Saturday, January 4, 2014

Small Plane Lands On Major Deegan Highway

Plane On Major Deegan Expressway
photo credit to Daniel Miller Via the Daily News.
  A Piper PA28 airplane originating from Danbury Connecticut to tour New York City and the Statue of Liberty experienced an emergency on board en route back to Danbury, and landed safely on the Major Deegan Highway northbound just south of the East 233rd Street exit. 

  Since there is to be major reconstruction on the Major Deegan Highway at this point (starting very soon) Department of Transportation workers had a lane of the highway closed. The DOT workers then stopped northbound traffic so the plane could glide to a safe landing with none of the three passengers seriously hurt.

  Within a few hours the plane was loaded onto a flat bed truck and taken away. The owner of the plane is reported to be Mr. Michael Schwartz of South Salem in Westchester County. Mr. Schwartz and his two passengers were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital with only minor injuries. 


   Residents, soccer fans, merchants, community organizations and elected officials will have a chance to discuss a proposal to build a soccer stadium on River Avenue at 157th Street.
    The 161st Street BID will be hosting a meeting on January 15 at 7:30 PM at 900 Grand Concourse (161st Street) to provide everyone a chance to express themselves on this topic.
   “This is a chance to gather the thoughts and feelings of the community,” noted Dr. Cary Goodman, the BID’s executive director. “The Town Hall Meeting will give opponents and those who want a new stadium a chance to share their opinions and hear others.”
    The meeting is open to the public and free.
    Participating organizations and institutions include The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Community Board 4, Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council,The Highbridge Life Center, Bronx Health Reach,  South Bronx United, Hostos Community College and The Bronx Council on Environmental Quality.    

Bronx Republican Party Brunch Feb. 9th

Friday, January 3, 2014

Inauguration Celebration of Council Member Andy King is Postponed

Due to weather conditions, this afternoon's inauguration celebration at Evander Childs High School is postponed, and will be rescheduled. In the meantime, please stay safe and warm. 
Yours in the Spirit of Unity,
Council Member Andy King


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Friends of VCP's January 2014 Enewsletter

Happy New Year!  We hope that you and your family have a Healthy and Happy 2014.
The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are very proud of all that we accomplished last year and thank you for your support allowing us to achieve our Top 10 Accomplishments in 2013

We are excited to see what 2014 brings us and the Park and have made 5 Resolutions for the new year

See you in the Park!


FVCP is Hiring

The Friends are hiring a Seasonal Trails Project Manager who will work with our high school interns, Volunteer Trails Crew and other volunteers to complete projects in our Trails Plan while ensuring community involvement in these trail rehabilitation efforts.  Interested candidates need to apply by January 17th, 2014.

Treecycle at Mulchfest

Ring in the New Year by recycling your Christmas tree on January 11 and 12, 2014 at NYC Parks' annual MulchFest from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily, at locations citywide. Bring your tree to one of over 80 designated parks, to be recycled into mulch, that will nourish plantings across the city or your own garden. Free mulch collection bags will be provided for your convenience.
There will be 36 chipping sites and 47 drop-off sites throughout the five boroughs. And starting Saturday, January 4th, you can drop off your tree at any designated site.  Remember to remove all lights and decorations before dropping your tree off.

In Van Cortlandt Park, chipping will occur at the VC Golf Course and trees can also be dropped off at Indian Field (no chipping).  For a complete list of sites, visit the MulchFest webpage.

Save the Date: 
20th Annual Bronx Parks Speak Up

Saturday February 22nd, 2014
from 11am to 5pm
This year’s theme is “Bronx Parks: A 20/20 Vision”.  This annual networking conference will be held in the Faculty Dining Room of the Music Building of Lehman College.  For more information visit 

Wave Hill Events January 17–January 24

  A walk keyed to former, illustrious Wave Hill resident Arturo Toscanini…a rescheduled cooking demonstration…a Family Art Project inspired by Dr. King…the first of our three 2014 Horticultural Lectures…our second Winter Workspace workshop, all balanced by sessions of medication tai chi and yoga: This week demonstrates as well as any how vibrant a season winter is at Wave Hill.

