Sunday, July 31, 2011


  A joint audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller John C. Liu takes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to task for leaving subway riders in the dark about wasteful and unproductive service diversions. Under MTA’s New York City Transit (Transit), subway service diversions are on the rise and over budget with little explanation or instruction to riders.

“When the MTA fails to manage its service diversions properly, it's more than an inconvenience; it's a waste of taxpayer money and it derails local businesses,” Comptroller DiNapoli said. “Our audit found that MTA’s service diversions are increasing in frequency and leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in cost overruns. The subway system is showing its age, but the MTA has to do a better job managing all aspects of these diversions, from rider notification to budgeting.”

“Sadly this confirms the nagging suspicion of riders, residents and business owners alike, that subway service is taken down more than necessary,” Comptroller Liu said. “The MTA must understand that the City never sleeps and weekend service is neither ancillary nor expendable. We expect the MTA to maintain and repair the tracks, while keeping disruptions to a minimum.”

The first joint audit conducted by the State and City Comptrollers in more than a decade recommended that Transit make significant improvements when it comes to budgeting, scheduling and managing service diversions. The audit, which covered a period from January 2009 to January 2011, brought together the expertise of the staffs of both offices and expanded upon the series of ongoing audits both have conducted of the MTA.

Transit Doesn’t Do Enough to Inform Riders of Service Diversions Transit’s budget for advertising diversions is woefully inadequate and Transit management failed to notify riders of diversions consistently or effectively. In 2010, its budget for informing its 2.3 billion annual riders of service diversions was $228,000. In comparison, the Long Island Rail Road, with 81.9 million annual commuters, spent $742,432 to notify its riders of service diversions that year.

In June and July 2010, auditors visited 39 stations that were affected by diversions. They found:
 No more than 20 signs at any station, despite Transit’s claim of posting 50 on each platform;
 No signs in any language besides English at all 39 stations, despite Transit’s policy;
 One sign in each of 10 stations on the 1 and 2 lines, but no signs at street level, in cars or on platforms;
 Only two of 13 Americans with Disabilities Act stations checked had signs in elevators, despite Transit’s policy;
 Transit’s only written policy for informing riders of diversions consists of newspaper advertisements, which are required to run forall diversions. Newspaper ads were only created for two of 50 sampled diversions (Fulton Street Station and World Trade Center E line).

More Diversions, Scheduled Poorly: Work Starts Late, Ends Early The frequency and duration of Transit’s subway diversions are increasing. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of weekend diversions rose from 47 to 74 and the number of diversions lasting for at least one month increased from 7 to 57.

Transit often reroutes riders’ trains even when no work is taking place. When asked for the General Order Worksheets that track time spent on each diversion, Transit management could only provide auditors with 29 of the 50. Of those 29 diversions, work started late on 28 and stopped early on 21. Unproductive work time ate up anywhere from 10 to 27 percent of the time trains were diverted, though there was no cost mitigation. Transit management wasted an estimated $10.5 million in this manner over the 3,332 diversions in a sample period from January 1, 2009 and July 14, 2010.

$26.6 Million Over Budget
Spending on diversions is not properly managed. The Comptrollers reviewed 15 diversions covered by 12 contracts budgeted at $141.7 million. Four of these contracts went over budget by a combined $26.6 million and cost a total of $83.1 million. The MTA’s financial constraints demand that Transit properly monitor costs during diversions and keep them within budget.

Shuttle Bus Schedules Based on Six-Year Old Rider Numbers
The audit team sampled six diversions in which buses were used to transport the riding public. Transit management could not document how ridership estimates were used to decide how many buses to put into operation or for how long. Transit could provide only one ridership estimate and that was six years old.

The Comptrollers issued five recommendations. The MTA and Transit should:do
1. Reevaluate its budget for alerting the riding public about planned subway service changes due to diversions;
2. Monitor expenditures for service diversions and justify spending over budget amounts;
3. Ensure that diversions adhere to scheduled start and end times for service diversions and restore normal subway service as soon as possible after diversion work is completed;
4. Use updated ridership data to determine shuttle bus deployment for transporting riders during a subway diversion;
5. Adhere to Federal law and Transit procedures related to communicating with the public regarding diversions.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Memo to Mayor and City Council Outlines Possible Effects on NYC’s Finances,
Puts Forth Contingency Plans if Debt Talks Fail

City Comptroller John C. Liu today issued a Debt Ceiling Advisory outlining potential effects on the City’s finances, and offered recommendations to help offset the potential risks, if a deal is not struck in Washington to raise the nation’s debt limit.  

“As inconceivable as it seems, Washington appears stuck in a quagmire just days from the hard deadline for a debt ceiling resolution. The irresponsibility and ineptitude being demonstrated in our nation’s capital could cause profound damage to our City, first and foremost with more than one million seniors and disabled New Yorkers being cut off from their primary source of income,” Comptroller Liu said.   “After weeks of monitoring the situation, my office issued an advisory outlining the financial threat to our City and calling for an immediate mobilization of our resources to evaluate and shore up our preparedness.”

We have been closely monitoring this situation and as a result, my office has outlined actual consequences that the inaction in Washington could have on our City’s finances, programs and benefits,” Comptroller Liu said. “Due to the irresponsibility in our nation’s capital, New York City’s seniors could feel the brunt of the pain if a deal is not reached, putting their much relied upon benefits in jeopardy.  New York City should view this as a financial threat, and I am calling for an immediate mobilization of our resources to discuss our preparedness.”

Liu has recommended the creation of an emergency Debt Ceiling Task Force, comprised of representatives of the Comptroller’s Office, Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, New York City Council, and other relevant parties to begin meeting immediately to discuss the City’s options.

In addition, Comptroller Liu has put forth recommendations for discussion in the event that an agreement in Washington is not reached.

Since a failure to extend the debt ceiling could potentially result in a stoppage of federal payments, including Social Security benefits to 1.1 million New York City seniors and disabled persons, Liu is calling for the Task Force to explore any and all possibilities for the City to temporarily help finance these payments to ensure that the City’s most vulnerable are cared for. 

Comptroller Liu has also recommended that the City work together with banking institutions to establish mechanisms to open credit to seniors in the event that an agreement is not reached and has requested an analysis of how City-funded service providers to the elderly and disabled could receive additional support if their client load increases.

A review of the City’s finances has highlighted five impact areas that may be affected by the lack of a deal in Washington. Each area was assigned delegation of “HIGH, MEDIUM or LOW” depending on the potential impact.


Liu said that New Yorkers who will feel the brunt of the inaction in Washington are the City’s seniors, many of whom rely solely on Social Security as their main source of income. The lack of an agreement on the debt ceiling could result in more than 1 million seniors and disabled persons being denied their payments each month, totaling $1.1 billion.  See the chart below

NYC Social Security Recipient Population Profile, December 2010

# Beneficiaries              
Total Benefits              
Per Recipient                   

Monthly Benefit              
Staten Island
NYC Total
Source:  OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County, 2010, U.S. Social Security Administration.
*Note: This estimate shows a deviation of 20 recipients greater than reflected in NYC Aggregate Profile


Several major social service programs in New York City could be at risk if the debt ceiling is not increased. Federal Medicaid support totals more than $1 billion monthly.  A delay could affect the state’s ability to pay Medicaid service providers on a timely basis. This could also affect health care providers.


Because of the City’s financial strength, our cash position is such that it will be able to sustain the delay of federal and state aid receipts. The City currently has $6.9 billion in cash on hand and is expected to continue to meet its normal obligations, including payroll, vendor payments and interest payments on outstanding debt. 


The City has successfully managed its capital borrowing through prior periods of market turmoil, such as the fallout from the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008. However, higher interest rates would hit City taxpayers directly and for an extended period.  The Comptroller’s Office is monitoring the capital markets very closely to minimize any impacts on the City’s capital borrowing from the current debt ceiling debate. 


