Friday, April 20, 2012

Statements on Living NYC Wage Bill


  “I am pleased that our long fight for economic justice in this City has cleared another hurdle, and I offer my sincere gratitude to Speaker Christine Quinn for introducing the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act at the City Council today. As I have said in the past, when developers voluntarily use taxpayer subsidies to make their projects work, they must do better by their employees.
  “I once again thank my partners in the Living Wage Coalition, the bill’s chief sponsors in Annabel Palma and G. Oliver Koppell, all of our City Council sponsors and the majority of New Yorkers who support a ‘living wage’ for their support in our fight to make development work for all New Yorkers. I look forward to the legislation becoming law,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
 Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU,UFCW),

  We built a citywide movement for living wage jobs, and this landmark legislation is the result of that movement. This is a major victory for working people, advocates, civil rights leaders, faith leaders and countless others who fought tirelessly for this bill. But it is only one step along a long road.  Working people in New York City and in this country are struggling to survive. We will continue our fight to ensure that all working people are treated with dignity, justice and respect.  We thank Speaker Quinn and the City Council for this important milestone in the fight for economic justice and economic fairness.

 Living Wage NYC Coalition statement:

“After a long hard struggle, the Living Wage NYC Coalition is pleased to support the Living Wage Bill as introduced today by Speaker Quinn & the NYC Council.

For the first time in New York City, businesses that directly benefit from millions in city subsidies will have to pay their workers $10 an hour and a policy will be put in place requiring the Economic Development Corporation to strive for a 75% Living Wage goal for all jobs on projects receiving subsidies. In addition, new wage reporting will disclose the percentage of living wage jobs on all subsidized projects.

The people of New York City know income inequality and responsible development must be addressed and this bill is a major first step.  It’s no longer business as usual in NYC.  We’re confident that our billionaire Mayor’s expected veto to deny low wage workers $10 an hour will be overridden by the City Council. We look forward to continuing this work until everyone in New York City earns a living wage.”

Statement from Paul Sonn, Legal Co-Director of the National Employment Law Project:

"The new living wage bill is a major step forward for economic development in New York.  With it, New York will join Los Angeles as a national leader in ensuring that taxpayer-funded projects deliver quality jobs for local residents.”

Statement from James Parrott, Chief Economist and Deputy Director at the Fiscal Policy Institute:

“Poverty is on the rise in many communities in our city, and the living wage bill is a significant response to the growing plight of the working poor. It will help raise wages in some of the lowest-wage sectors of our economy that benefit from taxpayer subsidies, and lay an important foundation for future efforts to reduce income inequality.” 



 $142 million and counting… New Staten Island ferry boats unreliable and budget-busting



  City Comptroller John C. Liu today joined with State Senator Diane Savino, State Assemblyman Matthew Titone, City Council Member Debi Rose and the Staten Island Ferry Riders Committee to call for better management and oversight by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) over the repair and maintenance of the new Staten Island Ferry boats.  The “Molinari Class” vessels were put into service in 2005 and 2006 but have been chronically out of service and generated significant cost overruns.
   The $139 million “Molinari Class” ferry boats have had a long history of problems. In fact, one of the three ferries is currently dry docked in Norfolk, Virginia and has been out of service since December. After months of unsuccessful repair work to the boat, the DOT recently demanded $9.5 million in “emergency contract” funding to attempt to fix persistent problems with the fleet.

   Liu's office rejected the request, noting that the DOT could not
  provide assurance that the work and $9.5 million would finally fix the longstanding problems. Last week, Liu's office signed off on a $3.2 million emergency contract so that work can proceed quickly on the ferry that is currently dry docked. If in fact the work on that ferry boat is completed successfully, the DOT will follow normal procurement procedures for funding the repairs to the other two ferry boats.  If the repairs fail once again, Liu will explore options to recoup funds associated with the boats’ failures.

