Saturday, February 25, 2017


Senator Jeff Klein, in partnership with Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto hosted his 22nd annual Black History Month breakfast at Villa Barone Manor. Representing Congressman Joe Crowley was Bronx Associate Tom Messina.Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark was the keynote speaker. Hundreds of people from all over Senator Klein's district attended the breakfast.

The honorees were -
Sergeant William Jean Baptiste, 43rd Precinct
Dolores Biggs, Community Activist, Clason Point Gardens
Lieutenant Quathisha Epps, 47th Precinct
Lorna Kirwan, President of Mount Vernon PTA Council
Patricia Manning, Former District Manager Bronx Community Board 8
Martin Prince, Chairman of Bronx Community Board 11

Above - The Reverend Nathanial Tyler Lloyd Legacy Choir of Trinity Baptist Church gave the musical performance.
Below - Ms. Cheryl Willis of New York One TV who also spoke, is below with Senator Klein, Assemblymen Benedetto and Gjonaj. 

Above - Senator Klein, Assemblymen Benedetto and Gjonaj, and Tom Messina with Bronx DA Clark.
Below - Senator Klein with Honoree and friend Ms. Patricia Manning.

The honorees and elected officials.

TEAM DIAZ - African-American Abrazo 2017

   State Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz together with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Assembly Members Marcos Crespo, Luis Sepulveda, Michael Blake, Victor Pichardo and Councilmember Rafael Salamanca announce the celebration of the Annual “African American Abrazo “Embrace” in New York State.” 

Seven distinguished Afro-Americans, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clarke, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Concourse Village Board Member Ms. Chantel Jackson,Min. Kwame Thompson, and Hon. Bernice Williams were the honorees of the seven elected officials. 

79th A.D. Male District Leader Hon. John Tucker stood in for 79th Assemblyman Michael Blake who was out of town at the DNC national convention. Photos are below.

Above and Below - It was photo ops with the elected officials before the program began.

More photo ops with the elected officials.

Above - Another photo op eith the elected officials.
Below - State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is interviewed for Bronxnet Cable Television.

Above - Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark speaks about being the first Black Woman District Attorney in New York State.
Fresh off his State of the Borough address the day before Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. really woke up the packed room at Maestro's where the event was being held. 

Senator Klein & Assemblyman Crespo change law to help moms on WIC better access prescription formula

Legislators presented ceremonial bill & pen to National Supermarket Association celebrating changes to onerous DOH policy

State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, joined Rudy Fuertes, President of the National Supermarket Association, and members of the NSA for their general assembly meeting to announce the adoption of new law to ensure access to prescription baby formula across the state.

Last year the lawmakers released an alarming report analyzing the ways in which the State Department of Health’s restrictive 2014 policy change, which only allowed WIC recipients to use checks to buy prescription formula in stores that have pharmacies, impacted recipients.  The investigation concluded the 2014 policy created formula deserts across the city, severely cutting off access to mothers on WIC in multiple zip codes across the city.

Klein and Crespo introduced legislation to reverse the DOH changes, which was signed by the governor in December of 2016.

“Following last year’s report it was clear that swift action was needed to fix the broken policy that was in place. WIC participants should be able to easily find prescription formula in their neighborhoods. I’m proud that we were able to find a common sense solution to this problem that will ensure that those who need prescription formula won’t have to travel all over the city to find it,” said Senator Klein.

“Last year, under the leadership of Senator Klein, the legislature was able to respond and solve the bureaucratic nightmare created for thousands of families and children by faulty regulations that restricted access to nutrition services under the WIC program.  I am proud to have been part of the solution and look forward to our continued work to improve the health of our families while supporting our small business community’s efforts to serve all our residents,” stated Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.

“This law re-establishes access to WIC participants and levels the playing field for independent supermarkets and bodegas by once again allowing most WIC-approved vendors to sell specialty formula,” said Rudy Fuertes, President, National Supermarket Association.  “The NSA has long advocated for this change and we want to thank Senator Klein, Assembly Member Crespo and Congress Member Espaillat for their leadership on this issue and for coming out to NSA headquarters to present our group with the pen certificate. Independent supermarkets and bodegas are largely immigrant run businesses and at a time when the national climate for immigrants is uncertain, we commend Senator Klein, Assembly Member Crespo and Congress Member Espaillat for championing and protecting our businesses and our community.”

Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo passed legislation to expand access to the WIC program across the State. The rules enacted by the Department of Health severely limited the ability for stores, like supermarkets and smaller grocery shops, to participate in the program. These stores, which also carry other healthy food items included in WIC packages like fresh fruits, vegetables, dried and canned beans, baby food, whole wheat bread, infant cereal, milk and cheese are vital for women and children health.

It was signed into law this month.

Before the DOH changed their policy 556 stores in the Bronx had accepted WIC participants’ checks, but now only 39 can because of the pharmacy requirement. That’s a 93.1% drop in stores. Of the 39 stores only seven carry a full produce section where WIC recipients can find other nutritional products for their families.

Across the city, the change created a major drop in selection for WIC recipients looking for prescription formula like Enfamil, Ensure or Similac.

Prior to the change Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island collectively had 1,349 stores where WIC recipients could use checks to purchase prescription formula. These boroughs now collectively have 149 locations.

Certain zip codes have been hit harder than others. In The Bronx after the 2014 change, 16 zip codes had no stores where WIC recipients could fill their entire food package, including prescription formula.

This year, Senator Marisol Alcantara and Assemblyman Crespo introduced legislation to help stores deal with burdensome fees that they are sometimes hit with when there is a difference between the value of a WIC check and the cost of the product sold.

This legislation would not hold the vendor accountable for that difference, or the bank’s bounced or returned check fee, while providing greater transparency within the WIC program.

Bronx Democratic County Leader Statement from Marcos A. Crespo on Election of New DNC Chair

  Today, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was elected Chair of the Democratic National Committee, becoming first Latino to chair the Democratic Party at the national level. 

Now, more than ever, our Party needs leadership that will listen to Democrats at every level and every corner of the country, while rebuilding a movement that will advance the vision and the values that define us. The Party leader is charged with rebuilding state organizations and get-out-the-vote efforts in states and raising hundreds of millions of dollars in hopes of unseating Republicans up and down ballots in 2018 and promoting a Democratic presidential nominee who will win in 2020. 

We are confident that Tom Perez is the right guy for the job and we enthusiastically look forward to working with him to help him build the Party that every Democrat, and every American, deserves.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Eight Defendants Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Narcotics Trafficking In The Bronx

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), today announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging a total of eight defendants with engaging in the distribution of crack cocaine and marijuana in the vicinity of the Soundview Houses housing project in the 43rd Precinct, in the Bronx, New York. One of the defendants, ELLIOT JAMES, a/k/a “L Boogie,” a/k/a “Ace,” was also charged with using a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking crimes. Seven defendants were arrested today, and one defendant remains at large. The seven defendants who are in custody will be presented and arraigned before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman later today. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The Soundview Houses residents deserve to live free of drug-dealing and guns in their neighborhood, something that the eight defendants charged today allegedly made difficult. We thank our partners at the DEA and NYPD for their efforts in this and other investigations aimed at keeping our communities safe from drugs and gun violence.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said: “These eight defendants allegedly made the Soundview Houses their stomping ground for drug trafficking. No one chooses to live next door to drug dealers and today’s arrests have paved ground for a safer neighborhood with less drugs and drug-related crimes.”

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “As alleged, these individuals distributed narcotics in and around the Soundview Houses and by doing so, endangered the safety of surrounding residents with their criminal enterprise. An investigation conducted by the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division and our law enforcement partners strategically targeted this illegal activity and as a result, effected the arrests of several individuals responsible for trafficking narcotics. I commend the work of the investigators and prosecutors who committed themselves to this investigation.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

Between 2014 and February 2017, ELLIOT JAMES, a/k/a “L Boogie,” a/k/a “Ace,” JAMEL DAVIS, a/k/a “Pootie,” TYLER MASSEY, a/k/a “Gordo,” DONOVAN MOSS, a/k/a “Don,” JONATHAN NUNEZ, a/k/a “Munna,” BRANDON RAMSEUR, a/k/a “BR,” JONATHAN REYES, a/k/a “Grillz,” and JAMEL SIMS, a/k/a “Jamal Brown,” conspired to sell crack cocaine and marijuana in the vicinity of the Soundview Houses in the Bronx. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants sold crack cocaine to confidential informants and undercover law enforcement officers on numerous occasions. Certain defendants also sold crack cocaine to the undercover officers on behalf of their co-conspirators or worked together to complete the sales to the undercover officers.

