Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Statement from Borough President Diaz RE: City Council's approval of the Westchester Square BID


“I am extremely happy to hear that today the City Council has approved the establishment of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District.  As I mentioned in my recent “State of the Borough,” my administration has thrown its support behind this BID and its commitment to make this area a premier shopping district.  Westchester Square is one of the most important commercial strips in the Bronx, and each day it brings thousands of residents, students, and visitors to its confines to shop, eat, and converse with their neighbors.  

“I want to thank the members of the BID Steering Committee, property owners, and merchants for their commitment to the Bronx in establishing this BID and look forward to working with them to insure the future vibrancy and economic vitality of this commercial district,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Giant Flea Market

The Bedford Mosholu Community Association is sponsoring a Giant Flea Market on Saturday, March 10th at St. Mary's Orthodox Church of India (Corner of Bedford Park Blvd. & Decatur Avenue) from 10:00AM-3:00 PM.
Admission is free. For additional information call #718-367-2230.

Senator Ruben Diaz, Community Leader Luis Sepulveda and District Leader Julia Rodriguez to hold Rally at I.S 125


Senator Ruben Diaz along with Community Leader Luis Sepulveda and District Leader Julia Rodriguez will be holding a rally with the parents of both P.S. 119 and I.S. 125 protesting the overcrowding at the schools and the Board of Education's intent to add another school at I.S. 125 located at 1111 Pugsley Avenue in the Bronx.

According to Senator Diaz, "the schools are compelled to share space.  The teachers are forced to share resources.  The average class size exceeds 25 students. The teachers are stressed.  This is not a conducive environment to teach our children. The plans of the Board of Education to add more students to the building is absurd and baffling.  The parents are up in arms about this plan and I will not stand for this."

According to Mr. Sepulveda, "at I.S. 125, there is one bathroom for 600 students.   On a daily basis, throughout the day, because of lack of space, kindergarten and first grade children are moved like cattle between P.S. 119 and I.S. 125. This is unacceptable. Would the Mayor and Chancellor Walcott tolerate this teaching environment for their families?"

Julia Rodriguez, a long-time advocate for education in the community, also helped organize the parents.  For over a month, she has met with them and documented their complaints.

The rally will take place tomorrow, Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at 3:00 PM at 1111 Pugsley Avenue between Haviland and Watson Avenues in the Bronx.

For more information, please contact Brendaliz Candelaria at 718-991-3161 or Community Leader Luis Sepulveda at 347-582-1173.

A Street Co-Naming in Honor of Dr. Betty Shabazz


NEW YORK, NY 10032


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

STATEMENT FROM BOROUGH PRESIDENT DIAZ RE: Congressional Redistricting Plans & The Bronx


“For months, there has been countless speculation and innuendo concerning the future of our City’s Congressional districts. Almost all of this discussion has revolved around carving up the Bronx in order to benefit other counties.

“Over the past few years, the political leadership of the Bronx has been united as never before, and we remain united on the issue of redistricting. We will not stand for any Congressional redistricting plan that dilutes the voting power of the Bronx for the benefit of another county.

“The Bronx, through vibrant housing and economic development initiatives, has worked to bring more residents back to our borough.  Past censuses have shown that people were slowly returning to the Bronx and new immigrants were making the Bronx their home. The 2010 census shows that the work that was done has been successful.

“New congressional district lines should mirror the success that has occurred in the Bronx.  Emerging new and well-established communities should not be divided to dilute their growing electoral power.

“We will not stand for any plan that would slice the Bronx into many small pieces. For decades, the Bronx has had at least one Congressional district entirely within its borders, and this should not change.

“With that in mind, our current Voting Rights Act district, represented by Rep. Jose Serrano, must be respected and remain wholly within the Bronx. Both Rep. Serrano and Rep. Eliot Engel are lifelong Bronxites who have represented parts of our borough for their entire careers. If the Bronx were to lose their collected seniority in Washington—and the clout that comes with it—it would do our borough tremendous harm.