   “The ferry is an icon of New York as well as a daily necessity for the
  Island’s residents. It's appalling that the highly-touted new ferry boats are still saddled with defects and more troubling that the DOT has no clear solution for resolving these longstanding problems,” Comptroller Liu said. “We will greenlight contracts and funding but in a way that maximizes service for Staten Islanders without giving blank checks to the DOT. The DOT can and must do better with the ferry.”

  State Senator Diane Savino noted, “As a Staten Islander, a ferry rider
  and as a member of the Taskforce on State Governmental Efficiency, I want to thank Comptroller Liu for bringing this issue to the forefront. Taxpayers put their trust in government and we should honor that trust by shining a light on obvious waste; these boats were supposed to be the best in cutting edge technology, we paid for the best so we shouldn't accept anything less.”

  “Clearly the city was sold a bill of goods that does not live up to
  anyone’s expectations. Since the taxpayers are now stuck with footing the bill for these repairs, the City needs to take every step
necessary to ensure full reimbursement from the manufacturer for this failed investment,” said State Assemblyman Matthew Titone. “It’s the only fair solution, not only for the residents of Staten Island but the City as a whole.”


  In 2001, the City awarded a contract worth $119 million to Manitowoc
  Marine group, Inc. for the construction of three new ferry boats to replace the existing fleet of “Kennedy Class” ferries, which date back
to 1965. The contract ultimately cost $139 million and the three newly purchased ferries (Sen. John J. Marchi, Spirit of America, and Guy V. Molinari) were placed into service between 2005 and 2006.  Since being placed into service, all three boats have experienced problems with their propulsion systems (drives), causing DOT to classify the problem as “systemic.” Currently only two of the boats are in service, with the Sen. John J. Marchi resting in dry dock in Norfolk, Virginia after being taken out of service in December, when Ansaldo Sistemi Industriali, the drives’ original manufacturer, failed in its attempts to fix the problems.

The DOT then demanded that Liu’s office approve an “emergency
  contract” with Siemens Industry for $9.5 million for work on three ferry boats.

In its request, DOT stated:

  “For over a month and a half, the ASI technical representatives
  surveyed and inspected equipment, collected and analyzed data and participated in numerous dock and sea trials. Thus far, they have been
unable to identify the root cause of the problem or provide recommended solutions. The drives have failed before, as have replacement parts, and it is clear that ASI is unable to support its own equipment to a level required for reliable operation of this vital equipment.”

  “Only Siemens Industry has the knowledge to quickly provide drives and
  related equipment that can be easily integrated with its software and plant management.”

  When DOT failed to provide specifics for the contract funding, Liu’s
office rejected the request, questioning why it was deemed an emergency when the agency had clearly known about these problems for quite some time.  Subsequently, a series of meetings took place between the DOT and Comptroller’s office, where DOT failed to explain the reasoning for requesting $9.5 million all at once, nor could the agency provide guarantees that a solution would be reached.

  Liu’s office approved last week the funding request for $3.2 million
  to address the problems on one of the boats – the ferry that sits in dry dock in Norfolk, Virginia.

  If in fact Siemens can fix the boat, then DOT will have to go through
standard procurement procedures in order to obtain additional funds.

  Since the “Molinari Class” of vessels was placed into service in 2005
  and 2006, they have regularly experienced problems.  Before he was elected to the Office of City Comptroller, Liu chaired the City
Council Transportation committee where he convened several public hearings about the Staten Island Ferry.

  In one 2009 hearing, he questioned DOT on the boats’ performance.
  During that hearing it was discovered that the DOT knew of persistent problems since the boats were placed into service, had no plan to rectify those problems, and were not exploring options for holding the manufacturer liable.

  Ferries undergo strict safety evaluations by a host of regulatory
agencies before they are placed into service, ensuring their safety.





RE: Cambridge Avenue Shooting


Bronx Borough President Diaz said,
“I am deeply saddened by this morning’s shooting on Cambridge Avenue in Riverdale, where a 26 year-old hard working man, Hwang Yang, was shot to death over his iPhone.

