Saturday, September 29, 2018

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Invites you to The Official Bronx Celebration of Italian-American Heritage & Culture Month “Mese della Cultura Italiana”

Bronx Borough President
Ruben Diaz Jr.

Invites You To

The Official Bronx Celebration of
Italian-American Heritage &
Culture Month
“Mese della Cultura Italiana”
Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 6:00pm
Schiff Family Great Hall
at The Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10460
Parking available at the Southern Boulevard entrance
Located on Southern Boulevard at East 182nd Street
Space is limited. RSVP is required.

Sponsored by:


Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced that New York City students are outperforming New York State on State English exams, and are continuing to close the gap with the State on State math exams. New York City students outperformed the State on State English exams for the first time ever in 2016 and have now done so for three years in a row. 

In 2018, 46.7 percent of New York City students met proficiency standards in English and 42.7 percent of students met the standards in math. By comparison, 45.2 percent of all New York State students met proficiency standards in English and 44.5 percent met proficiency standards in math.

“We came into office to shake the foundation of a system that neglected too many students, parents, teachers and schools,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We now have a school system that is steadily improving before our eyes. We’ve seen steady gains across our students’ State math and English exams, proving that equity and excellence go hand in hand. I salute our students on their progress.”

“Our students’ performance on these exams is one measure of the strength of New York City schools – the hard work of our students, and the dedication and support of our teachers, staff, and families,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Along with record-high graduation and college enrollment rates and progress on our Equity & Excellence for All agenda, these scores are indicative of the sustained progress we have made in classrooms, schools and districts across all five boroughs. We have much more work to do to close opportunity gaps, and we will continue our push to deliver the equitable and excellent education that every New York City public school student deserves.”

New York City schools are the strongest they’ve ever been across multiple measures, including:

The highest-ever graduation rate – 74.3 percent of the Class of 2017.
The lowest-ever dropout rate – 7.8 percent of the Class of 2017.  
The highest-ever postsecondary enrollment rate – 57 percent of the Class of 2016.
The highest-ever number of New York City students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams and the SAT exam.
New York City students’ performance on State exams goes hand-in-hand with these gains, and reflects investments in the Mayor and Chancellor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda.

Starting in spring 2018, the New York State Education Department reduced the number of testing days from three to two per exam. Because of this and other changes to the State exams in 2018, the New York State Education Department has advised that 2018 results should not be compared to 2017 results. Therefore, our key findings focus on overall proficiency comparisons between New York City students and their peers in the rest of the State, because all students took the same exams in 2018:

 New York City students outperformed New York State on English, with 46.7 percent of students meeting proficiency standards, compared to the State’s 45.2 percent. This is the third year in a row that New York City students have outperformed their State peers on English, with the difference increasing each time. This year, the difference increased from 0.8 percentage points to 1.5 percentage points.
 New York City students continued to close the gap with New York State on the State math exams, from 2.4 percentage points to 1.8 percentage points. 

Prior to the test revisions, New York City students’ English and math results had increased every year for four years. English results improved in each of the City’s 32 community school districts for four years in a row.

Below are 2018 results by grade and demographic:

Overall Results by Grade:

Grade 2018 # Tested 2018 % L3+4
Grade 2018 # Tested 2018 % L3+4
3 67325 50.6
3 68732 52.2
4 67656 49.4
4 68895 46.4
5 68524 38
5 69433 41.7
6 65208 49
6 66041 39.9
7 65334 42.7
7 65783 39.8
8 63215 50.8
8 49766 33.2
               All 397262 46.7
               All 388650 42.7

Overall Results by Demographic:  


  2018 #       Tested     2018 %       L3+4
Demographic Subgroup 2018 # Tested    2018 %       L3+4
Asian 72910 67.2
Asian 70558 72.2
Black 87615 34
Black 85030 25.4
Hispanic 163699 36
Hispanic 162336 30.3
White 64178 66.5
White 62261 63.6
Current ELL 51739 9.9
Current ELL 58651 18
SWD 86462 15.8
SWD 84900 15.4

3.4 percent of New York City students refused to take English exams and 3.9 percent refused to take math. A total of 19,041 students, or 4.4 percent, refused either exam. Last year, 4.0 percent of students refused either exam. Statewide, 18 percent of students refused to test in 2018.

