Saturday, June 16, 2012

Forensic Audit by State Comptroller DiNapoli Reveals Metro-North Employees Were No Shows

MTA Disbands Unit Following Audit; 

Findings Referred to MTA Inspector General

   Metro-North Railroad employees that were supposed to monitor train conditions and crew performance were not on the job when they were scheduled to work and performed poorly when they were, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Auditors and investigators also found that a relative of a manager was hired at an inflated salary over other more qualified employees, a possible violation of the New York State Public Officers Law.
"The public got taken for a ride," DiNapoli said. "When workers in this unit did bother to show up for their jobs, they did shoddy work or personal tasks when they should have been ensuring that trains were operating safely and smoothly. The MTA needs to do more to tighten up accountability. I am pleased that this audit brought an end to this situation."
The audit covered the period January 1, 2009 through June 20, 2011 and examined whether employees in Metro North's On-Board Services Unit fulfilled their duties and performed their assigned tasks. As of July 2011, the unit consisted of a supervisor and five employees who earned a total annual compensation of $832,676. 
Auditors and investigators examined 300 rides that were expected to be taken and documented, of which 29 percent (89 rides) had no logs to support that any work was done. In 14 percent of all rides, staffers were not on the job, though they were scheduled to work and were paid for those hours. None of the 211 logs that did exist reported any significant performance or safety issue, raising serious questions about the quality of oversight provided by the unit.
Staff was supposed to take six train trips daily to work an eight-hour day, but auditors found that staff averaged only four train trips daily. Auditors and investigators estimate that four unit staff members were paid in excess of $170,000 annually for work that might not have been performed.
Supervision was also almost non-existent, with no log of time and attendance records, no observation of staffers on trains and no written schedule of trains to be monitored. Auditors and investigators also found that staffers surfed the internet during work hours, including spending 6.5 hours on firearm sites and Google and 5 hours on various commercial sites such as Chuck E. Cheese. Reviews of cell phone usage found little communication between staff members and their supervisor but did find out-of-state calls and calls home.
Auditors and investigators learned that an assistant vice president in charge of the unit had referred a relative to work under her supervision. The person was hired despite receiving a lower rating than two other applicants for this position and was paid $84,700 despite a posted starting salary of $57,226. This employee and the assistant vice president had their paychecks deposited into the same bank account.
Counsel for Metro-North investigated this issue and gave three separate reprimands to the assistant vice president. As a result, operating procedures were changed regarding the hiring of relatives. However, the Comptroller's Office has referred the matter to the Office of the MTA Inspector General (OIG) for further investigation.
Auditors recommended that:
  • MTA investigate time and attendance of the unit supervisor and staff, take disciplinary action and take steps to recover any funds paid for time not worked or charged to accruals and ensure that any salary overpayment is taken into account for future pension payments;
  • Evaluate the necessity of staffing for the unit, considering its demonstrated productivity and effectiveness to date;
  • Re-examine whether the assistant vice president's relative should be transferred to a different work unit.
In response to the audit, the MTA disbanded the on-board service managers unit and folded personnel into existing departments. The authority also asked the OIG to review the records of the unit to determine what additional actions should be taken. The MTA has agreed to cooperate fully with the OIG regarding the allegations of inappropriate hiring. The MTA's full response is included in the audit.
To read the full report, click here.
This report is the second in a series stemming from a forensic audit of overtime practices at the MTA announced in 2010 by DiNapoli. A forensic audit examines practices or organizations in which there is a reasonable risk of fraud or illegality. Since 2007, DiNapoli's office has completed 18 audits of MTA practices and organizational structure. In the coming months, the Comptroller will release further findings from the OSC's continuing forensic audit of overtime practices.
DiNapoli encourages the public to help fight against fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud, corruption and abuse of taxpayer money by: calling the toll-free fraud hotline at 1-888-672-4555; filing a complaint online at; or mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller Investigations Unit, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bronx Commercial/ Investment Forum

   Today the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation hosted the first ever “Bronx Commercial Investment Forum.” at the Hutchinson Metro Center Conference Center. Mr. Lenny Caro President of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce welcomed everyone as there was a video presentation of the New Bronx that was made by Bronxnet public access television.

