Saturday, August 17, 2013

Albert Alvarez Opens Campaign HQ

  15th City Council candidate Albert Alvarez today opened his campaign office on Webster Avenue just south of Fordham Road. As you will see in the photos below the place was packed with supporters. It was an unusually large spectrum of people from throughout the 15th council district. There were even some old strategist from many past campaigns who came to help candidate Alvarez become the front runner in this race. More than one candidate in this race has questioned "Why has Jimmy Vacca put a candidate in our race"? That reference is to Ritchie Torres a staffer for Jimmy Vacca, and one of the candidates in the 15th race.
  There were a few surprises at the grand opening, one being that the Albert Alvarez campaign has joined forces with the Eliot Stitzer for City Comptroller campaign. This sort of marriage between candidates often helps both candidates. Alvarez will help Spitzer in the Latino community, and Spitzer could give Albert Alvarez the needed boost to gain a few more votes that could make the difference in this race. The other surprise was the endorsement of Albert Alvarez by former 15th candidate Kenny Agosto. Many have aid that it was the Torres campaign that went after and knocked off Kenny Agosto, but Mr. Agosto denied that. Agosto said that he is backing who he feels is the best candidate in the 15th council race and that is Albert Alvarez.

Left - You can see the terrific banner for candidate Albert Alvarez that lines Webster Avenue south of Fordham Road complete with his photo, phone number and Website.
Right - You can see the Eliot Spitzer for Comptroller posters next to the Albert Alvarez posters.

Left & Right - you can see the packed campaign office.

Bill Thompson Campaigns at Tracy Towers

  Led by 80th Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson spoke with close to 100 people who attended the Tracy Towers Tenants Association candidate forum last night. Other candidates in attendance were 11th City Council candidates Andrew Cohen and Cliff Stanton even though Mr. Stanton left before the event started. Ms. Jean Hill President of the Tenants Association said that they were giving the tenants a chance to meet the candidates running for office. 
  Assemblyman Gjonaj introduced Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson. Thompson spoke of his families heritage, and how fortunate his family was to have been given opportunities to succeed which now are closing fast. How his mother was a teacher, and his father became the first black State Senator, City Councilman, and Judge, and is still active at the age of 89. Thompson said he is running "to turn the city around to give all the people the same chance his parents had many years ago.
  Thompson spoke of the recent poor showing of New York City students on the recent statewide exams, and said that the students are not getting the education they need to compete with others for the jobs that are out there. He said he wants a real educator in charge at the Board of Education mentioning former chancellors Ramon Cortines and Rudy Crew as example when he was President of the Board before mayoral control which has gone no where. 
  Thompson would bring a new era of policing by getting rid of current police commissioner Ray Kelly, add more officers to an undermanned police force, and end the misuse of Stop N Frisk. He spoke of working with the private sector to get more good jobs, stop outsourcing municipal jobs, and train students who may not get into college for the high paying trade jobs. 
  On housing Thompson wants to have 120,000 more units of affordable housing in his 8 years as mayor, with 70,000 of them new units. He said that in the 20 years of the Giuliani and Bloomberg both only cared about one borough that being Manhattan. 
  Assemblyman Gjonaj then introduced City Council candidate Andrew Cohen who spoke briefly, but ended by saying "Better days are ahead for Tracy".
  Questions were taken that included how to cut crime that was answered by Thompson of having more programs and schools open longer to keep students away from trouble. Who will be the new police commissioner was answered that Thompson did not know yet, but that he would be in on the interview process of Ray Kellys successor. When asked about the polls Thompson said that 4 years ago the polls had him down by 20 points. When he asked how many people in the room had been polled only 2 raised their hands (with me the writer of this story being one). Thompson said not to be fooled again like in 2009. On a question of contracts and pay raises to city employees Thompson blasted Current Mayor Bloomberg for letting all city worker contracts expire at one time. He said that he would sit down with the unions to see just where and how the contracts could be done.

Left - 80th A.D. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj introducing Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson. 11th City Council candidate Andrew Cohen is seated near Thompson, and spoke later.
Right - Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson telling the voters of Tracy Towers why they should vote for him.