“Any attempt to diminish our political power to benefit another borough is an insult to our leadership, our communities, and our years of hard work.

“We speak with one voice on the issue of Congressional redistricting, and our message is crystal clear. The people of the Bronx have a right to be able to determine who their representatives will be. Any attempt to undermine that right through redistricting will be perceived as an effort to set back the considerable gains we have made over the past decade,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. and Community Activist Luis Sepulveda to Sue the MTA for Handicap Access to the Parkchester Subway Station

  When the #6 line Parkchester subway station was recently redone to the tune 34 million dollars only one escalator was installed for Manhattan bound riders. Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Community Activist and lawyer Luis Sepulveda, Ms. Margret Walsh (of the Parkchester South Houses), Ms. Beverly Roberts (of the local NAACP), and about 75 others called for the MTA to install elevators so all subway riders could use the Parkchester subway station (one of the heaviest used station on the #6 line). 

   Senator Diaz and Mr. Sepulveda said that when the station was redone the "Americans With Disabilities Act" required that elevators be placed for handicap riders. That was not the case, and only one escalator was placed for the Manhattan bound riders. It was said that you can not get a wheelchair or walker (that many of the elderly residents of Parkchester use to help get around) on the escalator, so this station is inaccessible to up to 200,000 people..

   Mr. Sepulveda said that the MTA is violating the law, and on Friday  he will bring a lawsuit on behalf of the people to have the MTA install the elevators that should have been put in when the station was redone. 

   We spoke to an MTA employee who wanted to remain anonymous, and were told that the station was not high enough for an elevator. We were also told that a study was done, but because of the three tracks and only two platforms in use it could not be determined just where to place elevators without any hazards to the riders. 

  One note is that the #6 line Parkchester subway station is fully accessible to the handicap from the street level to the entrance gates.

Above is District Leader Julia Rodriguez next to Senator Diaz, with Mr. Luis Sepulvada next to Ms. Margret Walsh of the Parkchster South Houses, and others around them.

     Below is the entrance to the Manhattan bound side.

Senator Rivera Hosted Black History Month Celebration,
Honored Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson

State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D, Bronx) hosted a Black History Month celebration in conjunction with St. Joseph Church on Saturday, February 25, 2012.  Working together with community partners such as St. Joseph Catholic Church and the South Bronx Job Corps Culinary Program, Senator Rivera hosted a celebration that included the honoring of State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, words from a guest speaker, comedian Baratunde Thurston, author of How to be Black, and performances by Nene Ali (spoken word), Aquila Knight, who sang the Black National Anthem and Warriors for Christ Praise & Worship Dance Ministry from Creston Avenue Baptist Church in the 33rd Senate District.

“This month we remember that hard work of those who came before us and helped us bring a stronger sense of justice to our society,” said Senator Rivera. “They taught us that our future should not be predicated by race and external factors, but rather by what we do regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation or creed. On Saturday, we honored the memories of African-Americans who have shaped our past and those individuals who are shaping our nation’s and our state’s present and future. Their accomplishments are an integral part of American history and should be celebrated and shared, not just this month, but every day of the year.”

Over a hundred Bronxites attended Saturday’s Black History Month Celebration, including State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, City Comptroller John Liu, City Council Member Leticia James and many other elected officials. The South Bronx Job Corps Culinary provided a traditional AND healthy African-American meal for all those who attended. 

The very next day Sunday February 26th 
Senator Rivera joined Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, and current 80th Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera for another wonderful celebration of Black History Month that was held at Tracy Towers.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Team Diaz Holds First African-American Abrazo 
in Honor of Black History Month

  Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. along with Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and Community Leader Luis Sepulveda (aka Team Diaz 2012) hosted the first "African-American Abrazo" in honor of "Black History Month" last week. Joining Team Diaz were Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx DA Robert Johnson, Councilman Fernando Cabrera, Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, and a packed house even with the pouring rain outside that night. The Honorees were Lt. Colonel Floyd J. carter ( of the Tuskegee Air Force fame), Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurilia Greene, Rev. Albert Busch, Ms. Edith Hicks, and Mr. Warren Williams.