As was the practice during the era of the Underground Railroad, draw a secret map of the places you want to go. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King—and with a nod toward traditional African American quilts—we’ll transfer the maps to muslin and decorate them with cloth, yarn and felt to embellish your own personal dream of freedom. 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, a member of the William CC Chen Tai Chi School, introduces students to the internal martial arts and promotes an awareness of its benefits. Winter sessions are held indoors. Session fee: $25/Wave Hill Member $15. Registration opens online and onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. (Reservations may not be made by telephone.) Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of this session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made.  Drops-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present a Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

Gain insight into Winter Workspace artist Cheryl Molnar’s creative process and explore the winter landscape as a source of inspiration. The artist demonstrates how collage can be used to discover the basic principles of color. Then, using found images of plants, flowers, stone and wood, create color combinations for the garden while making mixed-media collages. Art materials are provided, but you may bring their own magazine clippings. Workshops are open to all visitors ages 12 and over when accompanied by an adult. Registration required, online at, onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center or by calling 718.549.3200 x251. Free with admission to the grounds.

When Arturo Toscanini resided at Wave Hill House in the 1940’s, he would have enjoyed a landscape that included many of the trees that define the garden today. Bundle up for a brisk winter walk with Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day to see some favorite trees from Toscanini’s tenure here. Free with admission to the grounds. Illustrious Residents event.

As was the practice during the era of the Underground Railroad, draw a secret map of the places you want to go. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King—and with a nod toward traditional African American quilts—we’ll transfer the maps to muslin and decorate them with cloth, yarn and felt to embellish your own personal dream of freedom. Free with admission to the grounds.

Reduce stress, increase your energy and bring strength and flexibility to mind, body and spirit with a yoga practice. Classes are led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other certified instructors. Ms. Dewji is certified in Hatha and Therapeutic Yoga from The Yoga for Health Foundation, England, and The Integral Yoga Institute, NYC. All levels welcome. Winter sessions are held indoors. Session fee: $25/Wave Hill Member $15. Registration opens online and onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. (Reservations may not be made by telephone.) Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of this session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made.  Drops-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present a Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

This fall, take a moment to release stress and reconnect with your inner self while practicing meditation. Each session includes instruction in simple techniques followed by 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Classes are led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other certified instructors. All levels welcome. Winter sessions are held indoors. Session fee: $25/Wave Hill Member $15. Registration opens online and onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. (Reservations may not be made by telephone.) Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of this session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made.  Drops-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present a Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

The versatile conifers (pines, spruces, junipers and their kin) enhance our winter landscape and provide flavorful accents for seasonal dishes. With the Conifer Slope as a backdrop, Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day and a chef from Wave Hill exclusive caterer Great Performances reveal the origin and history of some of our edible conifers. Sample delicious coniferous recipes featuring juniper berries and pine nuts. Free with admission to the grounds.

Free with admission to the grounds.

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

Closed to the public.

This ongoing series is hosted by Wave Hill’s Friends of Horticulture Committee and is devoted to landscape design and the meaning of our interactions with plants and the natural world, The opening lecture this season is provided by Louis Bauer, Director of Horticulture at Greenwood Gardens. It’s easy to see coincidences between Wave Hill and Greenwood Gardens, both 28 acres and both former estates with dramatic views, though Greenwood looks out on New Jersey’s South Mountain Reservation. Unlike Wave Hill, Greenwood Gardens has been open for less than a year. The parallels provide a base for Bauer, trained as an architect and a devoted community gardener, to explore the ways a garden can be saved, nurtured and reinvented to inspire a new generation. The second in this series takes place February 19. Series: $60/48 Wave Hill Member, Student. Individual lectures:$25/$20 Wave Hill Member, Student. Reservations recommended, online at, onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center or by calling 718.549.3200 x216.

