Friday, May 8, 2015

Pedestrian Bridge over the Major Deegan Connecting Both Sides of Van Cortlandt Park to Become a Reality





Above - Elected Officials Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator Jeff Klein, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Congressman Eliot Engel, Councilman Andrew Cohen, stand with DEP Commissioner Emily LLoyd, Parks Commissioner Mitchel Silver, and DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Pena-Mora around the drawing of a new $12 million dollar pedestrian bridge to span the Major Deegan Highway to connect both sides of the Croton Aqueduct Trail that has been divided by the highway ever since it was built.
Below - A close up of the proposed $12 million dollar pedestrian bridge being paid by the DEP ($4 million dollars), Parks Department ($4 million dollars), and $4 million dollars in New York State funds secured by State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, and State Senator Jeff Klein. The pedestrian bridge is projected to be completed sometime in 2019.  















Left - DEP Commissioner Lloyd speaks of the DEP's role in the process of getting the funding.
Right - Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. is happy that he now can allocate any monies that he might of had to put into this project for other similarly important projects. Diaz gave a shot out to the two activists on hand (and both media people) that have been involved with the Croton Water Filtration Plant from the beginning, Mr. Gary Axelbank of Bronxnet T.V., and yours truly of the newspaper the Bronx News. 















Left - Assembly Speaker Heastie tells how as Speaker he was able to help on this project wanted by all.
Right - State Senator Jeff Klein (the only elected official who came to the hot area in just shirt sleeves) thanks all who were involved, including the DEP and Parks Department.  













Left - Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz who has been on the project all along gets to say a few words about connecting two parts of his district that were divided by the highway.
Right - Congressman Eliot Engel states the importance of what this pedestrian bridge means.













Left - Councilman Cohen who was a member of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park stated that this was one of the first orders of business he delved into when he took office less than 18 months ago. 
Right - Is the signpost for the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail South which just happens to be next to where this announcement was made. 



Ben Franklin Democratic Club 55th Annual Dinner


  Last night there was a packed room of over 200 people, with many others dropping in to the 55th Annual Ben Franklin Democratic Club Dinner and then hopping to another event that was going on at the same time. There was no shortage of elected officials with both local 81st Assembly district Congressmen Eliot Engel and Charlie Rangel in attendance. Also on hand was new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, New Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. Of course local 81st A.D. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, State Senator Jeff Klein, and Councilman Andrew Cohen were on hand, as well as several other elected officials. It was nice to see former Bronx Democratic County leader Assemblyman Jose Rivera, State Senator Adriano Espiallat, and of course Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. There was almost a quorum of Community Board 8 members led by CB 8's Chair Dan Padernacht. The photos below will tell the rest of the story.



 Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is telling the packed audience that the only races this year are for Bronx DA, Judges, and Judicial Delegates and Alternates.





Assemblyman Dinowitz gives his new Speaker a gavel for use in the assembly chamber, before allowing Speaker Heastie to speak to the packed house.

 
New Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo gets to see the support that the Ben Franklin Club has as he says a few words to the audience.


Above - Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lenny Caro (and BFRDC honoree) sits with the BCC Executive Director Michelle Dolgow Cristofaro as they wait for him to be called up.
Below - BCC President and Bronx Goodwill Ambassador Caro receives the BFRDC Timothy Sullivan Award from State Senator Jeff Klein. 




Above - Mr. Mario Cilento President N.Y.State AFL-CIO receives the BFRDC Jonathan B. Bingham Award from Congressman Eliot Engel.
Below Mr. Mario Curanaj Owner of Salvatore's of Soho and Yo Burger Restaurants receives the Lee Heimlich Community Service Award from Councilman Andrew Cohen.




Above - A group photo of elected officials BFRDC Club Officers, and Honorees to numerous to list. 
Below 81st Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz stands with the 81st A.D. Male District Leader Eric Dinowitz, and yes the two are related, as Eric Dinowitz is the son of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. 




Bronx Week 2015 Business Day Breakfast


Please Note --
This is by Invitation only -- 
Please call Angie Teran -- 718-590-5623
or e-mail ateran@boedc.org 
to register for this event.

