Saturday, July 11, 2020

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic

Hospitalizations Drop Below 800 -- Lowest Since March 18

6 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

Lowest Three-Day Average Death Toll Since March 16

1.05% of Yesterday's COVID-19 Tests were Positive

Confirms 730 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitalizations dropped below 800 for the first time since March 18, and the three-day average death toll—7—is the lowest since March 16. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at

"Throughout this pandemic, we've made progress by recognizing that state and local governments can't fight the virus on their own—the efforts of everyday New Yorkers to socially distance, wear masks and wash their hands are central to our ability to slow the spread and save lives," Governor Cuomo said. "As we allow ourselves to celebrate some good news—that hospitalizations have dropped below 800 for the first time since March 18 and the three-day average death toll is at its lowest since March 16—I urge residents to stay New York Tough and not give up the ground we've worked so hard to gain together, particularly in the face of rising cases throughout the country and compliance issues here at home."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization - 799 (-27)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 75 (-12)
  • Hospital Counties - 28
  • Number ICU - 177 (-1)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 100 (+8)
  • Total Discharges - 71,477 (+106)
  • Deaths - 6
  • Total Deaths - 24,974

Governor Cuomo Announces New York State to Send COVID-19 Medication Remdesivir to Florida

Medication to Help Florida Care for 280 COVID-19 Patients and Will be Delivered Tomorrow

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will send the COVID-19 medication Remdesivir to Florida as the state struggles with a resurgence of cases. Florida is waiting for a further supply from the federal government and New York will provide enough Remdesivir to help the state care for 280 COVID-19 patients until the federal shipment arrives. New York's shipment of the medication will arrive in Florida tomorrow.

"When New York was climbing the COVID mountain with no end in sight and resources were scarce, we were incredibly moved by the generosity of states around the country that stepped up to provide supplies and medical personnel in our time of need," Governor Cuomo said. "Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the people of New York - and the assistance of those states - we bent the curve.  With continued discipline of wearing masks and social distancing, along with a phased, data-driven reopening, New York's numbers have remained low and steady. I said at the time that we would return the favor if and when other states needed help.  Today, on behalf of all New Yorkers, we will deploy Remdesivir to help Florida care for patients as it waits for further supply from the federal government.  We will stand by our fellow Americans every step of the way as our nation fights COVID-19 together." 

The supply New York State is providing will allow Florida to care for patients through tomorrow. 

Bail Reform - NYPD

July 10, 2020
For the last six and a half years, the NYPD has transformed how it polices through precision policing and Neighborhood Policing.
By continuing to focus on the small numbers of individuals who are perpetrating most of the crime, we are best able to protect the public.
Over these years, the NYPD has led in embracing critical reforms to the criminal justice system. Yet meaningful change must be balanced carefully.
This is not a comprehensive analysis of all the factors contributing to the increase in violence that we are now experiencing.
It is a vigorous examination of the data around those no longer bail eligible and their rates of rearrest — extremely important, but one piece of a far more complex set of factors confronting all of us who live and work in New York City.
  • The following analysis is related specifically to some of the impacts of bail reform, one of many factors that have contributed to the rise in index crime that started mid-year in 2019.
  • The provisions of bail reform were law on January 1st of this year. In practice, some judges and DA’s appear to have started following its provisions in the Fall of 2019.
  • Overall index crime spiked in January and did not start to fall until the middle of March when COVID-19 lockdowns started.
  • The Department has made 41,107 fewer arrests this year compared to last year (i.e. 75,866 arrests in 2020 vs 116,973 last year).

Non-Bail Eligible Felony Arrestees

  • All of the recidivism statistics are based on arrests for ‘new’ offenses that were committed after the original arrest.
  • In spite of a drop in arrests year to date, we’ve witnessed non-bail eligible felony arrestees get arrested more frequently and for more serious crimes,
  • Looking at this particular subset of people who benefit from bail reform, i.e. those who committed felonies that were no longer eligible for bail (but were in 2019), we found that:
    • 19.5% were re-arrested at least once after an initial non-bail eligible felony arrest, 1,798 of 9,227 individuals were re-arrested.
    • In 2019, 17.3% were re-arrested (2,188 of 12,640).
    • The 2020 group was re-arrested 4,207 times (2.3 arrests per arrestee) and the 2019 group was re-arrested 4,056 times (1.9 re-arrests per arrestee).
    • 34.5% of the 2020 re-arrests were 7 majors crimes.
    • 16.8% of the 2019 re-arrests were 7 majors crimes.
    • That is, 2020 recidivism resulted in 1,452 7 majors arrests vs 681 in 2019, resulting in 771 more arrests for 7 majors offenses.
    • This is against a backdrop of 41,107 fewer arrests or a drop of 35.1% YTD in a 7 month period.
  • Looking specifically at burglaries, we found that 26% of people arrested for burglary in 2020 were re-arrested within 30 days for an offense committed after their initial arrest ( vs 10% in 2019).

