Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Endorsements for Gustavo Rivera in the 33rd Senate Race

   It is all but set in stone that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. along with Bronx Democratic County Committee Chairman Jeffrey Dinowitz will endorse J. Gustavo Rivera in the 33rd State Senate race. We are told that this will happen Monday morning 11AM at City Hall.
   Assemblyman Dinowitz answered my question of the endorsement with "that's what I read all over". While the Ben Franklin Club (Dinowitz's home base) had recently endorsed J. Gustavo Rivera in the 33rd senate race, Dinowitz was reluctant then to add his endorsement due to the fact that he wanted to remain neutral as he was being asked by the New York State Democratic Party to throw Pedro Espada Jr. out of the Democratic Party. As County Committee Chairman, Dinowitz would be the person to initiate party dismissal proceedings.
   The endorsement of J. Gustavo Rivera by BP Ruben Diaz Jr. will put the Diaz family at odds, as Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. has endorsed incumbent Pedro Espada Jr. in the33rd State Senate race.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Where Does Assemblyman Nelson Castro Live?

   That is the question Bronx Democrats are asking, as the Daily News reports that the Bronx Democratic Party is pulling out all the stops in backing 86th Assembly District Male District Leader Hector Ramirez including trying to yank current 86th Assemblyman Nelson Castro's Democratic Party registration on an issue of residency.
to read the whole story, Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl E. Heastie's reply to charges of using the new head of the Board of Elections to invalidate Assemblyman Castro's voter registration, and even the Board of Election notice of intent to cancel Castro's democratic registration.
   Kudos to Bob Kappstatter Daily News Bronx Bureau Chief on a great story.

J. Gustavo Rivera Expected to pick up Citywide Elected Officials Support

   It is being reported that 33rd State Senate candidate J. Gustavo Rivera will pick up endorsements from two citywide officials. It is expected that NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and NYC Comptroller John Liu will endorse Gustavo Rivera against Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. today.  
  This would be a significant  endorsement for candidate Rivera, as he has only picked up support of those mostly outside the senate district, with the exception of City Council members Cabrera, Koppell, and Palma.
  It should be noted that Senator Pedro Espada Jr. is expected to skip the two debates that have been set up for the candidates of the 33rd State Senate District.

Assemblywoman Rivera Refuses Debate With Giuffre

  Here is the press release from Robert Giuffre candidate for the 80th Assembly District, upon learning that 80th Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera will not debate him on Bronxtalk September 6th.
    Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera refused to debate challenger Robert Giuffre.  Gary Axelbank, host of the popular BronxTalk television program, announced the news yesterday (August 26, 2010) via press release.  The Giuffre campaign believes Mr Axelbank was 100% correct when he said:
    "This is yet another low in Bronx elected representation.  One would think that incumbents would be eager to boast of their records on the eve of a primary or at least feel a sense of responsibility to their constituents and the democratic process itself.  Unfortunately, that's not the case.  It's the height of arrogance and disrespect."
    The Giuffre campaign presses on with its grassroots effort to unseat the dysfunctional Assembly member. 

Friends of Rob Giuffre
Democrat for Assembly – District 80
Contact: 347-538-6231

Thursday, August 26, 2010


   Senator Ruben Díaz Sr. who  is  also the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization  and Pastor of the Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the  Bronx, welcomed Mr. Carl Paladino to the clergy breakfast at Maestro’s Caterer’s this morning. 
   According  to  Senator  Rubén Díaz, an invitation has been sent to New York Attorney  General  Andrew Cuomo  and to Mr. Rick Lazio also candidates for Governor  of the State of New York. “The purpose of this meeting is to hear their   responses  to  our  community  needs  such  as  Education,  Health, Employment, Housing and other issues. By doing this, our community will be educated  in their position and will have a better understanding regardless of their political parties,” stated Senator Díaz.
   Rev. Diaz said that every election candidates tell us how much they love us, what they will do for us, and that they want our votes, but after the election they are gone. "We are going to give all the candidates the courtesy to come and speak to us". 
   When Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino arrived shortly after the start of the breakfast, Rev. Diaz told him "you are the only one of the three candidates for governor to give us the respect to show up here, and speak to us". "If the other two candidates won't respect us by showing up they must not want our vote". 
   Candidate Paladino said that he is a businessman, lawyer, and a  developer, who is running for office for the first time. "I am an outsider to Albany, I am the only anti abortion candidate, I am against gay marriage (as marriage is between a man and a woman he added), and I will fix what's wrong in Albany". Paladino added that he will go to Albany with a baseball bat (that bat being the voters he added) to bring back a government that will serve all the people. Paladino wants to lower spending by 20 percent, taxes by 10 percent, and create job expansion. Paladino said that Washington is a disgrace, and that Albany makes Washington look like a bunch of choir boys. 
   Rev. Diaz said to Paladino that we might agree on some issues and that they might disagree on some, but that you came to talk to us. Diaz said that the meeting was arraigned through the Bronx Republican Party County Leader Jay Savino (who could not attend due to business), and that Bronx Board of Election Commissioner J.C. Polanco stood in for Savino. 
   Rev. Diaz then ask Paladino "the papers say that you are anti hispanic, and want to put us all in jail". Paladino replied by saying that there are those who want to slow me down and call me a racist, but those who know me laugh at that. Paladino added that the public school system has failed all children, and that he was in favor of charter schools. Paladino continued to say that he would set up a system where people would have to choose to finish school, join the national guard, or go into fields of service such as forestry in rural areas, or in urban areas service to the cities. 
   When asked how people of color would play a role in the Paladino administration, the reply was that Paladino is color blind, and that people will be chosen by ability and not by color. When I asked one of Paladino's aides who came with him how many people of color are on the campaign staff, I was told out of the eight paid staffers-none, but some of the volunteers are. 
   When it came to the question of immigration Paladino said "children born here are citizens, but illeagal immigrants should be given a clear path to go back where they came from". 
    My question to candidate for governor Carl Paladino was what he thought about the recent test score uproar in New York State and New York City, and was he in favor of bi-lingual education in the schools? Paladino's answer was "I am not familiar with the recent test scores or bilingual education".

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living Wage Study: A Stalling Tactic

   EDC Hires Living Wage Opponents to Conduct Study
   The Living Wage NYC campaign announced today that it is condemning the city’s rigged living wage study. The study, which was recently announced by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), is being spearheaded by Charles River Associates, a management consulting firm based out of Boston. Economists David Neumark and Daniel Hamermesh, who are among the nation’s most vociferous opponents not just of living wage policies but even of the minimum wage, are part of the team.
   “The EDC could have selected a balanced team of experts to give New Yorkers a fair-minded assessment of living wage policies,” said Paul Sonn, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project. “Instead, it is spending $1 million in taxpayer money to hire economists who are already on record as consistent critics of living wage and minimum wage policies, and who are affiliated with a lobbying arm of the restaurant industry.”
   Hamermesh and Neumark are both strong critics of minimum and living wage policies and have ties to Richard Berman’s Employment Policies Institute, a widely discredited pseudo think-tank, backed by the restaurant and beverage industry.  As exposed by the New York Times in June, the Employment Policies Institute is one of a group of sham, industry-backed “research” organizations established by Berman.  In addition to opposing minimum wage increases, Berman’s groups work to weaken drunk driving laws and promote sales of soda and candy in public schools.  See “Nonprofit Advocate Carves Out a For-Profit Niche,” New York Times, June 17, 2010.
   Neumark is the nation’s leading anti-living wage researcher.  Hamermesh has endorsed Neumark’s research and has been publicly critical of even modest increases in the minimum wage.  Neumark’s living wage research has been criticized by other economists as “neither methodologically sound nor statistically or substantively robust.”
   “Using consultants who have already made up their minds shows that the EDC is not concerned with the economic development of all New Yorkers but the economic development of rich developers and big businesses that are not interested in helping their workers live sustainable lives,” said Valery Jean, Executive Director of Families United for Racial & Economic Equality (FUREE). “The math is easy: to address the revenue crisis, you must provide living wages and health benefits for all.”
   The EDC’s study could hinder progress in enacting the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, which will guarantee that when the city gives businesses public subsidies, the jobs they create will pay at least a living wage. All workers employed at subsidized developments will be covered, including employees at retail stores located in subsidized shopping centers, concession workers at subsidized stadiums and cafeteria workers in subsidized office buildings.
   “At a moment when our city sits at the center of the foreclosure and unemployment crisis, Mayor Bloomberg has chosen to spend a million dollars of the city's money to commission a study on how paying a living wage to the poor might affect the non-poor,” said Reverend Dr. Peter Heltzel, Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary. “The million dollars being spent on the study could turn 174 minimum-wage jobs into full-time living-wage jobs for a year. It's time for New York to step up to the plate and heed the cries of its impoverished workers.”
   More than 15 cities have enacted such legislation, and they have found that these policies create quality jobs for local residents without slowing growth. New York City is behind the times on this issue and, as a result, our publicly subsidized developments are keeping people in poverty-wage jobs, rather than providing them with opportunities to get ahead.
   Living Wage NYC Coalition partners (in formation): Community Voices Heard; Families United for Racial and Economic Equality; Fifth Ave. Committee; Fiscal Policy Institute; Good Old Lower East Side; The Greater NY Labor Religion Coalition; Jewish Labor Committee; Make the Road NY; Drum Major Institute for Public Policy; Pratt Area Community Council Leadership Group; New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; The Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary; National Employment Law Project; Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition; Northwest Bronx for Change; NY Communities for Change; New York Annual Converence of the United Methodist Church; NY Jobs with Justice & Urban Agenda; Pratt Area Community Council Leadership Group; Retail Action Project; Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Labor Wonders About New Roosevelt's Lack of Involvemnt of Late

