Saturday, October 10, 2015


  Klein honors distinguished Hispanic members of The Bronx community for outstanding service and dedication - with special Guest Christine Chavez

State Senator Jeff Klein honored distinguished members of the Bronx community at his annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at the Havana Cafe located at 3151 East Tremont Avenue. 
The awards luncheon featured renowned labor leader Christine Chavez, who has continued her grandfather’s fight for equal rights through her work with the Cesar Chavez Foundation. Senator Klein will present awards to distinguished members of the Hispanic community in The Bronx who embody the spirit of service in their communities.
The honorees were -
Hon. Luis M. Diaz, Bronx County Clerk
Hon. Julia Rodriguez, Democratic District Leader
Hon. Ritchie Torres, New York City Council Member

Ms. Claudia Granados, New York State Director for the Northeast Charter School Network. Photos of the event are below.

Above and Below - State Senator Jeff Klein with Christine Chavez, and presenting her with a proclamation from the state for her work in labor.

Above Senator Klein with honoree Hon. Luis Diaz, Bronx County Clerk.
Below - Senator Klein with Honoree Claudia Granadosof NESSN.

Above - Senator Klein with Honoree Female District Leader 87th A.D. Julia Rodriguez. 
Below - Honoree Councilman Ritchie Torres acknowledges new Bronx District Attorney Democratic candidate Darcel Clark.

Above - Bronx District Attorney Democratic candidate Darcel Clark gave thanks for being selected as the candidate to replace retiring Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson. I was able to ask Bronx DA candidate Clark if she would do something retiring Bronx DA did not, and that was prosecute corrupt Bronx elected officials. Candidate Clark said that without any hesitation that she would go after any elected official who was corrupt.
Below - Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo was on hand as one of the rising Hispanic stars of the Bronx. 

A group photo of the honorees, Christine Chavez, and Senator Jeff Klein.

Bronx Democratic County Committee - Upcoming Events

U P C O M I N G   E V E N T S
 Dear Bronx Democrat,
Below is a list of upcoming events. Attached you will find flyers for each event.
Presidential Debate Watch Party
When: Tues. 10/13/15 @ 8pm
Where: 1640 Eastchester Rd., BX, NY 
The Bronx Democratic County Committee (BDCC) invites you to attend our Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate Watch Party. Food and Refreshments will be served.

To RSVP, please contact us at or call us at 347-281-9759
Click to Enlarge
Liberty Dem. Assoc. 8th Annual Awards Dinner
When: Thurs. 10/15/15 @ 6p - 10p
Where: Maestro's Caterers - 1703 Bronxdale Ave., BX, NY 

The Liberty Democratic Association invites you to the 8th Annual Awards Dinner honoring BDCC County Leader Marcos Crespo and others. 
Please contact Joseph A. McManus at 718-644-1841 or to RSVP.

Click to Enlarge
Clergy Breakfast with Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie
When: Fri. 10/16/15 @ 9a - 11a
Where: Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church - 350 E. 165th St., BX, NY 

Members of the Bronx Clergy welcome Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner over breakfast. Guest Speakers include Rev. James D. Morrison, Rev. Calvin Butts, and Rev. Raymond Rivera.

RSVP with Wilbert T. Lawton at 646-463-9917 or Abby Taylor at
Click to Enlarge
2nd Annual College & Career Fair
When: Wed. 10/21/15 @ 11a - 4p
Where: Sotomayor Community Center - 
1000 Rosedale Ave, BX, NY 

Councilmember Annabel Palma presents the 2nd Annual College & Career Fair. The event is open to all high school students and is co-sponsored by Phipps Neighborhoods.

For more information, please contact 718-792-1140.
Click to Enlarge
Bronx Leadership Dinner
When: Thurs. 10/22/15 @ 6p - 10p
Where: Maestro's Caterers - 1703 Bronxdale Ave, BX, NY

The Jackson Democratic Club cordially invites you join them at the Bronx Leadership Dinner honoring NYS Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and others. 

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Cynthia Cox at 917-450-5192

Click to Enlarge

In solidarity,
Hon. Marcos A. Crespo, Chair
The Bronx Democratic County Committee
1640 Eastchester Rd.


STATEMENT FROM BP DIAZ RE: MTA Capital Plan/East Bronx Metro North

  "Today's announcement represents a great day for public transportation in The Bronx, across the city and throughout the region. Our transit system is the backbone of our economy, and a fully-funded MTA capital plan is critical to not only the continued maintenance of our transit system but to the development of new infrastructure improvements, as well. Governor Cuomo's leadership has brought us the largest investment in MTA infrastructure in our state's history, and Mayor de Blasio has expanded the city's contribution to new levels. They are both to be commended for their efforts.

"Most importantly for my borough, this capital plan funds the long awaited, much anticipated East Bronx Metro North expansion. The establishment of new commuter stations in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest and Hunts Point will not only offer residents of these communities a new transportation option, it will open the East Bronx corridor to new residential and commercial development opportunities, and is the most significant infrastructure improvement our borough has seen in decades.

“This expansion has been a top priority of mine since the day I became borough president, and Governor Cuomo's strong support for this project never wavered. The 1.4 million people of our borough, and the millions of people who will call our borough home in the future, owe the governor their gratitude for his continued commitment to our borough's ongoing revitalization," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Comic Con 2015

  Today I had a chance to attend Comic Con 2015, and I was very disappointed at the event. Aside from being way overcrowded, there was what can only be described as several fire hazards that took place when to many people had to crowd through small walkways as they had to look out for an even number of people coming in the opposite direction causing what looked like midtown Manhattan gridlock at times. 
  While the event was more spread out from the north to the south end of the Javits Center there were the usual complaints of long lines, and poor planning by the shows organizers. There seemed to be many many more artists, and very few signing for free. The event was sold out weeks in advance, and if you pare planning to attend either on Saturday or Sunday be prepared for long lines, and bring lots of money or several credit/debit cards. The photos below will tell the rest of the story.

Above - Progressive had their horses at Comic Con this year, and offered free locker space top those lucky enough to get to them early. 
Below - M & M Mars had a large corner, and you were able to get you picture taken with the giant M & M's or purchase M & M items for a reasonable price.

Above - No this is not a new M & M item, but the mascot of a security company.
Below - Wrestling great and former football player Hacksaw Jim Duggan was signing autographs for fans, and yes that is his favorite weapon of choice a 2 x 4 piece of wood that was able to be signed.  

Above - The Honky Tonk Man,  
Below - Luke Bushwacker were two other famous wrestlers signing autographs and taking photos with their fans.

Above - Artists were sketching.
Below - Artists were signing.

Above - Make up Artists were doing their thing.
Below - Costumed characters were plentiful. 

Above and Below just two of the many beautifully costumed people at Comic Con 2015.

Lastly, no that is not a costume. It is a real United States soldier, and an Army recruiter as the U.S. Army was on hand to recruit people or even costumed characters it seemed into the armed forces.  

Broadway Community Alliance Meeting - Fight Overdevelopment and Oppose the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Rezoning Plan.

  Thursday night almost 200 people came out to a meeting Thursday night called by the Broadway Community Alliance about what is being called 'Overdevelopment in North Riverdale. People from all over Riverdale came together to also sign on to fight the recent Mayor Bill de Blasio plan for rezoning which will lead to taller buildings, smaller apartments, and little if any parking spaces. 
  The agenda of the meeting consisted of a welcome by community activist Laura Spalter, an update on the new Selfhelp building (an 11 story building that is being built on Broadway south of Mosholu Avenue), An update of the Van Cortlandt Motel site on Broadway, An update on the Riverdale Manor, a short summary of the mayor's rezoning plan, a proposed building at 5278 Post Road, elected official responses by State Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and Councilman Andrew Cohen, and then questions from the audience. The photos below will tell the story, but you should check out their website at for more information. 

