Tuesday, May 23, 2017

City Hall in Your Borough

  Today City agencies were made available to the public, as well as the mayor himself in the Rotunda of the Bronx County Building located at 851 Grand Concourse. There were not only Bronc commissioners, but also Citywide commissioners available to talk to and listen to the average citizen. The event lasted from 9 AM to 2 PM when Mayor Bill de Blasio went to various locations in the Bronx. At 12:30 PM the mayor toured Arthur Avenue to visit with Small Businesses. At 5 PM the mayor visited seniors along with Councilman Jimmy Vacca at Villa Barone Manor. Below are some photos of City Hall in your borough.

Above - Not only was Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez on hand, but her boss NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver was on hand also to hear about Bronx parks.
Below - Some of the behind the scene DOT people you don't always see. 

Above - Effie of the NYCEPA (formally DEP) listens to one Bronx resident who had a problem.
Below - A map of the current active CPC sites which are currently under study (in blue) at the City Planning table.  

Above and Below - You can see how each city agency or department had a table with experts in their field to help Bronx residents with any questions.

Above - The Department of Sanitation is well represented by its top supervisor Mr. Terranova.
Below - Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson stands with a few  Bronx police officers on hand including Chief Nikunen.

Above and Below - The mayor and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. get a few words in. Could it have been about their favorite baseball teams?

Above - The mayor is ready to take on questions from Bronx residents.
Below - The mayor listens to this Bronxite's comments.

Above - This bronx resident shows the mayor what her problem is, as one of the mayor's aids looks on.
Below - Dr. Cary Goodman (of the 161st Street BID) gives Mayor de Blasio a Derek Jeter Mother's Day retirement shirt the 161st Street BID had masw for the Yankee great's retirement celebration on Mother's Day.

Bronx Chamber of Commerce 2017 Golf Outing at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 8th

Due to yesterday's rain
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce 2017 Golf 
Outing at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point
has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 8th



  State Senator Gustavo Rivera released the following statement today after bill S159 was reported out of the Senate Health Committee. This bill, which is sponsored by State Senator Gustavo Rivera in the New York Senate and Assemblymember Deborah Glick in the New York State Assembly, will allow freestanding diagnostic and treatment centers that receive comprehensive family planning reproductive health services grants, such as Planned Parenthood, to become eligible for state assistance for indigent care. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

"I am incredibly proud that my colleagues in the Senate Health Committee have joined me in pushing this bill towards the next step of the legislative process. This vote represents legislative progress as our State works to ensure that the healthcare needs of New Yorkers, especially those of women, are adequately safeguarded," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "With the ongoing efforts from Washington to restrict funding for such organizations, I vow to continue working with my colleagues in both chambers to pass this measure as I refuse to sit idly by while the reproductive rights and the health of millions of women in New York State are irresponsibly put at risk"

Planned Parenthood praises new IDC legislation to shield Title X money in New York State used for vital women’s health services

  Members of the Independent Democratic Conference today introduced legislation to protect funding on a state level for vital women’s health services under Title X that have been threatened to be cut nationally and received praise from Planned Parenthood.

The bill, introduced on Tuesday by Senator Tony Avella, and co-sponsored by all IDC members, requires the state to maintain funding levels equal to those available now in the event of future federal budget cuts or a change to federal statute or regulations for Title X funding.

“Throughout my entire career I have always fought for women’s health services. Title X funding provides family planning services including cancer screenings, contraceptive care, infertility services, among other important care. We will not let the federal government impact the health and wellness of women in New York, and I’m proud to sponsor legislation that ensures Title X funding remains at the same level if the federal government tries to play politics with women’s health needs,” said Senator Avella.

“We must ensure that all communities have access to the care they need most. The Independent Democratic Conference understands family planning funding is not a political football. We applaud the IDC for recognizing that Federal attempts to dismantle our state’s health care delivery system is a non-starter in New York State,” said Robin Chappelle Goldstein, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.

Planned Parenthood, and other organizations, provide important services through Title X funding for family planning, preventative health services, infertility services, contraceptive care, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD and HIV prevention education, counseling, testing and referrals and other preventative health services.