   It seems that after an early publicity campaign complete with a protest outside Senator Pedro Espada's home in Mamaroneck in June there are those who are involved now wondering where has the New Roosevelt Initiative been lately.
   Click the link below to see the whole story.

Bronx Community Board #4 to Announce Community Outreach Campaign

Who:                Bronx Community Board #4 & Community Leaders
What:               “Community That Cares” Campaign Announcement
Where:             Steps of the Bronx County Courthouse, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY
When:              Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 11 AM
Due to the on-going senseless violence throughout our neighborhoods Bronx Community Board #4 will announce their “Community That Cares” campaign, a positive initiative that will aggressively aim to “clean up” the graffiti, the guns, the gangs, our parks, our buildings, our blocks and our neighborhood!  We will organize a coalition of clergy, business and community leaders to address this matter.  Ours will be an ongoing campaign that enlists the public and private sector in promoting productive, positive persons that are committed to helping our community move forward. 

Term Limits Again Will Get Spot on Ballot

This comes from the Wall Street Journal about the term limit issue, and other items  voted on by the Charter Revision Commission.
   New York City voters will have the opportunity in November to restore a law that will cap elected officials' service at two consecutive four-year terms, but if they choose that option their decision will not fully take effect until 2021, a city panel decided Monday night.
Amid swirling controversy, the Charter Revision Commission voted to approve a so-called grandfather clause that allows all incumbents to serve a maximum of three four-year terms, even if the electorate decides on Nov. 2 to restore a cap on two terms.
   On the City Council, 32 of the 51 members are eligible to serve a third term and will benefit from the decision. Two newly elected citywide officials—Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu—and two borough presidents—Scott Stringer of Manhattan and Ruben Diaz Jr. of the Bronx—also stand to benefit.
   Members of the commission, a 15-member panel appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, were bitterly divided on this issue of providing special dispensation to incumbents. The panel attempted twice Monday night to approve an alternative effective date for the term-limits measure, but those motions failed to win a majority of votes.
   Anthony Perez Cassino, a commission member who believed the will of the voters should be effective immediately, said the grandfathering of all incumbents is a "disservice" to the public to "make it so far into the future."
   Stephen Fiala, a commissioner who supported the grandfathering clause, called the move a "thoughtful and balanced solution."
   But many members of the public, who addressed the commission prior to the vote, voiced disdain for placing the effective date of the voters' decision so far into the future.
The public is "outraged by what's being done," said Henry Stern, a former city parks commissioner. "You are wronging the people of the city of New York."
  Several commission members acknowledged in their remarks that it was a difficult decision. Commission Chairman Matt Goldstein said the panel wasn't going to "solve" the term-limits issue, but he urged all the members to vote with "integrity."
   The commission considered and ultimately approved two yes or no questions to be placed on the Nov. 2 ballot.
   The first question asks voters whether they want to restore the cap on term-limits to two consecutive four-year terms—while protecting incumbents' ability to serve three terms—and a provision that would prohibit the council from altering the term-limits law in the future in any way that affects incumbents.
   The second question asks voters to decide on a slew of other issues, including campaign eligibility requirements, conflicts of interest, zoning procedures and more.
   Hope Cohen, a member of the commission, said she is disappointed so many issues are being bundled together, a result of the new electronic voting machines that make their debut in the city next month.
   "When you get 10 different subjects bundled together, there is a good possibility that you will like various items and not like various items," Ms. Cohen said in an interview. "It's unfortunate."
  The marquee issue on the ballot this fall will be the question on term limits. In 2008, Mr. Bloomberg persuaded the City Council to overturn a law capping elected officials service at two consecutive four-year terms, paving the way for his successful bid for a third term in the fall of 2009. Voters approved a two-term cap in two referendums in the 1990s.
   The mayor's and council's decision to overturn the law in 2008 fueled widespread voter anger, with some political observers saying it contributed to Mr. Bloomberg's narrow margin of victory a year later.
   Other issues expected to be placed on the ballot include: require public disclosure of expenditures made by entities and individuals independent from candidates to influence the outcome of a city election or referendum; reduce the number of petition signatures needed by candidates for city elective office to appear on a ballot; merge voter assistance functions, including a reconstituted Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, into the Campaign Finance Board; and change when Campaign Finance Board member terms begin.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Letter to Mayor Bloomberg Re-Pelham Parkway Tree Removal

