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Klein Fibs About 32BJ/SEIU Support. It’s Biaggi Who Has Their Endorsement. (38 Days to Go Before Election on Thurs., Sept. 13)

6 Aug

This ain’t right. A few days ago, incumbent State Senator Jeff Klein, founder of the IDC, which enabled Republicans to hold power of the State Senate for 7 years, posted this tweet, implying that he’s been endorsed by the union 32BJ/SEIU:

But that’s just a straight fib. 32BJ/SEIU has not only endorsed his challenger, the true Democrat Alessandra Biaggi (check out third logo under quotes right here), but its taking it to the streets.

Take a look at 32BJ/SEIU members and their leader Hector Figueroa with Biaggi right here …

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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.

 

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.

House Explosion on 234th St. & Tibbett Ave. in Kingsbridge/Bronx

27 Sep

If you heard the loud explosion this morning in Kingsbridge/Bronx (we did) it was at least one house on 234th St. and Tibbett Ave. the southwest corner right near the steps up to Waldo Ave. in Riverdale. I didn’t count but it seemed like 50 or 60 fire engines of every type and police cars are there. I’m still hearing helicopters and sirens more than an hour later. I just  read a tweet from Dean Meminger of NY1 that a firefighter was killed “while responding to an illegal drug lab fire.” So sad and upsetting. I hope everyone else is OK. Here’s the NY1 link: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2016/09/27/kingsbridge-gas-explosion-and-fire.html

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.

 

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.

 

Will 2 ‘Worst Landlords’ Stay on the List?

22 Oct

Here’s an update on my prior post regarding two landlord partners who purchased six buildings in the northwest Bronx:

Some of their buildings are listed on Pubilc Advocate Letitia James’ Worst Landlord’s Watchlist. But in checking the HPD violation data site, the violations on some Brooklyn buildings of those two landlords appear to have been reduced significantly. After asking James’ office about these landlords’ current status on their list, a spokesperson told me that their “full list should be updated in the next month and if the landlords have reformed they will be removed.”

If you have experience living, or working with tenants in, the buildings of landlords Yechel Weinberger and Bernard Miller, please share your experience with Bronx Matters by commenting on this post or emailing bronxmatters-at-gmail.com.