Families are now able to view their students’ scores online via the NYC Schools Account (NYCSA). For information on NYCSA registration, families can visit the NYC Schools Account page. Families can reach out to their parent coordinator for additional support in accessing their students’ scores.

Today’s results demonstrate the City’s progress on the Mayor and Chancellor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda. Together, the Equity and Excellence for All initiatives are building a pathway to success in college and careers for all students. Our schools are starting earlier – free, full-day, high-quality education for three-year-olds and four-year-olds through 3-K for All and Pre-K for All. They are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier – Universal Literacy so that every student is reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade; and Algebra for All to improve elementary- and middle-school math instruction and ensure that all 8th graders have access to algebra. They are offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework – Computer Science for All brings 21st-century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All will give all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, they are giving students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools. Efforts to create more diverse and inclusive classrooms, including Equity & Excellence for All: Diversity in New York City Public Schools are central to this pathway.

More information on State exam results is available online.


These test score results prove that Mayor Control is a failure. The United Federation of Teachers said when Mayor Bloomberg came out with similar increases during the first few years of Mayoral Control that students were making normal progressive increases in student Performance. 

These same words can and should have been used each and every year test scores have come out by the UFT, but they received a big fat contract when Mayor Bill de Blasio came into office which former Mayor Bloomberg refused to give to the UFT. 

It is crazy to thing that because graduation rates have increased or dropout rates have dropped, or more students are taking the SAT exams that education is any better than it would have been without Mayoral Control. 

The statistics speak for themselves. In no grades are students performing near where the New York State Department of Education goals were set before Mayoral Control came in. In fact when looking at the Demographic breakdowns, Black and Hispanic students are no better off than they were before Mayoral Control. 

The New York State legislature must come to the reality that Mayoral Control has been one big failure to the students of New York City. 


  Mark G. Peters, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), in partnership with Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown, today issued the following statement on the arrest of the owner and president of First Alert Security Services, a corporation that provided security guards at School Construction Authority (“SCA”) construction sites, on charges of grand larceny and falsifying paperwork for allegedly overbilling SCA more than $100,000 for security guard services over nearly two and a half years. The Queens County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.

 DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said, “This defendant stole over one hundred thousand dollars from SCA. He used his role as owner of his own company to falsely certify and submit payroll records and other documents, according to the charges. DOI thanks the Queens District Attorney’s Office for their prosecution of this case.”

 Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “The defendant in this case was entrusted to safeguard the properties of the School Construction Authority. Instead, he is alleged to have used his access and position to con the system in order to line his pockets. This kind of criminality will not be tolerated in Queens County. I would like to thank Commissioner Peters and his office for their hard work on this case. My office will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to put a stop to these kinds of schemes.”

 ABDULLATEEF SANNI, 45, of Brooklyn, N.Y. was arrested today and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony; Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony; and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony. Upon conviction, a class C felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison.

  According to the criminal complaint and DOI’s investigation, from January 2015 through May 2017, SANNI submitted certified payroll records for security guards working on SCA construction sites, stating the workers were paid an hourly wage of $12.85 plus an hourly supplemental benefit of $4.56, totaling $17.41 paid to each worker. SANNI also confirmed to investigators in December 2017 that he in fact paid the hourly wages and benefits indicated in the certified payroll records filed with SCA. The investigation found that Employee Earnings Records for all security guards employed by SANNI indicated that most of the employees actually received total compensation of between $8.00 and $13.00 per hour. As a result of this underpayment of wages to workers, SANNI received $100,954 from SCA to which he was not entitled.

