Saturday, April 30, 2011

The KHNIA Dinner Date Has Been Changed to Saturday June 11th

    Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association Dinner Dance  Saturday June 11th
This Year Honoring

SR. Mary Cleary
Our Lady of Angels School

SATURDAY June 11, 2011
7 PM – 11 PM

Lehman College-  East Dining Room
Make your reservations early as seating is limited for this very special occasion.

TICKETS: $25.00      Info/718-618-7550

The Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association, Inc.
2805 University Avenue, Suite B
Bronx, N.Y. 10468
Tel- 718-618-7550       Fax: 718-618-7549

Friday, April 29, 2011



New York City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about today's announcement by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York levying charges against a private DOE consultant for stealing $3.6million:

“Federal charges once again, that a consultant has stolen millions from the taxpayers are infuriating enough.  Even more disconcerting, however, are indications that corporations with billions of dollars in City business have aided and abetted and profited from the scam.  As
with the CityTime scandal, oversight of subcontracting is acutely needed right now.”

Comptroller Liu has directed a review of contracts with vendors implicated by Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District, Richard Condon. The Comptroller’s Office is currently auditing a number of technology projects also involving some of the same vendors, including ARIS, Future Technology Associates, iZone, and E911.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Senator Gustavo Rivera (D, WF-Bronx) recognized Autism Awareness Month and announced his support for legislation that would provide screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, help to end discriminatory practices impacting New Yorkers. Since being elected, Senator Rivera has visited with organizations that provide critical services for children and families impacted by autism in the Bronx, including Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), the Bronx Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Council and Unique People Services.

“Autism is a condition that affects many children and families,” said Senator Rivera. This disorder has impacted my own family, as my brother was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. A growing number of children are being diagnosed with autism, and consequently, a growing number of New Yorkers now have a personal connection to the disorder.

However, most people who have not had a personal experience with the condition have little knowledge of the condition and find it difficult to understand. It is for that reason that it is so important that New Yorkers are aware of autism, the need to properly screen, diagnose and treat autism as well as the effect the disorder can have on children and families.

It is just as important, however, that our state government recognize the importance of ensuring that New York’s children are able to receive screening, diagnoses and treatment for Autism as well as the impact that autism can have on New York children and families.  That is why I am a co-sponsor of S. 4005, legislation that seeks to end discriminatory health insurance practices, helping thousands of New York families receive the coverage they need. As elected officials, we must all work together, Democrats and Republicans, in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation that requires insurance companies to cover screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism and then ensure this legislation is signed into law.”

Last year, the Senate and Assembly passed similar legislation, seeking to establish a national model requiring health care coverage for autism, saving families of children with autism thousands of dollars a year. Unfortunately, while 24 states have already passed similar measures, this legislation was vetoed last session by Governor Patterson.

Autism is a neural development disorder. Indicators of the disorder include impaired social interaction and communication, as well as restricted and repetitive behavior. According to the Center for Disease Control, just three decades ago only 3.5 children out of every 10,000 were diagnosed with autism. However, current rates indicate 1 in every 110 children is afflicted.

April was designated in 1970 by the National Autism Society as National Autism Awareness Month in order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism. For more information about autism, visit www. and


Socrates A. Caba & LeMed Pharmacy are pleased to announce the formation of the Bronx Borough AIDS Advocacy Network (BBAAN). Along with Socrates Caba, the former coordinator of the Bronx HIV Care Network, LeMed Pharmacy understands the magnitude of collaboration, the distribution of information, education and networking, something vital to the community at large, and persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

The mission of BBAAN is to strengthen community awareness of available services in community based organizations. BBAAN will foster collaborations and networking among residents of the community and CBO service providers. Members will collectively identify and prioritize local regional needs, provide information and education in an effort to promote services and improve community awareness of HIV related issues.

