Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cynthia Nixon Statement on Verdict in the Buffalo Billion Trial

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon released the following statement after the jury in the Buffalo Billion trial found  several top donors to the Governor and his former top economic development aide, Alain Kaloyeros, guilty on all counts. Another top aide of the Governor's, Joe Percoco, was convicted on corruption charges earlier this year. Percoco, who also formerly served as the Governor's campaign manager, is expected to be sentenced next week. 

"Governor Cuomo will say that he had no knowledge of Kaloyeros’ activity, just like he said he knew nothing about the crimes that Joe Percoco was committing in the his own office. We’re supposed to believe that Andrew Cuomo, a notorious micromanager, had no idea what his right-hand man was doing right under his nose?  We’re supposed to believe that the master architect of the Governor's economic development plan doled out nearly a billion dollars without the Governor's knowledge or guidance? I for one don’t believe that. But if the Governor truly didn’t know what his top aide and highest-paid state employee were doing, that’s arguably even worse. Andrew Cuomo is either corrupt or he is spectacularly incompetent. Either way, the facts from the trials of Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros lead to only one conclusion: We can’t clean up Albany until we clean out the governor’s mansion. Nothing is going to change until we change who’s in charge."


  The New York City Charter Revision Commission announced today it will host “Charter Week,” a series of public hearings in each of the five boroughs. Charter Week also includes community events complementing the extensive public outreach and engagement the Commission has undertaken to date. The Commission’s Preliminary Staff Report will be released as part of the Commission’s public meeting on July 17.

“Charter Week” features a series of public hearings in each of the five boroughs. The hearings are an opportunity for the public to respond to the Preliminary Staff Report. The public is encouraged to attend and offer testimony in front of the Commission about the report and on any aspect of the Charter. As a part of “Charter Week,” Commissioners and staff will engage youth groups, veterans, immigrant families and others to solicit further input on revising the Charter. 

All Commission meetings and hearings will be accessible to individuals using wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Induction loop systems, ASL interpreters, and Spanish interpreters will be available. In addition, with advance notice, members of the public may request other language interpreters. Please make language interpretation requests or additional accessibility requests by 5PM no later than four calendar days before a hearing date by emailing the Commission at or calling 212-386-5350. All meetings are also live streamed at

The information about Charter Week is below:

  1. Community Event: Greenmarket (Brooklyn)
·         WHEN: Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 9AM-11AM
·         WHERE: Grand Army Plaza, Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn
·         Directions: Take 2 or 3 to Grand Army Plaza

  1. Public Commission Meeting to Discuss Preliminary Staff Report
·         WHEN: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 11AM
·         WHEREPratt Institute Manhattan Campus, 144 West 14th Street, Room 213, New York, NY 10011
·         Directions: Take the 12, or 3 train to 14th Street Station

  1. Community Event: Greenmarket (Staten Island)
·         WHEN: Saturday, July 21, 2018 from 9AM-11AM
·         WHERE: St George Green Market St Marks Pl & Hyatt St, Staten Island, NY 10301
·         Directions: Take the Ferry to St. George

  1. Public Hearing (Manhattan)
  • WHEN: Monday, July 23, 2018 at 6PM
  • Directions: Take the A, C, or E train to West 4th St, Washington Square Station

  1. Public Hearing (Bronx)
·         WHEN: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 6PM
·      WHEREHostos Community College, 120 East 149th Street, 2nd Floor, Bronx, NY 10451
·         Directions: Take the 4, 5, 6, or 2 train to 149 St. – Grand Concourse

  1. Community Event: Greenmarket (Queens)
·         WHEN: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 9AM-11AM
·         WHERE: Astoria Greenmarket 14th St & 31st Ave & 31st Road, Queens, NY 11106
·         Directions: Take the N or W to 30th Ave

  1. Public Hearing (Brooklyn)
·         WHEN: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 6PM
·         WHERESt. Francis College, 4305, 180 Remsen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
·         Directions: Take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 train to Borough Hall; or the R train to Court St.; or the A, C to Jay St. – MetroTech Station