  Below are some pictures of the event, the honorees, the NYC Youth Chorus that performed during the celebration, and of course the elected officials.  Click on a photo to enlarge it.

Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz and Community Leader Luis Sepulveda announce intention to begin lawsuit against the MTA for an elevator at the Parkchester Train Station.

According to Senator Diaz, “It is shameful that the MTA spent nearly $89 million renovating the 6 Line but did not spend a dime making it more accessible to our disabled and seniors.  Without an elevator, many of my constituents cannot access the 6 Line and are captives in their community.  My office receives so many calls from the community about this problem and I will take the fight to the MTA to get the elevator installed.”
Community Leader Luis Sepulveda, an attorney organizing the lawsuit indicated that, “according to the Americans with Disabilities Acts, the MTA was required to allocate 20% of the renovation funds making it more accessible to the disabled. How can they justify constructing a new one at the Dyckman Station in Manhattan and not one here in Parkchester? Why the difference in treatment?”
Senator Diaz, Mr. Sepulveda and other community residents will hold the conference at the Parkchester Train Station, tomorrow Tuesday February 28, 2012  at 11:00 am.
For further information contact: Brendaliz Candelaria at 718-991-3161

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What You Should Know By Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 32nd Senatorial District  

Bronx County, New York 

The Bronx is not a colony.
You should know that I am just calling it the way I see it: the way the district lines have been drawn for New York’s Congressional seats indicates to me that there are some people who still believe in colonies.
I respectfully suggest that it is time for Bronx County Chair Carl Heastie and Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr. to call for a meeting of all Bronx elected officials – especially the Black and Hispanic officials – to be held in a private room and really find out where people stand.  It is important to find out if anyone in the room is trying to divide the Bronx into parcels.
Even though a new Congressional Hispanic District is among our highest consideration, we should not be blind and just sacrifice the entire borough for one new Congressional seat.  That said, I must insist again that the Bronx already has enough people to have its own Congressional seats without the need for outsiders to intrude in our ability to govern ourselves.
You should know that there are efforts underway to try to extend Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s district from White Plains in Northern Westchester to include parts of the Bronx, and efforts to extend Congressman Charles Rangel’s district from Harlem to include a chunk of the Bronx, and who knows who else!  I'm afraid that Congressman Jose Serrano's seat might even be compromised by these plans.
According to the 2010 Census, the population in the Bronx is booming! And I must repeat this because you should know that the Bronx is booming because of the hard work and dedication of Bronx elected leaders and representatives who created an environment for people to come to live in the Bronx.
No matter what parcel they may be trying to give away to undermine the Black and Hispanic achievements in the Bronx – political and otherwise – we should realize that this tactic harkens back to the Reconstruction Era when gerrymandering was used to dilute the new found political strength of African Americans in the South. What a disgrace to try to impose these efforts - against our will - now as we celebrate Black Heritage Month!
If all of us in the Bronx come together and speak as one, we can stop what they’re trying to do to the Bronx. We all see what they are doing in Queens: while everyone is keeping quiet, the State Senate seat occupied by Senator José Peralta is being thrown to the wolves.
We in the Bronx cannot accept this.  We should not allow it. It is not right, and it should be stopped.
I am Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Senator Klein's Black History Month Breakfast

  On Saturday February 25th State Senator Jeff Klein held his 17th Annual Black History Month Breakfast. 

  The Keynote speaker was Bronx Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, who gave a rousing speech to the over 250 people that came. It was no coincidence that Assemblywoman Gibson the keynote speaker, also was elected to office after then Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene became Deputy Bronx Borough President. Deputy BP Greene was one of the four honorees of the event. Ms. Robin Miller (a teacher for almost 30 years), Dr. Tricia Joseph (a psychologist), and Ms. Nichole Stent (district manager of Community Board #8) were the other three honorees.

