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22 Days to Go: Biaggi Will Attend Bronx Town Hall Tonight for State Senate Candidates. Will Klein?

22 Aug

With only 3 weeks (+ a day) to go before the critical primary vote on Thurs., Sept. 13 for staten senator, in the 34th Senate District (and others all over the city), the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is hosting a Town Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Monroe College, 2501 Jerome Ave. (near Fordham Road) for Senate candidates interested in representing a few northwest Bronx districts. Alessandra Biaggi will be there. I heard that her opponent, incumbent Jeff Klein has not RSVP’d. Anyone interested in learning where candidates stand on many critical issues — health care, housing, schools, jobs, etc. — are welcome to attend.

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Biaggi vs. Klein Debate on BronxTalk on Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. (39 Days to Go Before Election on Thurs., Sept. 13)

5 Aug

Just got word from BronxTalk’s veteran host Gary Axelbank that he’ll host a debate between Alessandra Biaggi and Jeff Klein, candidates for State Senate, a week from tomorrow: Monday, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. It’s on Optimum channel 67 and Fios channel 33. Don’t have those? Well, go to a friend’s house that does have one and invite more friends!   It’s critically important because, as I’ve already written here and here, it’s a local race with impact throughout the Empire State. If you can’t watch it at that time, it’ll be on-line soon thereafter.

42 Days to Go — Taking Down Members of Bronx-Born IDC (Independent Democratic Conference)

2 Aug

8.2.18 – I wrote about Bronx politics and critical local issues for almost 20 years, when I was reporter and editor of the Norwood News (in Community Board 7) and the Bronx News Network. One thing I rarely witnessed were Democratic incumbents (all were Dems except for Guy Velella during my tenure) facing primary challengers with a good shot of winning. During my time on the job, except when corrupt incumbents were defeated or stepped down (State Senator Pedro Espada, Councilman Pedro G. Espada, State Senator Efrain Gonzalez, Councilman Larry Seabrook, Nelso Castro, Eric Stevenson, Israel Ruiz, etc., etc.) few if any vets of the City Council, state Assembly, or state Senate, faced significant challengers.

But times have changed. If there’s one thing to be grateful to Trump and his seemingly corrupt victory for, it is this: excellent and energized freshmen progressive candidates are taking it to the streets along with big teams of dedicated volunteers. They are acting on the fact that state and local elections are as – and even more in many cases – critical to democracy and local issues as presidential elections. What happens – or doesn’t happen – locally has a dramatic impact on national politics as well. Even big-shot former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local.”

And it is not just local in terms of issues affecting Bronx residents and neighborhoods, but residents and towns of the entire Empire State.

And that’s because of the IDC, a team of eight “Democrats” who sided with Republicans in the State Senate, handed over all of the real power of Democrats to the GOP. That’s blocked every essential bill on critical issues like voting rights, school funding, a Health Care Act, and the DREAM Act from passing in the State Senate and joining forces with the Assembly, vastly controlled by Democrats.

State Senator Jeff Klein, of the Bronx, formed the IDC in 2011. It wouldn’t have existed without him. (Technically, it no longer exists since Cuomo made them shut it down earlier this year, but Klein and his team are being told to pay $1.4  million they received from the Independence Party. Like almost all other IDC incumbents, Klein faces a strong challenge from Alessandra Biaggi, who already has 400 volunteers on her team taking it to the streets, knocking on doors, phone banking, writing post cards, contributing whatever they can. Here’s her recent video.

Bronx Democrats (including me) have moaned and groaned for years that our votes don’t  count for much, particularly in presidential elections. But this is a Democratic primary with epic issues (local, state and national) at stake. Your vote – and participation – matters. Big time.

So learn more and volunteer for Biaggi (or any of the other challengers to IDC incumbents ) right now! There are only six weeks to go! The primary is on Thursday (yes, Thursday!) September 13.

Oh, and if you’d like to learn more about the IDC, check out this excellent, brief video Zephyr Teachout did last year.

 

D.C. Columnist’s Great Idea Makes Me Think of Trump’s Bronx Golf Course

15 Dec

Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell has a good idea — apply the controversial, but very legal, policy of eminent domain to Donald Trump, who loves it to death, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where a clogged security site is already sucking millions of police protection cash from the city. Through eminent domain, the city would have to pay Trump for the building before they dismiss him from the site. But, in her column, Rampell explains how it’s well worth it.

