Friday, August 12, 2011


The office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a “Back to School” guide, containing helpful tips for parents regarding the upcoming school year.

The guide, which is available on the borough president’s website and will be issued to schools and community organizations across The Bronx, includes information on registering students for public school, determining a student’s zoned school and finding school transportation, as well as information on programs for special education students and English Language Learners (ELL). The guide is available in both English and Spanish.

“As a parent, I know how stressfull the first few days of school can be, both for the parent and for the student. For that very reasoon my office has put out a ‘Back to School’ guide to help parents navigate the public school system,”said Borough President Diaz.

Borough President Diaz will also be hosting the first ever Education Summit on October 15.  The goal of the summit it to create an agenda for increasing student educational achievement in the Bronx, from the most gifted to the those who need extra help.  This summit will also bring together the best minds on education from not only the Bronx, but also the city and the nation, to discuss the issues facing the education system in the Bronx and potential solutions to them.

For more information about the Education Summit please visit

To view our “Back to School” guide please visit the sites below:



After providing $1.5 million in funding, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez joined State Senator Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Bill Perkins, Assemblymember Guillermo Linares, the Department of Parks and Recreation and dozens of young baseball players to cut the ribbon on Highbridge Park's new baseball field.
Anyone who grew up playing baseball in Highbridge can remember the poor condition of the field, but after nine months of construction, the field will now have new seating, dugouts, drinking fountains and the field itself will now be completely level.
With a few weeks of summer left before school starts, make sure that you're able to see the beautiful new field for yourself!
Print allSenator Reverend Ruben Diaz Disappointed by Public School Sex Ed Agenda
Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Disappointed by Public School Sex Ed Agenda
New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) released the following statement in response to the New York City public school system’s sex education mandate:
“I am troubled and dismayed that during his third term as Mayor, Michael Bloomberg intends to completely usurp the role of parents and implement a new sex education curriculum in the public schools.
In matters involving intimacy and human sexuality, parents have the right and the responsibility to be the primary educators.  Many parents teach their children that these are private topics not to be discussed casually or in group settings.
Twenty years ago, a similar mandate was defeated.  At the time, I was honored to stand beside Dr. Irene Impellizzeri when she served as Vice President of what was then the New York City Board of Education.  During that time, there was opportunity for parental input.  The parents were heard and they were respected.  So were the children.
Now there is no formal arena for formal parental input.  There is no opportunity for public hearings.  There are no requirements that these regulations be open to public review and comment.
No accountability to the public, to the parents, and certainly not the children.
How sad for us all.”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Should Bert and Ernie Get Married?

   A petition started by Lair Scott, exhorts the makers of Sesame Street to let the two old friends get hitched. Gay marriage became legal in New York this June, increasing the number of states in the country to do so to six. 

  This link goes into detail as to why over 900 people have signed the petition. Sesame Street since its start in 1969 have had Bert and Ernie living together, and many viewers questioned if the pair were indeed gay. That leads one person to say why stop at Bert and Ernie when Yogi and Boo Boo have lived together even longer.

   What is your opinion, should Bert and Ernie come out of the closet and get married?

Provisions Part of City’s Cable Television Franchise Renewal Agreements with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems

Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Carole Post today announced a range of public benefits, estimated at approximately $60 million, associated with renewal of the City’s cable television franchise contracts with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems.  The agreements provide for the creation of 40 public computing centers and commercial grade Internet service to public libraries, a $10 million investment in approximately 30 parks and public spaces across the five boroughs for Wi-Fi service, a near doubling of the number of Public, Educational and Government (PEG) channels currently available, and approximately $10 million in funding for capital upgrades to NYC Media.  The cable companies have also agreed to provide increased funding grants to the borough-wide community access organizations that operate public access channels in each of the five boroughs.  In addition to paying the City a franchise fee of five percent of the revenues generated in the City from its cable television services – the maximum percentage permitted by Federal law – Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems have also agreed to enhanced customer service protections and to support improvements to the City’s internal telecommunications system.  The franchise contracts, which will run through July 18, 2020, were unanimously approved today by the City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee.

