Saturday, December 19, 2015

TEAM DIAZ Holds Christmas Party

  It was being billed as Bronx elected officials State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and Assemblyman Michael Blake will be celebrating their annual Christmas Party at Mastero's Caterers located at 1703 Bronxdale Avenue with over 500 people expected to attend. 
  Assemblyman Michael Blake was on a trip to Israel, and Newly elected Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark showed up to help celebrate. As the evening went on Assemblyman and Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo announced the person that the Bronx Democratic County organization will be supporting in the non-partisan special election for the 17th City Council seat of Maria Del Carmen Arroyo. Councilwoman Arroyo announced on Monday November 23rd that she was stepping down as of December 31st after ten years and midway through her third and final term in the city council. There is speculation as to why she is stepping down, but no real answer as to why. It seems to have been a swift and secret selection process as I have already received calls from more than one potential candidate that there was no notification of a selection process, that Councilwoman Arroyo is still in office, and that there has been no date set yet for the special election. 
  I asked Assemblyman Crespo about the selection process, and was told that he reached out to candidates that had committed to running for the seat. When I asked how a selection could be done when there is no vacancy yet, and even several people who may enter the race, Crespo said that he did not want to wait. It seems to be a quick decision by the Bronx Democratic County organization, and I have already been told a few things about the choice that I will check into. It could be that the choice was made to keep certain candidates from running for the 17th City Council special election much as was done in the recent selection of the candidate to replace former Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson. More on this in my 100 PERCENT political column. 

Above - People lined up outside of Mastero's to get a good seat.
Below - You can see these people enjoying themselves while they dance the night away.

Above - Newly elected Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark dropped by to talk to the people and take some photos also.
Below - Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson was also on hand to celebrate.

Above - Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj was also on hand after he helped Santa Claus back into his sled from the Morris Park Christmas tree lighting nearby. 
Below - District Leaders were announced, and here Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda gives kudos to his Female District Leader Julia Rodriguez.

Above - Senator Diaz Sr. announces the birthday of his grandson Ruben Diaz Jr. III.
Below - Could it be that Senator Diaz has found some new amigos to replace the other Three Amigos he had in the state senate, as Community Board 2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca (left next to Assemblyman Crespo) was announced as the choice by County Leader Crespo in the 17th district. I wonder what the connection between them is? 

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Morris Park

  This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon on the corner of Morris Park Avenue and Haight Avenue just outside the fence of Loreto Park. As the sun set the people of the community led by elected officials such as Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, State Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Mike Benedetto, along with members of the Morris Park Community Association met Santa Claus who stopped by to wish everyone a 'MERRY CHRISTMAS', and enjoy the lighting of the Christmas tree above. Children from St. Clare Assisi's School (of Hone Avenue), and from PS 105 (of Brady Avenue) sang various holiday songs for the huge crowd that came to enjoy the Morris Park Christmas tree lighting. Those who came were not disappointed as you will see in the photos below.

Above and below - as the sun went down more and more people came out to enjoy coffee or hot chocolate. candy, or other snacks as they waited for the lighting of the Morris Park Christmas tree.

Above - Students from St. Clare Assisi School sing holiday songs for the huge crowd.
Below - Students from PS 105 also sang holiday songs for the huge crowd at the Morris Park Christmas tree lighting.

Above - Santa Claus parked his sled a few blocks away and had to hoof it over to the Christmas tree lighting.
Below - Santa gets a little help after his long ride and walk.

Above - That's Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj with the microphone in his hand,is counting down to the Christmas tree lighting. Assemblyman Mike Benedetto is closest on the left, and State Senator Jeff Klein on the right.
Below - The Morris Park Christmas tree is lit.

As all good elected officials and community leaders do, they are standing in front of the Morris Park Christmas tree with Santa Claus. 

Friday, December 18, 2015


  A New IDNYC Enrollment Center Opens at the Kingsbridge Library

  City Council Member Andrew Cohen and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowtiz was joined by Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and Tony Marx, President of The New York Public Library (NYPL) to announce the opening of a new IDNYC pop-up site at the Kingsbridge Library.

The pop-up site at the NYPL branch will be active from December 21, 2015 – January 15, 2016. Enrollment pop-up sites like this one rotate throughout the City to keep-up with the high demand the City has seen from residents since its introduction last year.