“My heart goes out to Hwang Yang’s family as we keep them in our prayers. It is extremely disappointing to see such senseless, cowardly acts being committed in our borough.  It saddens me to hear of the callous disregard for human life among these criminals who think it is ok to take someone else’s life.

“I know I speak for all Bronxites in condemning this despicable act. My office will continue to work with the police, our district attorney, elected officials, and other community organizations to take as many illegal guns off of our streets as we possibly can.

“I urge all Bronxites with knowledge of illegal guns in their community to call 866-GUN-STOP to anonymously report those guns to the police, a program that my office continues to promote through our ‘Peace in our Streets’ campaign,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

More information on the 866-GUN-STOP program can be found at the following link:

Councilman G. Oliver Koppell  (in whose district the crime occurred)

  Expressed his deep regret and concern over the robbery and murder of a Hwang Yang on Cambridge Avenue in Riverdale early this morning. He urged the police to do everything possible to apprehend the criminal who perpetrated the senseless and tragic attack.

Koppell also urged the police to establish special patrols in the Spuyten Duyvil and South Riverdale neighborhoods to deter any further crime. “We have learned that suspicious activity has been observed in the Ewen Park area in recent weeks. Therefore, it is more than appropriate the police pay special attention to the area in the weeks and months to come” Koppell stated.
Koppell expressed his deepest sympathy to the family of Hwang Yang. “Your son was obviously an exceptional young man” Koppell noted.  We have lost a fine neighbor and our community and the City have been deprived of the contributions he would certainly have made if this terrible event had not taken him from us.”



Thursday, April 19, 2012



An audit released today by City Comptroller John C. Liu found that the Parks Department failed to ensure the correction of serious problems at a Brooklyn athletic club that were identified in an audit released three years ago.  The Parks Department gave a private company, Fitmar Management, the concession to manage the Paerdegat Athletic Club in Brooklyn and collect revenue there, but did not enforce the agreement to ensure the company corrected longstanding financial and sanitary problems.

“The Parks Department can and should do more to monitor the operations
  of its concessionaires, especially when the facility serves our youth,” Comptroller Liu said.  “These problems should have been corrected a long time ago.”

The Comptroller’s Office routinely follows up on the subjects of
  previous audits.  The audit released today found the Parks Department and Fitmar Management enacted just two of 22 recommendations from a 2009 audit conducted under then City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.

Troubled Finances

Since 2009 the Parks Department continued to accept questionable financial records from its concessionaire, which underreported its gross receipts for 2011 by at least $123,369..  Fitmar and the Parks Department also failed to take any action on a 2009 recommendation that the company estimate how much revenue was lost to the City from employee theft.  In addition, as of February 10, 2012, the company owes the City $177,736 in unpaid license fees and late charges.

The company did not record or report to the Parks Department revenue
  from special events. Fitmar could not provide auditors with contracts for all its special events, and stated that special events were not held at the Athletic Club, despite hosting three dance parties there between July and September 2011.

Health Code Violations, Potentially Hazardous Conditions

The Parks Department’s license agreement with the company requires it to maintain the facility in a “first class condition.”  The 2009 audit, among “unsafe and unsanitary conditions,” found mushrooms growing out from under the indoor track at the Athletic Club.  More recently, the Department of Health found “evidence of mice or live mice present in the facility’s food and/or non-food areas” during inspections in July and August 2011.

During site visits, auditors observed exposed metal edges in a children’s play area, torn gymnastic mats, and filthy carpeting.

For its licensed children’s programs, Fitmar also did not conduct background checks on all its employees as required by state law.

2012 Audit Recommendations
•       The Parks Department should require Fitmar to immediately pay $177,736 in outstanding license fees and late charges.
•       The Parks Department should terminate its agreement with Fitmar.

The Parks Department and Fitmar agreed with most of the audit’s findings. Parks further stated that it informed Fitmar of its intent to re-solicit the concession to run the Paerdegat Athletic Club and required that Fitmar pay the $177,736 in outstanding fees.