The defendants face maximum terms of life in prison and mandatory minimum terms of 10 years in prison. The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the Court.

A chart containing the names, ages, and residences of the defendants who were arrested today is below.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA and the NYPD.

These cases are being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Longyear, Jessica Fender, and Scott Hartman are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

United States v. Elliot James, et al.

Elliot James, a/k/a “L Boogie,” a/k/a “Ace” 27 Bronx, NY
Jamel Davis, a/k/a “Pootie” 25 Bronx, NY
Tyler Massey, a/k/a “Gordo” 22 Bronx, NY
Donovan Moss, a/k/a “Don” 22 Bronx, NY
Jonathan Nunez, a/k/a “Munna” 19 Bronx, NY
Brandon Ramseur, a/k/a “BR” 19 Bronx, NY
Jonathan Reyes, a/k/a “Grillz” 21 Bronx, NY
Jamel Sims, a/k/a “Jamal Brown” 25 Bronx, NY

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Gain Unauthorized Access And Cause Damage To The Computer Network Of A Global Charitable Organization

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that TIMOTHY SEDLAK pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to attempting to access without authorization the computer network of a global charitable organization based in New York, New York (the “Organization”), and as a result of such conduct, recklessly causing damage to computers of the Organization. He pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Although ultimately unsuccessful, Timothy Sedlak attempted hundreds of thousands of times to hack into a charitable organization, impairing the organization’s work. Today, Sedlak admitted to his crime and now awaits his sentence.”
According to the Superseding Information, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made at various proceedings in this case, including today’s guilty plea:
SEDLAK made hundreds of thousands of attempts to gain access without authorization to the computer network systems of the Organization, and in so doing, impaired the availability of the email accounts and web-based applications of more than 10 employees of the Organization.
From in or about June 2015, up to and including in or about July 2015, computers associated with two particular internet protocol addresses (the “IP Addresses”) made nearly 400,000 attempts to gain unauthorized access to the Organization’s computer network. As a result, numerous Organization employees experienced difficulty accessing their Organization email accounts, and were disrupted in their ability to conduct regular business functions. Both of the IP Addresses were subscribed to SEDLAK at SEDLAK’s residence in Florida (the “Sedlak Residence”).
In particular, between June 22, 2015, and July 8, 2015, from one of the IP Addresses, there were approximately 195,000 attempts to log into approximately 20 email accounts of the Organization. Between July 8, 2015, and July 10, 2015, from the other IP Address, there were an additional approximately 195,000 attempts to log into approximately six email accounts of the Organization. SEDLAK has never been employed by the Organization, and was not authorized to access any email accounts of the Organization.
On or about September 11, 2015, United States Secret Service (“USSS”) agents executed a search warrant at the Sedlak Residence, from which they seized, among other things, (i) approximately 30 computers connected to the same internal network, which enabled each computer to communicate with the others (the “Sedlak Computers”); (ii) notes pertaining to the Organization, an executive of the Organization (“Individual-1”), and an individual who has been publicly affiliated with the Organization (“Individual-2”), including email addresses, registrant information for certain website domain names, and certain IP address information associated with the Organization, Individual-1, and/or Individual-2; and (iii) lists of email addresses and email servers, many of which included the word “jihad.” The Sedlak Computers contained, among other things, a list of certain Organization employees’ email account usernames, and a “brute force” password-cracking tool. Such a tool is designed to launch a relentless barrage of potential passwords at an email account in an attempt to guess the account’s password.
On or about September 11, 2015, USSS agents interviewed SEDLAK, who claimed to be using the Sedlak Computers to conduct “research” into charitable organizations in the course of his work as a private investigator. In particular, SEDLAK claimed to be trying to determine if such organizations are unintentionally financing jihadist groups by sending, to charitable organizations in the Middle East, funds that are then seized by jihadist groups. When asked about notes pertaining to Individual-1 and Individual-2 found at the Sedlak Residence, SEDLAK claimed that he came across such information in his “research” into the financing of jihadist groups. SEDLAK claimed that he hoped to sell the information he found.
SEDLAK, 43, of Ocoee, Florida, faces a maximum of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. SEDLAK is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Abrams on June 6, 2017, at 1:00 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the United States Secret Service.

Statement from New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on President Trump’s Potential Roll-back of Protections for Transgender Students

   “Yesterday, we led some of the world’s largest investors in speaking out against SB6 – a bill in Texas that would openly discriminate against transgender individuals. It’s legislation that wittingly targets Texans for who they are, and it’s wrong.