In addition to the tremendous need for advocacy, BBAAN will be meeting to discuss service priorities and linkages to care throughout the Bronx and invite all to be a part of the initial meeting. Event details follow below.

Thursday, April 28st 2011 --  6:00pm to 7:30pm
CitiWide Harm Reduction Program 
226 East 144th Street, Bronx, NY 10451

6:00pm – 6:15pm               Introductions and Announcements
6:15pm – 6:45pm               Discuss Network Mission and Purpose
6:45pm – 7:15pm               Presentation:   Sean Barry, ED  Vocal  - NY
                                                                   “Housing Issues: 30% Rent Cap” 
                                                                   “Medicaid Cuts”
7:15pm – 7:30pm               Networking

Directions:             Train: 2, 4& 5 to 149th St./Grand Course
                                                Buses: 1,2 & 19

Food & Metro-cards will be provided. For More information call 347.805.5180 or 347-326-5100.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SoBRO Receives Two Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program Grants to Revitalize Port Morris  

The New York State Department of State awarded SoBRO two Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program grants for planning, analysis and predevelopment activities in the Port Morris neighborhood of the Bronx adjacent to the Harlem River and the East River. The awards will allow SoBRO to advance efforts to clean up “brownfield sites”—dormant and environmentally contaminated lots of land— for their eventual redevelopment into areas of commercial and/or residential use. SoBRO’s Harlem River and East River projects were among only four initiatives funded in New York City and 21 projects funded across New York State. The two awards, totaling $807,800, represent a major investment in the community revitalization of the South Bronx.

SoBRO’s first BOA project involves the completion of an Implementation Strategy for a 200-acre area containing 10 brownfield sites in Port Morris near the Harlem River. The project’s objectives include establishing development and financing plans to realize the removal of hazardous substances from former industrial properties, predevelopment efforts aimed at redeveloping the land into commercial and/or residential properties, and increasing waterfront access to the Harlem River.

For the second BOA project, SoBRO will complete an in-depth assessment and evaluation for a 145-acre area with approximately 20 brownfield sites located in Port Morris near the East River. The project will help identify strategies to remove environmentally hazardous substances and study the most effective ways to redevelop and reuse the land to energize the local economy. SoBRO was awarded $374,000 for this initiative.

The work on these BOA sites will enable future investments to flow into the South Bronx from both public and private realms. “The BOA program has been an instrumental tool in engaging property owners and the local community in a meaningful planning process that facilitates revitalization of underutilized lots in the historically underserved neighborhoods of the Bronx,” explained Phillip Morrow, SoBRO’s President and CEO. “Leveraging this program allows us to bring critical and sustainable economic development practices to address sites that are among the most challenging yet have tremendous potential for positive impact into our communities. We commend New York State for prioritizing this important program, and pledge to continue our efforts to bring Brownfield sites back to productive uses for the Bronx.”

The BOA program is sponsored by the New York State Department of State in partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation. To date, more than 100 BOA revitalization strategies are underway, supported by over $32 million in New York State funds. For more information about this year’s BOA program, visit the Department of State’s website at For more information about SoBRO, visit or contact us directly with the information provided below. 

Monday, April 25, 2011


Dozens of banners promoting borough festivities will appear in different city neighborhoods 

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and The Bronx Tourism Council announced today that Bronx Week 2011 will be promoted through a first-ever lamppost advertising campaign in neighborhoods in Manhattan and Queens.
The banners will be displayed in Soho, South Street Seaport, and Union Square in Manhattan and at LaGuardia Airport in Queens. The promotional banners, created in partnership with NYC & Company, will invite city residents and visitors to the numerous events that are scheduled during the Bronx Week 2011, celebration that this year marks its 40th anniversary and takes place from May 12 to May 22.
“Bronx Week is the best time to visit The Bronx and to confirm that our borough is a great place to live, work, and have fun.  We want to be sure that more and more New Yorkers and tourists will visit us and share the biggest celebration of our culture, history and places. We are ready to show them the beauty of The Bronx!” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The banners, which read “The Party Is Uptown” and feature the website, show pictures of some of the borough’s most famous places such as the Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Garden, and will be up through the end of the festivities.
For more information on Bronx Week, visit

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Open Letter to the Editors of the Village Voice

From Senator Ruben Diaz Sr

To the Editors of the Village Voice:
  When I read Steven Thrasher's column, Ruben Diaz Sr.: Gay Marriage Over My Dead Body, I realized that your point was not to explore the beliefs of people opposed to homosexual marriage, but to vilify my principled and vocal defense against attacks on marriage as we know it.
  When I read the comments posted online that followed your article, I considered that you or your editors have espoused an "at all costs" approach to achieving your goal of passing a gay marriage bill.  One reader, Wayne writes: " you wish, Mr Diaz.....I can arrange your final resting place in a local dump."
  Would the authors and editors at the Village Voice have been so quick to tolerate any comments hoping for the demise or imminent death of one of their favorite political leaders? Or perhaps their purpose really was to draw out and encourage criminal acts by your readers.
  If the "affront" to my personal safety wasn't enough, it was embodied in an article that was so poorly researched. The two factual errors come to mind: first of all, if as you say my chief-of-staff is gay, no one has bothered to tell her. Also, if any of your readers are interested in attending a counter-demonstration, they shouldn't bother taking your directions to gather at 181st Street expecting the end of our rally there, I and the thousands of New Yorkers who believe in respect for human life and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman will be found praying near the Bronx County Courthouse at 161st Street and the Grand Concourse.
It's so sad to see people in journalism abuse their positions, but it's outrageous to see how the editors of the Village Voice use their editorial discretion to facilitate and encourage homicide.
Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz
32nd Senatorial District.
Please don't make any comments that will have to be deleted --- 100PERCENT. 


Assemblyman Michael Benedetto
Treasurer of Bronx County Democratic Party

Lisa Marie Agosto-Soto • Organizational Award
Paul Spitaleri & Garrett Lane • Hospitality Award
SUNDAY •MAY 1,2011•1PM-4PM
MIRIAM SCHWARTZ  718-829-3041
JOSEPH A. MCMANUS   718-644-1841

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New tolls on the East River Bridges?

Here is the bill proposed by the five State Senators listed to the Assembly, and it is unknown who is the assembly sponsor if there is one. 

  New York State Assembly Logo Thursday, April 21, 2011

S04774 Summary:

BILL NO    S04774 

SAME AS    No same as




Amd S800, Tax L; amd S28, NYC Chart
Relates to eliminating the Metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax in certain counties and authorizing the imposition of certain bridge tolls by the city of New York.

S04774 Actions:

BILL NO    S04774 


S04774 Text:

