one of Mr. Koppell’s closest friends and political allies. “It’s inexplicable, but he’s certainly free to do whatever he wants, including endorsing the Republican.” The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, a local political power center in Democratic politics, backed Mr. Koppell’s re-election bid and helped him earn a third Democratic nomination to his post — but not before a healthy spate of hand-wringing after the last time the independent-minded councilman bucked his supporters. In 2008, the longtime legislator backed the established leader of the Bronx Democratic Party, although the BFRDC, and Mr. Dinowitz, were a major force in the insurgency that later deposed him. Mr. Koppell also angered his base by supporting Mr. Bloomberg's push for the legalization of a third term for city officials. “Everyone, I guess ultimately has the right to make their own decisions, even bad decisions. And I put this one in that category,” said Bruce Feld, a longtime leader in the Ben Franklin club. “What the consequences are, are we going to change the locks on the club? There will be people who are unhappy, just as I am unhappy.”