“Now, the Trump Administration is poised to roll-back protections for, and willfully single out, transgender students. The White House is sending a message that it actively tolerates discrimination against children. This isn’t a states’ rights issue – it’s a civil rights issue. From Indiana, to North Carolina, to Texas, states across this country have tried to impose discriminatory legislation under the mask of ‘religious freedom’ or ‘bathroom safety.’ But we know what these bills really aim to do: target people. That’s why federal protections are so important, because governors with backwards values will exploit this White House roll-back. Ultimately, it will no doubt result in children facing even more discrimination. President Trump is, once again, putting himself on the wrong side of history.”
Yesterday, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Trillium Asset Management led 40 of the largest investors in the world in opposing Texas Senate Bill 6. Similar to North Carolina’s HB2, this bill would discriminate against transgender individuals by forcing them to use the bathroom that aligns with their original birth certificate in public schools, universities, and government buildings. In a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus, the investors outlined how discrimination is not only wrong, but undermines businesses and the economy.
In June 2015, Comptroller Stringer released a report outlining legislation to expand protections for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers. A year later, a bill requiring single-use bathrooms to be labeled as gender neutral passed the City Council.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Oxford Health For Improperly Denying Claims Of Hundreds Of Members For Infusion Services

Oxford Health Improperly Denied Coverage Of Claims For Sick Members Of Nearly $500,000 Collectively For Services Previously Covered
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced an agreement with Oxford Health Plans (NY) and Oxford Health Insurance, Inc. (together, “Oxford”), requiring that Oxford provide refunds to hundreds of small group plan members in New York State for improperly denying coverage of infusion services, including necessary supplies and nurse visits, since November 2015.  As a consequence of Oxford’s denials, these chronically ill members who needed infusion therapy for serious medical conditions were billed by infusion service providers. Infusion therapy is used as part of a medication treatment plan, and is a procedure in which medication is administered intravenously.  Infusion therapy may be used, for example, to treat serious or chronic infections that do not respond to oral antibiotics and for pain management. Oxford is owned by UnitedHealth Group.
“Infusion services are vital to patients’ health care. Yet Oxford’s failure to provide the proper coverage adversely affected many New Yorkers with serious medical conditions. Health plans must take responsibility for promptly identifying and correcting errors that result in improper denials to New Yorkers, who rely on their insurance companies for critical medical care,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
The investigation began after an Oxford health plan member complained to the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau Helpline that she began to receive bills from a provider of infusion supplies, when the infusion supplies had been previously covered by her plan.  Initially, Oxford maintained that its denials of coverage were correct, stating that the consumer’s benefits had changed, but a review of the plan documents did not support this statement.  As a result of the AG’s inquiry, Oxford acknowledged that hundreds of other members’ infusion services claims were also improperly denied as well as claims for nurse home healthcare visits for the administration of infusion medication.
After acknowledging its error in the coverage denials and providing assurances that it had corrected the benefit configuration error that resulted in the denials, it was discovered that 277 members continued to receive improper denials because the problem had not been fully identified by Oxford and corrected.
Oxford has identified a total of 2,587 claims that were improperly denied, totaling nearly $500,000.
As set forth in the agreement, Oxford has completed or committed to do the following:
  • Mail letters to affected members explaining that they may have paid too much for infusion services, and setting forth the steps to secure a full refund;
  • Re-examine all infusion claims from October 1, 2015 through the date of the agreement and provide substantiation that all claims have been properly processed and paid; and
  • Pay $35,000 to New York State
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Adrienne Lawston of the Health Care Bureau.  The Health Care Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Lisa Landau.  The Health Care Bureau is part of the Social Justice Division, which is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg.
Consumers who believe that they may have been treated unfairly by a health care provider, HMO or insurance plan, or health-related business should call the Attorney General’s Health Care Helpline at 1-800-428-9071.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Networking Website For Sending Millions Of Deceptive Email Solicitations

