Happy post-Father’s Day to all Bronx dads. (OK, not just Bronx dads.) If you did anything in the Bronx for Father’s Day and have a good pic, please share (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll try to post some. My wife and daughter took me to the NY Botanical Garden for it’s Big Backyard BBQ and Music Festival (photo of great band, Roosevelt Dime, above).
As stated in my last post, debate on Democratic Congressional race in District 13 is on TV tonight at 9 p.m. Charlie Rangel didn’t show up for it.
Speaking of which, here’s two pics of Rangel’s most recent campaign mailing. On the second page, it has four attacks on Espaillat’s record, one with a footnote no. 4, but there is no actual footnote for “4” listed below. And accusing him for failing to pass the DREAM Act, something Espaillat supports, ignores arguments that the Independent Democratic Conference (led by state Senator Jeffrey Klein) put it to a quick vote before it could secure sufficient Republican support to pass it. Espaillat did, however, take part (as did Klein) in the highly unpopular repeal of a tax for commuters to NYC and told the Daily News that he regrets it .
Congressman Charlie Rangel didn’t participate in today’s Bronx debate with challengers Adriano Espaillat, a state senator, and Rev. Michael Walrond, according to BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank and the Daily News. The debate will be broadcast this Monday, June 16 at 9 p.m. on Cablevision channel 67 and Verizon channel 33. The 13th Congressional District began including Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Norwood and Bedford Park, in January 2013 after Rangel defeated Espaillat in the 2012 Democratic primary.
Though the Daily News reported on Sunday that State Senator Adriano Espaillat, a challenger to longtime Congressman Charles Rangel, won’t appear on a BronxTalk debate “due to Albany’s legislative session,” host Gary Axelbank told Bronx Matters today that Espaillat has decided to take part. Meanwhile, Rangel’s office asked Axelbank for a conference call “for rules and other debate procedures” along with staffers of the other candidates. Axelbank responded by setting that up for 2 p.m. today. Stay tuned on Bronx Matters for debate status update.
Councilman Fernando Cabrera announced to tenants of NYCHA’s Ft. Independence Houses in Kingsbridge that its community center won’t be closed, according to The Riverdale Press. Cabrera said NYCHA confirmed that but the Riverdale Press said that “in in recent e-mails, NYCHA’s press office said a determination was yet to be made about the authority’s 106 community centers.” It’s a citywide issue: “The way Mr. Bloomberg left the centers last year, the city would end funding for 57 centers operated by NYCHA itself this June. Nonprofit agencies support the other 49 sites,” the Press reported.
Speaking of NYCHA housing, the Bronx Times reported on the agency’s new commissioner, Shola Olatoye, meeting with residents and local politicians at Pelham Parkway Houses and getting an earful of complaints about long delays making critical repairs — a chronic, unresolved problem during the Bloomberg administration.
State Senator Jeffrey Klein and Assemblyman Marcus Crespo (both Bronx reps) are partnering on legislation to keep alcohol out of the hands (and mouths) of underage drinkers by allowing retailers to swipe bad IDs among other efforts. The Daily News reports that 400 minors were admitted to two city hospitals — North Central Bronx and Jacobi — just over Memorial Day weekend in 2012 and 2013.
Parishioners are battling the proposed closure of Visitation Church in Kingsbridge. St. Gabriel’s Church in Riverdale would also have to cut down its weekday masses. (I’ve also heard that Visitation will merge with St. John’s Church on Kingsbridge Avenue near 231st Street.)
Hunts Point Express files a detailed report on the possibilities for the rebirth of waterfront land where a decrepit Marine Transfer Station in Hunts Point is expected to be torn down.
Former Council member Oliver Koppell, a veteran Riverdale-based politician who occupied several other key political positions, may have an uphill climb to defeat incumbent Jeffrey Klein, a Democrat who has formed a separate committee to partner closely with Republicans. Some key former Koppell allies are backing Klein, but
Koppell is gathering support and enthusiastically taking it on. City Limits files a detailed report.
Former assemblyman Eric A. Stevenson is headed behind bars for three years for taking bribes from a company wanting legislation to temporarily ban additional adult day care centers. In February, I reported in City Limits that Governor Cuomo was publicly struggling with a decision of whether to have the election to refill District 79 soon or wait until the regular primary on Sept. 9. The latter date won out and there won’t be an assemblyman in that district for another six months following the general election. The same is true for District 77, an office former-assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson left when she became a member of the City Council.