The IDNYC Municipal ID card gives New Yorkers an opportunity to easily access key City resources and over 30 cultural institutions and libraries with a free government-issued ID. This innovative program unifies all of New York City’s residents regardless of their immigration status, race, and gender or sexual orientation.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that the IDNYC program will continue to be free for eligible New Yorkers in 2016. In addition to welcoming back all of the 2015 partners, IDNYC now provides New Yorkers with free one-year memberships to seven more cultural institutions, including the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Football Club, as well as discounted tickets and memberships for Citi Bike.

IDNYC cards are available for all New Yorkers aged 14 years and up, and can be used to open a bank account or credit union account at one of several financial institutions across New York City.

To learn more about the perks the IDNYC card and to make your own appointment, visit
"I am excited that another pop-up enrollment site has been opened in District 11. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for this innovative program that has acted as a gateway for all New Yorkers to gain access to vital City programs and services. It is great that the success of IDNYC keeps growing! I encourage all of my constituents to make an appointment and take advantage of the free municipal ID card," said Council Member Andrew Cohen.

“At its core, IDNYC signifies equality and access regardless of immigration or economic status. It allows all New Yorkers to access key services and a range of the City’s finest cultural offerings. We look forward to even more New Yorkers obtaining IDNYC through the Kingsbridge Library pop-up,” said Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“Just a few weeks ago I went to the Bronx Library Center to sign up for my own ID NYC card, and I was amazed at how quick and easy the whole process was. I am thrilled that ID NYC is now making it even easier for members of our community to sign up by creating a pop-up enrollment site at the Kingsbridge Library. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his leadership in creating this program, which affords all NYC residents, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, the opportunity to utilize several City resources in addition to dozens of cultural institutions and libraries. I strongly encourage all of my constituents to make an appointment and take advantage of this pop-up site while it’s here," said Assembly Member Dinowitz.

Above - The NYC ID cards are held up by Assemblyman Dinowitz, Councilman Cohen Sona Rai of the Mayor's office of Immigrant Affairs.
Below - NYC Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal stands in front of the machines used to take the photo and process the NYC ID Card, similar to equipment used in the motor vehicle department to process driver licences.

Dominican Student Recognized By Elected Officials

  On Thursday, December 17, 2015  Bronx Elected Officials including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr, joined with the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization at Maestro’s Caterers, to recognize the academic achievements of Dominican student Christopher Brito. 

Christopher Brito is a Bronx high school senior at the Hyde Leadership Charter School, and he is the only student in all the five boroughs of New York City to be nominated by the New York State Department of Education for the Presidential Scholars Program.  Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz nominated Christopher Brito on October 1, 2015. 

According to Senator Diaz: “We are so proud, as Hispanics that Christopher is the only student chosen from the five boroughs and we trust that Christopher’s experience as a Nominee for the Presidential Scholars Program will continue to provide strength and encouragement for him to use all the gifts and talents that have blessed his life. We also believe that Christopher will serve as an incredible role model for our Bronx and City students.” 

Finalists for the Presidential Scholars Program are expected to be announced in the spring. 

Above - State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. addresses the New York Hispanic Clergy organization.
Below - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. does the same.

Above and Below are the students who were honored.

The students are seated at their own table. You can see the packed room full of Clergy members.

Elected Officials to Celebrate Christmas Party

  Bronx elected officials will be celebrating their annual Christmas Party tonight from 8PM – midnight at Mastero’s Caterers, located at 1703 Bronxdale Avenue in Bronx County. 

Every year, Senator Ruben Diaz and Assemblymembers Marcos Crespo, Luis Sepulveda and Michael Blake join together to host an Annual Christmas Party and other activities. More than 500 guests are expected to attend to celebrate the Christmas spirit. 

This Christmas Party is probably the biggest in the City of New York. 

The elected officials have decided that this year’s Christmas Party is by INVITATION ONLY due to the magnitude of the attendance in previous years. 

For more information, please call (718) 991-3161 or email


  This use to be all asphalt and concrete at the corner of Riverdale Avenue and West 236th Street. It is being turned into a Bio Swale which will have openings for water to enter areas where plants and small trees can absorb the water during high rains, instead of having the water run off into the sewer system.

Above - Shrubs are planted by the opening to retain water from running down hill into the sewer system.
Below - A view looking north on Riverdale Avenue towards West 236th Street. Note that the parking spaces will all be back when this job is finished.

