Meet the New Boss

Well, the new boss of Brooklyn is Vito Lopez, the big, rumpled Assemblyman from Bushwick who runs the borough’s last real machine.

He won a vote of county leaders tonight with 28 votes.

The question many had going into this is why Lopez, a powerful, low-profile player, with a reputation for getting a lot of housing built in his Bushwick district and amassing a lot of personal power in the process, would want to take on a job with little clout and a lot of baggage.

I asked Vito about this last week. Wouldn’t it be attaching a target to his back, for the press and the district attorney? I asked.

“Five targets,” he grumbled, adding that he doesn’t like to back down from fights.

Lopez said he’d like to do for Brooklyn what he did for his district: use political organization to draw government resources. “Presidents used to visit Brooklyn,” he said. “I want them to again.”

Vito didn’t have much to say about judge-making, but if he’s to much else done, one suspects, he’ll have to surprise his critics with changes to the way Brooklyn picks its judges.

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