The city celebrated its Shop Healthy Program in the Bronx. Through advertising, the project highlights healthier foods which the Department of Health says works by drawing more customers to food that’s better for them.
Congressman Charles Rangel, who now represents part of the northwest Bronx, leads challenger Adriano Espaillat, now a state senator, 41 to 32 percent in a poll conducted by the New York Times, NY1, and Siena College. (Data chart included.)
And according to the Daily News, Rangel and another candidate in his district have a lotta dough. And Espaillat? Not so much.
The ninth murder this year in the northeast Bronx’s 47th Precinct took place on East 229th Street yesterday. That’s eight more murders than there were last year at this time. The New York Times covered this problem May 18 as well.
(To find out more about crime in your precinct or neighborhood, click here and here for city data from NYPD and DoITT. Tell Bronx Matters if you think this data is helpful or how it can be more helpful.)
Speaking of food, a historic pizza joint, Patsy’s Pizzeria, is opening a Morris Park location next month, the Daily News reports. According to the story, the 81-year-old Patsy’s is considered to be the first pizzeria that sold pizza by the slice.
The Ghetto Film School, based in Mott Haven, is partnering with 20th Century Fox to open a partner school in Los Angeles, the Daily News reports.
If you’d like to get e-mail updates on Bronx Matters blog posts, see bottom of page at left. Thanks! -Jordan
The mailings many of us Bronxites living in the new 13th Congressional District received yesterday would appear to most voters that they were from Adriano Espaillat (and that’s the way they appeared to me initially). But when you look at the fine print you see that they’re the work of the Latino Empowerment PAC, a Super PAC that by law should have no connection with Espaillat, a state senator seeking to unseat Congressman Charles Rangel in a newly drawn district that includes a large chunk of the northwest Bronx. There’s no evidence that there is a connection with Espaillat, and the closer you look at them the more disappointed the candidate is likely to be that they were sent out with his name and face on them.
As for the errors, let’s begin with the smallest and work our way up.
I asked my 8-year-old daughter what was wrong with the mailer pictured below, and she explained it by simply reading it out loud, “The Bronx Needs It Is Own Voice in Congress.” (She chose to bring the fliers to school to share the errors with her class this morning.)
OK, getting past the grammatical error, the content implies that the Bronx does not have a voice in Congress. Congressmen Jose Serrano and Eliot Engel will probably be rather irritated to read this.
Which brings us to the totally mistaken claim (below) that Senator Espaillat is “from the Bronx.” He is from Manhattan as are all five candidates running. And while he has been supported by Bronx leaders such as former borough president Fernando Ferrer, who is pictured on the flier, as well as State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Councilman Oliver Koppell— the most prominent photo here is of Manhattan Democrat Mark Levine.
Oh, speaking of that apostrophe … We now see where they stole it from …
The above mailer with the missing apostrophe and attacking incumbent Rangel is also the work of the Latino Empowerment PAC. They’re listed on web sites tracking campaign financing with Jeffrey Garcia as the Treasurer. A Huffington Post report on recent Super PAC registrations indicates that Garcia and the PAC are from Coral Gables, Florida. We’ll let you know if we learn anything else about this. (And let us know if you do.) And don’t forget that the primary election is next Tuesday, June 26.
Update: According to this Federal Election Commission filing, the chairman of the Latino Empowerment PAC is Fransisco Cerezo (the unusual spelling of the first name — with an “s” rather than a “c” — is how it’s written on the form). Thanks to journalist David Lewis for leading me to this.
[Update 6/19/12 — The New York Times did the right thing this morning, making the correction on the print edition editorial page and on the Times’ website. The Post hasn’t yet. Also, we’ve made a correction below ourselves. Riverdale residents who were in the 17th District, represented by Eliot Engel, will still be represented Engel or whoever challenges him in November. But it is now the 16th District, rather than the 17th.]
A week from tomorrow — on Tuesday, June 26 — the voters that know about it and act on that knowledge will participate in an oddly scheduled Congressional primary. Usually, such primaries take place in September at the same time as primaries for the Assembly and State Senate. But due to the complicated and distressing politics around redistricting, this primary will have its own day.