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 on Tuesdays in January. 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

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The 21 New City Council Members

  As of today there are 21 new City Council members who will have a limit of two terms or 8 years to serve their constituents should they get re-elected in 2017. There are 17 men and 4 women, and they are listed in alphabetical order.
  17 of the 21 new council members have replaced 17 council members who have been "term limited" out of office. Only 1 defeated an incumbent council member.

1 - Inez Barrons. District 42 Brooklyn. She takes over for her "term limited" husband Charles who will be running for her vacant assembly seat, and wants to continue in her husbands legacy in the council.

2 - Andrew Cohen. District 11 Bronx. Readers of this blog and my column in the Bronx News should be familiar with Mr. Cohen who takes over for "term limited" Oliver Koppell, and Cohen is looking to get his new office up and running so he can serve his constituents.

3 - Costa Constantinides. District 22 Queens. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. He was the Deputy chief of staff, to Councilman James Gennaro of District 24 who was also "term limited" out of office. 

4-  Robert Cornegy Jr. District 36 Brooklyn. Succeeded "term Limited" Councilman Al Vann. He was the District Leader of the 56th Assembly District in Brooklyn, and at 6'10" played college basketball at St. Johns and the University of Alabama.

5- Laurie Cumbo. District 35 Brooklyn. Succeeded Letitia James who went on to become the Public Advocate of the city.

6 - Chaim Deutsch. District 48 Brooklyn. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman Michael Nelson, and was on the staff of Councilman Nelson.

7 - Raphael Espinal. District 37 Brooklyn. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman Erik Martin Dilan, and was the assemblyman from the 54th Assembly district in Brooklyn.

8 - Vanessa Gibson. 16th District Bronx. Succeeded "term limited" Councilwoman Helen Diane Foster, and was the assemblywoman from the 77th Assembly District in the Bronx.

9 - Corey Johnson. District 3 Manhattan. Succeeded "term limited" former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and was the Chair of Community Board #4 in Manhattan.

10 - Ben Kallos. District 5 Manhattan. Succeeded Councilwoman Jessica Lappin who ran for the vacant seat of Manhattan Borough President. He ran against Micah Kellner for the council seat and won.

11 - Rory Lancman. District 24 Queens. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman James F. Gennaro, and was a member of the state assembly for 6 years from the 25th assembly district.

12 - Mark Levine - District 7 Manhattan. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman Robert Jackson, and was the District Leader from the 71st assembly district.

13 - Alan Maisel. District 46 Brooklyn.  Succeeded :"term limited" Councilman Lew Fidler, and was also a former state assemblyman from the 59th assembly district in Brooklyn.

14 - Steven Matteo. District 50 Staten Island. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman James Oddo who became Staten Island Borough President. Matteo was Oddo's Chief of Staff.

15 - Carlos Menchaca. District 38 Brooklyn. Defeated incumbent Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez in the Democratic primary, and went on to win in the general election. First council member of Mexican heritage.

16 -  Daneek Miller. District 27 Queens. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman Leroy Comrie, and was the President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056 and co-chair of the MTA Labor Coalition.

17 - Antonio Reynoso. District 34 Queens. Succeeded "term limited" Councilwoman Diana Reyna, and was her Chief of Staff from 2009. 

18 - Helen Rosenthal. District 6 Manhattan. Succeeded "term limited" Councilwoman Gale Brewer who was elected as Manhattan Borough President. Rosenthal was Chair of Manhattan Community Board #7.

19 - Ritchie Torres. District 15 Bronx. Succeeded "term limited" Councilman Joel Rivera, and served as housing director and chief of staff for Bronx Councilman Jimmy Vacca. 

20 - Mark Treyger. District 47 Brooklyn. Succeeded "term-limited" Councilman Domenic Recchia, and worked for Assemblyman William Colton.

21 - Paul Vallone. District 19 Queens. Succeeded former Councilman Dan Halloran who did not run for re-election amid federal corruption charges. Vallone's father Peter was council Speaker from 1986 to 2001.



