Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's official: Boycotter leader just another politician

Another story from this week's Riverdale Review.

By Brendan McHugh 

Stanton is running for City Council.
Cliff Stanton, a Van Cortlandt Village resident who is involved in the boycott of the Riverdale Review, has opened a campaign committee with the Board of Elections to run for City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell’s seat in 2013. 

Koppell is term limited, forcing him to vacate the seat. 

Stanton also runs United Snacks, which has a relationship with the Nuts4Nuts street vendors. Locally, he is involved with the parents associations of P.S. 24 and Bronx High School of Science and is the treasurer of the Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation. 

During a brief phone interview, Stanton said he is not inclined to speak with this newspaper. 

"This is not the best time to have the conversation. Frankly, I'm not going to have a whole lot to say," he said. 

When asked if he would continue to boycott our newspaper, he would not say. "Listen, we have nothing to say to each other. I have nothing against you personally, OK?" he replied. 

And when pressed further, he stuck to his guns. "I have nothing to say to you." 

After trying to change topics, asking what he would bring to office, he abruptly hung up. 

Stanton did speak with the Observer, blaming the Bronx Democratic Party for spreading political cynicism. “I’m certain that it is responsible. I’m not opposing individuals here, but I’m opposing this culture, and I’m holding them responsible for perpetuating this culture,” he said. 

The boycott, Stanton has claimed, is to silence the criticism the Review has about a variety of local issues. 

A major issue Stanton has with the paper is with Anthony Perez Cassino’s failed 2009 City Council race, when this newspaper endorsed his opponent, Koppell. Stanton sees the newspaper as a barrier to him winning an election. 

“Do the campaign and the boycott go hand-in-hand now?” asked one local political insider. “It should be interesting to see if he champions it during his campaign.” 

Stanton conveniently filed with the BOE only days after the Jan. 17 filing day, which will allow him six months to raise money and campaign before making his campaign’s financial data public. 

The only other person currently registered to run for Koppell’s seat is Ari Hoffnung, a deputy comptroller for John Liu. Hoffnung has been registered since he cut short his 2009 council run and has over $76,000 $30,000 in his coffers. 

Ironically, Stanton donated $180 to Hoffnung in 2008. 

In December, Hoffnung said he was focused on his current job and wasn’t considering a run. 

In an interview Friday, Koppell said he wasn’t sure how much involvement he would have in the race to fill his seat. 

“I haven’t made a decision on that at this point,” he said. “It’s two years away and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge.” 

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who helps run the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, which mostly just covers the northwest Bronx, will be heavily involved in the race with his club. 

“We’re going to try and elect the best possible person,” he said. “Who that is, I don’t know.” 

Dinowitz’s name has been floated as a possible candidate for council, and while he said he’s thought about it, he’s not close to a conclusion. 

The news of Stanton’s committee drummed up old political aspirations of at least one Riverdale resident. 

Community Board 8 member Robert Press, who ran for Assembly in the mid-1990s, said several people have asked him to run for office over the past few years, and added that he will now give the idea “serious thought.” 

“If Cliff Stanton is going to run for Oliver’s seat, I’m going to have to explore the possibility,” Press said.

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