Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Riverdale Mayoral Town Hall Meeting

  This Mayoral Town Hall Meeting was held in the 11th council district as Mayor Bill de Blasio is making the rounds in each borough as this is an election year for him. This Town Hall Meeting was held in an area where Mayor de Blasio won four years ago, and the mayor is playing into his strength by having Town Hall meetings where he has success.

   Since the 11th council district covers three community boards this Town Hall meeting was geared at the Northwest areas of Bronx Community Boards 7 and 8. Both community do have similar problems, but they may vary in different ways. CB 7 is choking on over development because two subway lines run directly through the boards area. CB 8 on the other hand has many single family homes and lower zoning that is threatened by senior facilities which want to build continuing care facilities. Other topics included parking or lack of it, The Hudson Greenway, school overcrowding, immigration and what the city can do, homelessness, and cuts to the MTA which led to a back and forth between the mayor and local Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. The mayor said if you don't want cuts to the MTA tell the governor, adding also Assemblyman Dinowitz. That brought on a reply by Dinowitz that the legislature stopped a similar budget cut last year, and will again this year as the governor has called for. Here are some photos of the Town Hall meeting. 

Above - Mayor de Blasio goes over a few notes about Councilman Andrew Cohen's council district as the two prepare to enter the gym at In-Tech school where the Town Hall meeting was held.
Below - The mayor says - Let's get going to Councilman Cohen.

Above - Councilman Cohen welcomes the mayor to his district.
Below - The entourage of commissioners, agency and department heads who came with the mayor to answer questions.

Above - Lowell Greene of CB7 asks the mayor why is there little if any parking in new construction as parking is very tight in CB7.
Below Bob Bender of CB 8 asks the mayor to commit to the Greenway Project that CB 8 is trying to get done.

Above - The mayor answer a question about education.
Below - You can see how close the audience were to the mayor. Yes that is all the commanding officer of the Bronx Precincts and borough command seated in the background as security was very tight.

Above - Ms. Elizabeth Thompson of the Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Association asks the mayor a question on education.
Below - The mayor answers another question as Councilman Cohen listens to the answer.

Upcoming March Activities & Events at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center

  Join us for a new class: Tai Chi for Arthritis, starting on Thurs. Mar. 2nd at 11:00 AM. Kathleen O'Hanlon, certified instructor, will conduct this evidence based class for 16 consecutive weeks through June. For more information and registration, please call the senior center office: 718-549-4700.

  Ling Tang, gifted Chinese dancer/educator will present a mini-lecture on Chinese culture followed by a Chinese dance class on Thurs. Mar. 2nd from 1 – 2:30 PM. Chinese culture/dance will meet every Thurs. afternoon from March through June culminating in an interactive performance with live music. This course is funded by a SU CASA grant from NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs and administered by Dancewave.  

Wei Tang, master Calligrapher, will instruct Chinese calligraphy starting on Mon. Mar. 6thas part of the Chinese Cultural arts project at JASA Van Cortlandt Sr. Center. This class will meet on Monday afternoons from March through June from 1 – 2:30 PM. Please call the senior center office 718-549-4700 to pre- register for either or both of these classes.  

Sun. Mar. 5th: Make Up SundayLunch of shake & bake chicken or sole fillet at 1 PMfollowed by performance by: Cantando Asi, Lisa, Josue and Angel Trio, Spanish guitar/vocals/flamenco dance at 2 PM. Refreshments will be served. Recommended senior meal contribution: $3.00 and event contribution: $2.00. Please call the senior center office 718-549-4700 for meal reservations by: Wed. Mar. 1st

*Health & Relaxation w/Kathleen continues on Wed. Mar. 8th & 22nd at 10:30 AM. Kathleen, a certified Yoga instructor, will health information along gentle routine of breathing stretching until 12 Noon. Kosher lunch of turkey meatloaf or tuna salad will be served on 3/8 at 12:15 PM.Recommended senior meal contribution: $2.00 and class contribution: $1.00. Please call the senior center office 718-549-4700 for meal reservations by Fri. 3/3.

*New Movement class with Judy Farnum, certified fitness instructor, continues on Mon. Mar. 6th & 20th at 3:00 PMThis class combines low impact aerobics with easy-to-follow exercise routines as a fun way to 'get moving' to a wide variety of music including Classic Retro Pop, Latin Rhythms, Global Beats and more!