 In addition, according to the criminal complaint, SANNI also allegedly submitted documentation for hundreds of hours of security work that was supposedly performed by certain individuals at school construction sites, including certified payroll records and sign out logs. The investigation found that the signatures on those logs were fraudulent. SANNI’s company, First Alert, has since been disqualified from work with SCA.

 A criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty

“BMB” Street Gang Member Sentenced For Murder Of Bronx Teenager And Other Racketeering Offenses

 Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DONQUE TYRELL, a/k/a “Polo Rell,” a member of a violent street gang in the Bronx called the “Big Money Bosses” (“BMB”), was sentenced today on racketeering, murder, and other charges.  TYRELL was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence of life plus 55 years in prison for, among other crimes, aiding and abetting the June 22, 2014, murder of 17-year-old Keshon Potterfield.  TYRELL was sentenced by United States District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As a result of the BMB gang’s wave of violence, Keshon Potterfield – a teenager, just beginning his life – was senselessly killed.  The defendant has been sentenced for his role in this terrible murder.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prevent gang violence and keep our streets safe.”
TYRELL was convicted of murder in aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and other offenses in connection with his membership in BMB after a six-day jury trial.
According to court documents, as well the evidence at trial and statements made during other public proceedings in this case:
BMB is a subset of the “Young Bosses,” or “YBz” street gang, which operates throughout New York City.  Between 2007 and 2016, members and associates of BMB committed numerous acts of violence against rival gang members in the Bronx – including murders, attempted murders, and armed robberies – and sold crack cocaine, marijuana, and oxycodone.   
TYRELL was a member of BMB.  On June 22, 2014, TYRELL and other members of BMB attended a birthday party in the backyard of a residence on East 232nd Street in the Bronx.  TYRELL obtained a gun from an associate at the party, pointed it in Keshon Potterfield’s direction, and then passed it to another BMB member who shot and killed Potterfield in connection with a gang rivalry.  TYRELL celebrated Potterfield’s murder in public Facebook postings and in rap music videos posted on YouTube in which he taunted rival gang members and threatened future violence.  
In addition to the murder in aid of racketeering conviction, TYRELL was convicted of conspiring to commit racketeering as a result of his membership in BMB, conspiring to sell narcotics, selling narcotics within 1000 feet of schools and playgrounds, using firearms in connection with the gang and drug offenses, an attempted assault with a firearm in connection with his BMB membership, and attempting to rob a livery cab driver in the Bronx by hitting him in the head with a firearm. 
TYRELL was arrested in this case as a result of a multi-year investigation by the New York City Police Department’s (“NYPD”) Bronx Gang Squad, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Violent Gang Unit (“HSI”), the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and the Joint Firearms Task Force of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) into gang violence in the Northern Bronx. 
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding work of the NYPD’s Bronx Homicide Task Force, the NYPD’s 47th Precinct Detective Squad, the NYPD’s Bronx Gang Squad, HSI, DEA, and ATF. 

Owner Of Medical Technology Company Pleads Guilty To Evading Over $6.3 Million In Income Taxes