The International Women’s Leadership Association To Increase Transparency In Its Marketing Practices, Agrees To Pay A $200,000 Penalty
Schneiderman: My Office Will Continue To Protect New Yorkers From Misleading Electronic Marketing
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with The International Women’s Leadership Association, Inc. (“IWLA”) regarding a deceptive email campaign in which the company sent millions of emails misrepresenting how it selected its recipients for a business networking program.  Recipients were likely to believe that IWLA reviewed their education, employment history, and contributions to their friends, family and neighborhood community prior to receiving the solicitation, which invited them to become a member of an exclusive women’s business networking community. Over 100,000 women responded to this solicitation in the last 3 years. Yet despite the claims in the solicitation, which was sent to over 7 million people in the United States, IWLA did not actually consider the person’s contribution to “family, career, and community” or any other qualifications. The company agreed to reform its marketing practices and pay a $200,000 penalty, which was suspended due to the financial condition of the company.
“Mass email solicitations cannot be used as a proxy for deceptive marketing practices,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Honesty and transparency are the hallmarks of consumer protection, and those same principles must be upheld online.”
The IWLA is a New York corporation with a main office located in Uniondale, New York.  Its stated purpose is to provide “women with opportunities to meet, share and collaborate, whether in business or otherwise.” It claims to market its services to women at all stages of their career to help foster their upward mobility. The IWLA claims over fourteen thousand (14,000) female members who subscribe to its services and receive the benefits and privileges offered by the association.
The IWLA markets directly to potential members including by email and letters.  These marketing solicitations come in various forms, but they all contained the statement “it is my distinct pleasure to notify you that, in consideration of your contribution to family, career, and community, you have been selected as a woman of outstanding leadership,” such as in the following example:
On behalf of The International Women’s Leadership Association, it is my distinct pleasure to notify you that, in consideration of your contribution to family, career, and community, you have been selected as a woman of outstanding leadership. As such, register today to take your place among other remarkable women; you have earned it and you deserve it. We live in a demanding world! Women are challenged to balance their lives in and out of the workplace, at home, and in the community. These challenges require that we think creatively in establishing meaningful resources that provide options without obligation, efficiency with effectiveness, and relationships with reliability….  Register today; your inclusion will broaden and brighten this premier platform of accomplished women.
(Emphasis added.)
Upon responding to this solicitation, potential members were asked to complete a registration form and consent to being called by the IWLA to complete the registration process.  The applicant was offered a choice of programs for purchase with prices ranging from $99 for a 6-month membership to $989 for a lifetime membership.  Potential benefits include: a personal file added to the IWLA website; a feature on IWLA’s own social media platform and related endorsements; and attendance to various events, webinars, and tele-seminars.
Pursuant to the settlement, IWLA agreed not to engage in false, misleading, or deceptive advertising regarding any IWLA service or otherwise not make any misrepresentations, cause a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding, or omit material facts in the advertising, marketing or sale of its services.  IWLA agreed to not make any statement or claim in its advertising or marketing material that it evaluated, analyzed, considered, assessed or discussed the credentials of a potential member of the IWLA unless it has done so.  
IWLA also agreed to a $200,000 penalty, which is suspended due to the financial condition of the company, provided IWLA complies with the agreement.  In the event IWLA fails to comply with the agreement, or made a material misrepresentation regarding its practices or financial condition, the entire amount is due and payable to NYAG.


New York City has strongly countered national trends: 2016’s 230 traffic fatalities were fewest ever in New York City, marking three successive years of decline and a 23 percent reduction since 2013

   Mayor Bill de Blasio today released New York City’s third annual Vision Zero report, which details the program’s continued progress. Vision Zero, which began in 2014, has helped deliver the safest three-year period on New York City’s streets in recorded history. In 2016, traffic fatalities in New York City declined to their lowest levels ever to 230, representing a 23 percent decline from 2013 when there were 299 traffic fatalities. This is in stark contrast to national trends that have seen a 14 percent increase in traffic fatalities over the same period according to the National Safety Council projections.

In addition to providing the data on past successes, the report also provides a comprehensive look forward at initiatives – around education, enforcement and engineering – that will be pursued to maintain momentum in 2017 and beyond.

The “Vision Zero: Year Three” report can be accessed here.

“Despite our record success in saving lives these last three years, we know that Vision Zero is just starting,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Even with all of our work and after the safest year in history, someone was lost in a traffic crash on average once every day and a half, still far too frequent. With the unprecedented budget investment we announced last month, we expect that in the year ahead the dedicated efforts of DOT, NYPD and other agencies will help us continue to buck national trends in traffic fatalities with stronger results for New Yorkers.”

