Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro Passes Away

  The first woman to run for Vice-president on the Democratic line, (shown here with presidential running mate Walter Mondale)  Ms. Geraldine Ferraro has died at the age of 75, from  complications from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer she had been battling for many years. 

  The New York Times goes into detail about her political career here. The tributes for her are coming in from all over, as we will print some of our local elected officials who have sent out statements about the unfortunate passing of Ms. Ferraro. 


   City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about the passing of Former Vice Presidential Nominee Geraldine Ferraro:
“Geraldine Ferraro was an extraordinary New Yorker and American who set new standards of public service and shattered the glass ceiling for women in our nation. All the while, she never forgot her values of fairness and equal opportunity, and never forgot her roots in NYC and Queens. Geraldine Ferraro leaves behind a great legacy.”
  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stated the following.
“As a Bronx native, Geraldine Ferraro was an icon not just in the City, but across the entire nation. Her contributions to the civic and political life of the United States are immeasurable, and the thoughts and prayers of the entire Bronx are with her family during their time of grief. We have lost a true legend in Geraldine Ferraro, and she will be sorely missed,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
  Senator Gustavo Rivera, 33rd State Senate District  issued the following statement.
“Today I join with my fellow New Yorkers and Americans in mourning the loss of former Queens Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, a role model and inspirational leader. Geraldine Ferraro certainly made her mark on this country and our history as the first female candidate for Vice President, but long before becoming a household name, Geraldine Ferraro made her own mark on New York as a public school teacher, an assistant district attorney in the Special Victims Bureau and as a Queens Congresswoman. Throughout her career, Geraldine focused on issues impacting women, especially the economic rights of women, whether it be wages, pensions or retirement plans. She will be remembered throughout the country, but especially here at home in New York, as a hero, dedicated public servant and trailblazer.”

  We are sure all of our elected officials are deeply saddened by the loss of Ms. Geraldine Ferraro, and expect more statements to come in from them.  

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Urges His Colleagues to Oppose Any Budget without Rent Control

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) has released the following statement calling upon all of his Black and Hispanic colleagues in the Senate and in the Assembly to vote against any budget that does not include rent regulation.
“I am calling upon all of my colleagues in the Senate and the Assembly – especially my colleagues who are Black and Hispanic – to refuse to vote for any Budget without rent regulation protection. These protections limit rent and rent hikes that landlords can charge on more than a million apartments in New York.
I urge my colleagues to learn from Senator Liz Krueger, follow her lead and support her one key Budget issue – rent regulations – which are set to expire on June 15, 2011.  We all know that rent regulations effect our constituents, and how essential it is for rent control to be included in the Budget. 
It will be a pure hypocrisy for any Black or Hispanic Senator or Assemblymember to vote for any budget that does not include rent regulations.  A vast majority of our constituents depend on these rent regulation laws, and if we do not address it in this Budget, millions of working and middle-class New Yorkers will be in immediate risk of losing their homes.
We must not let the Governor hijack New York’s Budget and omit rent regulations in it.  Our constituents rely upon us to represent them in Albany, and we must not abandon them.”


Tell Cuomo: No Justice, No Peace
Occupy The Capital March 30th in Albany

Buses from New York will leave at 11 AM from Hunter College (68th St and Lexington Ave) and Penn Station
Visit for the exact location of the Penn Station bus
One bus will return to New York Wednesday evening, the other will return Thursday morning (or later)
Please email to reserve a seat on the Hunter bus and for the Penn Station bus

Governor Cuomo is balancing his budget on the backs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, all to give a massive tax break to the very wealthy. If his budget is passed, Cuomo will have perpetrated the largest transfer of wealth from regular New Yorkers to the wealthy in the history of our state. Cuomo’s budget isn’t just bad for regular New Yorkers and the most vulnerable—it’s bad for the future of our state.  Cuomo’s budget makes no sense.  His cuts aren’t cuts—they’re scars that will destroy communities while impeding growth, and make our state less attractive to anyone that would want to move here and add to our economy.  He is, in effect, creating a larger deficit and more cuts to pay for a tax break for the wealthiest New Yorkers.