Funding may also provide training grants for personnel working in family planning services projects and to fund research grants for projects in the biomedical, contraceptive development, behavioral and program implementation fields related to family planning and population. Projects conduct data analysis and related research and evaluation on issues of interest to the family planning field.

“We will not allow the federal government to jeopardize critical women’s health services in the name of politics. Title X funds must stay intact in New York State to ensure that organizations like Planned Parenthood can continue to deliver the care, screenings and services that are vital for women’s wellness,” said IDC Leader Jeff Klein.

“Women’s health services are vitally important and this legislation will ensure that we combat any attempt on the federal level to cut services that could negatively impact the health of New Yorkers. The IDC has always stood with Planned Parenthood and we will never allow life-saving preventative health care services and cancer screenings to be taken away from women,” said IDC Deputy Leader David Valesky.

“No woman should ever be deprived the care that she needs because Title X funding was taken away on the federal level. Our health is important and screenings for breast and cervical cancer, for preventative health care, for contraceptive care and family planning should not be ripped away from any woman and we will stand with Planned Parenthood and ensure that we protect these important funds here in New York State,” said Senator Diane Savino.

“The work that Planned Parenthood does for women across New York is incredibly important and deserves to be protected. Women from all over the state depend on the services that they provide, often times when they have nowhere else to turn to. This legislation shows our commitment to their mission,” said Senator Senator Jose Peralta.

“No woman should ever have to choose between their health and paying the bills. Title X funding provides organizations like Planned Parenthood crucial funding for important women’s health services that should never be threatened. Unfortunately, the federal government wants to play games with our health and I’m proud that the IDC has introduced a bill to keep Title X funds intact,” said Senator Marisol Alcantara.

“I have always stood with Planned Parenthood and I will never allow the federal government to strip important funding from women’s health services. This legislation ensures that we protect those vital funds that ensure organizations like Planned Parenthood are able to provide life-saving cancer screenings, contraceptive care, and other women’s health services that so many depend on,” said Senator Carlucci.

“It is unfair to deprive any woman of health care services that she needs. It is absurd that anyone on a federal level would deprive a woman of care and we will not let that impact funding to important organizations like Planned Parenthood,” said Senator Jesse Hamilton.


Engel Statement on Trump Administration’s Proposed Budget

   Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement on the Trump Administration’s budget proposal:

“To say the cuts in the Trump Administration’s budget proposal would hurt most Americans really doesn’t describe the amount of pain people would feel if it were somehow enacted. This proposal—save for the very rich—does not discriminate in who it hurts. It is disgraceful and, I believe, a total non-starter in Congress.

“Here are just some of the harmful cuts President Trump would like to make happen: After the President unambiguously promised not to cut Medicaid, he proposes a $610 billion cut; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a program to prevent domestic hunger benefitting children and families, would see a $193 billion cut over 10 years; the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which states and municipalities rely upon for funding local development and infrastructure projects, would be completely eliminated; the HOME program, which creates affordable housing, would be completely eliminated; and the National Institutes of Health would suffer billions of dollars in crippling cuts to research.  

“But that’s not all. The President is also proposing a 30 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, which would include the zeroing out several clean energy and climate change programs. He wants to slash the Education Department by $9.2 billion, or 13 percent, and eliminate programs that serve children, including after-school programs and mental-health services. And he has proposed slashing the State Department by 28 percent, another extreme cut which I find particularly alarming as Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“This all amounts to a devastating assault on every American—our housing, health care, safety, education and environment are all put at risk. It represents a vision for America that is both cruel and unrealistic. We need to come up with a budget that works for the American people, not punishes them. I remain hopeful this budget will be rightfully rejected by my colleagues in the House, and a more realistic and sensible approach to our federal budget can be developed.”


Rep. Adriano Espaillat released the following statement today in response to President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 released earlier today.

“As expected, President Trump’s budget proposal is cold and harsh toward the poor and those struggling to reach the middle class in America,” said Rep. Espaillat. “While significantly cutting the budgets for vital safety net programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that save millions of Americans from the deepest depths of poverty, and increasing the funding for defense spending, immigration raids, border patrol and building a divisive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump has essentially prioritized his own interests ahead of America’s poor and low-income families. This budget proposal is bad for America as it will burden our states and leave our most vulnerable communities behind.”


