Tag Archives: Peter Rivera

87th Assembly District Candidates Face Off Tonight on BronxTalk

20 Aug

Two candidates vying to replace Assemblyman Peter Rivera, who Governor Cuomo appointed as the state’s labor commissioner last spring, will debate tonight on BronxTalk. Details follow …

Tonight BronxTalk will present a debate for the Democratic Primary in the 87th AD that includes the central Bronx neighborhoods of Parkchester, Castle Hill, and West Farms. Beginning at 9:00pm on Bronxnet’s channel 67 (Fios 33), Luis Sepulveda and Daniel Figueroa will field questions from moderator Gary Axelbank.

Morning Matters — 4/9/12

9 Apr

Lots of young art enthusiasts were at the Andrew Freedman home over the weekend for a fabulous exhibit on two floors of the reimagined buildings and the mobile unit of the fledgling Bronx Children's Museum. (Photo: J. Moss)

Good morning … well, afternoon (At least I started this in the a.m.:-) Lots to catch up on. Bronx artists and their advocates say the borough is undergoing an unprecedented coalescing of efforts to make an already interesting art scene more robust and visible to a larger audience. The expansive art show at the long-empty upper floors of the Andrew Freedman Home, where I took the picture above yesterday, signals a turning point, say some artists and enthusiasts.

As Bob Kappstatter surmised a couple of weeks ago on Bronx Matters, when Gov. Cuomo appointed Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera to be state Labor commissioner he probably was acting on the certainty that an investigation into his dealings with a failing nonprofit no longer had legs:

“Gov. Cuomo’s appointment also apparently quashes once and for all a dark legal cloud Rivera’s been living under involving his pumping major state funding to the just about moribund Neighborhood Enhancement for Training Services (NETS) non-profit.”

But that doesn’t mean the tabloids got the memo. This morning the Daily News highlighted four lawmakers with ethics issues who Cuomo has appointed to important positions, including Rivera. As attorney general, Cuomo began the investigation into Rivera and NETS ,but after he was elected he appointed Rivera to a transition committee on labor and economic development. More background on Rivera and NETS from the Bronx News Network here and here.

Our post on Friday about The New York Times’ coverage of Heritage Field, the new baseball diamonds built on the footprint of the old Yankee Stadium, started a little bit of a chain reaction in the blogsphere. After Neil deMause in Field of Schemes (the pre-eminent source on up-to-date information on stadium projects and financing nationally) and Norman Oder in Atlantic Yards Report linked to Bronx Matters, starting a comment conversation on the latter about the the Times’ overall coverage (or lack thereof) of the entire Yankee Stadium controversy. Later on, Oder posts a letter that Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates wrote him with a blow-by-blow account of how reporter Winnie Hu went about covering the story and Croft’s critique about what he feels she glaringly left out.

The latest HuntsPoint Express, a terrific print & web monthly produced by former Riverdale Press editor/publisher Buddy Stein with his students at Hunter College, is out with some critical articles, especially on the DOE’s plans to close Banana Kelly High School and the ensuing protests. There’s also a follow-up web-only article about a DOE official meeting with teachers and parents on April 4 in the school’s cafeteria.  The DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy will decide at a meeting on April 26 whether it will go ahead with plans to close 33 schools.

The Norwood News has an update on the city’s process for choosing a developer for the Kingsbridge Armory, including a report on the rally held by the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance late last month. Community and labor activists are calling for “wall-to-wall” living wage jobs at the Armory regardless of who develops the facility. Contenders include a group calling itself the Kingsbridge National Ice Center and the a partnership between the National Cycling Association and the New York Gauchos youth basketball program.

Also in the Norwood News, Gregory Lobo Jost, expands on his recent piece on Bronx Matters picking apart assertions of south Bronx gentrification, explaining why a few hundred white people over a decade, not to mention arugula, yoga studios, and farmers’ markets (which Norwood is home to) do not equal gentrification, and why its reckless to assert that they do.

