Saturday, July 16, 2011

Opposition to Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz’s Bill Making Prostitution Near a School an A Misdemeanor

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) has released the following statement:
“I’m sharing this information for everyone to see that unfortunately, people are still protecting crimes against children in New York.  Senate Bill 1313B was passed in the Senate and the Assembly, but for some reason there is an effort underway to derail it.  This law would help shield school children from witnessing open and notorious acts of prostitution as they walk to and from their schools.
Here is a tweet against my bill that was retweeted by others:  “Take a moment to stop State Sen. Ruben Diaz's attempts to persecute sex worker! Gov. Cuomo has till Monday to...
The page linked to that tweet contains their position against my bill and their petition letter (shown below) against my bill.
I’d like to know who else is as disgusted by this effort as I am.”

First here is the link for Senate Bill S1313B that was introduced by Senators Adams, Diaz, Kruger, and Sampson, that passed 62 - 0.
Second here is the link for Assembly Bill A2264B that was Introduced by M. of A. CRESPO, MENG, RAMOS, CAMARA, ARROYO, BRONSON, REILLY, LINARES, GIBSON, M. MILLER, and Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. CERETTO, CONTE, CROUCH, FINCH, GABRYSZAK, KATZ, LOSQUADRO, McLAUGHLIN, MONTESAN, and passed 128 - 10.

In the modern era, most sex workers who work on the street are engaged in sex work out of desperate need. They face widespread physical and sexual violence, especially from the police. For these women, men, and children, the criminal justice system is merely a “revolving door” that hinders rather than helps their chances of stopping sex work. More convictions only make it harder for sex workers to transition out of sex work into the mainstream economy, because they are rejected from jobs, denied work authorization, can even be evicted from their homes for these convictions.

But a bill now on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk would increase the penalty for vulnerable street-based sex workers.

The bill increases prostitution to a Class A Misdemeanor when it occurs on or adjacent to school grounds. The legislation was inspired by worries about sex work occurring too close to a school in West Farms, yet many community members in that very neighborhood have expressed concerns that such punitive measures will not address the root causes of the problem – addiction, exploitation and poverty – but will in fact, result in a cycle of recidivism that could have been prevented by a less punitive approach.

West Farms is a community that has seen the worst of the economic crisis, including cuts to social programs, increasing rates of incarceration, entrenched poverty, failing schools, and homelessness. Raising prostitution one offense level will not protect children nor the victims of poverty.

Tell Gov. Cuomo to veto this bill and look for real solutions to the economic problems facing our communities.

VETO Bill S1313B/A2264B
Dear Governor Cuomo
On July 8, 2011, a bill introduced by Senator Ruben Diaz was delivered to your office. This bill, S1313B/A2264B, raises prostitution to an A Misdemeanor for sex workers arrested on or adjacent to a school. While we understand the need to protect children, we are writing your office to voice our concern regarding the bill’s civil and human rights implications for the most vulnerable in our society.

Sex workers who work on the street are often engaged in sex work out of desperate need to meet basic survival needs for food and shelter, not out of a desire to commit crime or harm the community. There is widespread physical and sexual violence street-based sex workers experience. For these women, men, and children, the criminal justice system is merely a “revolving door” that hinders rather than helps their chances of stopping sex work. More convictions only make it harder for sex workers to transition out of sex work into the mainstream economy, because they are rejected from jobs, denied work authorization, can even be evicted from their homes for these convictions. Studies also show that when sex workers are more frequently arrested, they are less able to negotiate safer sex with their clients, and more likely to be violently assaulted.

This bill was proposed as an answer to a situation near West Farms Elementary School in the Bronx where sex workers sometimes work on the street in view of students. However, even this current situation is itself the result of prior police crackdowns on prostitution. Sex workers were forced out of a nearby hotel and, with no other place to go and no other options to survive, they began to work on the street.

Those from communities such as West Farms have a right to be upset. These communities have seen the worst of the economic crisis, including cuts to social programs, increasing rates of incarceration, entrenched poverty, failing schools, and homelessness. However, raising prostitution one offense level will not solve these problems, or eliminate street based prostitution from the south Bronx and other poor neighborhoods. Even in West Farms, some community members have expressed concerns that such punitive measures will not address the root causes of the problem – addiction, exploitation and poverty – but will in fact, result in a cycle of recidivism that could have been prevented by a less punitive approach. A higher offense level will make it more likely that sex workers will be incarcerated for longer periods of time, making it harder for them to rebuild their lives and find work other than sex work when they are released.