“Our Year Three report gives great perspective on just how far we have come under three years of Vision Zero,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “But as the Mayor has said, we have a long way to go. We are grateful for his leadership and the unprecedented budget investment that will allow us to continue our work to redesign safer streets, and do so much more expand further on our success in the years ahead.”

“The Year Three report for Vision Zero is encouraging,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas M. Chan. “Traffic fatalities are at a historically low level, which is bucking a nationwide trend. The City also is investing in making our streets safer, and the NYPD and its partners in the Vision Zero initiative are working every day to reduce collisions and protect lives.”

Among the major themes of New York City’s successful Vision Zero efforts outlined in the report:

  • Data-Driven Priority: In 2015, NYPD and DOT had outlined their strategy in Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans, data-driven efforts to drive down injuries and fatalities at targeted intersections and corridors. Two years later, through combined enforcement, education and engineering efforts, serious crashes have declined in areas identified in the plans by nearly 30 percent.

  • Designs to Make Streets Safer: Under Vision Zero, DOT has achieved an unprecedented pace, completing over 240 safety projects and over 30 miles of protected bike lanes since January 2014. In addition, DOT has brightened over 1,000 crosswalks with new streetlights, and also added higher visibility crosswalks in priority areas. Pedestrian head-starts have been added to 1,248 intersections, giving pedestrians extra dedicated time to cross the street.

  • Cross-Agency Evaluation and Collaboration: The multi-agency Vision Zero Task Force, coordinated by the Mayor’s Office, brought agencies together to identify problems and collaborate on solutions. The Dusk and Darkness Initiative in 2016 grew out of this effort. In that initiative, agencies had identified a surge in serious pedestrian crashes in the fall and winter evening hours. In October 2016, agencies focused their enforcement and education resources on dangerous driving behaviors during those hours. Traffic fatalities during the initiative saw a decline of 30 percent over previous years.

  • Increased NYPD Enforcement Against Dangerous Driving:Consistent and predictable enforcement deters reckless driving, prevents crashes and saves lives. Under Vision Zero, NYPD has dramatically increased its issuance of violations for speeding and failure to yield, by 78percent and 243 percent respectively above annual averages prior to Vision Zero.

  • Safer City Vehicles: Agencies that own or regulate large fleets include the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and the MTA. Among several new safety initiatives, these three agencies have conducted Vision Zero safety training for over 70,000 vehicle operators since the beginning of Vision Zero.

  • Increased Engagement: In addition to an award-winning advertising campaign that connected with New Yorkers, Vision Zero connected with New Yorkers in other ways, from senior centers to schools. In 2016, the Cross This Way curriculum, which teaches children about the risks posed by reckless driving, was incorporated into elementary and middle school curricula Citywide.

“In our third year of expanding on Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Action Plan, the TLC’s resolve has only deepened,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi. “Our Dusk to Dawn and targeted speeding enforcement efforts continue to catch and deter reckless drivers, and we’ve brought safety education to more than 37,000 of our driver-licensees in 2016 alone and 422 of our licensed bases since 2014. The TLC’s data-driven analysis of safety records of 771 of the city’s car service bases in the Vision Zero Base Reports help the public make more informed consumer choices every day. Our efforts in 2016, including honoring a record 378 drivers for their safe records driving a combined 1.8 million safe miles, set the stage for TLC licensees to lead the way in safety on our streets in 2017.”

“Through increased training, truck side-guards and better collision tracking, DCAS is proud of the progress made in fleet safety over the last three years as part of Vision Zero,” said DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo. “DCAS looks forward to increasing these efforts even further in partnership with other City agencies including completing our first plan to design and specify safer City fleet vehicles.”

“The third annual Vision Zero report is the product of extensive multi-agency coordination, collaboration on new initiatives and a commitment to ongoing program evaluation,” said Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “The Mayor’s investment in new Vision Zero initiatives will build on the program's success and continue making New York City safer for all residents.”

About Vision Zero
In January 2017, after three successive years of declines in traffic fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York City would make an additional $400 million investment in Vision Zero – for a total of $1.6 billion over the next five years. DOT is implementing its most aggressive street redesign safety program, an increased investment in street redesign and traffic-calming measures citywide. Other Vision Zero changes announced by the Mayor include ensuring NYPD crossing guards at every post, faster replacement of street markings, intersection upgrades in the bike-lane network, more left-turn calming efforts, brighter lighting and more equipment at each police precinct to catch speeding.