Capital New York takes a detailed look at the complications for racial coalition building that are brought by Bronx/Manhattan state senator Adriano Espaillat’s challenge to Congressman Charlie Rangel. The latest reality TV show “about oversexed thirtysomething bachelors who still live with their mommies” takes place in the Boogie Down but is probably not an image that will please Bronx boosters.

Morning Matters — 4/5/12

5 Apr

Good morning! As some of you may have noticed, Morning Matters is not an everyday thing at this point. I do it whenever I have time in the morning. Here, though, are some interesting nuggets you probably won’t find with a routine “Bronx” Google search.

As Bob Kappstatter reported on Bronx Matters in a previous post, Luis Sepulveda is ramping up a campaign to fill Peter Rivera’s Assembly seat when he becomes state Labor commissioner. Sepulveda now has a one-page website up, with a letter that addresses readers as “constituents,” (a little premature since they won’t be actually be his constituents unless his elected to represent them in the state legislature). The rest of the web site appears to be under construction but a tab titled “To NYS Assembly page” inexplicably leads to the website of Queens Assemblyman Fernando Moya.

The Center for Working Families has released a report on the campaign contributions of former State Senator Pedro Espada, who is currently on trial for allegedly stealing money from the Soundview Healthcare Network, which he founded and managed. Among the report’s findings are that Espada’s fundraising increased sixfold when he became chairman of the Housing Committee and that only 3(!) of those contributions came from within his district.

Daniel Beekman drills down a bit into Census data to find that many more Manhattanites have moved to the Bronx in the last decade, but that may not at all signal gentrification, as many of those intra-city migrants were at or near the poverty level. For more on the controversy concerning whether the south Bronx is gentrifying, which was a hot topic on Bronx Matters last week, click here.

The Riverdale Press reports that the top offender on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s “worst landlord” list is Riverdale resident Josh Neustein, who owns several violation-plagued buildings. Neustein said his “estranged sister,” Amy Neustein made false reports to the city’s housing agency and its Department of Investigation. But she says she is backed up by tenants complaints and the city’s own work examining those complaints. Earlier this month, Amy Neustein wrote this piece for City Limits explaining why she was shining the light on her brother’s work as a landlord.

Peter Rivera’s New Job and the Race He Leaves Behind

25 Mar

By Bob Kappstatter

The long national nightmare, as they say, for Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera finally ended on Saturday when Gov. Cuomo named him new state labor commissioner.

Assemblyman Peter Rivera

The announcement came at the annual Somos El Futuro winter conference of the state Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, where Rivera is an elder statesman whose appointment can’t but help Cuomo solidify his Latino support.

Rivera, according to all reports, has pretty much been searching for a new paycheck outside the state Assembly for a number of years now, while still hedging his bets over running for another term or for a judgeship.

Before his new state gig, Rivera’s last hope was reported to be a run for the plum job of Bronx Surrogate, whose office doles out assignments (and fancy fees) to party-faithful lawyers to handle the estates of persons who die without wills.

Although Rivera was saying as late as Friday that he was weighing a run for Surrogate, that dream pretty much crashed and burned recently when the Bronx Democratic Party’s non-partisan judicial screening panel put the kibosh on it, labeling the attorney and former assistant Bronx D.A. “unqualified.”

Not that he would have received party backing in the judicial primary (Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie reportedly already has a favorite candidate) or might have survived his next Assembly primary race, with the opposing candidate already backed by a powerful local state senator.

Although baseball and politics ain’t over ’til it’s over, a number of Bronx political insiders say attorney and party operative Luis Sepulveda now holds the winning edge to fill Rivera’s 76th Assembly District seat in Parkchester/Castle Hill/West Farms/Van Nest.

His nearest challenger in the Democratic primary is Rivera’s longtime chief of staff, Danny Figueroa, who only recently began to plow the district for votes – and name recognition.

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