It is assumed that any failure to raise the debt ceiling would have an impact on the financial markets.  With over $7 billion of short term securities, the pension funds are well equipped to make their near term pension payments to beneficiaries regardless of the near term stock and bond market volatilities. As long-term investors, while the markets will readjust in the short term, the asset allocations may need to be reviewed for the longer term implications. 

A full copy of Comptroller Liu’s advisory is available at


BOEDC Welcomes the
New York City

Monday, August 1, 2011 - 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Registration 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Monroe College
King Hall (Bronx Campus)
2501 Jerome Avenue - The Bronx, NY 10468

Co-hosted by:
The White House Business Council
The White House Domestic Policy Council
 The Office of the Honorable Michael Bloomberg - Mayor, New York City,
 Monroe College
The Fund for Public Advocacy
Office of Russell Simmons
Minority Business Development Agency
Small Business Administration
100 Urban Entrepreneurs
Operation HOPE & multiple federal agencies

The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation's President
Marlene Cintron will be featured as a panelist in the
 "Investing in Urban Entrepreneurs: Creating Funding/Financing Urban Entrepreneurs" workshop  

Additionally, Bronx businesses, Astoria Coffee and Cappuccino Machine Inc. and Melita Corp., recipients of the SBA 504 Loan Program will provide conference participants with their products.  

  This invitation is non-transferable. The event is free.
   Pre-event registration is required and space is limited. 

Please RSVP at:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Assemblywoman Rivera celebrates National Night out with Local Precincts

On Tuesday, August 2nd Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera will celebrate the 28th Annual National Night Out. In collaboration with the 49th and 52nd police precincts, this event is sure to promote the communal spirit of the Bronx through enjoyable programming as well as to encourage better relationships amongst residents and law enforcement officials in the area.
National Night Out 2011 will take place at two locations within the 80th Assembly District. The 52nd Precinct will hold their National Night Out at Williamsbridge Oval Park (206th and Bainbridge Ave) and the 49th Precinct’s National Night Out will be held on the Pelham Parkway Lawn located at Pelham Parkway North (Between Wallace Ave. and Barnes Ave). The event is anticipated to run from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
National Night out was designed to heighten drug and crime prevention awareness, increase support and involvement towards anticrime programs, build neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. This year’s event is sure to carry on the tradition.
There are no financial obligations for residents who wish to participate in National Night Out. This event is family oriented and there will be food and refreshments for all to enjoy. National Night Out events are successful every year and they continue to transform communities into better places to live. This event is sure to be a great way to kick off the Assemblywoman’s Summer Event Series of 2011.



60 Year Old Female
Last Seen at 845 E. 224th Street, Bronx, NY

5'2" 104 1bs
Has serious medical conditions
Anyone who has seen this woman should contact NYPD


Statement by Senator Jeff Klein on SLA investigation into Caffeinated Four Loko sales

Local Downtown Manhattan Newspaper finds sales continue

Statement from Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse:

News of a State Liquor Authority probe regarding on-going sales of caffeinated Four Loko proves that a simple gentleman's agreement is not enough to keep this dangerous product off store shelves and out of New York State. My legislation, (S.3889A), to outright ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages passed the Senate this session. The Assembly needs to do its part to protect New Yorkers from this product, which the FDA deemed 'unsafe,' and pass my bill as soon as possible.”  

The article from "The Local East Village" can be found here .


Rubber-Stamps Approvals for Depositories, 
Liu to Explore Legislation and Other Means to Spur Change at Mayoral-Controlled Commission

  City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about today’s New York City Banking Commission vote to designate 35 financial institutions as depository banks:

“Today the New York City Banking Commission rubber-stamped a motion to assign these banks the privilege to serve as depositories without first considering what, if any, role they are playing in the current foreclosure crisis. This obscure but powerful commission had the opportunity to engage financial institutions in a dialogue on how keep New Yorkers in their homes and they blew it by giving these banks a free pass.

