Archive | Bronx 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

40 Days to Go — Klein Has a Lot More $$, but a Lot Less Contributors (Uh, Supporters) than Biaggi

4 Aug

As Cindy Lauper sang, “Money Changes Everything.”

Right? Well, in terms of local elections, particularly the ones this year, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Incumbent State Senator Jeff Klein, founder of the Independent Democratic Conference, which handed Senate power over to Republicans, raised $1.8 million for his campaign. Alessandra Biaggi, on the other hand, has raised only $314,000, according to the investigative website Sludge. So, sounds like she doesn’t have much of a chance to defeat Klein, right?

Well, no, because what matters even more than money in local politics is people, and Biaggi has gathered a lot of them. The number of  her contributors and volunteers outweigh Klein’s significantly. Sludge reports she already has 4,108 contributors. He has only 932. Meanwhile, for Biaggi, 400+ volunteers are on the streets, knocking on doors, making calls, sending post cards and more.

The average donations to Klein are $1,915 and come larger from company’s and PACs. Biaggi’s donation averages are $76. So, thanks to a big pile of corporate donors, his current cash count is over 25 times larger than hers. (You can check out his top corporate donors in a City Limits article by Jeanmarie Evelly, a great reporter I worked with at the Norwood News and Bronx News Network.)

For detailed reports of what each candidate in this race and all state races are raising, and from whom, just go to this contribution database on the  New York State Board of Elections site.  If it isn’t clear already from this and previous posts, you’ll learn from that database that I support Biaggi. Happily. (If you’d like to do the same, go here.)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Care About the Bronx and Beyond? Watch This Brief Video on How a Group of Fake ‘Democrats’ Has Handed the State Senate Over to Republicans and Learn What You Can Do.

19 Mar

311 Worked — Bronx Step Street Light Replaced

14 Feb

Yes, only a little improvement to a lousy step street (which needs to be replaced!), connecting Heath and Bailey avenues in Kingsbridge Heights, but an important fix nonetheless. The bottom step street light on Bailey Avenue has been out for a good bit, so it’s dangerously dark before you start heading up the steps. I called 311, they contacted the Department of Transportation (DOT) and gave me a code, and a few days later I checked in on it via 311’s website. It indicated that the light had been replaced and the case was closed. Wasn’t closed for me until I saw the light on tonight. Lesson? If you see a broken bench in a park; a dangerous, deteriorated sidewalk ; a street light out, etc., hear too much noise, etc., etc., call 311! They give you a code so you can keep track of the status. It also helps to let your community board know about the problem and give them the code you received. They’re usually in regular contact with city agencies and can echo your complaint. Here’s a photo of the step street (which, again, needs to be replaced! — more on this later) with the repaired light at the bottom of the stairs …

IMG_0555

Bronx step street entrance on Bailey Avenue headed up to Heath Avenue and Summit Place. DOT replaced light after complaint via 311. Photo by Jordan Moss

 

A Look Back at Jeff Klein from Grade School to Now

6 Feb

City & State profiles Bronx State Senator Jeff Klein, technically a Democrat, but more of a powerful partner with Senate Republicans. Definitely worth a read. 

How So-Called Bronx Democrat Jeff Klein and Colleagues Have Handed Over the State Senate to Republicans

30 Jan

The IDC (Independent Democratic Conference) is a group of 8 “Democratic” state senators who have fled their former party colleagues in Albany to work with Republicans and give them full power of the legislative body, thereby blocking critical progressive legislation. It especially gives Bronxite State Senator Jeff Klein, the IDC’s founder and leader, the power to join his pal, Senate Republican and “majority leader” John Flanagan, in disabling Democrats from passing critical bills. (Simcha Felder of Brooklyn isn’t part of IDC, but is essentially a Democrat who works closely with Republicans nonetheless, so he, too, is a GOP pal.)

This critical political reality has been in city and state newspapers and websites a little bit lately, but hasn’t yet sufficiently spread among New Yorkers statewide, like say, how Trump’s attacks on Obamacare or DACA have done all over the planet. Time to change that. A couple of months ago, Zephyr Teachout, a law professor and Democratic activist who ran for governor against Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary (snatching a significant 36% of the vote) posted this excellent brief video explaining just what’s going on and what we need to do to change it. Check it out below. (And check out the sites of two Democratic candidates challenging Klein in the 34th Senate District: https://www.biaggi4ny.com and https://www.lewiskny.com.)

Criminal Justice Focus at Bronx Documentary Center Screening and Panel Discussion

9 Jan

The Bronx Documentary Center in Melrose will host “Visualizing Criminal Justice,” a screening and panel discussion, with the Marshall Project. on Thurs., Jan. 11 at 7  p.m. “Jenny Carchman’s We Are Witnesses takes a deeper look at the faces behind the complex and highly-flawed criminal justice system.” More info here.