Saturday, August 27, 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Announces During Pride Day At New York State Fair A New Office Policy Supporting Employees Undergoing Gender Transition

New Policy Aims To Ensure Inclusive, Respectful Workplace And Establishes Clear Guidelines For Supervisors And Other Staff 
    Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today attended Pride Day at the New York State Fair in Syracuse and announced that his office (OAG) has adopted policies supporting the right of employees to undergo a gender transition. The new policy, announced during the fair’s rainbow flag raising ceremony, explicitly affirms the right of employees to openly be who they are, including expressing gender identity, without fear of consequences. Employees are encouraged under the policy to work with a trusted supervisor, coworker, or Human Resources official to develop a Workplace Transition Plan. The policy requires supervisors, management, and coworkers to follow nondiscriminatory policies that support the transitioning individual, including through:
  • Appearance Standards;
  • Restroom Access;
  • Pronoun And Name Changes;
  • Name Changes On Professional Licenses And Registrations; and
  • Rights To Privacy.
“Attracting and retaining top talent starts with creating a workplace that is inclusive and respectful,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This new policy affirms the basic rights and dignity of all of our office’s employees and will ensure a hospitable environment for our team of outstanding public servants.”
“It is great to see such leadership from state officials taking steps to make the workplace more inclusive and welcoming to transgender employees,” said M. Dru Levasseur, Director of the Transgender Rights Project at Lambda Legal. “These policies not only clarify existing legal protections, but also set a standard of respect and provide a model for the rest of the country.”
“This new policy is a clear and welcome plan helping ensure transgender state employees are able to work - and transition on the job - without fear of discrimination,” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “All New Yorkers, regardless of their gender identity, deserve to be able to live as their authentic selves and be treated respectfully in the workplace as they do so.  Now thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, his transgender employees have the peace of mind they need and deserve.”
Under the office policy, an employee may develop a Workplace Transition Plan that includes the following considerations:
  • Identifying various stakeholders (e.g., supervisors, co-workers, clients, vendors, etc.) – who are all the people in the OAG you may need to engage at some point during the transition.
  • A communication plan: when and how to inform the various stakeholders of your transition or intent to transition (e.g., a letter, a face-to-face meeting, individual discussions, your supervisor/HR explaining).
  • The date on which you want to begin your transition at work.  This is likely the point at which you will begin to present consistently with your gender identity, which may include change of name, pronouns, dress, grooming, and restroom use.
  • The date on which OAG materials will be changed to reflect your transition (e.g., OAG directory, website, ID badge, email address, telephone listing, payroll information, etc.).
  • The date on which your legal name change (if any) will take effect.
  • Changes to external professional information (e.g., Lexis ID, bar and court registrations, ECF logins, bar association information, etc.).
  • Any anticipated time off or leave required for medical treatment. Remember that the OAG’s normal sick pay and leave policies will apply.
  • Identifying OAG benefits that are available to support the transition and affected by the transition.
  • Are there any specific issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later?
  • Confirm who will be the OAG’s main point of contact (you or someone else from your Support Team) to manage the OAG’s involvement during the transition.
All employees remain subject to the Office of the Attorney General’s pre-existing Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy. In addition to prohibiting various forms of work place discrimination, the policy also allows a transgender employee, regardless of whether or not they plan to medically or legally transition, to dress consistently with his or her gender identity. Any complaints or concerns raised by transitioning individuals or his/her co-workers will be handled consistent with the policy. The New York Attorney General’s Office relied on best practices from the transgender advocacy community in developing the policies issued today.
The full policy is available here.

Comic Con 2016 Guests

October 6 - 9, 2016 | Javits Center
New York Comic Con - NYCC


  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters today announced that a New York City Department of Correction Officer has been indicted on first-degree Rape and other charges for engaging in sex acts with an inmate in Rikers Island. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “Correction Officers or any other staff in Rikers Island cannot use their position to abuse inmates. We will prosecute any jail employee who undermines the public’s trust and tarnishes the honest, hardworking members of the Department of Correction.” 

 Commissioner Peters said, "DOI takes allegations of sex assault at Rikers extremely seriously. Today's case is part of a larger set of investigations on the issue that we are undertaking." 

District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Jose Cosme, 36, of Brooklyn, has been indicted on first-degree Rape, first-degree Criminal Sexual Act, first-degree Sexual Abuse, third-degree Rape, third-degree Criminal Sexual Act, Sexual Misconduct, second-degree Sexual Abuse, Forcible Touching and third-degree Sexual Abuse. 