Thursday, December 17, 2015



"The decision by congressional Republicans to completely disregard the plight of the Puerto Rican government and deny them much needed debt relief is disappointing, disturbing and unforgivable. By not granting the Puerto Rican government the ability to responsibly renegotiate and restructure their $72 million dollar debt, Republicans have turned their backs on the 3.5 million U.S. citizens living on the island. The impact of this irresponsible decision will likely cause the island to default and will create an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that will affect generations to come.

The Puerto Rican diaspora throughout the United States will continue to organize in an effort to make it clear to Republicans that we will not stand idly by while they leave fellow Americans behind in a withering economy.

Make no mistake, this decision is irresponsible, but together we can hold  the Republican Party accountable and prevail."


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Council Member Ritchie Torres and City Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson today announced the formation of the Bronx Public Housing Authority Task Force.

The new task force will work with New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) tenants, law enforcement agencies, elected officials, community organizations and others to focus on solutions to crime and public safety issues that affect the borough’s NYCHA developments. The task force will officially launch in January 2016.

“Our NYCHA developments are home to some of our most vulnerable populations, and they deserve to live in a safe space free from the fear of crime. Recent reports have put the issue of crime and gang activity in NYCHA housing into clear focus, and through this new task force we will be able to create and implement a clear vision for a safer NYCHA in our borough, in collaboration with law enforcement agencies and the community-at-large. I thank Council Members Torres and Gibson for their commitment to this critical initiative, and I am hopeful that the ideas we put forward for The Bronx could prove useful for all five boroughs,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"Gang violence is a serious and disturbing problem that we must tackle by addressing its root social and economic factors that lead to it. This taskforce will look at how we can reduce gang violence and ensure young men of color can lead productive lives that are not defined by guns. I look forward to working with my colleagues to confront the challenges and develop solutions that will make our borough and City safer," said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Council's Public Housing Committee.

I am proud to join Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Chair of the Committee on Public Housing, Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres, as we embark on a task force to address the growing needs of Bronx NYCHA residents. Everyone deserves a safe and secure community in which to live. Together, this task force will address the public safety and quality of life issues that have plagued the residents of these developments for far too long. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this project and continuing our work to create a better and brighter Bronx for all,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety.


  —More than 700 owner-residents attend —
An emergency forum held Monday night by Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, State Senator Rev Ruben Diaz, and Council Member Annabel Palma about Parckchester South’s threatened 15 percent hike in common charges drew other key elected officials and upward of 700 Parkchester owner-residents.
The elected officials were joined at the event — which was held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Evangelical Church on McGraw Avenue — by Public Advocate Letitia James and a representative from the Office of NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer.
“The fact that repairs may be necessary throughout Parkchester South,” said Sepúlveda, “does not justify management’s imposing draconian increases that will be devastating to the elderly, single families, the disabled, and others who are already struggling to keep up.”
Sepúlveda also called on Parkchester South management “to be more accountable and to participate in meetings with the community and its elected officials.
“Board President Abu Shakoor and other management officials stated that they would be available to attend, but they were no shows,” continued Sepúlveda. “They apparently decided that other business was more important than the 15.19 percent increase that they are trying to simply shove down people’s throats. Despite their lack of participation at the first town hall meeting, we will offer them another opportunity to meet with the owners at another meeting.”
“I am so proud of the turnout from Monday night's meeting. More than 400 people joined us, but shame on the Management of Parkchester South who, at the last minute, decided not to attend. I am committed to continue to keep fighting because this 15-1/2 half percent hike is abusive.” stated State Senator Rev Ruben Diaz.
Public Advocate James said “I am deeply concerned about the proposed 15% hike in common charges for residents of Parkchester South Condominiums and the significant impact that it will have on the hard-working families in this community. I am committed to working with the local elected officials and Management Board of Parkchester South on behalf of residents to urge them to consider a more reasonable agreement." 
Council Member Palma stated, “Parkchester’s South Condominium Boards financial management has resulted in homeowners and tenants paying an unjust 15.19% maintenance fee increase. The result--residents, many who are already struggling to make ends meet, will no longer be able to afford to live in one of the city’s last affordable residential communities.  As a current resident at Parkchester, I am fully aware of the need for capital improvements in our buildings, but such a drastic increase will be detrimental to our residents, many who are already struggling with their day to day expenses. I, along with my colleagues at the state level, such as Assembly Member Sepulveda, and Senator Diaz, along with Public Advocate James, look forward to working with Parkchester Management and it’s board, to identify the best financial solution for all stakeholders involved.”