“We aggressively leveraged the City's franchising authority to negotiate new cable television contracts that are unique and innovative in the benefits they deliver to New Yorkers,” said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post.  “With expanded access to Wi-Fi in parks, new computer centers, broadband expansion to the City’s industrial areas, and new public access channels, these agreements provide New Yorkers the world-class tools, services, and access they need to more fully participate in the digital economy.  I thank the staff who worked so diligently on these efforts, which will benefit the City’s more than two million cable subscribers for years to come.”

As the City’s telecommunications agency, DoITT negotiates and administers franchises with private companies that use the City’s streets and sidewalks to provide public services.  These franchises include contracts for cable television service.  From Time Warner Cable and Cablevision combined, the City collected over $100 million in franchise rent in Fiscal 2011, representing payment for the companies’ use of the City’s streets.  While Federal law caps at 5% the maximum amount of revenue municipalities across the country can receive from cable companies, DoITT has negotiated approximately $60 million in additional commitments from Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems for the following:

Expansion of Broadband in Underserved Communities Time Warner Cable will create 40 public computer centers, in partnership with local not-for-profit organizations, to provide free broadband access to low-income communities across the City.  Cablevision Systems will provide free, commercial-grade Internet service to all public libraries in its service area.

Expansion Broadband in Underserved/Industrial AreasThe companies will commit to invest nearly $2 million per year to bring communications infrastructure to currently-underserved commercial/industrial/manufacturing locations in support of the City’s economic development initiatives.  In addition, time Warner Cable will provide communications infrastructure to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and substantially expand the reach of its system into non-residential neighborhoods to serve new business customers.

Wi-Fi in City ParksTogether, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems will spend approximately $10 million over the next two years to equip areas within 32 parks across the five boroughs with Wi-Fi service, and will maintain the systems through 2020.  This service will be free to all users for up to 30 minutes a month, with a nominal fee of 99 cents per day thereafter, and free at all times to Time Warner Cable and Cablevision broadband subscribers.

            Provision of Wi-Fi in City parks by the cable companies is in addition to the AT&T-sponsored Wi-Fi service currently being implemented at 26 locations in 20 New York City parks across the five boroughs.

Increased Public, Educational and Government Channel CapacityThe City’s Public, Educational and Government (PEG) channels will be enhanced as follows:

·                     Nine (9) current channels plus eight (8) new channels phased in over next several years
·                     At least one channel will be high-definition
·                     25 hours of video-on-demand for educational/government programming
·                     More than $9 million to fund NYC Media’s capital (plant and equipment) upgrade
·                     Assistance in publicizing NYC Media programs and activities

Strong Customer Service ProtectionsThe customer service protections included in the renewal agreements with Time Warner and Cablevision will build upon and closely mirror the protections incorporated in the Verizon FiOS franchise granted in 2008.  These protections include:

  • Online appointment confirmation
·      Ten-day time period for resolution of complaints
·      Telephone answering standards (answer within 30 seconds)
·      Billing dispute resolution procedures
·      Time periods by which outages and services interruptions must be corrected and repairs made
·     Four-hour appointment windows and customer credits for missed appointments and certain outages
·      Upgraded Call Centers and New Service Centers

NYC Media Lab FundingTime Warner has also agreed to provide more than $1.5 million in funding to support new media research in New York City.

CityNet Funding Today’s agreements also provide for more than $20 million in new funding for upgrades to Citynet, the City’s institutional fiber network, which provides the communications backbone for dozens of City agencies and more than 300,000 employees.

Opt-out” provisionAs part of today’s agreements, the City also reserves the option to terminate the franchises early if revenues shift significantly toward Internet instead of cable over the term of the contracts.  This innovative provision, believed to be the only one of its kind in the country, helps protect City franchise revenue by enabling the City to renegotiate if there is substantial shift in content delivery from cable to “new” and/or emerging technologies.  This termination option would be triggered by a 22.5% reduction in franchise revenue receipts as compared to the “peak year” of the new agreements.

“Today’s agreement between Cablevision and the City of New York will ensure that Bronxites have the highest quality service possible, new broadband access in many of our public parks, strong customer protections and a vibrant presence on public access television,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  “This agreement is a win-win for all involved, and I am particularly grateful that Cablevision was willing to come to the table and negotiate a deal that continues their commitment to serve the Bronx as a good corporate citizen.”