S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K ________________________________________________________________________ 4774 2011-2012 Regular Sessions I N S E N A T E April 20, 2011 ___________ Introduced by Sens. BONACIC, BALL, LARKIN, SALAND, ZELDIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to the Metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax and to amend the New York city charter, in relation to the imposition of certain bridge tolls THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: 1 Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 800 of the tax law, as added by 2 section 1 of part C of chapter 25 of the laws of 2009, is amended to 3 read as follows: 4 (a) Metropolitan commuter transportation district. The metropolitan 5 commuter transportation district ("MCTD") means the area of the state 6 included in the district created and governed by section twelve hundred 7 sixty-two of the public authorities law, BUT EXCLUDING THE COUNTIES OF 8 DUTCHESS, ORANGE, PUTNAM, SUFFOLK, ROCKLAND, NASSAU AND WESTCHESTER. 9 S 2. Section 28 of the New York city charter is amended by adding a 10 new subdivision h to read as follows: 11 H. FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING AN ADDITIONAL STABLE AND RELIABLE 12 DEDICATED FUNDING SOURCE FOR THE METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY 13 AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES AND AFFILIATES TO PRESERVE, OPERATE AND IMPROVE 14 ESSENTIAL TRANSIT AND TRANSPORTATION SERVICES IN THE METROPOLITAN COMMU- 15 TER TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT, THE COUNCIL IS AUTHORIZED TO ESTABLISH 16 TOLLS ON THE FOLLOWING BRIDGES OVER THE EAST RIVER: BROOKLYN, MANHAT- 17 TAN, WILLIAMSBURG AND QUEENSBORO BRIDGES. THE RECEIPT OF REVENUES GENER- 18 ATED FROM SUCH TOLLS, IS AUTHORIZED TO BE TRANSMITTED BY THE CITY TO THE 19 METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY FOR SUCH PURPOSES. IN THE EVENT 20 THAT ANY OR ALL OF SUCH BRIDGES ARE CONVEYED, THE DEED OF CONVEYANCE 21 SHALL INCLUDE A PROVISION RESERVING SUCH RECEIPTS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION 22 USES WITHIN THE CITY OF NEW YORK. 23 S 3. This act shall take effect immediately. EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08935-01-1 

Bronx Week 2011 Vendor Invitation

Bronx Week Festival
40th Anniversary
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Mosholu Parkway
The largest street fair & festival in the Bronx.  
An all-day celebration and concert draws thousands for the grand finale of the Bronx Week celebration, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.
All types of vendors welcome
For information and an application
Contact:  Freddy Perez 
In partnership with
btc logo



 In response to questions about the Requests for Proposals (RFP) for a Financial Advisor, Pricing Advisor and Swap Advisor released jointly today by the Comptroller’s Office and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, Comptroller C. John Liu stated the following:

"New York City's ambitious infrastructure rebuilding plan requires billions to be raised in the capital markets.  These RFPs will allow new as well as established firms to compete for the City's business, ensuring that our taxpayers get the best deal with lower borrowing costs.  Moreover, opening the process up to competition may result in doing more business with firms owned by minorities, women and small NYC-based business, whereas continuing the same old non-competitive process guarantees the status quo.”
The existing Financial Advisor contracts had been extended multiple times without a new RFP being issued.
Deputy Comptroller for Public Finance Carol Kostik stated, “New York City benefits from a deep talent pool in financial services.  We manage a large and complex financing program, so we want the best and the brightest on our financing teams.  With these RFPs, firms can compete to earn a place on those teams.”
Two RFPs were issued today, one for Financial Advisor and Price Advisor, and one for Swap Advisor.  The RFPs will be used to hire advisers for the City General Obligation bonds as well as for the New York City Transitional Finance Authority, the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority, and the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Authority.

Croton Filter Project - Croton FMC Meeting Agenda

Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 – 7:00 PM
DEP Community Office, 3660 Jerome Avenue, Bronx NY 10467

I Welcome Father Richard Gorman, Chair

II Consider, Adopt 3/31/11 Meeting Minutes CFMC Representatives

III Update on NYCDOHMH Rodent Index Caroline Bragdon, MPH

IV Update on Parks Design for Ft Independence Frank McCue, DPR
Park & JPR Jogging Path, Including Costs Mark Lanaghan, DEP

V Construction Update, Schedule & Costs Bernard Daly, P.E., DEP
& Upcoming Construction in Goulden Ave

VI Status of Force Main Design Lauren Competello, P.E., DEP

VII Current Report - Croton Jobs Mark Lanaghan, DEP

VIII Continued Discussion, Public Access to JPR CFMC Representatives

IX CFMC Discussion, Set Next Meeting CFMC Representatives

X Adjourn

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Curtis Sliwa to Have Prostrate Surgery

    Having been diagnosed over a year ago with prostrate cancer Curtis Sliwa tried a homeopathic and holistic regime that included vitamins and raw vegetables, but that apparently has not been enough to cure him. Silwa will undergo surgery Thursday morning at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Sliwa hopes to be back on the air within one week after the prostrate surgery. There is a possibility that old scar tissue from a gunshot wound Sliwa survived in 1992 could complicate the operation forcing Sliwa's hospital stay to be longer than he anticipates. 
    “I hear my enemies, The Gambinos are already taking action on the over/under and point spread of this occurring.” he said.