Above - The lighting in the room was low, but as you can see there was standing room only at the Broadway Community Alliance meeting.
Below - Community Activist Laura Spalter welcomes everyone, and gives a little history of the BCA and what they have been doing the past yeay plus.

Above - Damien McShane of BCA explain, or tries to explain the very complicated (as he said) new mayor's rezoning plan.
Below - some items that the BCA wants and needs the entire community board area to do.

Above - State Senator Jeff Klein received a warm welcome from the attendees as Senator Klein has been with the local community when problems arose in the past. Klein pledges to continue to work with the community.
Below - It was Councilman Andrew Cohen's turn to speak to the audience. Cohen reminded the crowd that he was a former member of Community Board 8, and has worked with other local elected officials on quality of life issues.

Lastly it was time for questions from the audience, and Sergeant of Arms (and former principal) Deidre Burke moderated this part of the meeting.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Meet Legendary Yoda, Star Wars Air Hogs at New York Comic Con

I hear you’re headed to New York Comic Con this week and want to make sure the Spin Master booth is on your radar. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just over two months away now (can you believe it?), we’re thrilled to be showcasing these must-have products for young padawans and Jedi Masters alike.

·         Legendary Yoda’s lifelike movements and voice recognition make it possible to train with the Jedi Grand Master like never before.View Legendary Yoda in action and learn more here.

·         Star Wars Air Hogs make galaxy travel a reality with innovative remote controlled versions of some of the most iconic vehicles. The Ultimate Millennium Falcon Quad will have users convinced they are Han Solo. Learn more about the Star Wars Air Hogs vehicles here.

Visit Spin Master at booth #1665 to demo these innovative toys yourself.

Legends of Cthulhu Prize Pack of Insanity at NYCC!


WHO:              From Warpo, the creators of the Legends of Cthulhu retro action figures, and Diamond Comic Distributors.
WHAT:            All New York Comic Con attendees who have their badges scanned at the Diamond/PREVIEWSworld booth this week will be entered to win an exclusive Legends of Cthulhu Prize Pack of Insanity, featuring one each of each item from Warpo’s Legends of Cthulhu action figures, the limited edition 12” Glow in the Dark Cthulhu, the 12” standard Cthulhu, the Legends of Cthulhu Collector Club Kit, and assorted other goodies from Warpo.
WHERE:          New York Comic Con
                        Diamond/ PREVIEWSworld booth #1736
WHEN:            October 8 – 11, 2015
Legends of Cthulhu retro action figures are available at BigBadToyStoreThink Geekcomic book stores, and in toy and hobby shops nationwide.
About Warpo
Founded in 2013 by avid collectors and toy industry veterans Bryan Katzel, Eric LeFeber and Tommy Baldwin, Warpo is Making Yesterday’s Toys, high-quality collectible toys with a a distinct retro look and feel. Taking an artisanal approach of “method manufacturing”, Warpo’s debut product line, Legends of Cthulhu launched with a Kickstarter in June 2014, and the company’s future releases include action figures, plush, playsets, and more. For more information, visit

“Bronx Chamber of Commerce Honors Italian Leaders as Part of Italian Heritage Month”

  The Bronx Chamber of Commerce hosted its 4th Annual Italian Heritage Month Leadership Reception on Wednesday, October 7th.  This event marked the chamber’s celebration of Italian Heritage Month, gathering their membership to commemorate the contribution of Italians to the Bronx business community.  

Honorees include John Cerini (Bronx Tax Man), Dominic Ciacco (Ridgewood Savings Bank), Gianna Dell’Olio (Bronx Works), Sal Farenga (Farenga Brothers Funeral Home), Gino Longo (Gino O. Longo Architect), Dominck Mascaria (Visiting Nurse Service of New York), Vincent Palmieri (East Coast Power and Gas), and Captain Danielle Raia (NYPD, 45th Precinct).