  1. Public Hearing (Queens)
·         WHEN: Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 6PM
·         WHEREQueens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd, Kew Gardens, NY 11424
·         Directions: Take the E train to Union Turnpike – Kew Gardens Station

  1. Public Hearing (Staten Island)
·         WHEN: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 6:30PM
·         WHEREMcKee High School, 290 St. Marks Place, Auditorium, Staten Island, NY 10301
·         Directions: After leaving the Staten Island terminal, head northwest. Turn right toward Wall St., turn left onto Wall St., and turn left onto St. Marks Place

The Commission’s Preliminary Staff Report will be released as part of the Commission’s public meeting on July 17. During this meeting, the Commission will release and discuss the findings from the Preliminary Staff Report. Because this is a public meeting and not a public hearing, the public will have the opportunity to observe the Commission’s discussions, but not testify before it. Once released, the Preliminary Staff Report will be found here. The public will have the opportunity to testify at the public hearings during Charter Week, July 23 to 31.
The remainder of the Commission’s schedule is as follows:

August, 2018
The Commission will hold two public meetings in August to finalize its report outlining its findings and any ballot proposals to amend the Charter.

September, 2018
Charter revision ballot proposals, if any, are filed with the City Clerk.

The Commission will notify the public when dates and locations of the remaining public meetings are determined. The Commission may schedule additional public meetings or change this proposed schedule as appropriate.

About the Commission
During his State of the City Address on February 13th, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his intent to appoint a Charter Revision Commission. The Commission is required by law to examine the entire New York City Charter to identify areas for potential revision. The public is encouraged to engage with the Commission over social media on Twitter ( and Facebook (


Why are there only four public events for five boroughs?

Why is it that the Bronx has no public event?

Is it that the mayor does not want to inform the people of the Bronx about the Charter Revision meetings?

Or is it the mayor does not care about the people of the Bronx?

Our Bronx elected leaders need to demand of the mayor the same that the tiny borough of Staten Island will get.


The 14-member body will advise the Mayor and the City Council on issues affecting the nightlife industry

  Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and Council Member Espinal today announced the appointment of the 14 members of the City’s first-ever Nightlife Advisory Board. As a complement to the newly formed Office of Nightlife, the all-volunteer board is charged with making recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on ways to improve regulations and policies that impact nightlife establishments.

Ranging from DJs and hospitality advocates to regulatory attorneys, the appointees bring a variety of perspectives and expertise on New York City’s celebrated nightlife.

“New York City’s nightlife is second to none. It attracts visitors from around the world and is an economic engine across the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The new Nightlife Advisory Board reflects the diversity that makes our city and our nightlife great. Working together, we will ensure the industry continues to thrive.”

“Native New Yorkers and tourists alike love the City for its exhilarating and vibrant nightlife culture, but businesses should not have to face bureaucratic obstacles when they are trying to give people what they want: a fun time out in the City that never sleeps. The establishment of the Nightlife Advisory Board gives stakeholders a voice and path to solutions, and I thank Council Member Rafael Espinal for his leadership and continued advocacy for the nightlife community,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

The Nightlife Advisory Board will issue formal recommendations to the Mayor and the Council that will address the regulatory structure of the nightlife industry; common complaints about nightlife establishments; public safety concerns related to nightlife; zoning, enforcement, nightlife workforce conditions and the integration of nightlife into the city’s various neighborhoods. All members will serve two year terms.

“I am thrilled to welcome the members of the new Nightlife Advisory Board, which represents a cross-section of stakeholders in both the industry and communities affected by it,” said Julie Menin, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “Working together, I know we can help nightlife establishments comply with well-thought out regulations while ensuring that our communities maintain the kind of quality of life they deserve.”