DISTRICT 12’S ‘OPERATION CLEANER STREETS’ TAKES PLACE TUESDAY, MAY 12, AT LEARNING TREE CULTURAL PREPARATORY SCHOOL



 Youngsters and residents of the Northeast Bronx will join NYC Council  Member Andy King on Tuesday,  May 12th, for Operation Cleaner Streets, a program headed up by Council Member King, which strives to encourage community residents in the 12th District to pick up trash in front of their homes, bus stops and subway stations and heavily trafficked streets.

Council Member King and students from the Learning Tree Cultural Preparatory School will be cleaning in the area of Magenta Street and Capuchin Way, Bronx, from 10a.m. to Noon.
In the past, Operation Cleaner Street has tackled business corridors along Gun Hill Road, White Plains Road, Boston Road, East 233rd Street and Dyre Avenue.

WHAT: OPERATIONS CLEANER STREETS
WHEN: TUESDAY May 12, 10 a.m. to Noon
WHO: COUNCIL MEMBER ANDY KING, STUDENTS AND STAFF AT LEARNING TREE CULTURAL PREPARATORY SCHOOL
WHERE: MAGENTA STREET & CAPUCHIN WAY WAY


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Centenarian Celebration By Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


   Today Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was joined by over 40 Bronx Centenarians came together for a party to celebrate their golden years. They included Bronxites as old as 107, and 105 year old Joe Binder the Centenarian Comic who told a few of his favorite jokes. 
   The master of Ceremony was Dr. Bob Lee of WBLS Radio fame. BP Diaz was introduced by his lovely Youthful Deputy BP Aurela Greene, who admitted that she had just celebrated her 80th birthday. BP Diaz (the baby in the room) admitted that he had recently celebrated his 42nd birthday. The rest of the story will be told by the photos below.

  


Before the event began Master of Ceremony Dr. Bob Lee, BP Diaz, and Deputy BP Greene go over the final details



Left - BP Diaz does his David Letterman impression as he fixes his jacket.
Right - The BP's favorite Joke teller 105 year old Joe Binder told a few jokes.


Above and Below - The P.S. 72 Ballroom Dancers provided some entertainment as the event continued.





Left and Right - The children inspired the adults to dance, and BP Diaz dances with a few audience members.




 Diaz also led the conga line.



Above - 107 year old Charlotte Lockartt poses with B Diaz and Councilman Andy King as her grand daughter stands beside her.
Below - Councilman King reads from a city council proclamation to Ms. Lockartt. 





Above - Active Community Board 8 member 99 year old Irving Ladimer is joined by CB 8 Aging Committee Chair Karen Pesche, CB 8 Vice Chair Rose Mary Ginty, and standing behind the ladies is CB 8 Library Committee Chair Marvin Goodman.
Below - BP Diaz congratulates Mr. Ladimer, and says that next year will be the big 100 for Irving.







A couple more of the 40 other honorees.

It must be noted that there was a moment of silence for Deceased Bronx Centenarians Miriam Henson, Claude Jeffreys, and Rose Goggin who passed away since last years Centenarian Celebration. 



To A Man Who Stands for Principle


What You Should Know 
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 
32nd Senatorial District 



You should know that this past Wednesday, April 29, 2015, I was invited by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to join other Senate colleagues for a breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, New York.  Along with Governor Andrew Cuomo, his Chief of Staff, Joe Percoco, his Counsel Alfonso Davis, and his Budget Director Mary Beth Labate, there were Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Liz Krueger, Marcos Serrano, Gustavo Rivera, Adriano Espaillat, Brad Holyman, and Daniel Squadron. 

It is important for you to know that I took the opportunity to have Governor Cuomo sign for me a copy of his book titled “All Things Possible” which he gladly agreed by inscribing the following: “To a man who stands for principle.” 

You should also know that this book "All Things Possible" is important to me personally because in it Governor Cuomo made reference to my name several times. 

Chapter 10 of his book, titled "33" is devoted to the fight and the struggle that took place in order to get 33 Senators to vote in favor of same-sex marriage.  In Chapter 10, the Governor gave me the honor of mentioning me by name on pages 382, 389, 400 and 402. 

