Saturday, May 19, 2012

13th Congressional Race Mr. Clyde Williams

    Redistricting has changed the once majority black district into a majority Hispanic district. While Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood remain as part of the district 200,000 Bronx voters have been added to the district. The mostly Hispanic communities of Bedford Park, Kingsbridge Heights, Van Cortlandt Village, and most of Kingsbridge were placed in the new 13th Congressional District. A date of June 26th was also place as the date of the new congressional primary.

   Charlie Rangel has claimed to be the incumbent in this new district as most of it came from his old 15th Congressional District. Rangel has the backing of the Manhattan and Bronx Democratic county machines (and we said that both Democratic county leaders were looking at the proposed district lines for a possible future run). State Senator Adriano Espaillat announced his intention to run in the now majority Hispanic 13th C.D. Senator Espaillat has nothing to loose if he does not get elected to congress, as he can still run for his state senate seat in the September Democratic primary.

   We sat down last week with Mr. Clyde Williams, who is another candidate in the 13th Congressional race.  Mr. Williams is concerned how the district has problems that have not been addressed by Congressman Rangel. High unemployment, lack of jobs, poor public education, lack of accountability, and high oil prices are high on his priority list of things to get done. How can Clyde get that done, I asked. Mr. Williams who first praised Congressman Rangel for the good things that he did in the past, and said that there are new problems now then there were in the past. He went on to say that there are huge health care disparities and education gaps.

   Mr. Williams spoke of putting people to work in the jobs that are needed, such as nursing, auto mechanics, electricians, and other good paying jobs. when I asked about the Empowerment Zone that Congressman Rangel set up, Mr. Williams said most are out of business by using the funds for the community, but that "the Harlem Empowerment Zone still has lots of money left". Mr. Williams said that up to 5,000 new jobs could be created right now if tourism was set up not only for lower Manhattan, but the rest of the city. New Hotels and restaurants could be built for tourist to stay over rather then come for an hour or two, or to see the Yankee game then leave.

  When I asked Mr. Williams what his qualifications for congress were, he said that he knows the D.C. area very well, the president, and how congress works. He added that he worked for both President Clinton and President Obama in high level positions. Mr. Williams believes like others do that in this election the Bronx will play a key role in determining who the representative from the 13th Congressional District will be. He is making important connections in the Bronx, and plans to keep them. when asked if he is doing all this to set up for a run for office when Congressman Rangel decides to retire possibly in 2014 or sooner, Mr. Clyde Williams said "I am in this race to win this race".

Mr. Clyde Williams stands in front of the Kingsbridge Armory with two of his supporters.

Here the trio stand by the Kingsbridge Road Subway station of the   # 4 subway line. On Mr. Williams left is Mr. Ephraim Cruz of Bronx For Change, and Mr. Anthony Rivveccio of NWBD on his right.

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K.A.L.E.A.C Honors 50th Pct. Officers

  The Korean-American Law Enforcement Advisory Council came to the 50th Precinct to bestow honors upon the police officers and Captain Kevin J. Burke for the swift apprehension of the two individuals that killed 26 year old Hang Yang on his way home for his I Phone. Mr. Yang was shot at the corner of Cambridge Avenue and West 232nd Street, and died a short time later.
  Mr. Joo Tae Yoo President and Mr. Yeon S, Hong Vice-President of K.A.L.E.A.C. said that their organization tries to bridge the gap between citizens and the police department. The organization also raises money for fallen hero's and provides scholarships to their children. Both thanked the officers of the 50th Precinct for the swift apprehension of Mr. Yang's killers. Also  on hand were Mr. Yang's mother and sister who conveyed the same message. 
  Captain Kevin J. Burke, Lieutenant John Gogarty, Sergeant Lucas Miller, Detective James Campbell, and Detective Joseph K. Oneil all received awards from. K.A.L.E.A.C. Captain Burke in speaking about the case said “it was the fine police work that his detectives and officers did to crack the case, and the arrest of the two killers”. The two men identified as Dominick Davis and Alejandro Campos (when they were arrested) tried to sell the I Phone on Craigslist. “Have 2 I Phones 4 sale Inwood/Washington Heights” the ad read, and the detectives took it from there. 
  Local Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman G. Oliver Koppell also presented awards to the police officers. Assemblyman Dinowitz commented "that there had never been an incident such as this in Riverdale, and the community was outraged. Dinowitz added that these two men must be tried and sent away to jail for a long time. Mr. Adam Sandler of Councilman Koppell's office said that crimes like this will not be tolerated in our neighborhoods and that Councilman Koppell hopes that the swift apprehension of these killers will deter any similar events in the future. 

