Saturday, March 26, 2016

100 PERCENT March 26, 2016

By Robert Press

Budget Time in Albany

     With less than a week until the April 1st deadline for a state budget, there seems to be a feeling that this year the budget may be late rather than on time. The State Assembly and State Senate are busy passing their one house bills, and some of the local elected officials are sending out press releases that their bills have been passed, but it is only by the one house they are a member of. To become law a bill must pass both the State Assembly and the State Senate, and then be signed into law by the governor. A lot of things can happen after these one house bills leave their one house. The other house can amend or modify the other houses bill, the bill can be changed entirely or just by one word, and the governor can sign, veto, or also ask to have said bill amended or changed to his likings. There is also what is known as 'Horse Trading' that can go on, which is I will vote for your bill if you vote for my bill, or any of the many ways that bills can be adopted or changed to get them passed into law. That is why you so often hear from elected officials that they really didn't want to vote for something, but there was more good than harm in the bill. Another explanation is that 'sometimes you have to compromise' to get things done or bills passed. Whatever happens I am sure we will hear all of those answers and probably a few new ones as the state budget finally gets passed. 
       Passing the state budget and on time is very important to New York City as the fiscal year for the city begins on July 1st. The city is dependent on state funding as well as federal funding for a good part of its budget or the city has to cutback on either services or staff. We shall see how Ambassador Bill de Blasio does in Albany this year compared to past years. It is not looking good for the city as there are big cuts in state funding proposed to CUNY, and Medicaid, as well as the continued lack of proper funding to New York City schools. Will Democrat Bill de Blasio anger State Senate Republicans again this year as he has done in the previous election year, or will the pressure of a shrinking majority (if any) put the pressure on State Senate Republicans. One thing that is up is Mayoral Control of the public schools, and I for one hope that it is not renewed. 10 years of Mayoral Control has not made the city public schools any better, and there is no accountability at all.
      Moving to the race to replace Charlie Rangel in Congress, Manhattan Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Keith Wright (and leading candidate) continues to rack up the endorsements. He has several unions already and the Bronx Democratic County organization endorsing him. However is there dissent among the Bronx Democratic County organization as State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, and now City Councilman Ritchie Torres have endorsed State Senator Adriano Espaillat for the congressional seat. Then there is Assemblyman Jose Rivera who has endorsed his friend Adam Clayton Powell in the same race. Candidate Powell has not been without controversy after a story appeared in the City and State on line report that one of his Bronx political operatives was offering five dollars an hour for canvassing which set off a fury of Facebook comments about the PO and candidate Powell. Candidate Powell completely denied paying the PO anything even for his endorsement, which appears on this blog in a previous post. 
       Finally, Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking victory laps after getting his MIH and ZQA text amendments passed. It may have been watered down a bit (and just a bit at that as you can still taste the real flavor), but next is to see if de Blasio can get some kind of replacement for the disbanded 421A program so developers can afford to build affordable housing. Then there are the possible court challenges to MIH and ZQA that may be looming ahead.  
      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.   

Community Board #7 Civics Lesson

  It was titled 'Livable Neighborhoods Program' by the CB 7 Community Relations, Intergovernmental, and Long Term Planning Committee and the Municipal Arts Society of New York, which appeared to be a lesson in Civics. Topics discussed after a welcome and introduction by the committee chair Ms. Samelys Lopez included New York City Government 101, and Planning 101. also on the agenda were Programs and Resources for Businesses, Small Business Survival Act and Commercial Harassment Bills, an update on Participatory Budgeting, and Diagnosing your District for Action. 
  In all there were about 100 people (which included children) in attendance at the PS 54 Cafeteria location for the meeting. Also on hand were several members of CB 7 (as you will see in one photo below), the boards new District Manager Andrew Sandler, Councilman Ritchie Torres, Assemblyman Jose Rivera (complete with his video camera), and many other community advocates. 

