Saturday, November 28, 2015

100 PERCENT Saturday November 28, 2015


By Robert Press

Why Should We Be Thankful?

     Another Thanksgiving has passed, and one has to ask the question 'Why Should We Be Thankful This Year?' There may be a few good reasons why, but it seems that there are many more reasons why not. The two former state legislative house leaders are probably going to jail, and one has to wonder who is going to be next? The city is no better off today than it was one year ago, as the homeless situation has reared its ugly head, The public school system is in its worse shape in years, our beloved mayor is trying to push a one size fits all affordable housing plan for everywhere in the city but Manhattan above 14th and below 125th Streets to name a few reasons. Then there is the possibility of war in the Middle East region as a Russian plane was shot down by Turkey during the civil war in Syria.  
  I thought the Sheldon Silver trial would be over before Thanksgiving so we could give thanks that at least another perceived crooked elected official would be headed for jail, but we will have to wait now until the beginning of December for the verdict. As for the case against Dean Skelos it looks like an open and shut case as both the former State Senate leader and his son Adam should be joining others in Club Fed. Once the Silver and Skelos trials are over 'Which elected official is going to be Next' to be charged by the U.S. Attorney. 
   Bronx City Councilwoman Maria Del Carmen Arroyo announced recently that she will be stepping down as of the end of this year giving no explaination except for family reasons. Could it be that her mother long time Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo will not be seeking re-election next year also? This means that there will be at a special election to fill Councilwoman Arroyo's seat, and the winner of that race will be able to fill out the remainder of Arroyo's term and go for two full terms in the city council. 
   My spies are telling me that there might be another Bronx elected official leaving before his or her term is up this year, and we will have to wait to see if that is true. I could hint at the name, but I do not want to give out any information that has not been confirmed as of yet. 
   There will be a Blood Drive on Monday November 30th at 2018 Williamsbridge Road with Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj. The hours to give blood are 2:30 - 7:00 PM. 
   The North Bronx Democratic Club will be hosting its first Holiday Party with State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj on Tuesday December 1st, at Maestro's Caterers located at 1703 Bronxdale Avenue beginning at 6 PM and running through 9 PM. The Guest of Honor is Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Honorees include Norman Seabrook (Correction Officers Union President), Beatrice Castiglia Catullo (Founder of RAIN Inc,), Joseph Kelleher (President Metro Properties and Chairman of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce), and Meisha Ross Porter (Superintendent Bronx School District 11). You can call 347-256-8719 or email to purchase tickets or for more information.
    The Committee of 100 Democrats will be hosting their first Holiday Party on Tuesday December 15th, which will also be the release date of the new Bronx County News. More on both in next weeks column. This column and its sister column the Riverdale Report will be featured in the Bronx County News. 
      If you have any political information that you want to share or have checked out, any comments about this column, or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.

Blood Drive on November 30th!

Save A Life and Give Blood
Blood Drive
Please donate at the blood drive with Assemblymember Mark Gjonaj
and the New York Blood Center!
2018 Williamsbridge Road
Bronx, NY 10461
Monday, November 30, 2015
2:30 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Mobile Bus - Walk-ins Welcome!
Appointments Appreciated!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2015 Bronx Thanksgiving Community Meals

2015 Bronx Thanksgiving Community Meals

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Friendly Baptist Church 
962 Ogden Avenue Bronx, NY 10452 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

Christ Church 
United Church of Christ
860 Forest Avenue Bronx, NY 10456 
12 p.m.-3 p.m.

Harvest Hands, Westchester Square BID & 
The Owen Dolen Recreation Center 

Host a Dinner Celebration
Owen Dolen Recreation Center
2551 Westchester Avenue Bronx, NY 10461 
11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Rock of Salvation 
Christian Church 1179 Hoe Avenue Bronx, NY 10459 
12-3 p.m.

Ramah Christian Center 
J.P. Hall
3428 a Boston Road (bet. Fish Ave. & Seymour Avenue) 
11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Green Pasture Baptist Church 
1115 Ward Avenue Bronx, NY 10472 
12 p.m.-3 p.m.

Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church 
771 Fairmount Place (c/s Prospect Avenue) Bronx, NY 10460 
Service: 10 a.m.
Dinner Served: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Thessalonia Baptist Church 
951 Rev. James A. Polite Avenue Bronx, NY 10459 
12-3 p.m.

New Season Christian Center 
788 Southern Boulevard Bronx, NY 10458
11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

United Christian Baptist Church and The Black Spades 

713 East 222nd Street Bronx, NY 10467
11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Real Life Church @ The Point
940 Garrison Ave. 
11-4p with free clothes and free toiletries. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

BRONX COMMUNITY BOARD #8’s: Affordable Housing Forum



Affordable Housing Forum

Come learn about the fundamentals -

How is affordable housing defined, conceived, 

financed and constructed/preserved?

Hear from the organizations 

that make it possible.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

7:00 PM

William E. Irwin, Jr. American Legion Post 774

3035-37 Corlear Avenue

(Between West 230

th and West 231st Streets)

Panel will feature:

Kimberly Darga and Ted Weinstein,

NYC Housing Preservation and Development

Josue Sanchez, L&M Development Partners


Bronx Community Board No. 8

Telephone: 718-884-3959 • Email: • Website:

Bronx Families Receive Must Needed Assistance (and Turkeys) From Council Member Andy King

    New York City Council Member Andy King offered the residents of the 12th Council District an abundance of constituent services on Tuesday (Nov. 24), ranging from free immigration assistance to free health-care insurance enrollment to free civic legal consultation.

As a bonus, Council Member King was able to spread holiday cheer with an impromptu turkey giveaway at his district office at 940 East Gun Hill Road., Bronx.

Before the turkey giveaway, Council Member King held a news conference with Victor Bell, associate executive director of marketing at MetroPlus, Andrea Walters, Associate Secretary Treasurer at Local 371, and several constituents, to urge New Yorkers who do not have health insurance, or need to renew their plan through the NYS Marketplace, to do so beforeDecember 31st.

"The Open Enrollment Period is going on now through January 31, 2016. Existing 2014/2015 plans expire on December 31, 2015. In order to avoid any gaps in coverage, it is highly recommended you sign-up by December 15, 2015," said Council Member King. "If you enroll by December 15, your coverage begins on January 1, 2016. However, if you are even a day late, you would have to wait until February 1, 2016 for your coverage to begin."

Bell noted that health-care insurance plans are more affordable as they become more competitive. MetroPlus has launched the new Essential Plan, which is the lowest cost health plan now offered through NY State of Health at $0 to $20 monthly premiums and the MetroPlus Gold Plan, which is the health plan for all NYC employees.

Ms. Walters commended MetroPlus for launching the new initiatives and working to bring affordable healthcare insurance to New York City employees.

Following the press conference, Council Member King and Bell surprised many of the constituents with free turkeys for the holidays.

Throughout the day, MetroPlus navigators assisted Bronx residents who wanted to sign-up for health-care insurance, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) provided free legal consultation, a CUNY Citizenship Now! attorney helped residents with questions on citizenship and the WBLS mobile team provided music and games.

Above - Councilman Andy King tells of the importance of having health care coverage, as he is about to introduce Mr. David Bell of MetroPlus.
Below - David Bell of Metroplus informs that while MetroPlus has covered members of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation that MertoPlus will now be the prime coverage of all New York City workers, but that they can continue with their current medical coverage.

Above - Councilman King then gave out turkeys to his constituents so they could enjoy a happy Thanksgiving.
Below - Several recipients hold up their turkeys as they thank Councilman Andy King for his generosity.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Statement from Assemblyman Dinowitz Regarding MTA’s Decision to Allow Vulgar and Offensive Advertising

  "In the aftermath of the MTA's recent decision to allow vulgar and offensive advertisements for Amazon's new show, "The Man in the High Castle," which depict insignia's representing Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan laid over the American flag, I am mortified. While we are all used to bad decisions by the MTA, this goes beyond anything we have come to expect from them. The MTA could have allowed this show to be advertised without using such offensive insignias. As a Jew I am offended, and as a New Yorker I am embarrassed. The MTA should be ashamed of themselves and this ignorant advertising campaign, as it is offensive not just to the Jewish community, but to all Americans. I demand that these ads be pulled immediately, and that the MTA issue a public apology."

