Saturday, October 30, 2010

Liberty Democratic Association Dinner Huge Success
    The guest list is reported to be over 250 people that were at the Liberty Democratic Association 3rd Annual fundraiser last Thursday night. The politicians included New York City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill Deblasio, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Council members Jimmy Vacca and Majority Leader Joel Rivera, Congressman Eliot Engel (one of the honorees), New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Klein, New York State Assembly members Vanessa Gibson 77th, Jeffrey Dinowitz 81st, Mike Benedetto 82nd, Marcos Crespo 85th, and newly elected 79th Assemblyman Eric Stevenson.
    I asked Comptroller Liu about the term limit ballot proposal, and he said that he will only stay in office as comptroller for two terms no matter what happens on election day.
    I was able to ask 80th A.D. Male District Leader Kenny Agosto if he was running for the 80th assembly seat in 2012, since he has formed a campaign committee Agosto for the people 2012. Mr. Agosto said that he would have to wait on any decision for 2012 until after redistricting in 2011. He added "no one really knows what changes may occur to the 80th assembly district next year so it would be to early to say anything". I did see that gleam in Kenny's eye however when I asked the question. 
    The evening went so well that time just seemed to go by as the event came to an close. The best line of the night had to be Jimmy Vacca saying "I am not going to bore you with a long speech" as he thanked the LDA for their continued support. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Statement from Borough President Diaz
Re: Today’s Vote of the Local Redevelopment Authority for the Muller Army Reserve Center
    “I am unhappy that this administration has concluded that the appropriate use for this facility is as new housing for the homeless, despite the fact that three new homeless facilities are planned for the immediate area surrounding the Muller facility—one of which will be located directly across the street. I do not feel that the concerns of the Bronx have been taken into consideration on this matter, and I feel that we need more time to negotiate the proper use of the Muller space which, in my opinion, should be the next home for the National Guard units currently located at the Kingsbridge Armory.
    “Since the vote of the Muller LRA requires a quorum of all three of its members to go forward on a vote, my appointment will not be attending today’s meeting. I am hopeful that, through continued negotiations, we are able to come to an agreement on the reuse of this facility that will take into account the wishes of the people of the Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Here is the link to see the 81st A.D. debate


81st Assembly Debate
Nothing for Dinowitz to worry about.

    Last night on Bronxtalk the only local debate of this election season took place between the candidates running for the 81st assembly seat. Current Democratic Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz faced off against Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party candidate Joe McLaughlin. While candidate Mclaughlin hit a few singles, it was Assemblyman Dinowitz that shut Mclaughlin down with his pitching. We reference baseball because if you turned on your Cablevision box last night to see the World Series, there was nothing on. We thought that the stalemate between Cablevision and News Corp. (owners of Fox 5, and MY 9 television channels) would have ended by the start of the World Series, but then again we thought the Yankees would be playing so who cares in New York now. 
    Back to the 81st A.D. debate. McLaughlin got to first base by accusing Dinowitz of favoring the Riverdale community over others in the district. Dinowitz threw a slider back saying that his job is to bring resources into the entire district, and that is what he does. He added that the #10 and #20 buses in Riverdale were cut as were other bus routes. 
    Dinowitz was asked if he is now an insider in Albany and part of the problem, to which he said "I helped defeat Pedro Espada and am working to help reform Albany". In rebuttal McLaughlin accused Dinowitz of raising taxes and not doing enough to help seniors on fixed incomes. Dinowitz replied that the city provides most of the funding for senior centers, and that he would rather raise sin taxes than have to cut things like school funding. 
    As to why he did not sign on to Ed Koch's pledge to reform Albany, and if he is in the way of changing Albany Dinowitz said that he makes it a policy not to sign pledges, and that in his last term Mayor Koch's administration  was rife with corruption and had many suicides. To the charge by McLaughlin that he put Pedro Espada on the ballot and then did nothing to get rid of him Dinowitz said that he did not put Espada on the ballot, that Espada petitioned to get on the ballot, that he (Dinowitz) did not try to give Espada a platform to run on that those people are after him (Espada), and in fact helped Espada's challenger to win the election against Espada. 
    The Water Filtration Plant at Van Courtlandt Park came up with Dinowitz stressing that he fought the project "tooth and nail", and said that his opponent should be asking Mayor Bloomberg these questions.
    Dinowitz was asked about Tony Cassino not being reappointed to Community Board #8, and the politics of CB8. Dinowitz answered by holding up a clip from a newspaper in which Mr. Cassino had said that no one on CB8 should think that they have a position for life, and added that it was under Cassino and the former Bronx Borough President that politics was injected into CB8. 
   In closing statements Mclaughlin said that there has been 16 years of Jeffrey Dinowitz and 16 years of disfunction in Albany, and that he was an independent new face endorsed by three different parties that  he can cross the isle to get things done in Albany. Mclaughlin also stressed the fact that his running mate for governor on the Independence party line was Andrew Cuomo.
   In his closing statement Dinowitz said that he has worked very hard in Albany over the years, and that he grew up in the Bronx, raised his children here in the Bronx, and that there is no issue to small for him to get involved in.
   You can see a repeat of the 81st Assembly debate between challenger Joe Mclaughlin and incumbent Jeffrey Dinowitz tonight and on Friday night on Bronxnet Cabelvision channel 67 or Verizon Fios channel 33 at 9:30 PM.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