On Wed. Mar. 8th, Tania Collazo, JASA Floating Kitchen Supervisor, will conduct a *Healthy Cooking Demonstration at 1:00 PM. Tania will demonstrate a healthy and easy dessert.Recommended senior meal contribution: $2.00 and event contribution: $1.00. Please call the senior center office 718-549-4700 for meal reservations by: Fri. Mar. 3rd.
On Fri. March 10th, enjoy the healing sound of *Mbira (“im • BEER • uh”) music by Nora and Susan of mbiraNYC. They will play spiritual energizing thumb-piano music of Zimbabwe.Interactive singing, clapping and moving is encouraged. A nutritious kosher lunch of Italian roast chicken or gefilte fish loaf will be served at 12:15 PM. Senior meal contribution is $2.00 and event contribution: $1.00. Refreshments will be served. Please call the senior center office at 718-549- 4700 for meal reservations by Tues. Mar. 7th.

Celebrate Purim with Hagit and family on Thurs. Mar. 16th. Join the MMCC 4 yr old classes for a retelling of the Purim tale, songs and dance at 11:30 AM. After a festive lunch of honey lemon chicken or tilapia, Hagit and family will provide popular and classical musical entertainment.Senior meal contribution is $2.00 and event contribution: $1.00. Refreshments will be served. Please call the senior center office at 718-549- 4700 for meal reservations by Mon. Mar. 13th.

Sun. Mar. 26th:Make Up Day: Lunch of sole fillet or stuffed cabbage at 1 PM plus 50's & 60's folk and ethnic music by the NY Troubadours at 2 PMSenior meal contribution is $3.00 and event contribution: $2.00. Refreshments will be served. Please call the senior center office at718-549- 4700 for meal reservations by Wed. Mar. 22nd.
Member Cecile Lumer will present part II of her Asian Travelogue on Mon. Mar. 27th at 1:00 PM.She toured Japan, N. & So. Korea, China and Mongolia last fall and will share her experiences and photos. Lunch of beef hamburger or turkey salad will be served at 12:15 PM. Recommended senior meal contribution:$2.00 and event : $1.00. Please call the senior center office at 718- 549- 4700 for meal reservations by Thurs. Feb. 23rd.
Shopping trip to Fairway in Pelham Manor on Fri. Mar. 31st. Thea Reznik, RN, will provide tips on how to read food labels and will accompany the group. Call the office 718-549-4700 to pre-register by Fri. Mar. 24th. Mini-coach bus provided through a health grant from CM Cohen. A bagel breakfast will be served.
Save the Date: Wed. Apr. 5th:
Passover Model Seder at 11:15 AM followed by a festive meal of Rosemary roast chicken, roasted potatoes and beets w/onions at 12:30 PMKlezmer music by Doug Leblang, keyboard/vocals and Debra Kreisberg, clarinet at 1:15 PM.

All meals at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center are catered by Mauzone (kosher) Meal Service. We offer a daily alternate choice of entree. Please call the senior center office to request the alternative meal choice between 9:30 and 10:30 AM. Refreshments are served at all special events.

Note: *New Classes/Activities: Health & Relaxation, Movement I, Healthy
Cooking demonstrations and Healing mbira Music are funded by a generous Health Initiative grant from CM Andrew Cohen.

We are located on the first floor of the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center at 3880 Sedgwick Ave. Take the Bronx #1, 2 or 10 bus to the intersection of Sedgwick Ave. and Van Cortlandt Ave. West. For more Information, please call the center office at 718-549-4700. JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center is funded by NYC Dept. for the Aging, UJA- Federation of NY and by special legislative grants from Council Member Andrew Cohen and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Library Reading Hour sponsored by Rotary Club of Riverdale

  Youngsters 3-12 years old are invited to participate in the Reading Program on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the Kingsbridge Library, 291 W. 231 st St., 1- 1:45PM. Readers will be grouped by skill level and encouraged to read, helped with pronunciation and word understanding, and for those without reading skills, interpret pictures. There is no charge for participation. Enjoy the beauty and comfort of our newest area library.

