Friday, September 25, 2015

Bronx Democratic County Judicial Convention

   Last night's Judaical Convention was not without dissatisfaction that current/former Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson while denying rumors that he would be seeking a judgeship while petitions were being collected in his name for the Democratic primary (and several other party lines) did indeed accept the nomination for a Bronx Supreme Court Justice position from the Bronx County Judicial delegates. 

  Before the Judicial Convention even got under way there were protesters outside the Eastwood Manor where the event was being held. In all there were to be six people either renominated for their current judge ships on the Bronx State Supreme Court, or nominated to fill vacancies created by either retiring or term limits (those judges reaching age 70). The only one to really matter was when current Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo boisterously spoke about the man he was going to nominate for judge, that being Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson. Tom Messina of Congressman Joe Crowley's office seconded the nomination by saying that Assemblyman Crespo has said it all. 

   Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo later gave a speech saying that there are those in the media who want to criticize the choice of Robert Johnson being named as a candidate for judge after the petition process, and they are wrong because the law until it is changed calls for the process that is in place and it will be. Newly appointed Judicial candidate Robert Johnson refused to answer any questions from the media. including the one I had asked him over a month ago where he denied that he would be seeking a judge ship. Read more in my next column of 100 Percent in the Bronx News next Thursday as to what may be the real reason why now former Bronx DA Robert Johnson accepted the nomination for Bronx Supreme Court. 

  The Bronx Democratic County party leaders later convened to replace newly nominated Robert Johnson for Bronx District Attorney with current State Appelate Court Justice Darcel D. Clark. Much to what the game plan was. Some interesting notes about the Judicial Convention - Missing were Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Councilwoman Annabel Palma (an emergency), Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda (told not to go by his advisor), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (another event), and many more. In attendance however was former 80th Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera looking more like a candidate for the state assembly every day, and in the 78th next year since she now resides with her daddy current Assemblyman Jose Rivera.  

 Above - State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. was at the Judicial Convention waving to the crowd of protesters outside. That's Bob Kappstatter now advising Assemblyman Luyis Sepulveda smiling in the background. 
Below - A very angry Egidio Sementilli speaks to reporters about what he says is an injustice to the voters of the Bronx with the naming of current Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson as a judge to circumvent the primary process to have the Bronx Democratic County organization named Johnson's replacement and not the voters of the Bronx. 

Above - Dick Drady of Citizen's Union joins Mr. Sementilli and others to say that Democracy is being subverted to name a replacement candidate after the primary for Bronx District Attorney.
Below - It is time for Mr. Stanley Schlein to call the 2015 Bronx Judicial Convention to order.

Former Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson thanks the delegates of the 2015 Bronx Judicial Convention for nominating him as a candidate for a Bronx Supreme Court Judge. That is Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo who nominated DA Johnson to be a judge standing proud next to former Bronx DA Robert Johnson. 


  New mobile jobs program connects Bronxites with employment opportunities across the 34 Senate District

State Senator Jeff Klein, in partnership with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, launched Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go on Thursday. The new mobile jobs program geared toward bringing employment opportunities and workforce training directly to Bronxites.

“Providing our workforce with first-rate training and connecting job seekers with valuable learning opportunities is critical as we work to build up our borough. We must continue to combat high rate of unemployment in The Bronx, and this program is another step in the right direction. I’m proud to partner with The Bronx Chamber of Commerce to launch Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go and I look forward to continuing to create more opportunities for hard-working people in the 34th Senate District and beyond,” Senator Jeff Klein said.