   In an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg sent earlier today, a group of Bronx elected officials representing the Pelham Parkway community are seeking a reassessment of City plans to remove 80 trees as part of the Pelham Parkway Reconstruction project. The letter is signed by Council Member James Vacca, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Joseph Crowley, State Senator Jeff Klein, Assembly Member Naomi Rivera, and Assembly Member Michael Benedetto.

The Pelham Parkway Reconstruction is a $36 million capital project led by the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) to improve the road and sewer network on one of the borough's main east-west thoroughfares. The City plans to remove up to 50 trees to make way for a guardrail along the parkway; an additional 30 to 40 trees have been designated by the Department of Parks and Recreation as unhealthy and in need of removal.

The joint letter asks the Mayor to:

* Incorporate community voices into its internal tree-removal review by appointing three representatives of the Pelham Parkway Preservation Alliance to sit on the recently formed DDC Technical Working Group.
* Address the assertion made by former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern that an alternate guardrail design could save dozens of trees.
* Consider redesigning the sewer reconstruction project on the Pelham Parkway South service road in an effort to save otherwise healthy street trees.
* Immediately re-evaluate the need to remove 30 to 40 trees designated by the Department of Parks & Recreation as unhealthy or deceased.

Council Member James Vacca said: "The community has made its voice loud and clear on this issue, and it is time for the City to address this matter with the urgency it deserves. By the Department of Design and Construction making minor adjustments to its designs, and the Parks Department allowing more trees to mature naturally, I believe we can save many of the trees currently slated for removal and keep the beauty of Pelham Parkway intact."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., said: "I understand the concerns of the many Bronxites who have contacted my office to protest the removal of trees along Pelham Parkway. The recommendations as outlined in this joint letter would ensure both that the collective voice of the community is heard and that as few trees as possible are removed from Pelham Parkway during the course of construction. With smart planning, we can see to it that Pelham Parkway is not only made safer for drivers and pedestrians alike but that it retains its character as a beautiful parkway."

Congressman Joseph Crowley said: "Pelham Parkway and its surrounding natural beauty truly is a Bronx treasure. While improvements to ensure pedestrian and vehicle safety on the parkway are needed, it is also important to explore every option to save as many trees as possible and to minimize the impact on the environment."

State Senator Jeff Klein said: "I am confident that by working with the city and the residents of the Pelham Parkway area we can make sure that no tree is removed needlessly and that those who are fighting to maintain the beauty of the area be involved in part of the process. The community deserves accountability regarding what's going on in their backyard and I hope the movement by the city to create this working group shows they believe this as well. I hope other city agencies and the mayor continue to move forward with addressing the concerns laid out in this letter and voiced by the many residents of Pelham Parkway."

