Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Councilman Andrew Cohen protests Mens Homeless Shelter Across the Street From PS 20

  Councilman Andrew Cohen was joined by Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, members of Community Board 7, Parents, and students of PS 20 in opposition to the placement of a homeless shelter across the street from PS 20 in the current SAM's Carpeting building. Councilman Cohen spoke about how horrible it would be to have a homeless shelter across the street from a k - 8 school where the vulnerable children would be right across the street from many homeless men. 


 Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj spoke of finding nine level two or three sexual predators that were currently living in Bronx Homeless shelters, and most recently holding a press conference outside of one such homeless shelter where one of these level two or three sexual predators was placed by the Department of Homeless Services which also housed families with children. 

 The fact that Sam's Carpet was being thought of for a homeless shelter was brought out at a special August Community Board 7 meeting. At that meeting Councilman Cohen suggested that the community board look for an alternate site for the homeless shelter if the board and community did not want it across the street from PS 20. At that meeting Councilman Cohen even suggested an alternate site, that being the currently empty Feggs building  located at 3600 Jerome Avenue. 

  While Sams Carpet remains open for business, and no renovations on the building are going on it was a different matter for the Feggs building on Jerome Avenue where I stopped on the way to Councilman Cohen's rally at PS 20.

  Here at the empty Feggs building on Jerome Avenue work is going on to modify the building. When I asked what was going on I was directed to the supervisor of the site who said to me that the building was being renovated for a homeless shelter.

  When I questioned Councilman Cohen about him suggesting the Feggs site as an alternate site to having a homeless shelter in the Sams Carpet building across from PS 20. When I said that alterations were going on at the empty Feggs building, and not at Sams Carpet which was still open for business Councilman Cohen played dumb just smiling saying 'from my lips...'.

City Announces Hurricane and Disaster Preparedness Tips and Resources for Small Businesses

With arrival of peak hurricane season, NYC business owners should be prepared

  The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) today, during National Preparedness Month, announced the availability of free resources and tips to help small businesses prepare for hurricane season and other emergency events. SBS can help business owners develop an emergency preparedness plan, receive a free risk assessment, and apply for emergency readiness grants. 

SBS offers a program called Business PREP that is open to businesses in the neighborhoods most vulnerable to extreme weather events. As part of the program, a team of emergency planning and insurance experts will visit businesses and review physical space, operations, and insurance coverage. Personnel will offer recommendations to help businesses reduce risks in the event of a disaster or disruption. More information on this service is available at

“With hurricane season comes additional risks for all New Yorkers, including small business owners,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Small business owners put their heart and soul into their work, not to mention major financial investments. By following a few important tips, business owners can be better prepared if a disaster strikes.”   

In addition to the Business PREP program, SBS offers other tips and resources for small businesses:

Emergency Planning

You should develop a business continuity plan. SBS offers a worksheet to help with the development of your continuity plan. This plan will help you prepare to withstand and recover from a disruption and should include, among other items (full list available here): 

  • A list of the most important activities necessary to run your business, a description of the steps to complete these activities, special skills to perform the activity (for example, training, certification), and the time sensitivity of getting each activity back up and running after an interruption.
  • An emergency communications plan for all employees, including persons with disabilities and those with limited English language proficiency.
  • Evacuation plans and emergency escape route assignments.
  • A list of important documents such as:
  • Insurance policies and contacts
  • Building contacts and property records
  • Bank account records/statements
  • Tax documents
  • Tax records
  • Employee related documents
  • List all locations where the document is stored. Make sure to have back-up copies of important documents in an alternate location and/or stored electronically.
  • A contact list of all employees. Include at least one method of after-hours communication to get in touch with employees.
  • A contact list of all vendors and suppliers.

Important Things To Do During Or Immediately After An Emergency

  • If you or others are facing immediate danger, first call 911.
  • Determine if you will be able to conduct business in the near-term:
  • Are there any significant changes to the immediate surroundings that would affect access to your space?
  • Will this this emergency have any effect on the products and services your business offers?
  • Contact your customers, employees, suppliers, and insurance company to communicate needs, changes and contingency plans.

How Can SBS Help?

  • Attend a free SBS emergency preparedness workshop or webinar. You will learn how to:
  • Stay in business: Identify your key business activities, employees, and documents
  • Protect your investments: Understand how to protect your assets and navigate insurance
  • Be ready for action: Create an emergency and business continuity plan for your business
  • If your business is facing a real-time emergency, you may contact SBS by calling 212-618-8810. SBS can:
  • Provide you with the latest emergency information on street closures, utilities disruptions, security and demolitions.
  • Assist with retrieval of valuable items and documents from your business location (if safe to do so).
  • Coordinate with the NYC Police Department and other emergency responders to make sure your business location is secure and prevent losses.
  • Connect you to local business organizations for possible relocation assistance.
  • SBS provides assistance to businesses after an emergency. SBS can:
  • Connect you to recovery information and resources including business relocation assistance, help with insurance questions, free legal advice and financing assistance.
  • Help troubleshoot government regulations and permitting questions with City agencies such as the NYC Department of Buildings, NYC Department of Health, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, and many others.