On page 382 the Governor mentioned me by name by stating: "We needed thirty-two votes. We knew that one Democrat, Ruben Diaz, a senator from the Bronx, was a no-go. A Pentecostal minister, he could not be moved to change his mind. That meant we had to lock in the remaining twenty-nine Democrats and sway three Republicans. Difficult? Yes." 

On page 389, recounting his wheeling and dealing with Republican Leader Senator Dean Skelos, the Governor wrote:  "In June, Majority Leader Skelos made a clever move that transferred all of the pressure from his team to ours. A skillful tactician, he announced that he wouldn't let the bill go to the floor unless we had all the Democrats with us except Ruben Diaz, the Pentecostal minister who we both knew was unshakable." 

You should know that as the chapter continues, the Governor explains all of the roadblocks and troubles he had to bypass, and the negotiations he went through to get the same-sex marriage bill approved. He wrote about the chaos that ensued on the night of the vote, and how they prevented me and stopped me from speaking on the bill.  On pages 399-400, he mentioned an important negotiation he had with Senator John Sampson: 

"Republicans had asked for one concession.  "We don't want long speeches," Skelos told us. They didn't want political rhetoric to inflame the already nervous senators. The Senate Minority Leader, a Democrat, John Sampson, who represented parts of Brooklyn including Crown Heights and East Flatbush, assured us he will keep the Democrats' comments to a minimum. The plan was: Get the legislation on the floor.  Do a rolling voice vote. Go home. 

... Sampson had previewed with both Skelos and Steve that the only speech from one of their members will be from Senator Diaz, the sole opponent on the Democrats’ side, who would speak for two minutes. Diaz, used to speeches from the pulpit, led with, "God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago." And he kept going. When Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy cut him off he said, "Senator, Senator, I know you want to go on but we have twenty-three people who want to speak on the bill." 

Twenty-three people?  The proceedings ground to a halt as Diaz and his allies complained that he had been cut off, and the Republicans approached Steve and Myland warning them that is exactly what was not supposed to happen." 

The Governor continues explaining on page 402 how he managed to get things under control - and after the vote was taken and the gay marriage legislation was approved - how he decided to come to the Senate Floor to thank the senators.  He stated that when he got to the Senate Floor:  "Almost all of the Republicans and Ruben Diaz, who'd voted against marriage equality were all gone." 

On my behalf, I am honored that the Governor not only mentioned me by name in his book  to let the whole world know about my principled stand against his gay marriage legislation, now I am even more honored that he signed my copy by stating “To A Man Who Stands for Principle.” 

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


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Statement from State Senator Gustavo Rivera on the Motion to Remove Senator Skelos



"It is disgraceful that Senate Republicans have chosen to put politics in front of the responsibility they have to New Yokers by blatantly disregarding the rules and procedures of the Senate to maintain Dean Skelos in power. The motion put forth today by the Senate Democratic Conference was intended to remove Mr. Skelos from his position in an effort to avoid delaying or obstructing the business of governing any further.

Earlier this year, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did the right thing and relinquished his leadership position after being indicted. In June 2008, then Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno also did the right thing and stepped down after being indicted. Their examples should be a lesson to Senator Skelos: while everyone is innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law, our great legislative body cannot function properly under these clouds of suspicion. For the good of the New York State Senate and the people we all represent, Senator Skelos should follow the lead of his predecessor and Speaker Silver and relinquish his seat as Senate Majority leader immediately. If not, the Senate Republican Conference has an obligation to replace him.

We simply cannot continue to allow our government to be disrupted by scandals"

Editors Note:
We must remind State Senator Rivera about the charges that were levied against Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and then Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie of Election fraud in the 2013 Special Election for the 86th Assembly District that somehow disappeared. 
We are reminded of former 86th Assemblyman Nelson Castro who also had election fraud charges levied him by an opponent, and who was allowed to win the primary and then go on to win two more primaries and general elections as he was a cooperating witness for the U.S. Attorney's Office. Bronx DA Johnson admitted to me that maybe the Castro event was the wrong thing to do.
Can you hear me State Senator Gustavo Rivera.
One never knows in politics, does one?


Bill de Blasio will propose sweeping changes to rent laws to protect tenants



Shades of Jimmy McMillan -
Mayor de Blasio is after some rent that’s too damn high.