“We won a terrific victory for New York’s cable subscribers that will benefit the prosperity and civic life of the City at large,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “This agreement provides multiple public goods that will translate into increased access to broadband services and information, greater interconnectedness, and will modernize telecommunications in New York City.”

“Time Warner Cable is pleased to confirm that today we’ve reached a new franchise agreement with the City of New York,” said Howard Szarfarc, Regional Vice President for Operations.  “This license to operate enables us to continue connecting New Yorkers and local businesses with the latest information, entertainment and technology. We'll continue to roll-out new convenient and popular services as we've done recently with Start Over, Look Back, Whole House DVR, Wideband and Mobile Internet and our new iPad app for live television.”
“We are very pleased to have reached agreement to renew these important franchises with the City of New York,” said Lisa Rosenblum, Cablevision’s executive vice president for government and public affairs.  “Cablevision has been delivering enormous value to residential and business customers through its state-of-the-art telecommunications services in the Bronx and Brooklyn for more than two decades.  Under these franchise agreements, crafted consistent with the competitive environment, Cablevision looks forward to continuing to provide its customers in the Bronx and Brooklyn with award-winning Optimum television, phone and high-speed Internet products for years to come."

Today’s approval of the cable franchise renewal agreements will also help foster a more vibrant marketplace by solidifying long-term, direct competition among the City’s cable television providers for the first time.  This stage was set with the historic citywide cable television franchise the City granted Verizon in 2008. 

Time Warner Cable – was first granted cable television franchises for Northern and Southern Manhattan in 1970, which were renewed in 1990 and again in 1998; the Queens, Staten Island and Western Brooklyn franchises were granted in 1983 and renewed in 1998.

Cablevision Systems – was first granted cable television franchises for the Bronx and the non-Time Warner portion of Brooklyn in 1983, which were renewed in 1998.

The Franchise Concession and Review Committee (FCRC) is comprised of two representatives of the Mayor’s Office, one representative each of the Law Department and the Office of Management and Budget, one representative of the Comptroller, and one representative for each of the five Borough Presidents.

DoITT is the City’s Information Technology (IT) utility, ensuring the sustained, efficient delivery of IT services, infrastructure and telecommunications. DoITT establishes the City’s IT strategic direction, security policies and standards; procures citywide IT services, and evaluates emerging technologies; provides project management, application development and quality assurance services; maintains, and Geographic Information Systems; operates the City’s data center, the dedicated wireless network (NYCWiN), the wired network (CityNet), the Citywide Service Desk, and telecommunications systems; administers telecommunications franchise contracts providing fiber, cable television, pay telephones, and mobile telecom equipment installed on City property and streets; leads CITIServ, the citywide IT infrastructure consolidation program; supports the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and the Health and Human Services Connect and Accelerator programs; administers 311; and fosters public-private partnerships to improve IT service delivery.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


City Comptroller Liu issued the following statement in response to questions concerning today’s New York City Franchise and Concession Review Committee vote to award cable franchises to Time Warner and Cablevision:

Comptroller John Liu said the following:“Today’s vote provides New Yorkers with increased consumer protections but more can be done, especially when it comes to cable television blackouts. My office recently wrote a letter to the FCC expressing support for additional consumer protections during blackouts, and will
continue our dialogue with all New York City cable providers regarding our concerns. We will also work with the City’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications to ensure aggressive enforcement of enhanced consumer protections in our franchise agreements. I also want to acknowledge the years of hard work conducted by the City’s Borough Presidents, who should be commended for making expanded public access a reality.” 


