Saturday, November 19, 2011


Western Beef begins its annual distribution of 2,500 free turkeys to needy Bronx residents. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will participate in the turkey distribution and will ride in the Western Beef truck that will make several stops at community centers, but will also distribute free turkeys to surprised passers-by during its rounds. 

Monday, November 21, 2011 starting at 12:30 pm.

UPDATE-- Monday Nov. 21-

As promised here is a photo of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. handing out free turkeys.

Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera will visiting senior centers all next week to distribute over 125 turkeys to seniors and their families! 

Throughout next week Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera will host her 5th annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. Beginning Monday November 21st Assemblywoman Rivera will be stopping by senior centers in the 80th assembly district, hitting more than seven locations by Wednesday the 23rd.  For a full list of senior centers and a schedule please contact the district office.

The annual turkey drive is one of the most popular events held by the assemblywoman, and attendance has been up each consecutive year. According to Assemblywoman Rivera, “Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and to reflect on how much we all can be thankful for. We’re facing one of the toughest economies in recent history, so this year I’m especially pleased to be able to give so many families a leg up on the festivities!”

Unfortunately there are always more attendees than there are turkeys. This year recipients are chosen by raffle, but it is estimated that roughly a quarter to a third of attendees will walk away with a turkey. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Celebrates Puerto Rican Heritage Month


   Last night in the Parkchester section, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  joined Comité Noviembre and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to celebrate  Puerto Rican Heritage Month. 

 Borough President Diaz honored community leaders for their accomplishments presenting citations to the 2011 honorees including Bill Aguado, former president of the Bronx Council on the Arts; Elizabeth Figueroa, director of community relations at the New York Botanical Garden; and Ricardo Fernandez, President of Lehman College. Dahlma Llanos Figueroa, award winning author of “Daughters of Stone,” served as the event’s keynote speaker. The event took place at Kismet Caterers on Westchester Avenue.


Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Proposes Legislation
to Protect Homeowners from Foreclosure

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) has drafted legislation to amend the State’s real property actions and proceedings law to impose stricter requirements on lenders, assignees and mortgage servers by requiring them to submit an affidavit to the court prior to commencing foreclosure proceedings, attesting under oath they own the property being foreclosed.  Should they not be able to subsequently prove this during the foreclosure proceedings, they will be guilty of a class E felony.  Recently enacted in Nevada, the foreclosure rates declined over 90%.

Senator Diaz, a Member of the New York State Senate Housing Committee and Banking Committee stated:

“Even though the foreclosure crisis may no longer be on the front pages of our papers, the issue of foreclosure is a very real part of the lives of too many of my constituents and too many New Yorkers. With recent cuts in legal services to help families navigate through the legal process, we need this piece of legislation to help New York families who face foreclosure.

I am hopeful that all of my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support this legislation.  I also expect that Governor Andrew Cuomo – with all of his HUD experience – will wholeheartedly support this legislation not only because of the impact it will have on our housing market, but more importantly, because it will protect New York homeowners from improper foreclosures.”

Senator Diaz’s legislation has been submitted for introduction and is expected to receive a Senate Bill number in the beginning of December.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Borough President Diaz Announces Electric Smith Electric Vehicles To Open Facility In The Bronx

   On Tuesday, November 15th, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined state and city officials, as well as representatives of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, to announce that electric truck manufacturer Smith Electric Vehicles will soon open a new state of the art electric truck manufacturing facility at the former Port Morris lamp warehouse at 275 Locust Avenue. Smith Electric Vehicles hopes to create more than 100 local “green” jobs. 
 BP Diaz is joined by  Bryan Hansel, CEO and Chairman of Smith Electric Vehicles, and others who already have or have orders for Bronx made electric trucks. 
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Smith Electric Vehicles (Smith), a leader in zero-emission, all-electric commercial vehicles, will establish a clean technology manufacturing facility in New York, which is expected to create more than 100 new direct jobs.

Smith will lease a 90,000 square foot building near Hunts Point in the South Bronx and make investments in renovations, equipment, training and other project costs. A package of state and city incentives valued at over $6 million, including $3.4 million in Excelsior tax credit benefits from Empire State Development, and $1.7 million in tax exemptions approved by the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA), is being provided to augment the company’s private investment.

"Creating over 100 new jobs in the South Bronx is a victory for the local community and a clear sign that New York is rapidly attracting innovative opportunities to grow our economy," Governor Cuomo said.

Bryan Hansel, CEO and chairman of Smith Electric Vehicles, said, "Smith is excited to expand our US operation into New York. Governor Cuomo’s leadership, combined with the close collaboration amongst the state, city, and local authorities has underscored our confidence in the New York business environment and allowed us to expand our commitment to building a sustainable and profitable commercial EV industry."