Focus on Robbery and Burglary Arrestees

  • Looking specifically at the robbery and burglary arrests that benefit from bail reform provisions, we find:
  • In 2020, 580 of the 2,417 (24%) unique people arrested for these charges were re-arrested. In 2019, 292 of 1,444 (20.2%) were re-arrested:
    • This subset of non-bail eligible arrestees generated 954 more arrests in 2020 than in 2019 (i.e. 1,560 in 2020 vs. 606 in 2019).
  • 44.1% of the 2020 re-arrests were for 7 majors. In 2019, 26.4% of the re-arrests were for 7 majors.
    • This subset of non-bail eligible arrestees generated 528 more 7 majors arrests in 2020 than in 2019 (i.e. 688 in 2020 vs. 160 in 2019).
  • This group of arrestees were re-arrested more frequently and for more serious offenses than in previous years.

Bail Eligible Felony Arrests

  • In 2020, bail was set in 20.8% of bail-eligible arrests vs. 30% in 2019.
  • Even when bail is set, the court must select “the least restrictive alternative and condition or condition that will reasonably assure the principal’s return to court.” Also, judges must now explicitly consider the individual’s ability to pay bail without undue hardship.
  • There were fewer of these arrests in 2020, 9,802 vs 12,060 (excluding declined prosecutions).
  • In 2020, 14% were re-arrested. In 2019, 15.6% were re-arrested.
  • The 2020 group was arrested slightly more frequently 1.9 arrests per re-arrestee vs 1.7 arrests per arrestee from 2019.
  • 21.8% of the re-arrests in 2020 were for index crimes and 15.4% of the re-arrests in 2019 were for index crimes (562 arrests in 2020 vs 500 in 2019).

DAT Arrests

  • Bail reform expanded Desk Appearance Ticket criteria where arrestees are released pre-arraignment from the station house,
  • Looking at those who received DAT’s in 2020:
    • 14.2% have been re-arrests at least once since their DAT vs 9.9% in 2019. (2,314 re-arrestees vs 1,482 re-arrestees in 2019.)
    • 27% of those re-arrests were for 7 majors vs. 11.9% in 2019. (1,339 7 majors arrests vs 296 in 2019.)
  • Some of the new felony Desk Appearance Categories have higher failure to appear rates for court:
    • From January 1-April 30, 22% of Grand Larceny Auto arrestees that received a DAT failed to appear for arraignment.
    • For the same time period, 19.8% of felony drug arrestees that received a DAT failed to appear for arraignment.
    • So far this year, the Department has issued desk appearance tickets to 130 arrestees who committed Grand Larceny Auto versus none last year.


  • The new discovery provisions have had an impact on declined prosecutions and pattern arrests not covered here.

Comptroller Stringer Analysis: 85 Percent of M/WBEs Report They Will Be Out of Business in Six Months due to Economic Distress of COVID-19 Pandemic

