Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#1 Subway line to undergo major repair 6-2010 thru 6-2012

The Dyckman Street station on the #1 subway line will undergo major renovations that will close the station for ten months northbound and 10 months southbound. In addition for 14 weekends (to be announced) from 11:30 PM Friday night to 5AM Monday morning the #1 line will be shut down from 168th Street to 242nd Street. Northbound #1 riders will have to transfer at 168th Street to the A train to 207th Street, then board shuttle buses for stops to 242nd Street. Southbound #1 riders will have to board shuttle buses to the 207th Street A line stop and take the A train to 168th Street to catch the #1 train southbound. 
Regular weekday #1 service will bypass Dyckman street the side of construction in progress. Additional repair work consisting of no more than one months duration will occur at the W.207th Street, W.215th Street, W.225th Street, W.238th Street, and W. 242th Street stations. These stations will also be bypassed during construction as riders will have to come back on the other side to exit at the stations under construction with the exception of W.242thStreet.    
Work at the Dyckman Street station northbound will begin in September 2010 and continue through June 2011. Work southbound will begin July 2011 and continue thru June 2012. It was not announced as to when construction work will begin on the other five #1 stations. 
There was a meeting in Manhattan near the Dyckman Street station to inform local residents, and Councilman G. Oliver Koppell is seeking a meeting from the MTA to inform Bronx residents who use the #1 train of the construction work and service interruptions.

NYOFCO Sludge Fertilizer Plant Closes After 18 Years in Hunts Point

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is hailing the closure of the New York Organic Fertilizer Company (NYOFCO) plant in Hunts Point. Thanks to the closure, this will mark the first summer since 1992 that neighborhood residents will be able to spend time outdoors without being forced to deal with the noxious odors emanating from the sludge processing plant.
The plant, which has been processing human waste from New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) wastewater treatment plants into fertilizer pellets for the past 18 years, will begin to wind down operations this week.
“The closing of this plant has been a major priority of mine from the day I entered elected office,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Finally, we are able to declare victory in the fight against this environmental nuisance, and the residents of Hunts Point will be able to breathe easier at long last. This has been a long fight, but it was a fight worth having. A healthier Bronx is a top priority of my administration, and this is a major step towards that goal.”
The closing of the NYOFCO plant in Hunts Point heralds the era of a cleaner, greener Bronx, where the health and well-being of Bronxites is no longer compromised by incompetent industrial operations. However, while the exit of NYOFCO from the Hunts Point neighborhood is a cause for celebration, many are cautious about the fact that this turn of events will add truck traffic to the streets of Hunts Point, which are already overburdened with trucks traveling to and from this industrial neighborhood.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Croton Filtration Monitoring Committee Meeting June 17th

   Mr. Damian McShane chair of Community Board #8 and chair of the CFMC opened the meeting by saying that the chairs of CB7 and CB12 would not be in attendance. Mr. McShane also said that there would be no July meeting of the CFMC. In the construction update from DEP it was said that two miles of trolley tracks were found and would have to be removed from the Webster Avenue corridor before the force main from the water filtration plant to the waste water plant in Hunts Point could be built. Work on the main will start in Hunts Point and work up the local streets to the main corridor of Webster Avenue (from E.170th Street to E.204th Street) ending up on Bainbridge Avenue to the filtration plant.
   The discussion then moved to jobs where DEP Assistant Commissioner Mark Lanaghan said there is 1054 workers on site with 203 from the Bronx for 19 percent of the workforce. Councilman G. Oliver Koppell voiced his displeasure with such a low local percentage, and added that DEP had promised more Bronx jobs then they have provided. Mr. Lanaghan then announced that DEP would have 56 DEP employees running the water filtration plant, and that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and BOEDC are working with DEP to get more Bronxites hired.
   There was some concern about fire house closings, as the closest fire house to the filtration plant is two blocks past White Plains Road on E.233rd Street. Councilman Koppell voiced concern  that Mayor Bloombergs closing of fire houses would not be known until the city budget is done by the end of June.
   The next CFMC meeting will be held on Thursday August 17th at the DEP community office on Jerome Avenue at 7PM.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why I Refuse to Budge by New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

 Here is the statement in its entirety, from Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.