Smith will renovate and equip the former Murray Feiss building in the South Bronx for its manufacturing assembly, service and sales facility. Beginning in 2012, the company will manufacture the Newton™, a zero-emission all-electric commercial vehicle that delivers a market-leading range, a payload of more than 16,000 pounds and an average annual operating cost that is one-third to one-half that of conventional diesel vehicles. Smith vehicles operate in major urban centers, including Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, and New York City. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division, Duane Reade, Coca Cola, and Down East Seafood have purchased and currently operate Smith Newtons in New York City.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are creating a better business environment that will result in more jobs for New Yorkers. This project represents another key building block in the foundation of a stronger economy that works for New Yorkers."

NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky said, "The new Smith Electric Vehicles facility in the Bronx represents an important milestone in the City’s ongoing efforts to grow the industrial sector and will have a tremendous impact on the City’s economy. Projects like this will pave the way for millions of dollars in private investment in the Bronx, leading to the creation of new, well-paying industrial and green jobs."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, "This project is a win-win for the Bronx and the entire State, and continues to show not only our commitment to bringing new jobs to the Bronx but to growing the green economy here in our borough. Smith Electric will not only bring more than 100 new jobs to the Bronx, they will manufacture a ‘green’ product that will reduce emissions in our City and contribute to a greater quality of life not only for borough residents, but for people all over the region. I would like to thank Empire State Development, the New York City Industrial Development Agency, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York Power Authority, the Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation for working together to make this deal a reality, and I welcome Smith Electric to the Bronx and look forward to helping them grow here." The total incentive package offered to the company is valued at more than $6 million including:
· $3.4 million in Excelsior tax credits from Empire State Development (ESD);
· More than $1.5 million in New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) energy efficiency and product development assistance;
· Potential electric rate subsidies from the New York Power Authority’s Recharge New York program and Department of Labor workforce training assistance; and
· Approximately $1.7 million in tax exemptions approved and provided by the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA), and administered through the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

In recognition of the environmental, economic and clean energy benefits of vehicles such as those produced by Smith and other manufacturers, Governor Cuomo also announced a federally- funded, pending multi-year electric vehicle (EV) buyer incentive program. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has committed $10 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding for the initial year of a new plug in all-electric vehicle buyer subsidy program to attract clean vehicle manufacturers and encourage the purchase of any eligible zero-emission vehicle in New York State. This federal transportation funding provides for projects and programs in air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas for ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, which reduce transportation related emissions and improve air quality. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will administer the program.

Once program development is completed next spring, these federal funds, which will be offered in the form of vouchers of up to $20,000 per vehicle, will be made available to the purchasers of any qualified and eligible all-electric vehicle over 10,000 pounds regardless of manufacturer. New York State intends to make this program available for five years in order to encourage mass adoption and allow for strategic fleet conversion throughout New York State.

"We’re pleased that $10 million of our Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funding will not only improve the air quality of our state but also incentivize companies like Smith Electric to create jobs in New York," State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said. "This is a perfect example of the link between transportation and economic development."

"This new electric vehicle (EV) buyer program will play an important role in increasing the number of EVs on New York’s roads. EVs are not only a cleaner alternative to combustion engines but reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases," said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. "We are pleased to join Governor Cuomo in welcoming Smith Electric Vehicles to the Bronx and applaud their creation of more than 100 jobs for New Yorkers."

By replacing the average diesel truck of this size with a zero emission alternative, more than 26 tons of greenhouse gasses are offset each year per vehicle, along with 2,228 gallons of fuel saved annually. With this New York State plan providing vouchers for at least 450 vehicles in the first year, an estimated 11,700 tons of greenhouse gases will be reduced and about 1 million gallons of diesel fuel will be saved.

Smith Electric Vehicles Corp. designs, produces and sells zero-emission commercial electric vehicles that are designed to be an alternative to traditional diesel trucks with higher efficiency and lower total cost of ownership. Its vehicle designs leverage more than 80 years of market knowledge from selling and servicing electric vehicles in the United Kingdom. Smith Electric Vehicles produces the Newton™ and the Edison™. The company currently operates manufacturing facilities in Kansas City, Mo., and outside of Newcastle, U.K.  


   At 1:00 AM about 1,00 NYC police officers in full riot gear cleared the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan where they were camped out for many weeks. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, and some were injured in the police sweep. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that he ordered the police to clean out of the park, because he said that there were unsanitary and dangerous conditions that existed in the park. 

   During the sweep or raid it is reported that Upper Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested and seen bleeding as he was taken away by police. the full story on Councilman Rodriguez can be found here.

   The New York Post which is on the side of Mayor Bloomberg (whose owner Ruppert Murdoch hired the mayors former schools chancellor), and you can check that out here. By the way the Post had a reporter go to the scene of the OWS protest a few days ago to do an article for the Post. The reporter was then interviewed on local television station FOX5 here (which just happens to be also owned also by Ruppert Murdoch). Do you see any connection?

   City Comptroller John C. Liu today stated the following in response to questions about the removal of protestors from Zuccotti Park:
   "Going in and forcibly removing the protestors in the dead of night
  sends the wrong message.  City Hall should have continued to talk with the protestors in the light of day if it wanted them removed, instead of evicting them in the middle of the night.  There seems to be no compelling reason for this action at this time. The protestors have a right to be heard".