Above - City Councilman Ritchie Torres speaks a little about his role in New York City Government as CB 7 Vice-Chair Samelys Lopez is also in the photo. 
Below - Councilman Torres and new CB 7 District Manager Andrew Sandler. 

An impromptu  photo of CB 7 members in attendance and CB 7 District Manager Andrew Sandler.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman - Stopping Illegal Online Gambling

AG banner_NEW

Taking Action Against Illegal Online Gambling

The Attorney General announced that both FanDuel and DraftKings will stop taking bets in New York State, consistent with New York State law and cease and desist orders previously issued to the companies by his office. Watch video of the Attorney General discussing the agreements here.
Following the Attorney General’s agreements with FanDuel and DraftKings, Yahoo! announced that it would also stop taking bets in New York for daily fantasy sports games.  


Building On Our Success Fighting Opioid Addiction 

The Attorney General wrote an op-ed in Newsday urging policymakers to reject efforts by special interest groups that would gut critical provisions of New York's landmark opioid abuse prevention program, I-STOP.

Stopping Illegal Outsourcing

Think you are a government contractor that can get away with shipping jobs overseas? Think again. Read more about the Attorney General’s groundbreaking agreement that cracks down on a contractor caught sending jobs to India.

Going After Tax Fraudsters, Big and Small

There has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or how powerful, and that includes big developers paying their fair share of taxes. Read about the Attorney General’s tax fraud case against real estate mogul Asher Roshanzamir.

 A Fake Optometrist Is Shut Down

The Attorney General’s office has secured a consent judgment against a Rochester area man found to be unlawfully practicing as an optician without the required license—twice.

Have a question, comment, or complaint? Click here. You can also learn more about the various initiatives of the Attorney General's office by visiting our website at You can also call our General Hotline: 800-771-7755


This following was found on City & State -

Adam Clayton Powell IV found himself the target of Facebook users’ fury after a Bronx political operative posted that the congressional candidate’s campaign had canvassing openings that pay $5 an hour, which Powell vehemently denied his campaign would ever offer. Last Sunday night, Anthony Rivieccio posted in the Northwest Bronx Democrats’ Facebook group that he was aware of “2 offerings we want to share with you.” “Anyone looking to work on the Cogressional Campaigns of Adam Powell and Yohanny Caceres, they are paying $5 an hour for canvassing,” he noted. “If interested please inbox me which opportunity and I will send the perspective manager your informaion.”

Editor's Note: 

I reached out to Mr. Rivieccio for a comment, and received his usual baloney answer which was full of Baloney with no meat in it or any answer. I have also reached out to Adam Clayton Powell for a response, but have not received a comment from him. 

The following is Adam Clayton Powell's e-mail response, received earlier today.

Mr. Rivieccio endorsed me months ago. The Northwest Bronx Democrats endorsed me weeks ago. And no one is getting any money from me.

You can call me anytime. But without talking to me how you infer something like that from a $5/hour comment or a $500 for 500 signatures suggestion is shocking to say the least.

Friday, March 25, 2016

HEARD AROUND TOWN:- Adam Clayton Powell IV

  This following was found on City & State -

Adam Clayton Powell IV found himself the target of Facebook users’ fury after a Bronx political operative posted that the congressional candidate’s campaign had canvassing openings that pay $5 an hour, which Powell vehemently denied his campaign would ever offer. Last Sunday night, Anthony Rivieccio posted in the Northwest Bronx Democrats’ Facebook group that he was aware of “2 offerings we want to share with you.” “Anyone looking to work on the Cogressional Campaigns of Adam Powell and Yohanny Caceres, they are paying $5 an hour for canvassing,” he noted. “If interested please inbox me which opportunity and I will send the perspective manager your informaion.”

Editor's Note: 

I reached out to Mr. Rivieccio for a comment, and received his usual baloney answer which was full of Baloney with no meat in it or any answer. I have also reached out to Adam Clayton Powell for a response, but have not received a comment from him. 

