Friday, January 18, 2013


BySenator Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District

Governor Cuomo is calling for the Democratic Party to be Unified, Tighter and Organized
Governor Cuomo is calling for the Democratic Party to be “unified” “tighter” and “ organized.”
You should know that during the past general election, Governor  Andrew Cuomo who is supposed to be the leader of the Democratic Party in the State, did everything possible to “divide”, “disorganize” and “weaken” the Democratic Party in the State of New York.
And you should remember that Governor Cuomo not only publicly supported Senator Stephen Saland, a Republican against Terry Gipson, the official Democratic candidate and ultimate winner  in the 41st Senate District, but worse than that, Governor Cuomo kept a distance from President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign especially during the time when it appeared that Obama’s chances were uncertain.
After the election you should also know that Governor Andrew Cuomo worked intensively behind closed doors with Senator Dean Skelos, Senator Jeff Klein and the other rebellious Democratic Senators to organize the coup that is keeping the Democrats from taking control of the Senate.
You dear readers, never heard the Governor during the election asking the Democrats to be “unified” and “organized” in order to have a tight party. Now, the Governor is trying to send a message to everyone that he is the best Democrat and the best candidate for President in 2016.
You should know, that with the certification of Senator-elect Cecilia Tkaczyk as the official winner in the 46th Senatorial District, it gives the Democrats in the New York State Senate the right to become the majority and the undisputed leaders of the Senate.  The people of the State of New York have spoken and have given the Democrats the right to claim the majority leadership in the Senate and the Republicans to become the minority.  There is no question about this.
If Governor Andrew Cuomo really wants to send a message that he wants the Democrats to be “unified”,  “tight” and “organized,” he should publically and privately demand that Jeff Klein and his group and all the Democrats to be “unified”, to be “tight” and to be “organized.”  That is the job of the Democratic leader of the State.  He is the leader.  Enough with saying “I don’t want to get involved.” Enough with using the Democratic Senators and their votes to keep the Republicans in control of the State Senate. By being the Democratic Governor of the State of New York he is involved. It is his duty and responsibility to “unify,” to “tighten” and to “organize” the Democrats in New York State and to bring them back to be in control of the State Senate.  Less than that is just pure talk.
I am State Senator Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.


A Response to the Newtown, CT School Shooting

From Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda 87th A.D.

