From the Strange News Department: A man named Joel Rivera is running in the Council race to replace term-limited Bronx Councilman and Majority Leader Joel Rivera , possibly providing a major boost to the somewhat politically unknown namesake. Candidate Joel Rivera would likely benefit from the name recognition built up over the years by the current Councilman Rivera over the past 12 years. Voters in the September primary may even think they are casting a ballot for the incumbent. "If I were the political consultant in this race, I would launch a full-scale campaign telling people, 'Don't vote for the fake Joel Rivera,'" said one Bronx insider. The two do not appear to be related. The Rivera name is also rather famous in Bronx political circles: the current Councilman Rivera is the son of Assemblyman and former Bronx County Leader Jose Rivera , and the brother of ex-Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera . Joel Rivera (the one that's running in 2013) did not return a request for comment. He is also an official in the Bronx Democratic Party and ran once for Assembly, but insiders say he's unlikely to get the party's backing in what's shaping up to be a crowded race. Joseph Lhota , the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman running for mayor, was spied consulting with not one, but two former big city mayors at the Citizen Budget Commission's annual dinner Wednesday night. Mr. Lhota, who was the only mayoral candidate to stay for the entire event ( Bill Thompson and John Catsimatidis attended the pre-dinner cocktail event) was seated at the same table with Anthony Williams , the former mayor of Washington, D.C., and Stephen Goldsmith , the ex-mayor of Indianapolis who also served in the Bloomberg administration as deputy mayor for operations. Mr. Lhota would not comment on what advice he may (or may not) have received from the two municipal experts. While departing the event, Mr. Lhota asked one female acquaintance if she'd be willing to donate to his campaign. The woman apologized, noting she was a Democrat, to which Mr. Lhota said, "I'm getting lots of checks from Democrats." The powerful Hotel Trades Council rolled out three City Council endorsements on Wednesday: For Manhattan Assemblyman Micah Kellner, upper Manhattan's Mark Levine and north Brooklyn's Antonio Reynoso . "Our 32,000 members across New York are excited to endorse Antonio, Mark and Micah for City Council. These 3 candidates will bring unique skills and experience to the Council and we are confident that they will stand with, and fight for our members and their families," said HTC political director Josh Gold . All three are the early frontrunners in their races, though Mr. Reynoso could potential face a challenge from Assemblyman Vito Lopez . Speaking of Mr. Kellner, one of his opponents, Benjamin Kallos told The Insider he has landed the endorsement of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1179, which boasts more than 1,000 members. On March 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sit on a panel at a luncheon featuring prominent New York business leaders, who will discuss the impact of campaign finance reform and small-dollar donor matching programs. Also on the panel is Jonathan Soros , president of Soros Fund Management, who poured money into an upstate Senate race this year in an effort to promote publicly funded state elections. The event is at noon, at Covington & Burling, New York Times Building, 620 8th Ave.