Editor's Note:
Mayor Bill deBlasio joined with Assemblyman Dinowitz to decry the ads for the new show. 
Assemblyman Dinowitz and Mayor deBlasio's cries have been heard by the MTA and the MTA has agreed to pull the ads.

Senator Klein, Assemblyman Blake host free IT workforce development workshop in latest Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go training

State Senator Jeff Klein and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, joined by Assemblyman Michael Blake hosted the latest Bronx H.I.R.E On-the-Go session at the SUNY Bronx Educational Opportunity Center on Monday.

Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go is a mobile employment program connecting unemployed or underemployed Bronxites to good-paying jobs. On this stop in the 79th Assembly District in Claremont, participants signed up for the Bronx H.I.R.E program and learned about free certification opportunities for IT technician courses, personal training courses and security licenses. These certifications are often expensive obstacles faced by unemployed residents who want to get back into the workforce. Job seekers also built valuable resume writing and interview skills at the workshop.

“The technology industry in New York has seen a boom in recent years, and this growth is only expected to continue. I am proud that, in order to ensure that our communities stay competitive in this, and other growing fields, Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go is bringing opportunity to all areas of The Bronx. By partnering with Assemblyman Blake and The Bronx Chamber of Commerce, through these workshops we can bring first-rate training, resume and interview skills, and educational opportunities to those communities most in need,” said Senator Jeff Klein.

"One of our top priorities is to ensure economic opportunity for all. It is imperative that we help Bronxites get back on their feet, and to make sure that they stay standing with stable and sustainable job opportunities. Our partnership with Bronx H.I.R.E. and the introduction of their new "On-The-Go" initiative will aid in our efforts to address the issue of unemployment by giving Bronx residents the tools that will better prepare them to join the workforce. Bronx residents will learn how to get free IT Certifications as well as certifications in personal training and security.  Bronx H.I.R.E.'s one-on-one personalized  guidance on securing jobs and interviews with bronx employers continues our effort of turning the South Bronx into the urban metropolis of the world," said Assemblyman Blake.

Bronx H.I.R.E. On-the-Go has traveled to Pelham Parkway, Riverdale, Soundview and Hunts Point.

Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Nov 26th at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church.

Deacon Emeritus Walter Mizell’s
Annual Thanksgiving Dinner and Coat Distribution            
 Cena annual de Acción de Gracias y el Distribución de Abrigos

Held at / Celebrada en
Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church
771 Fairmount Place (c/s Prospect Ave)
Bronx, New York 10460
Reverend Torrence Robinson, Pastor

All Are Welcome
Thursday/ Jueves, November 26, 2015
Service Starts at / Servicio Empieza a las 10:00am Sharp!
Dinner is Served from/ Se sirve la cena 11:00am to 4pm;
                    Coats and Clothes Available (while they last).                               
                Los abrigos y ropa disponibles (mientras duren).                   
All is Free! / Todo es gratis!

Chairperson: Sister Deborah Mizell
Co-Chairperson: Minister Jean Hill-Francis

Tickets still available: 1st Annual North Bronx Democratic Club Holiday Party

You are cordially invited to the 
North Bronx Democratic Club 
1st Annual Holiday Dinner
with NYS Senator Jeff Klein &
NYS Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
6:00pm- 9:00pm
Maestro's Caterers
 1703 Bronxdale Avenue
Bronx, NY 10461
Guest of Honor
Hon. Carl E. Heastie
Norman Seabrook
President, NYC Correction Officers Benevolent Association

Beatrice Castiglia Catullo
Founder, RAIN Inc.