De Blasio will propose Tuesday the most sweeping expansion of tenant protections in decades for the city’s 1 million rent-regulated apartments.

“Rent is the No. 1 expense for New Yorkers,” de Blasio said as he unveiled exclusively to the Daily News key reforms he wants the state Legislature to enact before existing rent regulations expire June 15.

Look for a fierce battle over the next six weeks between housing advocates and the real estate industry over the mayor’s proposal.

“Unless we change the status quo, tens of thousands of hardworking families will be pushed out of their homes,” de Blasio said.

Among the key changes he wants:

* An end to a law that allows landlords to charge a tenant market rates once a rent-regulated unit passes a monthly threshold — currently set at $2,500. De Blasio is urging no threshold, in an effort to assure the city’s stock of affordable apartments remains permanently regulated.

* No more vacancy bonus. That’s a separate rule that allows landlords to automatically hike a unit’s rent by 20% each time a tenant moves out.

* Tough new restrictions on rent surcharges by landlords. Under current law, an owner can tack on monthly charges to recoup from tenants costs of major improvements to a building or individual apartment. But those surcharges become a permanent part of the base rent. De Blasio wants them temporary — spread out over 10 years — with rents resetting to original levels after that.

The real estate industry is bound to see it as a declaration of war.

“The current rent regulations have worked well in terms of injecting needed capital for landlords to improve buildings,” said Frank Ricci, director of government relations for the Rent Stabilization Association.

De Blasio points, however, to the huge number of units — 257,000 — that were released from rent control over the past 20 years, including 35,000 lost just since 2011. Many of those were in largely minority neighborhoods that have become increasingly gentrified.

One activist describes the toll in two fast-changing neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

“Five years ago, people would have laughed at a $2,500 rent in Bushwick,” said Javier Valdes of the immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York. “But they aren’t laughing any more. The displacement of old residents in Bushwick and Jackson Heights is astronomical.”

Up in Albany, Senate Republicans managed for years to block stronger rent laws. But the ground could be shifting, now that Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos has joined the Democrats’ former Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, in the lineup of political leaders busted by the feds on charges of extorting a major landlord for money in exchange for pro-landlord legislation.

Now we’re learning why Albany couldn’t hear the cries of the tenants.



Assemblyman Dinowitz To Hold Second Town Hall Meeting on Tenant Protection Laws



Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz announced that he will be holding a town hall meeting on Thursday, May 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center to discuss and hear feedback on New York’s tenant protection laws, which are due to expire in June. This is the second in a series of town halls Assemblyman Dinowitz is holding this spring to engage and inform the community about these important laws. Assemblyman Dinowitz will be joined by Teresa Colon, his Director of Constituent Services and housing expert.

Assemblyman Dinowitz said, “Tens of thousands of Northwest Bronx residents, and millions of people across the city, depend on our state’s tenant protection laws to shield them from massive rent increases and ensure their right to a lease renewal. Tenant protection laws must be at the center of any efforts to ensure that New Yorkers of all income levels can afford to live in New York City, and renewing and strengthening these laws is my top priority this legislative session. My town hall meeting on April 15th was a resounding success, drawing many residents from the Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, and Riverdale communities. I invite all members of the community to attend my event on May 14 to learn more about this important issue.”

The town hall meeting will take place at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center at 3450 Dekalb Avenue and East Gunhill Road. The tenant protection laws, due to expire on June 15th,  regulate over a million rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartments in the City and many more across the state, protecting millions of residents from large rent increases and guaranteeing their right to a lease renewal. Even under current regulations, landlords are authorized to raise rents by large amounts through a variety of means. Assemblyman Dinowitz authored an op-ed earlier this year describing these existing loopholes in greater detail. The op-ed can be read here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Jeffrey-Dinowitz/story/62606/

MAYOR DE BLASIO CALLS FOR STRONGER RENT LAWS



De Blasio: End vacancy decontrol, eliminate vacancy bonus, make improvement rent increases temporary instead of permanent

Affordable housing for more than two million New Yorkers at stake as rent laws come up for renewal on June 15


Mayor Bill de Blasio today called for stronger rent laws that will stem the loss of affordable apartments to deregulation. More than 35,000 affordable apartments have left rent regulation since it was last extended in 2011, putting enormous pressure on working families and pushing longtime tenants out of fast-gentrifying neighborhoods. Mayor de Blasio called for a slate of reforms to protect rent-stabilized apartments, including ending vacancy decontrol, eliminating the vacancy bonus and making improvement surcharges temporary.