About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to or call 311.

My Experience During The Democratic Primaries

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York 

You should know that I am writing this column from my home town of Bayamon, Puerto Rico where I am visiting my brother Ramon Diaz who is fighting pancreatic cancer.   

You should also know that the past Democratic primaries conducted on Tuesday, September 12th, left many stunned, surprised and others disappointed.   

First, let me tell you that I had to confront four opponents, and each one of them spent their time and money attacking and accusing me of just about everything that may come to mind. 
They not only compared me to Donald Trump, they accused me of being anti-woman, racist, a homophobe, and anti-immigrant, etc.   

My four opponents, one a woman, one an African American, one openly gay, and one of German descent, they did not waste any time to paint me, as the worst enemy of each of their respective communities and ethnic group. 

As a matter of fact, the pressure that some members of the gay community placed on Assemblyman Michael Blake "an African American" {a personal friend of mine before the primaries} forced him to publicly denounce me, and he requested that I return a $1,000.00 campaign contribution he had made to my campaign. 

It is important for you to know that consequently, not one single African American elected official came out publically to support me.   Could you imagine not one?   

Among the Latino legislators that publically supported me were Bronx Borough President  Ruben Diaz Jr., The Bronx County Democratic Chairman Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, my campaign manager Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Senator Marisol Alcantara, and Council members Rafael Salamanca, Fernando Cabrera, and Ydanis Rodriguez. 

The rest of my colleagues ran away from me, but my dear readers I do promise that I will always work hand in hand with them if they ever need me.   

On the other hand, I was proud to have received the endorsements or fair treatment from the following news media outlets: City and State,  The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The Bronx Chronicles, Bangla Patrika, The Taxi Voice, The New York Cronicas, and The Taxista News.   

Also the following labor Unions:  The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA), The New York City Corrections Association (COBA), The Detective Endowment Association, Captain Endowment, Lieutenant Benevolent, Sergeant  Association, LIUNA, Uniformed Fire Fighters, DEA Cope Fund, Building for New Yorkers, NYS Laborers PAC. 

I conclude by stating that if an elected official or any person has a wife like Mrs. Leslie I. Diaz, children like Damaris, Samuel, and Ruben Jr., and a staff such as mine, that person is the most blessed.     

This is Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz and this is What You Should Know.    


City to develop fast charging hubs in every borough in 2018 with new commitment to develop 50 fast charging hubs citywide by 2020; Will help spur adoption of EVs by New Yorkers, with goal of 20% of new car registrations to be EVs by 2025

   Following on his ambitious plan to mandate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today the next step in his climate action agenda. The Mayor announced plans to significantly expand access to electric vehicle (EV) charging for residents by developing new fast charging stations across the city. As part of the Administration’s target for 20 percent of the motor vehicle registrations in New York City to be electric by 2025, the City will invest $10 million to develop fast charging hubs with up to 20 chargers per site. Beginning in 2018, the City will partner with Con Edison to identify at least one site in every borough; these five hubs would have the capacity to charge more than 12,000 electric vehicles every week.

“New York City will continue to invest in the new technologies we need to reduce our emissions, especially in the face of Trump’s abdication of leadership on climate,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By helping develop the infrastructure necessary for electric vehicles, we’re going to make it easier than ever for New Yorkers to switch. This is another step towards aligning our action on climate change with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree stretch goal.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, said, "As we work to meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, we must encourage New Yorkers to form sustainable habits including driving electric vehicles.  My legislation for a pilot program that brings electric vehicle charging stations to every borough has broken barriers to increase use of these vehicles.  This plan to build fast-charging EV hubs across our city will spur further adoption.  Encouraging greener and more sustainable forms of transportation will greatly reduce our emissions, helping our city become a global leader on the environment.  Thank you to the Mayor's Office of Sustainability for their partnership on reducing carbon emissions.”

“Increasing access to fast charging electric vehicle charging stations puts us on the right track to keeping up with other cities in our country and around the world,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the New York City Council Transportation Committee. “More than ever, we must reaffirm our commitment to cleaner alternative modes of transportation and to efforts reducing dependency on carbon-dioxide emitting vehicles.”

To further spur the market for EVs, the City is making a new commitment to establishing 50 fast-charging hubs citywide by 2020, providing reliable access to high-speed charging for would-be EV drivers who lack other charging options.

The City will also be working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors’ Maven carshare division, and EVgo to bring additional fast chargers and more than 50 EVs to New York City for use by for-hire vehicle drivers to encourage a shift to electric and low-carbon vehicles in the for-hire fleet.

And as part of Con Edison’s $25 million EV demonstration project, DOT and NYPD will reserve access to 100 or more on-street parking spaces for EVs only, where they will be able to plug in for low-speed charging. If the pilot is successful, the program could be expanded to provide curbside charging citywide.