  Meeting business owners on The Bronx’s Arthur Avenue, Mayor de Blasio released a “Small Business Progress Report” outlining a 40% reduction in fines, a three-month reduction in the time it takes to open a restaurant, and a surge in certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).

  “We’ve slashed unnecessary fines and helped stores open their doors faster because small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. When someone from the City walks through a business’s door these days, we’re there to educate and to help. We want to see businesses thrive and grow in every borough,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In the Bronx alone, the City has served over 3,800 businesses through its borough Business Solutions Center. In 2016, mobile business support program Chamber On-the-Go reached the storefronts of an additional 295 Bronx businesses. Since the start of the administration, the number of certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) in the Bronx increased by 27% through supports from the City.  

“From boutiques to bodegas, small businesses are at the heart of the New York City economy,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “By helping these businesses to start, operate and grow, we’re building a vibrant city where economic mobility includes all New Yorkers.”

Small businesses employ more than half of New York City’s private sector workforce, and the Mayor’s plan has achieved the following results:

Reduced Fines While Protecting Consumers
·         Slashed fines by 40%
  • Helped small business owners to avoid more than $6 million in potential fees

Cut Red Tape, Helped Businesses Open Faster
  • Helped restaurants to open 3 months faster through expanded City programs (3 months compared to 6 without City support)
  • Provided 12,000 services to small businesses at innovative multi-agency service center, opened last year
  • Under Mayor de Blasio, nearly 95% of restaurants earned an ‘A’ letter grade as sanitary violations plummeted by more than 40%

Ensuring Access for All Business Owners 
  • Nearly doubled the percentage of the value of City contracts awarded to M/WBEs between fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2016, from 8% to 14.3%
  • Served more than 12,000 foreign-born entrepreneurs
  • The WE NYC initiative has helped over 2,000 women start and grow their businesses

Provided Free Legal Services to Protect Small Businesses
  • 500 business owners have received free legal advice since 2015, helping them negotiate more favorable lease terms 

"Thriving communities like the vibrant Arthur Avenue in the Bronx depend on small businesses, which create jobs, serve their neighbors, and are essential to the city's economy," said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. "Thanks to our mayor, we are supporting our city's businesses with the fine reduction reforms that we've implemented, as well more education and language access. This more equitable approach to enforcement has translated into millions going directly back into the pockets of small business owners allowing them to reinvest their hard-earned money.”

"Small business corridors, such as Arthur Avenue, make up the backbone of our city's economy. For too long, small business owners and entrepreneurs have felt besieged by heavy fines and the red tape that comes with opening or expanding their business. Mayor de Blasio's commitment to a more streamlined process will help our small businesses expand and thrive, and I thank his administration and the Department of Small Business Services for developing more user-friendly policies to help our small business community," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


  In order to better serve his constituents beyond the hours of 9-5, New York City Council Member Andy King and his staff will be hosting “Constituent Services Night” every other week in a different NYCHA housing development in the 12th Council District.

A Constituent Service Night Event will be held Tuesday, May 30, 5:00 -7:00 p.m. at Edenwald Houses at the corner of East 225th Street and Laconia Avenue, opposite C-Town supermarket. Services will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration status and basic services. Representatives from Violence Intervention Program, Inc.,  a community based non-profit organization dedicated to the eradication of domestic and intimate partner violence, will be joining the King staff.

There are five NYCHA housing developments in the 12th District. They are Gun Hill Houses, Baychester Houses, Boston Secor, Eastchester Gardens and Edenwald.
NYCHA residents can preschedule an appointment by calling the Office of Council Member Andy King at (718) 684-5509. Ask for Stephannia Cleaton.

Weird Things Are Happening in New York’s Political Environment - By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz

What You Should Know
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District

Weird Things Are Happening in New York’s Political Environment
You should know that here in New York’s political world, a lot of weird things are happening.
During my 15 years serving as a New York State Senator, I have witnessed many weird things, but in these last few days, there are things taking place that have many people scratching their heads.

The Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade have anointed Oscar López Rivera with the title of “National Freedom Hero,” causing great divisions among Puerto Ricans and bringing great damage to the 60th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Because of this decision by the National Puerto Rican Day Parade’s Board, elected officials are divided, and so are community leaders and family members.
Big sponsors such as Goya Foods, Jet Blue, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, the NYPD Lieutenants Benevolent Association, NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association, NYPD Hispanic Society, the Rafael Ramos Foundation, and the NY Patrolmen's Benevolent Association's (PBA) are all withdrawing from the Parade, and many others are considering doing the same.
This mess, created by the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, has created worse divisions than Donald Trump’s election to the Presidency.
As you know, Oscar López Rivera served 35 years in Federal prison for seditious acts of conspiracy to overthrow the United States government, and for his ties to Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), a militant group whose members were convicted of bombings while fighting for Puerto Rico’s independence.
Many accuse Oscar López Rivera of being involved in terrorist acts where people lost lives. Mr. Oscar López Rivera was never found guilty of killing anyone, and always maintained his innocence in any criminal act.
The Parade leaders have refused, as I have been suggesting, to rescind the “National Freedom Hero” title they have bestowed upon Oscar López Rivera, and just allow him to march as a plain Puerto Rican without any title.
By continuing this IN YOUR FACE decision, the Board of Directors is showing a weird way of wanting the best for the Parade and the Puerto Rican community.

There are more than 35 elected officials (and I am not one of them) who have signed a letter in support of the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade to name Oscar López Rivera as a National Freedom Hero.
We all know that right now Puerto Rico is going through a serious financial situation where families are suffering, schools are being closed, services have been forced to be cut, and the Island remains in debt of more than 100 billion dollars.
Instead of naming Oscar López Rivera a National Puerto Rican hero and joining elected officials together to do this, the Board of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade should be concentrating better on bringing attention to the fiscal situation in Puerto Rico.
Very weird!

As everyone knows, there are thirty-two (32) Democratic Senators here in the New York Senate are fragmented into two different Conferences: the Regular Democratic Conference led by Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, and the Independent Democratic Conference led by Senator Jeff Klein.
There are many forces working very hard to bring them together and unite all Democratic Senators into just one Conference, as it used to be.
Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and her Deputy, Senator Mike Gianaris have even made public statements, asking for the eight Members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) to come back into the fold.  
But at the same time, they are asking for an investigation into the way Republicans and the Members of the IDC are distributing stipends to Committee Leaders.
This is a weird way of asking for unity!

Since Donald Trump became President of the United States of America, our beloved Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a constant thorn in his side.  
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been the biggest critic of President Donald Trump, even calling for an investigation of President Trump.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has been planning his own future presidential ambitions, trying to be seen an alternative to Donald Trump, and trying to act like one of Donald Trump’s worst nightmares.
Now that New York City’s subway system is in a chaotic state and everyone is criticizing the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), our great Governor Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to Donald Trump (practically begging) for President Trump to come to his aid to save the MTA.
This is a weird way of asking for help from someone you dislike.

These are some of the weird things happening in New York’s political system, and I am sharing them to you.
I am Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.


Investments include new EMS Station facility and continuation of rapid-response Fly Cars; Recent investments in FDNY EMS Operations have reduced response times by 36 seconds

  Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro today announced an investment of $30 million in FDNY EMS operations in the Bronx, including a $17 million capital investment for construction of a new facility for EMS Station 17, currently located at 1080 Ogden Ave and serving the Highbridge section of the Bronx and surrounding communities. 

“Saving precious seconds can mean saving lives, and that's why we're proud of FDNY EMS for bringing down response times by 36 seconds in the Bronx last year,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We're investing $30 million in Bronx EMS, including $17 million to build a new Station 17 as well as funding for ambulances and more Fly Cars – and those resources are going to continue to make a difference for the borough.”

“The previous investments made towards FDNY’s EMS operations in the Bronx have already contributed to a 36-second borough-wide reduction in response times to critical medical calls,” said Fire Commissioner Nigro. “This additional funding will continue our successful Fly Car and Tactical Response Group Programs that help us reduce response times, and allow for construction of a new station so that our EMS personnel in the Bronx are even more prepared to serve their community.” 

