Thursday, February 21, 2013

Register Gun Offenders-BP says

BRONX, NEW YORK, February 21- In his annual “State of the Borough” address, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. called on the New York State Legislature to create a new “gun crime registry,” with reporting requirements similar to New York State’s sex offender registry.

“We must also ensure that those who engage in gun violence are not allowed to escape the spotlight,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Law-abiding citizens ought to know who among us is responsible for gun violence, and this initiative will do just that.”

Diaz’s proposed registry would be available online, and would require perpetrators convicted of crimes involving a gun to keep updated records with the police regarding their living and employment arrangements. Gun crime offenders, under the proposal, would be required to remain on the registry for at least ten years, and could be removed from the registry for good behavior following that initial time period.

Among other requirements, those convicted of gun crimes would have to:

  • Report annually where they live by signing and returning an annual verification form within ten (10) days after receiving it.
  • Notify law enforcement officials in writing of a new address no later than 10 days after moving.
  • Report in person to a local police agency to have a current photograph taken every three years.
  • Personally verify their addresses every 90 days with law enforcement for a period of three consecutive years after the conviction. After three years without any further arrests, the individual will eligible for a modified reporting schedule. Law enforcement may at that time photograph an offender if that offender’s appearance has changed.

Under Borough President Diaz’s proposal, failure to perform any of the registration obligations would be considered a felony level crime. A first conviction would be punishable as a Class E felony; a second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a Class D felony.

Individuals unable to secure employment would be assigned a case worker to identify career counseling services, training opportunities and other available social services.

Borough President Diaz stated that, in the coming weeks and months, he would engage in conversations with members of the New York State Legislature to begin the process of crafting legislation and building support for this unique initiative.

“A safer New York State, and a safer nation, demands that we shine a light on those individuals who would commit gun crimes in our neighborhoods. An easily-accessible gun crime registry will serve as an excellent tool not only to keep neighborhoods informed about crime, but to serve as a deterrent from such acts. I look forward to working with the New York State Legislature to pass this important piece of legislation,” said Borough President Diaz.

During his annual “State of the Borough” address, Borough President Diaz also praised the New York State Legislature for passing the NY SAFE Act in January. He also called for new laws requiring ammunition micro stamping, limiting the number of guns and amount of ammunition an individual can purchase at any given time, and requiring a drug test to get a gun license.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wakefield News: Another One Bites the Dust?

Wakefield News: Another One Bites the Dust?: --> COMMUNITY BOARD NEWS N’ VIEWS By Father Richard F. Gorman Chairman Community Board #12 (The Bronx) BRONX, NEW Y...

Another One Bites the Dust?

