Saturday, March 5, 2016

Council Member Cohen, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, Senator Jeff Klein and Community Board 8 Host Health & Wellness Fair

Above - Councilman Andrew Cohen, Community Board 8 Chairman Dan Padernacht, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and State Senator Jeff Klein are joined by a few of the many visitors that attended the Health and Wellness Fair held at Vladeck Hall. The site is in all three elected officials districts, and in Bronx Community Board #8, who were joint co-sponsors of the event.  
Below - The three elected officials are joined by a representative of Thrive NYC. Thrive NYC was one of the many exhibitors at the health and wellness fair. 

Above and Below - Some more of the exhibitors who had information tables at the health and wellness fair. 

Bronx County Democrats Back Keith Wright for Congress

Keith Wright: Democrat for Congress

Big news, Bronx County Democrats 
Back Keith Wright!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Inva Mula; Diva in New York

Artistic Promotions, Inc. Presents:
Inva Mula
Diva in New York

Gala concert with the International  star 
Albanian soprano
Date:  Sat. March 26, 2016
Venue:  Town Hall NYC at 123 43 Rd. St. New York
Time:  7:30 PM
Genc Tukici

Symphonic orchestra conductor
Maestro Bujar Llapaj
Guest performances
Deshira Ameti Kerliu, Soprano
Kreshnik Zhabjaku, Baritone
Riad R. Ymeri, Tenor
Tickets on Ticketmaster as:
Inva Mula in New York

For full information please check this

Croton Filter Project - Croton FMC Meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

   The Croton FMC will next meet on Tuesday, March 22nd at 7pm at the DEP Croton office, 3660 Jerome Ave, Bronx 10467.  An agenda will be forwarded when it is available.

  Special Note: The meetings of the CFMC are normally held on Thursday night, but Thursday March 24th falls on Holy Thursday. In order to allow for more participation the date was changed to Tuesday March 22nd. 

News From State Senator Jeff Klein


Legislation would create new Class-E felony &
require diversity education for hate-fueled graffiti

State Senator Jeff Klein announced that his comprehensive bill to clean up graffiti passed the State Senate today.

The legislation (S.849) would take a multi-faceted approach to tackling vandalism by enhancing penalties through the creation of a new, heightened crime — making graffiti in the first degree. The crime would address graffiti that promotes gang activity or is placed on religious property, making it a Class-E felony.

“Graffiti creates blight, damages property, and causes financial hardship for business owners and the community. My legislation will provide relief to graffiti victims, while giving these vandals an up-close look at the damages that they caused. By allowing judges to order vandals to clean up their own mess, allowing for diversity education to counteract hate-fueled graffiti, and creating a new Class-E felony for graffiti that encourages gang activity or targets religious property, this multi-faceted approach combats every aspect of this ever-rising crime,” said Senator Klein.

The bill would also hold vandals directly accountable to their victims, and require diversity education for hate-fueled graffiti. In order to ensure that vandals fully comprehend the severity of their crime, this legislation would allow a judge to sentence a vandal to clean and repair the property they damaged. Additionally, the bill allow a judge to require a vandal to complete a diversity training program for graffiti that is used as a tool of harassment based on race, religion, gender or other related factors.

The bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming majority, and has been sent to the Assembly where it is carried by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.


State Senator Jeff Klein and Urban Health Plan launched the Spring Countdown to Fitness program at Harding Park Community Center on Thursday. Over 100 people participated.
“The Bronx bears the dubious distinction of being the unhealthiest county in New York State and we must change that. I’m proud that through my grant, Urban Health Plan is bringing an exciting fitness program to our residents. Countdown to Fitness, which is free of charge, promotes increased physical activities, offers healthy cooking demonstrations, and encourages participants to adapt to a healthier lifestyle through educational seminars. Last year’s evaluations reflected significant improvement in healthy lifestyle habits for the participants, and I’m confident that we’re going to see the same positive results over the next ten weeks,” said Senator Jeff Klein.

Senator Klein allocated $50,000 in state funding for this ten-week fitness and wellness program held by Urban Health Plan, which kicked off in the fall. The spring Countdown just started with twice-a-week sessions.

Participants take Zumba, kickboxing and dance classes; learn how to make healthy and delicious recipes like baked apples, sauteed cauliflower and cucumber blueberry salad; and learn about immunizations, heart disease, cancer screenings and stress management.

As the program kicks off, baseline metrics are taken (blood pressure screening, weight check-in, and body mass index measurement) and at the conclusion those personal health statistics help each participant assess their success.  Last year’s evaluations reflected significant improvement in healthy lifestyle habits for the participants.


