Friday, May 24, 2019

Community Board 1 Unanimously Votes NO Against Proposed New Jail Site

Mott Haven Jail plan gets voted down by Community Board 1 after months of opposition

 All 24 members of Bronx Community Board 1 voted against the de Blasio Administration’s controversial plan to build a jail in Mott Haven. The Community Board has consistently voiced its opposition to the plan and expressed concerns that the jail will only exacerbate the neighborhood’s crime and drug problems, while blocking community-backed development of affordable housing. 

“Community Board 1 unanimously confirmed what hundreds of Mott Haven residents already know: a jail is not what Mott Haven needs,” said Arline Parks CEO of Diego Beekman Mutual Housing. “The city has continually sidestepped the members of the Mott Haven community in their decision to site this jail—and this vote unequivocally tells the City that Mott Haven rejects their plan. Now it’s time for Speaker Johnson and the City Council to stand with a low-income community of color and vote no on this plan.”

“Tonight, Community Board #1 has reiterated the message that so many of us have made from the day the administration announced its plan: Mott Haven is the wrong site for a new jail. Riker’s Island must be closed, but the city cannot ignore community input and steamroll neighborhoods through the land use process in order to do so. We have proposed a much more appropriate site for a new jail, adjacent to the Bronx Hall of Justice. The city has proposed to reconstruct existing facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn to make their neighborhood jail plan work. There is no reason they cannot follow the same development path and repurpose the outmoded Family Court site and surrounding vacant space to build a jail in The Bronx. I will continue to work with elected officials and community organizations to make the case for a better Bronx jail plan and fight the administration’s wrongheaded proposal to build a jail in Mott Haven,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Since it was first announced, the De Blasio Administration’s proposal to build a new jail in Mott Haven has been opposed by almost everyone in the local community, including many elected officials. Today, I am proud to once again join this coalition to urge Mayor De Blasio to reconsider his decision to build a new jail in the middle of an up and coming working class, family neighborhood. While I support shutting down and replacing Rikers’ Island, any replacement must include comprehensive community input and should not come at the expense of working families in underserved areas like the Bronx. Many Bronx Community Board members agree with us, and it is my hope that today’s vote sends a clear message to the De Blasio administration that Mott Haven is not the right site for a new jail in our borough. Bronxites deserve better and a new jail in the Bronx to help replace Rikers’ Island should be built somewhere else,” said Congressman Jose E. Serrano.

At a recent CB1 Land Use Committee Hearing, a number of Board members questioned the City’s cursory evaluation of the Mott Haven site and lack of disclosure over the consideration of the Bronx Borough President’s preferred site near the Bronx Courthouse. The City chose the proposed Mott Haven location without input or support from the community, and their overwhelming vote against the plan publicly confirms that the City chose this site against the communities wishes. 

Opponents have argued since the beginning that the jail would prevent local community based organizations from using the proposed space to build a mixed-income housing development that would help revitalize the Mott Haven community. In addition, the community has been openly critical about the rushed nature of the ULURP process. By grouping all four proposed jail sites into one, the City has brushed off the Mott Haven community’s concerns in favor of an expedient land use process. 

Community Board 11 Yankee Award Recipients

  Pictured above are (L - R) Community Board 11 Education Chair Linda White, Salsabeel Al-Silwi, Shanyia B. Coleman, Daniel Flores, Joanna Zhao, Olivia Musto, and CB 11 Chair Al D'Angelo. 

  The  Yankee Recognition awards were presented at the Thursday full board meeting at Lubin Hall.

Wave Hill events June 6‒13: Frog and Toad Day!

Hop into June at Wave Hill at Frog and Toad Day, Sunday, June 9! Learn about how these handsome amphibians are indicators of environmental health during a nature presentation by the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, then meet them in person. Searching for something a tad(pole) calmer? Here We Land artist Sara Jimenez invites you to clear your mind with a special meditation session at her Glyndor Gallery installation, Saturday, June 8. She’ll be joined meditation and movement guru Kate Johnson. And, register today for a un-frog-gettable plein-air painting excursion June 12 at sister organization, Glynwood, with instructor Wennie Huang—seats fill up quickly!
Oh, dear, it’s easy to get carried when you’re focused on frogs!

