Saturday, March 12, 2016


By Robert Press

78th Assembly Race

   Before I get into the 78th A.D. race, it seems that there is equal drama in the race to succeed Charlie Rangel as in the Republican Presidential Primary. There is a little man whom we shall call Mr. Rube who is on the payroll of a congressional candidate in much the same spot at Florida Senator Rubio. Mr. Rube is attacking both front runners in this congressional race, but then again he is getting paid for it. I wonder if the candidate paying Mr. Rube has spoken to another candidate in this congressional race who paid Mr. Rube in a past congressional race? 
   On to the 78th Assembly Race and this little man comers up again. It seems that people have told me that this little man can dish it out on facebook, but dare come back to him and reply to one of his rants he will delete your reply as if it was never written. This man is of course Anthony Rivieccio who is currently no longer the top dog with Assemblyman Jose Rivera now that Rivera has other people he can trust. 
   Mr. Michael Benjamin of the Bronx Chronicle reported that Mr. Rivieccio was a candidate for the 36th State Senate District to which Mr. Rivieccio will not confirm or deny. That was what one of my facebook call outs to Mr. Rivieccio was, and my reply on his post was deleted. Well Mr. Rivieccio people know you to well, and while you may block me from your facebook page you can not block me from this blog and my facebook page. 
   Anthony Rivieccio is now trying to get back into favor with Assemblyman Rivera, and has put on his facebook page that Mr. Ricky Martinez is going to run for the 78th assembly seat when in fact that is false. Being the Vice-Chair of the Committee of 100 Democrats, I can say that The Committee of 100 Democrats and Mr. Ricky Martinez will be supporting Ms. Ischia Bravo for the 78th Assembly seat against a person who has had a long career in politics, which many have said has been to long and he should retire. Over the course of the primary election Ms. Bravo will show the voters of the 78th A.D. why she is the best candidate, and why she cares for the district that the current assembly member has taken the voters for granted. I also expect to see the tricks and chicanery that goes on against those who challenge incumbents, and it would do the Bronx Democratic County organization best not to endorse a candidate in the 78th A.D. then to say we are endorsing all incumbents no matter who they are or how out of touch with their constituents they are. 
    I fully expect to see on his facebook page rants about me from Mr. Rivieccio, and Assemblyman Rivera the more Mr. Rivieccio does it the harder I will help Ms. Bravo defeat you. I know that you will not appear at debates as it runs in the Rivera family (sorry Joel), and I will expose any phoney forum that Mr. Rivieccio tries to arrange as some have said he tried in the past 11th City Council race. My advice to you Jose is listen to what you said in the last election about Mr. Anthony Rivieccio, or I might just have to print it. Go ahead Anthony ask him what he said about you, if he remembers I certainly do.
    Check this blog archive on the left for events that took place this past week and check out the many photos. I am sorry I had to waste this column on someone who is not worth it.
    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 this blog, you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.   


  State Senator Jeff Klein hosted his 21st Annual Bunny Breakfast this morning at the Villa Barone Manor in the Throggs Neck section of his Senate District.  Hundreds of Bronx children and families enjoyed a free continental breakfast, fun-filled magic show, build-a-bunny workshop, face painting, and children’s music.  The Easter Bunny made a special appearance and children had the opportunity to take photos with the Easter Bunny.  

Above - The Easter Bunny stopped in to take photos with the children.
Below - With it being so popular there were two face painters this year.  

Above and Below - Gabby Funtime the Magician goes through his magic act with some assistance from the children. Do you think the girl in the photo below knows what is going to happen?

Above - Senator Klein is holding Magician Gabby Funtime's live bunny rabbit, as Juan Tavarez from sponsor Health First is also in the photo.
Below - In this photo Senator Klein has given Magician Gabby Funtime his bunny rabbit back, and is joined by some of the happy children.