"As a result of Sen. Klein's funding, we are able to offer Bronx job seekers crucial workforce development training as well as free certifications to create the ideal employee. Bronx H.I.R.E. participants continually expand and strengthen their skillsets  to obtain employment in leading industries. The Bronx Chamber of Commerce thanks Senator Klein for investing in The Bronx workforce," said Michelle Dolgow Cristofaro, Executive Director of The Bronx Chamber of Commerce.​

Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go will host a series of workforce training and development workshops throughout the month of October. Upcoming events include:

  • Wednesday, September 30 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Soundview Library, 660 Soundview Ave., Bronx, NY
Presentations on customer service, IT Technician and Microsoft Office certificates

  • Thursday, October 15 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Ave., Bronx, NY
Presentations on real estate and public speaking certificates

  • Thursday, October 22 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Hunts Point Recreation Center, 765 Manida St., Bronx, NY
Presentations on personal training and security certifications

At the training seminars, Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go will provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about available job opportunities, fine tune their resumes, improve their writing skills and learn how to make a great first impression in an interview.

Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go is part of Senator Klein’s larger jobs initiative, Bronx H.I.R.E. The Bronx H.I.R.E. program works to provide jobs candidates with the resources, skills and supports they need to succeed in today’s job market. To date, Bronx H.I.R.E. has placed more than 400 candidates in jobs and provided 100 job seekers with certifications in an array of industries.

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj's Immigration Forum on October 21

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj's Immigration Forum 
Join us for an open panel of discussions on Immigration Guidelines 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
5:30 to 8:30 pm
Bronx House
990 Pelham Parkway South
Bronx, N.Y. 10461
For more information, please contact Lilyanna Pekic at
 or email

Mercy College's Bronx Leadership Awards Dinner Tuesday October 27th

Join us Tuesday, October 27 for the Bronx Leadership Awards Dinner honoring four outstanding community members who help strengthen our connection to the Bronx community. Held at Marina del Rey, attendees will enjoy a cocktail hour and silent auction before sitting down for the awards presentation and dinner. Proceeds from this event will support the Hutchinson Metro Center and Bronx Leadership Endowed Scholarship Fund. 
This year's outstanding honorees include:

Deborah Antoine - President and CEO, NY Junior Tennis and Learning
Paul Chapman - Chairman and Vice President, ABC Carpet and Home
Steven Squitieri - President, Sanitation Salvage Corporation
Mark Stagg - President and Founder, Stagg Group

Mercy College Bronx Leadership Awards Dinner
Tuesday, October, 27, 2015
Marina del Rey
One Marina Drive, Bronx, NY

5:30 p.m. Cocktails, Hors D'oeuvres and Silent Auction
7:00 p.m. Award Presentation, Dinner and Entertainment from Danny Aiello 
                 with Joe Geary and The Guys Band

Please Note: When completing your registration form you will be directed to our secure payment site 

  1. Step 1 Selection
  2. Step 2 Registration
Tuesday October 27
5:30 PM
Join us in recognizing the outstanding advocates who work diligently to deepen and strengthen the connection in the Bronx community.

Click here to register online
For more information please contact - 
Lenny Caro HD '11
Chief Community Relations Officer, Bronx
Mercy College
718-678-8667 (office)
914-755-4982 (cell)

Bronx Chamber of Commerce 4th Annual Italian Heritage Reception and October Event Calendar

Please join the 
Bronx Chamber of Commerce 
for our 
upcoming events 
Italian Heritage Reception - 
Wednesday, Oct. 7th 
Country Bank Dinner Network-
Thursday Oct.14th
Members Exclusive Business Breakfast -
Wednesday, Oct. 21st
NYC Department of Design and Construction Event -
  Wednesday, Oct. 21st
Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Workshop-
Monday, Oct.26th   

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Robert Johnson, the Criminal Justice System and His Detractors

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

You should know that Robert Johnson has been the Bronx District Attorney since 1989, and that after 26 years as the Bronx’s top Prosecutor (the longest serving District Attorney in office in any of New York City’s five counties) Mr. Johnson would like to step down and seek a nomination as a New York State Supreme Court Judge. 

You should also know that because of this, there has been criticism of Robert Johnson – and one of the criticisms is that he has one of the lowest criminal conviction rates of all of the District Attorneys in the five boroughs. 