We urge you to veto this bill. Before passing this kind of legislation, we encourage you to engage in conversation with parents, service providers, lawmakers and sex workers, about how to protect children while ensuring safety and survival for all.

Thank you for your consideration regarding this important matter.

Dave Valentin at Orchard Beach Sunday July 17, 2011

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is proud to announce

Jazz Legend and Grammy Award-Winning Flutist 
Dave Valentin will perform  at Orchard Beach this 
Sunday July 17th 

Time 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM


Friday, July 15, 2011

Important information on upcoming Lien Sales from Comptroller Liu

         The Department of Finance lists 17,547 properties across the city as potential candidates for the August 1, 2011 lien sale.  By borough, these properties break down in the following fashion:

o   Manhattan – 1,338
o   Bronx – 2854
o   Brooklyn – 7749
o   Queens – 4290
o   Staten Island – 1316

·         The dollar amounts owed to the City by property owners range from millions to the low thousands of dollars.  
·         The city only sells liens to a single authorized buyer and not to the general public.  The lien sale is the transfer of the lien to the single authorized buyer which hires collection agencies.  It is not a sale of the property, but if the taxes and/or charges are not paid or resolved, the lien holder can begin a foreclosure proceeding in court.

·         If the property owner does not make arrangements with the new lien holder who purchased the packaged liens, a foreclosure can commence within 6 months after the lien sale date.

·         The City’s last lien sale was July 29, 2010 when there were 5,416 liens listed.  After some taxpayers made payments, the total number of liens was reduced to 4,736.  It is important to note that the number of auctions in connection with foreclosures as a result of the city’s lien program for 1996-2010 has been quite small – on 315 family dwellings.

·         In all probability, only a subset of 17,547 properties on the current list will be packaged together for the lien sale on August 1 to the single buyer.

·         It is hard to say with certainty how many of the 17,547 properties are owned by individual homeowners versus real estate companies and other businesses, although a sample of 100 properties in Brooklyn showed 37 of the 100 were owned by individual homeowners.  In Bronx, the number was 33 out of 100.  However, when going to CB 12 in Queens – an area hit hard by the foreclosure crisis – the number was 62 out of 100.

The Comptrollers office just updated its website yesterday to include need to know information on the upcoming lien sales (it’s center page, under featured news), They are  working with Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera on this.


Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a letter to the both the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Economic Adjustment of the United States Navy outlining the specific falsehoods the Bloomberg administration has put forward to justify its contention that a vote on the future of the Sgt. Joseph E. Muller Army Reserve Center in Wakefield took place in November 2010.

This contention flies in the face of all evidence, including the fact that the administration held a public hearing to comment on the impending vote in June 2011, seven months after they claim the vote actually happened.

“The mayor’s office has also failed to explain why they would hold a public hearing to comment on the submission in June 2011 and then claim that a vote on that same submission took place seven months earlier.  I, my staff, and most importantly my constituents remain flabbergasted at this twisted logic, which at best represents a misunderstanding of the LRA process or, at worst, is an outright lie,” wrote Borough President Diaz.

Borough President Diaz closed his letter by noting that if this matter could not be resolved, his office would pursue legal action.

Bronx Community Board No. 8's
Grand Opening
Kingsbridge Heights Youthmarket
Friday, July 15, 2011 at 1:00PM

located at
West Kingsbridge Road & Reservoir Avenue
Open Fridays, 12:00PM to 6:00PM
through October 28th.
The Youthmarket has healthy, fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables available including peaches, squash, corn, onions, collard greens, cilantro, and much more. All grown by New York area farmers!
Easy access to good fresh food can have a positive health benefit for so many residents in the Bronx Community Board 8 community.
Participate in a fun event. Bring your family, bring your neighbors and bring your friends!