Greenway Day - April 17th

Sunday, April 17, 2016
Riverdale Station Park
254th Street and the River
The Event 
will feature music, food, children's activities and more right alongside the beautiful 
Hudson River!

Assemblyman Mark Gjona - Happy Easter

H A P P Y 
 E A S T E R
Easter brings a great opportunity for us to come together and reflect on the many blessings God has given us, while enjoying the time well spent with family and loved ones.

I would like to wish my family, friends, neighbors and community members a happy and blessed holiday weekend. May you all have a safe, joyous and blessed Easter.

~Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj

New York City Public Advocate - Keeping Our City Safe

New York City has an opportunity to lead in the fight against gun violence that is harming communities from coast to coast. With a Congress that refuses to act, it's increasingly up to cities and states to find new and innovative ways to curb violence and hold the gun industry accountable. 

This week, my office called on federal regulators to investigate Sturm, Ruger and Company, one of the largest gun manufacturers in America, for violating U.S. securities law. Americans have the right to know any potential risk associated with their money or their investments and Sturm, Ruger has a legal and moral obligation to disclose the real dangers of their products. 

Leah Gunn Barrett, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence said: "We fully support Public Advocate James's call for the SEC to investigate Sturm, Ruger's business practices. We know that on far too many occasions, Ruger's lethal products have ended up in criminal hands. In fact, the illegal firearm market is supplied almost entirely by just 5% of licensed dealers. Manufacturers like Sturm, Ruger know who these dealers are or could easily find out. Sturm, Ruger should be required to document the integrity of their supply chain so their products aren't diverted into dangerous hands by dishonest dealers, and so that they no longer profit from the sale of guns flowing to the illegal market."

This is the second time my office has filed such a complaint with federal regulators: in December, we filed a complaint against Smith & Wesson, the manufacturer of the guns used in the San Bernardino massacre, Umpqua Community College massacre, and the Aurora movie theater massacre. 

As your Public Advocate, I will continue to hold gun makers accountable and work to make New York City safer for all.
Letitia James
New York City Public Advocate

Thursday, March 24, 2016

FVCP Response to Jogger Assault in Van Cortlandt Park

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park is deeply disturbed by the police report that a jogger was physically assaulted by two men in the park at approximately 7:30 p.m. on March 22, 2016.  We encourage the NYPD to put all necessary resources into promptly solving this crime.  Equally important, however, is the need to increase security and maintenance resources allocated to the Van Cortlandt Park.  FVCP is actively engaged in efforts to improve the City's stewardship of the park as part of the 2034 VCP Master Plan and a key part of that effort must be a bigger presence of Park Enforcement Officers and NYPD officers.  In the meantime, we will continue to be active in the park with trails, wetlands, forest and education programs. 
It is important to remember to call 911 if there is an emergency and to report any suspicious or illegal activity within Van Cortlandt Park by calling the 50th Precinct at 718-543-5700.
To make your voice hear or help the cause, please visit

Assemblymember Michael A. Blake - Women's History Month Event This Saturday

  Assemblymember Michael A. Blake's Women’s History Month Celebration of Leaders in Economic Development, Education and Equality for All in The Bronx

Continuing his dedication to stand up for and celebrate the accomplishments of women, Assemblymember Michael Blake invites the community to join him on Saturday, March 26, 2016, at the Harriet Tubman Charter School (1176 Franklin Avenue, Bronx, NY 10456) for his annual Women's History Month celebration of leaders in Economic Development, Education and Equality for All.

The venue in the name of a trailblazer such as Harriet Tubman and at a school graduating students of color demonstrates how we celebrate our history of women while equally moving our communities forward.

Assemblymember Blake will present several distinguished members of the community with citations to honor their work advancing women’s issues and inspiring future generations of motivated, forward-thinking women and girls to continue efforts to break glass ceilings in every part of society and continue #BuildingABetterBronx.