    Mr. Joseph Farkas President of Metropolitan Realty (developing the Stella Doro site), Mr. Lester Petracca President of Triangle Equities (developing the 149th Street site), Mr. Michael Berfield VP and Director of Development for Equity One (developing the 230th Street & Broadway site), Jason Ackerman President of Fresh Direct were on a panel moderated by Ms. Marlene Cintron President of BOEDC, and Ms. Kathy Zamechansky VP Commercial-Industrial Division to discuss why they have chosen the Bronx as a place to do business. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. also discussed the resurgence of the Bronx, and the ways that his office is available to assist businesses in relocating to the borough. 
    The main theme by each speaker was "JOBS, JOBS, and more JOBS".
  The event was co-sponsored by the Bronx/Manhattan North Association of Realtors and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. Below are some photos of the event.

Left - Relaters in attendance included Ms. Sandra Erickson and Mr. Mark Gjonaj.    Right - Mr. Gjonaj of M.P. Realty Group Corp was a co-sponsor of the forum.

Left- Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. addresses the audience on why business should come to or expand in the Bronx.  Right - the panel Ms. Kathy Zamechansky (left), Ms. Marlene Cintron, Mr. Joseph Farkas, Mr.Lester Peetracca, Mr. Michael Berfield, and Mr. Jason Ackerman.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Luis R. Sepulveda Candidate for the 87th Assembly District Fundraiser

You are Cordially Invited to Join

Bronx Democratic County Committee,Executive Committee Chairman
Honorable Carl E. Heastie
For a reception to support
Luis R. Sepulveda
Candidate for the 87th Assembly District
Pine Bar and Grill
1634 Eastchester Road, Bronx, NY
Friday, June 29th, 2012
6:30pm to 8:30pm
For more information and to RSVP please contact:
Julian Sepulveda • Cell 347 582 8203 •

Wave Hill Events June 29–July 6

Jumping frog, twisty owl, downward dog, oh my! Child and parent or caregiver practice fun yoga poses that build strength, increase flexibility and relax the body and mind in this one-hour class taught by Lisa Ferraro, an instructor at Yoga for Bliss. Incorporate breathing and relaxation techniques into a dynamic and playful experience that you and your child can enjoy together. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring a mat if possible. Recommended for ages 2–5. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for weather updates. Session fee: $15 Member/$23 Non-member. Session fee includes one adult and one child, Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Got shade? Or sun? Or deer? Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day and Assistant Director of Public Programs Laurel Rimmer suggest perfect plants for your garden at this special drop-in program. Free with admission to the grounds.

Quiet like a mountain, moving like a river, Tai Chi is a sequence of gentle movements based on images found in nature. Short and long form classes are led by Irving Yee, an active member of the William CC Chen Tai Chi School. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for weather updates. Session fee: $15 Member/$23 Non-member. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.
ON THE GROUNDS, 10AM Beginners, 11AM Intermediates

Glow a Wild Garden/Ilumine su jardín
With fluorescent color to represent the season’s heightened color palette, and inspiration from Glyndor Gallery’s Wild Garden exhibition, create your own personal, glowing garden vista. Then contribute your creation to a group project and see it glow under a cool black light.  Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Join an exhibition interpreter for one of our regularly scheduled tours of Tending toward the Untamed: Artists Respond to the Wild Garden. Wave Hill’s Wild Garden serves as inspiration for new painting, photography, animation, sculpture and installation, by artists Gary Carsley, Chris Doyle, Julie Evans, Isabella Kirkland, Janelle Lynch, Rebecca Morales, Erik Sanner and Anat Shiftan. In the Sunroom  Project Space, Annie Varnot creates a serene space for contemplating life’s impermanence and the potential for growth and renewal Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM, through August 18. Free with admission to the grounds.