DOB and HPD play critical roles in fixing New York's housing crisis

   Today, the New York City Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings, chaired by Council Member and Deputy Leader Jumaane D. Williamsheld a preliminary budget hearing to review the financial priorities of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Department of Buildings (DOB).

HPD and DOB play a critical role in addressing the housing crisis. The allocation of funding to both agencies has a tangible effect on programs and policies designed to support tenants, protect all New Yorkers, and create and preserve affordable housing.

"The decisions made in this budget will have real impacts on families throughout New York City," said Council Member Williams. "We have an opportunity to use the budget to impact the affordable housing crisis and address the fears, frustrations and concerns New Yorkers have about displacement and the future of our communities. Preserving and creating affordability is the top concern for New Yorkers and we must make sure it's prioritized."

The central concern at today's hearing was ensuring both HPD and DOB are provided with the necessary resources to prioritize the needs of our communities. The hearing covered the Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Operating and Capital Budgets for HPD and the Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Operating Budget for DOB.

The Committee examined all components of HPD's $876.2 million dollar expense budget, and $3 billion dollar City Capital Commitment Plan, along with details and progress related to Mayor de Blasio's Housing Plan. Council Member Williams also questioned HPD with regards to state issuance of tax-exempt bonds, 421a, J-51, vacant lots, Mitchell Lama housing and other topics.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development works to maximize the production and preservation of affordable housing for low- and moderate income families in New York City by enforcing housing quality standards, financing the development of housing development and preservation, and ensuring sound management of the City's affordable housing stock. In conjunction with these housing objectives, the Department supports a comprehensive community development agenda by conveying City owned properties, both occupied and vacant, to responsible private owners, while promoting retail development, homeownership initiatives, and productive community

The Department's Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Budget is $123.2 million more than the
Fiscal 2016 Adopted Budget of $753 million. The increase is primarily due to new staffing needs associated with administration; preservation unit; the development unit; the division of neighborhood strategies, and funding for building façade and elevator repairs.

It is imperative that HPD's budget fosters the creation and preservation of affordable homes. From January 1, 2014 to December 2015, HPD financed the creation and preservation of more than 40,204 affordable units citywide. More than 75 percent of the units financed to date were for extremely low, very low, and low-income families, affordable to households with annual incomes of $62,150 and below. A further 9,227 units were financed for moderate and  middle-income households. To date, Brooklyn has the most units constructed and preserved, for a total of 11,847 units from Fiscal 2014-2016.About 75 percent of the units financed for extremely low income households are located in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Similarly, about 65 percent of the units financed for very low-income and low income households are located in the Bronx and Brooklyn. If Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) is passed by the Council, the program is expected to impact and increase the number of newly constructed units developed.

The Committee also evaluated the DOB's $155.4 million dollar expense budget and received updates on the Department's progress related to the Building One City initiative. Council Member Williams questioned DOB further on how the intended goals of the initiative relate to the extremely concerning rise in construction related incidents, injuries and fatalities.

The Department of Buildings ensures the safe and lawful use of more than one million buildings and properties by enforcing the City's Building Code, the City's Zoning Resolution, New York State Labor Law, and New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. The Department enforces compliance with these regulations through plan examinations, permitting, property inspections, and licensing functions. Anyone who intends to demolish, alter, or build an addition to an existing structure or erect a new structure must obtain a building permit from DOB to ensure that the resulting property structure complies with all applicable laws.

The Building One City initiative was introduced in the Fiscal 2016 Executive Budget and was comprised of several initiatives and actions to streamline online operations and reduce processing times for construction applications, strengthen proactive enforcement tools, and expedite inspections to speed the review process for new affordable housing production. These actions provided about $40 million in new funding, approximately 320 new positions and $120 million in new resources over the next four years. Comparatively, this year, the Department has implemented only marginal changes in the Preliminary Plan.

DOB collects revenue from the issuance of licenses and permits, charges for services such as inspection fees, and fines for late filings. In recent years, DOB has implemented several revenue generating initiatives, including improved service delivery in enforcement and development areas and implementing an online inspection program. These actions have resulted in a significant increase in the Department's ability to collect revenue. In Fiscal 2017, the agency expects to generate $220.2 million in revenue, while total expenditures are projected to be $155.4 million.

The budget for HPD and DOB provides an important opportunity to ensure we are using all available tools to alleviate the affordable housing crisis.