For some reason, my refusal to go along with budget extenders that include budget cuts is causing unusual concern about my responsibilities as a Democrat. As a Democrat, I am opposed to these deep cuts that will disproportionately impact the lives of my constituents and the lives of less fortunate New Yorkers.

I need to set the record straight about why I will not budge and why I will not vote for another budget extender that includes tax cuts. (I will vote for a budget extended that does not include tax cuts.) I want New Yorkers to know about the three solid legislative initiatives I support that would help balance the budget and fill the gaps. None of these proposed bills will hurt the needy, and all of them will help New York State.

1) Pass Senate Bill 1645 to create a New York State prescription medication cost containment program. This bill would allow institutions throughout New York State to make bulk purchases of prescription drugs from Canada for our seniors. Schenectady County serves as a model for this type of innovative program. In their first five years utilizing the Canadian drug program, Schenectady County’s savings in prescription drug costs have exceeded $9.4 million. This innovative program needs to be enacted throughout the State.

2) Pass Senate Bill S774 to force credit card companies to send taxes they have already collected directly to New York State instead of to the merchants. Presently, when people in New York make credit card purchases, the credit card companies send the collected taxes back to the merchants, instead of sending the money directly to the State. These merchants are then supposed to send these sales taxes to the State. For various reasons, many businesses only send an estimate or portion, others send nothing at all, and others declare bankruptcy - - as a result, New York State’s budget loses $500 - $600 million of tax revenue already … collected by credit card companies and owed to the State.

3) Enact legislation to collect taxes from cigarettes generated by American Indians sales to non-Native Americans. In the fiscal year 2008-2009, 40 million cartons of cigarettes sold by Native American were sold untaxed, translating to a loss of as much as $1.6 billion to New York State.

While much attention has been given to the push and shove match in Albany this year about our State’s budget, overlooked are fiscally responsible proposals I have made and continue to support that could save New Yorkers billions – yes, BILLIONS – of dollars to help fill these budget gaps.

There is no excuse that these three pieces of legislation remain in limbo. If and when they are enacted into law, weekly budget extenders will no longer be necessary. No matter what happens in Albany on Monday, I remain committed to representing my constituents and to defending against cuts to the poor and the needy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thursdays celebration of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade

   Thursday night at Maestros was billed as Abrazo Boricua in celebration of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade inc. This should have been up a day earlier, but I was still in shock from the love fest that went on between Governor Paterson and Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. The two who on Thursday morning were exchanging barbs and calling each other names while threatening to shut down New York State had nothing but praise and good words for each other. Also on hand were Bronx borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., New York State Comptroller Tom  Dinapoli, Assemblyman Marco Crespo, Ms. Madelyn Lugo President of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, and Hon. Anibal Vega Borges the mayor of the Municipality of Toa Baja.
   Over 400 people were in attendance, including 76th Assembly candidate Luis Sepulveda who has lost 22 pounds in the past few weeks running all around the 76th Assembly District. State Senate Conference Leader John Sampson arrived after Governor Paterson had already left, but Sampson also had only kind words for the governor, while loving words for Senator Diaz.
   One person not able to attend was Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., who's aide said that Espada was on his way from a late night in Albany and would not be able to make the event in time. The only thing missing then would have been Assembly Speaker Silver, and maybe the budget could have been hammered out that night.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another Candidate Enters the 80th Assembly Race