El Grupo Unidos, the organizing committee, which includes C-Town Supermarket, Health Plus and a variety of national vendors and local merchants, will hold its Sixth Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Belmont section of the Bronx – which holds one of the largest concentrations of Mexicans in the borough, on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

“You know it’s a great day when you witness residents from various cultures joining their Mexican neighbors in celebration,” said event organizer, Radame Perez.  “It’s a strong testament to the diversity of the Bronx.”

Over 3000 expected attendees will take part in the day-long event with live music, raffles, games, face painting, and receiving educational and promotional give-aways.   Participants will also enjoy the taste of Mexican culture with the best in Mexican flair, including tacos and fresh beverages of various flavors from pineapple to coconut.

“The Belmont neighborhood, which is the real Little Italy in the city, is truly a gorgeous mosaic in the Bronx, with Italians and Puerto Ricans, and Albanians and Mexicans,” said Perez.  “Each of us has something important to contribute.”

Cinco de Mayo is the traditional holiday that marks the triumph of Mexico over their French invaders on May 5, 1862. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011 - 10am - 3pm
668 Crescent Avenue, Bronx, NY 10458
(Between Belmont Ave and Cambreleng Ave)


The Beginning of Events - Bronx Week
This Year The 40th Anniversary

These two items for Bronx Week came in from the borough president's office.

1.      As part of this year’s Bronx Week celebrations, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be honoring Bronxites that are 100 years of age or older.  If you or someone you know meet this criteria and would like to participate in this event, please contact Larcenia Walton at 718-590-6248 or for more information.

 2.   Street vendors are invited to take part in the Bronx Week Festival on Mosholu Parkway on Sunday, May 22, hosted by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  Food, arts & crafts, and an all-day concert draw thousands to the site for the grand finale of the Bronx Week celebration, which marks its 40th anniversary this year. For more information and an application, please contact Sonia Malave at 718-590-3989.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bronx Week Promo

Here is Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. promoting Bronx Week which runs from May 12th to May 22nd.

Go to for more information.

Weekend Recap 

Hundreds of people attended the Neighborhood Festival sponsored by the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center on Saturday. Neighborhood residents and volunteers from the Horace Mann School are pictured here with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Council member Oliver Koppell, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and KHCC’s Executive Director Giselle Melendez-Susca.

State Senator Jeff Klein, Councilmember Oliver Koppell, and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, helped celebrate the opening of the new baseball season of the Wood-Lean Boys and Girls Club at Sean Healy Field in Woodlawn on Saturday. They are pictured in the attached photo with some of the future superstars.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