“Most New Yorkers have never heard of the Banking Commission, which is controlled by City Hall and has been given broad authority to regulate financial institutions holding City deposits. As a result of today’s
development, my office will be working with the City Council to enact legislation aimed at holding banks designated as depositories accountable to New York City homeowners and taxpayers. In addition, my staff will be analyzing ways to restructure the Commission in order to better serve New Yorkers.”

Banks are designated as depositories every two years. The Banking Commission meets quarterly, is staffed by the Department of Finance and consists of one representative from the Mayor, the Finance Commissioner and Comptroller Liu.

Comptroller Liu’s representative on the Banking Commission, Deputy Comptroller Alan van Capelle, sent a letter to his fellow Commission members in March outlining specific questions to be added to the designation forms required to be filled out by the banks. Although the proposal was in full accordance with Title 22, Section 1-03c(4) of the Rules of the City of New York which gives the Banking Commission authorization to request information regarding foreclosures and other banking activities, the Mayoral-controlled Commission voted to not support the measure.

Comptroller Liu has made foreclosure a key issue since taking office, both for the devastating results to New Yorkers and because of lingering effects this crisis has had on the City and national economies. As custodian of the City’s Pension Funds, he has worked with the Pension Boards of Trustees to put forth shareholder resolutions calling on banks to enact investigations into their foreclosure practices and put controls in place to guard against any future foreclosure crisis. In addition, Comptroller Liu’s Office has assisted hundreds of New Yorkers facing foreclosure through its Community Action Center.

Borough President Diaz Speaks at Rally to Oppose Post Office Closures


On Wednesday, July 27, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined with members of the New York Metro Area Postal Union, APWU, AFL-CIO, on the steps of the Bronx GPO on East 149th Street and the Grand Concourse to protest the proposed closure of 17 borough Post Offices and the removal of processing services from the Bronx GPO.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RE: Appointment of Jesse Mojica as Executive Director
For Family and Community Engagement at the Department of Education

“For the past two years, Jesse Mojica has served my administration as Director of Education & Youth Services with distinction, and my entire staff and I are sorry to see him go. Jesse has been a tireless advocate for the educational well-being of the Bronx and its children, first as a parent, then as this office’s appointment to the Panel for Educational Policy and finally as our education director, a position through which he has distinguished himself as one of the foremost education policy experts in the City.

“His passion will be missed, and our loss is the Department of Education’s, and in fact the entire City’s, considerable gain. I join my entire staff and the people of the Bronx in wishing him the best of luck in this new endeavor,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
As the writer of this blog and a former member of the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council I must add the following-

I can only say that having been in the mix of it when Chancellor Joel Klein came in nine years ago, things at the DOE (Tweed) went from bad to worse, and the revolving door policy began. I knew many parents who were bought off by receiving positions from parent coordinator, to the couple of parents who have had the position Mr. Mojica has been appointed to. In the end most of those parent leaders are now gone from the education system, just bought off with a short lived position. The smart ones like Joel Klein and Eva Moskowitz have gone on to where the real money is, that being charter schools. 
I was offered a position of Parent Team Leader at the Region level, which I refused so that I would not sell out and become part of the problem. As you see today I continue to be an advocate for the city's public school children, and can only wish that Mr. Mojica has a longer tenure in the position than those before him. I know exactly what is in store for him.



Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Agenda

Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting
Thursday, July 28, 2011 – 7:00 PM
DEP Community Office – 3660 Jerome Avenue, Bronx NY 10467 - (718) 231-8470

I  Welcome                        Father Richard Gorman, Chair

II Consider, Adopt 6/30/11 Meeting Minutes    CFMC Representatives

III Jerome Park Reservoir (JPR)
    Update on DPR Jogging/Walking Path    Frank McCue, DPR

    Comments about Borough President’s tour CFMC Representatives  
    On July 19th

DEP Comments about Shifting Force     Mark Lanaghan, DEP Main Funding to JPR improvements, etc