 Cosme was arraigned today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Ethan Greenberg, who set bail at $75,000 bond/$25,000 cash. Cosme is due back in court on September 20, 2016. If convicted of the top count, Cosme could face 50 years in prison. 

 According to the indictment, on November 30, 2015, in the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island, Cosme allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with the female inmate by forcible compulsion. He also allegedly engaged in other sex acts with the inmate, who is unable to consent by reason that she is incarcerated.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Danielle Pascale, Supervisor of the Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Joseph Muroff, Chief of the Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Bureau, and the overall supervision of Maria T. Rivero, Chief of the Special Victims Division and Jean T. Walsh, Chief of the Investigations Division. 

 District Attorney Clark thanked DOI's Office of the Inspector General for the New York City Department of Correction for their assistance in the investigation. 

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt. 

Violent Member Of Robbery Crew Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 70 Months In Prison


Robbery Crew Targeted Gas Stations, Convenience Stores, Taxi Drivers, and Deliverymen in the Bronx, Elmsford, Pleasantville, Yonkers, and New Rochelle, New York, During Month-Long Crime Spree

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Charlie Patterson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced that ANTHONY GREEN was sentenced on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams to 70 months in prison for being a member of a robbery crew that committed 11 commercial robberies, and numerous other street robberies of individuals, in August and September 2015.  ANTHONY GREEN personally participated in three of those robberies, and was arrested in the midst of attempting to commit a fourth.  During one of the robberies, ANTHONY GREEN assaulted a 61-year-old robbery victim, throwing the victim to the floor and beating him.  GREEN pled guilty before Judge Abrams on February 26, 2016.        
According to the Indictment and statements made at court proceedings and in court filings:
From at least on or about August 27, 2015, through on or about September 3, 2015, ANTHONY GREEN joined with his co-defendants Lennox Josephs and Cameron Green (as well as another individual) to commit at least three commercial robberies of gas stations and convenience stores in the Bronx and Elmsford, New York, and they planned to commit a fourth such robbery in Pleasantville, New York.  These robberies were the last in a weeks-long spree that Josephs and Cameron Green had been on since at least August 12, 2015, during which they robbed at least 11 commercial businesses and individuals engaged in commercial activity, such as restaurant deliverymen and taxi cab drivers.  Prior to August 27, 2015, ANTHONY GREEN had also joined Josephs and Cameron Green to commit street robberies, during which they physically assaulted victims and snatched wallets and cellphones.
During the three commercial robberies in which ANTHONY GREEN participated, the defendants wore masks and used BB guns that appeared to be real firearms.  The victims of the robberies were terrorized and in several instances subjected to physical violence by ANTHONY GREEN and his associates, including one robbery in which Cameron Green dislocated a pregnant woman’s shoulder.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the SPARTA Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the New York City Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service. 
Cameron Green pled guilty on February 19, 2016, and was sentenced by Judge Abrams on July 8, 2016, to 78 months in prison.  Lennox Josephs pled guilty on March 9, 2016, and was sentenced by Judge Abrams on August 8, 2016, to 78 months in prison.

Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo in partnership with State Senator Gustavo Rivera will hold another Family Fun Day today at M.S.363.

  This event will offer fun activities for the children and information for parents on health, education and housing issues from partners like Union Community Health Center, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (IDNYC), South Bronx Healthy Families, VIP Community Services, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Department of Education, New York Public Library and more.

What: Family Fun Day

Who:  Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo
          State Senator Gustavo Rivera

When: Saturday, August 27, 2016
            11:00 am – 6:00 p.m.

Where: MS 363 School Yard
120 East 184th Street
 Bronx, NY 10468

Trains: 4 train, nearest stop: 183 Street
            Bx2, nearest stop: Grand Concourse/Field Pl

Family Fun Day in St.James Park

  Yesterday was Family Fun Day in St. James Park. This event was sponsored by Assemblyman Victor Pichardo and State Senator Gustavo Rivera. There were information tables at the event from various New York City agencies, and neighborhood non-profit organizations. The photos should tell the rest of the story. 

Above - You can see some of the informative tables that were at St. James Park.
Below - State Senator Gustavo Rivera was given the task of handing out ticket stubs for a free backpack to the hundreds of children as you see in this photo. The good senator was also able to tell parents of his work in the community. 