Left - Captain Kevin Burke explaining the details of the crime, and how officers apprehanded the two men responsible for the crime. Next to Captain Burke are Mr. Joo Tae Yoo President and Mr. Yeon S, Hong Vice-President of K.A.L.E.A.C. Right- Assemblyman Dinowitz presenting award to one of the officers as Captain Burke looks on.

Left - Assemblyman Dinowitz is between Mr. Yoo and Mr Hong from K.A.A.E.A.C., with Mr. Sandler of behind the officers and Captain Burke (Sergeant Miller was not at the ceremony, and is not in the photo).  Right - Community Affairs officer Mindy Ramos stands in for Sergeant Miller in this photo.
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Klein Holds Property Managers Accountable

Klein Property Preservation Law Succeeds In Removing Dangerous Situation 

VAN NEST, BRONX, N.Y. –  Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) announced today that his office has been successful in seeing to the removal of an illegally constructed deck that had posed a serious fire hazard to the Van Nest community. The foreclosed property, located at 840 Van Nest Avenue, is currently managed by Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC. At Senator Klein’s insistence, Carrington recently removed the illegally constructed deck which had been built upon an existing kitchen. The dangerously situated deck was a concern to many in the area in light of the recent and devastating four alarm fire on the same block. The successful removal illustrates the importance of property preservation legislation introduced by Senator Klein in the state legislature—and enacted into law—last year. Klein's landmark legislation requires banks and lending institutions who reclaim foreclosed properties to maintain their assets up to code. 

In April, neighborhood resident Patti Doyle reached out to Senator Klein’s Office to express her concerns about the shoddily constructed deck atop the property.  Around the same time, the NYC Department of Buildings visited the home and issued a violation for the deck’s construction, which was carried out without the required approval of DOB.

Klein and his staff investigated the matter and discovered that Wells Fargo was listed as the owner of this property, with Carrington as the property manager.  Upon learning this information, Klein reached out to Carrington and brought his and the community’s concerns to their attention. Within days of Senator Klein’s call, Carrington dispatched a construction crew to remove the deck from the property.  The work was completed just days ago.

The recent four alarm fire originated on the same block at nearby 726 Van Nest Ave.
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Bronx Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing


The Bronx Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all attendees for registering for the biggest Golf Event of the year!
On Monday, May 21st, there will be a complimentary warm-up and Golf Clinic at 9 AM located at

Turtle Cove Golf Center 
1 City Island Road
Bronx, NY 10464

After the warm-up and Golf Clinic golfers will proceed to

Pelham Split Rock Golf Course for registration at 11 AM.

We look forward to a wonderful day of golf.  Thank you again for all of your support.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012



  City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about proposed police reforms to stop and frisk:

“The stop and frisk policy doesn’t need to be reformed, it needs to be
abolished. Remedies such as training videos and informational cards are inadequate band-aids. It’s time to end this divisive and ill-conceived tactic.

“According to reports, New Yorkers were stopped and frisked by police
  nearly 700,000 times last year – almost all of those targeted were innocent of any crime, and almost all of them were Black or Latino. It’s just impossible to say stop and frisk is not racial profiling,
and continuation of this practice not only violates the department ban against racial profiling but raises civil rights questions. It also poses a potential financial liability to the City, as evidenced by rising claims against the NYPD and the federal judge’s ruling allowing class-action status in a stop and frisk lawsuit. It’s time to stop ‘stop and frisk’.”