6th “Abrazo Garifuna in New York”

  Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, in conjunction with  New York State Assemblymen Marcos Crespo, Luis Sepulveda, Michael Blake and newly elected City Council Member Rafael Salamanca, celebrated the 6th  “Abrazo Garifuna in New York.” held Friday night at Maestro's Caterers. Over 500 people attended this standing room only event, and the photos below will tell the rest of the story.

Above - There were photo ops with the elected officials before the event.
Below - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was on hand and almost everyone wanted to greet him, or have their photo taken with him.

Above - BP Diaz opened the event as the five Honorees came into the room with an elected official.
Below - Honoree Yasmin Ramos enters with Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda.

Above and Below - After showing off some dance moves Honoree Mirta Reyes and Assemblyman Michael Blake come to the front of the room.

Above - Honoree Barbara Neil Lopez enters with New City Councilman Rafael Salamanca.
Below - Honoree Sulma Arzu-Brown enters with Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda who stood in for his semi-twin brother Assemblyman Marcos Crespo who arrived afterwards. 

Above and Below - No it is not the same photo, but Mr. Felix Gamboa was the hit of the night when he sang the International Garifuna Anthem. 

Above - The five Honorees, Barbara Neil-Lopez, Mirta J. Reyes, Yasmin Ramos, Candido Nunez, and Sulma Arzu-Brown. 
Below - I was able to take my place as one of the members of 'TEAM DIAZ'  as I stood in for Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. 

Bronx DA Visits 50th Precinct Council

  Thursday night was the 50th Precinct Council meeting. It was a pack standing room only crowd, not because of issues with the commanding officer, but to see Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark who after a busy day was the scheduled guest. Earlier in the day DA Clark was involved in taking down a large illegal operation, and still found the time to attend the 50th Precinct Council meeting. After she spoke of changes that she intends to do in the way cases are handled, she then took questions from almost everyone in the room. Currently there may be several Assistant DA's who may work on the different aspects of a case from meeting the complainant to prosecuting the case in court, called horizontal justice. DA Clark want to change the process to a vertical system where one DA will handle a case from beginning all the way to the court hearing. 

Above - 50th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain O'Toole introduces Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark to the large audience at the precinct Council meeting. 
Below - 50th Precinct Council President Paulette Schlomo is seated as Bronx DA Darcel Clark first speaks about her new job, and then answered questions from the packed room.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting Tuesday, March 22, 2016 - Agenda


Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 – 7:00 PM

DEP Office – 3660 Jerome Avenue, Bronx NY 10467 - (718) 231-8470

I  Welcome, Open the Meeting                                      Dan Padernacht, Chair

II Adopt March CFMC Agenda                                    CFMC Representatives

III Consider, Adopt Previous Meeting                        CFMC Representatives
  Minutes: June 22, 2015 & January 21, 2016

IV Update on VCP Landscaping & Clubhouse   DDC & DPR Representatives

V Jerome Park Reservoir – Update from Task     Task Force Representatives      
Force on Public Access 

VI Croton Costs Report & Construction Update     Vincent Moorehead, DEP 

VII Old Business                                                           CFMC Representatives

VIII New Business                                                        CFMC Representatives

IX Set Next CFMC Meeting Date                                  CFMC Representatives

Rep. Engel: Following Iran Dam Hack We Must Account for Risks Posed by Cyberattacks

  Congressman Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Justice Department’s announcement that Iran is responsible for a cyber-attack on the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye, New York:

“Yesterday’s report confirming that Iran successfully executed a cyberattack on a dam in Rye comes as no surprise. This attack is further proof that Iran cannot be trusted, and we will not tolerate these provocations on their part.

“We live in dangerous times, and cannot continue to underestimate or discount the threat posed by cyberattacks like these. A small dam in Rye might only be the tip of the iceberg. This incident could just as easily be about a nuclear facility sitting 25 miles outside New York City, or a compressed natural gas pipeline running a mere 150 feet alongside it. A cybercriminal or hostile foreign nation which hacked into the Bowman Avenue Dam could also hack into or seize control of – and perhaps even destroy – any piece of infrastructure connected to a computer.