We are the 99%.  We represent New York—unfortunately, our Governor does not.  Ninety-nine percent of New Yorkers would not be effected by keeping our current progressive tax system, but many of us would be severely hurt by Cuomo’s unnecessary cuts and his tax giveaway to the wealthiest.  New Yorkers know that—and that’s why they disagree with Cuomo’s plan to cut taxes for the wealthiest by a two-to-one margin. Join RTTC-NYC and the 99% to demand a state budget that meets these demands:

* Strengthen the Rent Laws and Repeal Vacancy Destabilization*

* Extend the Millionaires Tax*

* Save our children and students from devastating education cuts*

Mr. Cuomo, You've got 5 Days to decide whose side you're on…the 99% or the 1%
 The clock is ticking...and the 99% will not wait in silence...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Will There Be An On-Time State Budget

  The deadline for an on-time state budget is April 1st, and in the past 25 years there been only three years that the budget was on time. It depends on who you talk to, because you will get a different answer each time as we did. 
  We spoke to a state senator who said the budget will not be on time if I have anything to do with it. We spoke to a leading assemblyman who said that the budget was almost signed, sealed, and delivered. Yet when reporters such as Liz Benjamin reports here talk to Assembly Speaker Silver (who has left Albany to observe Shabbos) the answer is "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow its just a day away". Education and health care are two sticking points that may delay the final budget, unless enough elected officials can't live with the budget and vote it down.
Click to enlarge

Senator Rivera and Make the Road New York Call for Restoration of Adult Education Funding, Extension of Personal Income Tax for Wealthiest New Yorkers 

Proposed cuts to GED prep and English classes that enable immigrant parents to achieve economic stability and economic prosperity

Senator Gustavo Rivera (D, WF-Bronx) and Make the Road New York issued a joint statement today calling for the restoration of Adult education funding such as GED prep and English as a Second Language classes in the 2012 Executive Budget.

  Senator Gustavo Rivera stated: “Access to adult education including GED courses and English as a Second Language courses has helped make the American Dream possible for million of New Yorkers. As someone who was fortunate enough to learn English as a second language, I am acutely aware of the doors that are opened by speaking English in order to be successful in the United States. We have to continue to provide all New Yorkers with the opportunity to get a high school diploma and the opportunity to learn English. Under current budget proposals, funding for adult education would be cut. We need to have a budget that is about shared sacrifice and shared responsibility, not one that disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable communities, be it seniors, immigrant communities or working and middle class families who are struggling to make ends meet. I call on my fellow legislators to take a stand and support the extension of the personal income tax for wealthy New Yorkers and restoration adult education funding in the 2012 budget.”

  Ana Maria Archila, Executive Director of Make the Road, stated: “Right now, immigrant communities in New York City are looking at substantial cuts in federal funding from the Community Services Block Grants as House Republicans call for the zeroing out of this funding stream altogether. At a local level, our communities are facing a $350 million reduction in social services. New Yorkers, and especially immigrant communities, cannot afford further cuts to adult education programs that include GED and English as a Second Language courses. Adult Education programs make up the bread and butter of the service infrastructure inside immigrant communities, and cuts to Adult Education will not only reduce the opportunities for immigrants to learn English or earn a GED, they will also decimate the service infrastructure that provides critical support to the newest New Yorkers. That is why earlier today hundreds of immigrants rallied in Queens in support of Senator Rivera’s call for legislators and Governor Cuomo to restore funding for adult education in the 2012 budget and extend the personal income tax for New York’s wealthiest New Yorkers.”



Thursday, March 24, 2011

 Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Celebrates Irish American Heritage Month



  That's Joe McManus, Democratic State Committeeman, 80th A.D.; Brian G. Anderson, Former Commissioner, NYC Department of Records; Margaret Walsh, President of the Board, Parkchester South Condominiums; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Marianne Anderson, Administrator, Pelham Bay Park; Joe McCarthy, Project Hope; Joe Carty, Owner, Rambling House; John Egan, former President, Ancient Order of Hibernians; and Congressman Eliot Engel, who helped Bp Diaz celebrate Irish American Heritage Month 2011. The celebration took place at Rambling House in the heart of Woodlawn, of course. 
 Brian G. Anderson,  Joe McManus, and Margaret Walsh,  were the three honorees, while Marianne Anderson,  Joe McCarthy, Project Hope; Joe Carty, John Egan,  received proclamations from BP Diaz for their contributions to the Bronx Irish American Heritage. 
Senate Passes Klein Bill to Crack Down on Auto Insurance Fraud

Measure Would Increase Penalties for Criminals Who Forge Auto Insurance Cards  

Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) that would impose tougher penalties on those who commit auto insurance fraud, passed the State Senate today.
Klein’s bill (S.578) would make it a felony to forge an auto insurance card or certificate of insurance. In New York State, these documents are necessary to obtain the government issued documents, such as a vehicle registration, that are required to legally operate a motor vehicle.
“Everyone pays the price for auto insurance fraud,” Senator Klein said. “This commonsense measure will help law-abiding New Yorkers from having to pay higher car insurance because of the misdeeds of others.”
Forged insurance cards and documents are often used to fraudulently register cars so that owners may operate them without paying auto insurance premiums. Klein’s bill also makes the selling of 10 or more false insurance cards or documents a felony.
The bill is pending in the Assembly.

