POLITICAL ARENA

Echoes of the Rainbow Revolution?

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It’s not hard to see Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz isn’t happy about what’s happening with the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, which he has heavily influenced over the last couple decades. But now it’s to the point where we’re even getting callbacks to Dinowitz’s so-called Rainbow Revolution that toppled the Bronx Democratic political machine more than a decade ago.

After learning state Sen. Gustavo Rivera was backing leadership change at the Ben Franklin Club, Dinowitz openly speculated to The Riverdale Press as to why he thought the senator might take that approach. That’s despite the fact the two shared a phone call the weekend before where Rivera told Dinowitz what he was planning to do, and Dinowitz had every opportunity to ask why.

“I don’t want to tell other elected officials how they should handle things,” Dinowitz said. “What (Rivera) did was unprecedented, considering he’s not even a club member. I found the whole thing unusual.

“Some speculated that he wants to run for borough president, and that this is part of his calculation.”

Rivera has never publicly talked about running for borough president, and hasn’t filed to do so. In fact, the only candidate looking to succeed Ruben Diaz Jr., at this point, is West Bronx councilwoman Vanessa Gibson.

In a statement to The Press, Rivera said he has no intention of running for borough president at this time.

“Last year, the state senate regained the Democratic majority and passed a slew of progressive legislation that New Yorkers badly needed,” Rivera said. “The New York state senate is enacting true change and fighting to help all New Yorkers thrive, but our work is far from done. That is my focus now and the near future.”

The only chatter that seems to exist connecting Rivera to the Bronx borough president position is a Crain’s column last month by Will Bredderman, who didn’t name a source for the speculation.

If Dinowitz feels such claims of running for different office seems familiar, it should. Former Bronx Democratic machine boss Jose Rivera said something similar about the Assemblyman in 2008 ahead of the Rainbow Revolution Dinowitz would lead to topple him. That Rivera suggested to one of the tabloids at the time that Dinowitz would be a prime candidate for public advocate because the lawmaker was “good at bringing old issues … back into the news.”

Dinowitz brushed off the suggestion saying “Jose Rivera often speaks in riddles. I have trouble reading him.”

Now it seems we have a bit of a new riddle the Bronx may have to solve.

 

Padernacht raises, Dinowitz refunds

Another financial reporting period has come and gone for candidates seeking city office, and at least when it comes to replacing Councilman Andrew Cohen, there is one candidate starting to pick up the pace when it comes to money.

Dan Padernacht, a local real estate attorney and former Community Board 8 chair, raised $5,240 since last July from a collection of nearly 50 donors, but less than half of them from the Bronx. That was more than Eric Dinowitz and Dionel Then.

Dinowitz, son of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, raised just under $3,000, but actually refunded more than he collected — some $10,000 worth. That’s because the elections board adjusted some of its fundraising caps in 2019, and Dinowitz had to refund previously collected donations in order to stay within the cap.

Even with the refunds, Dinowitz still has the larger campaign chest to this point, with just under $71,000 compared to $33,000 from Padernacht.

Dinowitz also spent more than $6,600 over the last six months, almost all to his political strategists, Red Horse.

Then, a one-time intern at The Riverdale Press, filed financials for the first time, collecting $525 from 15 donors, only four of whom are from the Bronx.

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