Saturday, May 28, 2011

Orchard Beach Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

    On Friday, May 27, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and other elected officials to announce the official start of the 2011 summer season and the 75th anniversary of Orchard Beach. Known as the  Riviera of the Bronx, Orchard Beach is celebrating  its anniversary with a new and better look thanks to the completion  of the $13 million Orchard Beach Shoreline Protection Project. The US Army  Corps of Engineers and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation  placed approximately 268,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach to further protect it against tides, winds, waves and storms. During the 2011 season, the beach will be open for swimming daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm when lifeguards are on duty.

  Borough President Diaz with the 5th Grade Class of P.S. 79 on the newly refurbished Orchard 

Friday, May 27, 2011



Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. have formed a partnership with the pastors of three Bronx churches in sponsoring a gun buy-back program for one day only on Saturday, June 4, 2011.
In a continuing effort to get illegal handguns and other firearms off the streets and out of circulation, participants in the ‘gun buy-back’ will receive a $200 pre-paid cash card for each eligible weapon surrendered, No Questions Asked. The firearms may be turned in at three drop-off locations between the hours of 11:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.
District Attorney Johnson said: “We are gratified that the Commissioner Kelly and Borough President Diaz recognize the deadly threat that guns pose in our community and once again are being proactive. Now it’s up to all of our citizens to do their part in getting these guns off the streets before they cause more deaths, serious injuries and destroy families.”
Police Commissioner Kelly said: “Programs like the gun buy-back have real, quantifiable results. Since this program started in 2008, it has been responsible for taking over 6,000 guns off the street of the five boroughs. Our hope is that next week’s gun buy-back in the Bronx builds on this success and results in even more guns off the street, and more innocent lives saved.”
Borough President Ruben Diaz said: “Once again my office is working together with District Attorney Robert Johnson and the NYPD to fight gun violence and crime in The Bronx. Every time a firearm is taken out of circulation, we are potentially saving somebody’s life. The Bronx has come a long way, and Bronxites can no longer tolerate gun violence in our neighborhoods. I urge all of our residents to join us on the fight to bring peace to our streets.”
On Saturday, June 4, 2011, people who own illegal handguns will be able to trade them for $200 bank cards.  People turning in operable rifles and shotguns will receive $20 bank cards. The transactions will be completely anonymous with “no questions asked.” A $200 bank card will be issued for each operable handgun gun that is surrendered, with no limit on how many guns may be turned in.  However, participants will only be paid a maximum sum of $600 for three or more handguns. The bank cards can be used either as a debit card to make purchases or to withdraw cash from any ATM.
Firearms belonging to either active or retired law enforcement officials are not eligible for the buy-back program.
Plainclothes NYPD police officers, Bronx DA Detective Investigators, and members of the NYPD Bronx DA Squad will be on hand at the churches to accept the firearms that are surrendered. Participants are encouraged to bring the weapons in paper bags, plastic bags, or shoe boxes. If the weapons are being transported by car, they must be placed in the trunk of the car. 
Funding for the gun “buy-back” program is being provided jointly by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD. Firearms may be surrendered at the following locations:


Bronx Pentecostal                   Grace Temple
1755 Watson Avenue                  2401 Marion Avenue
Bronx, New York 10473             Bronx, New York 10458
Bishop Clarence Jones                 Pastor Olusegun Apoeso
718-822-6929                                 718-367-6937
Our Lady of Grace
3985 Bronxwood Avenue
Bronx, New York 10466
Father Levelt Germain


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz's Public Awareness Campaign

New York Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz released the following statement in response to the planned "F*** Ruben Diaz Festival" advertised online to be held on June 11th at the Metropolitan bar in Brooklyn.

"I continue to be the target of a vulgar campaign by seething extremists who oppose my defense of New York's marriage laws.

The latest attempt to publicly attack my integrity is a call for written entries 1000 – 2000 words at a "F*** Ruben Diaz Festival” set to be held on June 11th.  An online group called The New Gay is advertising the event:  TNG Writing Contest Alert - "F*** Ruben Diaz: Gay Erotica Featuring NYC’s Number One Bigot".  Here are their details:

 "So all you LGBT litterateurs (and allies, of course) pick up your pens and plug in your laptops — if a fool is our theme, let satire be our song. Imagine a day in the life of the Bronx's most prominent Pentecostal minister. Is he downtown scoring poppers? Is he rehearsing his latest screed in his bathroom mirror? Is he waking up in a tangle of hard man-bodies after a raging orgy? Don’t think you have to take the closet case angle though, feel free to put Ruben in whatever ridiculous scenario you want — think Onion headline material — 'Ruben Diaz Sprains Ankle, Loses Faith in God', 'Ruben Diaz Tired of Wife's "Meatloaf Mondays'", ‘Ruben Diaz Gives Impassioned Anti-Gay Speech to his Co-Op Board', or, I don't know, 'Ruben Diaz in the MI6: Killing for Queen and Country'."

My position on marriage as defined between a man and a woman is no different than the position of many other Christians.  It is also the teaching of the Catholic Church, of Judaism and of Islam.   The United States Constitution guarantees us all the right to freedom of  – not freedom from – religion.  I am blessed to serve as a Pentecostal minister and I celebrate this!

