Saturday, July 8, 2017

The New Bronx Democrats

  They are getting involved, they are tired of listening to the politicians, they want to make a difference for their children, who are they? The New Bronx Democrats as their Facebook page says.

 They are led by Sheikh Musa Drammeh, and they are tired of seeing their families torn apart by gang violence. They have joined with law enforcement as Community officer from the 43rd Precinct were on hand at yesterday's come together. They know who the gang members are said member (Hip Hop star) K Born Rivers, 'We know who the gang members are, and we want to end gang violence on each other and the community. A representative of the Jewish Defence League was on hand to show support to this mainly Muslim organization which has realized that peace is the way to make things better for everyone.That is why they are known as 'Peace December' 

  As I sat through the hour long press conference watching and listening to some of the people I was covering, I could see the caring for the community. Their goal of harmony among all people has a long way to go , but they are taking one day at a time. Check out the New Bronx Democrats Facebook page to see some items that are listed. I hope to cover some of my new friends, and some of my old friends on an ongoing basis. Photos of the event are below.

Above - Sheikh Musa Drammeh opens the event by welcoming everyone in attendance, and saying a few words about the organization and their goals.
Below - Muhammad Abuhaikal a candidate in the 13th City Council Democratic primary speaks of his involvement in Peace December, and why he is running for public office.

Above- Hip Hop star K Boen Rivers tells of how gang violence is hurting everyone, but mostly the communities in the South Bronx where Muslim immigrants are trying to make a good life here in New York City. He added that he knows all the gang members, and he wants to help stop the violence.
Below - A representative of the Jewish Defence League speaks to the attendees. Seated at the table is Ms. Nathalia Fernandez who is the representative to the Bronx for Governor Andrew Cuomo..


With national trends continuing to show fatality increases, New York City has seen declines this year in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities 

  Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that under the Vision Zero program, New York City ended the first six months of 2017 with the fewest traffic fatalities ever measured. As of June 30th, the city had recorded 93 fatalities, the first time ever that fewer than 100 lives had been lost in such a period.  The full fiscal year ending June 30th recorded 210 fatalities, 31 fewer than the prior fiscal year. The reductions come as the City is increasing traffic enforcement against dangerous violations like speeding and redesigning a record number of streets to make them safer.                                                                               
“No loss of life on our streets is acceptable, but under Vision Zero, we have seen continued and consistent progress, with traffic fatalities on the decline for three-and-a-half-years, strongly countering national trends,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I thank the NYPD, DOT and supporting agencies on all their hard and innovative work to have us deliver this strong mid-year report.”

The Vision Zero highlights from the first six months of 2017 include:

·         Traffic fatalities have seen year-over-year declines since 2016 in most modes, including among pedestrians (47 as of June 30, 2017 compared to 63 fatalities in first six months of 2016).

·         Declines by borough have been largest in Queens (23 fatalities in 2017 compared to 32 in 2016), in Manhattan (20 in 2017 from 26 in 2016), and on Staten Island (5 this year from 11 last year).

Fiscal Year 2017, which concluded on June 30th, was also the City’s safest Fiscal Year since recordkeeping began, with 31 fewer traffic deaths than Fiscal Year 16, and over 70 fewer – a 24 percent decline -- from FY14, the year Vision Zero was launched.  In contrast, from 2014-2106, according to the National Safety Council, the country as a whole has seen a 14 percent increase in traffic fatalities.

“Nowhere else in America has seen our year-over-year declines in traffic fatalities,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.   “Under the Mayor’s leadership, we achieved the safest-ever fiscal year with the redesign of more streets than ever before.   We are especially proud of the past year’s innovative and collaborative Vision Zero work with our colleagues at sister agencies – including the Cross This Way curriculum and the Dusk & Darkness initiative – that we believe have made a real difference.  However, we know that even with under one hundred fatalities so far this year, that is still a hundred too many.  We have a lot more work to do, and in the months ahead, New Yorkers will be seeing DOT crews making safer streets around the City – from Queens Boulevard to Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn and Second Avenue in Manhattan. ”

“As we near our 500th visit to the drivers and businesses we license across the city to share the lessons of Vision Zero and safer driving, this milestone reassures us that they are incorporating these lessons into their daily work,” said Taxi and Limousine Commission Chair and Chief Executive Officer Meera Joshi. “With the mayor’s guidance and leadership, we will continue to build on these successes as we move closer to our ultimate Vision Zero goals.”

Traffic fatalities have declined for three consecutive years under Vision Zero. Amongst its many strategies, New York City has: lowered the City’s default speed limit to 25 MPH; undertaken a historic number of street redesign projects targeting priority geographies in every borough; added thousands of new Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) that serve as pedestrian head-starts; begun a pilot for calming left-turn, which are significant more dangerous; added more protected bike lanes; operated a robust camera enforcement program for speeding, red lights and bus lanes; and increased enforcement by NYPD of the City’s traffic laws.