“We are not as prepared to deal with cyber threats as we should be, and we need to make countering them a much higher priority before it’s too late. For months now I have led the call demanding that FERC – the federal agency which approved the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project earlier this year – take these dangers into account and consult with experts before going ahead with their approval. Unfortunately, my calls fell on deaf ears, and FERC issued final approval of the project earlier this year. I urge Governor Cuomo in his planned safety assessment of the Algonquin AIM pipeline to focus on the potential threats cyber-terrorism pose to the project.

“The Department of Homeland Security needs to be involved in the decision-making process anytime a new piece of critical infrastructure is proposed. So I am drafting legislation that will give DHS a say in any approval process going forward. At this late hour, I hope it isn’t too late for Governor Cuomo’s independent safety assessment to convince FERC to retract its approval of the Algonquin AIM pipeline.”

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Senator Gustavo Rivera Introduce Smoking Ban Legislation

   New York State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and State Senator Gustavo Rivera have introduced a bill today expanding legislation they passed in 2012 banning smoking within 100 feet of any school entrances or exits to include public libraries.

   The new bill seeks to expand the protections to the public health law created by chapter 449 of the laws of 2012 which prohibited smoking within 100 feet of any entrance or exit of public or private elementary, or secondary schools. This bill would expand these protections by placing the same ban on all private and public libraries – protecting library patrons from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke exposure causes acute lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia in young children, who visit and benefit greatly from libraries. Along with respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness among school-aged children and young adults, even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion. This legislation will add to the growing number of places young children, seniors, and all New Yorkers can enjoy without being exposed to second hand smoke.

“Several years ago New York State successfully banned smoking indoors to protect all New Yorkers from the harmful side effects of secondhand smoke, and four years ago Senator Rivera and I expanded that ban to the entrances and exits of our schools, said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “Today, I am proud to extend that smoke-free protection even further to include the entrances and exits of our state’s libraries. New Yorkers have the right to go to their local public library without being exposed to secondhand smoke – which despite being secondhand, is still known have detrimental medical side effects to those exposed. This bill is especially important when you consider the number of school age children and seniors who patronize public libraries – they deserve a smoke free and healthy environment to enjoy our state’s great library systems, and I am thrilled to work with my colleague Senator Rivera again to make New York a healthier place.”

“Extending smoke free areas to our state libraries is a common sense proposal that will protect our community from the unquestionable dangers of second hand smoking. It will also positively enhance the learning experience for the thousands of children, youths, adults and seniors that visit our libraries each year", said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I am fully committed to working with Assemblymember Dinowitz to ensure we pass this piece of legislation in the Senate and Assembly, which will help safeguard our communities’ public health.”

"The New York Public Library thanks Assemblyman Dinowitz and Senator Rivera for their strong support of libraries, and for extending legislation that will keep our branches cleaner and our visitors safer and healthier," said George Mihaltses, the New York Public Library's Vice President of Government and Community Affairs.

“Tobacco remains the #1 cause of preventable death for New Yorkers, and secondhand smoke can be just as dangerous,” said Guillermo Flores, Jr. of NYC Smoke-Free. “Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause adverse health effects in both adults and children. There is no safe level. Curbing exposure to secondhand smoke in outdoor areas is a measure of comprehensive tobacco control which prevents kids from starting to smoke and helps adult smokers quit.”


Nearly $10 million recouped by Attorney General from bad actors violating tax programs

City announced first installment will support 600 affordable apartments for formerly homeless, seniors and people with mental health needs

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the initial financing for nearly 600 new affordable apartments across the city, paid for by $10 million in settlements with property owners who violated the law. The new homes will serve formerly homeless New Yorkers, low-income families, veterans, seniors and people with mental health and substance abuse challenges.

The settlement money results from investigations spearheaded by the Attorney General into abuses of tax incentive programs. The $9.8 million includes restitutions paid by owners who failed to provide the rent-regulated leases their tenants deserved, violated tenant rights laws and denied service workers the required prevailing wage.

