Tag Archives: redistricting

Morning Matters — 3/20/12

20 Mar

Good morning, everyone.

Here’s some video documenting this year’s annual painting of the giant shamrock on the 231st Street near Broadway for St. Patrick’s Day.

Tenants and advocates will really outside Bronx Housing Court today in support of a bill, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, that will require landlords to post a tenants’ bill of rights in their buildings. The legislation has been stalled for a year.

All that redistricting politics was like a big dose of castor oil for most New Yorkers, but now it’s a hard reality, at least in terms of the Congressional lines. Want to see what district you have landed in? Just plug in your home address here.

Congressman Jose E. Serrano tweeted this morning that it was 20 years ago today that he won a special election for his Congressional seat.

Speaking of anniversaries,  not Bronx related (though I heard he once appeared in a folk festival at Hunter College, now Lehman, in the 60s): Bob Dylan celebrates 50 years since he first recorded with Columbia Records.

The opposition to Fresh Direct is ramping up with the group South Bronx Unite launching a boycott against the grocer which is planning on building a factory in the Harlem River Yards. For more on the fledgling South Bronx Unite and a recent gathering in Melrose with veteran foes of the Atlantic Yards development, check out this Bronx Matters exclusive story.

For Bronxophiles this is kind of a must-read. Artists have converged on the stately but empty rooms of the Andrew Freedman home on the Grand Concourse to create installations related to the building and what was left in the areas that the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council does not occupy. The creations won’t be permanent tenants but organizers hope to draw attention to the property and the possibilities of it being a business incubator. There are already plans, the Times reports, to fills some of the empty space with a bed-and-breakfast.

The Center for Public Integrity gave New York a grade of D for its predilection for corruption. Believe it or not, New Jersey got the best grade.

Speaking of corruption, alleged we should say, Pedro Espada’s defense attorney infuriated the judge yesterday.

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Redistricting Update

16 Mar

Alex Kratz of Norwood News has the latest — including coverage of a community meeting on the issue and mention of State Senator Jeff Klein’s reversal of a pledge to vote against redistricting.

Morning Matters — 3/12/12

12 Mar

Good morning. Enjoy the warmth (unless you’re worried about climate change, which I guess we all should be.)

The Times has a brief, clear and comprehensive roundup of where things stand with redistricting. Just what I was looking for.

Depending on how it all shakes out, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who represents northern Manhattan and parts of Riverdale, might take on veteran congressman Charlie Rangel.

The corruption trial of former State Senator Pedro Espada and his son begins this week. The Wall Street Journal sums up the charges and looks at the battle of the healthcare centers that Espada ran to hold on to their Medicaid funding. State Senator Ruben Diaz, Jr. the only member of the “Amigos” club still in office, continues to be a big Espada supporter.  “I have not found another one like Pedro Espada, he’s strong, firm, and he’s a good legislator,” he told the Journal.

State Senator Jeff Klein was the subject of a New York Post investigation over the weekend into his business and real estate dealings.

Congressman Eliot Engel hired a Republican lobbyist, Nick Spano, to help him get the district lines he wanted. Didn’t work out so well. the Riverdale Press reports. Engel spent $40,000 but he lines drawn by the legislature remove much of his Riverdale base from the district.

The work of Bronx artist Daniel Hauben, who has long put borough scenes on canvas, will be a central feature of Bronx Community College’s new library. To see a series of images of Hauben’s wonderful work, click here.

Hunts Point residents rallied for the closure of Club Heat, a strip bar where a woman was killed in December. Hunts Point Express has the story.

 

 

The Fate of Rangel & Engel: More Bronx Redistricting Discussion

7 Mar

From reader Jack commenting on previous post.

Not sure what Mr. Kappstatter means by “Charlie Rangel totally screwed out of the Bronx.” The maps I’ve seen aren’t too precise, but from what I can see Rangel’s district (the 13th under Mann’s numbering) does move up the far west of the Bronx starting along the Harlem River around Highbridge. It starts jutting further east around University Heights, covering all of Kingsbridge, Bedford Park, and Norwood. A lot of us Bronxites in the Northwest move from Engel to Rangel.

Kappstatter is also wrong about “only Riverdale” staying in Engel’s district. The maps show Woodlawn and a significant portion of Wakefield and other east Bronx neighborhoods (can’t tell if it stretches as far as Co-op City — don’t think so. That would be interesting though, since Co-op City is Engel’s original base. He first won a seat in Congress as a Co-Op City guy.)

I imagine Engel isn’t happy with all the money he spent on lobbyists (including the convicted tax evader Nick Spano!) Frankly though — his district was absurdly drawn to maximize his Jewish vote. I don’t see Engel running in Rockland — he was only up that far to capture the Jewish vote. The question is — is his Riverdale base strong enough to carry him in parts of Westchester where people will have never even heard of him. (Except that he camps out for the State of the Union) My question — who would run against him? Stewart-Cousins would seem to have a good base for this district. Who are some of the ambitious pols in lower-Westchester who may be tempted?

Bob Kappstatter responds:

Nita Lowey vs. Engel?

And Jack is right, Engel’s new district would swing across the top of the Bronx over to Co-op City (Darn those small maps!), but it’s questionable whether he could still pull votes from there after Joe Crowley (who would lose it in his new district) has had it for a number of years.

Professional political numbersmeister Jerry Skurnik pointed out to me that “Engel’s present district is only 40% Bronx and he hasn’t faced a serious Westchester or Rockland opponent since 2002.”

As for Charlie Rangel, although the new district DOES cut into a piece of the northwest Bronx, Charlie (who’s father was Puerto Rican) would being running in an overwhelming Latino district (55.1% Hispanic, 35.% black), with a large number of Hispanic electeds already chomping at the bit to run there.

“Carlito” might/maybe squeeze through in a primary if they all pile in and dilute the vote.

Right now, this is all so much political bloviating. We shall see, and let the games begin!

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