To learn about our Network of Farmer Youthmarkets, visit

Kingsbridge Heights, Marble Hill & Riverdale Youthmarkets!
Bronx Community Board No. 8 (BXCB8) has created a network of farmers' youthmarkets in partnership with GrowNYC. Youthmarket is an innovative program of GrowNYC which brings fresh food into underserved areas.
The Kingsbridge Heights Youthmarket, located on West Kingsbridge Road and Reservoir Avenue at Barnhill Square, will operate on Fridays from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM, July 15 through October 28. This is the second youthmarket that Bronx Community Board 8 has opened.
The first market that opened 3 years ago, is the Marble Hill Youthmarket located on West 225th Street and Broadway in front of the Target Center and will operate on Fridays from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM, July 8 through through October 28. This market begins its third successful year in partnership with RNH.
Riverdale Youthmarket operated by RNH located at 5521 Mosholu Avenue, between West 254th Street and Riverdale Avenue is alos a part of BXCB 8's network of farmers' youthmarkets. It will operate on Thursdays from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, July 8 through October 27.
Easy access to good fresh food can have a positive health benefit for so many in the Bronx Community Board 8 community.
Youthmarket is an innovative program of nonprofit GrowNYC, and is part of a network of urban farm stands operated by teen entrepreneurs bringing fresh produce into low-income communities, which are disproportionately affected by diet-related health issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The Youthmarkets bring healthy foods such as fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, all grown by New York area farms.
Funding for both Kingsbridge Heights and Marble Hill Youthmarkets was provided by Bon Secours New York Health System/Schervier. Bon Secours works closely with community partners Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC) and Riverdale Neighborhood House (RNH). KHCC and RNH employ the students that operate the markets with guidance and training from GrowNYC. All students have been recruited from the neighborhoods surrounding the Youthmarkets. Bronx Community Board 8 initiated the two Youthmarkets, organized the community partners and provided logistical support.
The Kingsbridge and Marble Hill Youthmarkets will also have a registered dietitian, courtesy of Bon Secours New York Health System/Schervier, and feature youth cooking demonstrations and nutritional programs throughout the summer.

Bronx Community Board No.8 (BXCB8) plays an important role in improving the quality of life for the communities it serves. BXCB8 is a vital liaison and advocate for the community in dealing with New York City government, elected officials, municipal service delivery, land use and zoning issues, community and business development, the City budget and many other matters relating to the community’s health, safety and welfare.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Senator Rivera Hosts Bronx CAN Health Initiative’s First Check-In with Challenge Participants Focusing on Nutrition
Bronxites will participate in a Healthy Cooking Demonstration and Speak to Nutritionists

Senator Gustavo Rivera (D, Bronx) is hosting the first Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In focused on nutrition and healthy eating habits on Saturday, July 16th at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. The event will include a healthy cooking demonstration from the Nutrition and Health Program Cornell University Cooperative as well as time for individuals participating in the Bronx CAN Health Challenge to sit down with nutritionists to discuss how to make healthier choices in their daily lives. Participants will also have an opportunity to visit with NYC Green Carts workers and will receive free healthy recipes cookbook.

WHO: State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Nutrition and Health Program Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYCand VAMOS Unidos (Vendedoras Ambulantes Movilizando y Organizando en Solidaridad)

WHAT: Nutrition-focused Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In – Healthy cooking Demonstration

WHERE: Kingsbridge Heights Community Center – 3101 Kingsbridge Terr.

WHEN: Saturday, July 16 from 2:00pm-3:00pm


By Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

 It  appears  that State Senators Stephen Saland, Mark Grisanti, James Alesi and  Roy  McDonald  sold  their votes to the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg for $10,300 each.

At  least this is the impression and feeling everyone is getting by reading the  city newspapers  that two weeks after their vote, Mayor Bloomberg, who previously  declared his intentions to support and help finance any senator who would vote in favor of gay marriage and complied with his edict, sent a check to each one of them for the maximum amount allowed by law.

If this is not a quid pro quo, please tell me what this is?

Last  year  when  the  Democrats  controlled  the  Senate, the message that editorial  boards  all  over were declaring was that the Albany legislature was  corrupt  and  dysfunctional  and  that it needed someone to help bring things back to straighten things out.

Then  along  came  Andrew Cuomo and Eric Schneiderman to the rescue!  (They were supposed to clean it up.)

But  wait  a  minute  …  I  forgot  to  say  that  back then the Senate was controlled  by  Black  and  Hispanic leaders  who  were  being  decried by editorial  boards  based on allegations that votes were bought and sold and that  the  Senate was dysfunctional and corrupt.  How is this any different than what Mayor Bloomberg is doing now? In the ten years that I have served in  the  New York State Senate, there have been a handful of Senators who I have come to admire and respect.  Stephen Saland used to be one of them.