Release stress and find refuge from city life by practicing seasonal yoga, surrounded by the beauty of Wave Hill. Hatha Yoga involves the use of physical postures, breath control and meditation to create a supple, strong and relaxed body-mind. Classes are led by Neem Dewji, certified in Hatha and Therapeutic Yoga from The Yoga for Health Foundation in Bedfordshire, England, and The Integral Yoga Institute in NYC. Participants should bring a mat, dress in loosely fitting clothing and come to class with breakfast well digested. All levels welcomed. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for weather updates. Session fee: $15 Member/$23 Non-member. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Glow a Wild Garden/Ilumine su jardín
With fluorescent color to represent the season’s heightened color palette, and inspiration from Glyndor Gallery’s Wild Garden exhibition, create your own personal, glowing garden vista. Then contribute your creation to a group project and see it glow under a cool black light. Free with admission to the grounds.

Need a place to wind down or find inspiration after a long week? These new exploratory workshops are led by thinkers and doers who engage the public in a creative dialogue and an investigation of the world around us through various media. In this second session of the summer, paper artist and educator Danielle Durchslag guides participants in creating flat collages and fragile sculptures out of paper. Use cutting blades as a drawing tool to “trace” various forms and shapes inspired by natural forms.
$20 Member/$30 Non-member each session. Registration recommended; drop-ins welcome as space allows. Register online at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Closed to the public

Each week, a “mystery reader” from Wave Hill’s staff shares a few of her or his favorite stories with budding young naturalists. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Ideal for ages 3 and up and their adult companions. Free, and admission to the grounds is free all day.

Join an exhibition interpreter for one of our regularly scheduled tours of Tending toward the Untamed: Artists Respond to the Wild Garden. Wave Hill’s Wild Garden serves as inspiration for new painting, photography, animation, sculpture and installation, by artists Gary Carsley, Chris Doyle, Julie Evans, Isabella Kirkland, Janelle Lynch, Rebecca Morales, Erik Sanner and Anat Shiftan. Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM, through August 18. Free, and admission to the grounds is free all day.

Wave Hill is open.

Join us for an hour-long tour of highlights this Independence Day. Free with admission to the grounds.

Capture the beauty of Wave Hill’s landscape in these drop-in, open-air studio sessions. Wave Hill provides easels and boards, and you bring art-making materials and paper or canvas. All levels welcome; new artists encouraged! Facilitated group critique at the end of each session. Weather dependent. Session fee: $10 Member/$18 Non-member. Registration day-of at Perkins Visitor Center starting at 9:30AM. Meet on the grounds for critiques. This weekly series continues through August.

Jumping frog, twisty owl, downward dog, oh my! Child and parent or caregiver practice fun yoga poses that build strength, increase flexibility and relax the body and mind in this one-hour class taught by Lisa Ferraro, an instructor at Yoga for Bliss. Incorporate breathing and relaxation techniques into a dynamic and playful experience that you and your child can enjoy together. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring a mat if possible. Recommended for ages 2–5. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for weather updates. Session fee: $15 Member/$23 Non-member. Session fee includes one adult and one child, Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.


A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM—4:30PM. Closes 5:30PM, March 15—October 31.  
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6—18. Free Saturday mornings until noon. Free until noon on Tuesdays in June and all day in July.  Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Program s are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 3o minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at
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Plan Would Cut Local Income Taxes for 99% of NYC Tax Filers

  City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced a plan to reform the City’s unfair Personal Income Tax.  Comptroller Liu’s “NYC Tax Relief Proposal” would cut local income taxes for 99% of New Yorkers and raise an additional $250 million to $1 billion in revenue for the City’s budget.