The Rotary Club of Riverdale is part of Rotary International and sponsors the library reading project as a local community service. Volunteers who would like to help in this once monthly program, first Saturday of the month, except for holiday weekends, are invited to contact Karen Pesce, 718-549 4469.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Group of Global Investors with more than $11 Trillion in Assets Call on Texas Lawmakers to Oppose Anti-LGBT “Bathroom Bill”

NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Trillium Asset Management lead charge against Anti-LGBT Legislation in Texas

Group of more than 30 global investors warn Texas officials of economic repercussions of discriminatory bills

   Led by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Trillium Asset Management, a group of some of the largest investors in the world, with a combined $11 trillion of assets under management, today spoke out against Texas Senate Bill 6 (or SB6), “Bathroom Bill,” as well as similar discriminatory legislation. In the wake of hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic activity in North Carolina after HB2 – a similar bill – was signed into law in that state, major investors are standing up against this discriminatory legislation.
The more than 30 signatories include some of the biggest investors in the world, such as BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, T. Rowe Price, and AllianceBernstein, as well as New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, California Controller Betty Yee, Connecticut Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read, Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Vermont Treasurer Elizabeth Pearce.
The investors’ letter urges Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus to oppose the legislation, which would discriminate against transgender individuals in Texas. This not only makes it more difficult for companies to attract and retain the best talent, but could have real effects on the Texas economy by undermining businesses operating there, and delivering extraordinary reputational harm to the Texas business environment. The state could lose hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars in economic activity. Tourism dollars, sporting and other entertainment events, and corporate expansions – all are vital to Texas’s economy and could be at risk. As just one indication of the potential impact, organizations including the National Football League and the NCAA have already warned that the siting of future events in Texas would be jeopardized.
The investors’ letter also highlight opposition to SB6 from more than 1,200 companies doing business in Texas, including major firms like American Airlines, Dow Chemical, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, and Waste Management.
“This bill is the 2.0 version of North Carolina’s HB2, and we saw how that bill impacted North Carolina. Not only is SB6 wrong for Texas residents, it also undermines anyone who is invested in companies in that state. SB6 would take Texas in the wrong direction,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “This group of investors represents a truly extraordinary level of assets, and the market is unquestionably speaking out about the economic consequences of such bills. We hope that message will be heard. I couldn’t be prouder to lead this massive effort to protect not just the interests of New York’s retired firefighters, police officers, and teachers, but also fundamental human rights.”
“The evidence is overwhelming that inclusive corporate and public policy that embraces diversity and equality are essential to strong businesses and financial success. Trillium Asset Management, and the trillions of dollars of assets that support this letter, unequivocally and emphatically urge Texas legislators to maintain a healthy and vibrant climate for business in the State of Texas,” said Trillium Asset Management, CEO Matthew Patsky, CFA. “Senate Bill 6 must be defeated and not allowed to negatively impact the economy of Texas, the second largest in the United States.”
SB6, introduced in early January 2017, is similar to North Carolina’s HB2’s bathroom restrictions, and requires individuals to use the public restroom that aligns with the gender on their birth certificate, discriminating against transgender individuals. The bill also eliminates municipal bathroom access non-discrimination laws, effectively legalizing discrimination against the LGBT community in both public and private accommodations. SB6 allows the Texas Attorney General to impose fines of up to $10,500 a day for violation of bathroom access regulations.
North Carolina has faced significant financial harm since enacting a similar bill, HB2, in March 2016. In the months since the bill was enacted, sporting events, concerts, TV shows, and conventions were canceled and business expansions were halted. By some estimates, the cost to the State reached over $600 million.
To read the full investor letter, and see a full list of signatories, click here.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz

Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda’s Great Idea

You should know that Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, Senator Marisol Alcantara and I have joined together and submitted a piece of joint-legislation to help resolve some of the environmental problems caused by plastic bags.

As you know, the Members of the New York City Council, under the direct leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, approved legislation to force every consumer, including senior citizens, the poor, the needy and everyone who shops in the five boroughs of the City of New York to pay 5-cents (5¢) to the merchant for each plastic bag they used while shopping.

According to Melissa Mark Viverito and the Members of the City Council, this 5-cents (5¢) imposition per plastic bag was done with the purpose of cleaning up the environment, and doing away with the infestation of plastic bags on New York City streets.
According to their legislation, when the consumer goes to the supermarket, bodega or other retail establishments, he or she will be forced to pay 5-cents (5¢) for each plastic bag they use. Can anyone imagine why this 5-cents (5¢) per bag fee should then be kept by the store owner, not the government. This was all done in the name of cleaning the environment.