Break the ice and shake hands with a police officer – a friend

C. E. P. B. A

Community, Education, Political and Business Alliance

Break the ice and shake hands with a police officer – a friend

  CEPBA (Community, Education, Political and Business Alliance) Founder/President Johnnie Goff created a new innovative program initiative for the Junior High School students of Community School District #11, “Shaking Hands with a Friend – a Police Officer.”  Ms. Goff approached Inspector Stevenson and the Community Officer Belle of the 47th Precinct, inviting them to participate, and they agreed.

  On March 3, 2016, in front of the Sousa Campus (MS142), Principal Shawn Mangar along with Ms. Goff and Inspector Stevenson and about 30 officers came out and shook hands with about 300 students from the three schools inside the Sousa Campus Building. “This event was awesome,” said Ms. Goff. “It provided an opportunity for meaningful police-student interactions, and I’m proud of everyone who participated.”

  CEPBA is a voluntary association of non-affiliated individuals as well as organizational representatives that choose to mobilize their unique resources and those of the communities across City Council District #12 and the Northeast Bronx to advance the educational opportunities of their youth and, in turn, the generational empowerment of the concerned and engaged local citizenry. CEPBA has linked up with other organizations such as the Men’s Group from Butler Memorial Church, Rain Eastchester Senior Center and other businesses to establish a positive relationship with the Northeast Bronx Community.

  Ms. Goff the Program Coordinator has set up another Hand Shaking Program at the Richard Green Campus (MS113), 3710 Barnes Avenue, Bronx NY 10467 on March 8, 2016 at 2:00pm.

  Our follow-up event will be our symposium to be held at the Al Tuitt Campus, 921 East 227 Street, Bronx, NY, 10466, First Floor, on Saturday April 9, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


  Low-income residents languish in rotting apartments waiting up to five years for repairs

Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein and New York City Council Public Housing Chair Ritchie Torres stood with advocates and residents to reveal the results of a shocking NYCHA damage survey today.

The Offices of Senator Klein and Councilman Torres, with assistance from the Office of Senator Diane Savino, conducted an extensive survey of NYCHA tenants across the city. The resulting report, “NYCHA 2020: Revitalizing New York City’s Crumbling Public Housing,” exposes disturbing mold-infested units, crumbling ceilings and broken intercoms, with families sometimes waiting for as long as five years for repairs.

“Our report, “NYCHA 2020: Revitalizing New York City’s Crumbling Public Housing” only confirms what we’ve said before: NYCHA is the City’s worst landlord. These are tenants who pay rent and want to take pride in their homes -  no one should be expected to languish in a mold-infested home, with leaking ceilings and paint peeling from the walls. We cannot sit back while damage is done to our best affordable housing stock. That is why we are proposing the NYCHA 2020 Public Housing Revitalization Plan, which would increase funding to provide safe, healthy conditions to residents, while reforming NYCHA’s operations and increasing transparency. NYCHA’s system may be broken, but we are ready to fix it,” said Senator Klein.

“These devastating survey findings add to the body of evidence that show state disinvestment in NYCHA has significant impact on residents’ health, safety and well-being. While the findings and statistics are alarming, they are not surprising. Without State support for NYCHA, residents will continue to suffer in their apartments and buildings will deteriorate. It is imperative that the State not only include funding for NYCHA in this year’s budget but also push for the Authority to be accountable for completing critical repair projects. As the single biggest provider of affordable housing in the City, we cannot allow NYCHA’s buildings to fall down around us,” said Councilman Torres.

Over 200 residents were surveyed via a door-to-door to questionnaire where residents were asked  about NYCHA’s responsiveness to complaints and the agency’s manner of communication and the physical conditions in apartments and buildings were extensively documented.

Dangerous Disrepair

The report further details the dangerous disrepair of NYCHA buildings. Over 63 percent of surveyed residents reported something damaged or broken in their unit - crumbling walls, peeling paint, falling bathroom and kitchen ceilings, and dysfunctional intercoms. Half of tenants who described a broken intercom have had the problem for over five years.

The extensive damage of units and buildings ultimately impacts the safety and health of residents. During the survey, staff documented egregious violations in building common areas, photographing exposed electrical wiring, mold, and peeling paint.

Residents reported that they felt unsafe in their buildings, with 51 percent saying their building’s condition made them feel unsafe. Of those surveyed, 25.4 percent rated their building as “bad or terrible” and 31.7 percent rated it as “unsatisfactory.”

Mold - Infested Units

The survey illustrates the dangerous mold problems prevalent in many NYCHA apartments, with over 60 percent of tenants surveyed reporting a current or past mold issue. Disturbingly, 18.8 percent of tenants said their complaints were never responded to, while 21.7 percent indicated that they were forced to live with mold while maintenance took over a month to respond. Approximately three-quarters of NYCHA tenants - nearly 74 percent - reported that the mold grew back.

Studies have shown that mold exacerbates asthma and other respiratory conditions. Fifty percent of respondents noted that someone in their household had asthma, with another 30 percent describing other breathing problems.

Calls for Help

Staff also surveyed residents about the responsiveness of NYCHA. When they called for help, residents reported that they received responses with incorrect information 79.2 percent of the time.

Forty-two percent of tenants said that NYCHA did not provide updates as to when a building-wide issue would be fixed, and 66.9 percent said that any information that was provided was wrong.

One mother of two autistic children told surveyors that during storms paint chips rain from her ceiling, leaving her to scramble to clean them before her children can eat the poisonous fragments.

Another resident testified that his mother, a senior citizen, had repeatedly complained about her leaking roof. Maintenance would make shoddy repairs occasionally, but the problem was never properly fixed. She passed away before the roof ever stopped fully leaking.

Revitalizing NYCHA

Last year, the IDC, under the leadership of Senator Klein, was able to secure $100 million in funding to NYCHA. This year, the NYCHA 2020 Public Housing Revitalization Plan would provide $100 million in state funding, with another $100 million in matching City funds. In order for NYCHA to receive the funding, the Authority would be required to adopt a revitalization plan with clearly specified goals and accountability.

To address future funding, future surplus funds from the Battery Park City Authority would be dedicated to NYCHA. Over a decade, this would bring an additional $400 million to NYCHA, according to New York City Comptroller estimates.

Senator Klein additionally sponsored legislation that would build increased transparency by giving the New York City Council oversight, so that the Council is able to demand information about the ongoing conditions of NYCHA buildings.

Another tier in the proposal would establish the NYCHA Repair Certificate Program to provide incentives to private developers to complete critical capital repairs to NYCHA developments in exchange for increased development rights. The program would also simultaneously identify training opportunities for NYCHA tenants, to provide meaningful career development for low-income residents.

“Last year, the IDC was successful in securing $100 million for repairs to NYCHA, but we need more to fix the nightmare conditions that these tenants are forced to live with. We can not leave human beings to live in this deplorable state. That is why we are proposing another $100 million for critical repairs, with increased oversight and transparency. I have been proud to fight for NYCHA residents in the past, and I am proud to continue to work to ensure that these tenants can live in clean, safe, affordable homes,” said Senator Savino.

NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie endorses Keith Wright for Congress in NY’s 13th Congressional District

  “Today, I am announcing my support for my friend and colleague, Assemblyman Keith Wright, to succeed the venerable Congressman Charles Rangel as representative of the 15th Congressional District,” said Assembly Speaker Heastie.

"From my first day as a member of the Assembly, Keith has been someone I look up to as a leader. He has been a champion for the working class; a person who, through his various leadership roles in the Assembly and the Democratic Party, has shown his immense capacity for compassion, service and achievement. His extensive legislative record speaks for itself, highlighted by his strong advocacy for affordable housing, criminal justice reform and for a higher minimum wage. The residents of the 15th Congressional District will have a strong, seasoned leader in Washington, and I look forward to continuing to working with Keith on behalf of the people of our State and hopefully in 2017, our nation," continued Heastie. 

“I am grateful to have the support of Speaker Heastie. Together we will continue to fight to protect affordable housing, against gun violence, for better schools, to protect our seniors, for higher wages and more jobs, and for economic and social justice for everyone”, said Assembly member Wright. 

The endorsement today of Assembly speaker Carl Heastie adds to the growing list of leaders and organizations who are supporting Wright for Congress, including Gov. David Paterson, Mayor David Dinkins, Assembly Member Denny Farrell, Council Member Inez Dickens, the United Firefighters Association, Teamsters Joint Council 16, Teamsters Local 237, New York City District Council of Carpenters, International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1 and numerous community leaders and clergy in the Bronx and Manhattan.

Assembly member Keith Wright represents the 70th District in the NYS Assembly and is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing.

NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie represents the 83rd District in the NYS Assembly.