  After being sworn in at 12:01 AM January 1st by New York State Attorney General Eric Schniderman, new mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in officially on the steps of City Hall by former President Bill Clinton at 1:01 PM. De Blasio was sworn in first by NY State Attorney General Eric Schniderman at his home in Brooklyn while his wife Chirlane Mcray held the bible for the new Mayor her husband. Also standing next to the new mayor as he took the oath of office were his two children Dante and Chiara. Both children and his wife became prominent in his campaign especially when his son Dante's Afro was the darling of the media. 

  At City Hall the public swearing in of new City Comptroller Scott Stringer was first. Second was the swearing in of new Public Advocate Letita James, and then came the event everyone was waiting for the swearing in of new Mayor Bill de Blasio by Former President Bill Clinton. Afterwards New Mayor de Blasio either shook hands or hugged several of the dignitaries in the attendance. Those included Hillary Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Former Mayor David Dinkins to name only a few. Others were invited to meet the new Mayor inside City Hall.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Treecycle at MulchFest and 20th Annual Bronx Parks Speak-Up:

Treecycle at MulchFest on January 11 and 12, 2014! 

On Saturday, January 11th and Sunday, January 12th, NYC Parks will host the annual MulchFest from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day at locations citywide. Bring your holiday tree to one of over 80 designated parks to be recycled into mulch that will nourish plantings across the city or your own garden! Treecycle and help NYC grow!

Recycle your tree at many locations throughout the Bronx.
Pick up free mulch at Brook Park, Co-Op Blvd & Bellamy Loop, Metropolitan Avenue & Unionport Road, Van Cortlandt Park, Poe Park and Soundview Park!

Planning a Mulchfest related event on January 11 or 12? Contact your district Outreach Coordinator for information on Partnerships for Parks can help. 

Bronx Parks: A 20/20 Vision
Saturday February 22nd, 2014    11am-5pm
Lehman College, Faculty Dining Room of the Music Building
For more information, visit or like on Facebook:

 If your group is interested in tabling at the Speak Up, contact:


  On Saturday, January 4th, State Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz along with Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization and other elected officials, will come together to provide the children of our community a Three Kings Day Celebration.  The first 600 children between the ages of  1- 9 years old, will receive  a toy and a book bag. “There will also be live music and entertainment for the children,” stated Senator Díaz.
This activity will take place : (Children must be present in order to receive a free toy.  At 12:00 pm Saturday,  January 4, 2013 in Public School #5 located at 564 Jackson Avenue (corner of 149th St.)



Gonzalez: Bill de Blasio's choosing Carmen Fariña as schools chancellor will revolutionize city's schools

This comes from The Daily News by way of a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Transition Team.

“Teachers and administrators have been maligned,” she said. She vowed to reinstitute professional development and training of teachers, but to do so from within the school system itself.

She repeatedly stressed the need to treat parents as partners.

“She actually sees parents as allies in making the schools better, not as a nuisance to be kept out,” said Javier Valdes, executive director of Make the Road New York, a Brooklyn community group that hailed her appointment.

But the emotional high point of Fariña’s remarks came when she talked of entering city public schools speaking only Spanish, and of facing discrimination from a teacher who refused to learn to pronounce her name.
With Latinos now making up more than 40% of our school population, thousands of pupils from Latin America and other parts of the world continue to face the same kind of problem today, Fariña said. Too often, teachers pressure those children to 

Anglicize their names.

“Your children will be spoken to by the name you gave them,” the new chancellor promised.
Only a lifetime educator could grasp the importance of properly pronouncing every child’s name in the classroom.