“This is a vital priority for New York City. Our working families and our neighborhoods are depending on stronger rent laws. Rent is the number one expense for New Yorkers. Unless we change the status quo, tens of thousands of hardworking families will be pushed out of their homes. This has to be a city for everyone. It cannot just be a city of luxury apartments out of everyday New Yorkers’ reach,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Preserving and strengthening New York’s rent laws is one of the Assembly Majority’s top priorities this year. We need to keep rents affordable and make sure that people are able to remain in their homes free of harassment so that our neighborhoods can grow and thrive. These are the same principles that Mayor de Blasio is fighting for and I am pleased to work with him in our effort to make New York’s rent laws as strong as possible,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

New York City’s rent-stabilized apartments provide affordable homes for more than 1.4 million low-income tenants, and more than 700,000 moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers. Together, they make up the bedrock of New York City’s diverse neighborhoods. But this vital housing reservoir is fast drying up, as bad actors force tenants from their homes and a hot real estate market puts more and more pressure on rents. If nothing is done to strengthen rent laws before they expire on June 15, tens of thousands more apartments will be converted to market rents in the years ahead and entire neighborhoods could be rendered unaffordable.

The City’s proposed rent regulation reforms work together as a two-pronged strategy that stems the loss of units through the elimination of Vacancy Decontrol, and helps to keep the rents of those units affordable by ending the Vacancy Allowance and making the Individual Apartment Improvement and Major Capital Improvement increases temporary and not a permanent addition to tenants’ rent.

Reforms to Protect Rent-Stabilized Housing:

·         End High-Rent Vacancy Decontrol: The City is calling for the elimination of vacancy decontrol. Currently, a vacant apartment with a rent of $2,500 per month may be deregulated.

·         End the Vacancy Allowance: The City is calling for eliminating the 20 percent increase in monthly rent when tenants vacate an apartment. This allowance has created strong incentives for bad actors to pressure tenants out of their homes in the hopes of faster-rising rents.

·         Make Individual Apartment Improvement (IAI) and Major Capital Improvement (MCI) Increases Temporary: The City is calling for the current permanent rent increases for building-wide or individual apartments to be made temporary. Costs from increased services or improvements to individual apartments would be spread over 10 years, while building-wide or system improvements could be spread over 7 years. Long-term rent would be unaffected, and would reset after the fixed period.

The de Blasio administration is also ramping up protections for rent stabilized tenants, including free legal representation for tenants in up to 15 neighborhoods and is launching a new Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force with State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to combat illegal practices that push tenants out of their apartments.

“Rent regulation is one of the City’s most important affordable housing programs and one of the best tools we have for fighting income inequality. It’s crucial that we stand with tenants by strengthening rent laws, and that state lawmakers do their part to stop the loss of affordable housing. We must all work together to protect working families from tenant harassment and strengthen the middle class,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

“Mayor de Blasio has once again reaffirmed his commitment to renters in New York. As a Member of the Assembly, it is important to have as much support as possible as we will soon be debating these important issues. Ensuring that New Yorkers have access to an affordable place to live is a priority for me during this year’s legislative session and it is important to have the Mayor as an ally in this fight,” said Assembly Member Luis R. Sepulveda.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj & State Senator Jeff Klein honor President of Albania H.E. Bujar Nishani for the Albanians role in saving Jews during WWII



Legislators herald photographer Norman Gershman whose work captures the heroism and altruism of the Albanians during WWII

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and State Senator Jeff Klein today honored President of Albania H.E. Bujar Nishani for the role Albanians played in saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust and celebrated photographer Norman Gershman whose photographs capture the essence of their history.

