Archive | Bronx Homeless RSS feed for this section

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.

Advertisements

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.

 

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.

 

WHEDco’s Big South Bronx Project — ‘Bronx Commons’ — Scheduled to Break Ground in Next Year

13 Oct

WHEDco (Women’s Housing and Econcomic Development Corporation) is scheduled to break ground on on a large mixed use development in the next year, according to Curbed.

“Today, WHEDco is working on its most ambitious project yet: Bronx Commons, a 361,600-square-foot mixed-use development with affordable housing, a rooftop farm, retail space, and cultural programming from the Bronx Music Heritage Center. Although the organization has come a long way since its formation, the mission is more or less the same: livable, affordable housing that builds up the neighborhood too.”

Here’s the whole Curbed story.

New Bronx Community Board 8 District Manager

22 May

Community Board 8 has a brand new district manager, Patricia Manning. Yet she’s a 30-year veteran of the office. (I remember working with her briefly in the early 1990s, when I was working for the borough president and the Department of Sanitation in Community Boards 11 and 8 on education and helping communities adhere to the brand new recycling law. I also remember her daughter worked (works?) at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx. More news on her new gig in The Riverdale Press.

Contractor Threatens to Evict Homeless Families as City Cuts Pay for Criticized Homeless Program

1 Jul

Mayor de Blasio is no fan of cluster site housing for the homeless – where companies rent apartments, loan them to those needing housing and technically help those temporary tenants find jobs and regular housing. Since 2004, when Bloomberg launched this program (following a similar program of Giuliani’s) the city has been paying twice as much rent for the homeless than it would otherwise cost. If rent goes for $1,500 on average, apartments for the homeless cost the city about $3,000.

So, as reported in the New York Times yesterday, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, is cutting down what the city is going to pay these companies, some of them nonprofits, to do what they’ve been doing. And one of them, Aguila Inc., is threatening evict homeless tenants they’re responsible for, outraging Barrios-Paoli.

I covered this issue, including Aguila, extensively for the Bronx Bureau of City Limits a year ago and in April. Almost no “homeless” tenant I interviewed said the cluster site process was helping them find work, or secure other regular apartments. De Blasio can’t get rid of cluster site all at once but it other efforts may follow. Meanwhile, whether this administration is able to find other companies who will take less money for the same role – while doing it all better – remains to be seen.

Even though this isn’t front-page news now, and elected officials have had little or anything to say about it (both of these things should be occurring), how the city’s efforts to diminish the cluster-site program is very Bronx relevant. It’s the second smallest borough, but it has about 135 of the 230 — more than half — cluster-site buildings in the city.