“The Attorney General and the City are cracking down on bad actors, and we’re putting the proceeds to work, building more affordable housing. Today, we’re announcing that hundreds of families in need will have a home they can afford. And our seniors, and people with mental health and substance abuse challenges, will have specialized housing with services to meet their needs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“New York has always been, and must remain, a city for working people,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “For more than two years, my office has been investigating unscrupulous building owners who have been abusing the law to unfairly take millions in tax exemptions from programs intended to help everyday New Yorkers. Today, we turn the proceeds of those investigations into real housing relief for our communities. I am proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio to announce another important step toward our shared goal of all New Yorkers having a safe, affordable place to call home.”

The joint investigations began in 2014, uncovering violations of tax exemption and abatement programs, including illegal deregulation of rent-stabilized units, violations of tenant right laws, and failure to provide rent regulated leases. This included restitution paid by 23 property owners for their failure to register apartments with the State’s Department of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) and/or to comply with 421-a prevailing wage requirements for service workers in over 31 New York City properties. In addition to the payment of restitution and as part of the legal case against them, the landlords were required to properly register their properties and to provide tenants with proper regulated leases.

Today’s announcement dedicates about one half of the $9.8 million to four supportive housing projects, with the remainder to be allocated in the months ahead. Ultimately, the settlement funding could help finance more than 1,000 affordable apartments. The total amount for each project will be determined as their financing deals are secured:

The four projects identified so far are:

Institute for Community Living (ICL)
Set for construction in 2017, The Institute for Community Living (ICL) is planning to develop a supportive housing project with 129 affordable apartments for formerly homeless individuals and families in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. The apartments are expected to be affordable to households earning up to $16,335 for an individual, and $20,979 for a household of three; or up to $22,385 for an individual, and $28,749 for a household of three.

The Bridge
The Bridge, a non-profit organization dedicated to mental health and housing solutions, will build a new affordable housing project with 59 apartments for formerly homeless veterans in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx. Future residents’ incomes are not expected to exceed $30,250. Rental payments are expected to be subsidized by Project-based Section 8 or HUD-VASH vouchers.

HANAC, Inc. will build a low-income senior development with a total of 68 affordable apartments in Corona, Queens. The development will be affordable to seniors earning no more than $30,250 for an individual, and will include intergenerational programming such as an on-site management office and a social service office to assist residents.

Kenmore Hall
Housing and Services, Inc. (HSI) will rehabilitate Kenmore Hall, a supportive housing development in Gramercy Park, Manhattan with 326 affordable apartments for residents who earn an annual income of no more than $36,300 for an individual. HSI's mission is to end chronic homelessness, prevent displacement for those at risk and improve housing conditions for the marginalized through the development and management of permanent supportive housing, collaborations with other community groups, and preservation initiatives to safeguard NYC’s existing affordable housing stock.

“The City is committed to ensuring that owners and landlords who accept tax benefits are complying with their obligations. It is fitting that the money restored from those who would try to evade their responsibilities will now be used to create and preserve affordable housing for some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We are pleased that these funds will kick-start the development of supportive and senior housing here in Brooklyn, and in neighborhoods across the City. I want to thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his leadership of this ongoing multi-agency enforcement effort, and his support in bringing online new homes and services for families and individuals looking to secure a more promising future,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been.

“It is both just and right to use funds collected from landlords who violated the law to create affordable housing for the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks. “I thank Attorney General Schneiderman and all those involved in this multi-agency effort that will allow 600 families in need to enjoy safe and permanent housing.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams - Celebrate Women's History Month

We celebrate the women of Brooklyn everyday, but during the month of March we take special care to acknowledge the many contributions, sacrifices, and successes they bring to our borough.  

Please join Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, chair of the Committee on Women's Issues, along with the women of Brooklyn Borough Hall and me, for a full day of events onTuesday, March 29th in recognition of Women's History Month.  

The day begins at 9:00 AM, with a panel discussion focused on the life cycle of a woman's health, followed by workshops and resources for women from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.  The day culminates with a "Beauty, Brains and Business" career panel and networking event, featuring a "Networking Challenge," so bring your business cards!  Click here to RSVP.