“I am very excited to work with the Nightlife Advisory Board, and look forward to the important and diverse insight they will bring,” said Ariel Palitz, Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife. “Along with the recent hiring of the full Office of Nightlife staff, the stage is set to accomplish the very significant work ahead.”

Mayoral Appointees

José Francisco Ávila, founder and managing member of Garufina Afro-Latina Entertainment, LLC. and Chairman of the Board of The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.

Kurtis Blow, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, DJ and Chairman of the Universal Hip Hop Museum who has released 15 albums over the course of his career

DJ Tikka Masala composes and produces music for the Obie and Bessie award winning Brooklyn based feminist acrobatic dance company, LAVA, and is resident DJ at Henrietta Hudson

Susan Stetzer, district manager for Community Board 3, Manhattan, where she has served for the past 14 years

Luisa F. Torres, owner of Mojitos Restaurant Bar and community activist

City Council Appointees

Robert Bookman, regulatory and liquor licensing attorney, partner Pesetsky and Bookman

Marti Gould Cummings, drag artist, LGBTQ advocate

Alvester Garnett, drummer, percussionist, arts educator and advocate

Pedro Goico, representative at New York Supermarket Association

Olympia Kazi, architect, arts advocate and urban design critic. Member of the NYC Artists Coalition

Andrew Praschak, environmental attorney

Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance

David Rosen, Brooklyn and Queens bar operator and community organizer, co-founder of Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants (BABAR)

Susan Xenarios, director and founder, Crime Victims Treatment Center, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals

Statement Of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman On The Conviction Of Buffalo Billion Defendants

  Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The inscription, ‘The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government,’ is set in stone in the New York County courthouse.  Those words have never been more poignant for the citizens of New York, as in quick succession less than four months apart they have seen this Office secure convictions in separate prosecutions against the State Assembly Speaker, a close confidant and executive aide to the governor, and now the president of SUNY Polytech, the executive leading the expansive ‘Buffalo Billion’ initiative.  The guiding principle of the Southern District holds that true justice can only be achieved through independence from politics or influence, and that has never been more important than today. I commend the career prosecutors of our Public Corruption unit for their enduring commitment to true justice in our government.”


Who is next U.S. Attorney Berman?

Alain Kaloyeros, President Of Suny Polytechnic Institute, And Three Executives Of Real Estate Development Companies Found Guilty Of Fraud In Connection With Buffalo Billion Projects

Public Service Announcement on Sexual Assault in Public Housing
  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ALAIN KALOYEROS, the former president of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (“SUNY Poly”), was convicted of defrauding and conspiring to defraud a SUNY Poly-affiliated not-for-profit organization in connection with Buffalo Billion construction projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  LOUIS CIMINELLI, STEVEN AIELLO, and JOSEPH GERARDI – three executives of real estate development companies based in Syracuse and Buffalo – were also convicted of fraud and conspiracy.   