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that LEWIS STAHL, the owner of a Manhattan medical technology company, pled guilty to tax evasion based on his failure to report over $21 million in business income to the IRS, and his evasion of over $6.3 million in income taxes.  STAHL pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Lewis Stahl, the owner of a successful medical technology company, earned over $21 million in profit.  However, despite amassing personal wealth in the tens of millions, Stahl grossly underreported his income to the IRS, reporting income as low as less than $10,000 for the 2011 tax year.  Stahl has now pled guilty to tax evasion and faces serious time in federal prison.  This case is a prime example that attempting to conceal earned income is far costlier than paying your fare share like honest taxpayers.”
According to the Information to which STAHL pled guilty, and statements made during the proceedings today:
Since at least in or about 2010, STAHL has owned and operated a medical technology company located in New York, New York (the “Medical Technology Company”), a limited liability company that develops and sells medical software applications.  The Medical Technology Company holds itself out as a provider of “computer ready” and “fully mobile” applications, which allow physicians to prescribe medications and to order and view diagnostic information, lab results, and cardiology/radiology images.
Between in or about 2010 and in or about 2014, the Medical Technology Company earned over $32 million in gross income.  These earnings resulted in over $21 million in business income to STAHL, which he accessed by using business bank accounts and business credit cards.  STAHL used this money to fund the purchase of personal items for himself such as clothing, jewelry, watches, real estate rentals, country club benefits, and a firearms collection.  Prior to 2015, despite earning this business income from the Medical Technology Company, STAHL failed to file individual tax returns reporting any of the income to the IRS.  The Medical Technology Company, likewise, failed to file partnership or corporate tax returns reporting any of the income to the IRS.
In or around March of 2015, an IRS revenue agent (the “IRS Revenue Agent”) contacted STAHL regarding his failure to file for the tax years 2010 through 2014, and asked STAHL to address the situation by filing delinquent Form 1040s for those years (the “Delinquent Returns”).  Shortly thereafter, STAHL retained a certified public accountant (the “Accountant”) to file the Delinquent Returns for STAHL.  STAHL, however, falsely stated to his Accountant, in sum and substance, and in part, that he was a “W-2” employee only of the Medical Technology Company, that his W-2 income was his only income, and that he had no ownership interest in the Medical Technology Company.  In truth and in fact, STAHL had an ownership interest in the Medical Technology Company, and had earned over $21 million in business income from the company, well beyond the income reported on his W-2s.
The Accountant subsequently filed the Delinquent Returns for STAHL, which, as a result of the lies that STAHL told the Accountant, were false and fraudulent.  Specifically, the Delinquent Returns falsely claimed that STAHL’s total income was $38,652 in 2010; $7,115 in 2011; $84,615 in 2012; $100,000 in 2013; and $100,000 in 2014.  The Delinquent Returns further falsely reported that STAHL did not receive any business income in any of these years, and failed to include a Schedule C detailing the significant amount of business income that STAHL earned from the Medical Technology Company.  STAHL’s failure to report over $21 million in business income to the IRS – first by failing to file returns, and then by causing the false Delinquent Returns to be filed by the Accountant – resulted in a loss to the IRS of over $6.3 million in taxes due and owing.        
STAHL, 62, of Florida, pled guilty to one count of attempt to evade or defeat tax, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  STAHL has agreed to pay restitution to the IRS, representing the additional tax due and owing as a result of STAHL’s conduct, in the amount of at least $6,349,689.  Sentencing before Judge Abrams is scheduled for January 25, 2019, at 2:30.
The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for information purposes only, as any sentence imposed on the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of IRS-CI in this case.


Proprietors Believed They Were Covered

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a New Jersey man has been indicted on 51 counts of Grand Larceny, Insurance Fraud and other charges for stealing more than $21,000 from small business owners who thought they were paying for insurance coverage. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “While running an insurance brokerage in the Bronx for his employer, the defendant allegedly took money from a barber shop, window cleaning company, a caterer and other small businesses and provided insurance certificates, but did not process the policies or submit the money to the insurance company. Thus, these businesses had no insurance. Fortunately, no claims were submitted before the scheme unraveled, but this defendant’s alleged actions jeopardized the livelihoods of hardworking people.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Julio Carballo, 41, of Dumont, NJ, was indicted on third and fourth-degree Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny, first-degree Scheme to Defraud, third and fourth-degree Insurance Fraud, and first-degree Falsifying Business Records. He was arraigned today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice George Villegas and released. He is due back in court on November 14, 2018.

 According to the investigation, the defendant convinced Allison Tirozzi, a Connecticut insurance broker for whom he worked, to purchase an insurance brokerage in the Bronx and let him run it. The defendant had complete control and many of the customers thought he was the owner of the brokerage. Defendant took checks, cash and credit card payments from numerous small businesses based in the Bronx presumably for payments to Nationwide Insurance. Nationwide has reimbursed a total of $28,753 to the customers and Tirozzi reimbursed Nationwide.