•       According to preliminary statistics, there were 2,241 new civil
  rights claims filed against the NYPD in Fiscal Year 2011, up 23 percent from the 1,826 claims filed in FY 2010.

•       Overall, 8,913 claims were filed against the NYPD in FY 2011
  (including personal injury and property damage), an historic high.





  City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about new unemployment figures:

“Although today’s labor market report shows a record number of jobs in
  the city, the unemployment rate remains at an unacceptable 9.5 percent and continues to disproportionately impact minorities and young people.  We must find ways to create jobs for the 345,000 unemployed
New Yorkers who cannot wait years for the recovery to filter down to them.

“My office has put forth a Capital Acceleration Plan which would
  create 15,000 jobs and enhance our City’s infrastructure; all the while saving taxpayers money in the long-run. As the City Council and Mayor’s Office negotiate the upcoming budget, we are calling for the inclusion of this plan in order to put New Yorkers back to work as quickly as possible and revive the City’s ailing construction industry.”


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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Come Celebrate Bronx Weeks Grand Finally!!!


Bronx Week Parade 2012



 Audit Raises Serious Concerns over Dubious Timesheets


  City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced that an audit of Champion Learning Center, a tutoring company in contract with the Department of Education, uncovered questionable payments for dubious bills.

Many of the submitted attendance sheets that the DOE paid did not have the required documents that would prove a student was in fact tutored. An additional set of payments went to tutoring services supposedly performed between midnight and 5 a.m.

“Taxpayers can’t afford to write multi-million dollar blank checks for tutoring services that may not have taken place,” Comptroller Liu said.   “The DOE’s lack of oversight not only shows serious mismanagement, but may have also enabled fraudulent billings.  Every education dollar wasted robs students of the education they deserve. DOE should investigate these billings and recover all the money the City is owed. Doing so will send a clear message to companies that do business with the City that New Yorkers will not be taken for a ride.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, eligible students enrolled in schools in need of improvement are provided free tutoring to improve their education and performance on state academic standards and assessments.  Champion Learning Center was one of 52 state-approved tutoring providers during School Year 2009-2010.  Champion entered into a $40 million contract with DOE to offer tutoring services, primarily in students’ homes, from September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2012.

The audit found that Champion lacked adequate controls and failed to live up to key provisions of its contract.  Champion’s management weaknesses were compounded by DOE’s inadequate oversight. Ultimately, Champion billed and was paid by DOE for tutoring services for which there was inadequate or questionable documentation.

The findings raised questions about the accuracy of the overall billing for tutoring services that Champion submitted to the DOE.

Timesheets show tutoring at barred or impossible hours
During school years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, Champion billed the DOE and was paid $836,254 for services reportedly provided during hours in which it was not allowed to tutor or at odd times (midnight to 5 a.m.). The billing for these hours could signal fraud

The DOE agreed with the audit’s recommendation that it recoup the $836,254. The agency has since changed its billing portal for vendors to prevent them from submitting requests for payment for services during school hours or the middle of the night.

Billing documentation lacking or missing
DOE paid Champion for tutoring services without adequate evidence that the services were, in fact, provided.  Auditors examined a random sample of 164 attendance sheets cards paid by the DOE and determined that 10% (16 of 164) did not contain the tutor’s name or signature as required and 47% (77 of 164) were not signed by the supervisor as required. The audit also reviewed records for tutoring services for 76 students and found that of the total $151,435 the DOE spent, $22,525 (15%) covered 322 hours of work that did not have adequate attendance sheets.

DOE agreed with the recommendation that it investigate and, if warranted, recoup the total of $22,525 for payments that were not supported by attendance sheets.

Champion agreed with the audit’s recommendations that the company strengthen its internal controls to ensure that attendance sheets are properly reviewed and include the required signatures.

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


Monday, May 14, 2012

Espada Found Guilty on 4 of 8 Counts

  Former State Senator Pedro Espada has been found guilt of stealing up to half a million dollars from the now defunct Soundview Health Care Center that he started and ran. Espada now faces up to ten years in jail on each of the four counts of fraud that he was convicted of. The bad news does not stop there, as the judge declared a hung jury on the other four counts so that Espada could be retried on those other four counts of fraud.