“It makes little sense that a family with an income of $50,000 pays nearly the same tax rate as a family that makes $1,000,000,” Comptroller Liu said. “New Yorkers are willing to pay fair taxes and this proposal makes the City’s rates truly progressive, as they were always intended. Overall, it carries the added benefit of increased resources to help close budget deficits that loom in the near future.”

Currently, New York City’s local effective tax rates are relatively flat. For example, a family that earns $50,000 pays a tax rate of 3.3%, while a family that earns $1,000,000 pays a rate of 3.7%. Under Comptroller Liu’s Tax Relief Proposal all joint filers earning less than $500,000 per year and single filers earning less than $200,000 would pay a lower local NYC income tax rate than they do now.
According to the Mayor’s recently-unveiled Executive Budget forecasts, the City now faces multi-billion budget shortfalls into the foreseeable future. Specifically, the Mayor’s Office of Management & Budget is predicting gaps of $3.04 billion for FY 2014, $3.68 billion for FY 2015, and $3.15 billion for FY 2016.

The progressive local tax rates proposed by Comptroller Liu would increase revenue to the City by requiring those in the highest income brackets, joint filers earning more than $500,000, to pay their fair share.  When applied to previous years, the proposed tax rates increased revenue by an average of $452 million per year.  


Local income tax collections would increase by about 6 percent under Comptroller Liu’s proposal through an equitable tax structure that ensures more New Yorkers have a chance to enjoy the City’s ongoing economic recovery.  

“The NYC Tax Relief Proposal is intended to promote shared prosperity so that the benefits of economic recovery are spread to the 99% more evenly than they were the last time around,” Comptroller Liu said.

A Fact Sheet on Comptroller Liu’s Tax Relief Proposal is available here:

Last month, the Comptroller’s Office released a report that details the income disparity in New York City. The study found that the top 1% of income tax filers receive one-third of all City personal income, a share that is almost twice the national average. The income gap is further highlighted by the concentration of income among the very wealthiest. The most affluent 15,000 New York City households (the top 0.5% of filers) took in 26.7% of the City’s income.  The top 2,000 households (the top 0.05% of filers) accounted for 18.9% of all income reported in the City. The report, “Income Inequality in New York City,” is available for download here:



Olga Luz Tirado.jpg
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced that Olga Luz Tirado has been named the executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council, a program of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

Ms. Tirado is an award-winning marketing consultant, who currently serves as the president of her own marketing firm, LTCommunications. Founded in 1992, LTCommunications has worked with a variety of local, national and international businesses and non-profits over the past two decades, including Coca Cola, IBM, Simon & Schuster, El Museo del Barrio and Goya Foods.


“Olga Luz Tirado has built a successful track record in marketing and communications over the past 20 years, and I am thrilled to have her as part of my team. I am confident that with Ms. Tirado at the helm, the Bronx Tourism Council will grow even bigger and better in the coming years. I look forward to working with her to produce great events, highlight the amazing cultural organization of our borough and let the world know about all the great things that are happening in the Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Ms. Tirado brings to the Bronx Tourism Council experience, a great reputation, boundless energy and a technological skill set that will help us showcase just how unique the Bronx is, both within our borders and to the entire world,” said Marlene Cintron, president of  the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

“I am delighted to have been selected to lead the Bronx Tourism Council. The Bronx is a great place, and I look forward to creating new events and programs that will offer tourists  and borough residents alike new opportunities to experience the many wonderful things the Bronx has to offer,” said Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council.
Ms. Tirado brings nearly 30 years of advertising, public relations, marketing and events management experience to the coveted position of executive director. She began her career as an assistant manager in pre-print production at BBDO International, one of the top ten advertising agencies in the country. Within a decade she joined Hispano Americano Advertising as a vice president, where she ventured into producing commercials and videos for broadcast. Ms. Tirado’s one-hour PBS documentary, Latinas on the Move: Hispanic Women in the Non-Traditional Workforce, earned her a “Women at Work” Broadcast Award from the National Commission on Working Women.