Editors Note 

As a member of the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council when Ms. Farina was promoted to Deputy Chancellor, I beg to differ with the above comments and article. Citywide parent leaders found Deputy Chancellor Farina to be just like Chancellor Joel Klein when it came to parent concerns. The only reason I can find for her appointment as chancellor is her history with Community School Board 15 member and now Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Carmen Farina will be Named New York City’s Schools Chancellor!/img/httpImage/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/latestpix.JPG

  As I wrote on December 10th on this blog it appears that Incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio will after all name 71 year old ex-Deputy Chancellor Carmine Farina his new Schools Chancellor. Farina had been on the de Blasio transition team and advised candidate de Blasio on education, and their relationship goes back to when Farina was the principal of the middle school in Brooklyn where the de Blasio children attended. There are rumors however that Farina as Deputy Chancellor retired as an investigation by the Special Investigator for the Board of Education was looking into whether Farina used her position as Deputy Chancellor to allow a Brooklyn Principal and his teacher wife who lived in New Jersey have their child attend Farina's old middle school. The Principal and his wife were forced to pay the city for their child's education and he was fired from his job as principal. The investigation ended with the retirement of Farina as Deputy Chancellor.

  It is widely being speculated that since Farina was on the selection committee for the new chancellor that no one could meet her standards for the job. It was also thought that the previous process was done so Farina would wind up as the only person that would fit the qualifications. Farina is another so called safe decision by incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio with lots of experience in her field. I don't see Farina lasting longer that the rest of the school year, and that is from experience with her at the DOE headquarters at Tweed while she was there. 

Is Governor Cuomo Backing Dan Garodnick for City Council Speaker

 According to Fred Dicker of the New York Post New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is secretly working with Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie and Queens Democratic County Leader Congressman Joseph Crowley to line up support for Councilman Dan Garodnick to be the next speaker of the city council. Dicker writes that it is not in the interest of the governor to have Melissa Mark-Viverito as the speaker to Mayor Bill de Blasio because both are of the left leaning thought.

  Another reason for not wanted Mark-Viverito as speaker would be that it would be a serious defeat for incoming Mayor de Blasio and would weaken his perceived power base. De Blasio wants Cuomo to raise taxes to pay for pre-k and after school programs, while Cuomo wants to lower taxes in an election year not raise them.   You can read the entire New York Post Fred Dicker article here.


The Four Amigos, the IDC, and Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito: How things change … or are They Just Double Standards?

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

The Four Amigos, the IDC, & Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito: How things change … or are they just double standards?

You should know that back in 2009, when it came time to elect a new President in the State Senate, there were many candidates for the Democrats to choose from.  This was when the Four Amigos – Senators Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada, Hiram Monserratte, and I – got together and talked about how we could unite to get leadership in the Senate and make a difference.

You should know that at the time, in order for someone to become the Democratic Senate Leader, it required 32 votes, and it was a tight race.

In our planning, the Four Amigos decided what to do about each issue that each Amigo wanted to take care of.  Senator Pedro Espada wanted to be the first minority New York State Senate President Pro Tem.  Senator Hiram Monserratte wanted to Chair the Senate Consumer Protection Committee.  Senator Karl Krueger wanted to Chair the Senate Finance Committee.  And I wanted a promise that the gay marriage bill would not come to the Senate Floor for a vote.

Because of our success, the reaction to the Four Amigos was labeled a “coup” and a “scandal.”  We were vilified as the “Four Banditos.”  We were branded as being traitors, corrupt,
blackmailers, thieves, slimy, crooks, extortionists, deadbeats, selfish, greedy, shameful, stooges, clowns, opportunists - and accused us by saying the whole thing was some kind of "quid pro quo."  We were called all kinds of disparaging names.  Former New York State Governor David Paterson publicly professed that we were “disingenuous” and that we were engaged in “very nefarious practices.”

As of today, we have not recuperated from those attacks, in part because of the unfortunate personal affairs of my three colleagues – none of which were related to the demands we made in 2009.

Since that time, when another chance arose to elect a new Senate President, a different group of four Senators got together and (copied us) forming what is known as the Senate Independent Democratic Conference – the IDC.  The IDC is led by Senator Jeff Klein, and is comprised of three Senators: Diane Savino, David Carlucci, and David Valesky.  Their power-grab was formed, they claim, because they were fed up with the “selfish antics” of their leaders.

