Friday, May 22, 2015

UPDATE on Elected Officials Announce Agreement with TLC

The following came in from Allan Fromberg the Deputy Commissioner for public affairs at the Taxi and Limousine Commission. 

I read your blog this morning with great interest and very much appreciate your highlighting our policy change.  I was hoping, however, to respectfully clarify a couple of things.

First, I should mention that Vision Zero remains the TLC's first and foremost mission.

Our goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries is a bold and ambitious one, but it is a goal that is well worth pursuing in this city full of children, and quite realistic.  While your blog uses the word "oppressive" with regard to our efforts to enforce safety rules,  I want to share a perspective with you that I hope and believe you will agree with....and it's that we all share the responsibility to make our streets safer, and protect our children's lives, and that we all have a role to play in making that happen.  This is especially true for our professionally-licensed drivers, not only because they carry precious cargo in their work, but also because they are the greatest users of our streets.  It's appropriate that we hold them to a higher standard, and most drivers and industry representatives with whom we speak agree on that, as do the many elected officials, like Ydanis Rodriguez, who partnered with us to make it happen.  This policy change is in no way diminishes of our unshakable commitment to Vision Zero.  Rather, it was a decision reached after positive discussions with Senator Diaz and his colleagues and industry leaders, in the understanding that vehicle owners who receive a camera summons from DOT often pass the summons along to the driver who was driving at the time of the offense.  It was never the TLC's intent that drivers be penalized twice for the same offense, and so we were happy to effect the policy change in the name of fairness.  We look forward to similarly constructive dialogue on other, non-related issues, and we will continue to weigh them with an eye to fairness, but that said, such decisions will never, ever come at the sacrifice of safety.  I strongly encourage you to take a few moments to watch our recently-produced public safety announcement, "Drive Like Your Family Lives Here" -- I am certain you will find it as compelling as others have.  Here's the link:

Lastly, your post refers to the potential for some drivers to receive "30 summonses" -- and while I am at the disadvantage of not knowing the circumstances that led to your statement, I assure you, this is not in any way accurate in this context.

Editors Note:
The reference to the 30 summonses was said by Senator Diaz Sr. and other elected officials in which drivers had no knowledge that their vehicles had received red light summonses (most of which I was told were in the Manhattan area where being caught in the intersection is a violation after the light turns red, thus making it a red light summons). 

Jewish American Heritage Month Event By Senator Klein


  Klein, Crespo Push for Passage of Bills to Combat Sale of Alcohol to Minors Ahead of ‘100 Deadliest Days’ for Teen Drivers

Nearly 400 Traffic Fatalities Expected to Occur During Memorial Day Weekend 2015

New Bills Would Allow Businesses to Confiscate Fake IDs, Require Retailers Who Have Served Minors to Buy and Use ID Scanners, and Strengthen Defense for Retailers that Employ Best Practices to Stop Underage Drinking

State Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo today renewed their call for the passage of comprehensive legislation known as the “Card Hard Campaign” to combat underage drinking and crackdown on the use of fake IDs across the state. The call comes as the unofficial start to summer kicks off with Memorial Day Weekend and thus begins the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers -- a period running from May to September that sees a significant uptick in the number of car accidents and fatal crashes involving adolescent drivers.
Senator Klein said: “With school winding down and students eager to enjoy their summer vacation, now is not the time to put the brakes on teen safety. Each year, nearly 400 traffic deaths occur over Memorial Day Weekend -- a striking increase over other weekends throughout the month. In an effort to reduce the incidence of underage drinking and take dangerous drivers off the road, my ‘Card Hard’ legislation will create incentives for retailers to use ID scanners and confiscate fake IDs that come across their doors. These common-sense proposals will work to curb teen drinking and hopefully save lives. ”
Assemblyman Crespo said: “Underage drinking poses a serious problem in our communities and holidays have become paramount periods of such behavior. This Memorial Day Weekend will be no exception. Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers with nearly three quarters of students (72%) having consumed alcohol. Among underage drinkers, 30.8% paid for alcohol the last time they drank. It is obvious that New York needs to do more to eliminate fake IDs as a tool available to our youth for accessing alcohol.”
The NYPD released statistics showing that 1,791 summonses have been issued for sales of alcohol to minors, with a three-fold increase in DWI-related arrests from Memorial Day 2012 to Memorial Day 2013. Data released from Jacobi and North Central Bronx Hospital showed that in both 2012 and 2013, there was an increase in minors admitted to the hospital with alcohol-related health issues on Memorial Day Weekend.
What’s more, underage drinking has serious economic repercussions. According to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, teen drinking costs New York residents billions of dollars each year -- an astounding $3.1 billion in 2013 alone. Car accidents involving intoxicated teen drivers represented one of the largest costs to New Yorkers that same year, clocking in around $330 million.
Klein and Crespo’s “Card Hard” legislative package targets the use of fake IDs and works to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. These measures include:
  • S.4086 - Strengthens defenses for those retailers that employ best practices, including having and operating an ID scanner, requiring employees to use scanners, holding a valid certificate of completion of a licensed alcohol awareness program and having a clean record with no violations for at least two years.
  • S.1544 - Allows businesses to confiscate fake IDs.
  • S.4084 - Requires retailers who have served alcohol to minors to buy and use ID scanners.