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

A.G. Underwood Announces Guilty Plea Of G. Steven Pigeon

Attorney and Political Consultant G. Steven Pigeon Pleads Guilty to Bribery

  Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced the guilty plea of G. Steven Pigeon, 58, an attorney and political consultant, for bribing former State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek. Pigeon entered the guilty plea today before Hon. Donald F. Cerio, Jr., in Erie County Supreme Court to Bribery in the Third Degree in violation of Penal Law section 200.00, a class D felony. 

“As we detailed, Steve Pigeon orchestrated a brazen, multiyear scheme to bribe a sitting judge – demonstrating flagrant contempt for the rule of law and the interests of New Yorkers. Now, he’s being brought to justice,” said Attorney General Underwood. “We have zero tolerance for public corruption. New Yorkers deserve to be able to trust the integrity of their officials – and my office will continue to do everything in our power to hold accountable those who violate that trust.”
From February 2012 through April 2015, Pigeon and Michalek exchanged emails and text messages, which reflected that Pigeon offered, conferred, or agreed to confer benefits to Michalek upon an agreement or understanding that Michalek’s official actions would be influenced. The communication between them shows that Pigeon offered Michalek assistance in obtaining employment and appointments to positions for two of his family members and in helping Michalek obtain a judicial appointment to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department. Pigeon also gave Michalek and his family member two free tickets to box seats for two separate Buffalo Sabres hockey games and gave one of Michalek’s family members a free ticket to a $1,000 political fundraiser. 
During the same time, Pigeon engaged in ex parte communications with Michalek concerning multiple lawsuits pending before Michalek in which Pigeon had an interest. At times, those communications involved Pigeon receiving from Michalek non-public information about the matters. Pigeon was able to provide ex parte input and advice to Michalek on these cases. Michalek selected an attorney of Pigeon’s choosing to serve as a Receiver, when that person was not on a court issued list of qualified Receivers. In order to appoint that person, Michalek filed a document with the Office of Court Administration where he falsely claimed that he required that attorney’s expertise in handling that receivership. 
On June 29, 2016, Michalek pleaded guilty in connection with the same scheme, for receiving bribes from Pigeon and filing a false document with the New York State Office of Court Administration. He is awaiting sentencing. Following his conviction, Michalek resigned from the judiciary and was disbarred.
Today's plea is also in satisfaction of the December 2017 indictment against Pigeon for crimes under the New York State Election Law relating to illegal campaign coordination during the 2013 Democratic primary races of two candidates for the Erie County Legislature. The Attorney General's prosecution of Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff remains ongoing.
Judge Cerio set December 21, 2018 for sentencing for Pigeon, who was allowed to remain free on $10,000 bail. His passport was confiscated at his arraignment. Pigeon faces up to one year in jail; he will also lose his law license.
The Attorney General’s Office thanks the United States Attorney’s Office of the Western District of New York, New York State Police, and Federal Bureau of Investigation for their work on the case. The Attorney General’s Office would also like to thank the New York State Board of Elections for their assistance.

Comptroller Stringer Proposes Sweeping Charter Reforms to Confront NYC’s Modern Day Challenges

