Bronx Politics: Bob Not-So-Thorough-Setter?

By Rob Giuffre, September 24th, 2013 3:47PM

Bob Not-So-Thorough-Setter

In last week’s “Boro Beat” column, Bob Kappstatter wrote that he “suspected” former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin would be running for his old seat because he moved back into “the hood.”  

Well, we here at followed up and engaged in some actual journalism and reached out to Mr. Benjamin.

Benjamin was taken by surprise; he said the only way anyone could have even known about his moving back into the old district is from passing comment he made to Assemblywoman and Council-nominee Vanessa Gibson.   

In fairness, I am writing about the writer here, but I think this is a good case study on why this weekly column needs to exist. Having a second opinion is a good thing.  

I also think this case allows a glimpse into the pettiness of the Bronx political class. That this would be enough to circulate and make its way to Kappstatter and into his column is a telling sign.

When pressed, Benjamin insisted that he would never (like never, ever) run for elected office again.  “I enjoy working in the private sector.  I don’t want to be one of these guys who never held a real job in their life.”  Which brings us to our next topic:


After some soul searching this week, I feel like I may be too negative about the state of local Bronx politics.  So, I made a point to sit down and think of something positive in the Bronx political scene.  I tried and tired, but I honestly could not find one glimmer of hope.  I urge readers to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING POSITIVE and comment about it below.

One might think the election of two young men from our borough would be positive.  

Victor Pichardo (age 28) and Ritchie Torres (age25), on face value, and through conventional wisdom, seem like young promising rising stars of city politics.  But how can one really get excited about either when faced with the evidence?

One is going into elected office after a highly controversial election amid allegations of the most serious of fraud — not one of his opponents would concede him victory.  

The other received $377,000 of landlord money after running under the guise of a housing advocate and claims “the mailers made no difference.”  

Right.  Sure. Whatever ya say, buddy.

Both are young enough that they may remain in elected office in The Bronx into their 50’s and 60’s…they may both become  one of “the guys who never actually held a real job in their life.”   How can we feel positive about this?  Someone please help me find some glimmer of hope!  I honestly wish the best for both and hope they can make the most of their positions and deliver for their people who desperately need opportunity.  The Bronx is in no position for negativity.


East Bronx Councilman Jimmy Vacca is being touted on a few lists as a potential name on the short list of new Council Speakers.

For next week’s column, I am going to take the role of whip and try to predict a count on the speaker vote.  

On face value as of right now, I think the odds of Vacca being elected next Council Speaker are pretty slim.   Even if he is able to grab the entire Bronx delegation, which he won’t, who else is there?  


Senator Jeff Klein

State Senator has been busy as a beaver…scared of his political future.  He has been seen all over his district lately.  

Klein has been out giving away school supplies, “fighting” obesity, judging clam chowder competitions and, literally, taking seniors out to the theater.

Two things:

1. Klein is trying to posture his way out of a primary election, and it may be working.   

2. The NYSDSCC’s plan is also working.  Keeping Klein locked into his district, fighting an imaginary boogie man, is better than him freed up and causing problems all over the state, running IDC candidates against regular Democrats.


I should’ve said this before, but anyone who wants to send tips, suggestions or press releases, please email me at   

Comments, views, and opinions are that solely of the author and should never be misconstrued as that of Welcome2TheBronx or any other authors of this site.

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