Above - BCC Chairman Joe Kelleher opened the event.
Below - Some of the BCC members and the Italian specialties that were served.

Above - State Senator Jeff Klein address the packed room.
Below - As Senator Klein speaks BCC Chairman Kelleher and BCC Executive Director Michelle Dolgow-Christofaro watch from the side. Senator Klein and the BCC have partnered in the very successful Bronx HIRE program.

Scott Stringer is Hurting the Homeless and the Needy

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

You should know that there is an article titled EXPERTS SAY STRINGER’S REJECTION OF HOMELESS SHELTER CONTRACTS IS ‘ILLEGAL’ written by Jeff Stein from New York NonProfit that appeared in the October 6, 2015 edition of “City and State.”  Mr. Stein wrote about how “the current standoff between Bill de Blasio and Scott Stringer over the registration of homeless shelter contracts is far from shocking.”
As a New York State Senator here in the South Bronx, and as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, I must say that it is deplorable for families and children to languish in poverty and homelessness while New York City's Comptroller - who lives in a penthouse - delays and denies payments for New York City homeless shelter contracts.
I must also say that it is disreputable for Mr. Stringer to bolster his own public stature by refusing to sign contracts for homeless shelters while people are suffering, and organizations that rely upon City funding to serve the homeless are not even able to pay their bills.
You should already know that my ministers and I work hard to support the efforts of the multitude of organizations that serve homeless New Yorkers. We know that due to circumstances that are often outside of our control, any one of us could become homeless overnight.  Most of us know that it is our duty and obligation to take care of each other, and when someone or something becomes an obstruction, we have a responsibility to shine a light on that person and demand for him or her to be held accountable.
It is important to know that under the New York City Charter, the Comptroller’s authority mandates the registration of contracts unless: (1) there is not enough funding for the contract to be paid; (2) if the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services has not certified the contract; or (3) if there is reason to suspect corruption.
According to New York University School of Law Professor Roderick Hills: “Given that none of the homeless shelter contracts have been rejected on those grounds … For the comptroller to slow down or stop the mayor’s contracting policy is frankly illegal.”
We all know about Mr. Stringer’s personal ambition to become the Mayor of New York City; it’s no secret. We also know that Mr. Stringer has been extremely generous handing out lawsuit settlement checks for high profile cases against New York City, and has not missed any opportunity to glow in the media for each of our tax dollars he has doled out.
Mr. Stringer's refusal to sign contracts that the Mayor's office has approved shows that he is intentionally hurting the most needy, and making community organizations that deal with the homeless endure all kinds of problems.  Many of the organizations that are truly there for the homeless are being forced to borrow money from banks to pay their bills without knowing if Scott Stringer will ever sign their contract.
My dear reader, the homeless are suffering.  And the organizations that are fighting for the needy are paying the consequences because of Mr. Stringer's vicious refusal to sign their contracts.
Mr. Stringer should be trying to help the organizations that serve the homeless to work out technicalities and assist with any necessary paperwork - instead, he is beating them down and casting them aside.
I am calling on New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to stop hurting the needy and to sign the contracts already approved by the Mayor to allow homeless service organizations to pay their bills and fulfill their obligations to serve the needy.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


City has over 270,000 Crowded Dwellings
Citywide Proportion of Severely Crowded Dwellings Increased by 44.8 Percent between 2005 and 2013
The Bronx Saw Biggest Jump, with 74.2 percent Increase in Proportion of Severely Crowded Dwellings