  A surprise guest was Manhattan Borough President (and mayoral candidate in 2013) Scott Stringer. Both Klein and Stringer served in the New York State Assembly before moving on to higher positions. 

From left to right are Ms. Robin Miller, Dr. Tricia Joseph, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, Ms. Nichole Stent, Senator Klein, and Assemblywoman Gibson.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


 Bronx Borough President Diaz Outlines Conceptual ‘Master Plan” for Borough Redevelopment



Today, to a full crowd at Harry S. Truman High School in Co-op City, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. delivered his third annual “State of the Borough” Address. 
During his speech, the borough president highlighted his administration’s accomplishments during this past year and announced several initiatives his office will pursue in the upcoming year.
“While these projects are scattered across the borough, they work together to move the Bronx in a positive direction. We are enacting our conceptual ‘master plan,’” said Borough President Diaz. “We are balancing the needs of individual neighborhoods with the needs of the entire borough, and our development agenda is moving forward because we are attentive to those concerns.”

One of those initiatives is the development of the Kingsbridge Armory into a center for economic growth, which has been one of the projects on the top of the borough president’s list since he first took office in 2009. In January, Borough President Diaz and Mayor Bloomberg jointly announced a new RFP for this historic structure, one that allows developers to pursue a wide range of potential uses for the site.
“The future development of the Kingsbridge Armory will serve as the foundation for the revitalization of the Northwest Bronx, in ways that a retail mall never could,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I am confident that, working together with this administration, we can and will bring a new tenant—and living wage jobs—to this highly valuable and unique Bronx asset.”
Borough President Diaz also spoke about one of his administration’s greatest accomplishments this past year, the deal struck on the “Fair Wages for New Yorkers” Act, which was introduced into the City Council at the behest of Borough President Diaz in 2010. The compromise creates the strongest “living wage” law in the United States.
“Soon, when major economic development projects solicit heavy taxpayer subsidies, they must pay their employees a ‘living wage,’” said Borough President Diaz.
The borough president then urged Mayor Bloomberg to join the majority of New Yorkers who support this bill, and sign it into law when it lands on his desk. Borough President Diaz also noted that the “living wage” legislation is just the start in the push to level the playing field on income inequality in the City.
“The same broad coalition that pushed for a living wage—of clergy, labor, community, elected officials and the general public—must remain united, and join the effort to raise our minimum wage,” said Borough President Diaz.
Borough President Diaz also emphasized his commitment for a greener, healthier Bronx, reiterating his administration’s policy not to fund any new projects unless they comply with “green” standards of industry. One of the main “green” projects Borough President Diaz focused on is the introduction of Smith Electric to the borough. This past year, the manufacturer chose the Bronx as its new home, relocating from Missouri.
Smith Electric has already found a purchaser in FreshDirect, one of the most recent major corporations to settle in the Bronx. Borough President Diaz noted that his office has signed a strong written agreement with FreshDirect, one that will secure jobs for Bronx residents, a greener environment, and other concessions.
“Not only will FreshDirect bring 3,000 total jobs to the Bronx, they will expand their business to neighborhoods across the borough. Over the next five years, FreshDirect plans to convert their entire delivery fleet to a cleaner, greener one,” said Borough President Diaz. “This is an unqualified victory for the Bronx.”
The borough president highlighted several other successful economic ventures the Bronx has experienced in the past year, including a plan that will complete the revitalization of the West Farms neighborhood as well as the genesis of a long-term deal that will maintain Hunts Point’s status as the premiere produce market in the world, right here in the Bronx. Borough President Diaz also mentioned his continued support of the borough’s small business community, noting that the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation offered assistance to more than 1,000 small businesses in the borough last year.
Improving education in the Bronx is also one of Borough President Diaz’s top priorities. The Borough President spoke about the Bronx’s first Education Summit, “From Cradle to Career,” which was held last fall. The borough president noted that the white paper from that summit will be issued next week, and will cover a wide variety of education topics that face the Bronx and the entire City.
In addition, Borough President Diaz made it clear that increasing the health of Bronx residents is also at the top of his agenda, and announced that a “Bronx Health Summit” will be taking place next year.
“Like our economic development and education summits before it, this event will bring together the best minds on health and wellness from across the nation to devise a comprehensive plan to put the Bronx on the right track,” Borough President Diaz said.
During his speech, Borough President Diaz discussed rising concerns regarding police/community relations across the City.
“We cannot and will not tolerate police misconduct. We must demand that our police department is better trained to work with our communities in a respectful fashion that honors the dignity of life. At the same time we must passionately support the hard work of the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to protect law-abiding citizens each and every day,” said Borough President Diaz.
The borough president closed his speech emphasizing the importance of harmony among all Bronx elected officials, businesses, community groups, non-profit organizations, and neighbors to make the borough a better place to live.