It is sad to see the disrespect and irreverence that flourishes from those who have no respect for religious leaders here in New York and those who mock us as we serve our communities.

As a Christian and as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, I will continue to defend the teachings of the Bible and oppose homosexual marriage.   As a Member of the New York State Senate, I will continue to defend the definition of New York's marriage laws to be between a man and a woman.

I urge Governor Andrew Cuomo along with my colleagues in the legislature, the media, and all New Yorkers to take a close look at the hard core and vulgar tactics that are being used to change a law in New York State.   I urge all to compare my non-violent, peaceful and prayerful rallies to protect marriage and the attempts to humiliate me because of my one vote in the State Senate.  Add to that the intolerant onslaught of hate-filled phone calls to my office. Add to that to the death threats and threats against my family that  have been duly reported to the FBI and the police departments of New York and Albany.

As a Christian, of course I love those who hate me and I will continue to pray for their souls.

Even though for the most part these attacks remain unreported in the news, the public deserves to know about them.  As such, I will continue to document them so my constituents and my colleagues remain aware."
To see more on what Senator Reverend Diaz is talking about click here



Below are remarks by New York City Comptroller John C. Liu at a news conference on Wednesday, May 25, 4:30 p.m. regarding the CityTime project:
“Earlier this afternoon, my office was provided with a letter written  to the Executive Director of the Financial Information Services Agency (FISA) by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the prime contractor on the CityTime project. We were informed that SAIC had terminated their senior project manager who led the CityTime project.
“The name of that employee is Gerard Denault.
“SAIC has determined that Mr. Denault violated SAIC’s policies and standards with respect to timekeeping practices while working on CityTime. He routinely billed hours to the CityTime project that he did not in fact work.
“By their own admission, this latest development now implicates, for  the first time in this scandal, SAIC. The very company entrusted by our City to build a timekeeping system for NYC employees has grossly mismanaged their own time keeping, and in the process over charged the city for sums of money – still to be determined.
“SAIC now says they will now refund $2,470,522 to the city coffers for the time Mr. Denault billed to hard working NYC taxpayers.
“A few moments ago I sent a letter to the Mayor because I believe we need to work together.
“I am asking him to join me in calling on the Department of  Investigation along with all other relevant authorities to conduct a comprehensive review of other possible violations by SAIC, and I am proposing that the City withhold any future payments to SAIC pending the outcome of the investigations.
“This is a sad day for the New York City taxpayer.
“With the proposed budget cuts looming, we at least need to tightly manage expensive outside consultants.
“The public’s trust in government must be bolstered, and I am committed to working with the Mayor to do just that.”
Below is the full text of the letter sent to Mayor Bloomberg on May 25, 2011.

May 25, 2011

Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY  10007

Re:  Science Application International Corporation (SAIC)

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

Today, we were informed by SAIC that they have terminated theirproject manager for CityTime.  SAIC cited the project manager’s violation of SAIC’s policies and standards, specifically with regard to his time billed to the City of New York.  Because SAIC cannot accurately calculate the amount that should have been billed to the City, SAIC will reimburse the City for this individual’s billed services.  This repayment amounts to $2,470,522.
To date, the alleged fraud relating to CityTime has only involvedsubcontractors.  This latest development now implicates the prime contractor and compels a comprehensive review of SAIC’s billings to the City, in particular, SAIC employees whose time was billed to the CityTime project.
I am directing my representative on the OPA board to introduce aresolution on the points below, and ask that your representative support the resolution:
§  The Department of Investigation, along with all other relevantauthorities, conduct a comprehensive review of other possible timekeeping violations; and
§  The City withholds any outstanding payments to SAIC pending the outcome of the investigations.
I believe the above actions are necessary and as always, I amavailable to discuss any of these issues with you.  Thank you.
John C. Liu

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that a hearing will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, to solicit community input on the future of the Sgt. Joseph E. Muller Army Reserve Center (MARC), which is located at 555 East 238th Street in Wakefield.

The hearing will take place at P.S. 21, 715 East 225th Street, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“The future reuse of the Muller Army Reserve Center has been hotly debated in the Bronx for years, and it is my hope that individuals on all sides of this debate take advantage of this opportunity to make their voices heard,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

In addition, individuals and organizations wishing to review and comment on the draft redevelopment plan for the MARC may do so through the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s website,, or by visiting Community Board #12, located at 4101 White Plains Road.

The draft redevelopment plan will be available for comment at these two locations from May 26 to June 25, 2011, after which public comment will be closed.

To submit comment, either email or send them through regular mail to Muller Local Redevelopment Authority, c/o NYCEDC, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038. Comments must be received no later than June 25, 2011.