Proposals tackle affordability crisis, land use, government transparency, wealth creation in communities of color, and procurement reforms
Calls for Chief Diversity Officer in City Hall and at each City agency to create more opportunity for minority and women owned businesses
  New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer today released a comprehensive new set of proposals, “A New Charter to Confront New Challenges,” that outlines sixty-five recommended changes to the New York City Charter as the 2019 Charter Revision Commission holds its initial public hearings. Among those proposals, Comptroller Stringer is calling for a Chief Diversity Officer in every City agency, giving greater urban planning expertise to community boards, strengthening building code enforcement, and establishing procurement timeframes. The Charter, which is the City’s governing document, is undergoing its first full-scale review in nearly 30 years since the last major revision in 1989. Over three decades, the Charter has become increasingly ill equipped to support City-led solutions to modern day challenges – which this proposal aims to correct. Organized in three sections, “Creating a Fairer, More Equitable New York,” “Building a 21st Century Government,” and “Demanding Accountability & Transparency,” the report details community-focused reforms designed to a make the City more transparent, effective, and accountable.
“Since the last major charter revision nearly thirty years ago, New York City has grown by 1.2 million people and the world has changed around it, yet its charter is not prepared to meet the needs of today’s challenges. The Charter Review Commission is an opportunity for us to build a better government that takes aim at our affordability crisis and builds a fairer City by giving a voice to New Yorkers,” said Comptroller Stringer. “That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive set of reforms designed to build a stronger City that works for everyone, and to help New Yorkers have better engagement, transparency, and accountability from their government.”
Creating a Fairer, More Equitable New York
One of the primary recommendations in Comptroller Stringer’s proposal is the creation of the Chief Diversity Officer position inside the Mayor’s cabinet and within each City agency, a role tasked with overseeing minority and women business enterprise (M/WBE) programs, tracking and measuring diverse talent, and encouraging M/WBEs to bid on City contracts.
New York City agencies spend almost $20 billion a year on goods and services, yet the Comptroller’s office has found that less than 5% of those contracts are awarded to M/BWE firms, thwarting the City’s ability to fully invest in its businesses, build wealth in local communities, and foster competitive procurements that ensure taxpayer dollars are spent most efficiently.
“We’ve seen firsthand in the Comptroller’s Office that a Chief Diversity Officer helps break down walls and transform how agencies invest in city businesses with an eye toward equity. Without this position, we perpetuate a system that fails to build wealth in communities that have historically been left behind. It’s long past time for the City to build on its thriving economy with a Chief Diversity Officer in City Hall and at each agency,” said Comptroller Stringer.
As New York City continues to confront an affordability crisis driven by a lack of affordable housing and a local government that too often fails to listen to the voices of residents feeling that crisis most acutely, reforms to local land use policy are urgently needed.
In order to better empower communities, encourage sound planning, and strengthen the overall Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process, Comptroller Stringer recommends the amended City Charter include the following:
  • Require Community Boards to hire a full-time qualified urban planner with a degree in urban planning, architecture, real estate development, public policy or similar discipline and include the necessary budget appropriations to fund this position;
  • Create a new office of long-term planning that can help growing communities foresee infrastructure challenges down the road; and
  • To provide the public with greater opportunity to weigh in on the metrics used in Environmental Impact Statements, the City Charter should be updated to create a public process for reviewing the City Environmental Quality Review framework.
Building a 21st Century Government
Despite the existence of a comprehensive building code and housing regulations designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of New York City residents, too many New Yorkers are forced to live in buildings that are dilapidated, unsanitary, or unsafe. In its current structure, the Department of Buildings (DOB) is an agency in conflict with itself in that it both approves permits for construction and enforces construction codes. Similarly, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has to both finance and develop housing while enforcing housing standards.
To resolve this conflict, the Comptroller’s office proposes creating a new Office of Inspection, which will be responsible for all building and housing inspection and remediation. Such responsibilities should be removed from the DOB and HPD so that they can focus more on their other respective responsibilities.
Demanding Accountability & Transparency
The City’s budget and the accompanying financial plans are tools for maintaining sustainable spending and revenues, and ensuring accountability over the use of the public’s money. Yet annual budget presentations lack critical information, limiting public participation and the Council’s ability to carry out its Charter role in the budget process.
To provide more transparency in the budget process for elected officials and the public, the Comptroller’s office finds an updated City Charter must be overhauled in order to improve transparency, accountability, and control in the City budget.
In particular, the City’s capital budget, through which the City builds new schools, paves its streets, and ensures a clean and reliable water supply, needs a substantial overhaul so that the public can understand the cost and status of the capital projects that are vital to the City’s future.
Suggested reforms include:
  • Structuring the capital budget to allow the public to identify and understand the cost of individual capital projects;
  • Providing better and more comprehensive information about the condition of capital assets; and
  • Reporting on the changes in the cost and status of capital projects.
New York City relies on a network of non-profit services providers to help meet the needs of vulnerable residents, but thousands of these non-profits go unpaid for months and are forced to deliver services without a registered contract.
In order to ensure every City agency operates with efficiency and transparency, the City Charter should be amended to give each agency with an oversight role in the procurement process a timeframe to complete its task, similar to the explicit 30-day timeframe for contract registration required for the Comptroller’s Office.
Beyond these recommendations, the report covers topics such as cybersecurity, adopting instant runoff voting, strengthening services for children citywide, and strengthening the campaign finance system, among others.
Read all of Comptroller Stringer’s sixty-five recommendations here.