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see


   Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. delivered his annual “State of the Borough” address, his eighth since becoming borough president in 2009, at the John F. Kennedy High School Campus in Marble Hill. 

In his speech, which can be read in full at, Borough President Diaz discussed past successes as well as new initiatives to bring positive change to The Bronx that could serve as a model for all five boroughs.

“For nearly eight years, my office and our partners have developed and executed policies of equity and smart services, making The Bronx an even better place for all its residents,” said Borough President Diaz. “We said we would provide lawyers for tenants in court. We did. We said we'd raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. We did. We said we'd bring EBT usage online. We did. We said we'd stop the regressive bag tax. We did. We said we would obtain the funding to rebuild Orchard Beach. We did.”
In outlining numerous successes The Bronx has seen in recent years, Borough President Diaz noted considerable job growth and new attention from national and international media, as well as billions of dollars in new investment that has been leveraged to create jobs, improve infrastructure and build thousands of units of affordable housing. Nearly 100,000 more Bronxites have jobs today than when the borough president took office in May 2009, according to statistics from the New York State Department of Labor.

The borough president also noted the recent infusion of $108 million in state financing by Governor Andrew Cuomo for the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory, and called on the developer and City Hall to move the project forward.

“This project now has the funding it needs, thanks to the governor’s continued commitment to our borough,” said Borough President Diaz. “Let’s get it done!”

Despite the borough’s victories Borough President Diaz noted that there is still considerable work that needs to be done, not only in The Bronx but across the five boroughs, to make city services and resources more equitable.

“We have seen considerable improvement. But life is certainly not perfect in our borough and our city. Homelessness is at a record high, and our public housing is in crisis. Our criminal justice system needs a major overhaul and mental health care in this city is failing our citizens. Our children sit in overcrowded classrooms and large communities of this city are grossly underrepresented in our best high schools,” said Borough President Diaz. “Services and amenities abundant in other boroughs are lacking here and despite having world-class hospitals our borough’s health indicators have been slow to improve.”

On housing, Borough President Diaz discussed the future of the Jerome Avenue corridor, and the need to ensure that the City’s proposed rezoning works for local residents and workers at area businesses. The borough president also discussed the need to build more affordable and permanent supportive housing as a means to prevent homelessness, and threw his support behind Queens Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi’s Home Stability Support plan, which would give rent subsidies to those in danger of losing their homes. 

“Isn’t it cheaper to help someone with their rent, to provide them with the stability of their home, rather than put them up in a fancy Times Square hotel for $600 a night?” asked Borough President Diaz. “Isn’t that just common sense?”

During his speech, Borough President Diaz also focused on the need to bring new transportation projects to light, such as connecting Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx with the Regional Plan Association’s “Triboro Line” subway proposal and expanding CitiBike to all five boroughs. 

Borough President Diaz also called for an end to major disparities in the City’s criminal justice, mental health and education systems. In particular, Borough President Diaz highlighted his forthcoming task force on gifted education and specialized high schools with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and called on the city to launch a comprehensive examination of school overcrowding in the five boroughs.

“We cannot continue to see talent wasted,” said Borough President Diaz. “The time to give our children the education they deserve is now.” 

The borough president also called for the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct a joint assessment of an assessment of how mental health services in our schools can be improved to better reach students in need.  
“It is a matter of citywide urgency and importance,” said Borough President Diaz. “A holistic approach requires us to meet these challenges with compassion, not force.”

Borough President Diaz also spoke about President Donald Trump and the threat his administration presents to our continued success. Specifically, he noted that 40 percent of all Bronx residents were born in another country, and that The Bronx would never turn its back on its immigrant population, regardless of the actions and rhetoric of the Trump administration.

“I will continue to tirelessly advocate for Bronxites and for true equity and prosperity for all New Yorkers. We must stop Washington’s anti-immigrant agenda because most of us are the descendants of immigrants who arrived in this great country for a new start and opportunity,” said Borough President Diaz. “We will make our voices heard.” 

Borough President Diaz closed his speech by urging greater civility and cooperation in political discourse, especially during this difficult time, when more and more New Yorkers must be willing to come together to support one another.

“We are at our best when we work together. We can disagree, but we must be civil in our disagreement. Our best way forward is to thrive through collaboration, good-spirited competition, and cooperation. We will flourish together. And our success is that of The Bronx and the City,” said Borough President Diaz.