Left - 80th A.D. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (Right), 11th City Council candidate Andrew Cohen (center), and Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson (left) pose for photo.
Right - The three are joined by 81st A.D. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Ms. Jean Hill, and other officers of the Tracy Towers Tenants Association.

New Carlos Danger Weiner to Debut Labor Day

  This one comes from Celeste Katz at the Daily News. 

  An outfit pushing “Carlos Danger Weiners” plans a Labor Day weekend NYC launch replete with “super hot Weiner Girls” promoting an extra-large frank that “rises to any occasion.” 

  The all-beef (but non-kosher) dogs weigh in at a quarter-pound each and “plump up to about the size of a 50-cent piece around” when cooked.
  A 40-dog “Super Tailgater” pack selling for $79.95 comes with a dozen stick-on moustaches thrown in as a tribute to Weiner’s infamous online alias.

  It was mentioned that team Weiner had no immediate comment. 

  To read the full story by Celeste Katz go to Hot Dog Entrepreneurs .

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weiner Visits Bronx Again

  Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner visited Soundview Park in the Bronx’s 43rd Precinct, which had the borough’s second-highest number of stops in 2011, to discuss a proposal from his book, Even More Keys to the City – 61 Additional Ideas to Keep New York the Capital of the Middle Class, to require beat cops to wear cameras so that stops can be police-citizen encounters, can be recorded and accountability is heightened. 
  Weiner said that in  Rialto, California, (about the size of the average NYC Police Precinct) a body-worn camera pilot program implemented between February 2012 and July 2013 resulted in an 88% decline in the number of complaints filed against police officers and a 60% reduction in the use of force by officers as compared to the year before, increasing accountability and protecting both civilians and officers.  The program has been considered such a success that the Rialto police department is expanding it this fall.  
  Weiner stated that each year, the NYPD interacts with on average 23 million civilians, and the end of 2012, lawsuits against the NYPD were at a historic high, costing taxpayers $185 million in 2011 alone the previous year.  
  Idea Key #74: Require Beat Cops to Wear Cameras as a vehicle for ensuring citizens a higher level of accountability from the NYPD and protect officers from false accusations. Weiner’s proposal, part of several measures to improve crime abatement, would drastically improve the relationship between officers and citizens. Implement a pilot program in 20 high-risk, high-poverty precincts with the goal of gauging the lessening of crime and arrests in the area due to this measure. Cameras are a small investment for the city that will pay for themselves in savings the city will receive from clearing the back log of tort and civil actions and administrative costs associated with an arrest.

 “Each day we send our NYPD officers into communities with the expectation that they will treat communities with ‘Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect’ and we have an obligation to modify the enforcement of a policy that is clearly straining relationships with our citizens,” said Weiner. “This proposal is one solution worth pursuing in the effort to continually bring down crime while building strong community ties,” Weiner said.  
   You can go to  to find out more.

Left- Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner talks about Idea Key #74 Implement a pilot program for police to wear body cameras to improve crime abatement, and the relationship between police officers and the community.Right - one such camera is in Weiners hand to show the size of it.


Left - After answering reporters questions Ms. Roselle O'Mara and Mr. Shawn Roberts confronted Weiner over the Stop N Frisk issue. Mr. Roberts said that he had been stopped twice for no reason.
Right - Weiner answers the pair.
 Weiner then went to the James Monroe Senior Center located at 1776 Story Avenue to meet the seniors and listen to their concerns. As seen in the photos below.