Engel on Yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Hearing with Dr. Ford & Judge Kavanaugh

Congressman Eliot L. Engel issued the following statement:

“The contrast between Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimonies yesterday could not have been more striking. Dr. Ford was poised, earnest, and carried herself with incredible dignity under very difficult circumstances. Judge Kavanaugh was unhinged, undisciplined, and during his opening remarks ranted about a vast leftwing conspiracy that has worked to derail his nomination. It was a performance designed entirely to please the President, and while he may have succeeded in that goal, his conduct and temperament were not befitting of a Supreme Court Justice.

“There is no conceivable way members of the United States Senate can properly consider all of the information they heard yesterday in less than 24 hours, while also seeing to the litany of other outstanding issues surrounding Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Republican leadership should have immediately postponed any further proceedings until a thorough FBI investigation was called and completed. But, in addition to what we heard from Dr. Ford, there are also serious concerns about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh was truthful in other areas of his sworn testimony before the Senate earlier this month. Clearly, this is a Supreme Court nominee who deserves far more scrutiny than he has received from members of Senate leadership, and he should not be whisked through the nomination process. Yet judging by today’s Judiciary Committee vote, Senate Republicans simply don’t care.

“When President Trump announced his selection of Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, I thought he was an unacceptable nominee, and that was before we even knew who Dr. Ford was. Now it should be clear to everyone that his appointment to our nation’s highest court would be a disaster for the country. A vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination by the full Senate tomorrow would be completely irresponsible and further expose this process for what it truly is: a blatant, highly partisan power grab of the Supreme Court by members of the GOP. This is a pivotal moment for our country. I urge Senate leadership to do the right thing, delay tomorrow’s vote, and call for the FBI investigation.”

Wave Hill Events October 11‒October 18 First concert of the 2018–2019 series!

Sat, October 13
Family Art Project: Papermaking with Lavender
Work alongside papermaker extraordinaire Randy Brozen, using vats of luscious, violet-colored cotton and abaca pulp to make paper from scratch. Add a bit of the natural material of your choice or sprinkle in a few lavender buds for marvelous texture and scent. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.
Sat, October 13
Garden Highlights Walk
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.
Sat, October 13
Gallery Tour
Learn about Glyndor Gallery exhibitions on a tour led by Wave Hill’s Curatorial Fellow. In a new collaboration, Wave Hill is partnering with the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) to produce and host ASBA’s 21st Annual International. ASBA’s mission is to provide a thriving, interactive community dedicated to perpetuating the tradition and contemporary practice of botanical art. This juried exhibition consists of two-dimensional original botanical art, including some specimens found at Wave Hill. In the Sunroom Project Space, Ashton Agbomenou’s new project stems from his time in Wave Hill’s 2018 Winter Workspace. Seeking synchronicity in the African diaspora, Agbomenou constructs visual mementos through his collage-like, layered-painting process, drawing inspiration from Wave Hill’s natural resources. Bronx-born, Dominican-American artist Yelaine Rodriguez works on a new series for the Sun Porch. Using photography, video and performance, Rodriguez creates a unique narrative that examines self-identity and draws inspiration from the colors and textures in nature and from her experience of Wave Hill’s landscape during the 2018 Winter Workspace program. Free with admission to the grounds.
Sun, October 14
Fall Birding
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds. Birders of all levels welcome. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult. Severe weather cancels. Free with admission to the grounds. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission to the grounds.
Sun, October 14
Family Art Project: Papermaking with Lavender
Work alongside papermaker extraordinaire Randy Brozen, using vats of luscious, violet-colored cotton and abaca pulp to make paper from scratch. Add a bit of the natural material of your choice or sprinkle in a few lavender buds for marvelous texture and scent. Free with admission to the grounds.
Sun, October 14
Family Nature Walk
Join naturalist and educator Gabriel Willow on a family-friendly walk through the gardens or woodlands. Registration not required. Ages six and older welcome with an adult. Severe weather cancels.
Sun, October 14
Garden Highlights Walk
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Sun, October 14
Pre-Concert Tea
Enjoy Afternoon Tea in the Mark Twain Room prior to today’s concert in Armor Hall. The CafĂ© at Wave Hill pairs a classic menu with an assortment of green, black and herbal teas. This traditional tea service includes the four classic elements of savory, scones, sweets and tea. The menu, presented by Great Performances, includes an array of tea sandwiches, scones and bite-sized desserts. Afternoon Tea also includes a glass of sparkling wine. Afternoon Tea Service is $36. Wave Hill Members receive a 10% discount. Advance registration is required online. We will take reservations until 5PM on the Thursday prior to the concert.
Sun, October 14    
Concert: Jolie Holland