Joseph Kelleher
President, Metro Properties & Chairman, Bronx Chamber of Commerce

Meisha Ross-Porter
Superintendent, NYC DOE School District 11 

For more information and to purchase tickets and/or journal ad, please call (347) 256-8719, or email

Bronx Chamber of Commerce "Good Scout" Award Reception Wed. Dec. 2, 2015

Join the Bronx Chamber of Commerce at 
the Bronx"Good Scout" Award Reception 
Wednesday, December 2, 2015 
6:00 P.M. - 9:00P.M. 
For More Information Please Email:
Jason Tewes at 

Annual Bronx Chanukah Celebration Tuesday December 8, 2015

Save the Date
Bronx Borough President
Ruben Diaz Jr.
Annual Bronx Chanukah Celebration
Menorah Lighting Ceremony
December 8, 2015
12:30 PM
The Bronx County Building
Veteran's Memorial Hall
851 Grand Concourse
                   RSVP :

Monday, November 23, 2015


  Department of Transportation Has Approved the Installation of a Traffic Signal at Independence Avenue and West 235th Street

   In an effort to create a safe environment outside of Public School 24 Council Member Andrew Cohen, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz and Congressman Eliot Engel penned repeated requests to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for a traffic light at the intersection of Independence Avenue and West 235th Street.

With two large schools in close proximity to the intersection of Independence Avenue and West 235th Street can become extremely busy and congested during arrival and dismissal times, making it difficult for students and parents to safely cross the street. Despite efforts to reduce traffic flow by parents carpooling, walking or taking public transportation, the issue continued to persist.

After conducting a traffic study, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved the installation of a traffic control device at this intersection and is expected to be installed by February of 2016.

“My colleagues and I have been insisting on the installation of this traffic light for quite some time. This particular area sees an overflow of pedestrians and motorists with several large residential buildings, schools and a library nearby. I would like to thank DOT for hearing the concerns of my neighbors and agreeing that this is the safest solution for everyone,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.

“This new traffic signal will significantly improve safety for not only P.S. 24’s students and teachers, but for all residents in our neighborhood. I originally requested this traffic signal because of my concern, and the concerns of parents, that this intersection where P.S. 24, the Spuyten Duyvil Library, and Seton Park all come together was an accident waiting to happen. I am happy the City Department of Transportation listened to the concerns of the community and its elected officials,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz.

“Council Member Cohen, Assemblyman Dinowitz, and I have been asking for this traffic light on West 235th Street and Independence Avenue for many years,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “With two schools, a library, Seton Park, and several large residential buildings all within a 2 block radius of the intersection, an additional traffic light will provide better safety for motorists and pedestrians. I thank NYC DOT for listening to us and acting to improve traffic safety in our community.”

“DOT is happy to continue working with Councilmember Cohen and the local community to implement this much needed traffic signal,” said DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner Constance Moran. “The signal will help students and parents of P.S. 24, as well as all who cross this intersection, travel more confidently and safely.”

    This issue first came up during the 2009 City Council campaign when one candidate was trying to pander to parents, because their children had to cross Independence Avenue at this intersection to attend classes in the Whitehall Annex. The Whitehall Annex lease was not renewed by the Department of Education, and after June of this year public schoolchildren will no longer have to cross Independence Avenue at this intersection to attend any classes.
   Will the buses that have to double park on West 235th Street as well as the parents who double and triple park around the school end now that this traffic light will be installed? Another question to our local elected officials is, since there is no enforcement of the current traffic regulations what makes you think people will stop at this light?
   When there are many more accidents similar to those that occur at intersections where traffic lights are will that change anything? Just three traffic lights at four intersections in a row of a street that has children only half of the year. The other half of the year we will see what happens, the residents suffer.
   So does this mean comes the end of June this year the new traffic light put in especially so P S 24 students could cross Independence Avenue to go to the Whitehall annex and to the main school building will be removed? 
   Viva our local elected officials, Mayor Bill deBlasio is getting what he wants a traffic light on almost every corner. What is next for our local elected officials to give their beloved mayor, pedestrian islands on Independence Avenue?