Plan to visit all day or for any part of the festivities. It's all about the women who make up One Brooklyn!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Claims have risen 27 percent between FY 2014 and FY 2015 and 172 percent since FY 2009 Settlements and judgments spike by more than 66 percent from FY 2014 to FY 2015

  A new ClaimStat Alert released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer found more than 2,800 Personal Injury Correctional Facility claims were filed against the City in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, a 27 percent increase from FY 2014 and a rise of 172 percent since FY 2009. The Comptroller’s report also found that settlements and judgments arising from this type of claim rose 66 percent in FY 2015 to $13.1 million and detailed trends among specific facilities at Rikers Island.
“We have a humanitarian crisis on our hands at Rikers that is hurting both inmates and Corrections Officers, and we have an obligation as a City to confront suffering and violence in our jails,” Comptroller Stringer said. “Eighteen months ago, my office showed that claims and settlements were skyrocketing at Rikers and today, we’ve found that these trends have significantly worsened. We cannot accept these increases as inevitable – we need to  reduce claims filed against the City and take action to ensure a safe environment for all.”
The new ClaimStat Alert analyzed Personal Injury Correctional Facility claims (“claims”) against the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) and settlements and judgements related to these claims between Fiscal Year 2009 and 2015.
Findings include:
Personal Injury Correctional Facility Claims Surge
  • In Fiscal Year 2015, 2,846 claims were filed against the DOC, representing an increase of 27 percent between 2014 and 2015, continuing a recent upward trend.
  • Over the last seven fiscal years, the number of claims filed jumped 172 percent, climbing from 1,047 claims in FY 2009 to 2,846 claims in FY 2015.
  • As of February 2016, preliminary FY 2016 data show a 39 percent increase in the number of claims filed as compared to the same period in FY 2015.
Soaring Costs of Settlements and Judgments
  • New York City paid $13.1 million in FY 2015 in settlements and judgments for Personal Injury Correctional Facility claims, a 66 percent increase from FY 2014 and a 122 percent increase since 2009.
Rikers Island’s Problems Persist
  • Eight of the ten facilities with the most claims are on Rikers Island.
  • For the seventh year in a row, Rikers’ Anna M. Kross Center has the most claims (593).
  • The site with the greatest percentage increase in claims between FY14 and FY15 was Rikers’ North Infirmary Command, which saw claims rise by 170 percent.
In July 2014, Comptroller Stringer launched ClaimStat, a data-driven tool designed to drive down the cost of judgments and settlements by empowering City agencies to reduce claims through changes in training or resource delivery.  Over the last two years, Comptroller Stringer has published several reports about Rikers Island, including a ClaimStat Alert in August 2014 and an analysis in October 2015 detailing how the cost per inmate in the City’s jails has increased even as violence has grown. In November 2015, Comptroller Stringer became the first Citywide elected official to call for the closure of Rikers Island.
“If we are going to live up to our reputation as a City that treats all people with dignity and respect, we must have a criminal justice system that is fair and functional.  Reducing violence in our City jails must be a top priority. We stand ready to work with the Department of Correction to leverage this data in real time to protect inmates, guards and taxpayer dollars,”  Stringer said.
To see the full 2016 ClaimStat Alert on the Department of Correction, please click here.


Proposal will increase access to resources from an early age to ensure every child has access to educational enrichment opportunities

Independent Conference Leader Jeff Klein, State Senator Tony Avella, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and Assemblyman Walter Mosley joined alumni groups and advocates to launch a new proposal to increase diversity in the New York City Specialized High Schools’ student admission.

In a proposal released today, “New York City Specialized High Schools Diversity Initiative and Gifted and Talented Program Expansion,” the Independent Democratic Conference laid out a four-step plan to increase diversity in the schools’ enrollment by increasing resources for underrepresented groups at the elementary and middle school levels.