     On Tuesday, Jan. 15th. I was proud to be a member of the New York State Assembly. We passed a piece of landmark legislation that will keep Bronxites and other residents of New York State safer. The legislation bans assault weapons, closes loopholes and cracks down on the horrific gun violence that’s ravaging our communities and our nation.
   The massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, CT, and the recent killings in Webster, NY, of first responders were heinous tragedies, but, sadly, terrible gun violence incidents are all too common across our state. This legislation strengthens gun-control measures and safety by prohibiting assault weapons and banning all high-capacity ammunition clips with the capacity to hold more than 7 rounds. It creates a grandfather clause for owners of legal semi-automatic weapons provided they register them with the state police, recertify the registration every 5 years and undergo a background check. The measure also increases criminal penalties for the illegal use of guns. It toughens penalties for drug dealers and violent criminals involved in illegal gun use, and it increases the penalty for having a gun on school grounds and for injuring a child with a gun. Additionally, and in light of the recent shooting in Webster, NY, the legislation also adds first responders to the aggravated murder statute, ensuring that murderers of first responders face a life in prison without parole.
   Lastly, the gun violence that’s been ravaging communities simply cannot be solved without addressing mental-health issues. This measure ensures that those who might be a danger to themselves or others because of a mental illness simply do not have access to firearms. There’s no quick fix to end gun violence, nor is there any one approach, but this new legislation takes a comprehensive view and provides concrete measures to begin to tackle the problem.
  • Specifically, the bill:
  • revokes and/or suspends the gun license of an individual upon issuance of an order of protection by a court of law;
  • establishes a statewide database of handgun licenses to enable the state police to crosscheck the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to determine if any current licensees have been legally disqualified from possessing firearms under federal law;
  • creates statewide standards for handgun-license applications;
  • requires mental-health professionals to report to law enforcement when they believe a person receiving mental-health services is a danger to themselves or others. Those who possess a firearm license would have their license revoked or suspended and be required to surrender their firearms;
  • allows schools to qualify for reimbursement building aid assistance if they choose to add electronic systems and hardened doors to increase safety;
  • updates the New York gun licensing statute to ensure those prohibited from possessing firearms on the federal level are not granted a gun license from the state;
  • requires re-certification of gun licenses on a 5-year cycle to include current name, date of birth, current address and the make, model, serial number and caliber of all firearms possessed;
  • allows counties to keep the names and address of gun licensees confidential under certain circumstances;
  • requires all private sales of firearms, shotguns and rifles to be made through a licensed gun dealer to ensure that a proper background check is performed, unless the sale is between immediate family members; and
  • requires owners of firearms to safely store such weapons if he/she resides with a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under certain provisions of federal law.
(Criminal penalties)
  • increases the existing penalty for possession of a loaded firearm from 3.5 years to 5 years imprisonment when the defendant is also convicted of a drug sale or violent felony offense as part of the same charge. Additionally, the penalty for possession of an unloaded firearm in this situation increases from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony;
  • increases the penalty for possession of an unloaded firearm from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony;
  • increases the penalty for unlicensed possession of a gun on school grounds from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony;
  • clarifies that an individual can be prosecuted for criminal facilitation for making available, sharing, selling, exchanging, giving or disposing of a community gun which helps another person commit a crime;
  • creates a new elevated crime of Aggravated Enterprise Corruption for commission of multiple class B felonies and gun-related crimes, a class A-I felony punishable by a mandatory life sentence with a minimum term of between 15 and 25 years;
  • increases the penalty for straw purchases of firearms from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony;
  • increases the penalty for recklessly causing physical injury to a child with a firearm from a class A misdemeanor to a class D violent felony; and
  • increases the penalty for failing to report a lost or stolen firearm and ammunition from a $100 fine to a class A misdemeanor.
(Mental health / Kendra’s Law)
  • requires the evaluation of the need for Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) prior to the expiration of the order;
  • requires the county director of community services to notify the director in another county when a person subject to an AOT order has moved to that county;
  • extends the maximum duration of an initial AOT order from 6 months to 1 year;
  • requires inmates being released to the community from a mental health hospital to undergo review for an AOT order; and
  • extends the sunset provision of Kendra’s Law from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2017.
This was a horrific tragedy; I am pleased that our great state has taken the initiative to see that it doesn’t happen again.

Luis Sepulveda  Assemblyman 87th. A.D.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following today on efforts to reach an agreement on teacher evaluations:

“The DOE and UFT apparently came to an agreement, which the Mayor then scuttled ­– putting politics ahead of students and teachers. The Mayor's ‘my way or the highway’ edicts have hurt New Yorkers enough already.”

Visit for the latest news, events and initiatives.
Follow Comptroller Liu on 
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text “follow johncliu” to 40404.
View the latest Comptroller’s office videos on  



JASA Announces Spring 2013 Semester of Institute for Senior Action


B&W Logo JPG     

learn – then Act! JASA’s Institute for senior action
 accepting appliCations for SPRING 2013 semester
(New York, NY) January 3, 2013- JASA, New York’s largest agency serving older adults in the New York Metropolitan area, is kicking off its Spring 2013 semester of the Institute for Senior Action (IFSA) on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013.
The ten-week leadership and advocacy training program was established in 1994 to sharpen the skills of longtime community activists and serve as a vehicle for recent retirees and others to learn about and become more involved in senior advocacy. The course combines the basics of social action with important information on senior issues. Students will learn how to get more involved in the legislative process and to become effective advocates. Classes focus on a wide variety of subjects including navigating the federal, state and local legislative processes, public speaking, understanding senior benefits and entitlements, techniques of social action, and much more.
For more information, or to request an application, please contact Jacob Stolar at 212-991-6572 or or visit All adults 55+ are invited to apply.
Since 1968, JASA and its affiliates with its 3,000 staff and volunteers, have provided social, recreational, health, housing, cultural and educational programs for 53,000 older adults per year -- regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity -- to help sustain them in their homes and communities and to offer opportunities for a better quality of life.  Services are available in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Wave Hill Events February 1–February 8

The good news this week is that the woodworking workshop has one more available seat, and the Winter Workspace weekend workshops still have a few more openings. We design these as small workshops to maximize the experience and the learning, but that means they fill quickly. Register soon!