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The inscription, ‘The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government,’ is set in stone in the New York County Courthouse.  Those words have never been more poignant for the citizens of New York, as in quick succession less than four months apart they have seen this Office secure convictions in separate prosecutions against the State Assembly Speaker, a close confidant and executive aide to the governor, and now the president of SUNY Poly, the executive leading the expansive ‘Buffalo Billion’ initiative.  The guiding principle of the Southern District holds that true justice can only be achieved through independence from politics or influence, and that has never been more important than today.  I commend the career prosecutors of our Public Corruption unit for their enduring commitment to true justice in our government.”
According to the evidence introduced at trial, other proceedings in this case, and documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:
KALOYEROS conspired with AIELLO and GERARDI, two top executives at Syracuse-based COR Development Company (“COR Development”), and CIMINELLI, the head of Buffalo-based LPCiminelli Inc. (“LPCiminelli”), to deceive Fort Schuyler Management Corporation (“Fort Schuyler”), a State-funded entity charged with awarding State contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, by secretly rigging the bidding process so that the contracts would be awarded to those two companies.
KALOYEROS, who oversaw the application process for many of the State grants awarded under the Buffalo Billion and similar programs, retained Todd Howe to assist with developing the projects and identifying developers for those projects.  KALOYEROS, Howe, AIELLO, GERARDI, and CIMINELLI worked together to deceive Fort Schuyler by, among other things, secretly tailoring the required qualifications for those development deals so that COR Development and LPCiminelli would be awarded contracts in Syracuse and Buffalo, respectively, without any meaningful competition, while falsely representing to Fort Schuyler that the bidding process was fair, open, and competitive. 
More specifically, in or about October 2013, Fort Schuyler issued requests for proposals (“RFPs”) to solicit bids from interested and qualified developers for the Syracuse and Buffalo projects.  KALOYEROS, with Howe’s assistance, oversaw the drafting of the RFPs and, unbeknownst to Fort Schuyler, KALOYEROS and Howe secretly solicited from AIELLO, GERARDI, and CIMINELLI qualifications of COR Development and LPCiminelli to put in the RFPs so that the RFPs would request qualifications specifically held by those companies.  For example, the Syracuse RFP requested the use of specific project management software used by COR Development.  After Howe emailed GERARDI and AIELLO a draft of the Syracuse RFP approximately two weeks before its public issuance, GERARDI sent back a handwritten mark-up of the draft RFP, on which GERARDI had, among other things, underlined the software names and wrote “too telegraphed??”  For its part, the Buffalo RFP, as initially issued, required 50 years of experience by a local developer – a qualification touted by LPCiminelli in promotional materials provided to KALOYEROS.  This requirement was later changed and claimed to be a “typographical error.”  LPCiminelli also was provided internal State documents to use in drafting its response to the RFP.
In or about fall 2015, after the FBI interviewed other real estate development and construction companies that expressed interest in the Buffalo RFP, KALOYEROS deleted from his Gmail account numerous emails involving Howe, including emails in which KALOYEROS and Howe exchanged “vitals” for COR Development and LPCiminelli during the drafting of the RFPs.  In addition, CIMINELLI deleted a number of emails between himself and KALOYEROS, including an email in which KALOYEROS, from his Gmail account, sent a draft of the Buffalo RFP to CIMINELLI and promised to “fine tune the developer requirements to fit.”
KALOYEROS was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  CIMINELLI, AIELLO, and GERARDI were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of  20 years in prison.  GERARDI was also convicted of one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
KALOYEROS is scheduled to be sentenced on October 11, 2018; AIELLO is scheduled to be sentenced on October 12, 2018; GERARDI is scheduled to be sentenced on October 15, 2018; and CIMINELLI is scheduled to be sentenced on October 17, 2018.  All defendants will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who presided over the trial. 
Mr. Berman praised the work of the FBI Buffalo Field Office and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, which jointly conducted this investigation with the Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Extended Deadline For NYCHA Monitor Applications

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the Office has extended the deadline for receiving applications from qualified individuals to serve as Court-appointed monitor in connection with a proposed consent decree submitted to the Court for approval in the case of United States v. New York City Housing Authority, 18 Civ. 5213 (WHP).  Pursuant to the revised deadline, applications must be received by this Office by September 12, 2018.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis as they are submitted, and applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible.  In addition, individuals who have already submitted applications are invited to supplement those applications as appropriate.
Pursuant to the terms of the consent decree, the Government will propose a monitor for approval by the Court.  As set forth at greater length in the proposed consent decree, the monitor will be responsible for the remediation of extensive health and safety deficiencies in NYCHA housing, as well as oversight and reform of NYCHA management, controls, and operations.  
The application and related materials, and instructions for submission, are available at
The consent decree remains subject to review and approval by the Court.

Yemeni Business Owners Donate Five-Thousand Dollars to Anti-Gang Violence Measures

  Over 60 Yemeni business owners, and concerned neighborhood citizens joined Sheikh Musa Drammeh the CEO of the Parkchester Times, and 'TINY' Frampton CEO of TBS, NEW DIRECTIONS to announce a $5,000 contribution to fight the rise in gang violence in the Castle Hill/Parkchester area. 