In 1992, Ms. Tirado founded LTCommunications, a Public Relations and Event Management firm designing Public Relations and Marketing campaigns for clients such as Goya Foods, IBM, and Simon & Schuster Audio, among others. She is also the recipient of the 2000 Governor’s Award for Excellence (NYS Division for Women); 2004 Business Woman of the Year Award (NYS Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce); and the 2005 Outstanding Achievement Award for Arts/Communications (YWCA’s Salute to Women and Racial Justice), to name a few. Ms. Tirado is also a published writer and avid photographer.
Ms. Tirado was selected after an extensive search for an individual that both understood the borough of the Bronx and had the skill sets that would complement ongoing efforts to rebrand the Bronx and enhance the tourism experience in the borough. 

“I look forward to building on Borough President Diaz’s leadership in extolling Bronx Pride, and using that positive momentum to help establish this beautiful, culturally-rich and diverse borough as the ultimate tourist destination,”  said Ms. Tirado.


Immigrant Assistance Service Enforcement Act

Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo announced today the passage of legislation to implement the Immigrant Assistance Service Enforcement Act (A.4887A).

·         The bill would require organizations assisting immigrants to register with and be certified by the Department of State.

·         This bill would increase civil penalty from not more than $7,000 to not more than $10,000 dollars, for violations of this article.

·         No immigration service shall be provided unless such provider is registered with the Department of State.

“For many immigrants, naturalization in the United States is a lifelong dream. However, the process can be arduous,” said Silver. “Immigration assistance is an essential resource. We must ensure that those on this path have access to competent, skilled service providers who can help navigate this complicated process,” said Speaker Silver.

“Acclimating to a new environment is extremely challenging. And individuals trying to follow the precise application process for citizenship face added pressures. The Immigrant Assistance Service Enforcement Act will protect those seeking citizenship from unnecessary missteps in the application process by guaranteeing the qualifications of providers,” said Crespo.

The application process for citizenship is complex. Serious consequences can occur if related laws, rules and procedures are not followed. As a result of this legislation, individuals seeking assistance can be certain that the assistance they receive is from a qualified provider.
This is being sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. and is Senate bill S-94-8 which is currently in committee.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Is Adriano Espiallat ciculating petitions for State Senate?

    Adriano Espaillat

     While 13th Congressional candidate & current 31th State Senator Adriano Espiallat announced at the Ben Franklin endorsement meeting that he was not going to circulate petitions for state senate We have received a copy of a petition for Gabriella Rosa for member of the Assembly in the 72nd A.D. Also on the petition in the spot for 31th State Senate is the name of the current state senator and 13th congressional candidate Adriano Espiallat. We are trying to confirm this, we were unable to reach Senator Espaillat or anyone from his campaign at this time.
    As soon as we get official word as to if Senator Espaillat is circulating this petition or if his name is being used as a place holder should he win the 13th Congressional race that the committee of vacancies would then name another person to run for the 31st State Senate position we will let you know.
   We spoke to Senator Espaillat's campaign spokesperson who said that the candidate running for assembly in the 72nd Assembly District was responsible for the petition. Espaillats campaign also said that Mr. Espaillat did not authorize the use of his name for the petition, and has asked that it not be circulated anymore, We were also told as it looks now Senator Espaillat should be the new congressman from the 13th C.D. 

       When we took a closer look at the petition we noticed that the highest level position was not on top as is usual on most petitions, because that the top position is generally responsible for the petition. We also noticed that Mr. Mark Levine the current Male District Leader in the 72nd A.D. was listed as a judicial delegate but not as a candidate for district leader. In fact the important positions of Male and Female District Leaders were not listed at all on the copy of the petition that we saw that included the male and female State Committee members listed. 


Comptroller’s office will register more than 200 ACS contract extensions to ensure existing childcare programs remain in place for over 40,000 children   

   City Comptroller John C. Liu today called on the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to reassess its EarlyLearn NYC Request for Proposal (RFP) process.  The EarlyLearn NYC initiative was designed to, according to the agency, “merge childcare and early education into a single, seamless system.”