First-of-its-kind survey and analysis of more than 500 M/WBEs during pandemic reveals severe and systemic barriers to financial relief, exclusionary COVID-19 contracts and unresponsive City agencies
25 percent of surveyed M/WBEs did not apply for federal or City relief funding due to restrictive application criteria, lack of outreach and awareness, and depleted funds
Comptroller’s Office will be requiring documentation as evidence that the City is meeting its aspirational M/WBE goals
Stringer renews call for Chief Diversity Officers in City Hall and within every City agency to drive the representation of people of color and women across government
  New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released a comprehensive analysis outlining economic challenges facing minority and women-owned enterprises (M/WBEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey of more than 500 M/WBEs, 85 percent of City-certified M/WBEs report they cannot survive the next six months given their current cash on hand, and 30 percent of City-certified M/WBEs cannot survive the next thirty days or less. The Comptroller’s analysis additionally found that 60 percent of M/WBEs that competed for COVID-related City contracts were not able make contact with the City and only ten M/WBEs reported actually receiving a contract. Based on the survey findings and feedback from M/WBEs throughout the economic crisis, Comptroller Stringer announced new transparency and accountability measures in the contract registration process requiring the City to provide documentation and market analysis as evidence that the City is meeting its M/WBE goals.
“Minority and women-owned businesses are essential to our economy, generate strong local community wealth, are at the core of our city’s cultural identity and they are bearing the brunt of our economic crisis,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “These findings are alarming and underscore the structural inequities facing M/WBEs and the urgent need for immediate action and relief before M/WBEs in our city are decimated. We will redouble our commitment to holding City agencies accountable and continue our efforts to identify and dismantle systemic barriers to participation. Our economy is strongest when it is equitable and inclusive, and our road to recovery must reflect those values.”
Based on survey results from more than 500 certified M/WBEs, this new analysis revealed the following findings:
M/WBEs are struggling to stay in business
  • 85 percent of City-certified M/WBEs report they cannot survive the next six months given their current cash on hand.
  • 30 percent of City-certified M/WBEs report they cannot survive the next 30 days.
  • 80 percent of M/WBEs that shared revenue information lost a median of $38,000 during a 3-month period during COVID-19 (March – May 2020).
  • 50 percent of M/WBEs ranked payroll and 40 percent ranked rent as the most challenging expenses to pay for during COVID-19.
  • 35 percent of M/WBEs report they have not been able to operate during COVID-19.
M/WBEs face barriers to COVID-related contracts with the City
  • 65 percent of M/WBEs that shared information about their services said they were ready and able to contract with the City on COVID-19 response efforts.
  • Of the 62 MWBEs that competed for COVID-related contracts, 60 percent were not able to make contact with the City and only ten M/WBEs received a contract.
  • M/WBEs surveyed received 10 COVID-related contracts for Personal Protective Equipment, Staffing, Technology, Medical supplies, Sanitation, and design/build of COVID-19 testing sites.
M/WBEs face barriers to federal, City and private COVID-19 relief funding
  • Only 40 M/WBEs surveyed applied for the New York City Business Continuity Loan. Of the 40, only six were approved.
  • Only 48 M/WBEs applied for the New York City Employee Retention Grant. Of the 48, only 15 were approved.
  • 25 percent of surveyed M/WBEs did not apply for federal or City funding. Respondents cited many barriers to entry, including:
    • Restrictive application criteria or use of funds
    • High interest rates
    • Lack of outreach and awareness
    • Funds were exhausted before application was submitted
  • 20 percent of surveyed M/WBEs applied for federal or City funding but were not approved. Respondents cited the following reasons for rejection and/or ineligibility:
    • Low credit score
    • Restrictive application criteria
    • Still waiting approval
    • Rejected and were not told why they were ineligible
    • Funds were exhausted before application was processed
  • 95 percent of surveyed M/WBEs did not receive private sector relief.
The Comptroller’s survey asked more than 500 M/WBEs in June 2020 how the City can level the playing field and increase access and opportunity for M/WBEs. Respondents cited:
  • Increased access to prime and subcontracting opportunities by placing goals on every City contract
  • Flexible grants and loans for reopening expenses such as cleaning supplies and services, PPE and testing assistance, as well as working capital
  • Marketing and promotion assistance for reopening
  • One-on-one support to navigate grants, loans and City contracts
  • Resume City-funded construction projects
Comptroller Stringer announced new transparency and accountability measures in the contract registration process requiring the City to provide documentation, such as goal-setting worksheets and market analysis, on M/WBE goals in City contracts. In light of the City’s goal of awarding at least 30 percent of the dollar amount of City contracts to M/WBEs by 2021, these measures will provide clarity and insight into the City’s M/WBE contracting targets and help identify areas for improvement.
To read the full analysis, click here.
This week, Comptroller Stringer penned an op-ed on the need to install a Chief Diversity Officer in City Hall and within every City agency to serve as executive level diversity and inclusion strategists driving the representation of people of color and women across government. Text of the op-ed can be viewed here.
In April, Comptroller Stringer launched a biweekly series of online workshops to expand access to available resources, services, and business opportunities for small businesses and M/WBEs impacted by COVID-19. More than 1,600 M/WBEs have participated in the workshops to date.
To read the Comptroller’s “Making the Grade: New York City Agency Report Card on M/WBEs,” click here.