$6 million will be allocated to Bronx EMS operations for the continuation of the Department’s Fly Car Program. Since the program began last June – FDNY has seen a reduction in response times of 36 seconds for the most serious medical calls in the Bronx. Funding will also support the continued use of the FDNY’s Tactical Response Group, which allows the Department to quickly position ambulances in neighborhoods experiencing spikes in call volume; as well as the development of a new Hospital Liaison initiative which will station FDNY Officers and EMTs at two Bronx hospitals (Jacobi Medical Center and Lincoln Medical Center) to assist with the intake of patients to the emergency room. The Hospital Liaison initiative is designed to quickly put ambulances back in service to respond to additional calls and further reduce response times. 

$7 million will also be provided to fund ten ambulances, ambulance equipment, and 21 vehicles for the Fly Cars and Tactical Response Group.

The City will invest $17 million for construction of the new facility for EMS Station 17, whose current facility is antiquated for the modern needs of the Department. Originally constructed to house an Engine Company in 1898, the station’s apparatus floor is experiencing heavy deterioration and the building lacks the space needed for EMS personnel to park, restock and maintain ambulances. EMS Station 17 currently operates 18 Basic Life Support ambulance tours (staffed by EMTs) and Advance Life Support ambulance tours (staffed by Paramedics) daily, as well as a conditions vehicle operated by FDNY EMS Officers.

FDNY EMS responded to more calls in 2016, with improved response times:

EMS responses fall into one of two broad categories – Segment 1-3 which include life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, unconscious and choking calls, and Segment 4-8 incidents which are triaged as non-life-threatening incidents.

  • FDNY EMS responded to a new record high number of medical emergencies in 2016 - 1,440,268 – up slightly from 2015 when they answered 1,435,315 calls, or a 0.3% increase.

  • End-to-end EMS response times were 21 seconds faster on average to Segment 1-3 calls (8:59 in 2016 versus 9:20 in 2015).

  • FDNY EMS responded to 562,382 Segment 1-3 calls in 2016 - down from 566,210 incidents in 2015, a less than 1 percent decline. 

  • EMS responded to 877,886 Segment 4-8 incidents, up from 869,105 in 2015, a 1 percent increase.

IDC to AQE, WFP: Let’s Call the Roll to See Where Every Dem Stands

  Members of the Independent Democratic Conference challenged Alliance for a Quality Education and the Working Families Party to get all Democrats to sign on to the IDC’s “Call the Roll” pledge which lays out seven key progressive policy issues.

“Above all the IDC prides itself on policy, and we are asking all duly elected Democrats to tell New Yorkers where they stand on key progressive issues. AQE and the WFP should work to make sure every Democrat supports the progressive values they claim to cherish, instead of grandstanding,” said IDC Leader Jeff Klein.

The “Call the Roll,” is scheduled to kick off officially on Wednesday, and has the added goal of  setting the record straight on where all Democratic Senators stand on key progressive issues which include: the Reproductive Health Act, the DREAM Act, GENDA, protecting Title X funding, public campaign finance, single-payer health care and the Contraceptive Care Act.

As part of the "Call the Roll"  media campaign,  pledge letters will be sent to the offices of each Democrat in the house, asking for a pledge from each Democrat in the Senate of support on all seven issues, without exception.  In addition a three-and-half minute video was released on Monday, outlining the IDC's call to arms to all Democrats.

The Bronx: Accomplishments and Investments - MAYOR BILL de BLASIO

Promoting Public Safety

·    Safest Big City in America: Crime down 5% in the Bronx, and NYC just celebrated the safest April in modern recorded history
·   Neighborhood policing: More than half of Bronx’s police precincts – the 40, 44, 43, 46, 42, 48, and 41 commands – benefit from neighborhood policing through the Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) program
·  NYCHA safety: 3,163 CCTV cameras across 43 NYCHA developments throughout the borough

Creating Jobs, Raising Wages
· Largest unemployment drop in the City:Unemployment down 5.5% in the Bronx since the start of the de Blasio Administration –largest drop in any borough
·      Job growth: 4.7% job growth rate
· M/WBEs: Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs) up more than a quarter in the Bronx under the de Blasio administration
·   Small business: Department of Small Business Services has served over 3,800 small businesses in the Bronx under de Blasio administration

Providing a High-Quality Education to All Bronx Students

·   Highest graduation rate increase of any borough:Graduation rates up nearly six percentage points, from 59.1 % to 64.8%
·     3-K for All: 3-K for All launching in School District 7 to provide free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education for every three-year-old. Parents with children born in 2014 can apply at nyc.gov/3K
·    Pre-K for All: 14,280 students enrolled in full-day, high-quality pre-k, up from 4,247 students during the 2013-14 academic year
·    Equity & Excellence for All:
o   Universal Literacy – By next fall, every Bronx district will have reading coaches to ensure all students read on grade level by the end of 2nd grade
o   College Access for All – Every Bronx middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus. 31 high schools in the Bronx are getting new funding, training, and support from a college planning coach to put their students on the path to college
o   AP for All – Dozens of high schools in the Bronx offering new Advanced Placement courses as a part of the administration’s commitment to ensure every high school student has access to at least five AP courses by fall 2021
Expanding Affordable Housing, Supporting 
Public Housing

·   Affordable housing: The administration preserving 10,858 units of affordable housing and constructing 7,583 new affordable units, for a total of 18,441 units across the Bronx
o   169 affordable housing units for low-income and formerly homeless seniors on Boston Road
o   237 new affordable apartments in Crotona Park East/West Farms
o   300 new affordable homes as part of the St. Barnabas Wellness Care Project 
·   NYCHA improvements: $36 million for roof replacements at Parkside Houses and new LED lighting at Castle Hill, Butler, and Patterson Houses

Increasing Quality of Life

·      Street improvements: 240,000 potholes filled and nearly 500 lane miles of roadways repaved in the Bronx
·    Recycling: Bronx residents recycled 248 tons per day of recyclables in 2016, compared to 200 tons per day in 2013.
·    Parks: Investing $285 million through 2019 to renovate to more than 60 community parks

What You Should Know By Senator Rev Rubén Díaz 32nd Senatorial District

Our Point of View About the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Controversies 

You should know that in response to the controversy created by the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors about Oscar López Rivera’s participation in this year’s Parade, and their decision to honor him with the title of “National Freedom Hero,” the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization met and voted unanimously on the following three points: 
(1)  As a compassionate and humanitarian gesture toward Oscar López Rivera, after   serving for 35 years in prison, do we think he should he be allowed to participate in the 2017 National Puerto Rican Day Parade? 

The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization voted: YES

(2)  Did the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade go too far by creating and giving the title of “National Freedom Hero” to Oscar López Rivera, causing great controversy and division in the Puerto Rican community not only in Puerto Rico but also here in New York? 

The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization voted: YES. 

(3)  Should GOYA Foods reconsider their decision to not participate in this year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade because of how detrimental it will be for the Parade and to the Puerto Rican community as a whole, affecting scholarships for our children and giving reason for other companies to abandon the Parade, creating an uncertain future for the Parade and what it means to Puerto Ricans throughout the world? 

The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization voted: YES. 
The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization represents thousands and thousands of Evangelical Christians not only here in New York, but also in the tri-state area. Many of these ministers and clergy not only serve as pastors for their own congregations, but they also sit on Boards and serve as members of various religious, private and not-for-profit organizations. 

The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization hopes that Goya Foods and the other corporate sponsors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade will take our point of view under consideration. 
I am Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know. 


City investing $150 million to expand capacity, improve resiliency and create new jobs at the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center

  Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market this morning to meet with business owners and union leadership and preview progress on the City’s $150 million investment into the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, one of the largest food distribution hubs in the world.

The de Blasio’s administration’s investment will support the 8,500 jobs already at the hub, and create another 500 permanent and 900 unionized construction jobs. The City is expanding rail capacity, remediating underutilized properties for new buildings to house food-related businesses, expanding and modernizing existing buildings, and fortifying the center’s systems against flooding and disruption.

“We’re expanding and strengthening the hub at Hunts Point to bring even more jobs to the Bronx. This is a crucial link in the city’s economy and for our food security. This investment in more modern buildings, transportation and resiliency will protect it for decades to come,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

A majority of the City’s food supply comes from the Center, including 25% of produce, 35% of meat and 45% of fish. The Center is home to the world-renowned Hunts Point Terminal Produce, Cooperative Meat, and New Fulton Fish Markets, which generate approximately $3 billion in sales annually.