Ben Franklin Dem. Club Votes Not to Endorse Again

  Wednesday August 14th the members of the Ben Franklin Democratic Club voted again not to endorse any Democratic candidate in this years primary.  There was a little scuffle however when one member who is supporting Christine Quinn questioned a letter from Councilman G. Oliver Koppell that was some what negative about the speaker. The Councilman's wife stood up to blast several members without naming them for sending out an e-mail about Councilman Koppell's negative letter to the members of the club about Speaker Quinn. Councilman Koppell then said candidates go after each other all the time. The letter said that he had been in the City Council for almost 8 years now with Christine Quinn as speaker, and that she was doing things mainly for political gain. 
  A little more mayhem was thrown into the mix when Male District Leader Bruce Feld warned that some members might vote not for their candidate seeing that tonight that candidate does not have enough support to win. One member then stated that he was supporting De Blasio, but would vote differently because it looked like De Blasio would not win the club endorsement that night. Another member said that an endorsement should unite, and not divide the club. Assemblyman Dinowitz said that Councilman Koppell had the right to send his letter out, as harsh as it was to candidate Quinn. He also said "The club needs to focus on the candidates that have already been endorsed", mentioning Public Advocate, City Comptroller, Bronx Borough President, and 11th city council. Dinowitz suggested as many other members of the club had said that there be no endorsement tonight. After State Senator Gustavo Rivera thanked the club for helping him win ion 2010, he stated that he was supporting Speaker Quinn. A voice vote was then called for, which by a 10 - 1 margin was in favor of not endorsing for mayor at this time. 

Left - Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz addresses the club as to why he thinks "No Endorsement" should be taken at this time.
Right - Councilman Koppell states his case.


Left - Lorraine Coyle Koppell blasts club members for attacking her husband Councilman Koppell in a secret e-mail sent to certain members.
Right - BFDC member and De Blasio supporter David Kornblau speaks of how he will vote seeing that his candidate may not have enough support to win the endorsement.

Left - 11th City Council candidate Andrew Cohen (endorsed by the BFDC) thanks the club for their volunteer work in helping him get on the ballot, and asks for more volunteers for the rest of the campaign.
Right - State Senator Gustavo Rivera mentions that he is supporting Christine Quinn for Mayor.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Morrison Avenue Festival Sat. Aug. 17th

Kellner, Pichardo and $1,000

  86th Assembly candidate Halle Rivera sent us the following.


Bronx, NY  --- In light of the recent allegations of Assemblymember Micah Kellner's sexual harassment of staffers, it is troubling that one of my opponents Victor Pichardo has not yet returned the $1,000 donation he recently received from Kellner.

The news of this recent scandal has hit close to home for me in two ways. First, I am a father and a husband who strongly believes that every woman deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. The allegations are serious, disturbing and alarming. This is yet another reason why I continue to denounce this ongoing "cover-up culture", of which I believe Speaker Silver is fully responsible for and should step. If this continues, we will never be able to inspire trust in our elected officials.

It is very irresponsible and alarming that as a candidate running for a seat wrapped in scandal, Pichardo would be careless enough to seek and accept contributions from Kellner.  Shame on him!

I am calling on Pichardo to immediately return the $1,000 donation to Kellner.  We as citizens cannot stand by and allow this to occur behind closed doors without making them known to the most important stakeholders, the people.

Wave Hill Events August 30–September 6

This is the week to cling for a moment longer to the respite that summer provides―the warmth of the season, the opportunity to enjoy long, light evenings, the break from relentless homework for you and/or your kids. Fortunately, oases like Wave Hill beckon year-round, particularly as we transition from summer to fall. Visit Labor Day, one of those rare Mondays when we are open, and steep yourself in garden and gallery, indoors and out. It couldn’t be more lush or welcoming.

Child and parent or caregiver practice fun yoga poses that build strength, increase flexibility and relax body and mind in this one-hour class taught by Catherine McGibney, an instructor at Yoga for Bliss. Recommended for ages 3–5. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Member $15/Non-member $23. Session fee includes one adult and one child, $5 each additional child. Registration opens on-site at 9:30AM.

Fishy Fun/Peces divertidos
Focus on friends with fins, especially those popular goldfish swimming in the Aquatic Garden. Turn colorful paper bags into fantastic 3-D fish that can swim through the air and flutter home with you.
Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Quiet like a mountain, moving like a river, Tai Chi is a sequence of gentle movements based on images found in nature. In this beginner-level class, Irving Yee, an active member of the William CC Chen Tai Chi School, will introduce students to the internal martial arts and promote an awareness of their health benefits. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Session fee: Member $15/Non-member $23. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Join a curatorial fellow for a tour of Wave Hill’s summer exhibition, Bronx Calling: the 2nd AIM Biennial, which features the cutting-edge artwork by NYC-area emerging artists, as well as an installation in the Sunroom Project Space, where Jarrod Beck translates geologic processes into drawing. Mounted sculpturally, these large-scale works create an immersive environment. Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM.  Free with admission to the grounds.