  Mr. Drammah said that Yemeni businessmen had their own American dream of a better life for themselves and their families. They had to open or buy stores in areas where no one wanted to do business because of the high gang violence rate. These business owners were not a part of the community because they were seen as outsiders to community residents, and often let small crimes go unreported for one reason or another. 

  Mr. Drammah said that the Yemeni business owners now want to become part of the community they have their business in, and have joined with Mr. Drammah and Mr. Frampton to raise $25,000.00 to do their part to help reduce crime in the communities they own businesses and live. Mr. Drammah said that the Yemeni business owners have given him and Mr. Frampton a start of $5,000.00 to begin a three point program to save area children from gang violence. 

  Mr. Frampton better know as 'TINY' is an ex gang member is the CEO of TBS New Directions a program to help talk to and teach children why they should not join or how to leave from a gang. There are three goals to this program in the Castle Hill/Parkchester area.
1 - Raise a minimum of $25,000.00 of which $5,000.00 has been already donated by the local Yemeni business owners.
2 - Boxes will be placed in stores so area resident and visitors can contribute to this cause to save the children.
3 - Each participating business will receive two stickers. One sticker will be placed on the door or window, and the other will be placed inside to let people know that this business is a part of the program to save children and the neighborhood from gang violence. The sticker will also show the community that the business owner cares and wants to become a full time member of the community. There will be links to a 24 hour Help Resource line also on the sticker. 


First-ever Voluntary Local Review to UN highlights critical role of city governments and communities in advancing global agenda to uplift people, prosperity and planet

  Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena today announced that New York City has submitted an innovative review of its local progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the United Nations, becoming the first city in the world to report directly to the international community on the status of its efforts to reach the global benchmarks to address poverty, inequality and climate change by the year 2030.

The Voluntary Local Review (VLR) showcases NYC’s achievements in sustainability since 2015 for a global audience.  The VLR will be presented as thousands of officials from around the world gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York City from July 9 through July18for the annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) focused on sustainable development. Mayor de Blasio declared Wednesday, July 11, 2018, as Global Goals Day in New York City to welcome HLPF participants and express local solidarity with efforts worldwide to achieve the goals. 

“New York City is on track to become one of the more equitable, healthier and safer cities in the world due to our latest achievements in sustainability and our increased commitment to fight for social and economic progress,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We look forward to continue working with the international community to end inequality, poverty and the harmful effects of climate change as envisioned by the Global Goals.”

In April 2015, the de Blasio administration launched OneNYC, a groundbreaking strategic plan for sustainable and inclusive growth. OneNYC charts a path toward achieving goals such as lifting 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty, expanding access to nutritious and affordable food, and ensuring that those on the front lines of climate change — often the most vulnerable New Yorkers — are protected.

Months later, in September 2015, world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York City and committed to 17 goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and prevent the harmful effects of climate change by 2030. These Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the SDGs or Global Goals, are voluntary targets that provide a framework for all countries, including the United States, to work toward a common future of social and economic progress.

Three years after the launch of OneNYC, Mayor de Blasio announced record progress in creating the fairest big city in America. The 2018 OneNYC Progress Report showed significant achievements in cleaner air and water, record job and wage growth, and tripling the number of children in free Pre-K, among other accomplishments.

“Cities and local communities play a crucial role in ensuring that we achieve the sustainable and equitable future envisioned by the Global Goals, and the accomplishments of the de Blasio administration for 8.6 million New Yorkers show the world how progress is possible,” saidCommissioner for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena. “As host city to the United Nations, New York City is proud to present the first-ever Voluntary Local Review linking our local actions to the broader global conversation. By providing this blueprint, we encourage cities and communities to join the urgent discussion about what is working on the local level, and how we can address the shared challenges that remain on the way to reaching the Global Goals.”