IV Presentation about Federal, State Mandates    Mark Lanaghan, DEP

V Construction Update, Schedule & Costs        Bernard Daly, P.E., DEP
    Status of CRO 312,OS, 313, 334, FM
Items from 6-30-11 Agenda:
    $18,600,000in CRO 311 for DEP/DPR MOU
    & Status of Permits: CSO at SMC
Construction in Goulden Ave & Detour
VI Current Report - Croton Jobs    Mark Lanaghan, DEP       

VII CFMC Discussion, Set Next Meeting        CFMC Representatives

VIII Adjourn
RE: Potential Post Office Closures in the Bronx

  “I am extremely concerned that 17 postal locations in the Bronx are being studied for potential closure. The Bronx cannot afford such a considerable loss of both jobs and commercial activity, and the federal government must seriously reconsider enacting any post office closure plan that would have a serious negative impact on Bronx communities. My office will continue to follow this process to ensure that the collective voice of our borough is heard on this important matter,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Letter from Assemblyman Dinowitz to BOEDC Regarding Kingsbridge Armory

                                                                                                July 25, 2011

Marlene Cintron, President
Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation
851 Grand Concourse, Room 123
Bronx, New York 10451

Dear Ms. Cintron:

            I am pleased to learn that sports facilities, including those for ice skating and hockey, are among the possible uses being contemplated for the Kingsbridge Armory.  Having grown up within a few blocks of the Armory and having lived there for nearly half my life, I have always been extremely interested in there being a top-notch plan for the site.

            I opposed the proposal to construct a shopping mall in the Armory that would have received tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies.  Such a mall would undoubtedly have decimated the Fordham Road and Kingsbridge Road shopping districts and cost countless jobs.  Some Manhattan-based editorial board writers that strongly supported the heavily-subsidized mall probably spend little or no time in the Bronx and undoubtedly had no concept of the impact of such a mall on the surrounding community.   I am certain that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. took the correct position for the Bronx on this matter and, as a result, we now have a golden opportunity to do something really special for the Bronx.

            I have long believed that the Kingsbridge Armory should be used for the people of the Bronx.  I have seen the superb facility that has been developed at the armory at West 168th Street and Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan.  The Bronx deserves a great facility as well.  The possibilities are endless, including real ice skating rinks for the entire Bronx to enjoy, ice hockey, basketball, running tracks, community facilities, and finally giving the community what it has long demanded: new public schools outside the armory.

            So, I would like to applaud the work of both BOEDC and the Borough President.  We’ve waited a long time for the right development of the Armory site.  We dodged a bullet when we avoided the heavily-subsidized, job-killing shopping mall.  Now we must redouble our efforts to develop the site for the best interests of Kingsbridge Heights and the entire Bronx.  I look forward to working with you and being helpful in any way that I am able.


Jeffrey Dinowitz
                                                                                                Member of Assembly


Bronx Museum of the Arts:  
First Fridays!: FILM NIGHT

Friday August 5, 2011, 7:00-10:00pm

Joyce Kilmer Park (outdoor event!)
Grand Concourse Bet E 161 St and E 164 St
Rain location: Bronx Museum

Free Admission

MUSIC-  7-8:30pm
Music by HIP HOP AXÉ (Afro-Brazilian Hip Hop

FILM-  8:30-10:00pm
Joao Daniel Tikhomiroff, Brazil, 2004, 95min

Besouro is the emotional true story of the legendary capoeira fighter from Bahia, who was rumored to fly and leads an uprising of agricultural workers against an exploitative landowner

For almost twenty years, AFF has bridged the divide between post-colonial Africa and the American public through the medium of film.
For more information: or visit
Bronx Museum of the Arts | 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St | Bronx NY 10456

Monday, July 25, 2011

Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz Fined $20,000 by Conflict of Interest Board

  Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has been fined $20,000 by the NYC Conflicts of Interest Board for bringing his wife Jamie along on 3 foreign Government sponsored trips. Th CIB ruled that Markowitz used his position as a public servant for private and personal advantage. 
  A story in the New York Post goes on to say that in 2007 Markowitz was warned when Cunard Lines launched the Queen Mary II in Brooklyn, and invited Markowitz and his wife for the ride. The CIB said that it would be all right for Markowitz to go, but that his wife would have to pay her own way. The Post says that Markowitz was flabbergasted by the decision, and quotes him as saying "some people get into trouble when they don't bring their wives - I'm getting into trouble because I took my wife".
  As for the $20,000 fine the post reports that Markowitz will pay "the goddamn fine, and ask the City Council to address this and set it right". 
  In February Markowitz was fined $2,000 by the CIB for using his chief of staff as a lawyer in his home closing.