“I’m honored to stand with President H.E. Bujar Nishani to share the Albanian people’s history with New Yorkers and the world. Through Mr. Gershman’s lens we see the Albanians’ commitment to care for those in need, to foster hospitality in the face of radical hatred, and to Besa, the country's code of honor,” said Assemblyman Gjonaj. “It is crucial for us to continue to acknowledge and show appreciation for this unique and honorable display of humanity and compassion, especially in today’s world where we must work together to fight the growing trend of radicalism and stand up for justice, interreligious cooperation and peace. These stories remind us that we must remember the tragedies of WWII so as not to repeat those events; however, we must also remember and honor the silent heroes of WWII upon whose paths we must continue to follow in order to build tolerant and just communities in our districts, in the Great State of New York, and all over the world.”

“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I am especially moved by and grateful to those who risked their lives to shelter and protect millions of Jewish refugees during one of the darkest chapters in human history. Albanians took great risk to save Jews in their country, as well as neighboring nations, and their often unknown heroic actions merit this well deserved recognition. I’m honored to host President Nishani and commend the Albanian people for their compassion and bravery. I’m also proud to recognize photographer Norman Gershman whose work lets future generations learn about this extraordinary relationship between the Albanian and Jewish people,” said State Senator Jeff Klein.

“Today, 70 years later, in many parts of the globe, including parts of the European continent we notice an increasing feeling of anti-Semitism. The most recent anti-Semitic terrorist attack in France, but also in other countries, make us think the goal achieved 70 years ago is being placed in question once again,” President Nishani said. “We must not permit any kind of question marks and prejudices to affect the young generations, but instead we must act together with determination in the fight against anti-Semitism and in the defense of the United Nations declaration of universal human rights. The lessons learned from history should not be forgotten.”

Mr. German received proclamations from Assemblyman Gjonaj and Senator Klein at the noon reception, where his traveling exhibit, “Besa: Albanians that saved Jews during WWII,” was displayed.

“I discovered this unbelievable code of honor, something called besa, and this code is more than just an Albanian code. It’s a code that we all must embrace. When I say, ‘we,’ I mean that all of us — men, women, children — to honor the cultural differences between various peoples in various countries,” Mr. Gershman said.

Besa, the cornerstone of this event, is a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated into the faith of Albanians. It dictates moral behavior and it demands that one take responsibility for the lives of others in their time of need. In Albania and Kosovo, Albanians sheltered not only the Jews of their cities and villages, but thousands of refugees fleeing the Nazis from other European countries at grave risk to themselves and their families. The Besa exhibition and film has been presented at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the United Nations in New York City, the Houses of Parliament in London, the European Union in Strasbourg, in Albania and in many more venues around the world.

President Nishani visited the Assembly Chamber with Assemblyman Gjonaj at 1:30, where Assembly Speaker Heastie presented him with a glass apple. Shortly after at 3 p.m., Nishani addressed the Senate.

Both houses passed resolutions recognizing the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII; and the remarkable role Albanians played rescuing Jews during WWII. More than 2,000 Jews survived Nazi persecution in Albania, where the local Albanian population hid them at the risk of their own lives.



L to R - Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, President of Albania H.E. Bujar Nishani and State Senator Jeff Klein.



Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Senator Jeff Klein present photographer Norman Gershman with proclamations.


Monday, May 4, 2015

STATEMENT FROM BP DIAZ RE: President Obama’s Visit to The Bronx



  “I was thrilled to welcome President Obama to The Bronx today. But I am even more excited to hear his words. The President’s stated commitment to the future of urban youth, especially young men of color in the United States, through the launch of his ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance,’ is worthy of considerable praise. I know firsthand the struggles young men of color face in this nation, and I know how challenging it can be to both lead one’s own life on the right path while also guiding others in that same direction. This initiative, which will combine public and private resources for the greater good, is welcome not only in The Bronx but across the United States.

“I am proud to have been present for today’s historic announcement, and I look forward to working with the ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’ to help young men of color get the help they need to succeed,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Annual Wakefield Symposium Conference on Endometriosis and Uterine Cancer v3, Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Montefiore Medical Center
Invites you to the

Annual WAKEFIELD Symposium Conference
On Endometriosis and Uterine Cancer v3
Tuesday, May 19 2015, 2:00 – 4 pm & 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Sponsored by
Wakefield Community Advisory Board

MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES STRUGGLING SCHOOLS WILL RECEIVE THEIR “FAIR STUDENT FUNDING” FOR THE FIRST TIME