March out the Mardi Gras!/¡Viva el Carnaval!
Join visiting native New Orleans artist and instructor Paul Deo to make a colorful parasol, hat, nature mask or funky bead necklace. Then join an imaginative indoor parade as we create the sights, colors and sounds of the Mardi Gras. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Wave Hill’s inspirational landscape is complemented by the iconic Wave Hill chair. In this two-day workshop, construct your own Wave Hill Chair under the guidance of Facilities Manager and master carpenter Frank Perrone. Participants receive step-by-step instructions; no previous carpentry skills necessary. Must attend both sessions. Space is limited! $210 Member/$240 Non-member. Registration required, online at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Attendance required at both sessions.

Venture through closed doors for a behind-the-scenes garden tour of Wave Hill. Peek inside the Potting Shed, preview the South African bulbs getting ready for their dazzling Palm House debut and find out where all of those potted plants disappear to for the winter. Free with admission to the grounds.

March out the Mardi Gras!/¡Viva el Carnaval!
Join visiting native New Orleans artist and instructor Paul Deo to make a colorful parasol, hat, nature mask or funky bead necklace. Then join an imaginative indoor parade as we create the sights, colors and sounds of the Mardi Gras. Free with admission to the grounds.

Wave Hill’s inspirational landscape is complemented by the iconic Wave Hill chair. In this two-day workshop, construct your own Wave Hill Chair under the guidance of Facilities Manager and master carpenter Frank Perrone. Participants receive step-by-step instructions; no previous carpentry skills necessary. Must attend both sessions. Space is limited! $210 Member/$240 Non-member. Registration required, online at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Attendance required at both sessions.

Visitors gain insight into Winter Workspace artist Manuel Acevedo’s creative process and explore the winter landscape as a source of inspiration. Acevedo discusses his work and explains methods of animation, such as stop-motion, flipbooks and optical devices. Participants will then explore the transformation of Wave Hill’s winter landscape using basic animation techniques.
Art materials are provided unless otherwise noted. Workshops are open to all visitors ages 12 and over when accompanied by an adult. Space is limited, so registration is recommended, at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Free with admission to the grounds. Drop-ins will be accommodated as space permits.

Visitors gain insight into Winter Workspace artist Zachary Fabri’s creative process and explore the winter landscape as a source of inspiration. Fabri guides participants through exercises that utilize the body as a tool for creativity. Each participant will develop and present a movement to the group. Workshops are open to all visitors ages 12 and over when accompanied by an adult. Space is limited, so registration is recommended, at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Free with admission to the grounds. Drop-ins will be accommodated as space permits.

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

Closed to the public.

Visitors gain insight into Winter Workspace artist Linda Stillman’s creative process. Stillman introduces various methods for preserving the fleeting beauty of nature. Participants create their own collages and drawings using techniques such as rubbings, flower pressing and using petals as pigment. Art materials are provided unless otherwise noted. Workshops are open to all visitors ages 12 and over when accompanied by an adult. Space is limited, so registration is recommended, at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Free, and admission to the grounds is free all day. Drop-ins will be accommodated as space permits.

