It’s official: Boycott leader just another politician

Clifford Stanton

 

 

 

By BRENDAN McHUGH

 

Cliff Stanton, a Van Cortlandt Village resident who has led the effort for a 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 must vacate the post because of term limits.

Stanton 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 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 whether he would continue to boycott the Review, he would not say. “Listen, we have nothing to say to each other. I have nothing against you personally, OK?” he replied.

In response to a change in topic—what would he bring to the office of councilman?—he abruptly hung up.

Stanton did speak with the New York 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 Review’s criticism on a variety of local issues.

A major issue for Stanton pertains to Anthony Perez Cassino’s failed 2009 City Council race. This newspaper endorsed his opponent, Koppell, and Stanton sees the paper as a barrier to his own election victory.

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

Stanton conveniently filed with the Board of Elections only days after the January 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 for city comptroller John Liu. Hoffnung has been registered since he cut short his 2009 Council run and has more than $76,000 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.

Koppell said on Friday 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, will be heavily involved in the race with his club—which mainly covers the northwest Bronx.

“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 in at least one Riverdale resident.

Community Board 8 member Robert Press ran for the Assembly in the mid-1990s. He said that over the past few years several people have asked him to think about running for office and 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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