Focus on friends with fins, especially those popular goldfish swimming in the Aquatic Garden. Turn colorful paper bags into fantastic 3-D fish that can swim through the air and flutter home with you.
Free with admission to the grounds.

Hatha Yoga sessions resume September 8.

Meditation sessions resume September 8.

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

Wave Hill is open.

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

Late Bloomers in Early Autumn
Capture the shifting color and light of fall blooming plants and the autumn landscape using soft pastels, a favorite, portable color medium of plein-air artists. Through demonstrations and individual guidance, artist Wennie Huang encourages participants to translate their observations of the changing landscape using this versatile and expressive medium. Workshops conducted outside, weather permitting. Limited supplies provided. All levels welcome. $125/Wave Hill Member $95. Registration required, online at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Series continues September 10 and 17.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Join a curatorial fellow for a tour of Wave Hill’s summer exhibition, Bronx Calling: the 2nd AIM Biennial, which features the cutting-edge artwork by NYC-area emerging artists, as well as an installation in the Sunroom Project Space, where Jarrod Beck translates geologic processes into drawing. Mounted sculpturally, these large-scale works create an immersive environment. Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM.  Free with admission to the grounds.

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—5:30PM. Closes 4:30PM, November 1—March 14.  
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6—18. Free Saturday mornings until noon. Free all day Tuesdays in August, and until noon on Tuesdays in September. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs 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

U.S. Congressman Engel, Senators Klein, Espaillat, Assemblyman Dinowitz & Members of Protect the Palisades Coaltiion Stand Together for the Palisades

Standing Together for the Palisades: U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel, Senators Klein, Espaillat and Assemblyman Dinowitz Join NY and NJ Environmental Groups in Call for LG Electronics to Lower Planned Height of Building Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ

  Following the recent decision by Bergen County Superior Court to uphold LG Electronics’ plan to construct a 143 foot building headquarters by the Palisades in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, State Senator Jeff Klein, U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel, State Senator Adriano Espaillat and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz joined representatives from the coalition group, Protect the Palisades, in calling for LG Electronics to lower the height of their planned construction.

  A variance in the zoning law along the Palisades authorized LG Electronics to build above the 35 foot maximum height restriction. If constructed, the LG Electronics headquarters would pierce above the Palisades’ treeline, scarring an iconic landscape and setting a precedent for similar development.

Standing with the Palisades as a backdrop, the elected officials, community leaders and environmental leaders from both sides of the river underlined the importance of preserving the Palisades, urging LG Electronics to reconsider their design.


   Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and State Senator Gustavo Rivera together with Montefiore Medical Center and other community health partners, will launch the third annual Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In on August 17th at Crotona Park, which is located in the new part of Senator Rivera's district. The Bronx CAN Health Initiative was launched in response to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's study that showed the Bronx as the unhealthiest county in the state of New York.
In addition to tackling the issues of obesity, nutrition, exercise and access to preventative health services, as has been done at previous events, this year's Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In will also offer HIV and Hepatitis C testing, as well as information about how to prevent and where to get treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  These additions are in response to a recent report from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene which found that the 10457 ZIP code in the Bronx, in which Crotona Park lies, has the highest number of people with at least two STDs in the city.
This event is free and open to the public. 

WHAT:            Third annual BRONX CAN Health initiative will offer members of the community     free health screenings, fitness classes and fun activities, such as blood pressure                      screeenings, body mass index measurements, cooling demonstration, Zumba                          classes and much more.  

WHO:           Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
                        Senator Gustavo Rivera
                        Montefiore Medical Center
                        Community Partners  

WHEN:       Saturday, August 17, 2013
                        12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

WHERE:       Crotona Park 
                      Intersection of Crotona Avenue & Claremont Parkway 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Raquel Batista , Candidate for Bronx 15th City Council District, Gives Birth Today

   Raquel Batista, Democratic candidate for New York City Council’s 15th district, gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Carmen, at 12:23 am August 14.  Both Raquel and Carmen are doing well.  Raquel would like to thank Montefiore hospital for the great care they have given her.