Comptroller Stringer Calls for Expanded Child Care Options and Transparency from DOE in New York City School Reopening Plans

Underscores critical need for innovation in staffing, urges clarity on school schedules and renews call for significant improvements in remote learning

  New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza demanding more clarity and transparency around the City’s plans to reopen schools for the 2020-2021 academic year. Comptroller Stringer’s letter underscores the DOE’s responsibility to significantly expand child care options for working families, improve remote learning prior to the beginning of the school year, and outlines concerns about school staffing and scheduling issues that are still lacking sufficient detail. The Comptroller stressed in his letter that addressing these challenges is particularly vital for communities of color, who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, more likely to work in frontline industries, and desperately need quality school and child care options in order to survive the economic fallout of this crisis.
The full letter is available below and can be found here.
Dear Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza:
There is no more critical task facing our city right now than re-opening our schools in a manner that is safe for students and staff alike, and that effectively addresses the enormous learning needs of our 1.1 million students. To that end, I was heartened to hear the Administration begin to discuss this week in broad outlines your plans for the fall – a conversation that so many school families, including my own, remain eager to engage in with the hope of bringing more clarity to what school will look like in the fall, and to think through challenges that could be more fully addressed in the near term, before school starts, so that our children and parents can be better served. My office detailed many relevant ideas in our latest report, Strong Schools for All: A Plan Forward for New York City. My hope is that the Administration can continue to answer questions and engage with parents in a manner that is open and transparent.
My purpose in writing today is two-fold: to underscore the DOE’s responsibility to significantly improve remote learning prior to the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, and to outline some core concerns – specifically around the need for expanded childcare options, and school staffing issues – that to date seem lacking in sufficient detail. While I recognize the need to defer certain decisions until closer to the start of school, when the state of the COVID-19 pandemic will be more fully known, these are all issues that we know now will be critical to the success of any back-to-school model, and that can and should be more fully built out as soon as possible. Addressing these issues is particularly vital for our communities of color, who today are confronting not just the pain and loss inflicted by COVID-19 at significantly higher rates than other communities, but are much more likely to work in frontline industries and desperately need quality school and child care options in order to economically survive this period.
Critical need for expanded child care options
A core challenge posed by the DOE’s outlined scheduling options is the need for greatly expanded child care options for working families. And yet information released to date fails to address where children are supposed to go during off days – or even present families with options. Identifying this piece of the puzzle should not be an afterthought or second-tier priority, especially given the dire financial situation many of our city’s child care providers are facing. Like schools, child care programs will have to limit the number of children in each classroom (though State guidelines set that number, inexplicably, higher at 15). But unlike our City schools, child care programs are overwhelmingly privately-run, relying on tuition fees and limited government subsidies to cover expenses, so fewer children means less revenue.
Without access to child care, parents with children in elementary and middle school in particular cannot feasibly return to work and provide for their families and our fragile economy faces enormous threat. The need is especially great for parents with lower incomes who have not been able to transition to remote work and whose jobs – in fields such as construction, retail, home health and domestic work – afford the least flexibility. And as we have seen with all of the impacts of COVID-19, communities of color will again be disproportionately impacted. Indeed, a full 75 percent of our frontline workers are people of color, including 82 percent of cleaning services employees. More than 40 percent of transit employees are Black, while over 60 percent of cleaning workers are Latinx. For these and so many other families, any back-to-school plan that does not acknowledge the absolute necessity of full-day care for children – in addition to shoring up care during “non-traditional” hours – is no plan at all. It is rather inequity and economic disaster on a massive scale.
Already, forced closures and low enrollment due to COVID-19, combined with scant financial aid, has brought the child care sector to a breaking point, and providers alone cannot be expected to make up the lost capacity in schools. We need a real plan to sustain the sector, while also building capacity for safe, out-of-school care across other human service organizations. And we need to provide these options to parents for free. History tells us that it will be women – who comprise the majority of single-parent households and secondary earners and have shouldered the most unpaid care work during the pandemic – who will suffer the most if we don’t.
One promising avenue could be partnering with our many educational- and youth non-profits who have traditionally provided both after-school and summer programming. To help accommodate family schedules, DOE should engage their educational partners in providing off-hour care, homework help, or enrichment programming in available spaces to help families manage staggered school schedules.
To that end, I ask that you provide my office with responses to the following questions:
  1. Has the City conducted a needs assessment to identify the capacity for out-of-school weekday care that will be needed, given the different limits on classroom sizes in child care and school?
  1. What steps, if any, has DOE taken to engage child care programs, including those not currently publicly-contracted, for their feedback and to assess what capacity may be available to care for children during the days in which they are not scheduled for school-based instruction?
  1. Is the DOE planning to issue an RFP for organizations interested in providing programming during non-school days? If so, when should organizations expect for that to be released, how much funding will be allocated, and what training and resources will be provided to support providers in facilitating remote learning?
  1. What plans, if any, does the City have to provide additional financial assistance to families and providers for child care, beyond the federal funds the State is drawing down from the CARES Act?
  1. What plans, if any, does the City have to require employers to provide accommodations for employees who have a need to schedule shifts around the proposed school hours and/or need time off to pick up or drop off their children?
Schedules and Remote Learning