“We have a great Bronx team right here, our own version of the New York Yankees or the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Together, as a team, we will move the Bronx forward into a new age of success. And together, as a team, we will win.”


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Borough President Diaz Presents Young Israel of Pelham Parkway with New 'Eruv' Proclamation

On Tuesday, February 21, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. presented Rabbi Shmuel Zuckerman of Young Israel of Pelham Parkway with a proclamation declaring the synagogue’s “eruv” to be valid for the next 99 years.


In Jewish law, the “eruv” is a symbolic boundary that allows Jews who observe the traditional rules concerning Shabbat to carry certain items outside of their homes that would otherwise be forbidden during Shabbat. As per Jewish law, Rabbi Zuckerman presented Borough President Diaz with a token amount of money, in this case $1, in exchange for the approval of the eruv. The $1 will kept on display in the borough president’s office.


Statement by Senator Jeff Klein on the Four Loko-Related Death of a Maryland Teen


Statement by Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), Chairman of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, on the Four Loko-related death of a 13-year-old Maryland teen:

“This tragic death, which media reports state came after the teen consumed Four Loko, is a reminder of how dangerous this product is – especially in its original, caffeinated form.
“While its makers said they would not sell Four Loko's original formula in New York State, I remain concerned by reports that some stores have apparently ignored what is essentially a gentlemen's agreement.
“My legislation (S3889A) to outright ban these types of high alcohol, highly caffeinated 'alco-pops' has already passed out of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which I chair, and is ready for a vote by the full Senate body.
“It is my hope that this legislation becomes law and that similar tragedies can be avoided in New York once and for all.”


Tuesday, February 21, 2012




City Comptroller John C. Liu today launched 212-NO-WASTE, a hotline for City employees, contractors, and members of the public to report wasteful spending by City agencies. The hotline, unveiled as part of Liu’s Campaign to Cut Waste during his State of the City Address last week, is staffed by trained professionals in the Comptroller’s Community Action Center and will help build on the nearly $1 billion in waste identified by Liu’s office over the past two years.

“The work we’ve done to cut waste convinced us that we need to build on our success and do even more.  This hotline provides taxpayers another way to get involved by giving us their ideas about where to look for waste in City spending,” Comptroller Liu said.

The public often makes suggestions to Comptroller Liu and his staff at various meetings and events throughout the City with regards to wasteful spending.  With the launch of this hotline, the public now has one more way to report waste.

The “NO WASTE” hotline is part of a four point plan unveiled by Comptroller Liu during his State of the City Address last week.
In the coming months, Liu will also implement:

·         Checkbook 2.0 - the newest version of the best-in-class website that gives the public the ability not only to see every single dollar the City spends but also each agency’s budget, revenue, and contracts;
·         New York City IT Dashboard – which would require City agencies to track their IT projects according to budget, schedule, and performance. This would act as an early warning system which could prevent a boondoggle like City Time from happening again;
·         Subcontractor Tracking System - based on a federal model, this will force prime City contractors to be responsible and accountable for the performance of the subcontractors they use and will help the City enforce prompt payment policies and more accurately track actual spending with minority and women-owned businesses.