Raquel continued to campaign hard throughout her pregnancy, leading canvasses and working phone banks.  She attended events and rallies and was successful in defending the challenges against her designating petition, (as was reportred on) which would have kept her off the ballot.  All well into the advanced stages and due date of her pregnancy.

The Batista campaign said that 15th candidate Raquel Batista wants to thank all those who helped her, but she  is planning to take some time off to recover and spend time with her new born daughter Carmen. Raquel Batista said that she will be back out on the campaign trail soon.   


  Comptroller Seeks End to Wholesale Arrests of Minority Youth;
Generate More Than $400 Million Annually for Higher Education

City Comptroller John C. Liu today proposed regulating and taxing the sale of marijuana for personal use by adults in New York City. In a report released today, the Comptroller’s office argued that the change would curb the significant social damage caused by prohibiting the substance and generate more than $400 million annually for higher education.

“New York City’s misguided war on marijuana has failed, and its enforcement has damaged far too many lives, especially in minority communities,” said Comptroller Liu. “It’s time for us to implement a responsible alternative. Regulating marijuana would keep thousands of New Yorkers out of the criminal justice system, offer relief to those suffering from a wide range of painful medical conditions, and make our streets safer by sapping the dangerous underground market that targets our children. As if that weren't enough, it would also boost our bottom line.”
Liu proposed that the City use the revenues generated by the regulation of marijuana to reduce CUNY tuition by as much as 50 percent for New York City residents. “In this way, we’ll invest in young people’s futures, instead of ruining them,” he said. “By regulating marijuana like alcohol, New York City can minimize teens’ access to marijuana, while at the same time reducing their exposure to more dangerous drugs and taking sales out of the hands of criminals.”
Under Liu’s proposal, adults age 21 and over could possess up to one ounce of marijuana, which would be grown, processed, and sold by government-licensed businesses for recreational or medicinal purposes. A strict driving under the influence enforcement policy would be implemented concurrently, and marijuana use in public would be prohibited.

To study issues related to regulation, Liu called for the creation of an interagency task force comprised of the NYPD, Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Education, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, District Attorneys, and Department of Consumer Affairs. The task force would work with the New York State Senate and Assembly in order to pass the appropriate legislation authorizing the full implementation of the plan.

New York City’s current market for marijuana is estimated to be around $1.65 billion annually. Basing its calculations on average consumption rates and the approximate number of users among New York City residents and commuters, the Comptroller’s office estimated that taxing the sale of marijuana would generate approximately $400 million annually, of which roughly $69 million would go to the State and MTA in the form of higher sales taxes. The office calculated that the City could save another $31 million by reallocating time and resources expended by law enforcement and the judicial system on marijuana-related arrests. It did not analyze other economic benefits, such as the reduction in associated incarceration, costs of those arrested, and potential tourist-generated tax revenue. For a detailed explanation of the estimation and methodology, please view Regulating and Taxing Marijuana: The Fiscal Impact on NYC.

But the social arguments for legalizing marijuana are even more compelling, the study found. Because of stop and frisk, minority communities disproportionately bear the consequences of marijuana arrests in New York City — especially the long-term damage to opportunities for employment, post-secondary education, and housing. Combined, blacks and Hispanics make up 45 percent of marijuana users in New York City, but account for 86 percent of possession arrests.  By contrast, whites and Asians constitute 55 percent of users but only 14 percent of arrests. In 2012, 1 out of 627 white New Yorkers was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession, compared to 1 out of 175 Hispanics and 1 out of 94 African-Americans.

More than half (56 percent) of marijuana possession arrests in New York City are of those age 25 and under — a group for whom the negative effects of an arrest or criminal record is especially acute. Convictions can affect people’s eligibility for federal student loans and NYCHA housing, and a history of arrest can bar them from many jobs.