The elected officials said they are considering “all options” to block the increase. According to Sepúlveda, Diaz, and Palma, these options include seeking an injunction against Parckchester South Condominiums, Inc. and bringing in an independently chosen auditor. “The auditor,” Sepúlveda explained, “would assess the actual costs of needed repairs and determine an equitable per-unit share of those costs, a determination that would ensure that already financially pressed Parckchester South condo owners not be gouged.”

Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda represents New York’s 87th Assembly District (Bronx), which along with Parkchester and Stratton Park also includes Castle Hill, West Farms, Van Nest, and Unionport.

Council Member Andy King Reacts to NYPD Officer Kenneth Boss Promoted To Sergeant

  “The shooting of Amadou Diallo in 1999 was one of the most tragic, publicized cases of police brutality in New York City. Today, I am shocked and distressed to learn that one of the officers involved in that shooting is still on the force and was just promoted to sergeant!  What is the message here? Where is the justice? In the interest of public trust, the Police Commissioner and Mayor should have put the brakes on this promotion,” said Council Member Andy King, co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

“Our Perseverance In The Future Lies in the Resiliency of Our Past”—Council Member Andy King

This weeks 100 percent Who is going to be Next

By Robert Press

Who Is Going To Be Next?

   Our headline seems to be the next question in Albany, and everyone is trying to guess who is going to be next target of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's? There are some who say that it will be Governor Andrew Cuomo for a variety of reasons, which include shutting down the Mooreland Commission, or finding out just where the Buffalo Billion dollars has gone. Then there are those who say the U. S. Attorney is coming after the borough county organizations, and it makes no matter if it is Republican or Democrat. The Bronx has not been exempt from recent scandals involving elected officials, and maybe the next one to be indicted will come from the Bronx. After all Sheldon Silver came from Manhattan, while Dean Skelos came from Long Island. I would hope that the next target of the U.S. Attorney is far far away from the Bronx, somewhere like at the Canadian border.
  While the Silver and Skelos trials went on it was Menorah lighting, Christmas tree lighting, or just plain ole partying time here in the Bronx. You can check my blog at for some photos of the events that I attended. I may have missed some, but even I could not be at two or even three places at once.
As we say Merry Christmas and Good Bye less than a week later to soon to be former Councilwoman Maria Del Carmen Arroyo, the field is getting ready to jump into her not yet empty seat. The special election should fall out on the same day of the Presidential primary date, if there is to be one in New York. It looks like there should be at least a Republican primary for President, since it should take the very last day before the Republican convention (and several ballots) before we know just who Republicans have chosen as their candidate. On the Democratic side it looks like if Bernie Sanders does not do well in the first few primaries we can say see good bye to him. Personally I want to see a Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump race for the White House so comic Larry David (a spitting image of Bernie Sanders) can revive his role on Saturday Night Live. Without Donald Trump in the race it will be a much more boring race, as you never know what the Donald is going to say next. Many think even Donald Trump himself does not know what he is going to say next.
   Word coming in from the spies in the Jose Rivera camp is that since I have said that he is not going to run next year, that Assemblyman Jose Rivera will try to spite me by running for his 78th A.D. seat once more. Jose is holding a fundraiser Thursday night on City Island, and I may just drop by to wish him well. Maybe he figures that with a female candidate running that daughter Naomi has no chance of winning. However Jose what about another male candidate such as Ricky Martinez running who might just give the edge to the female candidate. Or maybe Jose looked hard at what son Joel did as a councilman and as the council majority whip for 12 years. My advice to Jose Rivera is to go on vacation with Adam Powell after he looses to Keith Wright, and check out those who are on your secret videos again.
  Did Mayor Bill deBlasio learn anything when he stepped into a cross walk coming somewhat close to being hit by a truck whose driver was given thirteen violations ranging from driving without a proper driver's license to who knows what else? You need more police officers on the street to give out moving violations. Also you need to bring back the old 'cross at the corner and not in between' campaign to smarten up pedestrians, not to leave out the few bad cyclist who run red lights, stop signs, and into people. What would the mayor have done if he was hit by someone on a bicycle?
  That is all for now as it is good to be back in print, but do check my blog for updates on what you may read in this column, new items that may have come in after my deadline, and to see the photos of the events that took place.
   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 or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.