This announcement today builds off of Local Law 160 of 2016, championed by Council Members Constantinides and Rodriguez. This law established an EV charging station pilot program, and requires installation of at least 25 multi-hour EV charging stations in publicly accessible locations by March 1, 2018, with at least two stations in every borough. The law also expanded an Electric Vehicle Advisory Committee that monitors the results of the program and will make recommendations related to the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in the city, including the feasibility of on-street electric vehicle charging.

When President Trump announced the US would abandon the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this year, the Mayor pledged New York City would adhere to the treaty and accelerate its own actions to reach the 80 percent reduction in emissions by the 2050 target. Transportation in New York City accounts for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions - but nearly all of those emissions (90 percent) come from private cars or trucks. When charged in New York City, because of the relatively low-carbon composition of our grid, electric vehicles have the same carbon footprint as a car that gets 80-110 miles per gallon. This will only improve as New York City’s electricity grid expands use of renewable and low-carbon power.

The investment in electric vehicle infrastructure is part of a series of steps the City must take to help hold global temperature increases to just 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change. The measures announced today can support a 5 to 10 percent electric vehicle adoption rate in the near term, reducing annual citywide greenhouse gas emissions by approximately as much as 1 percent below 2005 levels. Sustained effort to meet the Mayor’s target of a 20 percent electric vehicle share by 2025 can unlock up to 1.5 percent annual reduction by 2030.

This step is part of a comprehensive set of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, including expanding non-vehicle options and encouraging more trips to be taken by transit, walking, and bicycling. The de Blasio administration is expanding city’s bike lane network, bringing bike share to more neighborhoods, investing in pedestrian safety, improving bus service by investing in new select bus service routes and bus service upgrades across the city, and pursuing a tax on millionaires to modernize the subway system and  provide half-priced fares for low-income riders. But even as New Yorkers take more trips by bus, subway, bike or on foot, we are taking steps transition remaining vehicle trips to clean and electric vehicles.

There are currently 307 publicly available charging sites citywide, consisting of 526 Level 2 chargers and just 16 fast chargers. The difference between fast charging sites and a Level 2 charger is 30 minutes vs. as many as 8 hours to charge.  A study is in process to identify the best sites for each fast charge hub, based on factors including projected EV ownership, traffic density, and proximity to amenities to enjoy while drivers charge their cars.

As the cost of electric car and trucks become more affordable, ensuring the infrastructure is in place to help New Yorkers make the switch to cleaner vehicles is essential. Electric vehicles release no tailpipe emissions, require less maintenance and are ideal for city driving.

This new effort complements NYC Clean Fleet, the City’s comprehensive plan to create the largest municipal electric vehicle fleet of any US city. The City has already surpassed 1,000 electric vehicles in its fleet and is ahead of schedule to meet its target of adding 2,000 electric vehicles by 2025.


  Elected officials from every corner of The Bronx have signed a letter to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s Founder & CEO, urging the company to consider The Bronx as the site of its next headquarters.

“The Bronx offers many unique advantages when compared to other municipalities. We have seen a record investment in our infrastructure, and we are leading the way in job creation. Companies from all over the world are taking a fresh look at The Bronx, and our existing companies are expanding their presence in our borough. With smart planning and collaboration, Amazon could become a key piece of our ongoing renaissance,” states the letter.

Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it would seek a site for its second American headquarters, HQ2, and issued a nationwide request for proposals. Since then, Bronx elected officials and business leaders have been working to identify potential locations that could host Amazon’s second headquarters and are developing a package of materials discussing the significant benefits of doing business in The Bronx for the company’s review.

“Our borough already has a working relationship with Amazon, and we would welcome them to The Bronx with open arms. We have numerous locations that could meet their needs and a skilled workforce to go with them,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Bronx has seen incredible progress on job creation and economic development in recent years. Amazon would be a tremendous new addition to our borough, and we look forward to discussing their proposal for a new headquarters, and how The Bronx could host them, in the near future. The Bronx is a prime location for Amazon’s next home.”

The complete letter to Amazon can be read at

Congressman Eliot L. Engel issued the following statement on Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico:

“The devastation in Puerto Rico over the last several weeks has been too much to bear. The images are heartbreaking and the damage is nothing short of catastrophic. The issues are especially bad when you consider those on the island barely had a moment to breathe after Hurricane Irma before Hurricane Maria hit. We need to do everything in our power to help our fellow citizens in their moment of need. New Yorkers are no strangers to powerful, dangerous natural events and as such we stand ready to assist in any way we can. I urge my colleagues in Congress to come to the aid of Puerto Rico quickly.”


  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  NYC Council Member Andy King, in partnership with St. Barnabas Health System, will host a Mobile Mammography Unit to give women age 40 and over FREE mammogram screenings on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at his District Office, 940 East Gun Hill Road, Bronx. In addition,HealthFirst will be on hand to discuss health insurance needs. To RSVP for an appointment please call the Office of Council Member Andy King at (718) 684-5509