Low-level marijuana arrests have skyrocketed during Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration and are directly related to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk strategy. Since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, there have been almost 460,000 misdemeanor marijuana arrests. The number of these arrests is on track to reach 37,000 in 2013 alone.

Liu’s proposal comes on the heels of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Administration was overhauling federal sentencing guidelines to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders. Liu hailed the Holder move as “a solid step forward” but said the plan did not represent enough real progress for New Yorkers because it did not address the need to decriminalize marijuana or the growing conflict between state and federal laws in this area.

City Council District 12 Caribbean Heritage Marcus Garvey Family Day Celebration

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Riverdale B'Ramble of the Run for the Trail Series

  Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and Van Cortlandt Track Club Partnering to Host First Race of Run for the Trail Series

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and the Van Cortlandt Track Club announced today that they are combining resources to put on the inaugural race in a series of Run for the Trail events this fall in Van Cortlandt Park, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Van Cortlandt Park's historic cross-country course, and to raise funds for its maintenance.

The first race of this series:

What: The Riverdale B'Ramble 10k/5k
When: Sunday, September 1 at 10:00 am
Where: Tortoise and Hare Statue, Van Cortlandt Park (near 250th and Broadway)
Registration fee: $25 online, $30 mail in. All proceeds go to the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park’s Summer Teen Trail Crew who will help to maintain the Cross Country Course.

We promise you tough hills, Lloyd's Carrot Cake muffin age-group awards, and a great time! The first 200 runners will receive commemorative t-shirts.

To register or for more information on this race and the series, please go to:

Save the Dates of the Remaining Run for Trail Series Events:
Sunday October 27th at 11:30am
Friday November 29th at 10am
The Entire Run for the Trail Series is a joint effort by the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, Van Cortlandt Track Club and BronxNet.

About Friends of Van Cortlandt Park:
The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park is a nonprofit, community based organization that actively promotes the conservation and improvement of Van Cortlandt Park through environmental education and restoration and enhancement of the Park, its forests and trails.

For more information, contact:
Christina Taylor, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park
Tel.: 718-601-1460

Tuesday, August 13, 2013



A day before an important meeting on the issue, City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following about the ongoing blackout of CBS:


“Because of the blackout, on Friday night, diehard New York Jets fans were deprived of the opportunity to watch their team’s first preseason game. It may not have meant much to TWC and CBS executives, but it sure meant a lot to the fans.


“If the blackout isn’t settled soon, fans will be deprived of even more football this coming weekend. With the opening day of college football and regular-season NFL rapidly approaching, we urge TWC and CBS to resolve their differences or, at least, resume transmissions of the broadcasts until that happens.


“The Franchise and Concession Review Committee meets tomorrow, and my representative will insist that FCRC take up the issue of whether TWC has violated its franchise agreement.”


Comptroller Liu sits on the New York City Franchise Concession and Review Committee, which authorizes the television franchise agreement between New York City and Time Warner Cable and provides TWC access to New York City customers.
Editor's Note: Many people think that Time Warner Cable serves only Manhattan in New York City, but there are also Bronx subscribers who are served by Time Warner Cable.

Demostration by Bangladeshi Community of Racial Attacks on Their Community


   On Saturday, August 10th, at 6:30PM, Mr. Nurun Nabi, member of the Parkchester Jame Masjid congregation, was viciously attacked on his way home after a prayer service.

  The incident took place on the corner of Ellis and Virginia Avenues near the mosque. The suspect attacked Mr. Nabi, stabbing him in the back without provocation or cause, apparently just disgusted by his appearance.

  On Monday August 19th, 2013 at 2:00PM, The Bangladesh community will hold a press conference in front of their mosque located at 1203 Virginia Avenue (Between Ellis & Gleason) to denounce the racial attacks that have taken place against their community.

  For more information, Please contact Abdus Shahid at 646-331-9023.

New Poll Shows De Blasio Now Ahead For Mayor

This item came in after our newspaper deadline.

 The latest Quinnipac University poll released today shows Bill de Blasio in the lead for the Democratic nomination for mayor. The question below includes undecided voters who were asked to say which candidate they lean more to however.

