Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Senator Rivera Teaches Second Series of Community Civics Classes

State Senator Gustavo Rivera will be teaching his second series of community civic classes. This time the series will be in Community Board 8 at the Kingsbridge Library starting Wednesday, November 30th at 6:00PM. This course is FREE TO THE PUBLIC and we encourage Bronxites of all ages to attend. The course will focus on learning about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the rights and rewards of citizenship and how voting and elections work. Senator Rivera’s civics course will start on  November 30th and will continue for three weeks with classes every Wednesday at 6:00PM. On December 7th, the course will be taught by a guest speaker, Irving Ladimer, chair of the Ethics Committee of Community Board 8. The classes will end on December 14th with a graduation ceremony to celebrate the completion of the course.

We encourage that you attend all three classes, but it is not necessary in order to participate. As a college professor in Political Science, Senator Rivera is excited to be teaching courses on civics in the 33rd Senate District.

Taught by Senator Rivera & Irving Ladimer
Starting Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Kingsbridge Library
291 West 231st Street, Bronx, NY

Please register for the course by calling our office at 718-933-2034 and asking for Josiris Urena. You can also email her at


Will the Ben Franklin Democratic Club find its way back into the 81st Assembly District?

   If you look at the address of the Ben Franklin (Reform) Democratic Club, you will find that it is on the south side of West 231th Street thus placing it in the 78th Assembly District. You may ask how is that?

   At the last redistricting almost 10 years ago then Bronx Democratic County Leader Jose Rivera used West 231th Street as the district line, thus placing the home of the Ben Franklin Club in the 78th A.D. Rivera also had one Riverdale E.D. placed in the 78th A.D.
   Current Bronx County Committee Leader Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz plans to get the Ben Franklin Club back into the 81st A.D. and take back that lone Riverdale E.D. from the 78th A.D. at next year's redistricting.

Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club
81st Assembly District
304 West 231st Street, Bronx, N.Y. 10463 • (718) 796-6177

Monday, November 21, 2011


Speed limit in Claremont neighborhood of the Bronx reduced to 20 mph, traffic calming measures will help reduce unsafe speeds in residential area with many schools

New program builds on safety initiatives that have helped make the city streets safer than ever.

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca (Bronx) to announce the start of the city’s first-ever Neighborhood Slow Zone, in the Claremont neighborhood of the Bronx, reducing the local speed limit from 30 m.p.h. to 20 m.p.h. and adding traffic calming measures to make residential streets even safer and more welcoming for local residents. DOT is also launching a new application process allowing communities to request slow zones in residential areas in all five boroughs at Neighborhood Slow Zones were announced last year as part of the DOT’s landmark Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan to continue to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes on residential streets following the four safest years in New York City’s history. The Claremont Slow Zone is marked by the city’s first street-flanking, eye-catching blue “gateway” signs that clearly indicate the entrance of the slow zone, and 28 new signs mark the 20 mph speed limit in and around the zone. The zone itself is self-enforcing, with nine new speed bumps installed in addition to the five already installed on streets within the quarter-square-mile zone, and “20 MPH” is being stenciled in eight-foot-high letters at 45 other locations in the zone. The Commissioner was joined by Borough President Diaz, Council Member Vacca and local leaders at the intersection of 167th Street, Vyse Avenue and West Farms Road, one of the 14 gateway entrances to the slow zone.

            “Local neighborhood streets are not highways, they are not shortcuts, they are where New Yorkers live,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “While fatalities and serious injuries are at record low levels in New York City, too many of the remaining crashes are still preventable, and one in four traffic fatalities involved unsafe speed. A pedestrian struck by a car going 40 mph has a 70 percent chance of dying while a pedestrian stuck by a car going 20 mph has a 95 percent chance of surviving. Making neighborhoods safer can be as simple as reducing the speed on our residential streets.”

“We know for a fact that slower drivers mean safer streets, and the implementation of this ‘slow zone’ in Claremont will lead to a safer community for children, parents, our senior citizens and everyone who lives in this great Bronx neighborhood,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I thank the Department of Transportation and Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan for bringing this pilot program to the Bronx, and I look forward evaluating its success in the future.”

“When local communities ask for 20 mile an hour speed limit signs, we must make them available as a tool in our fight against those who place the lives of others in jeopardy,” said City Council Member Vacca. “Speeding kills! I am very supportive of attempts to reduce speeding because doing nothing about this problem is not an option. We need greater enforcement of speeding laws and special attention to chronic speeding locations as part of a zero tolerance strategy.”

The Claremont Neighborhood Slow Zone is bordered by Southern Boulevard; 167th Street/Westchester Ave.; West Farms Road/Boone Avenue; and East 174th St. Claremont was selected for its relatively high frequency of serious traffic crashes and for the area’s definable boundaries that could be easily marked for a zone.  Between 2005 and 2009 there was one fatality in the largely residential area, which also houses six schools. The zone itself is a self-enforcing, reduced speed area using speed humps, markings and signs. Slow Zones are also expected to reduce cut-through traffic and traffic noise in residential neighborhoods. Community Board 3 approved the zone in May.

DOT will continue to create Slow Zones in response to applications from communities, available at After each round of applications, DOT will select appropriate locations, work with communities to design and install the Slow Zones, and present to local Community Boards for approval. Potential locations for the slow-speed zones are evaluated by severity crashes per mile and criteria such as the number of schools, senior and day care centers, as well as consideration of truck and bus routes and roadway types.

In the last four years, DOT has enhanced street safety engineering in all five boroughs, including through the Safe Streets for Seniors and Safe Routes to Schools programs. Safety improvements continue be installed throughout the city, including the addition of pedestrian countdown signals at more than half of the 1,500 locations in all five boroughs announced last year and installing more than 1,500 speed bumps citywide.

For more information, including the criteria for establishing a neighborhood slow zone, visit


 Audit Determines Department of Housing Preservation and Development Held Back Money That Should Have Gone to Help Fund City Budget

City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced that an audit of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) found that the agency kept $9.8 million in unused funds from expired contracts and other sources – money that should have been returned to the City treasury.

“This money could have and should have been used to improve shelters, especially in light of rising homelessness,” Comptroller Liu said.  “If HPD can’t use it right then the money should be put back in the City treasury.”

Auditors found that the agency inappropriately used a portion of the funds to supplement its operating budget and get around the budget process.  The money uncovered by the audit was part of the HPD’s Relocation Shelter account, which is earmarked for capital expenditures at emergency shelters.  As of October 2010, the agency had accumulated over $9.8 million in excess funds in the account.  The bulk of that money came from contracts that had expired, with HPD holding on to money that could have been used for capital improvements.

The audit recommends that the agency return the $9.8 million to the City treasury. Agencies are not generally permitted to keep unused funds from expired contracts. The audit disagreed with HPD’s assertion that it had received prior permission to retain the unused funds.

The scope of the audit was July 1, 2009, through October 31, 2010.

Comptroller Liu credited Deputy Comptroller for Audit Tina Kim and the Audit Bureau for presenting the findings. The full report is available at: