Volume 74, Number 38 | Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2005

Scoopy's Notebook

Low-ball Lopez:

Councilmember Margarita Lopez clued us in on her strategy to win the Manhattan borough president race: saving up her campaign funds for a barrage of advertising closer to the September Democratic primary, as others blow their funds early. Lopez raised $172,363 by the Campaign Finance Board’s Jan. 11 filing date, and now claims to have a total of $225,000. She says she’s spent the least amount so far — just $12,800 — of any of the candidates so far in the race. “Look at Carlos Manzano,” she said, flipping through the campaign finance disclosures as she spoke on the phone. “If you noticed, he almost spent all the money he had.” Manzano, a member of the McManus Democratic Club in Hell’s Kitchen, raised $206,265 by Jan. 11 and spent $177,392. “I am in very good shape,” Lopez said, noting she used the same late-surge strategy in her first run for office, when she beat Judy Rapfogel for City Council in 1997. Lopez is also planning some far-flung fundraisers: A former consultant to the federal government on mental health issues, Lopez will have a fundraiser in Miami, Fl., with mental health groups, another in Puerto Rico, where she will be joined by supporter Representative Nydia Velazquez, and one in California. Asked if she will pitch herself as the gay candidate, Lopez said says she’s not taking any group’s votes for granted. Asked her thoughts about the other openly gay candidate in the race, Brian Ellner, she said, “I don’t know who this man is.” Manzano is widely believed to be in the closet.

The ‘R’ words:

We hear from a good source that members of the Community Board 2 Washington Sq. Park Task Force, in an effort to downplay the work being planned for the park, are stressing that the word “renovation” never be used and that it instead be called a “refurbishment.”

Bed and Bush:

Former Mayor and Bush supporter Ed Koch said he didn’t attend the presidential inauguration because he was not invited to stay over for the night. “If I could have stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom, I would’ve gone,” he said. He watched the festivities on TV.

Easy Riders:

Time’s Up! executive director Bill Di Paolo and about a dozen fellow bicyclists went down to D.C. to represent in the cold for Critical Mass at the inaugural. Although Critical Mass is known for its monthly traffic-blocking rides in New York City, Di Paolo said they had no plans to try to “cork” Bush’s motorcade with their bikes. At one point they did get on the route, after everyone had passed, but were blocked by police horses. “We were just riding in there for fun,” he said. The cyclists cheered all the Republicans walking around from parties in fur coats, he noted. Some G.O.P.’ers at one point cheered the Mass back as they tooled around, to which one of the bike riders yelled, “Next time, don’t wear fur!” Some videos of protesters in action at the inaugural will be shown at Time’s Up!’s headquarters, on E. Houston St. between Mulberry and Mott Sts., on Thurs., Jan. 27, starting at 8:05 p.m., followed by the usual free movie, starting at 8:30 p.m.

Adios, Israel:

Well, no one will have Israel Perez to kick around anymore. The Baruch Houses “Voice of the Tenants” activists has had it and is moving back to his native Puerto Rico, where he’ll join his wife, who went back ahead of him recently. Perez said the neighborhood is losing “a hero,” but that he had to go because he didn’t get enough help fighting crime and mismanagement in Baruch. “I want the community to know that they have lost a true leader — No, it’s too late, I’m leaving,” he said. Perez, who came to America as a teen, waxed nostalgic about his days on the Lower East Side. “I learned my English and how to serve my community on the streets of Avenue D,” he reminisced. In September, Perez was arrested for menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, when, saying he would kill him, he reportedly pulled a knife on Roberto Caballero, co-founder with Perez of the Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez. The spate was allegedly over Roberto Napoleon, Baruch Houses Tenants Association president, having rejected Perez’s written request to rescind Perez’s resignation as vice president of the tenants association, and Perez’s demanding that Caballero resign as an executive member of the T.A. According to Jennifer Kushner, a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney, Perez recently pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a violation, and if he stays out of trouble for a year, the case will be sealed. Asked for comment on Perez’s departure, Caballero said, “They’re throwing a party in Baruch — and you can quote me.” Perez said he had actually planned to support both Lopez for borough president and her protégé, Rosie Mendez, to succeed her in the Council. “I wish him well,” said Lopez, “and I just hope that in sunny Puerto Rico he can find a good spot. His heart I think was in the right place — Confused? Absolutely.”

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