Thu, June 6
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1PM

Fri, June 7
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1PM

Sat, June 8
The Family Art Project believes in the power of community and wild imagination to nurture nature spaces we know and love. Come celebrate and learn from Wave Hill’s Art, Community and Environment Stewards (ACES) youth interns through artmaking inspired by their exhibition on view in our Gund Theater. Each of these young people will guide you on a story-walk and stop to create art along the way as they share their vision of wilderness. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Sat, June 8
Tour Glyndor Gallery with Wave Hill’s Curatorial Fellow or Gallery Greeter to get an insider’s view of current exhibitions. The exhibition Here We Land features three former Winter Workspace artists, Camille HoffmanMaria Hupfield and Sara Jimenez, who return to explore narratives about contested space that draw on personal and cultural touch points in their immersive installations. In the Sunroom, Amir Hariri creates sculptural installations constructed of wood, brick and other building materials—along with a wall drawing—that connect to his architectural research to the Bronx and Wave Hill. In the Sun Porch, Geoffrey Owen Miller suspends transparent, upside down sculptures of flora and fauna—inspired by Wave Hill—from the ceiling over sheets of black-mirrored glass. Visitors see prismatic reflections of the hanging plants and animals in upright positions in the glass. Free with admission to the grounds.
Glyndor Gallery, 2PM

Sat, June 8
Join exhibiting artist Sara Jimenez and meditation and movement teacher Kate Johnson for an intimate session surrounded by Jimenez’s fictional cityscape in Glyndor Gallery’s exhibition, Here We Land. Participate in movement, breath work, guided imagery and automatic writing as we contemplate imaginary futures and fragmented pasts. $20; Wave Hill Members save 10%. Registration required, online or at the Perkins Visitor Center.
Glyndor Gallery, 3PM

Sun, June 9
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of diverse bird species and their behavior on these walks through the gardens and woodlands. Observe the plants, insects and habitats at Wave Hill that make it so appealing for such a wide variety of birds. Birders of all levels welcome! Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult. Free with admission to the grounds. NYC Audubon Members enjoy two-for-one admission.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 9:30AM

Sun, June 9
On Sundays through July, enjoy the gardens as the setting for your yoga practice as your find your breath and become connected to the landscape. Classes are led by certified Yoga Haven instructors. All levels welcome. Please bring a mat and be on time. This class is rain or shine; the rain location is Glyndor Gallery. $25; Wave Hill Members save 10%. Registration suggested, online.
On the Grounds, 9:30‒10:30AM

Sun, June 9
The Family Art Project believes in the power of community and wild imagination to nurture nature spaces we know and love. Come celebrate and learn from Wave Hill’s Art, Community and Environment Stewards (ACES) youth interns through artmaking inspired by their exhibition on view in our Gund Theater. Each of these young people will guide you on a story-walk and stop to create art along the way as they share their vision of wilderness. Free with admission to the grounds.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Sun, June 9
Frogs and toads are ancient amphibians that once shared the earth with dinosaurs. Like most amphibians, they are important indicators of environmental health and have adapted to survive in water, the desert and even arctic habitats. Join Environmental Educator Carl Heitmuller from the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum to learn about frog characteristics and adaptations, hear frog vocalizations and meet frogs, toads and tadpoles from the Museum’s collection.Ages six and older welcome with an adult. Registration recommended, online at or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Free with admission to the grounds. Frog and Toad Day event.
Wave Hill House, Noon and 1:30PM

Sun, June 9
Join naturalist and educator Gabriel Willow on a family-friendly walk through the gardens or woodlands. Family walks begin at Wave Hill House. Ages five and older welcome with an adult. Severe weather cancels. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Wave Hill House, 1PM

Sun, June 9
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 2PM

Tue, June 11
Tour Glyndor Gallery with Wave Hill’s Curatorial Fellow or Gallery Greeter to get an insider’s view of current exhibitions. The exhibition Here We Land features three former Winter Workspace artists, Camille HoffmanMaria Hupfield and Sara Jimenez, who return to explore narratives about contested space that draw on personal and cultural touch points in their immersive installations. In the Sunroom, Amir Hariri creates sculptural installations constructed of wood, brick and other building materials—along with a wall drawing—that connect to his architectural research to the Bronx and Wave Hill. In the Sun Porch, Geoffrey Owen Miller suspends transparent, upside down sculptures of flora and fauna—inspired by Wave Hill—from the ceiling over sheets of black-mirrored glass. Visitors see prismatic reflections of the hanging plants and animals in upright positions in the glass. Free with admission to the grounds.
Glyndor Gallery, 2PM

Wed, June 12
Bring your plein air practice on the road! Work al fresco with artist Wennie Huang at Glynwood, a bucolic, 19th-century, working farm and nonprofit in Cold Spring, NY, where vast and verdant agricultural vistas await. Wave Hill and Glynwood have a shared history, thanks to the Perkins-Freeman Family, who owned both properties and ensured their ongoing preservation for the education and enjoyment of the public. Transportation and paper included; bring a picnic lunch and pastels. Rain date: Wednesday, June 19. $125; Wave Hill Members save 10%. Registration required, online or at the Perkins Visitor Center.
Meet at Wave Hill Front Gate, 9AM‒4PM

Wed, June 12
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1PM

Thu, June 13
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a public tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 1PM

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 – $10 adults, $6 students and seniors 65+, $4 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


By Councilman, Rubén Díaz Sr.
District 18 Bronx County, New York
You should know that I couldn’t be happier to read the article written by Sally Goldenberg titled “Puerto Ricans in New York overwhelmingly support statehood, new poll finds” that appeared in the May 22, 2019 edition of PoliticoPro.
Puerto Rico most certainly deserves to be the 51st Star on our nation’s flag, and it will be my greatest priority when I am elected to serve as a Member of the United State Congress in New York’s 15th Congressional District to vote in support of Statehood for Puerto Rico.
Anyone who has seen me in person during the past 25 years knows that the only other lapel pin that I wear on my suit, aside from the logo of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, is a Star. This Star that I proudly wear on my lapel represents the Star of Puerto Rico as the 51st Star on the United States Flag.
This Star was given to me by the Honorable Pedro Juan Rosselló, who served as the seventh Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. I treasure this gift!
Despite the fact that Puerto Rico is part of the United States, Puerto Ricans remain as second-class citizens. This was made most evident in the abandonment of care by the United States government in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
We all know that if Puerto Rico was a State, there would be no question about how to help fellow Americans in need. 
However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans suffered as second-class citizens and Puerto Rican people died as second-class citizens. This disgrace continues to lie at the feet of our federal government – which includes the United States Congress.
It is important for you to know that even though Puerto Ricans are natural born US citizens and have US Passports, and Puerto Ricans pay into Social Security, and Puerto Ricans can vote in Presidential Primaries: Puerto Ricans cannot vote in Presidential Elections, and the representatives Puerto Ricans elect to serve the United States Congress cannot vote on legislation or effectively represent Puerto Ricans in the US Congress.
You should already know that in 2017, Puerto Rican citizens went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly in a referendum (97 percent!) to make Puerto Rico America’s 51st State. (For those who may try to distract the 2017 results by complaining about low voter turnout, no one denied Bill de Blasio his Mayoralty in 2017 when only 8.5 percent of New Yorkers voted for him.)
You should know that in order for Puerto Rico to become the 51st State, Congress would have to pass a statute to admit Puerto Rico as a State. When I am in Congress, I will make it an absolute priority to fight for this law to grant Puerto Rico statehood.

According to Sally Goldenberg’s article: “Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood governor, Ricardo Rosselló, is looking to move up the island’s presidential primary to March of 2020 and is calling on Democratic candidates to support statehood.”
Ladies and gentlemen, as a Democratic candidate for Congress who supports statehood for Puerto Rico, I will proudly stand by Governor Rosselló’s side and offer him any assistance I can.
I am Council Member Reverend Rubén Díaz, Sr. and this is what you should know.

A Statement on NYCHA's Unaccounted $3 Million of Expenses

  "It is outrageous that Bronxites and New Yorkers are living in public housing with rats in their homes, lead paint, lack hot water and have an abundance of mold, meanwhile, the monitor responsible for fixing this mess received a high-priced contract and can’t say what work is actually being done. How in the world can the Monitor incur $3 million in expenses since its appointment without any transparency and accountability and yet money still isn’t going to where it’s needed most: to make repairs and restore dignity?