Commissioner Abeywardena will present the VLR on behalf of New York City during the HLPF session dedicated to local government engagement on Wednesday, July 11, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at UN Headquarters in Manhattan. The session will be livestreamed at, and the conversation can be followed on social media with the hashtag, #GlobalGoalsNYC.

The Mayor’s Office for International Affairs developed the VLR in close partnership with the Office of Operations, and Climate Policy and Programs, and in consultation with relevant NYC agencies working on the implementation of OneNYC. The VLR uses the SDG framework to translate NYC’s local actions into the common language adopted by the UN community and partners, making it accessible to practitioners and policymakers around the world. With the VLR, New York City provides a resource for cities seeking to track and demonstrate progress made toward the Global Goals.

Using data in the 2018 OneNYC Progress Report as a basis, the VLR provides a qualitative analysis of how each of the five priority SDGs is being implemented locally by the relevant City agencies, with practical examples. The VLR maps each SDG to corresponding OneNYC indicators, which are among more than 1,000 indicators tracked by New York City in a robust monitoring system it has been developing since the 1970s. An appendix to the VLR provides examples of the data tracked by New York City, which is maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Operations, including more detailed information about how the City monitors operational performance and progress toward its goals.

“As this administration works to make New York City the fairest big city in America, we remain committed to the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations, which provide an important framework for how we measure our progress toward creating a more equitable and sustainable world,” said Emily W. Newman, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “By releasing the first Voluntary Local Review, New York City is showing the global community how we are doing our part to address both economic and environmental sustainability, which we know are intertwined.”

“While the United Nations sustainable development forum takes place once a year, the work to make the Global Goals a reality is happening every day,” said Global Vision | Urban Action program director Alexandra Hiniker. “The Voluntary Local Review was a collaborative effort, and we hope to continue to build on these partnerships in NYC and across the globe to identify and explore additional links between our local resilience efforts and the Global Goals.”

The Voluntary Local Review on New York City’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is available for download                                                                                                                                            
About the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs

The New York City Mayor's Office for International Affairs works to foster positive relations and encourage collaboration between the international community and New York City's agencies and local neighborhoods. The Office is focused on sharing New York City's policies and best practices globally, as well as responding to requests from foreign governments, the United Nations, and the U.S. Department of State. 

VIDEO: Cynthia Nixon Unveils ‘Democracy For All’ Platform

New York's antiquated voting laws make our state one of the least democratic in the country

  Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon released ‘Democracy For All,’ her plan to empower voters by ending New York’s system of voter suppression. Cynthia also released an accompanying video on her plan and Governor Cuomo’s failure to reform New York State voting laws.

“New York needs a Governor who is committed to ending voter suppression, and Governor Cuomo has not been up to the task,” said Cynthia Nixon. “The reality is that women, people of color, young people, and low-income New Yorkers who make up the base of the Democratic Party are the most disenfranchised under our current system, and we need to ensure that their voices are heard in our democracy.”

New York's antiquated voting laws effectively work to suppress voter turnout -- and that’s exactly the point. It’s a deliberate strategy by establishment politicians who make it hard to vote because they want to keep regular people out of the process, and keep incumbents in power.

New York is one of just 13 states that still doesn’t allow early voting - locking out countless working people who simply can’t get to the polls on a weekday - and no state in the country is more restrictive when it comes to changing parties. For the upcoming Sept. 13 state primary, the deadline to change party registration was a whopping 11 months prior on Oct. 13, 2017 — preventing 3.6 million registered unaffiliated voters from participating.

During the highly contested 2016 general election, New York’s voter participation came in 41st in the country with a 57.3% voter turnout. In the 2016 Democratic primaries, New York came in second to last in participation with only Louisiana beating us. Cynthia’s plan would make it easier to vote, not harder — by introducing simple, critical measures that are being enacted in many states across the country including early voting, automatic voter registration, and changing the draconian deadlines on party registration. The full plan is available HERE.