Traffic Fatalities by Fiscal Year 1988-2017

Full Fiscal Year

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


  New York State Assembly Chairman of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Jeffrey Dinowitz today renewed calls for the President of the United States to declare a state of emergency at Penn Station, after another commuter train was derailed and caused massive delays on Thursday night. Assemblyman Dinowitz said that the aging signals and tracks at Penn Station pose a serious and significant threat to millions of commuters every day. On May 18 of this year, Dinowitz chaired a hearing with key officials from Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road and emphasized the impact that a chronic state of disrepair at Penn Station has had on local commuters. Dinowitz said that incidents such as last night's derailment of a New Jersey Transit train will continue to occur as long as the repairs to Penn Station are not complete, which Amtrak indicated during that hearing may not be this year.

"Amtrak, and by extension the United States Department of Transportation and President Trump, are responsible for maintaining a safe and productive Penn Station. The President must consider the impact this type of event has on the confidence of millions of local commuters every day and release federal funding to complete the necessary repairs without further delay," said Dinowitz. "We need significant federal investment in the modernization of Penn Station, on top of a modern train tunnel to cross the Hudson River in order to avoid a devastating economic impact on tens of millions of workers throughout the Northeastern United States. This amounts to billions of dollars in modern transit infrastructure, but the States of New Jersey and New York are financially unable to do it alone."

The resignation of USDOT from the Gateway Development Corporation earlier this week appears to indicate that the much needed tunnel will not receive federal attention, despite servicing a half million passengers each week on routes throughout the Northeastern United States. Assemblyman Dinowitz sent letter to President Trump asking him to declare Penn Station a state of emergency to avert an impending disaster. 

"President Trump needs to recognize the Penn Station crisis for what it is - an emergency," said Dinowitz. Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a similar state of emergency for the New York City subways in response to the derailment of an A train earlier in the week.


Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has been in the state Assembly for over 23 years, and now he realizes there is a problem with the aging signal system at Penn Station. 
Since he is a New York assembly member he has no control over a trans Hudson River rail tunnel going into the state of New Jersey.
I would have to also say, a New York assembly member has no control of a national, New Jersey, or even a bi-state railroad. 
If there is a true problem at Penn station in Manhattan, why is Dinowitz not asking the Mayor of New York City to work with the Governor of New York State to try to resolve this and other rail problems in the city and state?
So where is the mayor of New York City?
In Germany at the World Summit protesting the President of the United States from outside the conference.

Congressman Eliot L. Engel Response to Resignations on Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

  Congressman Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a top member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today led a group of House Democrats in responding to several alarming resignations from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA).

Six HIV/AIDS experts left PACHA last month, citing their belief that the advisory group can no longer effectually fight HIV/AIDS under President Trump. The experts cited “the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously” – including the Administration’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act – among their reasons for stepping down. They also called upon Members of Congress to keep up the fight against HIV/AIDS and counter the Administration’s harmful policies.

In a letter to these six experts, Engel and more than a dozen House Democrats reaffirmed their commitment to ending HIV/AIDS and acknowledged the indispensable role the U.S. government must play in this fight.

“These resignations are the latest evidence of the Trump Administration’s inability to protect Americans’ health,” Engel said. “The American public, especially people living with HIV, need to know that they have willing and engaged partners in Congress who are committed to making an AIDS-free generation a reality. I’m proud to partner with my Democratic colleagues in sending that message.”

The full text of this letter, including a complete list of signers, is below:

July 7, 2017

Mr. Scott A. Schoettes
Counsel and HIV Project Director
Lambda Legal
105 W. Adams, Suite 2600
Chicago, IL 60603-6303

Dear Mr. Schoettes,

As Members of Congress committed to defeating HIV/AIDS, we are gravely concerned by your account of the Trump Administration’s inattention to this disease and those it affects, as well as the serious ramifications of such apathy.

As you know, the United States has made tremendous strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Between 2005 and 2014, the estimated number of new infections among Americans fell by nearly one-fifth. More than half of Americans diagnosed with HIV are virally suppressed, effectively reducing their risk of transmitting the virus to others to zero.

The engagement of the U.S. government has been instrumental in securing these gains. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, rates of insurance coverage among people living with HIV improved significantly. Federal funding provided through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program allows local governments to better care for people living with HIV/AIDS in our districts. Globally, U.S. leadership, especially through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has allowed nearly 11.5 million people worldwide to begin life-saving treatment.

However, our work is far from finished. More than 1.2 million Americans live with HIV, and 13 percent do not know their status. In addition, a number of communities remain disproportionately affected by HIV, including minorities, transgender people, and gay and bisexual men.