The Parks Department signed a 20-year agreement with Fitmar to run and maintain an athletic facility with two snack bars at Paerdegat Athletic Club on December 11, 2004.

On September 24, 2009, the Comptroller’s office released an audit of the management and oversight of Paerdegat Athletic from 2005 through 2007, which made 22 recommendations.  The latest audit was launched in June 2011 to determine whether the Parks Department and Fitmar enacted those recommendations.

Liu credited Deputy Comptroller Tina Kim and the Bureau of Audit for  their work on this report.  The full audit can be found at


IDC Unveils Proposal to Expand Pride of NY Program; Expand Access to NY-Grown Products


The Independent Democratic Conference today proposed an expansion of the Pride of New York Program that will increase awareness of restaurants and markets that sell New York-grown products and help strengthen this state’s agricultural economy.

The proposal will create two new designations, “Dine: Pride of New York” for restaurants and “Shop: Pride of New York” for retailers and wholesalers, that would serve as a beacon for New Yorkers who are increasingly looking to buy locally grown products.

“Our goal is to make these symbols the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for New Yorkers who want to buy local and eat local,” said Senator David J. Valesky, (D-Oneida). “By expanding the Pride of New York program, we will help keep New York money in New York, and strengthen our overall economy.”

New York’s agricultural industry, driven partially by the nationwide local food movement, has more than doubled during a decade-long period, accounting for $31.2 billion in farming and related agricultural activity in 2007.  Increasing demand for locally grown and processed foods has driven this growth. 

 The IDC found that in order to meet demand, farmers heavily rely upon direct sales to consumers. In fact, more than  7,000 New York state farmers currently sell directly to consumers, but only 1,782 of them sell to restaurant and retail wholesalers. To address this issue, the IDC's "Dine" and "Shop" program will expand growth by opening up the more traditional -- and higher capacity -- supply chain between farmers, wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants. By identifying like minded wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants, New York's agricultural industry will be better equipped to meet a rising demand for local food. 

A recent survey of New York State residents found that 41 percent of respondents would buy local products if they were readily available at their local store, or supermarket. Additionally a 2011 report from the New York City Council identified some $700 million in unmet demand for New York-grown products in New York City.

“Given the choice and the availability, New Yorkers want New York-grown products,” said Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/Westchester). “With the Shop: Pride of New York and the Grow: Pride of New York programs, we are seeking to shine a spotlight on the businesses who sell local. By doing so, we  will both increase sales and give an added incentive to other restaurants and markets to grow their selection of New York grown products.”

Under the IDC’s proposal (S.6965/ Valesky -- Dine: Pride of New York, and  S.6964/ Carlucci -- Shop: Pride of NY):
-- Food sellers, such as grocery stores, supermarkets, and corner stores, must carry at least 20 items grown and/or processed in New York State in order to qualify for a Shop: Pride of New York designation. Eligibility for wholesalers would be determined by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets.
-- Restaurants must demonstrate that 15% of their total ingredients are grown and/or processed in New York State in order to qualify for a  Dine: Pride of New York designation.
These programs are an expansion of the Pride of New York Program, which was established in 1996, but was chiefly aimed at promoting New York State grown products themselves.

“This innovative proposal will harness the purchasing power of New Yorkers,” said Senator David Carlucci, (D-Rockland/ Orange). “When consumers spend their money on local New York products, we can ensure that that money will be reinvested into the Main Street economy that help our small businesses thrive.”
Qualifying businesses will be allowed to use one of the attached logos, (or a similar one designed by the state Agriculture and Markets) to hang in their front windows, and to use for advertising and promotional materials. The businesses would also be listed on a subdirectory of the Agriculture and Markets Web site.    
The program, which will be free of charge to participating businesses, are based on similar successful efforts in New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

“The demand for local food is there, we just have to show people where to go,” said Senator Diane Savino, (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn). “Our program will help an ear of corn grown in Brookfield end up on a supper table in Brooklyn. Everyone wins.” 