Independent Democratic Conference

Senate Passes Klein Bill to Help Increase Distribution of NY-Grown Products

The State Senate today unanimously passed legislation sponsored by the Independent Democratic Conference that will help further expand the sale of New York State -grown agricultural products.
The measure, (S.614B), would allow the New York State Urban Development Corp./ Empire State Development Corp. to be able to extend grants and loans that will help create, or upgrade, distribution networks between New York farmers and food distributors, processors, and purchasers such as supermarkets and farmer's markets.
We grow many great products in New York State, but there are too many roadblocks particularly in communities like those I represent that prevent what is grown on the farm from ending up on our kitchen table,” the bill's main sponsor, Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), said. “This legislation will help give farmers more opportunities to move their products, as well as provide more healthy, locally grown, options to underserved neighborhoods.”
The lack of solid transportation networks is one of the main barriers preventing New York produce, which is primarily grown upstate, from having greater distribution in downstate markets. For instance, only half of the produce sold at the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market in the Bronx, which is the highest volume wholesale produce market in the U.S., is grown in New York.
This is companion legislation to S.627, which passed the Senate earlier this session. That bill allowed the UDC/ ESDC 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.
Both bills were part of the IDC's “Preserve, Promote & Grow” plan to improve New York's agriculture economy.
Our New York grown products are some of the state's greatest assets,” said Senator David J. Valesky, (D-Oneida). “This legislation provides greater opportunities to get those products from our farms to our dinner tables across the state.”
I am committed to supporting the efforts of our farmers and this bill provides another avenue for produce grown locally to be transported to restaurants, supermarkets and schools who wish to purchase and serve New York grown fresh produce,” Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) said.  “This is an opportunity for us to do something that not only is healthy for New York State’s economy, but our residents as well.”  
This legislation will improve the economic health of our farms, as well as the physical health of our residents,” said Senator Diane Savino, (Staten Island/ Brooklyn). “Its a win-win that I hope will become law before the end of this legislative session.” 
The legislation is pending in the Assembly.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bronx Week 2011 Ends With a Parade and Festival on Mosholu Parkway

On Sunday, May 22, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. celebrated the grand finale of Bronx Week 2011 hosting a parade for which hundreds of students from dozens of Bronx schools and youth organizations marched down Mosholu Parkway.  The new members of the Bronx Walk of Fame, Chazz Palminteri, Irene Cara, Joy Bryant, and Charles Latibeaudiere, paraded along Mosholu Parkway after the unveiling of the plaques that now carry their names on the Grand Concourse.
After the parade, hundreds of residents enjoyed the Bronx Week Food, Art & Music Festival, which featured popular restaurants, arts & crafts, the Bronx Arm Wrestling Championship, and games and activities for kids.  At the main stage, Bronxites danced with the great performances of the hip hop legends Big Daddy Kane and Force MD’s, the bachata group Xtreme, and the salsa band Conjunto Imagen, among many other local artists. 
The students and parents of PS 76 showing their pride during  the Bronx Week Parade    
 Check out Thursday's Bronx News or Parkchester News for more pictures, and what schools were a part of the parade.

Borough President Diaz Honored the Best of the Bronx at the 2011 Bronx Ball

On Saturday, May 21, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr hosted the Annual Bronx Ball, a party honoring this year's inductees into the Bronx Walk of Fame. This black-tie awards gala brings together the Bronx’s business, arts and civic leaders to welcome home Bronx-born celebrities.
The Bronx Ball pays tribute to those proud Bronx natives who Borough President Diaz will induct into the Bronx Walk of Fame the following morning.  The Class of 2011 inductees were: Chazz Palminteri, who wrote and starred in “A Bronx Tale” and then turned it into an award-winning stage production; Irene Cara, Grammy and Golden Globe winner, Joy Bryant,  actress and former fashion model who currently stars in Parenthood; and Charles Latibeaudiere, Co-Executive Producer of TMZ.
The honorees were inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame on Sunday, May 22, on the Grand Concourse. Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. unveiled permanent street signs bearing their names. 

From left: Marlene Cintron, President of BOEDC, Charles Latibeaudiere, Co-Executive Producer of TMZ, Irene Cara, Grammy and Golden Globe winner, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., actress Joy Bryant, and actor and writer Chazz Palminteri.


     State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), the Bronx Lion’s Club, Sacred Heart School, and the Westchester Square Merchants have collaborated to bring free vision screening to four-year-old children in the Westchester Square community on Friday, June 3. Registration is mandatory for a screening.

I am extremely pleased to partner with the Bronx Lions Clubs to offer these essential vision screenings,” Senator Klein said. “Identifying potential vision problems in children now will allow for early treatment to help prevent the development of serious health issues later.” The screenings will be performed by trained volunteers from the Lion's Club. Screenings for Sacred Heart students will be held earlier in the day.

The vision screenings are used to alert parents to any vision issues discovered in their children that may lead to serious eye conditions such as Ambyopia. The information obtained in the vision screenings will sent to the Ross Eye Institute in Buffalo, NY for analysis. The results will then be sent to the child's parents or guardians.
In an effort to utilize the early detection screenings in the neighborhoods that he represents, Senator Klein reached out to the Westchester Square Merchants and Sacred Heart School in order to introduce the Lions Club vision screenings to four-year-old children in the Westchester Square community.
To make an appointment, contact Senator Klein’s office at 718-822-2049

     Screenings, which will be open to all 4-year-olds in the Bronx, will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Sacred Heart School, 1651 Zerega Ave.