(NEW YORK, NY) — More than one in twelve dwellings in New York City – a total of 272,533 homes – are crowded, according to “Hidden Households,” a new report released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. All told, that means that a total of 1,476,746 New York residents lived in a crowded or severely crowded dwelling in 2013, at a ratio of 5.42 persons per crowded household.
Crowding is an established predictor of homelessness and a critical indicator of negative health, safety and economic well-being.  The report breaks down the problem of crowding into two tiers: crowded dwellings (units with more than 1 person per room) and severely crowded dwellings (a subset of crowded dwellings where units have more than 1.5 persons per room).
“Studies make it clear that crowding hurts the whole family,” commented Comptroller Stringer. “It makes it harder for kids to learn and puts the entire family at a greater risk of homelessness. This new report shows that the problem of crowding is stubbornly increasing, with nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers now living in a crowded or severely crowded home.  In response, the City must elevate crowding as a key housing priority to be addressed, while at the same time creating more affordable housing.”
“Hidden Households” used microdata drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey in order to examine trends in both rental and privately-owned housing between 2005 and 2013. 
Crowded Dwellings
Between 2005 and 2013, the citywide proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 15.8 percent.
  • In Brooklyn, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 28.1 percent.  
  • In Queens, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 12.5 percent.
  • In The Bronx, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 12.3 percent.
  • In Manhattan, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 10.1 percent.
  • In Staten Island, the proportion of crowded dwellings actually decreased by 8.6 percent.
Changes in the number of crowded units are illustrated in the chart below:

Severely Crowded Dwellings 
Between 2005 and 2013, the citywide proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 44.8 percent.
  • In The Bronx, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 74.2 percent.
  • In Staten Island, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 53.5 percent.
  • In Brooklyn, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 49.1 percent.
  • In Manhattan, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 25.5 percent.
  • In Queens, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 24.9 percent.
Changes in the number of severely crowded dwelling units are illustrated in the chart below:

The report also explores crowding along income lines, revealing that the crowding issue exists across the earning spectrum:

Households earning less than $22,000 a year constitute: 
  • 23.6% of crowded dwellings.
  • 24.9% of severely crowded dwellings.
Households earning at least $100,000 a year constitute: 
  • 18.5% of crowded dwellings.
  • 16.4% of severely crowded dwellings.
Households earning at least $170,000 a year constitute: 
  • 5.2% of crowded dwellings.
  • 4.6% of severely crowded dwellings.
Other major findings of the report include:

Households with children:
  • More than 81% of crowded dwellings include at least one person under the age of 18.
  • 68.8% of severely crowded dwellings include at least one person under the age of 18.
Large Crowding Increases in Studio Apartments:
  • The proportion of severely crowded studio apartments with three or more occupants rose by over 365 percent from 2005 to 2013.
  • Crowded studio apartments in The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn all exceed the citywide percentage.
Country of origin:
  • In nearly 70% of crowded dwellings the ‘head of the household’ is foreign born.
  • In 67.6% of severely crowded dwellings the ‘head of the household’ is foreign born.
Family Ties:
  • The report shows that family ties are the most crucial social linkage in the City’s crowded dwellings, with nearly 92 percent of crowded residents having a family relationship to the head of a crowded household. 
  • Young adults, college students, and roommates, while still a significant population within crowded dwellings, are not the primary catalyst of crowded living conditions in New York City.
Incomes Slightly Up, But Not Keeping Pace With The Rent:
  • From 2005 to 2013, real household incomes for all residents living in crowded housing situations increased by a slight 2.7 percent, while real median rents increased by a much steeper 12.8 percent, suggesting that the affordability of the City’s rental housing stock may have played a role in boosting crowding. 
The Comptroller’s Office recommended that: 
  • The City form a working group of housing, buildings, and public safety experts to devise a strategy to mitigate fire hazards that stem from overcrowding;
  • The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene consider increasing data collection as it relates to residents living in crowded housing, with an eye toward better understanding the public health risks of crowding; and
  • The Department of Homeless Services publically release comprehensive data on applications for individuals seeking placement in City shelters so that policy makers can understand the extent to which crowing drives shelter applications.

“Crowding affects every New Yorker, throughout all five boroughs, and across every income level,” commented Comptroller Stringer. “And while we could all use a little more room to breathe, we must give special attention to those who are most at risk for the negative effects of crowding, including bad health, diminished economic opportunity, and increased risk of homelessness.”
To read the full report, please click here