What’s clear from the proposed schedules that the DOE has released to date is that all of them will require students to engage in significant amounts of remote learning. Indeed, under the three-cohort model, students could be in school as little as one day per week, which in and of itself is a serious concern – both for parents and children. How parents are supposed to work with so little in-school time for their children, and how students are supposed to stay engaged with school when so many of their days will be spent learning remotely, remain critical challenges that the DOE has done little to make easier with its choice of options to date. It’s one reason why I hope the DOE can still consider the possibility of double sessions each day, as the City has successfully done in its past. By splitting the school day in half and allowing some children to attend school in the morning and the rest in the afternoon, students would have some in-school time every day, and parents would have some predictable hours that they could devote to work on a daily basis.
Putting aside that conversation around schedules, there are still very few details about how remote learning will be improved in the fall. Because we are asking families to rely on this method of instruction, we must ensure that it is implemented effectively and consistently across schools, and that families and teachers are given the resources they need to succeed. Given the plans that have been released so far concerning schools in the fall, the educational focus must now be on improving remote instruction, including professional development for teachers, and closing the digital divide for families. Please provide responses to my office, pursuant to my office’s authority under Chapter 5 of the City Charter, to all numbered questions laid out below:
  1. What citywide standards for remote learning have been considered or adopted to date? Please include remote learning standards and practices related to, but not limited to, daily attendance, synchronous instruction, and proving feedback on students’ work.
  1. Please describe the ways in which you plan to incorporate regular, synchronous instruction for all students who are learning remotely.
  1. Please describe the use of any standardized learning platform for remote instruction. Specifically, how will content be created, and how will teachers be trained in using the content for their instruction?
  1. Will classroom teachers be responsible for providing live remote instruction each day, in addition to instruction provided in classrooms? If not, who will be leading remote learning, including monitoring attendance, engagement, and feedback for student work?
Need for innovation in staffing
The scheduling options you have presented provide a necessary baseline to a very complex problem. I appreciate that in weighing these options the Department of Education is clearly prioritizing small class sizes in order to maintain safe distances between students and staff. We all agree that the health and safety of every person inside a school building must be our top concern.
However, I also believe that the plans presented this week lack the innovation and vision necessary to meet this moment in our City’s trajectory. It does not have to be this way. The scale of the problem we are facing requires a great deal of investment and creative planning. Ultimately, to adequately meet the needs in classrooms this fall, we need more staff.
There are two primary categories of staffing needed: in-classroom support, and afterschool or child care. By ignoring the needs in either of these areas there will be long-term costs. In addition to my concerns about addressing afterschool child care needs which are documented above, more in-classroom support is necessary for obvious reasons. In the precious few hours students will spend in classrooms each week, there must be a robust level of individualized support to identify and address students’ academic and social-emotional needs. Moreover, many students will spend more time learning at home than they do in classrooms. For these reasons, there must be dedicated staff who can guide remote instruction in tandem with the learning happening in classrooms each day.
I urge you to consider the ideas to build additional capacity in schools that I have laid out in my recent report. While the need for action here is urgent, I believe it remains feasible if we begin the process of recruitment immediately and ask that you provide my office with responses to the options outlined below:
  1. Has any thought been given to establishing a large-scale hiring pipeline through a CUNY professional training program for classroom paraprofessionals? CUNY’s community colleges are especially well-positioned to become large-scale job training providers with capacity to quickly develop and offer training for in-classroom assistant positions, based on skills and competencies identified by DOE. To support this, the City should immediately convene instructional leaders to liaise with CUNY, identify existing training programs and work to scale new programs.
  1. Has the DOE engaged existing teacher training programs to expand in-classroom experience for teacher candidates? Many current graduate programs already place student teachers in classrooms to gain practical experience. These programs could be adjusted to extend the length of time student teachers are working in classrooms. Teaching residency programs – where aspiring teachers are placed in classrooms for a full year prior to being certified – should be immediately expanded.
  1. Have steps been taken to leverage educational non-profit partners to provide in-classroom supports? DOE works with numerous educational non-profits that provide afterschool and extracurricular programming. It is critical that these partnerships are preserved and that high-quality afterschool programming continues to be available for students. Where possible, some non-profit partnerships may also be able to provide in classroom support during the school day.
School Nurses
A public health crisis is no time to allow a long-standing school nursing shortage to continue. This circumstance is wholly unacceptable, and we must assure every family that their child attends a school with a full-time nurse on staff. For far too long, the City has relied on temporary staffing to cover gaps in school nursing positions, but this is an unsatisfactory solution. Temporary nurses cannot access a student’s medical history, an essential tool in providing adequate care in a school setting. To better understand the scope of the need, please provide my office with the following information:
  1. A detailed breakdown, by school, of full-time nursing staff available, and the primary agency (for example, Department of Education or Department of Health and Mental Hygiene) responsible for hiring.
  1. A description of any plans currently underway to recruit and/or train school nursing staff.
Lastly, it is my understanding that the City is conducting an inventory of schools for all available spaces that could be used as classrooms. To maximize the benefit of all available areas, it is my strong recommendation that your search includes non-DOE sites. City-owned properties, such as libraries and community centers, may be easier to convert into weekday child care centers or even classroom spaces. Private spaces, such as theaters or shared office spaces, and outdoor areas such as parks or streets blocked off from traffic surrounding schools, could also be considered for possible retrofitting and temporary space for classrooms, afterschool, or childcare. Recent news of the closure of 11 Catholic schools in the New York Archdiocese across the five boroughs presents a further opportunity of valuable space for the 2020-21 school year.
Again, I appreciate the complexity of these issues and recognize there is no perfect plan for re-opening schools. But that should not prevent a robust and public discussion of ideas, as well as the transparent release of data that can help to inform the road ahead. Parents, teachers and students alike must all be part of this conversation if the city is going to succeed in re-opening schools, and the time to have that conversation is now. Thank for your attention to these matters and I look forward to your responses.
Scott M. Stringer
New York City Comptroller