RE: Proposal to Lower Fees on Gun Licenses in New York City

    “The proposal to lower the cost of a gun license renewal goes against everything we are doing in the Bronx. It is particularly odd that, in a time of fiscal crisis, we would seek to lower the cost of a gun license, especially when we ask City residents to pay more for so many other services—from the rising costs of fees at the Business Integrity Commission to the ever present MTA fare hikes that affect all New Yorkers. Gun violence is a public health issue, and this administration should treat it the same way it treats other public health issues: fighting fiercely for what it believes and offering no quarter to its critics. It should be harder to license a firearm, not easier, and I urge the members of the City Council to strongly reject this bill,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo Joins Community Residents to Demand Action on Removing Toxic PCB Chemicals from Public Schools

    85th Assemblyman Marcos Crespo joined two reps from NY Communities For Change and two volunteers from Labor Unions in front of the South Bronx Classical Charter School, located on Fox Street between Westchester Ave and 163rd St., where they spent an hour informing parents about the PCB problem and collecting signatures for a petition to request immediate action by the D.O.E. on this issue. They collected about 70 signatures at this site in one hour. My understanding is that approximately 500 signatures where collected that day in other citywide petitioning events Assemblyman Crespo said
Verdict Is In: EDC's $1 Million Living Wage Study is Rigged
Council Members Say, 'Pass the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act Now'
    New York City Council Members will blast the Economic Development Corporation for spending $1 million on a rigged living wage study. Their charge is supported by a report, to be released tomorrow, that exposes Charles River Associates (CRA), EDC's choice to conduct the study, as a business-backed lobbying group using economists who oppose living wage and even minimum wage policies for EDC's study. The detailed report on CRA and its economists is written by the National Employment Law Project and the Fiscal Policy Institute, two highly respected economic research groups.
    Council Members Oliver Koppell, Annabel Palma, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera, Melissa Mark-Viverito, James Sanders, Julissa Ferraras, Jumaane Williams, Letitia James, Margaret Chin, Ydanis Rodriguez, Other Elected Officials, National Employment Law Project, Fiscal Policy Institute, Clergy, Living Wage NYC coalition partners
    Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at Noon ---The New York City Hall Steps.  

Interns Sought

 The office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is seeking college interns for the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters. Internships are available in a number of departments, including planning and development, health, communications, special events, constituent services and others. To apply for an internship, please submit a resume and a writing sample to College credit is available, and hours are flexible.

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Say Vote No on Term Limits
Proposal #1

This is the reason why!
Reprinted from The Daily News Wednesday, October 20th 2010.

Vote for term limits, but demand another crack at it next year

When New Yorkers go to the polls on Nov. 2, they'll get to decide - for a third time - whether they want a two-term limit for all city elected officials. I was a member of the 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission that put this choice on the ballot as part of Question 1. While I strongly encourage all voters to vote yes on this question, I believe that the decision by the Charter commission to exempt incumbents from the two-term limit was incorrect.
Unfortunately, this provision will serve to increase cynicism rather than help to restore confidence in government.
That is why I propose that if New Yorkers vote yes on Question 1, they be given a chance next year to vote on whether the two-term limit should apply to incumbents as well. The only way that will happen is if all New Yorkers who agree with this suggestion speak up and demand this choice.