“A Specialized High School might be a great fit for so many of New York City’s underrepresented students, but we will never know if we don’t ensure that every student has the resources to prepare and apply. While studies have shown that changing the admissions process will not increase diversity, we know that increasing access to resources from an early age will. Our proposal will provide outreach coordinators, establish test prep programs in every school district, implement a Middle School Pipeline program at every Specialized High School, and increase the Gifted and Talented programs available to all. By providing resources to these students early, and continuing throughout middle school, we can ensure that every child in the New York City public school system has the same opportunity to learn, grow, and potentially enroll in these prestigious schools,” said Senator Klein.

“Bridging the deep diversity gap that exists in our schools starts with strengthening our students' foundations. Studies have shown that simply changing the admissions process would do nothing to address the lack of diversity at our city's most prestigious schools. With this four-step proposal, we will improve outreach to underrepresented schools, expand Gifted and Talented programs, unburden parents of costly test preparation programs by making them available in every district and implement Middle School Pipeline programs which have already been proven effective. This more than just checking off a box, this is the opportunity to ensure that every student has an opportunity to enter one of these esteemed schools,” said Senator Avella.

The proposal details the disproportionately low number of black and Latino students that apply for and enroll in the New York City Specialized High Schools every year. In a review of the rising population of eighth graders from 2005 to 2013, despite the fact that black and Latino students made up a majority of eighth graders - 71.6 percent - they made up only 52 percent of students who take the Specialized High School Admission Test.

Of the students who were offered a seat at one of the Specialized High Schools from 2005 to 2013, black and Latino students comprise only 16.1 percent, with white students comprising 29.1 percent and Asian students comprising 54.2 percent. In the most recent data released by the Department of Education, while 19 percent of all test-takers were offered a spot, only 3 percent of black students and just over 5 percent of Latino students were admitted.

The proposal found that many students advance to a Specialized High School from a feeder middle school - a school that prepares its students for admissions - and that 42 percent of those schools have a Gifted and Talented program to enrich their high-achieving students. However, the school districts with the highest concentration of black and Latino students also had the lowest number of schools with Gifted and Talented programs. Shockingly, the two school districts in The Bronx with high concentrations of black and Latino students had no Gifted and Talented program at all.

Senators Klein and Avella laid out a four-step proposal to tackle New York City’s Specialized High Schools increasing diversity problem.

While information about the schools is made available to the public, middle school administrators and teachers play a significant role in informing and encouraging students. To ensure that every student is encouraged to apply, regardless of their middle school, the IDC proposes investing $350,000 to provide an outreach coordinator at every Specialized High School. The outreach coordinator would contact underrepresented middle schools and families in order to increase the number of applicants coming from those groups.

Students who are ultimately offered a spot at one of these coveted schools typically go through extensive preparation to take the exam, starting as early as the sixth grade. However, test preparation can be expensive and unaffordable for many low-income families. The IDC would dedicate $1 million to establish test preparation programs in every school district, to ensure that every student has equal access to a rigorous preparatory program.

The Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation/National Grid STEM program currently provides STEM instruction and test prep to students from underrepresented middle schools in Brooklyn, and has played a significant role in helping black and Latino students secure spots. The IDC proposal would replicate this successful program, and establish a Middle School Pipeline program with instructional and test prep components. By securing funding of $1.28 million, this program would run Monday through Thursday, for five weeks, with extensive Saturday test preparation, and ultimately provide a direct pipeline into a specialized school for underrepresented middle schools students.

High-performing elementary and middle schools with Gifted and Talented programs ultimately serve as the best preparation for admissions to the Specialized High Schools. However, access to these programs is shockingly absent among underrepresented groups. The IDC would invest $2.55 million to increase the number of elementary and middle school Gifted and Talented programs in low-income neighborhoods throughout New York City.

