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.