Above - Assemblyman Victor Pichardo smiles as he gives out a back pack to a child to get prepared for the first day of school, which starts in two weeks. 
Below - There were 1,000 back packs on hand to give out, that were made in the USA. Assemblyman Pichardo is able to catch a break for a sip of water as has given out several hundred back packs already.  

Councilman Eric Ulrich to Join NYC Transit Museum for Vintage Subway Car Ride

   Councilman Eric Ulrich will join the NYC Transit Museum Today for a ride on a vintage subway car round-trip between Beach 116th Street and Rockaway Boulevard. 

The ride will feature both BMT Standard cars and D-Type Triplex cars.  The BMT Standard cars were in service from 1916 to 1969 and featured larger windows, brighter lighting and center doors.  The 134 foot-long "Triplex" cars were ordered in 1924 and featured an enclosed passageway between cars. 

What: Councilman Eric Ulrich joins the NYC Transit Museum for a ride on a vintage subway car
Where: Begins and ends at the Beach 116th Street Subway Station (Beach 116th Street between Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Boulevard)
When: Saturday, August 27, at 11:30 am

(444k, 1044x708)<br><b>Country:</b> United States<br><b>City:</b> New York<br><b>System:</b> New York City Transit<br><b>Line:</b> IND Rockaway<br><b>Location:</b> Between 108th st and 116th St/Rockaway Park<br><b>Car:</b> BMT D-Type Triplex 6019 <br><b>Collection of:</b> David Pirmann<br><b>Viewed (this week/total):</b> 2 / 2586

System: New York City Transit
Line: IND Rockaway
Location: Between 108th st and 116th St/Rockaway Park
Car: BMT D-Type Triplex 6019 
Collection of: David Pirmann

DCP Jerome Ave Rezoning Scoping Hearing Details

  Community Board 7 was notified by the Department of City Planning (DCP) that the scoping document for the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Study will be released this coming Monday. On Thursday, September 8th DCP will be holding a public meeting at the Davidson Community Center, 2038 Davidson Avenue, from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM to discuss the ULURP and Scoping processes. It will be informational so residents and stakeholders have a better understanding of the project’s next steps. In addition, DCP plans to hold a scoping hearing on Thursday, September 29th at 4pm at Bronx Community College to review the proposed rezoning plan based on the study. I hope you can all attend. For more information please call or visit the board office.

Andrew Sandler   District Manager
Bronx Community Board 7
229-A East 204th Street   Bronx, NY 10458
P: 718-933-5650/51

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Senator Klein, NYCHA Chair Olatoye Delivered Hundreds of Refrigerators to Sack Wern Houses Tenants

Klein secured $200,000 for over 370 brand new appliances

State Senator Jeff Klein and NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and Councilwoman Annabel Palma joined tenants of the Sack Wern Houses to announce the delivery of hundreds of new refrigerators today.

“New York City public housing residents deserve to live in clean, safe homes, and I have been proud to work towards a reinvestment in the New York City Housing Authority. As part of my work, I secured $200,000 of state funds to deliver over 370 long-needed, brand new refrigerators to these tenants. As we struggle to hold on to affordable housing throughout the city, we must ensure that our public housing receives the support it needs to thrive,” said Senator Klein.
After hearing residents’ concerns and learning about the need to replace the badly-worn appliances, Senator Klein worked to ensure that the agency received the resources necessary to deliver new ones. Partnering with NYCHA Chair and CEO Olatoye, the refrigerators will be delivered and installed starting on August 25, through September 2. A total of 377 appliances were purchased, ensuring that every apartment in need will receive one.

“NYCHA is focused on improving quality of life for residents across our city – and this collaborative effort in The Bronx is delivering for Sack Wern residents,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Olatoye. “Thanks to a strong partnership with Senator Klein, Sack Wern residents are receiving high-quality, brand-new refrigerators – an upgrade that should show this community we are investing in them and the next generation of public housing.”
Sack Wern Houses is seeing improvements as part of NextGeneration NYCHA (NextGen), the Authority’s ten-year strategic plan to stabilize the financial crisis facing New York City’s public housing while creating safer, cleaner, and more connected communities. NextGen’s 15 targeted strategies support four principal goals: change the way NYCHA is funded; operate like a more modern, efficient landlord; (re)build existing public housing and new affordable housing; and engage residents in meaningful ways.
In 2015 the roofs were replaced on all 7 buildings at Sack Wern Houses. The work funded through bond proceeds, costs $11.3 million to complete and included repairs to the building facades. There is currently a comprehensive effort underway to resurface the parking lot at the development. The basketball court was resurfaced last year and brand new play equipment was installed at the development’s playground.