Richard Mallow, MADD New York Executive Director said: “Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is focused on tackling underage drinking, a problem that threatens the safety of our kids and endangers entire communities, now and down the road. These legislative measures provide a strong program to crackdown on the problem of underage drinking. Our Power of Parents® program is designed to equip parents with the tools and resources to start ongoing conversations about alcohol with their youth. Our hope is that with good parental messaging, law enforcement and legislation we can prevent underage drinking in New York State.”
Frances Maturo, Executive Director of TNCAP: “Each year, too many of our youth are injured or die from use of alcohol which they purchased with a fake ID. If we are serious about addressing this problem, we must take fake IDs out of the hands of minors. Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo’s ‘Card Hard’ campaign will do just that. The Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership supports this campaign."
In 2013, Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo passed the first piece of the “Card Hard” legislative package, S.4101-A/A.2530-B, which was signed into law and brings New York into greater parity with other states by increasing the community service fines and court ordered alcohol awareness training for all youth who use a fake ID.

Rain Barrel Giveaway on June 6th!

Reserve Your FREE Rain Barrel!

Saturday, June 6th
9:00am - 12:00pm
(While supplies last)
P.S. 83 Schoolyard
Enter at 1840 Bogart Avenue
All homeowners who are interested must contact the 80th Assembly District Office at (718) 409-0109 to reserve a rain barrel.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

New York Elected Officials Announce Agreement with Taxi Limousine Commission for Taxi Drivers

   For several months, elected officials including Congressman Charles Rangel, Bronx County Democratic Chair Marcos Crespo (who also presides as the Chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force), Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, and City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez have been meeting at the office of State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. with Mr. Jose Villoria, Ms. Cira Angeles and Mr. Marcos De La Cruz, leaders from the private taxi industry. We have worked together to find a way to intercede on behalf of the drivers and try to alleviate some of the undue burdens they face. 

    You should already know that under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's Zero Tolerance Initiative, taxi drivers have been facing serious oppression which include double penalties of points and summonses, license suspension and revocation, exorbitant and cumulative fines, and penalties that threaten to shut down taxi bases. After negotiating with New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi about these issues, our coalition of elected officials has come to an agreement with the TLC. The photos below are of the press conference that took place in front of the K.I.S.S. Car Service on Webster Avenue. 

   State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. was joined by many of the elected officials who were part of the negations with the TLC for fairness to the livery drivers caught in the middle who were being charged for violations that were not their fault. 

Assemblyman Jose Rivera who once was a Livery cab driver knows what today's Livery drivers have to go through. Jose added that "For the 1st time in 46 years, We have a voice and representation for our Livery drivers".

Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo stands with the Livery cab drivers who just want a fair shake.

TLC spokesperson Jeff Roth gives the cities side, and that the city will work with the Livery drivers to clear up what has become a problem to the city and the drivers, that being up to 30 summonses to one car. 

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, one of the few Latino legislators who is a lawyer played a key role in the negotiations for the Livery drivers.

PLEASE JOIN US Our ANNUAL MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE, MONDAY, MAY 25th at 11:00 AM at Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza

The Morris Park Community Association, The American Legion, The Knights of Columbus and The Morris Park Kiwanis Invite You to attend our Annual Memorial Day Service! On Monday, May 25th, 11:00AM at Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza (Corner of Williamsbridge Road, Pelham Parkway and Esplanade).

Please join us as we remember and honor those men and women in all wars who have made ultimate sacrifice serving our country. They will live forever in the hearts of all who cherish freedom.

Please remember wherever you are, whether it’s at home or traveling or visiting, please take a moment to Reflect, to Share and to Honor the meaning of Memorial Day with your children, your grandchildren, your family, your friends and your neighbors.

God Bless U.S.A.
And To GOD Be The Glory, Amen!

The Morris Park Community Association, The American Legion, The Knights of Columbus and The Morris Park Kiwanis


  "The indictments of Hector Ramirez and his campaign manager for election fraud are another shameful chapter in Bronx politics, yet it's sadly unsurprising.  During both the 2013 and 2014 elections, campaign volunteers witnessed troubling actions perpetrated by Mr. Ramirez and his associates, ranging from the submission of questionable absentee ballots to poll site harassment and other improprieties.  I applaud the District Attorney's office for diligently working to bring Mr. Ramirez and his cohorts to justice for attempting to cheat voters of the 86th Assembly district out of a fair election.

The actions that lead to Mr. Ramirez's arrest are reflective of the dirty and illegal tactics routinely implemented by his campaign during the last two elections and demonstrate both his contempt for the law and his lack of respect for the voters of the 86th Assembly district.  While I am grateful that justice is being served, it is still disheartening to know that there are individuals who believe it is acceptable to deceive voters and circumvent our democratic process. 
I continue to be thankful and humbled for the support I have received both during my campaigns and the time I have spent representing my community in Albany.  As always, I remain committed to working hard to deliver results, to fighting for clean and fair elections, and to building a better future for my neighbors."

Editors Note:

After the Nelson Castro Fiasco by the Bronx District Attorney and the U.S. Attorney's office to allow a person accused of election fraud to be elected to the office of the New York State Assembly 86th A.D., then re-elected not only once, but twice before ending the sham that was perpetrated upon the public we have to wonder what ever happened to the charges of voter fraud in the 2013 Special Election for the 86th Assembly district against current 86th Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, 33rd State Senate district Senator Gustavo Rivera, and then Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie.  Three candidates who were in that 2013 special election claimed fraud, so what ever happened? I guess the public is going to have to wait until Jan 1st 2018, four years later to know what the real answer to that question is as no one including the Bronx District Attorney wants to say. All DA Johnson says now is"No Comment".

This seems to be a replay of a 1993 School Board 10 election where the defendant was found innocent. Maybe the Board of Elections should then be arrested instead of the candidates DA Johnson.