   City Comptroller John C. Liu today released an audit that found a company that ran three City carousels overcharged customers, maintained little or no records of its cash transactions, and violated health codes.
    The vendor, New York One, was required to pay the City whichever was higher — either a flat fee or a percentage of its sales.  Without fail, the company reported the flat fee was the higher amount.  But the company kept such poor sales records that it was impossible to determine if it paid the City what it owed in 2008 and 2009. Auditors could not find any evidence to back New York One’s claims of its cash revenue from rides, hot dogs, and souvenirs.
    “Our kids want to go for a spin on the merry-go-round, but taxpayers don’t want to be taken for a ride,” Comptroller Liu said.  “This contractor needs to straighten itself out.  The Parks Department needs to monitor the company to ensure taxpayers are getting their due or find someone who is up to the job.”
  Additional financial issues
       Auditors found the operator owes the City $454,325 for restoration and repairs that were not made at the Central Park and Forest Park carousels.
       Auditors found the operator under reported its take from special events at the Central Park carousel by at least $58,424.
       Auditors found the operator charged more than Parks Department guidelines for admissions, food, and souvenirs at the Flushing Meadows
Corona Park carousel.
       Auditors found the operator should spend $110,000 on capital improvements at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park carousel.
       Auditors found that the Parks Department failed to collect up to $151,375 in operating fees from New York One when the vendor ran the Central Park carousel without a contract from January to September 2008.
Health issues
       Auditors found that the operator’s employees built a makeshift toilet in the Central Park carousel’s mechanical room using buckets and a funnel.
       Auditors found that the operator did not maintain the three carousels’ pushcarts, snack bars, and surrounding areas in a safe and sanitary manner.
       Auditors found that the operator continued to use a dirty popcorn
machine and hot dog roller at the Central Park carousel despite a
Parks Department order to halt sales.
       Auditors found that the operator’s food carts at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park carousel were not properly licensed by the Department of Health.

    The audit determined that the Parks Department failed to properly monitor the carousel operator or promptly use the tools at its disposal to enforce the terms and conditions of the contracts.
    New York One currently runs only the Flushing Meadows Corona Park carousel.  The Parks Department cut short the company’s contract to operate the Central Park carousel in February 2010 when it failed to improve its operations.  The Forest Park carousel has been closed since the operator gave up its contract in 2009.
    According to the Annual Concession Report of the City Chief Procurement Officer September 2010, New York One and its related entities operated 25 concessions for which the City received gross revenues of approximately $5 million in fiscal year 2010.
    The Parks Department agreed with the majority of the audit finding and recommendations.  New York One disagreed with most of the audit findings, but agreed with most of its recommendations to get proper licenses and maintain records.
    Comptroller Liu credited Deputy Comptroller for Audit H. Tina Kim and the Audit Bureau for presenting the findings.  The full report is available at

Friday, April 15, 2011

Senator Reverend Diaz to Mayor Michael Bloomberg:“Don’t Fluff Off My Request”

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) released the following statement regarding the one-page letter he received in response to his Freedom Of Information Law request asking for details about Chancellor Cathie Black’s salary and benefits:

“This afternoon, I received an inadequate response to my FOIL request to the New York City Department of Education for any and all information regarding the entire salary, benefits, and other compensation that New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black has received or will receive, including any severance or retirement benefits.
The reply only contained a one-page letter dated January 3, 2011 to Cathie Black, signed by both her and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, appointing her as Chancellor of the City School District of the City of New York.  While Mayor Bloomberg actually hired Cathie Black to serve as Schools Chancellor, the Department of Education maintains her records, and I am certain the one-page letter is merely part of the response.
Nothing in that one-page letter explains the “standard benefits package for at-will managerial employees of the Department of Education.”  Nothing in that one-page letter explains if Cathie Black received zero dollars after she left, or if she has received a severance package for her 3-month tenure.
On behalf of my constituents, I will continue pursue this request for information and look forward to a complete reply."
     We must add that while the letter from Mayor Bloomberg is dated January 3rd 2011, there is no date below Ms. Blacks acceptance signature, it just states dated without any date. So was she even chancellor, and if so as of when was it?

Freedom of Information Law Request

This came in from Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.

Records Access Officer
NYC Department of Education
52 Chambers Street, Room 308
New York, New York 10007

To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is a FOIL request for any and all information regarding the entire salary, benefits, and other compensation that New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black has received or will receive, including any severance or retirement benefits.
Should there be any portion of this request that is denied, please state the reasons for denying my request.  A prompt response to my request is mandated by statute.


Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz


Assemblyman Marcos Crespo
  Helped Launch New Small Business.

     On Thursday April 14, 2011   Bronx State Assemblyman Marcos Crespo helped inaugurate a new business in the Soundview section of The Bronx.
    The new Glamour Beauty Parlor will employ seven (7)  community individuals as part of its effort to provide employment locally.   The store's Proprietors are Ana Lucia, and Sirvana Urena.  Mr. Giovany Urena helped design and construct the store.
     The store owners have employed 10 local residents, and will offer on the job training for 7 new applicants as apprentices.  The business will open from 10AM to 7PM Monday to Saturday, and will open Sundays from 10AM to 4PM.  the owners intend to train females and males, ensuring that no employment discrimination mysogyny is practiced against one gender.
     "This is the kind of job growth that keeps America going.  Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we need to do more in terms of tax breaks, and incentives for small businesses." said Assemblyman Crespo.
     Ms. Brenda Candelario, Chief of Staff to Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. was also present representing the Senator.
      The event was filled with music, refreshments, snacks.
       Glamour Beauty Parlor is located at 745 White Plains Road in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
Pictures are Assemblyman Crespo, Senator Diaz's Chief of staff Brenda Candelario, along with the owners and friends of the new business. Our thanks to Mr. Frank Strongbow for the picture, and information.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


  On Thursday, April 28th, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli will speak about the State Budget at SoBRO’s South Bronx Leadership Forum (SBLF). DiNapoli, New York’s chief fiscal officer, is responsible for auditing the operations of all State agencies and local governments, managing the State’s pension fund, overseeing the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviewing the State and New York City budgets, approving State contracts, administering the State’s payroll and central accounting system. Since first taking the position in February 2007, DiNapoli has transformed the way the Comptroller’s office does business, instilling reforms to make government more effective, efficient and ethical. He has pushed for increased transparency and accountability in government, and identified billions of dollars in waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.
  At SoBRO’s forum, DiNapoli is expected to field questions about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2011-2012 Executive Budget, which called for a $400 million spending cut in selected social services. According to Albany, the budget “reduces [the] state’s current year deficit without raising taxes [and] outlines a broad effort to redesign state government with the goal of producing long term cost savings and better services.” Some of the affected programs such as adult education and senior centers are in the Bronx, where thousands of low-income residents depend on publicly funded social initiatives.
  The SBLF gives individuals that play a key role in this city an opportunity to discuss their plans and priorities by addressing leaders from the public, private, non-profit and business sectors, along with members of the community. Previous guests have included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Former Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Charles E. Schumer and many more of the region’s most influential figures. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will make an excellent and honorable addition to this distinguished roster.
  South Bronx Leadership Forum 
  New York State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli
  Thursday, April 28th, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  
  SoBRO Center, 555 Bergen Avenue, 3rd Floor, Bronx, NY
  Because space is limited, reservations are requested to be made in advance by either emailing Linda Yantz at or calling, at 718.732.7522.   

Senator Klein will hold his 17th Annual Easter Bunny Breakfast and Magic Show

  Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) joined by more than 300 children from the Bronx and Westchester, will hold his 17th annual Easter Bunny Breakfast and Magic Show. Families will enjoy a free breakfast, magic show and build-a-bunny workshop. The Easter Bunny will also make a special appearance. 
  Saturday, April 16th, 8:30 AM
   Villa Barone Catering Hall, 737 Throggs Neck Expressway, BRONX 
   For more information call Senator Klein's office at (718) 822-2049 .


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Independent Democratic Conference

  IDC Calls For MTA Forensic Audit

   Calling it the only sure way to get to the bottom of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's spending practices, the Independent Democratic Conference today unveiled legislation sponsored by Senator David Carlucci, (D-Rockland/ Orange), that would commence a forensic audit of the public authority.
   Under the legislation, (S.4501), the audit, which would be the first true top-to-bottom review of the MTA, would be conducted by an independent outside auditing firm and be paid for by the authority.
Through a series of questionable financial practices, the MTA has jeopardized the public trust,” Senator David Carlucci, (D-Rockland/Orange), said “New Yorkers have to manage their hard earned dollars in a responsible and competent way, and so should the authorities that tax dollars fund.  A full top-to-bottom forensic audit of exactly how these tax dollars are expended by the MTA will illuminate any discrepancies, move it toward fiscal solvency and eliminate the need for the payroll tax.”