Julie Suarez, New York State Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy, said: “New York’s farm families are always seeking new ways to help actively promote New York farm products, both in the grocery store, at farm stands and farmers’ markets, and in local restaurants and specialty stores.  While several grocers and restaurants are already members of the existing Pride of New York program, the concept of expanding this out further to truly help capitalize on the buy local movement is welcomed by our farmer members.” 

Tom Urtz, vice president of human resources and community affairs, ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc., said:  “ShopRite Supermarkets is proud to partner with Senator Klein in support of this very important Shop Pride of New York legislation.  In commitment to supporting the communities we serve, ShopRite has been working with farmers to provide our customers with the very best local produce and products available. ShopRite will proudly display the Shop Pride of New York logo in our stores to continue to help drive consumer awareness and encourage community support.”


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, Entertainment Icon Nicknamed 'America's Oldest Teenager,' Dies at 82

  America's oldest teenager Dick Clark suffered a massive heart attack this morning and passed away a short time later.

  Born in Mount Vernon New York on November 29th 1929, Richard Wagstaff Clark went on to become the host of "American Bandstand", which changed the way people listened to music. Clark was also a fixture on television with his "Rocking New Years Eve".

  To read more and see many photos from the ABC archive go to

Time to Retire for Some Members of Congress

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York 

Time to Retire for Some Members of Congress

You should know that there are some people who believe that the time has come to inject new blood, energy and ideas into the United States Congress.

In the City of New York, there are some Members of Congress who, according to some people, have been serving for too long.  Here is a list of the entire New York Congressional Delegation:

Gary Ackerman, elected to Congress in 1983, has served 29 years.
Yvette Clarke, elected to Congress in 2006, has served 6 years.
Joseph Crowley, elected to Congress in 1998, has served 14 years.
Eliot Engel, elected to Congress in 1988, has served 24 years.
Michael Grimm, elected to Congress in 2009, has served 2 years.
Carolyn Maloney, elected to Congress in 1992, has served 20 years.
Gregory Meeks, elected to Congress in 1998, has served 14 years.
Jerrold Nadler, elected to Congress in 1992, has served 20 years.
Charles Rangel, elected to Congress 1970, has served 42 years.
José Serrano, elected to Congress in 1990, has served 22 years.
Edolphus Towns, elected to Congress in 1982, has served 20 years.
Robert Turner, elected to Congress in 2011, has served 1 year.
Nydia Velázquez, elected to Congress in 1992, has served 20 years.

Imagine the millions and millions of Congressional dollars that have been poured into the New York City districts for all those years.  

We should all be living like kings and queens.  But in all of those years, we in the City of New York, continue to see a decrease in affordable housing with more people living in homeless shelters; services for the growing number of senior citizens continue to be cut; the number of children who cannot read at grade level and cannot graduate from high school in 4 years continues to grow; more and more New Yorkers rely upon food pantries to feed their families; people with illness and disabilities continue to suffer as medical services continue to be cut; gun violence remains on the rise; etc. etc.

This situation is at a point where some Members of New York’s Congressional Delegation have finally decided to retire and let new blood take over.  Apparently, not all of them will voluntarily open the door to leave and allow for new blood to come in, and as such, new blood is forcing them to retire.

Here comes Hakeem Jeffries: an energized, eloquent, well-spoken young African American from Brooklyn who has effectively sent a message to incumbent Ed Towns that if he doesn’t retire, he will make him retire in an election.  Apparently Congressman Towns saw the writing on the wall and has announced his retirement.

Congressman Gary Ackerman, also read the writing on the wall (and maybe read his horoscope) and has decided that it’s time for him to hang it up.

State Senator Adriano Espaillat has been sending a message to Congressman Charles Rangel that after 42 years in Congress (and at 80 years of age) he should retire and enjoy the rest of his life.  

In response, Charlie Rangel must have thought Adriano Espaillat was bluffing and said, “Come on.  Take me on.”