It is imperative that our federal government remain devoted to ending HIV/AIDS and clear-eyed about the challenges we have yet to overcome. Without the commitment of the federal government, we cannot hope to end pervasive disparities, identify Americans who do not know their HIV status, or connect them with the treatment that will allow them to live long and healthy lives.

Given the considerable work ahead, we were disheartened by your account of the Administration’s inattention to HIV/AIDS. We share your concern that this Administration’s complacency and support for dangerous policies, such as the American Health Care Act, will impede the historic progress our nation has made.

We, as Members of Congress, remain fully committed to the goal of an AIDS-free generation and will oppose policies that would harm people living with HIV. In addition, we welcome your recommendations as to how we might better support the fight against HIV/AIDS. While Congress cannot supplant an Administration’s enthusiastic commitment, we will make every effort to carry on our nation’s important work to defeat HIV/AIDS once and for all.

We thank you for your public service on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and look forward to continued engagement with the advocacy community to advance our shared goals.


Eliot L. Engel
Barbara Lee
Frank Pallone, Jr.
James P. McGovern
Kathy Castor
Mark Pocan
Maxine Waters
Mark Takano
Jan Schakowsky
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Donald M. Payne, Jr.
Pramila Jayapal
Colleen Hanabusa
Dwight Evans
Nydia M. Velázquez
Mike Doyle

C.C.: Lucy Bradley-Springer; Gina Brown; Ulysses W. Burley III; Michelle Ogle; Grissel Granados.


Brownsville Innovation Lab inaugurates new technologies and education programs aimed at modernizing public infrastructure, supporting neighborhood development, and bridging the digital divide

  Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamiño, and New York City Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett announced the roll-out of new smart city solutions and tech education programs for youth at Osborn Plaza in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The efforts will officially kick off on Saturday, July 8 and mark a key milestone for the Brownsville Neighborhood Innovation Lab.
In March 2017, Brownsville was announced as home to the City’s first Neighborhood Innovation Lab. The tech equity initiative brings together community members, government, educators, and tech companies to help address neighborhood concerns with cutting-edge smart city technologies. Over the last four months, the City has partnered with Brownsville community leaders to run a series of strategic planning sessions focused on defining neighborhood needs and exploring how smart city technologies can help improve quality of life and support local economic development. Top priorities emerging from this work include improving safety and cleanliness of public spaces, and strengthening access to healthy foods.

"As technology evolves and becomes even more essential to our everyday urban lives, New York City only grows stronger,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are thrilled to see the launch of the Brownsville Innovation Labwhich will connect residents to resources, dynamic education opportunities, and deliver a significant boost to economic development in the neighborhood.”

Neighborhood Innovation Labs present a unique opportunity for tech companies and universities to respond to community-identified needs and partner with government to test their technology solutions in a real-world environment with community feedback. The initial technology demonstrations being installed at Osborn Plaza in Brownsville include the newest iteration of the Bigbelly solar-powered smart waste and recycling system, which can hold up to five-times the amount of a regular trash bin and uses sensors to notify maintenance crews when it is full, and two Soofa smart benches, which use solar power to offer free charging for mobile devices.
“Being a smart city means ensuring our communities have access to technologies and programs that improve quality of life, create new jobs and support our City’s youth having skillsets to build their future,” said Miguel Gamino, Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York. “This next phase of Neighborhood Innovations Labs is an important step in making sure all New Yorkers can participate in a modern world.”
"The de Blasio Administration is constantly working to bolster our innovation economy and make it more accessible to New Yorkers across the city,” said NYEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “The Neighborhood Innovation Lab will connect Brownsville residents with new smart cities technologies and programming to improve their quality of life and drive economic development in the neighborhood.”

New tech education programs for Brownsville youth will also kick off on Saturday, starting with a hands-on workshop where elementary and middle school students will learn about STEM concepts by building solar-powered toy cars. The workshops are part of a new “Young Innovators Program” supported by BNY Mellon to spur interest in technology careers and create pathways for young people to join and diversify New York City’s thriving digital economy. Over the course of a year, the program expects to reach roughly 1,000 Brownsville youth through interactive workshops and technology demonstrations. In addition, 36 high school-aged youth and high school graduates from Brownsville will be invited to participate in an intensive skill development and professional training program that uses project-based learning to teach the foundations of product design and application development. The new program will be managed by the Brownsville Community Justice Center and aims to serve as a bridge to connect young adults to industry partnerships like the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline.

“This dynamic programming will provide a critically needed service to the youth in Brownsville and an opportunity to expand education opportunities in the neighborhood as a whole,” said Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “The Neighborhood Innovation Lab was launched as a part of the Brownsville Plan, a holistic community plan developed in close coordination with community residents.  I want to thank our partners in government and the residents of Brownsville for continuously working with us to build diverse and livable neighborhoods.”