“It’s always pleasure to work alongside Senator Klein as he fights for the people of our community. This funding will deliver new appliances to residents of NYCHA and demonstrates the Senator’s commitment to improve the quality of life of our constituents,” said Assemblyman Crespo.

“Thanks to Senator Klein and NYCHA Chair Olatoye for helping facilitate the acquisition of nearly 400 refrigerators for the residents of Sack Wern Houses. I see this act as a step forward, in that maintenance of our public housing infrastructure is no longer being sidelined, in an earnest effort to improve the quality of life of tenants in comprehensive and actionable ways. Securing funding is vital to ensuring NYCHA apartments remain viable places to live; this is a big step towards achieving that goal,” said Councilwoman Palma.

“Many thanks to Senator Klein from the Residents of Sack Wern Houses.  The Senator worked tirelessly for  over a year to get the refrigerators that were requested during a door-to-door conducted by a member of his staff . A good working refrigerator is essential in keeping a household in good working order,” said Tenant Leader Loretta Masterson.

State Senator Klein, Assemblyman Crespo, Councilwoman Palma, and NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye show off the new refrigerator.

The Press conference was however not without questions such as the new stoves which one tenant said were also promised along with the new refrigerators. Senator Klein said that he wanted to get the new refrigerators first, then he will work on the stove issue.

NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye responds to my question about water leaks in the Noble Avenue Houses by saying that NYCHA has many building problems, and is embarking on a ten year plan to fix up the aging houses. She added that however that will take a lot of money which has to be found somewhere.

A.G. Schneiderman And U.S. Department Of Labor Announce $500,000 Agreement With Papa John’S Franchisee Over Wage Violations