  Espada's son Pedro G. Espada appears to have dodged a bullet for now as his jury seems to be deadlocked and unable to convict him, but there is always the possibility of a retrial for him also unless the U.S. Attorney is content to have Espada Senior going to jail.
2009_08_espada4.jpg.Pedro G. Espada and father Pedro Espada holding another future candidate Espada in happier times.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he is happy that the job he started as New York States Attorney General has been completed. Cuomo added that there is no place in New York politics for any type of corruption.

 Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Had This on the Espada verdict.
The jurors finished the job that the voters started two years ago.  Just as the voters of the 33rd senatorial district punished Pedro Espada, Jr. at the polls for his role in the discredited 2009 coup that shut down the State Senate, the jurors rightly saw Espada for what he is: a crook.  His criminal acts give politics a bad name despite the fact that the vast majority of elected officials are decent, hardworking people.  He stole from the taxpayers and ultimately from the people he was supposed to help, in order to pay for his lavish lifestyle.  Disgusting!  I hope he receives the maximum punishment under the law.
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Croton Filter Plant - Agenda for Meeting on May 17


Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting
Thursday, May 17, 2012 – 7:00 PM
DEP Office – 3660 Jerome Avenue, Bronx NY 10467 - (718) 231-8470

I  Welcome                                                          Paul Foster, Chair

II Consider and Adopt the Meeting Agenda        CFMC Reps 

III Consider, Adopt 4/19/12 Meeting Minutes    CFMC Reps  

IV Update on JPR Jogging Path PDC Status      Hector Aponte, DPR
                                                                       Steve Des Noyer, DPR

V Update on Pedestrian Bridge Funding            CFMC Reps

VI NYC Water Rate Increase – Impact on         Mark Lanaghan, DEP
    Rates of Cost of Croton Filter Plant

VII Croton Construction Update, Schedule          Vincent Moorehead,
    And Costs                                                          P.E., DEP
VIII Croton Jobs and Bronx Purchases            Mark Lanaghan, DEP

IX CFMC Discussion, Set Next Meeting        CFMC Representatives

X   Adjourn
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Sauti Yetu Center for Women Open House and Reception    

Sauti Yetu Brings Together Supporters for
Open House and Reception in the South Bronx

Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families will welcome policy makers, community leaders and service providers to their new office space in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx at an Open House and Reception on May 17th from 4-6:30pm.   The event will highlight Sauti Yetu’s work as both a culturally-responsive service provider and an advocate for the growing African immigrant community in New York City.  It will also share how Sauti Yetu has expanded their services to meet the growing needs of community members, as well as their plans for the future. 

Sauti Yetu’s first Open House and Reception will showcase both their new office space and the culturally and linguistically responsive work they do in the Bronx and throughout the United States.  Speakers include (1) The Honorable Aurelia Greene, Deputy Borough President of the Bronx, (2) The Honorable Maria del Carmen Arroyo, New York City Council 17th District, and (3) Zeinab Eyega, Executive Director and Founder of Sauti Yetu Center for African Women.  The event will feature music by a griot, Assetou Kouyate and a kora player, Diabate.  It will also feature African cuisine.   Sauti Yetu staff members will offer information about the work they do with African immigrant women, children and families in the Bronx—and beyond. 

Founded in 2004 with 1 staff member, Sauti Yetu has since expanded into a multi-service agency with a staff of over 20.  The organization meets the diverse needs of New York City’s African immigrant women, families and youth through its direct services, advocacy and public education campaigns.   They offer domestic violence services in over 25 languages, as well as academic and leadership support for newly arrived African adolescent girls.  The organization also helps newly arrived immigrant families build their collective strength and achieve self-sufficiency. Sauti Yetu additionally conducts trainings and performs advocacy at the city, state and federal level on the topic of Female Genital Cutting (FGC).  Their work on FGC has been most recently recognized by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Nationally, Sauti Yetu builds the leadership capacity of African immigrant and refugee women in over 11 cities throughout the U.S.