What: Assemblymember Michael A. Blake's Women’s History Month Celebration of Leaders in Economic Development, Education and Equality for All in The Bronx
Who: Assemblymember Michael Blake; Congressmember Jose Serrano, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblymember Marcos Crespo, Assemblymember Victor Pichardo, Councilmember Vanessa Gibson, and women-owned, women-run, and women-supportive community organizations; Open to the public
WhenSaturday, March 26, 201610AM-1PM
Where: Harriet Tubman Charter School; 1176 Franklin Avenue, between East 167th and East 168th Streets

For more information, contact Assemblymember Michael Blake’s office at 718-538-3829 or Britney Whaley at 702-318-1490

RSVPs are strongly encouraged.

Public Housing Chair Ritchie Torres Endorses Espaillat

  Four NYCHA Tenant Association Presidents Endorse Espaillat

   Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chairman of the Committee on Public Housing, four NYCHA tenant association presidents and scores of NYCHA residents gathered on the steps of City Hall today to endorse Adriano Espaillat for Congress. 

Espaillat, who has continually called for Congress to "get off the side lines" when it comes to public housing, announced he would call for the creation of a federal matching funds system for city and state investments in NYCHA, in addition to targeted federal review of developments where there is a high incidence of maintenance complaints and potential health hazards.

Senator Espaillat said "We need to bring funding and accountability to NYCHA. Our residents deserve to live in dignity and they have suffered long enough under crumbling infrastructure and the perils of an absentee landlord.  The federal government needs to provide the dollars to fix NYCHA and the oversight to get the job done quickly and efficiently."

Councilman Torres partnered with Espaillat last year to help secure an historic $100 million state investment in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). 

"I partnered with Senator Espaillat to help secure state funding for NYCHA and I have seen his deep commitment to public housing first hand," said Councilman Ritchie Torres.  "We need Adriano's energy and passion in Congress to get the federal government to reinvest in public housing."

Senator Espaillat was also endorsed at this event by tenant association presidents:Paulette Shomo, of Marble Hill Houses; Nathaniel Greene, of Dyckman Houses;Carmen QuiƱones, of Douglass Houses; and Carlton Davis, of Grant houses.

"We need someone in Congress who is going to roll-up their sleeves and fight for NYCHA. Adriano has done that in Albany, and I know he will do it in Washington. I am proud to support him for Congress," said Dyckman Houses' TA President Nathaniel Greene.  

"From roofing to boilers, our buildings need to be renovated for the 21st century, and it will take a major investment from Congress. We need Adriano in Congress because he understands the problems we face and will deliver results for our tenants," said Douglass Houses' TA President Carmen Quinones. 

"I have known Adriano for years, he walks through our buildings regularly and comes to our meetings. I know he cares, and I know he will do everything he can in Congress to make living conditions better for NYCHA's tenants," said Marble Hill Houses' TA President Paulette Shomo. 

The 13th congressional district stretches from Harlem to Inwood in upper Manhattan and covers parts of the Bronx.

Editor's Note: This is not an endorsement of State Senator Espaillat by this blog, but just reporting the news. The same has been done for other candidates in this race. 

Proximity Bill Passes the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee

  State Senator Gustavo Rivera released the following statement today after bill S1474, also known as the Proximity Bill, passed the New York State Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. The Proximity bill, which is sponsored by Senator Rivera in the Senate and Assemblymember Marcos Crespo in the Assembly, will establish a pilot project to place incarcerated individuals in facilities that are close to their home and their families. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

  "I am proud that my colleagues in the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee have joined me in pushing the Proximity bill towards the next step of the legislative process. The implementation of this pilot program will effectively reaffirm the notion that our criminal justice system should not just focus on punishment, but also on rehabilitation. Placing incarcerated parents in facilities that are close to their children will help preserve their fundamental relationship. This pilot program does not only give the State the opportunity to be an active agent in ensuring the emotional and psychological welfare of these families, but also the ability to study the benefits of such a program, including its impact on decreasing rates of recidivism. If we are truly committed in reforming our State's criminal justice system, this transformative pilot program could represent an auspicious step. I urge my colleagues at the Senate Finance Committee to review and bring this bill to a vote. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate to ensure that this measure passes through both houses."

