You can read the judge's decision declaring Carl Heastie leader of the Bronx Democratic Party here.
Thanks to Haile Rivera for bringing our attention to this link in a previous comment.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It’s a victory for the Rainbow Rebels. State Supreme Court Justice Robert Seewald ruled that Assemblyman Heastie is the new leader of the Democratic Party.
Bronx Zoo is favoring eco-friendly over traditional festivities, opting to hold a daytime winter event so that they can keep lights off in the evening.
Some in the Bronx, hit hard by the economic downturn, are carving trimmings out of the Thanksgiving menu this year. The Daily Newsarticle also provides a list of shelters in the area that hand out free Thanksgiving meals.
Here's something to bring to your next job interview. Bishop Timothy Birkett, head of the Church Alive Development Corp. is giving free 3-day hotel stays for those who either hire someone or help another find a job.
Police arrested members of a Bronx gambling ring, yesterday.
Call him Chairman Heastie.
The judge hearing the case involving the leadership struggle over the Bronx Democratic Party has sided with the s0-called "Rainbow Rebels" and validated the election of Assemblyman Carl Heastie as chairman of the Bronx Democratic County Committee. He replaces Assemblyman Jose Rivera. More here on Liz Benjamin's blog.
And more from us a little later once we get our hands on the judge's decision.
Monday, November 24, 2008
It was a chilly weekend for most but nearly 40 people were left in the cold after a blazing fire at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday consumed an apartment building and several homes in the Longwood section of the Bronx. It began on the first floor of 952 Rogers Place and quickly spread.
The Young Women's Leadership School is also being given the cold shoulder, losing support from the Young Women's Leadership Foundation and being forced to change its name because it relocated to a co-ed school building. It has been shuffled around from one location to the next for the last four years.
On another note, the trial for "Soprano" actor, Lillo Brancato, begins today. He is accused of being involved in the murder of a Bronx off-duty officer. Last Friday, a Bronx judge refused to toss out potentially incriminating evidence against Brancato.
Some good news. Former South Bronxite, Patrick Alvarez, who grew up in various homeless shelters around the city is now a freshman at Syracuse University, preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday by giving back with a non-profit he founded, Project Feed Me. He will be holding the organization's first major event today, handing out turkeys to the hungry at the Children's Aid Society on West 118th.
And for some breaking news! The Bronx is no longer just a borough. It's now also the name of Ashlee Simpson's newborn, Bronx Mowgli. To be fair, a teacher in Alabama was the first to don the name but her parents weren't celebs. Apparently, the story was so important it needed to be covered not once but twice by the New York Times.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Add Mr. Secretary to the titles that could be affixed to Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion come the New Year. This report in the Times today says Obama transition officials are considering Carrion for the secretary of the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, better known as HUD.
This comes on the heels of reports that Carrion is on the list of of officials Gov. Paterson is considering for appointment to the United States Senate to take Hillary Clinton's place as she packs for the State Department.
We want to know want you think of either of these prospects. Comment away ....
Friday, November 21, 2008
Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel just sent out a press release to say that the United States Postal Service will not be moving the Bronx mail processing center to Manhattan, a move Postal authorities had been contemplating for more than a year.
Engel said, "It is extremely gratifying that the Post Office has seen the light and will keep this processing center at the Bronx General Post Office where it belongs. Moving it to Manhattan would have delayed mail deliveries to the Bronx, cluttered downtown Manhattan withe even more postal traffice, and dislocated Bronx postal workers."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
An Indonesian exchange student attending a public high school--the David A. Stein School in Riverdale--had nowhere to say her afternoon prayers, until the Riverdale Jewish Center, an Orthodox synagogue, offered her a room, The Riverdale Press reports.
More than a hundred animals are dead after a fire tore through a Morrisania pet shop.
If Hillary Clinton becomes Obama's secretary of state, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion could be in line to replace her as New York's junior senator.
According to the Daily News, State Senator-elect Pedro Espada failed to register his campaign committee or make the proper filings, meaning "it's impossible to tell who financed his campaign and how the money was spent." Espada could be slapped with a fine, but what other penalties he might face (if any) isn't clear.
The Bronx Zoo is going green this winter.
A family in Locust Point (a neighborhood next to the Long Island Sound) have replaced their bungalow with two 18-ton boxes.
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine on Morris Park Avenue has a new logo.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Modern technology - and a MetroCard - has freed a murder suspect who was charged with killing a man in Highbridge back in May.
Business is booming in Port Morris, one of the city's few remaining industrial enclaves.
The Fordham Rams take on the Lady Jaspers (Manhattan College) tonight in women's basketball. You can listen to it live on WFUV-FM 90.7. The Rams will be trying to avoid their 36th consecutive defeat.
Assemblymen Jose Rivera and Carl Heastie may be bitter rivals (both claim to lead the Bronx Democratic Party), but their relationship remains cordial.
A travel blog has discovered Arthur Avenue.
Pedro Espada, not yet a state senator, is bidding to be the next Senate Majority Leader, according to El Diario/La Prensa. (You can't fault him for ambition.)
Still on Espada, the Daily News reports that he raked in thousands of dollars from top Republicans - funds that helped him defeat long-time incumbent Efrain Gonzalez in September's Democratic primary.
At a ceremony today, the Triborough Bridge will be officially renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.
Bronx-born Eric H. Holder, currently a senior legal adviser to Barack Obama, is being tapped as the next US attorney general. He would the first African-American to hold the position.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
[See update at the bottom of this post]
It's getting chilly on Bronx streets in more ways than just the temperature.
Early Monday morning in Bedford Park, police discovered a man, described as being in his 30s, shot in the stomach. Medics took him to St. Barnabas, but he was pronounced Dead on Arrival. