This afternoon at the Riverdale Y current Councilman Oliver Koppell held his annual Holiday Party. This year however it was a farewell party for the term limited councilman. Over 300 of Koppells friends and acquaintances showed up to bid the good councilman a fond farewell, but was it a good-bye party or a party in preparation of Oliver Koppell annannouncement that he will be running for the 34th State Senate seat against current State Senator Jeff Klein. Recently Koppell and his wife have expressed their dismay with how Senator Klein has risen to be Co-Leader with Dean Skellows of the Republican minority in the State Senate. Both have called Klein a traitor to the Democratic Party for doing so, and it was reported that Councilman Koppell has had talks with the State Senate Democratic committee for a possible challenge to Senator Klein. While Mrs. Koppell told me two years ago that once her husband was to be term limited out of office he would not seek any other office and retire from politics. Today was another story as she told me that she is encouraging husband Oliver to stay active in the political world. In what could be another hint at a senate run in his speech Councilman Koppell said that he is known for his honesty, integrity, and for being a loyal progressive Democrat.
Among the elected officials on hand were Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, City Controller Elect Scott Stringer, and Congressman Jerry Nadler. There were many Community Board 8 and even some Community Board 7 members who have been appointed with Councilman Koppell's stamp of approval.
His daughter Jackie opened up the party by asking for a moment of silence for those who were killed or injured in the mornings train derailment by the Hudson River in South Riverdale. She added that her father has been in politics longer than she has been around, and even got chocked up a bit in saying some of the many things that her father has done.
When he spoke Councilman Koppell told of the time he ran for Bronx Borough President in 1979 loosing and being left penny less after the election, but he said that it was his partner of over 30 years that encouraged him to continue in his pursuit of elected office. He went through a power point presentation of many of his accomplishments in the district. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz was then invited up to say a few words. Dinowitz said that he had known Oliver Koppel for over 40 years, and that Oliver could have made a lot of money if he had chosen to go into a private life. He then thanked Councilman Koppell on behalf of the community.
One of Oliver Koppell's most remembered moments in the State Assembly came when he introduced the Bottle Bill which became law, and he said that over100 billion bottles and cans have been recycled as of that law in New York State.
Left - The Koppell's - Oliver, daughter Jackie and wife Lorraine.
Right - The power point presentation of just a few of Councilman Koppell's accomplishments.
left - Congressman Jerry Nadler and City Controller Elect Scott Stringer wait to be called to say a few words about Oliver Koppell.
Right - Herb Barrett presents Councilman Koppell with a special plaque for his help in getting the Veterans Memorial Grove in Van Cortlandt Park renovated.