Bronx County News First Edition Postponed Until Jan 1, 2016

   I am sad to report that the first edition of the new newspaper The Bronx County Journal has been postponed until January 1, 2016. 
   Mr. John Perez of the Bronx County News said "I was not totally happy with the first proof of the new newspaper, and after several changes were made it was decided that the deadline of December 15th was not going to be met. It was then decided that in order to have a high quality product such as the Bronx County News will be that the first edition would be on January 1, 2016." Mr. John Perez is sorry for the delay, but he assures everyone that they will be satisfied with the paper when it comes out on January 1, 2016.
   For that reason the 100 PERCENT column scheduled to be in the December 15th paper will be the next post on this blog and will continue on this blog for another week until the first edition of the Bronx County News on January 1, 2016.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Santa Claus Was Suppose to Come to IS 216 - Here is What Happened

  It was billed as Santa Claus is coming to Bronx County, as above you see Community Board #2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca standing outside of IS 216 in front of a sign with his picture, N. Y. State Republican Party Chair Ed Cox, and that of State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. on it.  The photos below will tell you why Santa probably didn't show. Could it have been that Mr. Salamanca is a candidate for the 17th Council District, a fact that was taken from the New York City Campaign Finance Board website. Also State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. told me that he is endorsing Mr. Salamanca in the upcoming special election to replace soon to be former Councilwoman Maria Del Carmen Aroyo. 

Above - Mr. Salamanca greets parents of children on Tuesday afternoon as they enter IS 216 for what seems to be a political event in a public school.
Below - Mr. Salamanca is handing a card to one parent as he enters IS 216 for the political event.

Above - The auditorium of IS 216 is filled with children and their parents for the Salamanca/Cox/Diaz political event.
Below - On stage State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. and Mr. Salamanca greet the audience as Senator Diaz Sr. a man who knows how to speak English well only spoke in Spanish while he had Mr. Salamanca translate his words into English. 

Above - Senator Diaz and Community Board #2 District Manager Salamanca had children say the pledge of allegiance, and sing the national anthem.
Below - They even had children perform on stage.

Above - However the truth was apparent when New York State Republican Chair Ed Cox was announced by Mr. Salamanca. The person to the far left in the photo is the current Bronx County Chair Mr. John Greany.
Below - State Republican Chair Ed Cox tells how wonderful it is to be with Senator Diaz Sr. and Mr. Salamanca, as they stand in front of the stage full of toys to be given out to the children who are in the audience. At the right Senator Diaz and Mr. Salamanca seem to enjoy what the State Republican Chair is saying.

Above - Mr. Salamanca is pictured with State and Bronx Republican County Chairs.
Below - Senator Diaz is seated at the edge of the stage with State Republican Chair Ed Cox with children on each side. 

No wonder Santa Claus did not come to IS 216, he did not want to have any part of party politics in a public school such as went on in IS 216. Senator Diaz and Community Board #2 District Manager Salamanca should be ashamed of themselves for this 'Purely Political' event. Was CB 2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca campaigning on city time?

1 year Ago Today Assemblyman Michael Blake

This day a year ago, I was given the indescribable honor of becoming your Assemblymember for the 79th district.
Together, we knew it would not be an easy journey to transform our community but equally knew we would make it happen.
Together, we restored heat to the seniors of Arturo Schomburg senior center and danced Bachata with abuelitas at Casa Boricua.
Together, we hired young people at Yankee Stadium through JUMA ventures and provided more young people tablets thanks to Technology for Families in Need (TechFIN).
Together, we passed legislation to help Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprises get paid faster, local governments to get aid during time of disaster and improved health conditions for incarcerated individuals.
Together, we increased funding for students, supported teachers and administrators for professional development and advocated for public, charter, private and parochial schools.
Together, we brought seven young men to meet President Obama in The Bronx and encouraged young women through Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network.
Together, we empowered African Entrepreneurs, helped Black churches at Thanksgiving with the 100 Black Men of New York and promoted Latino Technology business owners such as Miguel Sanchez at Mass Ideation.
We have much more to do to help our 139,000 constituents. We have to Raise The Age so our 16 and 17 year olds get a fair chance in the Criminal Justice system. We have to ensure true affordable housing. We have to increase access to capital, contracting and opportunities for our Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises. We have to help our students realize their dreams.  We have to create a healthier and safer community. We clearly have more to do but much to celebrate.
As I reflect on my first year in office while in Israel and empowering my spirit for the next year, I want to say thank you.
Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for giving a young man born and raised in The Bronx a chance to represent our beloved hometown. 
Thank you for the honor. I will not let you down. Please help us make 2016 even better than this year by supporting us. 
1 year of our journey. More years of us #BuildingABetterBronx.
Yours in service,