Senate Passes Klein Bill to Strengthen Green Markets/ Increase Access to New York Grown Products

The State Senate Tuesday unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), that would expand local and regional green markets, like those in the greater Bronx area, and increase access to New York State grown fruits and vegetables. 


The bill, (S.627) allows the New York State Urban Development Corp. and the Empire State Development Corp. to be able to provide loans and grants that can be used to build, expand and refurbish green markets that encourage the sale of New York-grown produce. They currently do not have that authority.
“This is a win-win,” Senator Klein said. “My legislation would both expand the availability of inexpensive produce in our communities, while at the same time creating more avenues for upstate farmers to sell their products.”
There are more than 20 green markets in the Bronx, many of which open for the season next month.
The bill is pending in the Assembly.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get Ready For The Ed Koch Bridge

  The Daily News reports that after a 6-1  committee vote for renaming the Queensboro Bridge to The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge  , the matter will now go to the full council for a vote. This comes only three months after Mayor Bloomberg suggested the idea, and said that he will pay for the costs of the name change with private funds. The renaming of the bridge process started on Dec. 20th of last year, when it was introduced and refereed to committee. 
  This comes despite a Quinnipiac University poll that found 70% of Queens residents and 64% of all city residents opposed to the renaming of the bridge. The full City Council vote is scheduled for tomorrow.

Stop Graffiti Day

Stop Graffiti Day:  Thursday, April 7, 11 am at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy/RKA, 660 West 237th Street, Bronx, NY 10463.  This will be the third Stop Graffiti Day., and is held in conjunction  with Assemblyman Dinowitz, who funds this graffiti removal program. Detective Luis Rodriguez of the 50th Precinct; and Bruce Pienkny of City Solve, a professional graffiti clean-up organization. are on hand to help.  This day will include graffiti clean-up  in the  community  Assemblyman Dinowitz represents, and an educational presentation for students at RKA.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Did Some City Council Members Skirt Laws, Bend Rules, and Abuse Their Power?

    Here The Daily News reports that some City Council members have skirted laws. bent rules, and abused their power. Check the link to see if your city council member is listed as a tax dodger, deadbeat dad, has outstanding arrest warrants, is swimming in debt, circumvented rules in one way or another, is about to move into a luxury condo building that she used taxpayer money to resole a problem, or is under indictment for varying reasons. We didn't want to name any council members, but the Daily News article does. They mention Speaker Quinn by name as the council member about to move into the luxury condo that she used taxpayer money to resolve a specific problem. 
   With all this abuse coming from the head (or Speaker) down to several City Council members we still would like to know why Speaker Quinn is not in a jumpsuit that matches her hair. Almost every paper quoted her as saying " I told my office to stop doing that, when we found out", referring to a different investigation.


  City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced he has launched audits of two controversial technology programs run by the Department of Education (DOE).  These audits represent a small sample of the many requests for audits of DOE operations that the Comptroller received at his “Audit Town Hall” meetings held in all five boroughs earlier this year.

“We conducted these Audit Town Halls to hear from the public, the customers who are supposed to be served by government,” said Comptroller Liu.  “That New Yorkers are not shy about speaking their minds helps us do our job better, and in the end improves city government."

“People came to the Audit Town Halls with a lot of questions about how the Department of Education spends their tax dollars,” said Deputy Comptroller for Audit H. Tina Kim.  “We’ve seen before how the City’s
IT projects can run up exorbitant fees when they’re not properly monitored.”

AUDIT 1: Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) Based on a suggestion received at the Manhattan Town Hall, the Comptrollers’ Office has started an audit of the DOE’s Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS).  In 2007 the DOE hired IBM to develop ARIS, an $80 million data collection system to track students’ academic records in unprecedented detail. Wireless Generation, an IBM subcontractor, is credited with leading ARIS’ development.

AUDIT 2: iZone
New Yorkers at both the Manhattan and Bronx Town Halls also asked the Comptroller to audit the DOE’s “iZone” project that was intended to increase the use of innovative technologies in classrooms.  Early
reactions to iZone’s efforts have been mixed.

In the coming months, Comptroller Liu will announce additional audits of City agencies that were suggested by residents of the five boroughs.

The Comptroller’s Audit Town Halls were attended by 530 New Yorkers who offered 190 ideas for audits.