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 all day Tuesdays in January and February. 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

Ben Franklin Club Endorsements

   Last night the Ben Franklin Democratic Club of the 81st A.D. held a meeting to discuss endorsements in the upcoming Bronx Borough Presidents race and 11th city council race covered mostly by the 81st A.D. Also on the meeting agenda was the report of the club nominating committee as to the slate of officers and executive board members for the upcoming year 2013. 
   Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. was on hand to talk about all that he has done, why he did not run for higher office, what he hopes to do in his upcoming term of office (if re-elected), and took questions from members of the club that has supported him in the past. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz of the 81st A.D. gave his endorsement of Diaz for BP saying that Diaz has done an excellent job of bringing the people of the Bronx together, and that Diaz is a person who can work with others in government using himself as an example. 
   A question of why the club was to endorse so early for the 11th City Council district by longtime Ben Franklin member Alvin Gordon was answered by 81 A.D. district Leader Bruce Feld. Feld said that the endorsement process was being put forth, because of the uncertainly of just when the primary would occur in September or be moved up to June. He added that there is time to wait in citywide races as the club has a greater influence in local races that are in the Bronx. The club overwhelmingly voted to endorse in the 11th city council district.


Left- Andrew Cohen waits next to BP Diaz and Diaz's Communication Director John Desio.
Right - Cliff Stanton waits next to Assemblyman Dinowitz, Bruce Feld, and Mike Heller of the club.

   Andrew Cohen was the first of the three candidates to speak. Candidate Cohen mentioned that he is an man of integrity, is honest, and that the club has a long history of electing honest candidates. Cohen went through his qualifications for office, his community involvement, and some of his views on a few of the issues. Cohen added when questioned that the public school system is drowning in standardized testing, that the mayor should negotiate with the UFT on teacher evaluations, and better parent involvement is needed. 
   Shelly Keeling was next to address the club. Keeling is relatively unknown, as she went through her bio in which  she said that she has been a resident for more than 25 years, Sued coop management for overcharges claiming victory, was a businesswoman for 34 years, law clerk, a substitute teacher, and involved in local schools such as Fieldston and InTech. Candidate Keeling in answering a question about Broadway and 231st Street by saying that the area does not have the most attractive businesses, and it is hard to get rid of them with their sidewalk displays and peddlers in front of them.
   Cliff Stanton was the third and last candidate to address the club. Candidate Stanton opened up with "Now I know how Jonah must have felt in the belly of the whale". Stanton said to Assemblyman Dinowitz about the matter of Mr. Gordon's verbal attack on the assemblyman earlier that he (Stanton) would have the assemblyman's back. Stanton spoke of going to Bronx Science High School, and mentioned that is where his child currently attends. He gave a brief bio of himself, and said "I get things done". He mentioned the charter school that he said he helped open, because parents were moving away when their children reached age 10. When questioned about the Citizens United Super Pac pushing candidates who want more charter schools, Stanton ducked the question by saying that his charter school does not pick or choose its students. He defended his boycott of the Riverdale Review, and said "If the government was coming after Andy Wolf I would come to his defense". Stanton ended his speech by defending his part in the renmoval of the previous PS 24 principal, attacking MS 141 (to which his children are not zoned for) as being a poor choice for parents, and said that is why he started the charter school.  


Left- Current 11th Councilman G. Oliver Koppell pitches his choice to replace him Andrew Cohen.
Right - Assemblyman Dinowitz explaining why the club should overwhelmingly endorse BP Diaz. 

Current term limited 11th Councilman was one of the many speakers to endorse the candidacy of Andrew Cohen. Koppell said that Mr. Cohen is very concerned about the community that he lives in, is a member of Community Board # 8, a man of integrity (like himself), and that Mr. Cohen is not seeking the office for personal gain. During his endorsement of Mr. Cohen Assemblyman Dinowitz in naming the elected officials who have already supported Mr. Cohen's candidacy included Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and then retracted BP Diaz's name. I spoke to BP Diaz over the weekend and asked why he has not already endorsed Mr. Cohen in the 11th council district. Diaz told me much like he must have told Assemblyman Dinowitz that he would be endorsing Mr. Cohen for the 11th council seat soon.
     The members of  the Ben Franklin club voted, and here is the results of the vote for the endorsement in the 11th city council district.
     Andrew Cohen-------84 votes       
     No Endorsement-------6 votes
     Shelly Keeling----------5 votes
     Cliff Stanton------------3 votes
     Write in Bob Press ------1 vote
     Total vote cast --------99 votes.

Right - The vote count in progress.