   If the Democratic primary for Mayor were being held today, and the candidates were John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, Bill de Blasio, Anthony Weiner, and Sal Albanese, for whom would you vote? (if undecided) As of today, as of today, do you lean more toward Liu, Quinn, Thompson, De Blasio, Weiner, or Albanese?

  30 % said Bill de Blasio,  24 % said Christine Quinn,  22 % said Bill Thompson, 10 % said Anthony Weiner,  6 % said John Liu, 1 % said Sal Albanese, and  7 % said they don't know or had no answer.     The margin of error was stated as 4 %. The results were further broken down to show that De Blasio leads among male, female, and white voters, with Thompson leading among black voters.                 The reason for De Blasio's rise in the polls is being attributed to his stance on the Stop N Frisk issue, and opposition to a hospital closing in Brooklyn.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

District Manager of CB 9 Fined For Misuse of City Resourses

  From a decision dated August 12, 2013, The NYC Conflict of Interest Board fined Community Board 9 District Manager Francisco Gonzalez $7,500.00 for using New York City resources for the purpose of personal gain for his private organization. 
  In a previous letter from the Conflict of Interest Board dated March 22, 2000 CB 9 District Manager Francisco Gonzalez was allowed to serve as President of the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade providing he did not use any NYC or CB 9 resources including that any personal time used was not during work hours for the parade. The decision states that around 2005 that while he was on city time that District Manager Gonzalez coordinated and operated the parade activities out of the Community Board office using CB 9 resources for the parade. CB 9 computers, phones, fax machine, copier, personal, and conference room was used to help set up for the District Managers parade. 
  The decision went into details of  the District Manager using his CB9 desktop and laptop computers to store and review documents related to the parade during his CB 9 work time. That he allowed parade volunteers to use CB 9 resources, and instructed staff to do parade related material on city time. That the Vice-President of the parade a city employee used the CB 9 office for parade business including using the CB 9 office to meet those seeking information about the parade, and of storing parade materials in the CB 9 office. 
  The decision goes on to say that CB 9 District Manager Francisco Gonzalez admitted that his conduct violated the conflict of interest law by using CB 9 resources for his parade, and for doing so on city time. For doing so the District Manager of CB 9 has agreed to pay a fine of $7,500.00. Mr. Francisco Gonzalez has been the district manager of CB 9 since 1993. 
  Reaction from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz's office was - “Our office is currently reviewing the findings of the Conflict of Interest Board regarding the matter of Francisco Gonzalez, District Manager of Community Board #9, and the misuse of taxpayer funds to support his parade. The findings of COIB represent a violation of the public trust. If similar conclusions of taxpayer abuse had been found about an elected official, that official would be forced to resign. Our office hopes that both Mr. Gonzalez and the members of Community Board #9 understand the gravity of these charges and act accordingly,” said John DeSio, communications director for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Decision on Stop N Frisk by Federal Judge

  Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that stop-and-frisk tactics have violated the constitutional rights of minorities and ordered that a federal monitor be put in place to oversee reforms

 The results of a 2005 class action suit against the City of New York has resulted in Mr. Peter L. Zimroth a partner with Arnold & Porter LLP being named by Judge Scheindlin to oversee police reforms of the Stop N Frisk policy. Zimroth is a former Assistant Manhattan DA, NYC Corporate Council lawyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and has worked on cases such as the Frank Serpico whistle blowing police corruption of the 1970's. The 198-page ruling has empowered Zimroth to revise stop-and-frisk policies, review the police departments efforts to reform and share that information with the public. The 198 page ruling by Judge Scheindlin can be found here.

  Reaction to the verdict has been swift and coming from all corners including Mayor Bloomberg's pledge to appeal the decision which would continue after Bloomberg has left office. Several Democrats running for mayor have said that they would drop the appeal, while the two major Republican candidates have vowed to continue on with the appeal. 

  Here are some comments that have come in from other elected officials-
Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese - "Today, the courts upheld what any reasonable New Yorker has known since day one: Stop and frisk is a legal police tool that keeps our city safe when it is used properly".

