Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Dilemma that We Elected Officials Face

What You Should Know 
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 
32nd Senatorial District 

You should know that there are many times in politics when we are faced with especially delicate and sophisticated issues.  There are times when our decisions may not hold up to everyone’s satisfaction. 

You should know that when a person is elected to serve and represent the needs of others, the duties of that elected person often include appointing people to serve alongside them.  In political reality, there are certain qualities of potential appointees, aside from professional qualifications, that we must consider:  race, creed, color, and sex – to name a few. 

When each elected official knows it is time to make decisions, he or she realizes this must be done with great care.  If not, they could be the subject of many attacks and accusations from all kinds of anti- discrimination groups.  They could be accused of neglecting to include certain groups and communities. 

It is important for you to know that this behavior is followed by every elected official from the President of the United States down.  For example, we all know that even though President Barack Obama was elected as the first African American President, it wouldn't look “good” for him or for the Democratic Party to have appointed another African American to serve as the Vice President.  They had to find another ethnicity to balance that ticket, and they succeeded when they appointed Joe Biden. 

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo named a qualified Hispanic man, Cesar A. Perales, to serve as his Secretary of State.  He also selected a qualified woman, Kathy Hochul, to be his running mate for New York’s Lieutenant Governor.  This way, Governor Andrew Cuomo can appear to be inclusive and protect himself from anyone who would try to accuse him of discrimination. 

When I became a Member of the New York State Senate, I was also very careful to appoint people from different ethnic groups in my community. 

In order to satisfy the diversity of groups throughout the City of New York, the same considerations apply for the Office of the Borough President.  For example, since we know that the Brooklyn Borough President is African American, the Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan Borough Presidents are White, and the Bronx Borough President is Hispanic, we can take a look at the ethnicity of each, and appreciate how each carefully they appointed their Deputy Borough Presidents. 

We see that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams meticulously chose a Hispanic woman to serve as his Deputy Borough President.   Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, who is a former Member of the New York City Council, has expertise and qualifications.  Eric Adams has not only chosen a qualified person, but he has satisfied many segments of Brooklyn’s population by choosing a Hispanic who is a woman.  It would not have looked as good for him if he chose a Jamaican –even though there are very large sections of Brooklyn with Caribbean roots. 

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz recognized the great diversity in Queens, and chose a Black man to serve as her Deputy Borough President. Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie was also a former Member of the New York City Council, and also has expertise and qualifications.  The fact that he is a Black man helps to satisfy the demand for the Queens community to have a balanced ticket. 

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer chose a Hispanic man to serve as her Deputy Borough President. By selecting Deputy Borough President Aldrin Rafael Bonilla, she covers herself from being accused of being anti-Hispanic. 

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo chose Deputy Borough President Ed Burke to serve on his ticket. This seems to adequately reflect the needs of Staten Island’s diversity. 

In Bronx County, we are proud that Ruben Diaz, Jr. is our Hispanic representative. He also realized that he could not be insensitive to the diversity of the borough and appoint another Hispanic to serve as his Deputy Borough President.  That is not how politics works. 

Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. chose the Honorable Aurelia Greene to serve as his Deputy Borough President.  Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene served in the New York State Assembly for 27 years. She is one of the most well-known, experienced, and beloved leaders in Bronx County. By appointing Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. not only appointed the most dedicated and the best, but he also appointed an African American woman. In politics, this is what is called the perfect choice. 

My dear reader, you should also know that when we elected officials have to make decisions about who to hire and who to fire, we have to take many things into consideration.  Our decisions can hurt members of other communities just because they each want the best for their own, without regard for the other groups. 

Ladies and gentlemen, since many people may not know the real reason for hiring certain individuals, people can make all sorts of accusations about matters that might have nothing at all to do with the actual decision-making.  This is what we simply call the dilemma that we elected officials face. 

This Senator Rev Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gun Offender Registry Advisory

  Council Members Constantinides, Torres, Vallone Intro Gun Registry Legislation

   Council Members Constantinides, Torres, and Vallone will introduce legislation mandating a community notification requirement within the City’s gun offender registry.

   This online gun offender registry bill that will promote public safety and guarantee our communities are notified when a registered gun offender lives within their neighborhood.  Gun violence is a public policy challenge which requires a multitude of solutions.  Protecting the public’s right to know their neighbor is an essential building block of fostering stronger community relations.  The Gun Offender Registry bill will better equip our city in the effort to combat and eradicate gun violence.

