Tag Archives: City Limits

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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

High School Student Highlights NYC’s Crime Data Cover-Up; Adds to Previous Bronx Reporting

11 Nov

In the Daily News last Friday, high school student Josh Waldman’s letter to the editor tops the page with the headline: “Let us see all the crime numbers.”

Waldman reports how the Police Department keeps all but the current week’s crime statistics a secret. He points out, when the NYPD posts the current precinct-wide weekly data known as CompStat, it removes all prior stats off the site!

Congrats Josh for highlighting this critical issue that virtually no press is paying close attention to, save the Norwood News and City Limits, where I wrote this article almost two years ago.

It focused on the fact that it’s critical to know how current precinct stats compare to past precinct data and, even more importantly, to know where in those precincts specific criminal activity is growing or consistently problematic. That’s called sector stats, more material that the NYPD won’t release. Precincts are the same size as the community districts they are in and many, serving 100,000 residents, are bigger than most American cities. That’s why sector stats are so critical. They keep track of the same crime data — assaults, car thefts, robberies, burglary and murder — as CompStat data. But sector stats provide the data virtually neighborhood by neighborhood.

In the City Limits article, I reported on Bronx councilman Fernando Cabrera’s bill that resulted in law. He was inspired by Norwood News coverage by me and Alex Kratz on the fact that the NYPD refuses to make sector data available. Norwood News did eventually acquire the info through FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requests but that took more than a year. All media, community boards, community groups, and interested individuals should submit similar FOIL requests to pressure NYPD and city government in general to make the information regularly available.

Cabrera achieved some, but not all, of the change he sought, particularly the provision of sector stats. In maps where you can click on circles indicating some data, the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) website does show generally what block crimes have been committed on but only on a monthly basis. And the site doesn’t indicate sector or neighborhood crime totals. So forget about complete, clear neighborhood sector data. DoITT has kept that hidden as well.

When it became law, Greg Faulkner, Cabrera’s chief of staff, said his office had a similar concern about the map. “It doesn’t have enough details and our vision of it was there was going to be a lot more,” said Greg Faulkner, Cabrera’s chief of staff, in the City Limits article. “We need to hear whether there were specific security concerns about why they were left out.” He added back then that the website was not shared with Council members before it was fully implemented. Had it been, Faulkner says, the city “would have been able to determine whether their implementation matched the Council’s intent.”

It clearly hasn’t.

One more thing:

Waldman, the high school student, even created a NYC Shootings website that holds on to crime stat data that the NYPD removes. (It looks great but it’s not functioning at the moment. Josh, let me know when it’s up an running again.) If students at every high school in the city were keeping an eye on what was going on around them, and acting on it like Waldman, it would have an impact on city policy.

More Bronx Development, More Harrassment, Activists Say

21 Oct

City Limits reports (includes a video): Tenants and organizers of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition gathered at the Bronx Housing Court last Thursday to protest what they say is a growing crisis: landlords harassing tenants by bringing them to housing court in hopes of pushing them out and raising rents.

(My wife, Margaret Groarke, long involved with the Coalition, is interviewed in this article and video. She cares a lot about housing in the borough as do I.)

5.29.14 — Bronx News that Matters

29 May
Clinton pic Marison

Students of the renewed DeWitt Clinton High School on Mosholu Parkway. Photo by Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press

The Riverdale Press reports on DeWitt Clinton High School’s comeback.

A new chair of Community Board 9 in the southeast Bronx is only 31, the youngest in the city. But the Daily News reports that generally there are very few young people — particularly teens — on the Bronx’s 12 community boards. None of CB 11’s board members are under 45, for example.

The Daily News reminds readers that Bernie Madoff’s so-called Ponzi scheme, a financial earthquake, led to Yeshiva University losing $110 million back in 2008, and that fiscal tragedy is a big part of the reason Yeshiva is partnering with Montefiore to run the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

A new retail plaza is headed for the borough’s “Hub” in Melrose by the end of the year, reports the Daily News. It will feature Metropolitan College’s Bronx campus, a Fine Fare Supermarket, and Vista Optical. (No link.)