   Decades of increased debt service and rising costs and – as well as a history of questionable spending practices – have left the MTA with projected out-year deficits of $247 million in 2012, $37 million in 2013, and $482 million in 2014. This is despite recent fare hikes and a 2009 rescue package that gave new revenue streams to the MTA, including the unpopular payroll mobility tax.
  A forensic audit is a specialized review of an entity's finances that is conducted with the aim of finding evidence of inappropriate financial activity. Compared to other audits, they are more complex and labor intensive, and require special expertise.
   The IDC believes that a forensic audit for the MTA is warranted due to a history of questionable behavior and spending decisions by the agency.
   A 2003 report by the State Comptroller's Office showed that the MTA overstated the severity of its fiscal problems and hid a $512.5 surplus in order to justify a 33 percent fare increase. This scandal caused a serious erosion in the public's trust of the MTA.
  Since then, the agency has taken steps to make its finances more transparent. However, reports of questionable spending decisions by the MTA continue.
This includes:
  • A 2010 report by the MTA Inspector General showing that the authority doled out millions of dollars to sub-par contractors. According to the report, the MTA attempted to hide this shoddy work in order to spare the authority embarrassment.
  • A 2010 audit by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli that found problematic policies regarding overtime at the MTA. The findings led to the comptroller ordering a forensic audit of just overtime at the authority. This forensic audit, the first of its kind by the Comptroller's office, is much narrower than what the IDC is proposing. The MTA has a $12 billion operating budget and is expected to spend $478 million on overtime this year.
  • Another report by Comptroller DiNapoli documented that the MTA spent $5.76 million to maintain a nearly empty building, its former headquarters in Brooklyn, as it considered renovations. At the same time, the MTA spent $1.4 million a year to rent office space for the displaced workers.
  • A report released last week by the Citizens Budget Commission that ranked the Long Island Rail Road and the MTA's bus systems among the most expensive mass transit networks in the country when compared by cost per-passenger mile.
Each of these little smoking guns adds up to one big fire,” Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/Westchester), said. “If we are going to work together to fix our mass transit system, we are going to need to be on the same page and know all the facts. I truly believe that the only way to accomplish this is through a forensic audit of the MTA's finances.”
Senate bill 4501 is not the first attempt by the Legislature to have a forensic audit of the MTA conducted. The MTA rescue plan gave the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly the power to initiate an audit the MTA in 2009, and possibly every two years going forward. However, the language of the bill left the scope of the audit subject to an agreement of legislative leaders and it did not have a dedicated funding stream. The time frame to conduct such an audit lapsed with no action taken.
Under S.4501, the scope of the audit will be comprehensive and the MTA itself would be responsible for payment. The MTA estimates that a full forensic audit of itself would cost up to $10 million.
The IDC believes that the MTA would be able to cover the costs by lowering unnecessary overtime and aggressively collecting back rent from tenants of MTA buildings. As of mid 2009 they were owed $9 million alone in back rent.
This is a one time expense that will pay dividends down the road,” Senator Diane Savino, (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn), said. “By undertaking this forensic audit, the MTA can put itself on the road to recovery and reclaim its reputation with the public.”
This proposal does have support in the State Senate, which included a forensic audit in its 2011-2012 budget resolution.
In these difficult economic times, where resources are scarce, it is extremely important that organizations funded by the state undertake all possible efforts to operate as efficiently as possible,” said Senator David J. Valesky. “This legislation is a first step toward getting the MTA back on the right track to ensure state resources are being used in the best way.”

  Photo-Senators David Valesky (D- Oneida), Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/ Westchester), Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn), David Carlucci (D- Rockland and Orange Counties.)