Here in the Bronx, the primary is highly significant because most residents of the northwest Bronx will no longer be in the Congressional District now represented by Eliot Engel (will change from the 17th to the 16th District). Almost all northwest Bronx residents, except those living in Riverdale (still represented by Engel in the 16th), will be in the 13th District.
Daily newspapers have an opportunity — and more importantly, a responsibility — to help educate their Bronx readers about an epic change in who will represent them in Congress.
But yesterday, in endorsing Clyde Williams, a former official in the Clinton administration, The New York Times inexplicably listed the south Bronx as the section of the borough in the new district (even while they took pains to list several of the individual Manhattan neighborhoods in C.D. 13).
There is not a block in the newly drawn 13th Congressional district that is in the south Bronx, even if you define the south Bronx widely as every neighborhood below the Cross Bronx Expressway. The Times’ editorial writers failed to simply look at the maps on-line, or simply check in with their political reporters.
With only eight days to the primary, the Times has a duty to set the record straight. Not just a correction on page 2 that almost nobody reads, but on the editorial page.
The New York Post added to the miseducation in their endorsement of Espaillat, with a headline indicating the new district as the 15th. They need to do the right thing, too.
Meanwhile, here are some links to coverage on the race. First off, click here for last week’s debate on BronxTalk, which included all the candidates except for Charles Rangel.
Here’s a primary news roundup, prepared by Norwood News editor Alex Kratz, with a bunch of links to recent coverage of the race. And here’s a link to more Norwood News coverage of this primary and the candidates vying for the seat.
The Riverdale Press also has a run a bunch of articles on this critical primary race. Check them out here.
And finally, here’s a map of the 13th Congressional District. (To see the maps of other districts in the city and state click here.)
By Bob Kappstatter
The ever-controversial (and lovin’ it) Bronx state senator and Pentecostal minister Ruben (The Rev) Diaz Sr. —along with a host of city and state Dominican-American politicians — has laughed himself into the President Obama “birther” controversy.
Those electeds may have some ‘splainin’ to do over their lack of protest after the audience at a luncheon meeting of Diaz’ Hispanic clergy organization erupted in loud and long laughter after former Dominican Republic President Hipolito Mejia joked about Obama’s supposed African birthroots.
Mejia, one of two current presidential candidates courting local Dominican voters for the May 20 election , was caught on video in his opening remarks at the April 4 meeting of Diaz’ New York Hispanic Clergy Organization joking that “If Obama who came from Africa and grew up over there can become the President, why can’t any of you reach as high considering you have a more amusing [ethnic] mix than Obama’s?”
While Diaz is shown roaring with laughter along with the rest of the audience, Mejia’s comment has been roundly condemned on the island nation, with 31 of its 32 senators there sending a letter of apology to President Obama.
But as for local city and state electeds at the luncheon, they’ve so far apparently remained silent in condemning the remark – and the response from the politically powerful Diaz and the roomful of conservative Hispanic preachers – whose congregations represent a strong voting bloc.
That includes upper Manhattan state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who’s challenging Rep. Charlie Rangel in a newly redrawn district taking in Espaillat’s district and a newly-added, heavily Dominican western swath of the Bronx.
Also among fellow elected Dominican-Americans in the audience were northern Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, Bronx Councilmember Fernando Cabrera (who’s half Puerto Rican), Assemblymen Marcos Crespo and Nelson Castro and Castro’s female district leader Yudelka Tapia.
Mejia, who has The Rev’s endorsement, also told the group that as president he would never allow gays to marry or weaken the island’s strict anti-abortion laws. Diaz, a conservative-leaning Democrat, fought bitterly against the state legislature’s approval of same-sex marriage and has led a number of anti-abortion protests.
While the story apparently hasn’t made any ink in the English-language media, it showed up on a local blog with the video.
It also showed up in an email sent out on Monday by Bronx political player and former Obama campaign operative Haile Rivera, who called on Mejia to personally apologize to Obama.
We tried in vain all day Tuesday to connect with Diaz, who was in Albany.
If we had, we’d hoped to also bring up an interesting sidenote.
The Rev has been denying for a number of years a persistent rumor that he was really born in the Dominican Republic and not in Puerto Rico.
But we’re sure he can easily clear the issue up, by producing his birth certificate ….
Bob Kappstatter, the former long-time Bronx Bureau Chief and columnist for the Daily News, is an occasional contributor to Bronx Matters.