Liu launched the hotline to provide an outlet for New Yorkers to anonymously report on wasteful spending by City agencies. Call takers will gather information from the public and share that information with the staff at the Comptroller’s various bureaus for review. If the tips are warranted, further investigation may take place.

In addition to providing the public with an avenue to report on City expenses, the Comptroller’s office will scrutinize the call data to identify and analyze trends.  This information will also be used to formulate future audit plans and contract reviews.

Last year Comptroller Liu held a series of Audit Town Hall Meetings in all five boroughs to engage the public on where they would like to see audits. The 212-NO-WASTE hotline builds upon the audit town hall idea and will utilize public input to make government more efficient and accountable.


Monday, February 20, 2012


Council Member Oliver Koppell visited a number of schools in his district during Respect For All Week to discuss the harmful effects of bullying and to reinforce the importance of appreciating diversity and respecting one another.

The Department of Education designated February 13th – 17th 2012 as Respect For All Week, in an effort to encourage schools to provide activities for students that promote harmony and cooperation and discourage bullying and harassment.

At PS 24, Koppell talked with students about the “random acts of kindness” that they had posted on bulletin boards decorated with hearts throughout the school and how this thoughtfulness made them feel. He also visited a class doing a Conflict Resolution lesson and shared his thoughts about the value of discussion rather then aggression in settling disputes.

At PS 7, PS 56 and PS 16, Koppell spoke about the harmful effects of bullying and the need to recognize that everyone deserves to be treated with courtesy and consideration.

“We have all heard about the tragic effects of bullying and the steps schools might have taken to prevent such tragedies.  I am pleased to participate in the joint effort of the DOE and the Council to raise awareness of this issue and to help schools create an environment where all students feel safe and respected,” Koppell said.

       Councilman Koppell at one of the public schools in his district.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Comptroller John Liu At Work

We received the following from New York City Comptroller John Liu. We got to know Comptroller Liu (and his opponents) during the tough race for comptroller and then the run off race. We believe that he is in a situation that many elected officials come to face, and hope that he can regain the luster that he had before the current situation that he is in. We also hope to see current Comptroller John Liu either choose to remain doing the excellent job that he is doing as Comptroller of New York City, or run for Mayor of the city of New York if he chooses. 

I’ve been privileged to serve as New York City Comptroller for two years, just past the halfway point in my term of office.

This week, I laid out where we are with the City’s economy and budgetary outlook, what my office has been doing with short and long term fiscal challenges, and some ideas and initiatives to make New Yorkers and the City as a whole more economically and fiscally secure.

Through it all, I continue to stress that...
It’s not just about numbers, it’s about people.
It’s not just about costs, it’s about need.
It’s not just about recovery, it’s about equity.

As we all work to move New York City forward, you can expect me and my office to vigorously discharge our duties. Expect us to be objective and diligent. And expect us to defy conventional thinking and past practice when we feel it necessary.

Take a look at some recent news reports below.


John C. Liu

NY1: "City Comptroller Liu Delivers First State of the City Address" - 2/16/2012

On Thursday, February 16, City Comptroller John Liu delivered the first "State of the City" address for a comptroller at City College.
[41 minutes]

NY1 INSIDE CITY HALL: "City Comptroller Discusses Vision For The City And Fundraising Scandal" - 2/16/2012

Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis asked City Comptroller John Liu about his state of the city address and the ongoing investigation into his campaign fundraising.

WNYC RADIO: "Comptroller Liu on the State of the City" - 2/17/2012

New York City Comptroller - and expected 2013 mayoral candidate - John Liu discusses his state of the city address.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: "Liu Presses Ahead With Policy Plans" - 2/17/2011

EXCERPT - Mr. Liu, the first Asian-American to hold citywide elected office, said he's troubled by the city's widening economic divide, a theme he could place at the center of a campaign for mayor next year.

"Economic recovery is not our only objective; so is economic equality," said Mr. Liu, sparking applause during his address at City College of New York in Upper Manhattan. "There is no real prosperity when wealth is shared by only a tiny proportion of the city's residents."