“With over 155 public and private businesses and 8,500 workers, the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is a major economic engine in the South Bronx. Every day the Center feeds nearly 21 million people across the five boroughs and the larger northeastern region, making it the most critical link in our City's food supply chain,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett. “The City's investment will support quality, middle-class jobs, modernize infrastructure, and transform the Center into a world-class food distribution hub.”

“We at DOT are proud of our work in Hunts Point, the perfect neighborhood to kick off Bronx Week,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “Under Mayor de Blasio, the neighborhood has been a Vision Zero priority as we have brought dramatic street redesigns to streets like Bruckner Boulevard and new greenways to our growing bicycle network.  Meanwhile, our award-winning Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program has tackled the many problems created by the old diesel trucks that served the market every day.  Working with us over the last few years, trucking companies upgraded hundreds of vehicles, which are now releasing fewer dangerous emissions into local communities and are fitted with safer equipment that help us meet Vision Zero goals.”

“The City's investment in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is creating jobs in the Bronx and keeping our food supply safe,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “More than half of our city's food supply comes through this hub, and it's a vital pipeline for grocers and restaurants across the five boroughs.”

“The Hunts Point Terminal Market is responsible for feeding our entire region, and is one of the most significant economic engines not just in The Bronx but in the entire City. Mayor de Blasio's commitment of considerable financial resources to the market’fds ongoing success is greatly appreciated, especially as we plan for the long-term vitality and continued positive growth of this important commercial hub,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“It's going to be an exciting week in the Bronx as Mayor de Blasio will be in town for his office's second installment of City Hall in Your Borough. I can’t think of a better way for the mayor to kick off his Bronx tour than a visit to one of the city's top economic engines, the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center. This widely acclaimed facility distributes high quality food to not just the five boroughs, but our whole region, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the city for their recent $150 million investment in the cooperative market,” said Senator Jeff Klein

The $150 million investment furthers the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Hunts Point Vision Plan, a four-prong strategy to optimize land use, improve traffic safety, develop workforce solutions and enhance connectivity in and around the Hunts Point Peninsula. Included in the Vision Plan is the South Bronx Greenway program, an initiative that seeks to facilitate waterfront access, provide recreational opportunities, improve transportation safety, and enhance the network of bike and pedestrian paths on the Hunts Point Peninsula while boosting economic development opportunities.

Completed South Bronx Greenway projects include:

·         Enhanced streetscapes along Hunts Point and Spofford Avenues that includes a brand new bike lane.
·         Major safety enhancements to Bruckner Boulevard, including the addition of a protected bike lane, creating connections to the South Bronx Greenway.
·         The Randall’s Island Connector.
·         Easing truck traffic congestion on Food Center Drive.
·         A new 1.5-acre waterfront park within the Peninsula

The Hunts Point Clean Truck Program, administered by DOT, has dramatically reduced dangerous emissions and particulates through an innovative rebate program.  Over the last three years, over 500 high-pollution diesel trucks – that were either based in Hunts Point or that served the markets there – have been replaced or retrofitted. The federally-funded program has awarded over $15 million dollars to 85 different trucking and delivery companies, financing the replacement of conventional vehicles with newer vehicles that operate on alternative fuels, including compressed natural gas, hybrid, or battery electric.  

The Hunts Point Clean Truck Program also required Vision Zero adjustments to new and retrofitted vehicles, including the addition of mirrors and side-guards.

Building upon these investments in the Hunts Point Peninsula, the City has also prioritized neighborhood development in the surrounding residential area. In October 2016, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced that it will transform the former Spofford juvenile detention center into a five-acre, mixed-use development that will be anchored by several South Bronx-based businesses and will create a development with approximately 740 affordable apartments, much-needed community facilities, and 52,000 square feet of open space.

In 2014, Mayor de Blasio reallocated $25 million in HUD community block grant funding to support ongoing resiliency measures in Hunts Point, including the Rebuild by Design program, a $20 million HUD funded project to evaluate integrated coastal protection, energy, and storm water resiliency, and an emergency maritime supply chain. Additionally, the Hunts Point community was one of several New York City neighborhoods selected to implement and beta test resiliency technology under NYCEDC’s RISE-NYC initiative.