In May, following an RFP process, ACS announced new contract awards for the EarlyLearn NYC initiative which was scheduled to begin on September 1, 2012. Following an outcry from numerous well-established childcare vendors who responded to the agency’s RFP process, ACS began submitting requests to the Comptroller’s office to extend the existing childcare contracts scheduled to expire this month. These contracts have now been extended for up to one year.

“While the EarlyLearn NYC initiative may be well intentioned, the RFP process has been, by too many accounts, a disaster. It has also caused a tremendous amount of unnecessary anxiety for parents, children, and service providers,” Comptroller Liu said. “It is unfair to put parents through the stress of not knowing how long the doors of their childcare provider will remain open. ACS should use the twelve months provided under the contract extensions to conduct a comprehensive review of the EarlyLearn NYC RFP.”
“City Hall is taking some of the best programs in the country and throwing them out the window. You have to fear for our kids’ futures if we lose centers like these,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “If this were really about the merits, the City would have never made these decisions. The Comptroller is absolutely right to extend these contracts given the serious concerns with this RFP process.”
“Several centers in my district will be closed as a result of the EarlyLearn RFP and many others have been significantly downsized as slots have been diverted to lesser known centers in and around the community,” said City Council Member Letitia James.  “The citywide effect is even more detrimental. Mayor Bloomberg's proposed city budget slashes more than 47,000 low-income and working-class children from subsidized daycare, Head Start and afterschool programs. About 6,500 children will be left without a slot come this November as a result of Early Learn. I believe something is extremely wrong with this picture and it is our time now to stand up and say enough is enough.”

To date, the Comptroller’s Office has received 35 contract extensions from ACS and expects to receive nearly 200 more before the looming expiration deadline. In order to ensure stability in childcare for more than 40,000 children throughout the City, Comptroller Liu’s Bureau of Contract Administration will work to swiftly register these extensions. 
This blunder echoes a similar incident at ACS in 2010, when the agency rescinded awards worth $470 million for a group of more than 60 foster care nonprofits because of mistakes made when the contracts were evaluated.

Due to the importance of early childhood education and the serious issues raised regarding the EarlyLearn NYC RFP, Comptroller Liu will be exploring the possibility of auditing whether ACS has abided by all applicable procurement guidelines.


Assemblyman Nelson L. Castro Legislation Requiring the Sanitization of Bedding Passes State Assembly

 Assemblyman Nelson L. Castro announced that his legislation A4243A requiring the sanitization of every used mattress or bedding material that is transported, stored or sold with new bedding in New York State has been passed by the state assembly.

Currently, the New York State General Business Law classifies any mattress or bedding material that has been returned by the purchaser within 30 days as new bedding. Legislation A4243A amends the definition of "New Bedding" by automatically classifying it as used bedding after being purchased and returned. This legislation also prohibits the transportation of used bedding with new ones unless they are sanitized or enclosed in non-permeable plastic, polyethylene film or similar materials useful to prevent the passage of contaminants.

In addition, the legislation requires the sanitation of used bedding that are sold or stored with new bedding, in accordance with regulations established by the Department of State. It also requires the Department of State to inspect every place where articles of bedding are made, remade, renovated, prepared or sterilized. The bill gives the Department of State the authority to determine the inspection frequency but requires it to have at least one inspection during any continues three year period.
Over the past years, the State of New York has been negatively affected in many different ways by the spread of bed bug infestation. New York State has the greatest concentration of bed bug reports in the United States. [1] 

According to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, 13,152 bed bug infestation complaints were received in 2009. "Bed bugs infestation is one of the epidemics that can be prevented through this legislation. The first step in fighting bed bugs and other similar epidemics in our state is to educate our citizens on effective preventive methods to control the spread of contaminants," expressed Assemblyman Castro.