As you know, our fight and participation in support of Senator Simcha Felder’s effort to do away with this injustice toward the consumer was joined by Republicans in the Senate, and we were victorious.
And, as I have explained to you in my earlier columns, of the six Hispanic Senators: Marisol Alcantara, José Serrano, José Peralta, Martin Malavé Dilan, Gustavo Rivera and myself, only two of us, José Peralta and I were the only ones who voted against the imposition of the 5-cents (5¢) penalty. The other four voted in favor of forcing senior citizens, the poor, the needy and every other consumer in the City of New York to pay 5-cents (5¢) per plastic bag while shopping.

You should also know that after the New York Senate voted to stop it, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Honorable Carl Heastie and the Members of the Assembly did the same and joined with the Republicans in voting to stop this injustice that was set to go into effect on February 15, 2107.

And, our beloved Governor Andrew Cuomo then put the City Council’s legislation in checkmate by signing into law the Senate and Assembly’s joint legislation to postpone all of this for one year while studies could be done to find better environmental solutions than having the consumer pay this 5-cents (5¢) fee.

It is very important for you to know that without waiting one year, and almost immediately, Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda came up with a marvelous idea to introduce another piece of legislation, which Senator Marisol Alcantara and I joined in sponsoring.
The great idea that Assemblyman Sepúlveda introduced in the Assembly is to actually help clean up the environment and take plastic bags off the streets. Instead of forcing consumers to pay 5-cents (5¢) that the store owners keep per plastic bag, to pay consumers 3-cents (3¢) for each plastic bag that they re-use.

If the problem, as explained by Melissa Mark-Viverito and Members of the New aYork City Council, is to take plastic bags off the streets and to clean the environment, I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a way for the consumer to be rewarded with 3-cents (3¢) per bag, if in all honesty, the idea was to clean the environment.

I imagine there would be no reason why, with Assemblyman Sepulveda's great idea, that those elected officials who were in favor of forcing consumers to pay 5-cents (5¢) per plastic bag to clean the environment would oppose this new proposed legislation.

I see no reason why any elected officials would want senior citizens, the poor, the needy, and hard working New Yorkers to be forced to pay 5-cents (5¢) per plastic bag, instead of paying shoppers 3-cents (3¢) per plastic bag they reuse in order to help clean the environment.

Honorable New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Members of the New York City Council: the ball is in your court.

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

3rd Annual Black History Month Veterans Celebration

Black History Month Flyer (1).jpg

NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Hosts Annual Legislative Forum

Discussion Focuses on Trump Administration’s Plans for Affordable Care Act

Left to right, John Jurenko, V.P. of Government & Community Relations, NYC Health + Hospitals; Robert Nolan, NYC Health + Hospitals Board Member; Esme Sattaur-Low, Community Advisory Board Member; Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj; William Foley, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi; Sylvia Lask, CAB Member; Silvio Mazzella, CAB Member; Alvin Young, NYC Health + Hospitals, Intergovernmental Affairs; Josephine Bolus, Chairperson of NYC Health + Hospitals Board of Directors Community Relations Committee

The Community Advisory Board of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi hosted its annual Legislative Forum on February 8. Approximately 70 people attended, including board members, staff, and the community, to hear from local elected officials regarding health care funding and the role of the public hospital system in serving the community.

Jacobi Chief Executive Officer William Foley welcomed attendees with opening remarks focused on the hospital’s many specialty programs and designated Centers of Excellence. He was followed by the Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, John Jurenko, who outlined fiscal challenges the health system faces at the federal and state levels.

Many elected officials attended the event, including New York State Senators Jeffrey Klein and Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Members Michael Benedetto and Mark Gjonaj, and New York City Council Member Andy King. Klein and Rivera spoke specifically about health policy and how recent legislative action in Albany may result in greater reimbursement of safety net hospitals. Klein also praised the progress that the Stand Up to Violence (SUV) program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi has made throughout the Bronx. Funded by the State, SUV is a unique, hospital-based gun violence interruption program that has produced impressive reductions in violence within the three precincts where it is active. Klein called NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi an excellent partner in the establishment of this successful initiative.
Assembly Members Benedetto and Gjonaj also spoke and pledged to support NYC Health + Hospitals in carrying out its mission to provide care for all regardless of race, gender, origin, sexual orientation, immigration status, or ability to pay.