Now, after hearing rumors and reading that consciences have been bought and sold, it is very sad to think that Mr. Saland has gone that route.

And  as  for  Eric  Scheiderman, I remember the way he viciously went after Hiram  Monserrate  and  I  see  the  way he now uses his office of Attorney General  to  investigate  inconsequential  things  and  go  after community organizations and not investigating apparent violations  like people buying and selling votes.

So  I  wonder  if  these  rumors  and accusations are reason enough for the Attorney  General to start an investigation and for the editorial boards to have the integrity to declare that the Senate in Albany is still corrupt.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Turner School of Construction Management 

Certificate Program at SoBRO


The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Turner Construction are pleased to announce an innovative partnership that will bring the Turner School of Construction Management Certificate Program to the Bronx. It is the first time in 4 years and we are pleased to announce its return to SoBRO. 
The Turner School of Construction Management Certificate Program will begin with a kick-off reception for attendees on August 25th at 555 Bergen Avenue, Bronx NY 10455 on the 3rd Floor. Classes will be held at the same location on subsequent Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00PM to 9:00PM.  The program will run for eight weeks, with a total of 16 classes. Please note that class schedules are subject to change due to inclement weather and other unanticipated events.
The registration deadline is August 16, 2011.  The flyer and registration form for our upcoming Turner School 8 week certificate class on Construction Management  is attached.  The registration form should be filled out and returned to as soon as possible.  Due to limited space, registration is on a “first come first served” basis.  The program is FREE to all individuals in the building industry with at least three years of experience.
This is an exciting opportunity to grow your skills or those of your key personnel and we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.  Also, please feel free to forward this information to anyone you think may benefit from attending this program.


Rogina Coar-Smith, Director
Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO)

An Open Letter to Archbishop Timothy Dolan

From Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr.

 July 13, 2011
Archbishop Timothy Dolan
Archdiocese of New York
1011 First Avenue
New York, New York 10022
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio
310 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, New York 11215

Dear Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio:
In the great spirit of interfaith unity, I invite you to join me and my fellow ministers on Sunday, July 24th at 3PM at a March for Marriage that has been organized by the National Organization for Marriage to be held outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s midtown office at 633 Third Avenue. 
Our peaceful and prayerful rally will protest the redefinition of marriage and demand that all New Yorkers have the right to vote on this very serious social issue.
You know that I have tremendous respect for you and I am most hopeful that you and your fellow bishops and clergy will join us on the 24th.

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz
900 Rogers Place
Bronx, New York 10459

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Caribbean-American Heritage Night
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. 
In conjunction with 
Virgin Islanders United Inc.   

Invites you to join them for an evening of live entertainment and 
refreshments at   

The Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse at 165th Street

Tuesday, July 19,  2011
5:30 PM
Admission is free, but seating is limited. 
Please RSVP 718-590-3522 


  That's BP Diaz far right welcoming beach goers to the first Bronx Salsafest concert at Orchard Beach on July 10th.

The first ever “Bronx SalsaFest” continues at Orchard Beach with a two more weekends packed with live music and dancing.
On Sunday, July 17, jazz legend and Grammy award-winning flutist Dave Valentin performs live at Orchard Beach. On Sunday, July 24, sizzling salsa returns to the beach with popular band Tipica 73.
Both concerts are part of the Summer Music at Orchard Beach concert series hosted by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Tourism Council. The events are sponsored by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Bronx Lebanon Hospital and Latino Sports. 
Sets start at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.  
For more information visit and

Monday, July 11, 2011


  State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Jacobi Medical Center/North Central Bronx Hospital, St. Barnabus, and the Locust Point Civic Association have collaborated to bring free asthma screening to children in the Bronx on Monday, July 18.
The screenings, which will be open to all children in the Bronx, will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Locust Point Civic Association, 3300 Tierney Place, Bronx, New York 10465.
Registration is mandatory for a screening.
The screenings will be performed by trained nurses and respiratory therapists from Jacobi Medical Center/North Central Bronx Hospital and St. Barnabus Hospital.
The respiratory specialists and nurses will conduct free asthma screenings and show parents how to care of their children at home, so they don’t end up in the hospital. The asthma screenings can test if a child is not breathing properly and should be referred for a complete examination.
For make an appointment, contact Senator Klein’s office at 718-822-2049