   Congressman Jerrold Nadler and State Senator Dan Squardron who represent the area Zuccotti Park is in, have said that the ouster raises a number of serious questions about civil liberty and 1st amendment rights.

  We will await any other comments from city officials, but won't hold our breath for one from City Council Speaker Quinn who we feel will just back up the actions of the mayor.

Additional Comments-

  Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal  of Manhattan said,

 “I am appalled that on orders by the Mayor, the NYPD swooped down under cover of night to oust Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from Zuccotti Park and arrest nearly 150 people. The demonstrators were roused from their sleep, had their personal belongings, including tents, computers and other equipment trashed, and were kicked out of the park. The media were deliberately kept at arm’s length and prohibited from being on scene or filming the eviction from helicopters above, a chilling violation of freedom of the press. These moves are reminiscent of the actions of petty dictatorships, and contrary to America’s proud tradition of unfettered First Amendment rights, free of interference and censorship. This Administration has shown that it cares more about exercising power than protecting citizens and the freedoms we cherish.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Bronx Pride Moving in to the Rev Ruben Diaz Gardens

This is one that will have you talking.
Here is the New York Post article  about The Bronx’s largest gay-rights group unfurling its rainbow flag tomorrow at its new headquarters -- ironically located in a building funded by, and named after, the city’s No. 1 gay-marriage opponent, state Sen. Ruben Diaz. We suggest that you check out the story and comments from the Post article.

Here is what Senator Ruben Diaz has to say about the Post article.
New York State Senator Reverend Rube Diaz (D-Bronx) has released the following statement to clear the record about what he actually said to New York Post reporter Candice Giove when she interviewed him last week about the Bronx Pride group that is moving into the Rev Ruben Diaz Gardens on November 14th:

“I was surprised to read today’s New York Post’s sensational story by Candice Giove because she completely disregarded what I specifically said to her about Bronx Pride moving in to the Rev Ruben Diaz Gardens building.  Candice Giove instead used here say in her article – by unnamed sources - that I was left ‘hot and bothered’ and that I am ‘furious’.
To contradict Ms. Giove’s reporting and to repeat what I told her during her interview of me last week, I would like everyone to know that I am honored that Bronx Pride is coming to the Rev Ruben Diaz Gardens.  They honor me by recognizing my good work on behalf of the community.  When everyone abandoned the Bronx, I worked hard to bring jobs, housing and programs that benefit our community.  I am glad that Bronx Pride is taking advantage of these opportunities and I will continue to invite everyone to come to the Bronx because the Bronx is open for business.”

Senator Reverend Diaz Plans Surprise Visits to Senior Centers with Thanksgiving Gifts

Senator Reverend Diaz Plans Surprise Visits to Senior Centers with
Thanksgiving Gifts
New York State Senator Reverend Diaz (D-Bronx) will be making surprise visits to twenty-three senior citizen centers between November 14 – November 23 to distribute 1,500 Thanksgiving gift cards worth $10 each to senior citizen at the centers when he arrives. These gift cards have been sponsored by Senator Diaz and Access Medicare.
"During the next two weeks, I will visit 23 senior citizen centers unannounced and all seniors who are present will receive a gift card to help them purchase their Thanksgiving meals," stated Senator Reverend Diaz.  "At Thanksgiving we count all of our blessings, and our senior citizens who are our parents, our aunts, our uncles, our neighbors and our friends are at the top of the list to thank God for being part of our lives."
Senator Reverend Diaz will visit the following 23 Bronx senior citizen centers:
1.  Sue Ginsberg Senior Center – 975 Waring Avenue
2.  RAIN Boston Road Senior Center – 2424 Boston Road
3.  Castle Hill Senior Center – 625 Castle Hill Aven
4.  Mechler Hall Senior Center – 2158 Watson Avenue
5.  Soundview Presbyterian Senior Center – 760 Soundview Avenue
6.  Bronx River Senior Center – 1619 East 174th Street
7.  James Monroe Senior Center – 1776 Story Avenue
8.  Soundview Senior Center – 1624 Seward Avenue
9.  Glebe Senior Center – 2125 Glebe Avenue
10. RAIN Parkchester Senior Center – 1380 Metropolitan Avenue
11. Young Israel of Parkchester – 1379 White Plains Road
12. St Paul Senior Center – 1891 McGraw Avenue
13. Morrisania Air Rights Senior Center – 3135 Park Avenue
14. Douglas Leon Senior Center – 735 East 152nd Street
15. Maria Isabel Senior Center – 787 East 149th Street
16. E.R. Moore Senior Center – 515 Jackson Avenue
17. Casa Boricua Senior Center – 910 East 172nd Street
18. Erma Cava Senior Center – 887 Southern Boulevard
19. Pio Mendez Senior Center – 1291 Lafayette Avenue
20. Melrose Senior Center – 372 East 152nd Street
21. Andrew Jackson Senior Center – 325 East 156th Street
22. HOGAR Senior Center – 920 Prospect Avenue
23. Davidson Senior Center – 950 Union Avenue #1