Made me think of the Bronx golf course Trump currently runs. He doesn’t own the property, so eminent domain isn’t applicable. But the city could end its contract with him, as welcome2thebronx.com sought last year in a petition effort after Trump said that Mexico is: “sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists.”

That’s when Trump even lost the support of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who decided to boycott the site. “When he speaks out against Muslims, when he speaks out against Mexicans and Latinos, that to me is anti-Bronx,” Diaz said, as reported in dnainfo.com. “That’s the reason why I boycotted the golf course.”

 

 

 

Who, and What, You’re Voting For in Bronx and Beyond

2 Nov

Wnyc.org has a great site listing who and what you’re going to be voting for this coming Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The city itself has its own detailed site.

Pass this along. The more who know about these links the merrier.

City Limits Highlights 40 Years of Critical Reporting

3 Feb

City Limits is 40 years old this year. For most of its life thus far it was a hand-held magazine, but for a couple of years now it’s been a website with the same critical coverage of urban policies that affect all New Yorkers and their neighborhoods.

Celebrating its impressive anniversary (how many nonprofit publications are around for four decades?) City Limits highlights a story from each of those 40 years (including my piece -part of a series produced by Tom Robbins and his excellent students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism – about a boy’s death following a fire in a disastrous Bronx building long-ignored by its landlord.)

What City Limits also has up and running are essays by many of its former editors including Robbins, Alyssa Katz and Doug Turetsky. (Bronx and Norwood neighborhood resident Jarrett Murphy is the current editor who made this whole lookback happen.)

Take a read and pass it on. It’s good for everyone to know more about where we were and focus on what policies still need focus and change.

 

DEP Needs to Do Its Job Clearing Jerome Park Reservoir Sidewalk

25 Jan

Those of us who live around the Jerome Park Reservoir probably know that most of that 2-mile-long public sidewalk has not been dug out after the historic snowstorm. It’s the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that’s responsible for that, not the Parks Department, which is doing a great job clearing the paths at Fort Independence Park which is also adjacent to the reservoir.

DSC_0092

As the photo above shows, salt has been put down near that park’s entrance (by NYC Parks Dept. just to help access to their the park they’re responsible for I’m guessing), but that can only help a bit considering the snow’s height and since 2/3 of the reservoir is inaccessible to local residents and workers.

I called 311 but was on hold for a very long time thanks to the snowstorm. So I went on 311’s website and app but the complaint choices were not helpful in this situation. I then went to DEP’s website and made the following complaint to DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. If you share this concern I suggest you do the same. I’ll let you know if I get a response.

Hi Comm. Lloyd,
While the snow has been removed from Fort Independence Park in CB8/Bronx, it has not been removed from the public sidewalks around the Jerome Park Reservoir (other than at Lehman College, which probably did the work itself for student and staff access). This is DEP’s job as far as I know. It is a critical sidewalk to clear as it’s the way so many people walk to work, school, home, etc. The way it is, people are more likely to fall or walk in the street, which is also very dangerous of course. If you or someone on staff can let me know when DEP will be coming to clear sidewalk surround the reservoir. I would appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Jordan Moss

Oh, while I’m at it, here’s the excellent job Parks Dept. workers already did at Fort Independence Park (also know to many locals as Pigeon Park).

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Parks Dept. workers cleared the Fort Independence Park pathway this morning.           Photos by Jordan Moss

 

 

 

A Bronx NYCHA Mess for All to See

15 Dec
nycha mess on Heath Ave

What should be a parking lot at Fort Independence Houses in Kingsbridge Heights is now a virtual dumping ground that NYCHA is ignoring.         Photo by Jordan Moss

For months NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) has ignored this enormous mess at at Fort Independence Houses in Kingsbridge Heights. It’s essentially an unused parking lot on Heath Avenue that has been filled with all kinds of garbage over the last several months.

This shouldn’t be a costly fix. NYCHA should just be paying attention to land that it owns and is responsible for.

If you know of similar problems at other Bronx NYCHA sites and can send Bronx Matters photos, we’d be happy to spread the word and hopefully get NYCHA on its toes. Just email bronxmatters@gmail.com.