The bill mandates that registered gun offenders will be listed in a publicly available online sub-directory, which will provide a searchable database.  Individuals can sign-up for automatic – free of charge – email notifications when a new offender moves into a geographic area they specified.

When: Thursday, July 24, Noon

WhereSteps of New York City Hall

Is Keith Wright Wrong on This One?

  The New York Post reports that Manhattan Assemblyman and Manhattan Democratic County Leader Keith Wright is demanding that a judge reinstate the licence of his Chief of staff Ms.Jeanine Johnson.  It seems that Ms. Johnson was stopped by police on June 26th at 4:07 A.M. after leaving a social bar located at West 126th Street and Lanox Avenue after driving erratically according to a Post source. When stopped Ms. Johnson mentioned Manhattan Democratic County Leader Keith Wright's name and a few other things. After being busted and arraigned Ms. Johnson's driver license was suspended. 

  Here is where Manhattan Democratic County Leader Keith Wright comes in for Ms. Johnson. Wright sent a "to whom it may concern" letter to Manhattan criminal court the Post reports. "Her availability to represent me at various meetings and attend functions throughout New York City and Albany, New York, are critical to the successful operation of my office", according to the Post which adds that the letter is printed on official state Assembly letterhead.

  The Post adds that a judge will rule on a possible reinstatement of Ms. Johnson's license at her September 9th court appearance. Also that Ms. Johnson is the law co-chair of the New York County Democratic Party, that oversees the screening panel that recommends judicial candidates to be selected by the party.  

  Editor's note:  Ms. Johnson should be treated just like any other person who is in the same situation. She should suffer the consequences of her actions, and be kept off the road like anyone else would be.


  The scheduled Community Board 8 Land Use meeting for Tuesday night July 22nd has been cancelled. Montefiore Hospital was to present their latest plans for the medical center proposed for Riverdale/Oxford Avenues site. Montefiore has asked that the meeting be rescheduled to the September Community Board 8 Land Use meeting. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Plastic Bag Fee up From 6 Cents to a Dime Now

  6 cents for a plastic bag was what Mayor Bloomberg had in mind for shoppers, and it seems that 10 cents is what Mayor Bill deBlasio may have in store for shoppers per plastic bag according to a Daily News storyDeputy Mayor Anthony Shorris has been consulting with the city’s new sanitation commissioner about a ten cent plastic bag fee that has been co-sponsored in the City Council by Councilman Brad Lander. Twenty of the 51 council members are said to be on board with the idea of the 10 cent per plastic bag fee that would go to the store owner rather than the 6 cent a bag fee going to the city as was proposed by Mayor Bloomberg. 

  Brad Gerstman of the New York Association of Grocery Stores says that the fee would drive away customers and do more harm than good. in cleaning the environment. An estimated 5.2 billion disposable plastic bags are used in the city each year, and it costs $10 million to ship them to landfills after they are tossed away, according to the bills’ supporters.

  With club stores selling in case lots and others like Aldi already selling their bags the use of plastic bags should have dropped in recent years. Ask your council member which side of this argument they are on, and ask them if they are going to pay 10 cents per plastic bag or go shop over the city line where plastic bags are free. The other question that comes into mind is - what about the plastic bags that are sold for use as garbage bags by companies? Are we going to see a 10 cent per bag fee for Hefty or Glad bags which would add $2.00 to a package of 20 bags. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

TOMORROW: Bronx LGBTQ Pride & Health Fair

  The Bronx LGBTQ Center is pleased to announced that its second annual pride event, the 2014 Bronx LGBTQ Pride & Health Fair, will be held tomorrow, Saturday, July 19th from 12-6pm at Crotona Park's amphitheatre in The Bronx.

Five awards will be presented to four individuals and one organization for their outstanding and dedicated service to the LGBTQ communities of The Bronx.

There will be over 30 entertainers and speakers, including hosts Diva Jackie Dupree, Tyra Allure Ross, and Lady Clover Honey. Featured will be performances from lesbian superstar Lori Michaels, Lovari, and Amadis, and more than 25 other LGBTQ entertainers and speakers from the region.

For full details and more information about the event, please visit http://bronxpride2014.eventbrite.com/ or call Peter at 914-417-9579.