New York City Franchisee Must Pay Over 200 Workers Restitution And Damages
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and the U.S. Department of Labor today announced a settlement totaling $500,000 with Sultan Ali Lakhani, Moregrace LLC, and Thegrace, Inc., the owners of three Papa John’s Pizza franchise stores in Manhattan and the Bronx. The three stores violated minimum wage and overtime requirements, and also took unlawful deductions from workers’ wages caused by failure to reimburse all work-related expenses. Restitution and damages will be distributed to over 200 underpaid workers.  
“When businesses brazenly violate the law by systematically failing to pay their employees minimum and overtime wages, they rip off some of our state’s most vulnerable workers,” saidAttorney General Schneiderman. “I have called on corporate leaders in the fast food industry – including Papa John’s – to step up and stop these ongoing violations, which are so pervasive in this company and industry.”
“Employers who cheat their workers out of their hard earned wages also economically undercut law-abiding competitors who pay their workers properly,” said Mark Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor. “This joint investigation and litigation effort sends a clear message to such employers: Violate both federal and state laws and you will face the consequences at both levels.”
“This resolution exemplifies the corrective action and restitution that can be achieved on behalf of workers when state and federal agencies work together on their behalf,” said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, the regional solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor. “We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman’s office to root out wage violators and ultimately improve compliance with federal and state wage laws.”
The Manhattan stores involved in today’s settlement, operated by Moregrace LLC, are located at 701 W. 179th Street in Washington Heights and 4927 Broadway in Inwood. The Bronx store, operated by Thegrace, Inc. is located at 161 West 231st Street. The three stores are operated by Lakhani as one enterprise.
Today’s agreement follows a joint investigation into the franchisee, beginning in 2013. Lakhani admitted to the violations of law outlined in the settlement agreement. The admitted violations included the following:
  • Workers were not paid the minimum wage and overtime wages required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state law;
  • Workers were not paid an additional hour at minimum wage when employees’ daily shifts were longer than 10 hours, violating New York State’s “spread of hours” regulations; and
  • Delivery workers did not receive bicycle safety equipment and were not reimbursed for bicycle maintenance costs.
In addition to payment of $500,000 in restitution funds the stores must institute complaint procedures, post a statement of employees’ rights, and designate an officer to monitor ongoing compliance and submit quarterly reports to the Attorney General's Office for three years. 
The settlement announced today is the latest with Papa John’s franchisees in New York City. Over the past two years, the Attorney General's Office has investigated and found violations by eight separate Papa John’s franchisees, who, together, operated a total of over 30 restaurants, as follows:
  • Syed Mehboob and his stores paid $400,000 in restitution and liquidated damages.  Mehboob owned and operated six individually incorporated franchise restaurants in Queens, as follows: 3320 Woodside Papa, Inc. (operating at 49-19 30th, Woodside, New York 11377 ), 99 Food, Inc. (operating at 9906 Northern Blvd., Corona, New York 11369), Sunnyside Papa, Inc. (operating at 40-12 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside, New York 11104), Zeeshee, Inc. (previously operated at 23-33 Astoria Blvd., Astoria, New York 11102; closed in March 2015), 193 Papa, Inc. (previously operated at 193-18 Northern Blvd. Flushing, New York 11358; sold in November 2014), and Parson Papa, Inc. (previously operated at 147-14 45th Ave., Flushing, New York 11355; closed in November 2014).  The settlement included restitution for violations from August of 2008 to August of 2014.
  • AMHC Food Inc. and its owner Mohammed Hasnat, operators of  a Papa John’s restaurant at 2241 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx, New York, paid $40,000 in restitution and liquidated damages. The settlement included restitution for violations from January of 2014 to July of 2015.
  • Ksara Corp. and owner Ghulam Fani, operators of a Papa John’s restaurant at 189 Avenue U in Brooklyn, New York.  The settlement with Ksara also included Zeman Associates, LLC, a prior owner of this franchise.  These operators paid $16,000 in restitution and liquidated damages. The settlement included restitution for violations from February of 2013 until July 2015.
  • Judy & Jesenia, Inc. and owner Jesenia Diaz, who until November 2014 operated a Papa John’s restaurant located at 3528 Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, New York paid $13,355.78, in restitution and liquidated damages for underpayments beginning in June of 2013 through November of 2014.
  • In February and March of 2015, Attorney General Schneiderman obtained judgments against two other Papa John’s franchisees, Emstar Pizza (6 locations) and New Majority Holdings (5 locations), for violating wage laws. Those judgments totaled almost $3 million.
  • In addition, in July of 2015, the Attorney General arrested Abdul Jamil Khokhar, the owner of nine Papa John's Pizza franchises in the ‪Bronx, and his company, BMY Foods, Inc. for failing to pay workers minimum wage and overtime. Khokhar and BMY Foods pled guilty to these charges and were sentenced on September 21, 2016. Mr. Khokar and BMY Foods, Inc. were sentenced to pay $230,000 in restitution to workers, and Mr. Khokhar was sentenced to serve 60 days in jail. The U.S. Department of Labor also filed a consent judgment against the enterprise in federal court, and recovered an additional $230,000 as liquidated damages from Khokhar and BMY Foods, and civil money penalties of $50,000.
The Wage and Hour Division’s investigations were conducted by its New York City District Office, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor. Senior Trial Attorney Daniel Hennefeld handled the case on behalf of the Department of Labor. 

NYCC Exhibitor and Artist Alley Lists are Live

 October 6 - 9, 2016 | Javits Center

New York Comic Con - NYCC


Join Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for a FUN FILLED DAY Sat. Sept 17th

Contact 718-590-3522 for additional information.


  State Senator Gustavo Rivera will host the last of three Back to School events on Friday, August 26th from 2:00PM to 5:00PM at St. James Park. This event is co-sponsored by Assembly Member Victor M. Pichardo.

This event, which is part of Senator Rivera's Bronx CAN Health Initiative, will have a backpack giveaway, fun activities and free health screenings in an effort to help celebrate a healthy start to the upcoming school year. A limited number of backpacks will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Children between 5 and 13 years old need to be accompanied by an adult while youths between 14 and 18, do not need a parent present.

What: Back To School Event

Who: State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assembly Member Victor M. Pichardo

When: Friday, August 26, 2016

Where: St. James Park (entrance on Jerome Avenue and W 192nd Street)

**This event is free and open to the public. 


   “In February, we announced our plan to create a retirement savings program for private sector employees. Today, the United States Department of Labor’s proposed regulation expands the “safe harbor” to certain cities, which is an important preliminary step.   We will continue to engage with the DOL, as we have in recent months, to ensure that the requirements set forth in the final regulation enable the City to move forward with a workable retirement savings program that promotes the success of families and in turn, the success of our city. Just 43% of working New Yorkers have access to a retirement savings plan, with low-income, immigrant, minority and female New Yorkers disproportionately affected.    Successful implementation of the City’s plan will help right this wrong and set people up on a path to succeed long after they’ve stopped working.”