De Blasio administration will boost struggling schools’ funding $34 million next year and $60 million every year after to hire guidance counselors, launch academic intervention programs, and add Advanced Placement classes

New resources to support all 130 Renewal Schools, Community Schools, and Persistently Failing Schools

  —Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a significant investment of $60 million per year in additional funding to ensure struggling schools have the resources they need to succeed. Correcting years of inequity, this funding will raise all 130 Renewal Schools, Community Schools and Persistently Failing Schools to 100 percent of their ‘Fair Student Funding’ for the first time. That means they’ll have the resources they need ­­­­– and have long been owed – to serve English Language Learners, students with special needs, and other young people who need extra help to catch up. 

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement called on the State to fully fund all public schools adequately. While that historic deficit persists – with an estimated shortfall of $2.6 billion for this year alone for New York City – the de Blasio administration is taking steps to ensure schools that have the deepest challenges aren’t held back. Schools will be able to use the new funding to hire guidance counselors, bring on teachers for special academic intervention programs serving students who have fallen behind, extend the school day, or add advanced placement classes. To qualify for funding, schools must submit detailed plans for approval that demonstrate precisely how the new funds will be spent and how they will advance key metrics like attendance, credit accumulation, test scores and on-time graduation rates. 

These new resources are above and beyond the $150 million committed in the Renewal Schools initiative and the Community School expansion, which are also increasing services at each of these schools.

“We’ve put real resources and real accountability in place to give students, teachers and communities at struggling schools a path to success. But we don’t want them fighting the decades-old headwind of underfunding at the same time. These new investments will make a real difference: more AP classes, more guidance counselors, extra tutors, and schools open longer. We have a plan for these schools’ success and we’re going to make sure they have the tools to turn around and raise student achievement,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Lifting up our schools requires real resources – and that is what we are committed to delivering. Through this individualized approach, we’ll put more guidance counselors in schools, extend the day for our most struggling students and train teachers better so they can best teach our children. By building out the tool kit for our historically struggling schools, I know we’ll see real results as we work to improve student outcomes at every school across the city,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Historically, schools were provided with resources based primarily on the size of their student body. The ‘Fair Student Funding’ formula was introduced almost a decade ago by the Department of Education to reflect the diversity of New York City’s student body, which includes many students who require extra support like English Language Learners, students with special needs, and students who have fallen behind. But without the funding promised in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement, most schools never got the extra resources they needed. Today’s announcement ensures all struggling schools have the full and fair resources they need.

Achieving Fair Student Funding

  • The Administration is investing $33.6 million in FY16 and $59.7 million in FY17 and every year thereafter to provide additional funds for schools most in need.  

  • All 130 Renewal schools, Persistently Failing schools, and Community Schools will be brought to 100 percent of their Fair Student Funding recommendation within two years. The average Renewal School will see $250,000 in additional annual funding.

  • The minimum amount any school can receive will be raised from 81 percent to 82 percent of the Fair Student Funding formula. These changes will impact approximately 400 schools and 252,000 students. 

Rigorous Oversight of School Spending Plans

  • Schools must provide a robust plan for strategic use of the new funding to achieve concrete gains in metrics like attendance, credit accumulation and on-time graduation.

  • Plans could include hiring academic intervention services teachers to help students catch up and adding college readiness programs, guidance counselors and programming.

  • Plans for uses of these additional funds will require approval from each school’s superintendent.
  
Unprecedented Support to Turn Around Struggling Schools

  • By this September, all 94 Renewal Schools will be transformed into Community Schools, have an additional hour of instruction every day, increase professional development in key areas like student writing, and launch a summer learning program – all part of their comprehensive Renewal Plan with concrete targets in student achievement.

Editors Note:

I have left out the patronizing comments from Mayor deBlasio's supporters, and those who are intent on keeping their jobs in the education field. 
It is now time to end mayoral control as former Mayor Bloomberg gave us a perfect example as to why Mayoral control was a failure. Now is the time to go back to accountability which school boards gave us. To keep the integrity of school boards do not allow any hiring to be done, only advisory evaluations of school leadership. Right now there is no accountability as shown in this report by the chancellor's office, and Bill deBlasio has picked up right where Michael Bloomberg has left the school system, in a mess.