You should know that throughout the years, members of our community and some news reporters have been accusing the criminal justice system of discriminating against minority communities – especially our youth. 

We have seen demonstration after demonstration in different parts of the City where community leaders demand the better treatment and the end of the unequal enforcement of the law for minorities. 

We have read columns and editorials from different publications and news reporters criticizing how minorities have been targeted, arrested for non-violent crimes, prosecuted and sent to prison. 

We have seen statistic after statistic about the increase of the population in the New York State’s prisons showing how they are packed with Black and Hispanic people – especially our youth. 

We have heard sharp criticism against different District Attorneys who have been accused of discriminating against Black and Hispanic youth, and how these same District Attorneys use a double standard of prosecution just to obtain high rates of conviction. 

On the other hand, when we look at those who are fighting against and accusing the system of using a double standard to pack our jails with Black and Hispanic youth, those same reporters and community leaders who have been fighting to change our laws so our youth won’t go to jail - those are the same people who are constantly demonstrating against the system because according to them, the system is unjust to our minority community – especially our Black and Hispanic youth. 

But, surprise, surprise! 

Those same reporters, news stations, newspapers and community leaders are the same ones now accusing Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson of being ineffective because his rate of conviction is less than the other District Attorneys – especially compared to the District Attorneys in Queens and Staten Island. 

It is important for you to know that what dignifies Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson and what makes him stand out is his lack of desire to have a great record of conviction at the expense of sending members of our community to jail for non-violent crimes. 

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson has never concentrated on benefitting himself by getting a high conviction rate.  Instead, he has been making sure that our community – especially Black and Hispanic youth are treated with the same standard as others are treated. 

Robert Johnson was never interested in sending anyone to jail just to boost his own record of conviction. 

Ladies and gentlemen, even though some people judge a great District Attorney by his or her record of conviction, there are others who judge them by their fairness and their ability to see the bigger picture. And I believe that Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson qualifies for the latter. 

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

Editors Note:
And not one word of how Robert Johnson is going about becoming a judge Senator Diaz. I wonder if you think the petitioning process for Bronx District Attorney was fair this year, or should have Robert Johnson not put his name on the petition for Bronx DA. After all Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda made it known he was interested in running for Bronx DA, and is Assemblyman Sepulveda not a member of Team Diaz? Will wonders not cease even with the Popes visit to New York, Huh Senator Diaz?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


   Inside the Bronx County Courthouse located at 851 Grand Concourse the State Department of Labor, The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, and Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted a job fair that had hundreds of people lined up all around the courthouse building waiting to get in. In all there were 24 tables in which various city, state, and private organizations were set up to inform the attendees of various positions that are currently available to be filled.  

   While many of the people seemed very anxious at the possibility of finding a good job from private companies such as Staples, Best Buy, Fed Ex, Game Stop, or even governmental related jobs from the New York State Department of Civil Labor, MTA - NYC Transit Division, Department of Citywide Administrative Services, New York Botanical Garden, or the other businesses such as the Bronx Workforce 1 Career Center not everyone was pleased. Many of the available positions were entry level low paying jobs, training programs, or not the jobs people would think of when they saw the names of the businesses. All in all it seemed to be a huge success, and Bronx Borough president Diaz briefly stopped in to say hello, and answer a few questions, as you will see in the photos below. Diaz Jr. touted the job growth in the Bronx since he became Borough president, and to a question of job loss, Diaz Jr. said that the borough has gained many more jobs than have been lost, and unemployment figures have been cut in half from all time highs when he took office. 

Above - BP Diaz greets one of the many job seekers at the job fair.
Below - During an interview Diaz Jr. touts the success his office has had in reducing the unemployment figures in the borough almost in half. 

Above - Staples, Below - New York Life were among the companies on hand for the job fair.

Above - Concerned Home Management for the Elderly.
Below- The New York Botanical Garden.

Above - The MTA NYC Transit Division.
Below - One of the job placement agencies in the Bronx SOBRO.

Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Religion: You Shall Know Them By Their Fruits

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

You should know that the latest Donald Trump controversy is related to the United States President Barack Obama and the Muslim and Christian faiths.

You should also know that during a Trump rally in Rochester, New Hampshire on Thursday, September 17, 2015, a gentleman from the audience stood up to ask a question, saying that Barack Obama is not a Christian but a Muslim.  The man said: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current President is one. You know he’s not even an American. That’s my question. When can we get rid of ‘em?”

Donald Trump kept quiet about what the man said about Barack Obama’s religion, giving Trump’s critics the opportunity to criticize him because according to them, he did not defend President Obama.  Donald Trump’s critics were expecting for Trump to feel obliged to correct or even reprimand the person with a response such as: "No, Barack Obama is not a Muslim, he is a Christian."

This has created another controversy for Donald Trump, who claims it is not his place to defend the religion of the President of the United States - especially after having his own faith called into question by Dr. Ben Carson.

You may recall that on September 9, 2015, before a Rally in Anaheim, California, Republican Candidate Dr. Ben Carson said that Donald Trump’s Christian faith is not an important part of Trump's life.  When a reporter asked him how he was different than Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson replied: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life and that’s a very big part of who I am. I don’t get that impression, maybe I’m wrong but I don’t get that.”

According to Trump, after Dr. Carson made those statements, no one defended him, and no one corrected Dr. Ben Carson or criticized him about why he should not challenge another man’s religious beliefs.

This week Pope Francis, who serves as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Christian faith throughout the world, is coming to the United States.  His pronouncements will be given great deference to what people believe; it is expected that the Pope might make statements that will make a great impact in people's lives and beliefs.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who serves as the leader of all Christianity has let us know how we as humans can identify those who are Christians and those who are not. Jesus Christ said: "My true disciples produce much fruit." [John 15:8] and "You shall know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:16]
This can also be used to tell if a person who proclaims to be a Catholic, Christian, Muslim or Jewish acts according to their religion's teachings, and stands by the principles of whatever religion they belong to.

We all know that someone is Jewish by the way they stand by the principles taught in Torah, and someone who is a Christian by the way they stand by the principles of the Holy Bible. We know that someone is Catholic by the way they support the Catholic teachings, and that someone is a Muslim by the way they stand by the teachings of the Quran.

It is not up to any of us to defend anyone’s religion. The people themselves will be known by what they say, how they live and the issues they defend and stand by according to the religion they profess.
For example, I for one have been publicly criticized, ostracized, condemned and rejected for my stand and support for the issues that my religion teaches. All of the criticism I have received as a Christian is because of the two issues that my religion opposes: gay marriage and abortion - even though I am second to no one regarding other social issues.

We all know that religion cannot be truly professed only when it is convenient or safe.  In the words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
It is easy for anyone to say: “I am Jewish,” "I am a Christian,” “I am a Muslim,” or  "I am a Catholic.” However, if your actions speak otherwise, then they speak volumes.  No one has to declare what another person’s religion is. We can all see by the way they act and the way they publicly support, defend and uphold the teachings of their religion.

Now that the Pope is coming to the US, you will see many elected officials who stand against Catholic teachings and beliefs - professing to be Catholics, but no one will say that they are or are not Catholic.  It is interesting to note that I have not known of any Muslim who does not publicly stand by what the Quran teaches, nor have I ever known of any Orthodox Jewish person fighting against what the Torah teaches.

When the Bible says: "My true disciples produce much fruit." [John 15:8] and "You shall know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:16] that is to let us know how to identify people and their religion. This is true for those who follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Bible, the Quran or the Torah and it applies to the President of the United States, to Donald Trump, to any other candidate running for President of the United States, to you  my dear reader, and to me.

And so, you can see, my dear reader, it’s not up to Donald Trump, nor anyone else to defend the religious practice of the President of the United States or the religious practices of anybody else.
No one has to defend President Obama's religion because the American people should already know if our President is a Christian or not by the actions and positions he has taken, the statements he has made and the issues that he has supported.