By Father Richard F. Gorman
Community Board #12 (The Bronx)
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 14- Amidst all of the bad news as of late concerning the passing of the great, three-term, one hundred fifth Mayor of the City of New York, Edward Irving Koch; the wrath of an epic snowstorm and the dire conditions that remained in its wake; and this morning’s news from the Vatican that Pope Benedict XVI has decided to become the first Pope to resign from office in nearly six (6) centuries, it is somewhat understandable that perhaps a bit of very important good news would appear to have gone unnoticed and by the boards.  Overlooked and disregarded as it might have been, though, this information was as profound in its effect as its announcement was greeted with enthusiasm.  In a decisive action that rapped the knuckles of the Bloomberg Administration and encouraged the residents of Community Board #12 (The Bronx), the Comptroller of the City of New York, The Honorable John C. Liu, announced on Thursday morning, 7 February 2013 that his office was rejecting a contract in the amount of some ninety-one million dollars ($91,000,000.00) to operate a homeless shelter for two (200) hundred men in the now shuttered SARGEANT JOSEPH E. MULLER UNITED STATES ARMY RESERVE CENTER (M.U.S.A.R.C.) located at 555 East 238TH Street/Nereid Avenue in Bronx Community District #12.  The homeless facility was slated to be operated by THE DOE FUND, INCORPORATED, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization headquartered in Manhattan, whose Founder and President, Mr. George A. McDonald, is a candidate in the upcoming Republican Primary for Mayor.
In refusing to certify the contract between the New York City Department of Homeless Services (N.Y.C.D.H.S.) and Mr. McDonald’s outfit, Comptroller Liu cited as his rationale for so acting the failure of the City of New York to adhere to the process delineated in Federal Law governing the transfer of closing United States military bases to local jurisdictions for projects designed to assist homeless persons.  In other words, the Comptroller was upholding and agreeing with the longstanding assertion of The Honorable Ruben Diaz, Jr., Borough President of The Bronx, that no properly and legitimately convoked meeting of the Local Redevelopment Authority (L.R.A.), the body constituted and empowered by Federal legislation to determine the future use of decommissioned bases, ever took place.  Borough President Diaz, along with Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Mr. Tokumbo Shobowale, the Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, comprised the L.R.A., whose meetings required a quorum of all three (3) aforesaid members in order to meet and to take action.  The Bloomberg Administration’s two (2) L.R.A. appointees maintained that a duly-constituted meeting did take place at which it was voted to turn the Muller Center over to THE DOE FUND.  Borough President Diaz vehemently denied this, having specifically stated that any gathering with Deputy Mayor Gibbs and Mr. Shobowale was informal in nature only and solely for the purpose of airing differences on the disposition of the M.U.S.A.R.C. Indeed, no agenda was formulated for this gathering and no minutes were either recorded or printed.  Moreover, it was months after the three (3) public officials unofficially met off the record that the Bloomberg folks curiously and abruptly came up with the claim that a bona fide meeting and decision had taken place.  Comptroller Liu’s investigation of this matter failed to produce any solid evidence to support the City’s contention.
Community Board #12 (The Bronx) and its Wakefield neighborhood specifically have been threatened in the past year with a homeless colony consisting of four (4) facilities in close proximity to each other.  If all four (4) facilities were to be opened, Wakefield would be burdened with several hundred homeless individuals, many of whom are afflicted with alcohol and chemical dependencies and/or mental health issues.  Fortunately, a few months ago, after negotiation with Community Board #12, Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond announced that he would not open a shelter on White Plains Road at East 240TH Street in an apartment complex constructed and owned by developer Mark Stagg and his STAGG GROUP.  Comptroller Liu’s action, taken at the behest and in support of the Borough President of The Bronx, holds open the prospect, even if at least temporarily, that only two (2) facilities housing the homeless will be opened in Wakefield.  The Comptroller’s refusal to certify the contract with THE DOE FUND can, and will most probably, be brought by Mayor Bloomberg and his Corporation Counsel to court, where Mr. Liu’s can either be upheld in his determination or ordered by the Judiciary to certify the contract.  Let us hope that the Judge who hears the case is as forthright as our Borough President in standing for the truth and as courageous as Comptroller Liu in standing up to the Bloomberg Administration for its perfidious and fraudulent manner of undertaking what is supposed to be the PEOPLE’S business.
Our accolades and appreciation go wholeheartedly to Messrs. Diaz and Liu for coming together as an effective and valiant tag-team for the hard-working, honest taxpayers of Community Board #12 (The Bronx).  If legal action is to be initiated at this juncture, perhaps it should be to uncover whether or not any Federal statutes were violated by the knowingly bogus and patently counterfeit claims made by officials of the Bloomberg Administration in order to secure possession of the Muller Center for the City of New York in breach of a process required by Federal law.  Such would be a much more pertinent and apropos recourse to the courts on this topic.  Perhaps prior to leaving office at the conclusion of this year, Mayor Bloomberg and friends need to learn that not telling the truth is not only disreputable and dishonest, but also unlawful and illegal.
Until next time, that is it for this time!

Wakefield News: Lost dialogue

Wakefield News: Lost dialogue: --> Wakefield Area News By Mary V. Lauro BRONX, NEW YORK, February 14 -While we wait for the other shoe to drop, we rem...

Lost dialogue

Wakefield Area News

By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 14-While we wait for the other shoe to drop, we remind you that the League will be meeting on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church's Undercroft. Redeemer is located at Barnes and Boyd Avenues. The guest speaker will be Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. Everyone is welcome. Invite your neighbors. Our meetings are fun. There is an intermission with refreshments. Please make a note. A reminder will not be mailed.
Now which shoe are we talking about? Well, last Thursday, February 7, New York City Comptroller, John C. Liu “rejected a 21 year, $91 million contract for a homeless shelter in the Bronx amid questions concerning the legitimacy of the required approval process represented to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development ("HUD") in seeking approval for the project. Comptroller Liu's office was unable to verify whether the City properly followed Federal regulations in the disposition of the former Muller Army Reserve Center ("the Center"), located at 555 Nereid Avenue in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The City wants to use the site, as a shelter for 200 homeless men."
Comptroller Liu's decision answered a lot of prayers since he is addressing the very points about which our Borough president threatened to take the Mayor to court. In any case, we were delighted to have our problem scrutinized by someone outside the Bloomberg cabal.
Sure enough, the very next day, a member of that cabal, Linda Gibbs, a Deputy Mayor and one of the individuals who decided the Center should be a homeless shelter was screaming like a stuck pig that Liu was politically motivated for rejecting the contract and that he had done this to "advance his political ambitions." More importantly, the Mayor's office seems to think that Liu does not have the authority to stop the contract unless there are no funds or corruption can be proven.
That's what we would like to see! Corruption proven. And the corruption we have in mind is the fakery of pretending that the citizens of Wakefield did not vehemently protest the turning of the Center into a shelter for the homeless.
This canard can best be found in a 26 page letter written by New York City Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond to Mayor Bloomberg last December. In it he repeats much of the distortions and inaccuracies present in the studies his Department had already made but he also lists the several meetings, especially the one in June 2011 that included Wakefield and Woodlawn residents. The purpose of listing them was to credit the Mayoral process with including the community in its decision. But, at no time did Mr. Diamond indicate that the community was 100 percent opposed to turning the Center into a Shelter for the Homeless.
Further, Mr. Diamond lists more than once that the community's wanted to use the Center for commercial purposes. He mentions only fleetingly that the community wanted to move the National Guard into the Center.
We think such distortion is corrupt