“The underrepresentation of some minority groups in New York’s Specialized High Schools is indicative of a larger set of challenges facing this city’s educational system that begin as early as kindergarten or before for many students. While some have advocated for a more complex admissions process, they are in reality doing a disservice to the students they want to help, and to the premise of objectivity upon which these specialized schools were founded. I strongly oppose making any changes to the SSHAT. I am proud to support this proposal, which would provide funding for students to take free test preparation classes, in addition to investing in outreach coordinators at each of the specialized high schools will be effective in raising the numbers of potentially qualified minority applicants attending these schools, while maintaining the schools’ academic integrity,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz, a Bronx Science Alum.

“I applaud the IDC for implementing this diversity initiative for New York City Specialized High Schools. Assembly member Jeffrey Dinowitz and myself have championed this proposal to the Speaker of the Assembly as well. We must expand the programs that prepare our youth to take the Specialized High School Admission Test. As a member of the Board of Regent’s blue ribbon panel on improving outcomes for boys and young men of color, we highlighted the need for more programing to prepare them to compete for positions that Specialized high schools in New York City in a report issued last year. I look forward to working with my colleagues in government to push this initiative and it a  reality,” said Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley.

8th Annual 5K run/walk at the Bronx Zoo

WCS Run for the Wild is presented by Con Edison

The Wildlife Conservation Society
Reboots Annual WCS Run for the Wildtm
With New Prizes and Race Day Activities

8th Annual 5K run/walk is dedicated to saving wildlife

Runners/walkers can run on behalf of any species that inspires them

New fundraising prizes include a chance to win
a South Pacific cruise and VIP Yankees tickets

All new race day activities include
beer garden, rock climbing wall, silent disco, face painting, and more


Event date:
Saturday, April 30, 2016
at WCS’s Bronx Zoo

Registration open at

Bronx, N.Y. – March 7, 2016 – The 2016 WCS Run for the Wild is scheduled for Saturday, April 30. Runners, walkers, and wildlife supporters are invited to participate in the 8th annual 5K race and family fun run/walk at the Bronx Zoo.

Each year, WCS Run for the Wild is committed to raising awareness of the threats facing wildlife while raising money to help WCS conservation work at the Bronx Zoo and around the world. This year runners and walkers can choose to participate on behalf of whatever species most inspires them. Since its inception in 2009, more than 40,000 people have participated.

Registration is now open and there are many ways to participate. Visit to register for the run or family fun walk; make a donation; or support a friend or team.

The new line-up of fundraising prizes include entry into a drawing for a chance to win a seven-night cruise for two in Tahiti and the Society Islands, courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises* (entries accepted now through April, 3), and keep an eye on the website for other prize drawings including VIP tickets to see the New York Yankees, courtesy of Modell’s Sporting Goods.

Registration for the run is $45 for adults, $35 for children (3–15), and $35 for seniors (65+). All WCS members receive a discount on registration. Participants are encouraged to seek individual sponsors for their run/walk, and all adult (and senior) participants are required to raise a minimum of $30 in order to participate. The WCS Run for the Wild is expected to sell out, so runners and walkers are encouraged to sign up early.

The price of registration includes parking and general admission to the Bronx Zoo on the day of the event. Total Experience Ticket upgrade is available on site.

Registrants can choose from two different events. The 5K run for individual runners will begin at 8:00 a.m.; casual runners and walkers can take part in the Family Fun Run/Walk at 8:45 a.m.

After the run, everyone is encouraged to stay at the Bronx Zoo to enjoy the wildlife for the rest of the day. This year’s run features an entirely new line-up of race day activities. Enjoy a local microbrew at the beer garden (age 21 and above); burn off some extra energy on the all new rock climbing wall; or grab a set of headphones and enjoy the silent disco on the Bronx Zoo’s historic Astor Court. A full listing of race day activities is available at

The zoo’s marquee exhibits will be open for everyone to enjoy for the day. All are welcome to visit the Bronx Zoo’s animal ambassadors for extra inspiration and to learn about the conservation work WCS is doing to save wildlife and wild places around the globe. Exhibits like Tiger Mountain, Madagascar!, and Jungle World are just a few of the exhibits that will bring people face-to-face with some of the species that they are helping to save through their participation in or support of the WCS Run for the Wild.