Tony Orlando to Headline Senator Jeff Klein's Summer Concert Series

Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/Westchester), announced today that singer Tony Orlando will be the headliner for his 2011 Summertime Symphonies.
These free concerts, which will be held from Aug. 2 to August 30, have become a summertime tradition to Bronx and Westchester residents.
I am proud to have Tony Orlando, as well as the other great performers, take part in this year's Summertime Symphonies,” Senator Klein said. “If you're in the area, come on down and join us for these great, family friendly, events.”
The Bronx Council of the Arts and Arts Westchester are also co-sponsoring the concert series.
Tony Orlando, the winner of three American Music Awards and a People's Choice Award, will be playing the Aug. 30 show at Loreto Park in Morris Park. He is best known for his hits, “Knock Three Times,” “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” and “Sweet Gypsy Rose.”
For more information, call Senator Klein's Office at 1-800-718-2039. For the latest information including the latest updates, and when a concert is moved to a rain location, visit, “friend” Senator Klein on Facebook and follow @JeffKlein34 on Twitter.
Remember to bring folding chairs and blankets to the shows!!

A full concert schedule is below:

Monday, August 2nd- 7:00pm
49th Precinct Night Out Against Crime
Pelham Parkway North & Wallace Avenue

Wednesday, August 3rd- 7:00pm
Veterans Memorial Park, Throggs Neck Expressway, between Ellsworth & Schley Avenues, Throggs Neck
(Rain Location: P.S. 14, 3041 Bruckner Blvd., Bronx)

Thursday, August 4th-7:00pm
Loreto Park, between Haight & Tomlinson Avenue, Morris Park
(Rain Location: P.S. 105 725 Brady Avenue, Bronx)

Monday, August 8th-7:30pm
Pelham Gazebo, 20 5th Avenue, Pelham
(Rain Location: Daronco Town House, 20 5th Avenue, Pelham)

Wednesday, August 10th-7:00pm
Eastchester Town Hall, 40 Mill Road, Eastchester
(Rain Location: Tuckahoe Community Center, 71 Columbus Avenue, Tuckahoe)

Monday, August 15th- 7:30pm
Pelham Gazebo, 20 5th Avenue, Pelham
(Rain Location: Daronco Town House, 20 5th Avenue, Pelham)

Wednesday, August 17th- 7:00pm
One Depot Square in front of Generoso Pope Building, Tuckahoe
Rain Location: Tuckahoe Community Center, 71 Columbus Avenue, Tuckahoe)

Thursday, August 18th-7:00pm
Bufano Park, Edison Avenue between Waterbury & LaSalle Avenues, Pelham Bay
(Rain Location: P.S. 14, 3041 Bruckner Blvd., Bronx)

Wednesday, August 24th- 7:00pm
Gramatan Ave & Broad Street, Mount Vernon
(Rain Location: Mount Vernon Armory 144 North Fifth Ave, Mount Vernon)

Thursday, August 25th-7:00pm
Van Cortlandt Park East, between 238th & 240th St., Woodlawn
(Rain Location: St. Barnabas Elementary School, 413 E. 241 St., Woodlawn)

Monday, August 29th- 7:00pm
Ambrosini Field, Winters & Centre Street, City Island
(Rain Date: August 31st, Ambrosini Field, Winters & Centre Street, City Island)

Tuesday, August 30th- 7:00pm
Loreto Park, between Haight & Tomlinson Avenues, Morris Park
(Rain Location: P.S. 105 725 Brady Avenue, Bronx)