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Responding to calls and petitions from his constituents about the proposed closing of after-school programs, Council Member Oliver Koppell vowed to fight to restore the funds.  The Mayor’s FY 2012-2013  Executive budget cut $22.1 million for 172 after-school programs citywide and reduced subsidized slots for child care centers.

Families in my district would be heavily impacted by these cuts which would force the closure of after-school programs at PS 8 and PS 94 in Norwood, at Riverdale Neighborhood House and the Marble Hill Community Center and reduce the number of children who can be accommodated in after-school programs at PS 95 and PS 20”  Koppell said.

According to Don Bluestone, Executive Director of Mosholu- Montefiore Community Center, over 33% of the organization’s Out-of-School Time (OST) funds for after-school programs were cut, a loss of approximately $1,200,000.  Riverdale Neighborhood House lost $280,000 for its after-school programs and The Children’s Arts & Science Workshops, who run the Marble Hill Center, lost $380,000 for its after-school and summer camp programs.   Koppell said, “It is imperative that funds be restored to The Department of Youth and Community Development’s OST program. Without this restoration, thousands of children in my district and throughout the city,  will be deprived of the positive academic and recreational activities these programs offer, putting them at risk of engaging in negative behavior during these unsupervised hours.”

Koppell referred to research that has shown that after-school programs keep kids safe, have a positive impact on self-concept and decision making and promote positive social interaction among students.  Also, he referenced studies by the Department of Education that have shown crimes involving youth usually occur between the hours of 3-6 p.m. “The risk that our community will see an increase in violence,  vandalism, gang activity,  drug and alcohol abuse, as well  as an upsurge  in the number of latchkey children, is virtually inevitable with the closing of these after-school programs,” he said.

Koppell also said it was necessary to restore the cuts for early child care, which has proven to provide academic and social benefits to children stretching well beyond their early years.

“In the upcoming budget negotiations, my Council colleagues and I are determined to do all in our power to protect the child care and after-school programs on which our most vulnerable families depend. I am hopeful that these efforts will produce results and that there will be restoration of funds to keep these programs open.”  Koppell  concluded.
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What You Should Know
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York


You should know that when Andrew Cuomo was the New York State Attorney General he used his power, influence, title, and office of the Attorney General to go after Senator Pedro Espada accusing him of stealing $14 million dollars.

During the weeks that followed Andrew Cuomo’s announcement, newspapers (including Hispanic ones), television media (including Hispanic ones) and almost every reporter (including Hispanic ones) went after Pedro Espada.

They would stakeout his house, his office, and his business.  They even went where he was dining.  They had a field day with Pedro Espada.  They called him crooked. They called him a thief.  They tried their best to convince the community that Senator Pedro Espada stole $14 million dollars – because the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said so.

You should know that Gustavo Rivera, who ran against Pedro Espada, used the $14 million dollar issue throughout his campaign calling Pedro Espada a crook.  He defeated Pedro Espada by campaigning about the $14 million dollars that our former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accused him of stealing.

After weeks and weeks of persecution and mockery, Pedro Espada was accused of only stealing half a million dollars.  Not one single news reporter or media organization, not even Hispanic ones, had the courage or the decency to question Andrew Cuomo’s integrity and motive about what happened to the $14 million dollars.

“I am pretty sure that if it were another individual from another race, things would have been different.”

You should know that this gets even better.  After weeks and weeks of a jury trial, the New York media, especially the New York Post, have been trying to influence the jury by publicizing only what the prosecutor stressed, and never indicating any rebuke of the defense.  By doing this, they are trying to make sure that the jury will finally condemn Senator Espada.  But in spite of all this, even the jury can’t seem to get it together and make a final decision about Pedro Espada.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is an indication that there is doubt in peoples’ minds.  The community is questioning Andrew Cuomo’s motive and integrity in accusing Pedro Espada of stealing $14 million dollars.

Please understand that members of the community know that Pedro Espada has been the victim of a political witch hunt and political vengeance for his participation in the 2009 Senate coup.
I believe that even if the jury now finds Pedro Espada guilty, he has already won in the eyes of his community.

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