The 13th Congressional District includes the neighborhoods of HarlemInwoodMarble HillSpanish HarlemWashington Heights, and portions of Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side. The Democratic Primary for Congress is scheduled for June 28th, 2016.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. - FREE FINANCIAL COUNSELING AVAILABLE

   Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Phipps Neighborhoods are partnering to provide confidential, one-on-one FREE financial counseling for Bronxites in the Borough President’s office. A trained counselor will help you identify your financial challenges and guide you in addressing bad credit, paying down debt by resolving credit card and other debts, detecting and reporting identity theft and other concerns. To schedule an appointment, call (718) 590-3554 today.









10:AM – 3:00 PM









COME AND ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bronx Jewish Community Council - Project HOPE Passover Delivery 2016

Save The Date!!

Project HOPE Passover Package Deliver
Sunday, April 10 - 9am-11:30am
Volunteer with your friends and family this Passover 
and deliver food packages to lonely home-bound 
seniors. An hour and a half of your Sunday morning 
will brighten the day of an older Jewish adult during 
the holidays!  

Sponsor a Food Package for $25 

Please RSVP  to: 
Niti Minkove, Director of Volunteers at 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I Believe Jesse Jackson Won’t Mind - WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW - By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz

  You should know that on February 29, 2016, while I was flipping through television stations, I came across a story on “Fox News Insider” announcing that Reverend Al Sharpton has joined the list of celebrities who vow to flee the United States of America if Donald Trump wins the Presidency.  This list already includes Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Stewart, Whoopie Goldberg, Cher, Samuel L Jackson, and Raven-Simone.
  News reports tell how Reverend Al Sharpton  made his pronouncement on February 25, 2016 at an event held by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
It is important for you to know some history before Reverend Al Sharpton became a national leader.
  After Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the Reverend Jesse Jackson took the forefront and became the face and voice for African Americans nationwide.
Reverend Jesse Jackson created the PUSH Coalition in Chicago for the betterment of African American lives. Through boycotts and campaigns for employment and civil rights, he has effectively helped to improve the lives of African Americans.
  In 1984 and 1988 Reverend Jesse Jackson ran as a Presidential Candidate for the Democrats. Through his tremendous efforts, Reverend Jesse Jackson opened the doors for many famous Black Americans to be elected into the United States Congress, various levels of government, and eventually, President of the United States.
  Then there came Reverend Al Sharpton, who has pushed aside Reverend Jesse Jackson as a consultant. It is no longer Jesse Jackson, but Al Sharpton who is sought out by upcoming candidates and elected officials so they can meet with him and ask for his support and blessing.
  It is also important for you to know that after Reverend Al Sharpton declared how if Donald Trump wins the Presidency, he will leave the county, Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., announced during an interview on Fox and Friends: “I’ll buy their airfare! I’m more than happy to chip in.”
  To me, these threats to leave the Unites States remind me of Alec Baldwin’s promise to leave the United States if George W. Bush was elected as President. I have to wonder if Reverend Al Sharpton and his friends are sincere and honest to leave the country if Donald Trump wins, or if they are just like Alec Baldwin: All talk and no action.
  Ladies and gentlemen,  I am afraid that if Reverend Al Sharpton really moves to another country, Jesse Jackson will not mind that at all.
  I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

What You Should Really Know-

  Could this be an endorsement of Donald Trump by a Bronx elected official known to coddle with Republicans, or is it just a way of trying to get some of those 'TRUMP BUCKS'.

  I am the editor, and that is what you should really know.

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj - Follow me on Social Media

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj
Joins Social Media!
"I am excited to share that you can now find me onFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

I encourage you to follow me! See my activity as it happens and get informed of community events
and updates.
Remember, you can only get out of your community that which you put into it."


Councilman Cohen introduced legislation requiring drivers to remove snow & ice from their vehicles before hitting the road

New York, New York - On Wednesday, February 24th, Council Member Andrew Cohen introduced legislation that would require drivers to remove snow and ice from the tops of vehicles after snow storms before driving them. Failure to comply would lead to a traffic infraction punishable with a fine ranging from $150 to $450. Drivers would not be required to stop operating their vehicles as snow or ice is accumulating.

This sort of legislation has been trending among states, including New York State and could impose fines on drivers if snow flying off their vehicles lead to damage or injury. A 2008 study done by the American Transportation Research Institute showed that the deadliest accidents are caused by airborne ice from larger vehicles.

“Combined with the efforts made by the Department of Sanitation to clear roads and sidewalks in the aftermath of a snowstorm, this common sense legislation would promote safety precautions among drivers and reduce vehicle collisions in a way that snow plow vehicles cannot,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.