It is clear that a thorough audit and investigation is needed from Comptroller Stringer and Attorney General James. In addition, the New York congressional delegation should use its oversight authority to demand answers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  We need to get to the bottom of how the federal monitor overseeing reforms at NYCHA is spending money, and whether it is helping families across New York."


  Mayor de Blasio announced today that the City has registered 18,233 first-time student voters. The effort was part of the Administration’s youth voter registration drive during the City’s first-ever Civics Week, which took place the week of April 8th. Hundreds of high schools hosted events during Civics Week – an initiative of Mayor de Blasio’s 10-Point democracy agenda announced as part of the Mayor’s 2017 State of the City and known as DemocracyNYC. This initiative aims to increase civic engagement and strengthen democracy locally and nationally.

“With Civics Week, we’re helping schools mold the future leaders of our City and reminding students that their voices are powerful and can effectuate change,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Whether it’s hosting a town hall, participating in Participatory Budgeting or registering to vote, students have a real opportunity to strengthen our democracy. I encourage everyone to get involved.”

“Our young people are the future leaders of our City and our nation, and I’m excited that a record 18,000 students registered to vote and make their voices heard as part of our first-ever Civics Week,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “We’ll continue to invest in Civics for All to elevate student voice and bring the democratic process to life for our students.”

“By participating in Civics Week, students across hundreds of schools and colleges are now equipped with the information and tools they need to be active, productive participants in our democracy,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. “Harnessing their creativity and energy to solve important problems will help us achieve a fairer and stronger democracy at home and across the nation."

“Your vote is your voice – and thousands of young people across the City of New York made clear that they want their voices heard,” said Chief Democracy Officer Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune. “Registering to vote at the earliest possible opportunity – as young people across the City had the opportunity to do through this year’s youth voter registration drive – facilitates a young person’s critical first step towards a lifetime of civic engagement.”

“Registering the next generation to vote and increasing participation in elections is fundamental to making our government and communities even more representative of our diverse voices,” said Mayor’s Public Engagement Director Omar Khan. “I’m beyond proud of this collaborative effort to educate New York City’s students about their civic duty and to make the process of participating in our elections as easy as possible. This is a great example of how government can be innovative in the pursuit of greater civic engagement.”

The 18,233 newly registered student voters attend 258 New York City public schools, as well as college campuses and non-public schools. The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit organized voter registration drives at approximately 70 schools, resulting in over 63 percent of the more than 18,000 registrations citywide. Civics Week, which took place the week of April 8th, is part of the Department of Education’s Civics for All initiative, which teaches students about the foundations of American government and the democratic process.

During Civics Week, students at public schools had the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities including youth voter registration drives, Participatory Budgeting for their schools, public speaking competitions, and town halls on issues that matter to them and their communities.

The next election in New York City will be the Primary Election on Tuesday, June 25th. The primary ballot includes races for Queens District Attorney, City Council District 45 and judicial offices throughout the city. New Yorkers who need to register to vote can do so online, by mail or in person at a New York City Board of Elections office by May 31st to be eligible to vote in the primary election. New Yorkers who are interested in registering to vote, need to update their existing registration, or want more information on the upcoming election can call 311 or visit

Students at 48 high schools participated in the DOE’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting Project. A lead teacher at each of the participating schools guided the school community through the process, and students identified projects and organized votes on project proposals. Participating schools had $2,000 to spend on chosen projects. Examples include:

  • School greenhouse for growing produce, plants, and flowers
  • Creation of a student lounge
  • Rooftop gardens
  • Materials for a composting program at the school
  • Materials for upgrading school common area and garden
  • Equipment for clubs and after-school activities
  • Upgrades to improve school spirit and pride: costume for school mascot; logo for gym floor
  • Student game room
  • Start-up funding for a school store

During Civics Week, schools also participated in SoapboxNYC, a K-12 public speaking competition that calls on students to speak out on issues that affect them and their communities. Students participated in the City’s Civics for All poster competition and created posters that speak to important social issues. Guest speakers including New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson, Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, and Council Member Mark Treyger visited a variety of schools to encourage public engagement. To support Civics Week and participating schools, the Department of Education developed instructional guides to help schools host voter registration drives and design activities that encourage civic participation.