This is great news, and let's hope this can reach all ends of all five boroughs.


   Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced the Administration will invest an additional $1.3 million towards the installation of bullet-resistant door panels, window inserts, and other retrofits for all NYPD command vehicles used by uniformed personnel in order to improve officer safety.

“Together, as we mourn the loss of Officer Familia, we are reminded of our sense of community and that the safety of our men and women in blue who patrol our City every day to protect the lives of New Yorkers is paramount,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The investment builds on this Administration’s previous commitment towards outfitting NYPD patrol vehicles with safety measures that allow our officers to do their jobs, and it is fundamental that we continue to identify ways to keep them safe.”

“My goal as the Police Commissioner is to do whatever I can to protect and equip our police officers,” said NYPD Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This added ballistic protection will do just that. As we learn more from the senseless murder of Police Officer Familia, we will continue to look at any additional measures the Department can take to protect those who protect us.” 

The front windshields of the command vehicles will not be outfitted, as current technology does not accommodate the curvature of the front windshields. This project will be funded by a combination of City Tax Levy funds and asset forfeiture funds. 

Following the tragic deaths of two NYPD officers in late 2014, the City allocated $6.8 million to outfit the NYPD’s 3,813 patrol cars with bullet-resistant panels to protect the doors. To date 2,100 vehicles have been installed with bullet-resistant door panels and the City is on track to have bullet-resistant door panels installed in every patrol vehicle by end of 2017.

After an initial bullet-resistant window pilot program, additional funding of $10.4 million dollars was allocated for the installation of bullet-resistant window inserts for patrol vehicles. The first 500 NYPD patrol car bullet-resistant window insert installations are expected to be completed this month.

“The New York City Council is committed to supporting the courageous men and women tasked with protecting this city and keeping our communities safe,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This $1.3 million for NYPD bullet resistant windows is a worthwhile investment that will protect the city’s Finest and help prevent future tragedies that have tragically and senselessly took the lives of those in uniform.”

“We must take every precaution to keep our NYPD officers safe as they work to protect and serve our communities. In the wake of the tragic death of Officer Miosotis Familia, it has become clear that we can and must do more to safeguard the men and women of the NYPD. I thank Mayor de Blasio for taking swift action and immediately deepening the City’s investment in bullet resistant windows by expanding the program to include mobile command centers. I hope it is some comfort to the family and friends of Officer Familia that her legacy will serve to provide greater protection to her fellow officers as New Yorkers continue to keep them in their thoughts and prayers,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair of the Council Committee on Public Safety.

“The senseless assassination of Police Officer Miosotis Familia left our city in mourning and reminded us all of the dangers faced by the NYPD. Those who dedicate their lives to serving us and protecting us from harm deserve the best protections on the job to keep them safe. Funding to shield command vehicles with bullet-resistant technology will not bring back Officer Familia, but it is my hope that it will prevent another family, the NYPD and this city from grieving the loss of any officer who could be targeted while on duty. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for prioritizing this initiative to protect our officers," said State Senator Jeff Klein.

"As we continue to mourn the untimely and senseless death of Officer Familia, I commend the concrete and swift steps taken by our City's administration in order to avoid a similar tragedy from happening again,"said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "By investing $1.3 million in retrofitting these 72 command vehicles, our City is showing its commitment to protect the lives of the more than 30,000 men and women of the New York City Police Department that courageously safeguard our neighborhoods."

“Officer Familia was a hero who gave her life protecting all of us. Her legacy is one that we should all be proud of. While this tragedy is incomprehensible, it is my hope that we will do everything in our power to prevent a similar tragedy occurring. I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio is taking action by providing additional funding to make NYPD vehicles bullet resistant. None of us ever want to see another officer lose his or her life in the line of duty,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz.

"I strongly support the installation of bullet-resistant paneling in NYPD vehicles.  I have co-sponsored legislation requiring bullet-resistant windows in patrol cars and while this is in process, we must go further in protecting police officers as the gunning down of Officer Miosotis Familia this week demonstrates.  We must take the next step to protect our peace officers and make command center vehicles safe.  As the Co-Chair of the New York City Council Gun Violence Task Force, I know that ending gun violence in our city requires various remedies.  Protecting the lives of our public safety officers is a top priority in the process," said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.


Normally elected official comments are edited out. Elected officials who do not represent the Bronx have been edited out though. 

I wanted you to see what some Bronx elected officials had to say. Mind you bullet resistant glass was placed into police cars after police officers were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol cars.

Why was this not done for Command Vehicles also? Ask you elected official.