Council Member Oliver Koppell is pleased to announce that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved his request for the installation of a traffic signal at Bailey Avenue and West 234th Street.  A DOT study confirmed Koppell’s contention that vehicles speeding in both directions on Bailey Avenue presented a danger to people trying to cross the avenue.  Installation of the traffic signal is tentatively scheduled to be completed by November 30, 2011.     
According to area residents, the large number of children crossing Bailey Avenue at 234th Street because of the proximity of the Bailey Playground and the Ft. Independence Community Center, located diagonally across the playground, made the installation of a traffic signal essential. 
“I am pleased that DOT responded to my concerns about the safety of people, especially children, crossing Bailey Avenue at  234th Street by agreeing to install a traffic signal at this location,”  Koppell said. 
Bronx Half Marathon

  On Sunday August 28th the Bronx Half Marathon will kick off at 6:30 AM on the Grand Concourse just north of E.161th Street. The half marathon will travel up the Grand Concourse to Bedford Park Blvd West, Goulden Ave (detour around the DEP street closure), to West 205th Street, Paul Ave., Mosholu Parkway, and Southern Blvd, around the Bronx Zoo.

  We were told by NY Roadrunners that the ending point is the Grand Concourse and E.161th Street, and that the entire route has not been ffinalized which would mean that Fordham Road or another cross street would be used to return to the Grand Concourse. 

  Streets listed will be closed from 6:30 AM - 10:30 AM to allow for the Bronx Half Marathon. You can call Mr. Philip Santora at NY Road Runners for more information at 212-423-2211.

SoBRO, DSNY & NYC Small Business Services Present


What You Will Learn:

  • Bid Opportunities with the Department of Sanitation
  • What does the Department of Sanitation Buy
  • How to Qualify to be a Vendor with the DSNY
  • How to Market Your Business Effectively to DSNY
  • Contract Compliance and more…

Doing Business with DSNY:

The New York City Department of Sanitation is seeking qualified Minority & Women‐Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) to be their contractors for goods, services and construction. If you are interested in working with them, please contact Mr. Santo Cimino at (917)237‐5349. For additional information, please visit DSNY’s website at

Date: Wednesday August 17, 2011
Time 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Location SoBRO
Adress: 555 Bergen Avenue, 3rd Floor, Bronx, NY 10455

RSVP Evangeline Gelladola (718) 732‐7538 or RSVP to
For more information about SoBRO’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), upcoming workshops and our M/WBE Program contact us at (718) 292‐3113 or visit

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Latest Gallop Poll: Congress Stinks

In a poll just released only 24% of Americans say that the congress should be re-elected. This is the lowest percentage of approval since Gallop began polling Americans 20 years ago. The poll also found that little more than 50% favor re-electing their own congressional representative. President Obama came in below a 50% approval rating when the question of his performance was asked.

You can read more here by Celeste Katz of the Daily News.

Morrison Avenue Annual Festival

Saturday August 13th starting at Noon is the annual Morrison Avenue Annual Festival. See the flyer below for more details.

Monday, August 8, 2011


“No one is better able to advocate for our aging population than seniors themselves,” said Aileen Gitelson, CEO of the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA). To that end, JASA is offering a 10-week program through its Institute for Senior Action (IFSA) for older New Yorkers to learn how to get more involved in the legislative process and be an effective advocate. The program integrates critical aging policy issues with practical grassroots action. Classes focus on a wide variety of subjects including: navigating the federal, state and local legislative processes, public speaking, understanding senior benefits and entitlements, techniques of social action, and much more.

 “The goal of JASA’s Institute for Senior Action is to help older New Yorkers become informed advocates, speaking with authority and clarity on issues that directly affect them,” said Gitelson. To date, more than 750 people have participated in the JASA program.

The course begins Wednesday, September 21. Sessions will be held 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at JASA Cooper Square, 200 East 5th Street, New York, New York.

To request an application, contact Bola Aribidesi, Project Director, JASA Institute for Senior Action, 212-273-5261;

JASA is one of the largest community-based, voluntary social service agencies serving the aged in the United States. Its mission is to sustain and enrich the lives of the aging in the New York metropolitan area so that they can remain in the community with dignity and autonomy. 

Dow Plummets 633 points, Oil falls $5.57 a Barrel

 The Dow Jones fell 633 points to finish the day at 10,811. 

 The price of Crude oil fell $5.57 a barrel to close at $81.31 a barrel for crude oil that is made into gasoline. 



Former Governor Hugh Carey Dies

 Former New York Governor Hugh Carey passed away the age of 92. Current and former elected officials and friends had only praise for Carey.