Traffic Agents at Bx. Schools During School Bus Strike

    New York City Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEA) have been posted at all Bronx schools to help with any traffic problems that may occur during the school bus strike by union school bus drivers. The TEA's are being posted to let drivers who are dropping children off that they must move on after the drop off. The TEA's are also on hand to prevent the double or triple parking of cars that blocks other cars from going through streets around schools. 

In both photos Traffic Enforcement Agents are being placed by public schools during the school bus strike at arrival and dismissal times to help keep traffic from coming to a stand still around schools.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Councilman Andy King "Open For Business"

   City Councilman Andy King opened up his new district office on Gun Hill Road in the 12th council district he serves. As you will see in the photos below the district office is small (just 1,000 square feet) with no frills, but large enough according to Councilman King to service his constituents. The new office is located at 940 Gun Hill Road at the corner of Colden Ave., and is easily accessible by the Bx 28, 30, and 38 buses. I ask a few of the many who packed the new office how they fell about their new councilman, and the answer everyone said was that feel good having Andy represent them in City Hall.

Above Left - Workers have removed the old sign from the previous store.
Above right - New sign is placed in front of office.
Right - New city council sign is put up. 

Left - You can see how crowded the office was for the opening.
Right - Councilman Andy King sits behind a small desk in a room where the walls are bare except for an Obama poster.

Left - Councilman King is welcomed by the Commanding and the Community  officers of the 47th Precinct.
Right - Councilman King with many of the people who came to help him open his new district office.

Left - Councilman King holding scissors is not looking to cut hair, but the ribbon as he does in the photo on the right.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at St. Mary's Park

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. In April 2009, Mayor Bloomberg launched NYC Service, the citywide initiative tasked with setting a new standard for how cities can tap the power of their people to tackle their most pressing challenges. This year, on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Mayor’s Office and City Agencies will be coordinating service projects in the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.
NYC Parks will be participating in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by offering volunteer projects around the five boroughs. Volunteers in parks have made a marked impact in the agency’s progress towards storm recovery. Since the storm, 7,000 volunteers have removed nearly 23,000 bags of debris from 53 sites. Yet, there is more to do. We invite you to take part in these projects for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service projects, which are taking place on Saturday, January 19 and Monday, January 21. 
Please register now and pledge a day of service.  Must be at least 18 years of age.
Monday, January 21
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
St. Mary’s Recreation Center and Park, Bronx (Located at 150th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue)
Project Details:
Painting perimeter fences
Spreading mulch, sprucing up the planters
Cleaning inside the center/painting inside stairs

Anthony Martinez | tel: 718.430.1861 | anthony
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013




ALBANY – In the opening days of the 2013-2014 legislative session, the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bold and bipartisan legislative package that enacts new comprehensive gun control measures statewide. Passage of this legislation, known as the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act) marks the New York State Senate’s bipartisan Majority Coalition’s first major legislative success. Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) praised the deal as a smart, thorough, and balanced approach towards addressing gun violence.

Senator Klein said, “New Yorkers send us to Albany to deliver big results—and today, we’ve done exactly that. By working across the aisle, we produced a comprehensive package that an overwhelming number of legislators could support. This package preserves the constitutional rights of legal gun owners, while also recognizing that those rights are not absolute and must come with reasonable, common sense restrictions. We’ve taken major steps in the right direction by passing this bill. We’ve passed a full-throated ban on assault weapons. We’ve taken high capacity magazines off of store shelves. We’ve gotten serious about treating illegal gun owners as criminals. We’ve closed loopholes in the gun sales laws. And we’ve taken truly historic steps towards keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. More than anything else, that’s something that I am truly proud of.”

Included in the gun control package is the ban of all new assault weapons, a reduction of rounds permissible in a magazine from 10 to 7, a closure of loopholes in background checks in private gun transactions, an establishment of a School Safety Task Force responsible for assessing school safety plans, the standardization of pistol permit applications and the increase in state penalties for illegal gun possession.