Mayoral candidate John Liu“Today’s ruling by Judge Scheindlin declaring that police have overstepped their authority highlights the enormous flaws in the NYPD’s ‘stop and frisk’ tactic, which has served to undermine trust between communities and law enforcement. The judge’s call for reforms must be heeded, and – longer term – the tactic should be abolished. It’s time to put an end to stop and frisk once and for all.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, - “Today’s ruling, which subject’s the NYPD’s practice of ‘stop & frisk’ to the scrutiny of a court-appointed monitor, is a welcome step in the right direction towards meaningful reform of this important, yet often abused, police tactic. ‘Stop & frisk’ can be an effective tool in reducing crime, but not in its current form—which more often than not violates the Constitutional rights of those stopped, which is overwhelmingly young men of color.
 “The opinion makes it clear that significant improvements need to be made in officer training and supervision.  This is an important opportunity for growth and improvement in how policing is done.  Many other cities and municipalities look toward the NYPD as the model to emulate.  We as a City can no longer defend these policies. 
 “We want safer streets, and we want to work with the police to make that happen. But that must be done in a way that is respectful of the communities the NYPD serves. Our relationship with the police must be based on trust, and not confrontation. I will work with the next mayor and his police commissioner to ensure that ‘stop, question & frisk’ is used in a more reasonably focused, precise, and Constitutionally appropriate manner,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat - “Today’s federal court ruling validates the basic truth that members of the African-American and Latino community have long known: that stop-and-frisk policing tactics have violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and aggressively targeted young people who have done nothing wrong.
 This practice has not made our communities safer, and it has instilled bitter resentment in the victims of this policy. It has repeatedly strained relationships between law enforcement and minority communities, and has impeded the cooperation that is critical for ensuring our neighborhoods' safety.
 The appointment of a federal monitor to oversee necessary changes is a welcome next step for our city, but it is little comfort to the young people that have already felt the shame of being stopped and frisked in public and made to feel like criminals. Federal oversight will help restore basic freedoms to my constituents in Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and throughout the city. But our city and state government must take ownership of this civil liberties abuse, and enact legislative changes without relying on Washington.”

Community Board #4 Objects to Strip Club Ad

In a letter to OTR Media owner of the billboard in the photo near Yankee Stadium Bronx Community Board #4 has asked that this advertisement for Scores be taken down. The owner of Scores has been a rather large contributor to 11th City Council candidate Cliff Stanton. Stanton's paid political consultant Anthony Rivieccio has sent out "Vote for Cliff-he'll bring the girls to make us stiff"! Below is the letter from CB 4.

August 12, 2013

40 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
New York, New York 10038

To whom it may concern:

As District Manager of Community Board Four I write to inform you that we have received several complaints regarding the choice of advertisement currently displayed above 103-107 East 161st Street.  While we respect your right to contract and post advertisements, we feel this particular ad is simply not appropriate for the area and not the image that we have fought hard to change.
We pride ourselves as the Capital District of the Bronx. Our district is a great place to visit, work and live.  We are the host community to the world renown, Yankee Stadium, The New Gateway Center at the old Bronx Terminal Market, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and many Art Deco buildings along the Grand Concourse Historic District.  We just recently developed and renovated recreational facilities, such as, tennis courts, a state of the art track & field and a new water front park.  We are the administrative center of the County, housing the offices of the Borough President, The District Attorney, the Courts and the County Clerk.  
We are a community of contrasts. Sleek silhouettes of art-deco buildings are a short stroll away from lovely small homes. Acre for acre we have more parks throughout our two square miles than any other district and as such we have experienced a commercial, residential and economic revival, nearly 200,000 thousand residents celebrate our resurgence, and welcome new cultures, languages, hopes and dreams of the many new Americans making this district their home, from around the globe.  We celebrate their distinct and varied positive contributions.
While the ad itself is not overtly suggestive, we believe this to be an issue of image and mindset not morality.  It is our hope that you understand and so we respectfully ask that you remove said advertisement and place one that does not directly contradict the change and changes we have for the area.  

Jose Rodriguez
District Manger

cc:    Kathleen Saunders, Board Chair
    Ruben Diaz, Jr. Bronx Borough President