RE: Mandatory Inclusionary Housing & Zoning for Quality and Affordability

Good morning.

I am here today to testify in opposition to the pair of zoning text amendments that have been put forward by this administration and the Department of City Planning, known together as “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” (ZQA) and “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” (MIH).

These text amendments pose an abundance of concerns and questions by my office, the community boards, advocacy groups, elected officials and others from all points on the spectrum of the development and public policy community.  These concerns were underlined at the recent meeting of the Bronx Borough Board, where they were unanimously rejected for a wide variety of reasons.

The submission of over 500 pages of text amendments at the same time is an unreasonable burden on most community boards to adequately review and evaluate their local neighborhood impact. These text amendments will govern land use development for our city for decades to come and should not be adopted in such a short period of time. Something so profound as the future development of this city cannot be rushed.

Achieving our city’s affordable housing goals cannot be accomplished in a vacuum. Our goal as a city should not be just to achieve a goal of 200,000 units, but to meet the individual needs of each and every community in this city.  Allowing just 60 days for our community boards to weigh in on these proposals is disrespectful to the boards, their members and the neighborhoods they serve, and goes against the spirit of progressive, inclusionary and transparent government.

Despite the impact these combined proposals will have on density, there has been no serious discussion of the social and physical infrastructure necessary to manage the development for which this zoning plan allows. 

Are there enough school seats for the children accompanying their parents as they move into new affordable units? What will be the impact on transportation in these communities? Will additional services be provided for seniors? Will new green and public spaces be provided for new residents? What kind of jobs will be created? How can we totally eliminate parking requirements? Will neighborhood residents even be able to get these new apartments?

These questions, and many others, have gone asked and unanswered.

Additionally, the proposal as it stands would not fully realize the goal of truly mixed-income communities. For example, a mix of specific income levels covering a broad range from very low to moderate-incomes within market rate developments should be considered. This range, rather than income averages, would create the true mixed-income neighborhoods that this proposal hopes to achieve.

The “neighborhood-by-neighborhood” approach to planning has been very successful in The Bronx, and these text amendments undermine that success.  The borough has adopted no less than 14 rezonings since 2009, yet these proposals will reshape the zoning of this city with one broad brush stroke.

One size does not fit all.  Local planning efforts reinforce the principles of inclusion and transparency, and can also mitigate displacement and preserve neighborhoods. These principles have been successful in previous rezonings, and they must be respected moving forward. 

This administration has said that MIH and ZQA are the only way to mitigate the problems of displacement that can come with gentrification in New York City.  This is simply not the case.  While affordable housing is key, these amendments as they stand are not the way to accomplish affordable housing for all New Yorkers.  There are multiple issues with the proposed amendments.  We need to find a way to ensure that Bronx residents’ needs and all New Yorkers’ needs are met by new zoning, and this proposal does not achieve those ends.

While it has been said that changes will be made to these text amendments in light of community concerns raised regarding their implementation, we have not seen those changes yet. As currently written, I cannot support these zoning text amendments—Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program and Zoning for Quality and Affordability—and I strongly recommend that the City Planning Commission vote to defeat these proposals.

Thank you.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Morris Park

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Morris Park 
Due to the inclement weather report for tomorrow, we have postponed the Tree Lighting in Morris Park to FRIDAY, Dec. 18th.
Please join me, along with Senator Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Councilman Vacca for the 1st Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Morris Park!
Friday, December 18th
5:00pm (SHARP) 
*Tree will be lit at 5:45*

Loreto Park
 (Morris Park Ave & Haight Ave)

-Musical Performances
-Warm Refreshments provided by Morris Perk
-Special Appearance by Santa Claus!