Also contained in the NY SAFE Act are critical measures addressing mental illness and its role in gun violence. Senator Klein advocated strongly for a provision that will not require mental health professionals to report individuals deemed a serious threat to themselves or others to county health departments, who will then immediately transmit the verified information to law enforcement. If that person holds a firearm license, law enforcement will immediately suspend the individual’s license for a period of at least six months. Law enforcement will also be empowered to confiscate that person’s firearms for the period of the suspension.

Additionally, there is a critical expansion in Kendra’s Law, a law mandating that the maximum treatment for individuals who have not sought treatment for mental illness and who are a threat to themselves or others, is increased from six months to 1 year. Kendra’s law is also extended from 2015 to 2017.

This comprehensive gun package seeks to protect New Yorkers from senseless gun violence while recognizing and protecting every citizen's Second Amendment right. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign this legislation into law later this afternoon.


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

Games People Play

You should know that there are people playing Lieutenant Columbo games in the New York State Senate, and in the process, they have turned the Senate Democratic Conference into a mere rubber stamp for the political gains and purposes of others.

We all remember the television program, Columbo, where Police Detective Lieutenant Frank Columbo used to let people believe they were so smart and intelligent that they were capable of getting away with murder.

You, dear reader, should see how Senator Dean Skelos and the Republican Senate Conference play dumb and allow pieces of legislation such as gun control (just as they did with gay marriage) come to the Senate Floor knowing that every Democrat will vote for it, pass it and approve it – and later, Senator Skelos turned on his Columbo-like dumb-act saying that it was not the Republicans but the Democrats who did it.

You should also know that in the near future, Senator Dean Skelos will be allowing the Minimum Wage Bill and the so-called Reproductive Health Bill to come to the Senate Floor, knowing that the Democrats will be voting for both, and in the process, bringing legalized late-term abortion to New York State.

All of those bills are being allowed by the Republican-controlled Senate – against the will of the Republican voters in the State – but Senator Skelos will reap many benefits from those votes without being blamed for them and without being held accountable.  In the process of using the Democratic Conference as their rubber stamp, you should know that Senator Skelos and the Republicans are keeping the benefits that come with being the Senate Majority.

It was so very interesting to watch, observe and see Senator Greg Ball, a Republican, accomplishing his agenda by including exactly what he wanted into the gun legislation bill, and then – oh, how he played Columbo like a real master, using the Democratic Conference as a rubber stamp! Senator Greg Ball stood up on the Senate Floor, attacked the Governor, spoke and voted against the bill – all so he could make his Republican constituents believe that he was no part of it.

Then, there is Governor Andrew Cuomo, covering himself behind the pretense that he has ended the use of Member Items and Capital Funds.  As you all know, Member Items and Capital Funds were the only way that a State Legislator used to be able to help those struggling groups such as little leagues, senior centers, schools, and not-for profit organizations in their districts.  The Governor got the Senate Democratic Conference and the Democratic Assembly Members to vote against their own community interests and against themselves, while on the other hand, the Governor created his own, private, HUGE Member Items - or should I say, Governor Items and Governor Capital Funds for his disposal, making everyone believe that he did away with the system – and in the process, using the Democrats as rubber stamps.

And finally, there are those “geniuses” and "smart" Senators who were dead set on not accepting Senator Jeff Klein back into our Conference and making him the Majority Leader.  “We're better being in the Minority,” they used to go around bragging.  You should know that those same Senators are the ones now responsible for our own Democratic Conference being used as a tool by Jeff Klein and the Independence Democratic Conference to bring to the Senate Floor and approve a Democratic agenda that gives all the credit and recognition to Senator Klein and the IDC.

The IDC are the ones who get the credit and all the benefits from the Governor while our Democratic Conference – who provide the votes – gets zero, nada, nothing.  We are the ones being used to approve all those pieces of legislation and they all know that without our votes, nothing will get done – and again, we get bupkis, and we get no respect.

Perhaps it would have been better if we had not listened to the “geniuses” in our conference.