Michael Blake - Update on Ballot Count & Next Steps

Dear Supporters, Allies & Interested Parties,
First and foremost, THANK YOU!! Thank you for your calls of support, text messages, e-mails, prayers and even your corny and lame jokes. Your support means more to me than you could ever know. I want to provide you with a short update on the Unsettled status of the primary election and our next steps.
1. Every Vote Must Be Counted
As you know, based on the in-person votes cast, we are currently in 2nd place, trailing only by about 4,500 votes. But, that number doesn’t tell the full story:

  • 18,948 Absentee Ballots have been returned in CD15 that have NOT been counted - That's almost 50% of all votes cast on Election Day and through Early Voting.
  • 3,828 of the Absentee Ballots returned are from the 79th Assembly District, which I represent. 
  • There is also an unknown amount of uncounted Affidavit Ballots, which we believe is in the thousands.  
We anticipate the Board of Elections will begin counting the valid unopened Absentee and Affidavit Ballots this weekend. Learn more here. 

We must be extremely vigilant that all votes are counted. For example, the NYC Board of Elections has determined that a ballot that doesn't have a postmark and is received after June 24th likely won't be counted. Thus, the eligible total number of Absentee Ballots could be significantly reduced from 18,948. You may read this story for more details.
With respect to the Affidavit Ballots (also called provisional ballots in some locations), as noted above, we believe the likely total will be in the thousands. Note: If a Registered Democrat voted at the correct polling place but, for whatever reason, voted in the wrong Election District (otherwise known as a Precinct in other places), that vote should count. This reality increases the number of potential ballots to be counted.
As mentioned, we anticipate that ballot review within our District of Absentee and Affidavit Ballots will begin this weekend. The Board of Elections will count two (2) Assembly Districts at a time/likely only two per day until the count is completed. Remember, we have seven (7) Assembly Districts within our Congressional District.  Our Assembly District (79th) has the second highest total of returned Absentee Ballots.
We will be allowed to have two representatives from our campaign present per table. If you or any other Registered Democrat in New York is willing to count and review ballots with us, please contact: so we can slot you into a shift.