In one of the borough’s most competitive state Senate primaries, on May 22 the Ben Franklin Democratic Club in Riverdale starkly backed incumbent Jeffrey Klein – A Democrat but co-founder of the Independent Democratic Conference which often collaborates with the Senate’s Republicans — over Oliver Koppell, a former Councilman and long-term member and organizer of that very club.

Speaking of which, in his BoroBeat column, Bronx Times editor Bob Kapstatter credits club president Ellen Feld for “keeping the pandemonium” at the Club’s significant session “to a manageable level.” Kapstatter also reports Gov. Cuomo naming BP Ruben Diaz, Jr. as a co-chair of his re-election campaign.

Community Board 7 is pushing for a store in the Fordham Road D-train station, reports the Norwood News.

Jarrett Murphy, editor of City Limits, takes a look at the city’s rat battle.

The New York Times reports on Lincoln Hospital’s emergency room, probably the city’s busiest.

5.22.14 — Bronx News that Matters

22 May

Former Council member Oliver Koppell, a veteran Riverdale-based politician who occupied several other key political positions, may have an uphill climb to defeat incumbent Jeffrey Klein, a Democrat who has formed a separate committee to partner closely with Republicans. Some key former Koppell allies are backing Klein, but
Koppell is gathering support and enthusiastically taking it on. City Limits files a detailed report.

Former assemblyman Eric A. Stevenson is headed behind bars for three years for taking bribes from a company wanting legislation to temporarily ban additional adult day care centers. In February, I reported in City Limits that Governor Cuomo was publicly struggling with a decision of whether to have the election to refill District 79 soon or wait until the regular primary on Sept. 9. The latter date won out and there won’t be an assemblyman in that district for another six months following the general election. The same is true for District 77, an office former-assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson left when she became a member of the City Council.

The city celebrated its Shop Healthy Program in the Bronx. Through advertising, the project highlights healthier foods which the Department of Health says works by drawing more customers to food that’s better for them.

Congressman Charles Rangel, who now represents part of the northwest Bronx, leads challenger Adriano Espaillat, now a state senator, 41 to 32 percent in a poll conducted by the New York Times, NY1, and Siena College. (Data chart included.)

And according to the Daily News, Rangel and another candidate in his district have a lotta dough. And Espaillat? Not so much.

The ninth murder this year in the northeast Bronx’s 47th Precinct took place on East 229th Street yesterday. That’s eight more murders than there were last year at this time. The New York Times covered this problem May 18 as well.

(To find out more about crime in your precinct or neighborhood, click here and here for city data from NYPD and DoITT. Tell Bronx Matters if you think this data is helpful or how it can be more helpful.)

Speaking of food, a historic pizza joint, Patsy’s Pizzeria, is opening a Morris Park location next month, the Daily News reports. According to the story, the 81-year-old Patsy’s is considered to be the first pizzeria that sold pizza by the slice.

The Ghetto Film School, based in Mott Haven, is partnering with 20th Century Fox to open a partner school in Los Angeles, the Daily News reports.

If you’d like to get e-mail updates on Bronx Matters blog posts, see bottom of page at left. Thanks! -Jordan

 

Bronx Matters Returns!

19 May

This Bronx-focused blog is back-at-it! More details here.

Times Gives Some Ink to NYCHA Pummeling …

14 Aug

The New York Times, silent for weeks while the Daily News took aim at the New York City Housing Authority for sitting on top of millions of dollars in federal funds while thousands of deteriorating, mold-infested apartments are left unattended, finally gave the issue some ink on its editorial page today.

As Bronx Matters pointed out in a previous post, a thorough City Limits investigation into the city’s reliance on private consultants — including Boston Consulting Group , the one NYCHA head John Rhea hired for a review of his agency and previously worked for himself — was first to declare that the city paid big bucks for a review of the public housing agency but hadn’t released it to the public.

It’s not too late for the Daily News to tip its hat toward City Limits.