Assembly Member Naomi Rivera said: "While we agree that public safety is a priority, we urge officials to exhaust all measures in aiding the preservation of trees on Pelham Parkway through transparent decisions that are inclusive of the community being affected. The trees on Pelham Parkway are a tremendous asset to our quality of life and we have a responsibility to ensure that future generations can enjoy them."

Assembly Member Michael R. Benedetto said: "It takes too long for trees to grow to maturity for any tree to be cut down unless absolutely necessary. We must take great care if we are going to remove them, to protect their natural beauty and the oxygen that they bring us. We are asking the city to take a fresh look at the Pelham Parkway project and to take community concerns into account so we do not needlessly alter the character of this beautiful jewel of the Bronx."


Ed Koch set to endorse in 33rd State Senate Race

   Rumors are that former NYC Mayor Ed Koch is poised to endorse challenger J. Gustavo Rivera in the 33rd State Senate Democratic Primary, hoping to drive home the fact that he most certainly is not a supporter of the scandal-scarred Bronx incumbent democrat, even though Pedro Espada Jr. has been dubbed a “hero of reform” by Koch’s NY Uprising PAC. 
   Koch made it clear that if he lived in Espada’s district, he would not vote for the Pedro Espada Jr., who has been slapped with two civil lawsuits by AG Andrew Cuomo and remains under investigation for allegedly bilking his Soundview nonprofit out of millions of dollars. 
   Espada also shouldn’t expect Koch to endorse him anytime soon. “Never,” said the former mayor, who has pledged to stump statewide for the “heroes” of reform who have signed the NY Uprising pledges. By the way J. Gustavo Rivera has also signed on to the NY Uprising PAC pledge.
   Meanwhile Senate Conference Leader John Sampson still is endorsing ALL incumbent Democratic State Senators for re-election, and is hoping to pick up a few more seats that would make the democratic majority even larger.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Cross-Endorsement, Eric Schneiderman Announces Support For Senate Candidate Gustavo Rivera

   On the heels of receiving an enthusiastic endorsement from the New York Times editorial board, Attorney General candidate Eric Schneiderman today announced his support for Gustavo Rivera, a Senate candidate running to unseat Pedro Espada. Rivera also endorsed Schneiderman for Attorney General, citing his commitment to public integrity. 
Rivera is a relative unknown who can’t really do much to aid Schneiderman’s statewide bid, this is looks like a   symbolic way for the Manhattan Democrat to continue to try to demonstrate his years in the Senate won’t impede his ability to crack down on corruption there if he’s elected AG, and try to appeal to minority voters.
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson has made it clear he’s backing all incumbent members of his conference seeking re-election this year – including Espada, who has been slapped with two civil lawsuits by Cuomo’s office in connection with his Bronx Soundview Health Care Network.

3rd Annual Bronx Veterans Parade will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010,

   On the last Saturday in September (9/25/10) the 3rd Annual Bronx Veterans Parade will take place in The Bronx: the Bronx Veterans Parade Committee (BVPC) would be honored to have you, your organization, family, and friends attend the parade event.
   The purpose of the parade is to give recognition to The Bronx area Veterans who served in the military; and to support community awareness through collaboration with community boards, Veterans organizations, political and governmental groups, agencies, faith communities, CBOs and FBOs. Our Veterans come from the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Merchant Marines, National Guard, and Reserves. Our Veterans served in all eras and campaigns.  
   The parade event will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010, (Rain or Shine) from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Formation starts 9:00 AM at East 178th Street, on Crotona Parkway @ the Crotona Mall: Bronx, NY 10460. Parade Route/Event: Make a right turn on E.180th Street to the Old Soldiers Cemetery: wreath laying ceremony and placing of flags on headstones. Proceed to Vidalia Park- between Vyse & Daly Avenue, where we are honoring our Bronx Veterans and their Families with a barbecue.
   An application must be completed to march in the parade, and submitted to committee no later than Friday, September 10, 2010: use application attached or contact BVPC Administrative Assistant Carrie Taft @ (917) 226-7960 to have an application sent to you. Please direct any questions about parade to BVPC Founder & Chairperson Dolores Steele (718) 506-6533 or BVPC Co chairperson Raymond Lettsome (718) 824-2197.