Civics Week is part of the Department of Education’s Civics for All initiative. The DOE believes civic education is an essential part of every students’ core academic program. The goal of Civics for All, a new initiative announced in Spring 2018, is to provide resources, programming, and professional learning to all of our schools with models for civic education that are interactive, project-based, and relevant to students’ lives. In addition to participatory budgeting, the initiative includes a DOE developed K-12 civics curriculum, increased opportunities for student civic engagement, a student voter registration drive, and school partnerships with community organizations.

The DemocracyNYC initiative aims to increase voter registrations and civic engagement in New York City, while also empowering New Yorkers to be active, informed voters. DemocracyNYC was first announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in his 2018 State of the City address, detailing a robust 10-Point Plan to make New York City the fairest, most civically engaged big city in America. DemocracyNYC is an initiative of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives.


Now if only these students would get a proper education so they could read and understand the voting ballot.


The recently amended bill represents the most comprehensive legislative effort to address lead exposure and poisoning in private and public housing in New York State

These amendments include strong code enforcement protocols, mandatory annual screenings for young children, and full coverage for lead screenings and testing under private health insurances and the Medicaid program

Last year, Senator Rivera introduced Dakota's Law after collaborating with NYCHA Resident and Tenant Leader Tiesha Jones whose daughter Dakota suffered from permanent developmental challenges after being exposed to lead in their NYCHA apartment

  Dakota's Law (S.499B/A.7687), a lead prevention and mitigation bill introduced last year by State Senator Gustavo Rivera, passed the Senate Health Committee. The bill is also sponsored in the State Senate by State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) and by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) in the State Assembly. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Dakota's Law will enhance protocols for parents, guardians, healthcare providers, state and local health officers, private property owners, and public housing officials to take proactive action to prevent lead poisoning in children. The amendments recognize the recently adopted measure of changing the blood lead levels of concern from 10 to 5 micrograms, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as:

  • Implement strong code enforcement protocols and subsequent penalties for individuals and/or entities that fail to ensure their properties are lead-safe; 
  • Require annual screenings for children up to 6 years old by healthcare providers. This would identify elevated blood lead levels to trigger home inspections and prompt mitigation of the source of the exposure to eliminate it before a child's blood lead levels can cause permanent health damage;
  • Require that doctors notify parents or guardians that they have a right to a home inspection if a child is at risk of lead exposure; 
  • Provide full coverage of lead screening and testing to ensure access for all children in New York State. This would expand parameters so that private health insurance and Medicaid coverage include preventive services and prohibits any copays and annual deductibles on these services;
  • Require local or state health departments to investigate cases of elevated lead levels when reported by physicians;
  • Allow local health departments to request assistance from the state department of health if they do not have the capacity or resources to conduct investigations and enforcement. 
Dakota's Law originated from the experience of Tiesha Jones, the mother of Dakota, a child living in a NYCHA apartment who experienced increasing blood lead levels throughout her childhood. Ms. Jones took Dakota to the doctor and received appropriate testing at the required ages, 12- and 24-months-old. Upon changing doctors at age 4, she was offered a lead screening and within this time frame, Dakota's blood lead levels elevated from 5 micrograms to 45. This left Dakota with permanent developmental challenges that affect her education. If this bill had been law at the time, Dakota would have received a required test at age 3 and steps would have been taken earlier to identify and address the lead exposure in her home before it became detrimental to her health.

"The newly amended Dakota's Law is the most comprehensive approach to solve a public health crisis that should have been addressed a long time ago in our State," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee and sponsor of the bill. "This multi-layered effort, spearheaded by the tireless work of Tiesha Jones, will make a real difference in the lives of millions of children and parents in New York. We must do everything in our power to end lead poisoning in New York State and ensure our children live in safe and healthy environments."
"Dakota's Law will ensure New York children and their parents do not suffer from the devastating effects of lead poisoning," said Tiesha Jones, Dakota's Mother and President of the NYCHA Bailey Houses Residents' Council. "I don't want child in our State to go through what Dakota did and this law will prevent precisely that by empowering parents with the tools they need and requiring all relevant stakeholders to take proactive action to protect children before it's too late."
"Lead exposure continues to be a very real problem across New York State, and our children are suffering long-term as a result," said Senator Tim Kennedy, sponsor of the bill. "A 2017 Reuters investigation revealed that in four zip codes in the City of Buffalo, 40% of children who were tested between 2006 and 2014 had high lead levels, making it one of the most saturated lead-burdened communities in the country. That needs to change, and New York needs to do its part to change it. Through Dakota's law, we're taking steps to enact stronger protections for those potentially exposed to lead through rental properties, and requiring routine pediatric screenings by health care professionals to protect children from dangerous lead levels, particularly in their formative years when exposure can cause permanent developmental damage." 