It is well known that the IDC clearly and openly made political demands, which were met by Republican Senator Dean Skelos, who agreed to share the leadership of the State Senate with Senator Jeff Klein.  The IDC Members were given Senate Committee leadership – AND a separate budget containing millions of dollars!

Those four IDC State Senators have been routinely praised for their coup/breakaway. The IDC members have been labeled as progressive leaders, virtuous, smart, bold, power-sharing and thoughtful.  They have been commended by unions, by the Governor, by editorial boards and reporters … almost everybody praises them because of what they did.

Now I am reading a column written by Michael Gartland in the December 29, 2013 edition of New York Post titled, “BLAS A ‘MARK’ MAN - Council-boss IOUs” casually listing the demands, deals, payouts and “plum paychecks” that are being made in the New York City Council in order for certain concessions to be made so that Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito will get the 31 votes she needs to be in control as the New York Council as Speaker.

According to Mr Gartland, there are many Council Members who have been promised Committee Chairmanships and other fabulous prizes if they vote for Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito to be the Speaker.

For example - and if that happens - Mr. Gartland mentioned how Council Member Julissa Ferreras will get to be the Majority Leader and receive an extra $23,000; Council Member David Greenfield will get to be the Chair of the Land Use Committee and receive an extra $18,000; Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer will get to be the Chair of the Finance Committee and receive an extra $18,000; and either Council Member Danny Dromm or Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez will get to be the Chair of the Education Committee and get an extra $10,000.  If Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito gets to be the the Speaker, she will get an extra $28,500.

My dear reader, please keep in mind that “Committee chairmanships carry generous taxpayer-funded stipends over and above the $112,500 base salary council members get annually.”

I don’t see anybody calling Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito or anyone involved in these dealings crooked or deadbeats - or requesting any investigation about possible ethical wrongdoings, or being accused of engaging in any type of "quid pro quo."  On the contrary, outgoing Council Member Lew Fidler is calling this a "standard."  He said: “No speaker has taken that job since I was there without discussing committee assignments with possible supporters.  This is standard.”

Now it is a standard thing for all City Council Members to partake in the practice of "quid pro quo" so Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito can be the Speaker of the New York City Council and in return, give back to the Council Members whatever they want or demand.

My dear reader, how things have changed!

Are we sure this is now a standard, and not a double standard?  How come it was not a standard for Senator Espada, Senator Monserrate, or Senator Kruger to ask for leadership posts?  How come it was not a standard for me to ask for the gay marriage not to come to the Senate Floor?

For us, it was considered corruption - but when I read about how Mr. Frank Seddio, the Chair of the Brooklyn Democratic organization is going around and asking and demanding (according to Mr. Gartland’s article) that “de Blasio promise his allies several city marshal’s jobs” – I have a few questions.

What would have happen if it weren't Kings Democratic Chair Frank Seddio demanding these appointments and political favors, but instead, if Bronx County Democratic Chair Carl Heastie was the one making these demands?  I can assure you that everyone under the sun would be calling for an investigation.  I can assure you that my very best friends, Gerson Borrero and Bob Kappstatter, along with the editorial boards of El Diario la Prensa and other publications would be accusing Carl Heastie of serious wrongdoing.  Where are you guys now? Why are you being so quiet? Where are all of my friends in the media who seeks purity and truth? Where is the outrage about all of the backroom dealings and threats that are going on right now?

I also have to ask myself, what ever happened to Curtis Sliwa who likes to talk about the leadership of Bronx County, and now he is keeping his mouth shut about Mr. Frank Seddio and the Brooklyn Democratic organization?  What about Governor Andrew Cuomo's Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), and what about the Honorable Eric Schneiderman who is New York State's Attorney General?  Ladies and gentlemen, where are the subpoenas and the investigations - and the press conferences?

I have to say that, at least to me, that this is much, much worse than what we were accused of doing.  And I ask myself: Is this how things have changed … or is it just a gross case of double standards?

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