In addition to the chance to win in drawings for the cruise, prizes will be awarded to those who meet various fundraising goals. For $30 in pledges, runners will earn a WCS Run for the Wild T-shirt; $75 earns a cheetah plush; $150 earns a tote bag; $300 earns a cooling towel; $600 earns a runner’s pack; $1,500 earns a VIP brunch. Each ascending incentive level achieved includes ALL prizes from the lower levels.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes begins 12:00 a.m. (midnight) ET on 3/5/16 & ends 11:59 p.m. ET on 4/3/16. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 or older. Void where prohibited. See Official  Rules for full details, including eligibility, prize description, and limitations.


The NY City Council passed two bills sponsored by Council Member Jumaane D. Williams

Today, the New York City Council voted to pass two bills sponsored by Council Member and Deputy Leader Jumaane D. Williams. The two bills included a Domestic Violence Housing Discrimination Ban, Intro 832 and a Green Construction bill, Intro 721.

Domestic Violence Housing Discrimination Ban, Intro 832

Intro 832-A prohibits discrimination in housing accommodations on the basis of an individual's status as a victim of domestic violence. Victims of intimate partner violence frequently struggle with housing discrimination, including denial of new leases, refusal to renew leases, refusal of housing vouchers, evictions and being unable to temporarily leave their home to escape domestic violence.

"Domestic violence continues to threaten the safety and lives of too many New Yorkers," said Council Member Williams. "Too often, victims of domestic violence are evicted or prevented from renting apartments simply because they have been abused - this is not only wrong, it's horrifying. Today, I am proud to stand with my colleagues as we pass intro 832 to make housing discrimination against victims of intimate partner violence illegal."

New York City already has the strongest Human Rights laws in the United States. With the passage of this legislation, the New York City Council is expanding the law to protect domestic violence victims against housing discrimination. Between 2001 and 2012, there were 864 domestic violence homicides in New York City, eighty percent of which were women. The current administration is doing substantial outreach and domestic violence incidents, including homicides, are decreasing. But, domestic violence remains a serious problem. In 2014 alone, there were over 280,000 domestic incident reports.  

Victims of intimate partner violence often struggle to find safe and affordable housing because landlords are quick to discriminate by denying new rental applications and evicting tenants. Nationally, 11 percent of evictions involved discrimination against domestic violence victims.  

Today, New York City took an important step towards protecting all New Yorkers and ensuring that victims of intimate partner violence can more easily find safe housing.

Green Construction, Intro 721

Intro 721-A, updates and strengthens the green building standards for certain city capital projects. The bill will increase the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, green building rating which certain capital projects are required to achieve.

"As climate change worsens, the amount of new construction in New York City continues to increase. We have an obligation to ensure that new buildings constructed by the city are environmentally friendly," saidCouncil Member Williams. "Intro 721, which I am proud to sponsor, requires city-owned buildings to meet stricter, expanded green building standards."   

Under current law, most city capital projects are required to achieve a LEED version 3 rating level of Certified or Silver, depending on building type. Intro 721-A would require that such city capital projects achieve the more stringent LEED version 4 rating level of Gold. Additionally, the bill also renews and strengthens reporting requirements and expands the LEED certification requirements.

The bill will affect city subsidized or funded capital projects which involve the construction of a new building, an addition to an existing building or the substantial reconstruction of an existing building, with an estimated cost of $2 million dollars or more. Residential buildings will be required to be designed and constructed to comply with an appropriate green building standard adopted by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The bill affords the Mayor the ability to establish alternative green building standards when it is in the public interest; so long as the certification is at least as or more restrictive than LEED Certified, and provided that, where such alternative standards are less stringent than the normally applicable standards, the Mayor or such agency reports the reasons such alternative standards are necessary.The bill also allows an alternative compliance path for buildings used for manufacturing. Outdoor assembly spaces and Group U occupancies, such as carports, have also been exempted.

Most new city buildings and major retrofits will need to achieve LEED Gold and cut energy use in half. See more here.