The bill passed the Assembly with bipartisan support (138-1) and is currently in the Senate Rules Committee, sponsored by Senator Jose Peralta (S358A). If immediate action is not taken, New York residents, business owners and tourists will continue to experience the negative impact of bed bugs and other infestations. "This is an important piece of legislation that will help in the prevention and treatment of critical epidemics throughout the state and will prevent used bedding that has not been properly sanitized from being transported, stored or sold with new bedding," added Assemblyman Castro.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Borough President Diaz Marches at National Puerto Rican Day Parade

    On Sunday June 10, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined  thousands of others to celebrate Puerto Rican pride at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

    Borough President Diaz  paraded up 5th Avenue to the tune of  “Bomba y Plena,” thanks to the musical group Los Pleneros de la Casita de Chema (El Rincón Criollo), who marched with Borough President Diaz and dozens of staffers and supporters.
    You can see a brief video of BP Diaz marching here.

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

With A Committee Like That…

You should know that the Committee to Sell – I mean to Save New York - has invested more than $17 million in selling out - I’m sorry – in saving New York. The Committee has been selling Governor Cuomo’s popularity to the people of New York State to the point where he consistently receives 70% approval ratings.

The Committee to sell – again, I apologize, I mean to Save New York- has been very effective in selling out the workers of New York State.  Just take the Tier 6 Pension Plan that was recently adopted. This new pension plan raises the retirement age and requires new state workers to work longer before they can receive a pension.

Another effort of the Committee to Sell – I mean, to Save New York- is the New York Works Infrastructure Initiative, where Governor Cuomo played the private sector unions against the public sector unions and also where he provided millions in corporate tax breaks.

Another project, where the Committee spent millions to push through was the Budget Deficit Solution, where the Governor cut social services, senior citizens program, school aid, and services to the poor without extending the Millionaires Tax.

You should also know that the Regional Economic Development Councils are basically for multi-million dollar companies, while the Governor cut funding to organizations like little leagues in poor neighborhoods.

I remember all the fanfare that Andrew Cuomo created when he was Attorney General. I remember Project Sunshine where he promoted transparency in government and that everyone should release the names of contributors to their campaigns. What happened Mr. Governor? Why are you not pushing for the names of the contributors to the Committee to Sell –I mean Save New York- to be made public? Why can’t we know who they are?

I have to give it to the Governor.  The creation of the Committee to Save New York has been one of the greatest, biggest, most successful, amazing, Machiavellian, and indirect promotion for a political candidate in the history of New York State.

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


Monday, June 11, 2012

13th Congressional Debates Tonight

    Tonight starting at 6 PM the candidates for the 13th Congressional District will debate hosted by the League of Women Voters, which will air on channel 34 of Time Warner Cable or on the web here, just check which channel the debate is on .

    Later tonight at 9 PM on Bronxtalk Channel 67 on Cablevision there will be another debate by the candidates in the 13 C.D., but this one will not be held by the League of Women Voters.

    I will give my breakdown of the race and prediction of the winner of the 13th C.D. in my June 21st column of "100 PERCENT" that appears in the Bronx and Parkchester Newspapers.




  The Office of the New York City Comptroller and the New York City Law Department announced today that the New York City Pension Funds filed a shareholder derivative action against Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  The lawsuit concerns the recent revelations contained in a New York Times article regarding the bribery and corruption scandal at Wal-Mex, the Mexican subsidiary of Wal-Mart. 

The City Funds’ Complaint, filed in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleges that Wal-Mart’s officers and directors breached their fiduciary duty to the company and its shareholders by failing to properly handle credible claims of the bribery allegations and attempting to cover up details of the scandal.  

“Wal-Mart’s board has repeatedly rebuffed our office and the New York City Pension Funds when we have raised concerns over the company’s failure to comply with legal and ethical standards,” Comptroller John Liu said. “Rooting out the directors and executives responsible for the current crisis would be a first step, but Wal-Mart also needs corporate governance reforms and an independent board that will protect outside shareholders and safeguard against another breakdown of internal controls.”