We Should Take Care of Our Own Before Anybody Else

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

  You should know that the bold statements made by President Barack Hussein Obama, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, with respect to the compassion that Americans need to have for the Syrian refugees, do not reflect the actions of these three leaders. 
It is important for you to know that here in the United States of America, we have more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.  We have millions of senior citizens who live in poverty and have to decide if they should eat, pay their rent, buy their medication, or just allow themselves to die. Many of our nation’s veterans remain homeless, without enough food to eat, without disability benefits, and without tuition assistance. 
Millions of Americans are homeless, going hungry every night. So many live hand to mouth, with parents working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. American families struggle just to eat and pay for their children’s higher education – while non-Americans attend our schools tuition free. 
It is also important for you to know that here in New York City, we have more than 40,000 homeless families. This week, almost 60,000 people will sleep in New York City’s municipal shelters. People who don’t have anywhere to live are placed in shelters like animals. So many of their children receive poor education in overcrowded public school classrooms. 
According to U.S. State Department, the United States is the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Syria (we have donated $4.5 billion dollars since the Syrian Conflict began in 2011). Nonetheless, President Obama talks about the need for us to be humanitarians, and insists upon bringing thousands of refugees to the United States, against the will of the majority of the American people and the United States Congress. Many people believe that by doing this, the President may be putting American lives in danger. 
On the other hand, President Obama will go down in history of this nation as the President who has deported more people than any other President. Among those deported are Dominicans, Mexicans, Africans, Haitians, Asians, and others.  These people have been deported, sometime breaking their families apart, without showing them any compassion. 
As they say: All Lives Matters. 
It is also important, my dear reader, for you to know that Mayor Bill de Blasio has also come out criticizing anyone who opposes bringing Syrian refugees into the United States, calling them: “an embarrassment to this country.”   
Those words were spoken by New York City’s Mayor after two years into his Administration, as he refuses to even admit the chaotic conditions of New York City’s homeless. 
We have to be thankful to New York City Police Department’s Commissioner William Bratton who publicly criticized his boss, stating: "The mistake the Administration made early on was not validating what everyone was seeing ... The problem was increasing." 
It is important for Mayor Bill de Blasio to address the egregious conditions that exist in our public schools, where teachers cannot properly teach because of the lack of resources, and children are subjected to extreme overcrowd conditions in the classroom. 
He should also take care of the 40,000 homeless families in the City of New York and all of the problems that exist in the City's homeless shelters. 
Families throughout New York City are going through hell because of the skyrocketing rents. Residents in New York City’s Housing Authority buildings don’t receive essential repairs for their apartments for more than three years.  Their roofs are leaking, causing all sorts of health problems for people who are exposed to mold and mildew. Their apartments are infested with rats and roaches, etc. etc. - and the Mayor talks about the need for compassion. 

And we should not forget our beloved Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has come out in public to use the Statue of Liberty as a reason why we should be compassionate. If we don’t welcome refugees, Governor Cuomo says we should “take down the Statue of Liberty” because of what it symbolizes. 
But surprise, surprise. As recently as last week, New Yorkers are circulating a letter and collecting signatures to put pressure on Governor Andrew Cuomo so he could assign money to be spent on the housing conditions for families, senior citizens and homeless in the State of New York, money that he continues to refuse to allocate. 
In the Book of Galatians, Paul the Apostle orders us: "So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, but first with the people closest to us ...” [Gal 6:9-10] 
My dear reader, we cannot bring more refugees into our nation when we continue to deport and divide immigrant families, especially when we give our own families little chance to survive. 
There are almost 25,000 children sleeping in New York City’s municipal shelter system. Classrooms in our public schools are overcrowded. The fate, health and security of more than 11 million undocumented immigrants remain uncertain. As our aging population continues to grow, senior citizens continue to have their critical services cut.  Our Veterans are living in the middle of what is called a “leadership crisis” within the healthcare system that serves over 9.1 million veterans. 
We should do good to everyone, as Paul said, but first we should do for our own. 
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.