Now, Adriano Espaillat, energized with his comunnity’s support and the backing of Oscar de la Renta, has a new look. Espaillat is now dressing like a movie star - has changed his wardrobe, hairdo, shoes and cologne - and is on his way to forcing Charlie Rangel into retirement.

There is another young man from Brooklyn who is trying to force Nydia Velázquez into retirement: Erik Martin Dilan, the son of New York State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.

Erik  has the support of many who believe that Nydia Velázquez should just go back to Puerto Rico and join the Popular Party and all of her cronies in continuing their push to keep Puerto Rico a colony of the United States and leave the Brooklyn Congressional seat to new blood.

Here in the Bronx, we are stuck with Congressmen José Serrano and Eliot Engel.  My advice to Congressman Serrano, Open your eyes and look around you at all of the young people who surrounding you in Bronx County who hunger and thirst for new Congressional blood.

He should really start planning his retirement before he is forced into it.

At the same time, José Rivera, Carmen Arroyo and I might also start looking around and planning our good-byes … but not before José Serrano does because his time is long overdue.

I am Senator Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know. 



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bronx Chamber of Commerce 

Upcoming Events

"Celebrating 118 Years"
We look forward to seeing you at our next upcoming 

Tuesday, April 24th at 5:30 PM
 Spoto's Restaurant
4005 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10465
Sponsored by: Constant Contact
Click Here to register for this event.

Wednesday, May 9th at 5:30 PM
Pine Bar & Grill
1634 Eastchester Avenue
Bronx, NY 10462
Sponsored by: Courtney Strong
Click Here to register for this event. 


Monday, May 21st at 11:00 AM
Pelham/Split Rock Golf Courses

Click Here to register for this event.
For further information or to RSVP, please call



4th Annual Fair @ The Square_Saturday, May 12


 May 12, 2012, 11 AM – 6 PM


   The Association of  the Merchants & Business Professionals of Westchester Square, Inc., the New Bronx Chamber of Commerce, and the Bronx Council on the Arts announce the 4th Annual “Fair @ The Square” taking place on Saturday, May 12th from 11 AM to 6 PM along the streets of Westchester Square between St. Raymond Avenue and Westchester Avenue.             

“The Westchester Square merchants have made great strides over the past few years, with commercial revitalization efforts, to improve our area’s commerce and quality of life.  Now, with newly formed Westchester Square Business Improvement District (BID) in place, we can bring even more to the re-emergence of Westchester Square and we invite all the residents of New York City to come see what the buzz is all about. This annual fair allows us to showcase the diversity of our commerce, our culture, and our community, and the progress we have made in our neighborhood.” says Mr. Joe Regina, of AMBPWS, “We welcome this opportunity to have thousands of people, who we expect throughout the day, to come and join us as we celebrate the rebuilding of a great area for a great future.”

This multi-cultural event will feature an all day concert series showcasing New York City’s most popular groups performing every genre of music from oldies through today’s great music.  The show will be hosted by TV personality Molly Rokasy (Anchor, News12 the Bronx), radio personality Dennis “Dion” Nardone (WVOX 1460 AM Radio), internet radio personality Valerie Smaldone (WOR’s Internet station, and other surprise guests.  From Doo-Wop to Hip-Hop, and everything in between, you will catch it all on the main stage at St. Raymond Avenue.  The artist line-up, at this time, includes such groups as tri-state area favorites SugaRush, Just Nuts, Italian Hip-Hop artist Rob Salese, and many more performers and dancers.

Kids will enjoy the day in the Kid’s Activity Area featuring all sorts of games, exhibits, and other fun activities while will enjoy the scores of merchants and vendors displaying their wares, and services, and great restaurants offering up great food. Another highlight is the annual Art Walk showcasing local Bronx artists and artisans displaying their works in a variety of spaces and windows at locations throughout the Square.

Don't miss out on the many free raffles for great prizes being offered by many of the merchants and sponsors throughout the day.