"Establishing an evaluation and remediation process for elevated levels of lead in children's bloodstreams is a concrete avenue toward environmental justice. Far too many children have been poisoned in my community and all over the state.  It is vital that our most vulnerable children are protected from potential developmental delays, which can follow them their whole lives. Dakota's law will help all children and families through a collaborative response to elevated lead levels," said Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and sponsor of the bill. 

"New York State has the highest number of children with lead poisoning in the country," said Kathleen Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. "Addressing lead is critical in protecting our children. CHNY has played a major role in advocating for this, and will continue to do so until lead is no longer a threat to New York's children."
Unfortunately, Dakota's story is not an isolated incident. Data shows that where children experience poverty and where residential building stock is aging and neglected incidences of elevated blood lead levels rise. The Buffalo region has particularly high rates of elevated blood lead levels where four zip codes in particular have rates of 40% or more. From upstate to downstate New York, children are only receiving required screenings at 12- and 24-months-old at a statewide rate of 62.8%. By extending screening requirements to children older than 2 and through 6 years of age, the goal is to dramatically increase awareness and thus screening of children to identify more who have dangerous levels. By determining the areas where children may be exposed and undiagnosed and by creating statewide code enforcement standards for lead exposure remediation, Dakota's Law is the most comprehensive legislation to proactively eliminate lead exposure and poisoning in children.

Another effort to find adequate solutions to combat lead poisoning in New York State, a bill sponsored by Senator Rivera (S5113), which will provide that a majority of the appointed voting members of the Advisory Council on Lead Poisoning Prevention constitute a quorum, is scheduled to be voted on the Senate floor today. The Advisory Council on Lead Poisoning Prevention has struggled to achieve a quorum due to a lack of appointees, which has obstructed the Council's ability to provide the guidance it was tasked in producing. Similar amendments have been implemented on other advisory councils, and changes have proven to be helpful. Further, Senator Rivera has recommended Ms. Tiesha Jones to Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health to become a member of this council, which currently has a parent advocate vacancy.


A deluge of new development has arrived in the Northwest Bronx, taking advantage of the as-of-right zoning loophole and hiding behind anonymous limited liability corporations.

  On May 20, building permits were filed with the NYC Department of Buildings to construct another new building in the Northwest Bronx – this time for a new eight story building at 3631 Johnson Avenue. The proposed building would include 22 new units and only 8 parking spaces, with an average apartment size of 908 square feet. Since the beginning of 2016, there have been 63 permits for new buildings filed with DOB in the 81st Assembly District and dozens more have filed for demolition.

Local residents have become increasingly frustrated by current zoning regulations that allow large buildings to go up without any form of public input, despite increasing demand for already limited infrastructure. Much of the development has been concentrated in areas that are currently occupied by single-family homes or similarly sized small buildings but are within a zone that allows for much higher density. However, infrastructure such as gas and water mains, sewage pipes, available parking, and transit options are already heavily burdened by existing demand. The current permit approval process for DOB or New York City Department of City Planning does not typically require environmental impact statements, which would incorporate these factors into whether a proposed development is appropriate for a given neighborhood.
Many of these developments are filed by limited liability corporations (LLC’s), which rarely identify any of the principal investors involved on corporation filings with the Department of State and only list a single representative on DOB filings. For example, the building permit for 3631 Johnson Avenue lists the owner as Great Gold Summit LLC and lists a business address on Long Island along with the name of one member. The NYS Department of State - Division of Corporations does not list any of the principal investors under the entity information available online and apparently does not require the listing of a registered agent. In order to view the names of the original members, one must submit a written request along with payment to receive a paper copy of the original certificate.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D - Northwest Bronx) said: “One of the main aspects which attract homeowners to live in the Northwest Bronx is the well-balanced density of our neighborhoods. Many people choose to live further away from the city center precisely to avoid the feeling of living stacked on top of each other. Real estate developers seem to be so hell-bent on maximizing their profits that we are at a very real risk of losing what makes our area desirable in the first place. Whatever the current rules are now for development, these developers are not being good neighbors. They come into our neighborhood, tear down a building that has been there for years, they don’t even always tell us who they are. And when somebody dares to voice concerns about the impact on their neighborhood, they are told ‘too bad, we can do whatever we want because the property is as-of-right.’ I don’t think that is a good way to operate and it is very clear that changes need to be made.”