Bronx Democratic Party Annual Dinner

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


  It was a crowded room full of reporters at the 40th Precinct house to hear the Mayor, Police Commissioner, and Chief of Detectives report on crime figures for the first six months of 2018.

  Police Commissioner O'Neil opened the press conference by speaking about the future new home of the 40th Precinct from its current site on East 138th Street to the newest most modern police facility to be located near the Hub on East 149th Street. The new precinct house will open in 2021, at a cost of $68 million dollars, and the old precinct building will be refurbished, to be used for other police matters. 

The mayor took over saying that for the first six months of 2018 total crime is down by 1.8 percent year to date compared last year. He added that New Yorkers should fell as safe at 138th Street as they do at 38th and 3rd. The mayor spoke about the death of Junior Guzman-Feliz, and alluded to fighting block by block in the Bronx to bring down crime again with the 'Summer All Out' program instituted last year of pulling desk officers out of precincts and back on the streets. He added that the police department will continue to refine its strategies.

But the bottom line is in the Bronx we know we are going to have do exactly what we have done all over the city – fight block by block to make sure we are bringing down crime and throw at the problem whatever is needed. You see a big compliment of officers that have come to precincts in the Bronx through the Summer All Out initiative. You see important actions being taken strategically to shore up any area that needs it. This is what precision policing is all about. And the NYPD will continue to refine its policing strategies.

Chief Terrance Monahan of the NYPD then went over the crime statistics fr the first six months of 2018. Overall crime is down 1.8 percent, while arrests are down 11.5 percent or 17,000 fewer arrests than in 2017. Chief Monahan tried to softsoap the figures by then saying that robberies are down 6.4 percent, burglaries down 5,4 percent, and grand larceny down 2.2 percent. He added that shootings are down 5.6 percent, but then said the NYPD still faces challenges. Murder is up 8.1 percent citywide with 147, with the Bronx leading the way 51 murders up from 21 in 2017. He added that arrests have been made on 33 cases on 70 percent of the murders that have occurred in the Bronx this year. Rape cases are up 33.2 percent for the first six months of 2018, but that was due to more rapes being reported said Chief Monahan. He added that domestic rape is up 45 percent while arrests were up 37.4 percent for rapes. 

Right before taking questions from reporters The commissioner said that the hot spot seems to be the Bronx where murder was up 64.5 percent accounting for 51 of the 147 murders citywide. He added that rapes in the Bronx were up 36.7 percent slightly above the citywide average. 

I was able to get a question in about the three people who were shot and killed opposite the Castle Hill Houses over two weeks ago. I said people there told me that it was a retaliation shooting, and robberies, drug activity, and gang violence is a common occurrence. The people fell unsafe, you have a photo of the suspected shooter, and people want an update on the case. Chief Monahan replied that it was an ongoing dispute between families in the area who knew each other, that the police have identified the perpetrator who fled the state. He added that the warrants team is currently looking for him to bring him back for trial. I also told the mayor that police officers on the streets had diminished over past few years. Commissioner O'Neil said that in 2017 there were 2,561 police officers in the Bronx, and in 2018 there were 2,661, an increase of 100 officers. I replied back that I am talking about a three year period going back to 2016, and the commissioner replied we have here only the figures for last year. 

I was able to get another question in about Speed Cameras, telling the mayor of the flawed way the DOT did a survey not of a road in front of PS 81 in Riverdale, but a survey of a road several blocks away. The road was at the back exit of the Russian Mission which led to the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway, into a private community, and was on a downhill slope. I said that the DOT survey recorded over 90 percent of drivers speeding even only one mile above the speed limit. I said Senator Jeff Klein had surveyed the street in front of the school, and recorded a much lower figure, to which the mayor chastised Senator Klein for being against speed cameras. 

 Mayor Bill de Blasio answering my question if he would survey the street in front of PS 81 for speeders. NO he said as he chastised Senator Jeff Klein for not voting to renew speed cameras.