“This suit seeks to recover corporate assets lost as the result of its wrongful acts, tighten legal and regulatory compliance structures, and institute improved governance oversight,” noted Inga Van Eysden, Chief of the New York City Law Department’s Pension Division. 

In 2005, Wal-Mart executives were notified of a scheme involving the bribing of Mexican officials to expedite the building of Wal-Mart stores in that country.  Several internal investigations resulted.  The Pension Funds allege that the company took no significant action to change the situation.  On April 21, 2012, The New York Times published an article concerning the Mexican bribery scandal.  Wal-Mart’s stock quickly declined approximately 8 percent in the days that followed. 

Based on these developments, the Funds decided to commence their derivative action against Wal-Mart directors and executives.  Separate derivative cases against Wal-Mart are also pending in Delaware Chancery Court and the U.S. District Court in Arkansas.

New York City’s legal team includes Valerie Budzik and Richard Simon of the Comptroller’s General Counsel’s Office, and Inga Van Eysden and Keith Snow of the New York City Law Department’s Pensions Division.

The New York City Law Department is one of the oldest, largest and most dynamic law offices in the world, ranking among the top three largest law offices in New York City and one of the largest public law offices in the country. Tracing its roots back to the 1600’s, the Department has an active caseload of 90,000 matters and transactions in 17 legal divisions. The Corporation Counsel heads the Law Department and acts as legal counsel for the Mayor, elected officials, the City and all its agencies. The Department’s approximately 650 attorneys represent the City on a vast array of civil litigation, legislative and legal issues and in the criminal prosecution of juveniles. For more information, please visit

New York City Comptroller John C. Liu serves as the investment advisor to, custodian and trustee of the New York City Pension Funds. The New York City Pension Funds, consisting of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, New York City Teachers’ Retirement System, New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and New York City Board of Education Retirement System, serve more than 600,000 active and retired New York City employees, and combined constitute one of the largest public pension funds in the United States.

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Closure of Goulden Ave between Sedgwick & 205 St during Summer Months

   Once again as was the case last year the Department of Environmental Protection will be closing Goulden Avenue. Here it is as it was sent to us.

" TheNYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will close Goulden Ave in both directions, between Sedgwick Ave and 205 St, on June 28, 2012 to commence water main repairs in the Goulden Ave roadway.  Construction will continue on weekdays and Saturdays through August 31st.  DEP and its contractor will restore the roadway to two-way traffic before schools open for the fall term".

From June 28 through August 31, motorists and the BX 10 bus will be detoured to Paul Ave.  Access for pedestrians will be provided along Goulden Ave during construction.
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

1st Annual Unity in the Community Festival ~ Sat. 6/23, 12-6PM

Save the date for the 1st Annual Unity in the Community Festival, a free event taking place on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 from 12PM to 6PM. Aqueduct Ave. Between Kingsbridge Road and West 192nd Street.

This wonderful community event is presented by the Kingsbridge Road Merchants Association in conjunction with the Mosholu Preservation Corporation, Montefiore Medical Center & the Avenue NYC Program of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, with the support of Bronx Community Board #7 and #8, Jewish Home Lifecare, Mekong, and the United Federation of Teachers.

Home to the iconic Kingsbridge Armory, the Kingsbridge Road community consists of over 200 merchants, one of the largest retail shopping districts in the Bronx. Rich in cultural diversity, this neighborhood also boasts top notch eateries throughout the area.

The purpose of this event is to celebrate community unity and raise awareness on the diverse array of merchants in this district.

Attendees as well as sponsors will have access to thousands of people, including all participating merchants.

The day will consist of live music and entertainment, various kid's activities, health screenings, free gifts and give-aways, and lots of food!

Come out and join us as we kick off the summer with this great, free, community event!
KBMA Unity Festival STD eng

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