CM Torres NYPD Security Cameras Installed at These Locations

  Community Board 7 has been notified that the NYPD security cameras funded by Council Member Ritchie Torres have been installed. The following are the locations of the cameras:

E 198 Street & Valentine Ave
E 194 Street & Valentine Ave
E 194 Street & Briggs Ave
E 194 Street Between Marion & Decatur Ave

We all hope these cameras address the quality of life and public safety concerns the community cares about and which we as a Board have received complaints about for a long time. Please see the attached photo of what one of the cameras looks like. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.

Andrew Sandler  District Manager

Bronx Community Board 7

229-A East 204th Street  Bronx, NY 10458

P: 718-933-5650/51

100 PERCENT Thursday August 25, 2016

By Robert Press

Dirty Tactics in Politics

   First, with the Bronx Voice on vacation this week I did not want you the reader to miss this column as the Bronx Democratic primary draws near.  A few key races are heating up, and you need to know more about them. 
   First up is the 33rd State Senate race. Here incumbent Gustavo Rivera is facing the toughest challenge of his short political tenure. Now he beat his opponent two years ago, but this is a different Fernando Cabrera from two years ago. The big difference is that candidate Fernando Cabrera is being funded by a pro Charter School PAC to the tune of up to Two-Hundred Thousand dollars according to Candidate Gustavo Rivera. So why would this worry the incumbent if he defeated his opponent before? 
    When Gustavo defeated the incumbent years ago he had a PAC give him Two-Hundred Fifty Thousand dollars, and he knows that money talks and BS walks. I am not saying that Senator Rivera is not a good elected official, but just look at his district. Has the district improved since he took office, and how? Also remember that his opponent is the city councilman who covers a good part of the state senate district, and that while there are no more state discretionary funds, a city councilman gets Five Million New York City dollars in Discretionary funding to dole out. 
   Senator Rivera is trying hard for his constituents, but when you have an informational session on SNAP (the old food stamp program) with fellow State Senator Liz Krueger, do it in your district in the Bronx (where your constituents need it), and not in the posh Manhattan district of your mentor. To be fair, there was the Kingsbridge Armory story about Councilman Cabrera holding out his endorsement, but it appears that the Ice Center proposal is all but dead. 
   On to the 78th Assembly District race. This race is getting nasty now, as incumbent Jose Rivera's minions are now not only going after his opponent, but also me. Comments have gone up on facebook by two of his supporters that I am on the payroll of candidate Ischia Bravo, that I am a crook, that I am a racist, and that I hold power over elected officials. I showed these comments to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. last night at the Chubby Checker Concert, and he said to ignore them. He added that he pays no attention to facebook chatter. 
   Well Assemblyman Jose Rivera we have known each other for over twenty years, and it is you who is trying to be bully here as you have in the past. I will let everyone know the reasons why you should not be re-elected. Be a man Assemblyman Jose Rivera, since you have no record to run on just hang it up. I expect more of what has been going on from you towards me, and keep doing what you are so you can lose the election. 

Jeff Klein's Riverdale Concert Has Audience Twisting With Chubby Checker

  Last night at the Jeff Klein Summer Concert Series the crowd of over 500 people got a surprise twist from the Chubby Checker Concert in Seton Park. Instead of just staying on the stage famous recording star Chubby Checker came off the stage to say hello, and twist among the people. The photos below will show the rest of the story. 

Above - Before the concert State Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz make sure they, Chubby Checker, and the audience will be well protected as the elected officials join with 50th Precinct Commanding officer Deputy Inspector Terrance O'Toole who had several officers on patrol.
Below - Rock and Roll legend Chubby Checker. Checker who is 74 years old and real name is Ernest Evans tries to get the three elected officials to do the Twist.

Above - Councilman Cohen, BP Diaz, Senator Klein, Assemblyman Dinowitz, Dinowitz's son Eric, Chief of Staff Randi Martos, and Congressman Eliot Engel's Chief of Staff Bill Weitz all pose with Chubby Checker before the concert. 
Below - It's time for the concert to begin, and Chubby Checker is introduced by State Senator Jeff Klein.

Above and Below - Chubby Checker performing. That is the Whitehall building across the street from Seton Park in the background.

Above and Below - Chubby Checker went into the audience to say hello and do the twist.

Above and Below - Chubby Checker does the Twist with some members of the audience.