To date, this event is sponsored by The Hutchinson Metro Center, The NY Daily News, Apple Bank, Metro Optics Eyewear, Sanitation Salvage, DJ Service, and Wendy’s. 

Date:                Saturday, May 12, 2012
Time:               11am-6pm
Location:        Westchester Square from St. Raymond Ave. to Westchester Ave. 



By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York

Who is the Real Thief, Mr. Clement Gardner, FBI Agent Bullets Campbell, The U.S. Dept. Of Justice or the office of the NYS Attorney General’s office?

You should know that five years ago, in 2007 to be specific, Clement Gardner, a bookkeeper employed by Christian Community Benevolent Association, confessed to FBI Agent Bullets Campbell that he was embezzling money from the organization and that from 2003 to 2007 he had stolen approximately $75,000.00 of monies geared toward helping the poor and needy of the South Bronx.
You should also know that Christian Community Benevolent Association was founded by Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz (35) years ago, when the Bronx was burning and businesses, banks, and the wealthy were fleeing and abandoning the South Bronx leaving behind hunger, misery, and burnt out buildings.   Christian Community remained, developed jobs and provided services to those in needs.

After so many years of decent and successful administration by Christian Community, here comes Clement Gardner and confesses to the FBI his conniving and treasonous manner in which he took advantage of the trust and confidence placed on him by the decent people of Christian Community.  
Anybody would think that the right thing for the FBI to have done would be to inform the organization, let them know and give them the opportunity to take the necessary actions to protect their interests, to get rid of Mr. Gardner, and sent him to jail back in 2007.
You should also know my dear reader, that contrary to what reasonable people would do, the FBI authorized Mr. Gardner, through Agent Campbell, to go back to the agency where he stole more money.
Was Mr. Gardner told: “We don’t care what you do we just want Senator Diaz.  Go back keep doing what you’re doing and give us Senator Diaz?”  
Who allowed Clement Gardner to steal for five more years?   Mr. Clement Gardner was free to live “La Buena Vida” the good life.   He was stealing and developing a scheme sophisticated enough that it was overlooked by the private auditing firms, hired by the Christian Community and by auditors for the City of New York Human Resources Administration Home Care Contracts.   These experienced auditors were contracted every year to conduct audits of Christian Community’s books.  

Apparently, Clement Gardner was allowed to embezzle thousands of dollars, under the knowledge, approval, advice and direction of law enforcement agencies that are supposed to protect the people of the State of New York.

Now, five years later, after the law enforcement agencies realized that they were taken for a ride by Mr. Clement Gardner and that he made a fool out of them, they conducted a press conference to announce what they have known for the last five years.   What a travesty.......what a shame... and they call themselves honest.    They should all get indicted and sent to jail along with Clement Gardner.

In their quest to get Senator Ruben Diaz, these government agencies are now faced with a bigger problem.  That from 2007 to 2012 they gave Mr. Gardner the opportunity to steal many thousands more, from the people of the State of New York in return for Senator Ruben Diaz, which he did not do.

Soon they will conduct another press conference to announce how many more thousands or maybe millions of dollars Mr. Clement Gardner has stolen.   The New York Press Editorial Board, reporters, news media, and the whole world will cover the big news.    Soon they will also, announce who is to blame for the thievery and what a great job they did in capturing the perpetrator.    Ja Ja Ja, this is laughable.  

Will the media ask the right questions of the NYS Attorney General, The FBI agent Bullets Campbell, the U.S. Department of Justice and/or the companies responsible for the annual audits: Who authorized this? Who protected Clement Gardner and why?  Why wasn’t Gardner arrested five years ago when he confessed to the dirty deed?   Why wait five years? Why allow him to continue to steal money?   Why wasn’t this brought to the attention of the agency’s administration or to HRA?   No, the media will not ask those questions of those responsible, because to do so will make Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz and the people of Christian Community look like victims.