Editor's Note:

It is unfortunate however good this bill is that it can only come into law if State Senate and the State Assembly approves it, and then the Governor signs it into law. This is only one of the many many one house bills that will most likely never be signed into law.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016



    Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s visit to the Republic of Cuba.

“As President Barack Obama visits the Republic of Cuba and becomes only the second U.S. President to do so, I would like to temper the historic nature of this visit with the harsh reality being faced by 3.5 million American citizens 761 miles from Havana.

Normalizing relations with Cuba is consistent with American values of promoting democracy and protecting human freedoms.  As part of President Obama’s significant foreign policy accomplishments, normalizing relationship with Cuba after decades of an antagonistic relationship is a milestone of progress for both our nations.

However, normalizing the economy of Puerto Rico should not take a back seat to any other effort taking place in the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico is drowning figuratively and literally under unmanageable debt and an imposed federal healthcare reimbursement formula which has created havoc in the island’s health care system. 

Both its $72 billion dollar debt, which is now in default, and the pending collapse of hospitals and clinics which are threating the health of the 3.5 million Americans on the island are crisis which the President should continue to highlight, work to resolve and prompt Congress to act accordingly.

The President, in his proposed federal budget for Fiscal Year 2017, has included the need for Puerto Rico to reorganize its debt via Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection and has targeted $30 billion over the next decade to help stabilize and secure the islands health care system.  I applaud these efforts and ask that the President continue to pressure Congress to act on these matters.

As President Obama visits the Republic of Cuba, It is my greatest hope that he will revisit Puerto Rico so that he can, on a first-hand basis, ascertain the deterioration of the economy and health care system of the island since his last visit in June of 2011.”

Bronx Chamber of Commerce - Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Advanced Auto Parts' New Co-op City Location

Join us at the special ribbon-cutting ceremony
for Advanced Auto Parts New Location!


  RE: City Council Vote on MIH/ZQA

“As our city continues to grapple with the mayor's rezoning proposals—Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability—I am pleased to see progress has been made at the lower end of the affordability spectrum. While the housing deal does not go as far to assist the low income community as many of us had hoped, it is an encouraging step in the right direction. I commend the City Council for their diligence and commitment on this issue and for listening to the concerns myself, my colleagues, our community boards and the people of this city on other issues, including parking and the need for greater affordability.

“However, I remain concerned that the minor change at the upper end of the affordability spectrum does nothing to encourage developers to create units that would maintain our professionals and foster socio-economic diversity. Preventing developers from using already existing subsidies hinders the opportunity for truly mixed-income development in the borough.

“As I have previously stated, the process that has led us to this point has been flawed. These changes are substantial, and the people of this city—who have been incredibly critical, if not outright hostile to MIH and ZQA to this point—should have been given another chance to voice their opinions prior to any vote. I am hopeful that the City Council will make every effort to explain these changes to community boards and other concerned parties, to ensure both a productive dialogue and appropriate community engagement moving forward,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Purim Celebration and Film History Presentation at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center

 On Tues. March 29th, dynamic entertainers Hagit, Zvi and Dvir will re-enact the Purim story with songs, costumes and puppets at 11:15 AM for our 4-yr old friends from MMCC Early Childhood program. Following a festive lunch at 12:15 PM, they will provide a program of violin music plus nostalgic songs at 1:00 PM.
Kosher lunch served at 12:15 PM: Shake & bake chicken or tuna salad, egg barley & mushrooms, coleslaw, orange.  Holiday refreshments will be served. Recommended senior meal contribution: $2.25 and $2.00 for event. Non-senior Meal Fee: $5.00 and Event Fee: $3.00
Contact JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center office at 718-549-4700 for advance reservations by Thurs. March 24th.