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

Attention Bronx Chamber of Commerce Members: Upcoming Business Opportunities

Request For Proposals 

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce announces an 
opportunity for qualified  vendors 
to do business with


Please review the full RFP, HERE

Please contact Michelle Dolgow Cristofaro for more information at
New Procurement Opportunities with the Department of Design 
and Construction on October 8

 Join us on October 8, 2015 for a special half-day forum and networking session designed to 
introduce you to the DDC's contract opportunities. Engage with Construction Managers, General Contractors, Primes and Subs who are active in 
this market and discover the contracts available 
to capable MWBEs.

October 8, 2015
8:00 AM - 2:00 PM 

30-30 Thomson Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
Friendly Reminder:September 24th
Workforce Development Workshop 
September 28th
Access to Capital Workshop
For more information

Call 718-828-3900 or 

Monday, September 21, 2015


With over 700 visits to Bronx emergency rooms since May, thousands of bodegas band together with Klein & Torres to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers
Bodega Association of the USA endorses Klein’s legislation to stop sale of K2 in New York State
BRONX, NY - State Senator Jeff Klein, City Councilman Ritchie Torres, President of the Bodega Association of the United States (ASOBEU) Ramon Murphy, Northeast Regional Director of the National Action Network Minister Kirsten John Foy, and Bronx bodega owners today launched the “K.O. K2” campaign and announced that more than 1,700 bodegas have joined the pledge not to sell synthetic marijuana.
Each store participating in the campaign will prominently display a sign in their window indicating that the shop does not sell synthetic marijuana in an effort to  “K.O. K2.”
Senator Klein said: “The ‘K.O. K2’ campaign is the first coordinated effort by elected officials and store owners to kick K2 out of local shops and remove this poison from our streets. More than 1,700 bodega owners have joined the pledge not to sell synthetic marijuana – marking a major step forward in the fight against synthetic drugs. I’m proud to partner with Councilman Ritchie Torres and the ASOBEU to launch this important campaign and will continue to push for the passage of my comprehensive K2 legislation in the state Senate.”

Councilman Ritchie Torres said: “We must take every measure to stop the sale and consumption of K2, a deadly drug that has already taken a tremendous toll on The Bronx. Unfortunately, it is going to take more than legislation to keep this poison out of our communities. I am proud to stand with Senator Jeff Klein and the ASOBEU to announce a coordinated campaign to get K2 out of our stores and off of our streets.”
Ramon Murphy, President of the ASOBEU, said: “A bodega is a family run business that serves the community and is part of the community.  Dangerous drugs and illicit substances like K2 have no place in our stores and I am proud to announce the ASOBEU’s pledge not to sell K2 in New York State. It’s the ASOBEU’s promise that our customers and the entire community feel safe in our stores. I applaud Senator Klein’s efforts to outlaw K2 and fully support his legislation currently before the State Senate.”
The ASOBEU is comprised of 5,000 members with 35 percent or 1,750 stores located in The Bronx. The “K.O. K2” campaign encompasses all Bronx bodegas but also includes a coordinated, grassroots effort by community groups and local advocates to sign up grocery stores and smoke shops throughout the borough that are not strictly defined as “bodegas.”

The photos below are of State Senator Jeff Klein explaining why combating K2 is so very important, Councilman Ritchie Torres explaining what the city council is doing to combat the use of K2, and Ramon Murphy the President of the ASOBEU, and why it is so important that his 5,000 members do not sell K2, and other bodega owners who do not belong to his association. Also in the photos is Community Board 7 Chairperson Adaline Walker-Santiago.

Above - Senator Klein, Councilman Torres, CB 7 Chair Walker-Santiago, and ASEBOU President Murphy pose for photo in front of the sign informing customers that K2 is not sold at this bodega.
Below - A blow up of the K2 is not sold here poster.