Over the span of her career, Jolie Holland has knotted together a century of American song—jazz, blues, soul, rock and roll—into some stew that is impossible to categorize with any conventional critical terminology. She dives straight to the pathos of a song the way the very greatest singers, singers like Mavis Staples, or Al Green, or Skip James or Tom Waits do. Upon first encounter, her songs seem challenging, perhaps unsettling at times, but as so many poets and rockers have shown us—from Dante Alighieri to William Blake to Sylvia Plath to Patti Smith to Nick Cave to Mark E. Smith—that’s where the beauty lies. As evident on her first recordings, Holland apparently has no fear of the truth, and there is no emotional core that she cannot reach in song. In fact, she thrives on the red hot center of a musical composition, in all its strange and brutal detail. There has been no album of the recent decade with quite this sonic ambition, with quite this command of what a rock and roll song is and ought to be, but Wine Dark Sea is all of that, with a little bit of Homer and Maya Deren mixed in too. Wine Dark Sea is the album of a lifetime, with a lifetime of work in it. Ticket Prices: Adults: $28 (includes admission to the grounds) / Wave Hill Members 10% discount / $12 children ages 8-18, unless otherwise noted. Order tickets online or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. For additional information, please call 718.549.3200 x251.
Mon, October 15
Closed to the public.
Tue, October 16
Garden Highlights Walk
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.
Tue, October 16
Gallery Tour
Learn about Glyndor Gallery exhibitions on a tour led by Wave Hill’s Curatorial Fellow. In a new collaboration, Wave Hill is partnering with the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) to produce and host ASBA’s 21st Annual International. ASBA’s mission is to provide a thriving, interactive community dedicated to perpetuating the tradition and contemporary practice of botanical art. This juried exhibition consists of two-dimensional original botanical art, including some specimens found at Wave Hill. In the Sunroom Project Space, Ashton Agbomenou’s new project stems from his time in Wave Hill’s 2018 Winter Workspace. Seeking synchronicity in the African diaspora, Agbomenou constructs visual mementos through his collage-like, layered-painting process, drawing inspiration from Wave Hill’s natural resources. Bronx-born, Dominican-American artist Yelaine Rodriguez works on a new series for the Sun Porch. Using photography, video and performance, Rodriguez creates a unique narrative that examines self-identity and draws inspiration from the colors and textures in nature and from her experience of Wave Hill’s landscape during the 2018 Winter Workspace program. Free with admission to the grounds.

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM–5:30PM,  March 15–October 31. Closes 4:30PM, starting November 1.

ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6–18. Free Saturday and Tuesday mornings until noon. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the W. 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at