Some of the key proposals in Mr. Liu's speech included:

*Creating a hotline to allow members of the public to report incidents of government waste;
*Requiring city agencies to track their technology projects according to budget, schedule and performance; *Accelerating construction projects during the next two years to take
advantage of low interest rates.

The comptroller also voiced strong support for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stinger's proposal to revise the city income tax code.

NEW YORK TIMES: "Amid Run of Tough Press, Liu Aims to Cut Waste" - 2/16/2012

EXCERPT - Mr. Liu also encouraged the city to accelerate its investments on construction projects as a way to create jobs, saying that his staff would be prepared to help raise money in the capital markets. And he endorsed the idea of a progressive personal income tax system in the city, while vowing to push for a reduction in the city’s sales tax if extra income taxes were generated by a better-than-anticipated economic recovery.

As for the content of Mr. Liu’s 40-minute speech, the comptroller said that his office would establish a telephone hot line for city residents to report government waste and a companion Web site. He also said that he would call for systems to track both information technology projects and government subcontracting.

Mr. Liu was applauded when he mentioned issues like income inequality and his criticism of the cost overruns associated with the city’s automated payroll system, CityTime.

“We need to ensure that people don’t get left behind,” he said.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: "City Controller John Liu gives a shout-out in his State of the City speech to Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin" -

EXCERPT - It was the first time in recent memory that a controller gave a state of the city address.

Liu also gave an overview of the citys economy, predicting slow and steady growth, barring "catastrophes in Europe or Washington."

He also summarized a "four-point campaign to cut waste”:
- Establish a waste hotline where people can report fiscal waste.
- Implement checkbook 2.0 so the public can track city finances.
- Establish a system so the city can better track it's info stood and technology spending.
- Create a new system to track government subcontracting.

THE CAPITAL: "After dancing dragons and choir songs, Liu defends public-employee pensions in his State of the City speech" - 2/16/2012

EXCERPT - The most far-reaching idea he unveiled in his speech was that the city should help manage private-sector pensions, which he proposed could be "pooled together to leverage the economy of scale and provide portable, efficient and low-cost pension benefits." Liu said the move to help the private-sector better manage its pensions would benefit the city.

"If we don't help people plan for their eventual retirement now, the increasing strain on the city's social services from seniors living in poverty will be overwhelming," he said.

"Poor market returns have been the main driver of escalating pension costs," Liu said. "It's just silly to blame our police officers, firefighters, teacher and other city employees for what happened during the recession," he said. "They didn't cause it and they're certainly not responsible for the economic problems we have today."

McFadden and Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now" blared from the speakers after the speech was over.

Lillian Roberts, executive director of DC37, which has 125,000 members in New York City, was in the front row for the speech and told me it was "excellent, innovative, outside of the box."

Bill Lynch, the operative and former deputy mayor who helped elect David Dinkins in 1989 and is currently working as a consultant to Liu, was also in the front row for the speech. "It's not going to reset the discussions [with reporters]," Lynch said. "I think it will reset the
conversation with rank-and-file voters."

AMSTERDAM NEWS: "Liu's State of the City addresses broadband access" - 2/16/2012

EXCERPT - New York City Comptroller John Liu's State of the City address Thursday will touch on an under-discussed but important topic: broadband access for low-income New Yorkers.

"The wealth divide is not the only profound gap in our society," said Liu in an excerpt from his address obtained by the AmNews. "It rests on top of another divide that needs to be addressed immediately in order for prosperity to be shared equitably; I'm talking about the digital divide that makes it difficult for kids without access to technology and the Internet to do their homework and to perform to the best of their ability in school.

"This digital divide also affects the unemployed or underemployed, who cannot look for work successfully without the ability to search and apply for jobs online," he said.

Latest News and Updates from Comptroller John Liu

Friday, February 17, 2012

3rd Annual Dominicanazo Del Bronx