Jeff Klein is the one getting all of the credit, using our Democratic Conference and our votes while we are being left out of every negotiation, not being consulted, and being taken for granted by one and all.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are games that people play, and if you don't know how to play them, you’re out of luck because others will play you and make believe they are Lieutenant Columbo, using you however they can and making you just a rubber stamp.

This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.

Sen. Jeff Klein Statement on Pelham Parkway South Reconstruction

News from Senator Jeffrey D. Klein

Serving Bronx/Westchester

   “I continue to be very concerned by the reconstruction of Pelham Parkway South that has left the street dangerously narrow and nearly inaccessible to emergency vehicles. This is an ongoing threat to the safety and well-being of the community and I support continued negotiations to return Pelham Parkway South to a safe and reasonable condition. Any failure of Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and other agencies to address the concerns of our community is unacceptable and I stand with the Concerned Citizens of Pelham Parkway South in their effort to resolve this issue.“

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj Swearing In Ceremony

    It was a proud day for Albanian Americans as this was the day for Mark Gjonaj to be sworn in as the first Albanian American elected member of the New York State Assembly from the 80th A.D. in the Bronx. Speaker after speaker said that this was a historic day for the Albanian people, just like it was for the Italians, Jews, Puerto Ricans, Afro Americans and others when the first one was elected to the same position. Mark Gjonaj entered with his family who sat in the first row as Assemblyman Gjonaj took his seat on the stage between Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl E. Heastie, and Judge Douglas E. McKeon who was to administer the oath of office to assemblyman Gjonaj.

   Senator Jeff Klein was the first of many to speak that afternoon, and said that 18 years ago when he won the 80th Assembly seat that Judge McKeon administered the oath of office to him. Klein added that Mark Gjonaj doesn't have to go up to Albany, be away from his family, work endless days, But that he wants to for the people of the 80th A.D. Congressman Eliot Engel was next, and he said that he wanted everyone to know that it was an honor to be here for his good friend Mark Gjonaj. Engel added that Mark Gjonaj won a race very few people gave him a chance to win, and that Mark is smart, hardworking, and knows how to get things done. Engel also praised Assemblyman Gjonaj for his placement of a Chanukah menorah on Pelham Parkway at White Plains Road, a first. 

   U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said that he did not ride his bike here, as was the case in yesterday's swearing in of 87th A. D. Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda. Schumer added that Mark Gjonaj got here the old fashioned way "He earned it". Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie (who supported Gjonaj's opponent until the last vote was counted) could only say that he was jealous of Assemblyman Gjonaj, because there was no ambassador at his inauguration like Mark has at his. BP Diaz said that Assemblyman Gjonaj has exhibited the work ethic to help improve his district, and the Bronx in a way to bring people together. There were more elected officials that spoke on Assemblyman Gjonaj's behalf, but an interesting note was that City Council Speaker Christene Quinn who was scheduled as a speaker on the program left early as you will see in one of the photos below. In total there were over 1,000 people in attendance, and even though the event lasted over three hours a good 75 percent remained until the end of the program.   


Left - The Explorer Post 2436 Color Guard.
Right - The Gjonaj family stands during the pledge of both the American and Albanian national anthems. 


Left - Congressman Engel congratulates Assemblyman Gjonaj.
Right - Are some of the elected officials on stage at the time.

Left - BP Diaz speaks highly of Assemblyman Gjonaj.
Right New York City Comptroller John Liu congratulated Assemblyman Gjonaj as one immigrant to another, as he said while he was not born in Albania that he (Liu) was made in Taiwan. Liu added that he knows first hand the struggles of an immigrant family in America.

Left - There was a dance performance by the Columbus Sharks Triple Threat, Cheer Step and Dance Team.
Right - Mark's mother Rosa Gjonaj speaking in Albanian to the audience as Marks brother Paul with his daughter next to him. Barley visible on the other side of his mother is Marks sister Elsa Lulaj.

Left - Assemblyman Gjonaj being sworn in by Judge McKeon with Marks wife and two sons on stage with him.
Right - After the swearing in Assemblyman Gjonaj finally gets to speak, and he thanked just about everybody who helped him get elected. He asked the 200 campaign volunteers to stand up for a round of applause.