We are still seeking campaign donations so that we can cover legal expenses as we continue with this initial count of ballots and address outstanding primary campaign expenses. The same donation limits apply from the primary election. Please use this link to donate.

3. Tell The Story
Please let people know that this process is not complete, as we could have at least 20,000 ballots to be counted here. But, please also share that this Electoral process, including the oversight, must be improved IMMEDIATELY and certainly before November. We should know how many Affidavit Ballots were cast, have a clear timeline of when all ballots will be counted, not have changes AFTER an election while results are unsettled, get clear answers about polling place changes, and have transparency. Lastly, we have filed in Court to ensure that every valid ballot is counted and to address any unintentional or intentional Voter Suppression.
Please let us know if you have any questions or wish to be involved. Let's continue to help our people as we wait on results and continue pressing forward. Thank you for continuing to #BelieveInTheBx.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

BP Diaz, Bronx Tourism Council & BronxNet Debut 'The Best of The Bronx Summer Concert Series' On Bronxnet Television.

On Sunday, July 12, 2020, the office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in collaboration with The Bronx Tourism Council and BronxNet will debut the telecast of "The Best of The Bronx Summer Concert Series."

Originally slated to take place from July through August at “The Bronx Riviera,” due to the gathering restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, BronxNet will air the best performances from The Bronx Summer Concert Series Salsa Fest that have taken place over the years.

“The Bronx has such rich musical history," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "As the birthplace of so many genres, from doo-wop to hip-hop to salsa, the 'The Bronx Summer Concert Series' has always had a special place in my heart. Orchard Beach’s Salsa Fest beautifully captures the unique flavor that makes The Bronx ‘El Condado de la Salsa,’ and while we would have loved to have hosted our 5th Annual Bronx Summer Concert Series, the safety of our residents takes priority as we continue to work together to not only flatten the curve, but eliminate COVID-19.”

Over the past five years, The Bronx Summer Concert Series has featured a wide-ranging variety of legendary artists - from The Mambo Legends Orchestra to Los Hermanos Moreno, as well as the best local talent and Bronx dance teams.

The virtual "Best of The Bronx Summer Concert Series" will be televised on BronxNet TV (channel 67 on Optimum / channel 33 on Verizon Fios) and streaming on BronxNet.TV every Sunday, from July 12 to August 30, launching with the 2018 Kickoff featuring N’Klabe and Coro.

BronxNet’s lineup includes:

  • July 12: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2018 Kickoff - N’Klabe and Coro
  • July 19: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2019 - Raulin Rosendo, Raul Acosta, and Oro Solido
  • July 26: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2019 - Tipica 73 and Hector Tricoche
  • August 2: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2017 - Ismael Miranda and TKA
  • August 9: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2018 - Ricardo Jerome & The Fusion Band, The Everything Covered Band, and Fuerza Positiva
  • August 16: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2019 - The Mambo Legends Orchestra
  • August 23: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2019 - Tony Vega & Bronx Charanga
  • August 30: Bronx Summer Concert Series 2016 -  Los Hermanos Moreno and Willy Valentin y Su Orquesta

“I want to thank The Bronx Tourism Council and BronxNet for helping put together these telecasts, showcasing the best performances that have made Orchard Beach a must-see summertime destination spot, not just for the borough but for the entire city of New York,” said Borough President Diaz Jr.

“We look forward to celebrating Bronx Salsa Fest together in the future, but in the spirit of keeping our brand alive, we are also offering some virtual activities in addition to the previous concerts being aired,” said Olga Luz Tirado, Executive Director of The Bronx Tourism Council. "Though, for now, we are keeping a safe distance, I am confident that we will dance together again!”

“BronxNet broadcasts programs that celebrate The Bronx as a cultural capital and nexus of the arts, said BronxNet Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe. “Through our longstanding partnership with the Bronx Borough President and The Bronx Tourism Council we are proud to broadcast the Bronx Summer Concert Series on BronxNet TV.”