First, some history. The Charter commission on which I served was created by Mayor Bloomberg in the aftermath of the public's outrage over the way that city elected officials overturned two public referendums on term limits. You no doubt know the story: In 1993, the public overwhelming supported a two-term limit for all city officials. This was reaffirmed by a second referendum in 1996.
Then these two decisions were overturned by the City Council and mayor in 2008, enabling all city elected officials to serve three full terms.
Given that history, the Charter commission unanimously voted to put a two-term limit on the ballot - to give New Yorkers a chance to go back to the way things were. We also voted unanimously to eliminate the ability of the City Council to overturn a public referendum on term limits for current elected officials.
So far, so good.

But the Charter commission was sharply divided on the question of when the two-term limit would become effective. Of the 15 members on the commission, six of us wanted the change to be effective immediately so that it would apply to all incumbents.
After two nights of impassioned debates and a few attempts at compromise, the commission narrowly voted to make the change applicable only to officials who were first elected in or after the 2010 general election. In other words, all incumbents who are not already in their third terms would be "grandfathered in" and would get a shot at a third term.
After hearing all the public testimony and listening to my fellow commissioners, I remain convinced that our panel got this provision wrong. In a minority report that I authored along with two fellow commissioners, we stated that "by 'grandfathering' all incumbents, the commission failed to deliver on the public's implicit demand that the restoration occur as soon as possible." In fact, during the commission's numerous discussions, I did not hear even one good reason for granting such a windfall to incumbents, who can't seem to take no for an answer.

One message was heard loud and clear at our hearings: The public wanted to go back to two terms and wanted us to end the City Council's ability to override the will of the people on term limits. Regrettably, instead of being fully responsive to those concerns, we actually created another "loophole" by making the effective date so far in the future.
Not all is lost. I strongly urge the public to vote yes on Question 1. Returning to a two-term limit that cannot be overturned by the City Council will go a long way toward restoring some of our faith in government. However, once those changes are enacted, we need another Charter commission or public referendum to give New Yorkers the chance to finish the job we started.
Cassino is a lawyer who lives in the Bronx.

We Say Vote No On Proposal #1


    On Sunday, October 24, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Transportation Alternatives, in conjunction with Montefiore Medical Center, St. Barnabas Hospital and Bronx Lebanon Medical Center, hosted New York State’s Largest Free Bicycling Event, Tour de Bronx. In its 15th year, this special biking event attracted a record crowd of over 5,000 avid cyclists from throughout the tri-state area and beyond. 

    “Tour de Bronx give us the chance to show to thousands of people that the Bronx is filled with beautiful places to visit.  Riding a bike around our borough is the healthiest  way to see exactly what The Bronx has to offer,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank the many visitors who participated on our tour and to keep the invitation open for them to continue experiencing our wonderful borough.”

    Over five thousand of cyclists rode around the borough’s streets, enjoying attractions like St. Ann’s, the borough’s oldest church once owned by the Morris family, Yankee Stadium, the historic Longwood section celebrated for its stately Victorian-era townhouses, Orchard Beach  and many more great Bronx attractions.  Following the ride, the cyclists got together at the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the Tour de Bronx Festival, which featured live entertainment and refreshments.

    This year’s ride honored the memory of Megan Charlop, a former Montefiore employee and avid cyclist. She died on March 17, 2010, as she biked to P.S. 55 along Crotona Avenue. A moment of silence was held in her memory.  


 That's Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. wearing his "I Love the Bronx" shirt and his helmet as he finishes up the "Tour de Bronx". 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Illyria Newspaper Endorses Vernuccio

    This came in from the Friends of Frank Vernuccio 34nd Senate District.

       The Illyria Newspaper, America's only Albanian-American newspaper, has endorsed the candidacy of Frank Vernuccio for the 34th Senatorial District.

      Noting that Vernuccio "Has gained the respect of ...Albanian-American activists," the paper stressed the candidates' record. 

      The support of the hard-working Albanian-American community for a candidate who does not have Albanian roots is the result of Vernuccio's strong stand on ethics, low taxes for individuals, property owners, and small business, as well as his support for the freedom of Kosova.  

      We want to add that the Riverdale Review has also endorsed Mr. Vernuccio's campaign.