Film and Hollywood historian, photo archivist Pierre Montiel will speak about the life accomplishments of the legendary Gary Cooper on Wed. March 30th at 1:00 PM.  
Kosher lunch served at 12:15 PM: Tilapia Francaise or chicken salad, fusili pasta w/Parsley, steamed peas
& carrots, banana. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.
Recommended senior meal contribution: $2.25
Recommended senior event contribution: $1.00
RSVP by calling senior center office 718-549-4700 by Mon. Mar. 28th.

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce - Annual Gala April 13, 2016

Bronx Democratic County Committee - Upcoming Events

U P C O M I N G   E V E N T S
 Dear Bronx Democrat,
Below is a list of upcoming events. Attached you will find flyers for each event.
Hillary Clinton Kick-Off
When: Thurs. 3/24/16 from 6 - 8p
Where: BDCC HQ - 1640 Eastchester Rd. Bronx, NY
The Hillary Clinton campaign is gearing up for the NYS presidential primary! Come help phone bank to get our fellow Bronxites registered to vote for the April 19th primary.

Click to Enlarge
AM Michael Blake's Women History Month Event
When: Sat. 3/26/16 from 10a - 1p
Where: Harriet Tubman Charter School - 3565 3rd Ave, Bronx, NY

Please join Assemblyman Michael Blake in celebrating Women's History Month. This event is free and open to the public.

To RSVP visit
Click to Enlarge
Reception for Mark Gjonaj
When: Mon. 3/28/16 from 5:30 - 7:30p
Where: V & R Restaurant - 136 Madison Ave, Albany, NY

NYS Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, NYS Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle, and Bronx Democratic Chairman Marcos A. Crespo invite you to a reception in honor of Assemblyman of the 80th District Mark Gjonaj. 

To RSVP call Nathalia Fernandez at 646-996-3537, Claudia Granados at 646-957-6833, or email
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CM Vanessa L. Gibson's Women HerStory Month Event
When: Wed. 3/30/16 from 5:30 - 7:30p
Where: Mullaly Recreational Community Center - 1020 Jerome Ave. (between E. 164 & E. 165 Sts.)

Join Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson for a night of awards, guest speakers, entertainment, and refreshments in celebration of Women's HerStory Month.

To RSVP contact CM Gibson's District Office at 718-588-7500 or
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Women's Empowerment Dinner
When: Thurs. 3/31/16 from 6 - 10p
Where: Maestro's Caterers - 1703 Bronxdale Ave., Bronx, NY
You are cordially invited to join Hon. Cynthia Cox, Female District Leader of the 79th Assembly District, for the 2nd Annual
Women's Empowerment Dinner With Honorees: Letitia James - Public Advocate for the City of New York, Inez Harvey -Community Leader, Annie Oliver - Church Organizer/Church on the Hill A.M.E. Zion,  Pastor Georgiette Morgan-Thomas - Mustard Seed Faith Ministries, Rochelle Mangual -  President of DC 37 Retiree's Association, Isom Malika - Community Activist.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact: Florence Davis - (347) 693-8767, Tee Lawton - (646) 463-9917, Diana Diaz - (917) 535-5295, or Ernestine Jackson - (347) 224-2002.
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Bronx Young Dems' Spring Gala
Wed. 4/20/16 from 7 - 10p
Michaelangelo's - 2477 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY

The Bronx Young Democrats' request your attendance at their first Spring Gala. Proceeds from this fundraiser will go to the New York State Young Democrats Convention, hosted in the Bronx this May. The Gala will honor the following Bronx Young Dem Elected Officials: Hon. Michael Blake, Hon. Marcos Crespo, Hon. Vanessa Gibson, Hon. Latoya Joyner, Hon. Victor Pichardo, and Hon. Ritchie Torres.

To purchase tickets to this event please

Click to Enlarge

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