Tag Archives: Carl Heastie

Assembly Speaker Heastie, Bronxite, Must Do the Right Thing on Raise Recommendation

14 Dec

10.14.18 — Most city residents don’t know who their state legislators are. It’s just a fact. I don’t know of a poll in this regard, but I bet a tiny, tiny fraction of us Bronxites know that an assemblyman from the northeast Bronx, Carl Heastie, is the speaker of the Assembly. A pretty important job especially considering that he and his Democratic colleagues could get some critically important legislation passed, now that the state Senate will be led by Democrats on Jan. 1.

So, Heastie has the power to do good. But there’s word that he might, well, do something very bad. A group of current and former city and state comptrollers was given the power to come up with recommendations regarding whether and how to increase state legislators’ pay from $79,500 to $110,000 on Jan. 1 and eventually to $130,000 in 2021. That would be the top pay for state legislators in the country. The critical caveat the comptroller-team put forward was that legislators’ outside income can only be 15 percent of what they earn in the Assembly or state Senate. That’s because so much of the vast corruption in Albany is related to hidden handshake money deals on legislation that is connected with lawmakers’ non-government gigs.  U.S. congressmen/women and  senators in D.C. are prohibited from doing other work while they’re in Congress for this exact reason.

So making $50,500 more than they make right now is a perfect incentive to do the right thing. Right?

Well, it seems many state legislators don’t think so. If the legislature does nothing (something we want for a change!) in terms of the comptrollers’ recommendations, all of the good stuff they proposed will take effect on Jan. 1. But according to a New York Times editorial today, Speaker Heastie is thinking of what the current State Senate majority leader John Flanagan is thinking: staging a vote in both chambers before Jan. 1 to get their big raise but also to keep allowing a ton of outside money to interfere with the critical government jobs voters hired them for.

Speaker Heastie, a Bronxite and like the second or third most powerful person in state government, needs to to do the right thing: vow publicly that he won’t allow a vote to undercut the comptrollers’ excellent and desperately needed small-‘d’, democratic good-government proposal.

If you agree, give Heastie a call at his office and tell him to the let his pay raise go forth the way the comptrollers recommended. So essentially, no more decision making or voting on this. It should be done, which would be good for democracy in our state. His office number is 718-654-6539 and/or email him at Speaker@nyassembly.gov.

-Jordan Moss

In Fundraiser, Bronx Pol Seeks Big Bucks for Protection or Promotion, Daily News Reports

20 Oct
Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda (bottom right), gathered in 2014 with a crew of Bronx elected officials in Albany for an event organized by Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (top left) . Photo by Jordan Moss

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda (bottom right), gathered in 2014 with a crew of Bronx elected officials in Albany for an event organized by Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (top left) . Photo by Jordan Moss

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda has only been a Bronx assemblyman since 2013. Yet, as Ken Lovett reported in the Daily News yesterday, Sepulveda is holding a fundraiser tomorrow for $1,000 a head, a good bit more than a state legislator seeks for re-election to the same post. So, Sepulveda may want a bigger political gig already or just protect himself from challenges, Lovett reports, adding that Sepulveda is no pal of borough “regulars” like Ruben Diaz, Jr., the borough president; Assemblyman Carl Heastie (now the Assembly speaker); or the county chairman, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.

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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Morning Matters — 3/5/12

5 Mar

Good morning, all. Here are some Bronx issues that matter ….

Citing the police shooting of Ramarley Graham in Wakefield, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson wants NYC police officers to undergo periodic psychological examinations.

A colleague of the cop that shot Graham tells the Daily News’ Kevin Deutsch that that officer feels “terrible” about the incident.

Worth a read: A lengthy, link-laden takedown of the controversial Fresh Direct deal on Alternet.

Fordham U. students will be rallying today, responding to the racial and homophobic slurs that have been scrawled on campus property in recent weeks.

Judge Roanne Mann will hear arguments today in the redistricting battle which is fielding multiple NYC political armies. According to an article in the New York World, Mann appears to be rather interested in a district-line proposal by the good-government group Common Cause which ignores where particular politicians live (what a concept!). The fight is bringing to the fore ambitions of various lawmakers including Bronx Democratic chair Carl Heastie, an assemblyman. According to El Diario columnist Gerson Berrero (from Twitter, so no link) there was an emergency meeting among Bronx Democrats last night to forge a unified response.

The Riverdale Press examines what shape Congressman Eliot Engel’s district will take if the wishes of Assembly Democrats or Senate Republicans are realized.

This article from Bangla Patrika translated in Voices of NY is from a couple of weeks ago but interesting and important nonetheless. A growing community of Bronx Bangladeshis in Parkschester, Soundview and Castle Hill is exploring putting up a candidate to challenge Council Member Annabel Palma when she faces re-election in 2013.

Morning Matters — 3/1/12

1 Mar

Good Morning Readers – Thanks for checking out Bronx Matters. I’m going to try to post links to a few Bronx things that matter every morning, say by 11 a.m. or so. So, here we go!

Visitors to the Point CDC take a look at an interactive model of the Sheridan Expressway and its surroundings. (Photo: Kimberly Devi Milner/Hunts Point Express)

It’s long been the dream of many activists, citizens and environmentalists in Hunts Point (that’s in the southeast Bronx for those of you reading this beyond the borough) to decommission the 1.25-mile Sheridan Expressway in order to make way for parkland, affordable housing and more waterfront access. With a federal Department of Transportation grant of $1.5 million, city agencies are studying the future of the Expressway and surrounding arteries. Hunts Point Express reports that an interactive model of the Expressway is making its way through the borough to engage citizens in planning for its future. For more background on the community’s efforts to eliminate the Sheridan, and an illustration of what could replace it, check out this Express article from last year.

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development targets 200 crumbling buildings a year in its Alternative Enforcement Program, and it has just added another batch of them with 56 in the Bronx, reported Dan Beekman in yesterday’s Daily News. Through the program, HPD makes emergency repairs and bills the landlords who neglected the critical work in the first place. Want to find out what HPD has on record for the condition of your building? Just plug in your address at HPD Online and you’ll find out that and a lot more.

The battle over Congressional lines is heating up, pitting Bronx Democratic chief Carl Heastie (who represents the northeast Bronx in the Assembly) against fellow lawmaker Keith Wright, of Manhattan, who wants a chunk of the Bronx for Charlie Rangel’s district. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. issued a statement yesterday placing himself firmly in Heastie’s corner and arguing against the use of the Bronx as spare parts for Manhattan’s legislative districts. “We will not stand for any plan that would slice the Bronx into many small pieces,” Diaz said. “For decades, the Bronx has had at least one Congressional district entirely within its borders, and this should not change.” The district he is referring to is Jose Serrano’s.

—Jordan Moss