Engel Introduces Bill to Repeal Cuts to Medicaid DSH Payments

  Representative Eliot L. Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today introduced the Patient Access Protection Act, legislation that would repeal mandated cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments.

Medicaid DSH payments sustain safety-net hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low-income and uninsured patients. In treating those who have nowhere else to turn, these hospitals incur uncompensated costs. Medicaid DSH payments allow these hospitals to continue serving communities in dire need of access to care, but current federal law mandates severe cuts to DSH payments, which would jeopardize their ability to do so.

“Just a few weeks ago I led 300 of my colleagues in a bipartisan letter to House leadership calling for a delay to scheduled cuts in Medicaid DSH payments. But that’s still only a band-aid. What we need is a full repeal of these cuts codified into law,” Engel said. “Safety-net hospitals rely on Medicaid DSH payments to provide critical care to millions of people across the country. These scheduled cuts would have a devastating impact on our communities and we need to do everything we can to ensure they never go into effect.”

Bronx Man Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 70 Months In Prison For Building Improvised Explosive Device

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CHRISTIAN TORO was sentenced today by United States District Judge Richard M. Berman to 70 months in prison for stockpiling explosive materials and manufacture of a destructive device.  TORO previously pled guilty before Judge Berman.  Tyler Toro, TORO’s co-defendant and brother, who also pled guilty, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 29, 2019.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Today’s sentence serves as a message that building and stockpiling destructive devices are grave offenses in and of themselves.  Thanks to the outstanding work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in eliminating this destructive threat in its nascent stages, Christian Toro and his brother were apprehended before they could carry out any attack with the device they were building.  Christian Toro has nevertheless received a substantial sentence for seriously endangering the public (including minor children) and inspiring fear throughout his community with his conduct.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint, the Indictment, and statements made during court proceedings:
Between approximately October 2017 and February 2018, CHRISTIAN TORO and Tyler Toro conspired to build and possess a destructive device at their residence in the Bronx, New York (the “Residence”).  CHRISTIAN TORO, a former teacher at a high school in Harlem, New York (the “School”), paid students from the School for their assistance in manufacturing the destructive device, giving them approximately $50 per hour in return for the students’ work dismantling fireworks and storing the explosive powder contained within those fireworks in containers.  TORO encouraged one of those students to call in a bomb threat to the School in December 2017.  TORO also had on his School laptop a copy of a book that provided instructions for, among other things, manufacturing explosive devices.
On February 15, 2018, law enforcement agents searched the Residence pursuant to a judicially authorized search warrant.  In a bedroom shared by TORO and Tyler Toro, law enforcement agents recovered the components for building an improvised explosive device and other dangerous substances, including: (i) a glass jar containing low explosive powder; (ii) a strip of magnesium metal; (iii) approximately 20 pounds of iron oxide; (iv) approximately five pounds of aluminum powder; (v) a mixture of iron oxide and aluminum powder, the key ingredients for thermite (used in incendiary bombs); (vi) approximately five pounds of potassium nitrate; (vii) a cardboard box containing firecrackers; and (viii) metal spheres and C02 cartridges, which can be used as fragmentation for a bomb.  On the Residence’s fire escape, agents also found a jar of improvised napalm, consisting of gasoline and Styrofoam.
Also in the Residence, law enforcement agents found a handwritten diary labeled with Tyler Toro’s name, which stated, among other things, “WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW, WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE” and “I AM HERE 100%, LIVING, BUYING WEAPONS.  WHATEVER WE NEED.”  Agents also recovered a page inside a notebook found in the Residence labeled “Operation Flash,” with a ledger appearing to delineate the hours worked and payment owed to one of the School’s students for that student’s work on the destructive device.
In addition to his prison sentence, CHRISTIAN TORO, 28, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.
Mr. Berman praised the excellent work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the New York City Police Department.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth A. Hanft is in charge of the prosecution.