Here is a statement from Irene Estrada-Rukaj announcing her candidacy for the 80th Assembly.
   On June 8, 2010 Irene Estrada-Rukaj, dedicated community activist and Bronx resident, has announced her candidacy for State Assembly in the 80 th district.  This is the culmination of a life-long dream to bring together her passion for community service and politics. Irene Estrada-Rukaj has worked diligently with elected officials, religious leaders, business leaders, non-profits and educational and sports organizations to coordinate events such as crime prevention conferences, toy drives and access to educational and recreational programs to benefit the residents of the Bronx."Equality in the entire district is an important issue. Equal representation for all communities to have a voice that will bring results."   
   Raising her children in a single parent home has inspired her to fight harder for much needed community outreach. She is concerned with issues that are undermining our family structure and are compromising our quality of life such as poverty, access to education, immigration, health care, law enforcement and emergency services. During these times of economic struggle, the District belongs in the hands of a leader that will be available to the community and work hard to fight for serious issues that affect all residents. Enough of the (missing in action) assembly: let's welcome  Irene Estrada-Rukaj , the woman who will hold our 80th District together. 
    Ms. Estrada-Rukaj is an ordained  Minister and New York State Chaplain, a member of Community Board 11, Tenant Association President of the Mayfair / Mayflower Building, Founder and Director of the Mini Olympics Children Organization, 49th Pct. Community Council former member and former Civilian Advisor for the 49th Pct. Youth Explorers and a Graduate of the Civilians Police Academy. Ms. Estrada is the Parent Coordinator of Aspire Preparatory Middle School. Ms. Estrada is a member of the 49th Pct Clergy Coalition. 
   Irene Estrada-Rukaj will be knocking on doors and can be reached by email at  
Making a difference since 1982.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Petitions -Who's on First?

I wanted to start off with the old Abbott and Costello routine that went Who's on First, What's on Second, I Don't Know-Third Base, because that is what some of the petitions look like.
First you have to look at the petition to see who is listed in what position, and then say I don't know how that happened. A case in point is one of the petitions for 80th Assembly. The assembly candidate is Naomi Rivera, Male District Leader Kenny Agosto, Female District Leader Mariam Schwartz, Male State Committee Joe McManus, Female State Committee Diane Savino. You might say how did that happen, but it gets even more puzzling when you look at the committee to fill vacancies. Here you find the names Stanley Schlein, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Michael Benedetto, Helen Diane Foster, and Annabelle Palmer. So when you look at this petition again you say Why, or Because  and wind up in the outfield. If you really want to join the Abbott and Costello routine you say to the person with the petition why should I sign today when I can sign tomorrow, and you will be told that is our pitcher and catcher to end the story. 
I hope you liked my comparison of this to an Abbott and Costello routine. Next is the old Laurel and Hardy saying "Now look at the fine mess you got me into now".

Monday, June 7, 2010

80th Assembly Race Update

MORRIS PARK, THE BRONX – After discussing a plan of action with fellow community minded individuals of the 80th Assembly District, twenty-seven year old John Jay College graduate student and former Obama campaign field organizer, Robert Giuffre announces that he will campaign for the seat in the Democratic Primary election.  Proudly endorsed by previous challenger and community leader, Joe Thompson, Giuffre will run a true grassroots campaign. Thompson commented on his endorsement:
“Robert has displayed a passion to improve his community. By challenging an incumbent and political establishment, he has proven his courage and fortitude. Albany, with few exceptions, has proven to be self-centered rather than community-minded, and it is time we elect representatives who truly believe in the constitutional words: of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Robert Giuffre is starting his campaign very late in the political season because other potential candidates displayed interest in running. Out of party loyalty and respect, Giuffre intended to support the best qualified challenger. After it became clear that no challenger would step up to the plate and run, Giuffre decided to throw his hat into the political ring. Giuffre commented on his candidacy:
“I am profoundly honored to receive the support of Joe Thompson and other dedicated members of the community. Living in Morris Park my entire life, and having long-term family roots here, I feel this election is a fight to ensure that this area remains a place where someone would want to raise a family. I could not sit on the sidelines as another election cycle passes without a serious primary challenge. Many career political insiders will label this campaign a whimsical upstart effort with no real chance of success; this is flawed logic. With such low voter turnout in primary elections, a grassroots campaign could win with little money, but a strong and energetic candidate who isn't afraid to knock on doors and work hard. I plan to do just that, and I thank all the people who have showed support and have vowed to join me. My campaign's message is simple: "quality of life in the neighborhood and real reform in Albany"; my overall goal is equally simply: to prove that the people control their political destiny, not back room political wheelers and dealers.”
The campaign is gearing up for the start of petition circulation, and the campaign committee is accepting campaign contributions to “Friends of Rob Giuffre.” More importantly, any New York Democrat interested in collecting signatures to ensure ballot access should contact the candidate directly at (347) 538-6231. A website is under construction and will be up and running shortly.
Friends of Rob Giuffre