If they ask the right questions, they might get to the truth.   The truth will reveal that Senator Ruben Diaz and the people of Christian Community are decent, God-fearing individuals whose only interest is helping those less fortunate.   That news my friend is a pill that is too big and too hard for most of the media to swallow.   For many of the news media, making Senator Ruben Diaz continue to appear as the hated homophobe, the one against same-sex marriage, the anti-woman for his position against abortion, is their agenda.  For reporters and the news media, the bad news on bad guys sells more papers and is better for business.  

You should know that we  neither have the money or the resources to sue their pants off.  They are too powerful, too untouchable, and have too many resources at their disposal, to do as they please.  We are the little guys and they are above the law.

I am Senator Ruben Diaz, and this  is what you should know.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Johnson Avenue - "For Rent"
Update  2 More Stores 

  This is a new restaurant that is called "Oregano"" which is opening up at 3522 Johnson Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. This store had been vacant for several years when the restaurant Josepina closed down.Closing stores or stores closed for some time with "For Rent" signs on them has gotten to become a problem for the local community around Johnson Avenue. 
  The problem when many are asked seems to be with the landlord (Friedland Properties) of the entire block of Johnson Avenue between West 235th and West 236th Streets, and part of West 235th Street off Johnson Avenue. High rents and the gall to raise renewals sky high, but leave a store empty for years without a tenant and not lower the rent has been the mantra. The latest casualty is the once popular Chinese Restaurant "Golden Gate" whose new owners expanded several years ago, now is the latest store to close and a "For Rent" sign go up on the security gate. 
  Many say that the rents are to high on Johnson Avenue, and the popular eating spot "Blue Bay" almost closed last year due to a steep raise in the lease renewal. However the owner of Blue Bay was able to get a reprieve from the landlord Friedland Properties after much protesting from the community, elected officials, and a reminder from the community board that when there was large fire that gutted many stores on the block it was the community board that helped the landlord rebuild quickly. 
  Continental Hair Stylist was the first to leave Johnson Ave.many years ago for a lower rent a few blocks away on Riverdale Ave. Business has been good and steady since the move over 10 years ago we were told, and Riverdale Avenue has seen some other businesses move there from Johnson Ave. The once almost half empty stretch of Riverdale Ave. between West 235th and 238th Streets now has only one or two empty stores.
The "For Rent" sign is up on recently closed Golden Gate Restaurant.
Corner Cafe moved to a lower rent on Riverdale Ave.
The corner on the opposite side of Johnson Ave. and West 235th Street is once again vacant since the closure ot WAMU Bank about a year ago.
Another vacant store on Johnson Ave.
The old fruit store on West 235th Street also owned by Friedland Properties.
No the fruit store has not been sub divided, but another vacant store.
The one vacant store on West 235th Street not owned by Friedland Properties.


Here are two more vacant stores on the Johnson Avenue/West 235th Street shopping area.
This store next to Starbucks on West 235th is another Freidland Property

Another store on West 235th Street across from Starbucks and right next to the other vacant store on that side of the street.

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New York Hispanic Clergy Organization

  The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization held their 24th annual Ministers Banquet last week. The NYHC honored Bishop Abelardo Batista, Apostle Rene Cruz, Rev. Pedro Olivieri, Rev. Mirna Padro, Mr. Pedro Sanchez, and Colonel Jaun Bautista Jimenez Reinoso who were recognized for their outstanding commitment to the people of New York City. Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz the president of the NYHC which meant that many elected officials up to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer were in attendance, as well as over 700 other supporters of the NYHC.

NYHC member Ms. Lourdes Colon warms up the crowd before the event started.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer addresses the audience. Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is behind left, as to the right are New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr..

Good friends Senator (and candidate for Congress) Adriano Espaillat and Bronx BP Diaz pose for this picture as Bronx Democratic County Leader Heastie looks on.
Congressman Charlie Rangel stands between Senator Diaz Sr. and Bronx BP Diaz Jr., with Rangel political consultant Mike Nieves to the right.
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