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wakefield News: A broken promise

Wakefield News: A broken promise: --> Wakefield Area News By Mary V. Lauro BRONX, NEW YORK, February 1- The other shoe is falling! The Mayor is continuing ...

A broken promise

Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 1- The other shoe is falling! The Mayor is continuing his assault on Wakefield. 
Praxis is already building its 70-unit building to support AIDs victims and drug addicts on White Plains Road. On Bronx Boulevard, Project Renewal has begun construction on the Balfour building for 100 homeless men now Mayor Bloomberg has waved his nasty wand so construction will soon begin to turn the Muller Army Reserve Center at 555 Nereid Avenue into a shelter for 200 single homeless men.
"No! No! No!" Borough President Diaz had said about the Muller ARC over and again. He would not let that happen without taking the City to Court. He has every reason to do so. From its inception, the Mayor bent the federal guidelines for acquiring the Muller ARC. Then in an entirely illegal move he claimed that the three person group mandated to decide whether or not the Muller ARC would become a homeless shelter had voted to do so. One of the three people in the group (Local Redevelopment Authority) was Borough President Diaz. He claims there was never a meeting and there was never a vote. We are sure he would never vote for a homeless shelter that would negatively impact on two great neighborhoods: Wakefield and Woodlawn.
Even so and sadly, no matter his good intentions, the BP is muting his promise. He never told us that he would take the city to court only if he could find an attorney who would do it Pro Bono. So far, it seems there is no attorney in the community or the Bronx who is willing…
We thought that in making the promise, the BP had the resources. One would think that he has a legal department and/or the necessary finances. It would not pain the borough to do in the something for Wakefield. Neither the Bronx, nor Wakefield's elected officials have done anything for it for at least 50 years. Doing nothing now, will be far more, costly in the future.
To aggravate the situation, two weeks ago, the Chair of CB 12 (in which Wakefield is located) disseminated the idea that the residents of Wakefield should donate money to hire a lawyer! What an obnoxious and, well, stupid idea especially since he is himself an attorney. Surely, he can do this pro bono, for Wakefield and for the Borough President. How wonderful that would be. The people of Wakefield should not have to buy what their elected officials should do. The people of Wakefield already pay them.
All of this is not to be construed as a diatribe against the homeless. Being without a home can occur much more easily than at first considered. Surely shelter must be given to those who have none, but the host community should have a say on location. It is their treasure and their families that will be affected. The way it is done now is a form of taxation without representation.
There are five boroughs. One would expect them to each have an equal share of homeless. That would be 20% each. But that is not the case. The Bronx has 33%.
On Monday, January 28, 2013, the City will send out people to count those who have no shelter on our streets, subways, wherever. This is done every year. While it is not an accurate count, it is a reasonable approximation. Last year (2012) the count in the Bronx was 169. We doubt it will be more than that this year.
Why do we need room for 380 homeless individuals? Where are they coming from?

Wakefield News: Bronx Hails Koch

Wakefield News: Bronx Hails Koch: -->   Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. issued the following statement on the passing of Mayor Ed Koch: BRONX, NEW YORK...

Bronx Hails Koch

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. issued the following statement on the passing of Mayor Ed Koch:
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 1- “Today the Bronx is mourning the death of a son and one of the city’s greatest and most charismatic public leaders. Mayor Ed Koch was a man of wit and wisdom, a leader who helped lift our city out of the brink of bankruptcy, raising our spirits along the way and securing New York’s place as the capital of the world.
“Mayor Koch was always proud of his Bronx roots. During his administration he helped rebuild the South Bronx, creating a task force that helped restore burned-out buildings while creating new, thriving communities—work that still resonates to this day. He was a man of deep devotion, who after leaving office continued to inspire New Yorkers through his activism and his commitment to a city he fiercely loved.
“While we mourn his loss we honor his legacy, commitment to civil rights and his civic leadership, which will forever live in our hearts and in the millions of lives he touched. On behalf of the 1.4 million residents of the Bronx, I would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this very difficult time,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.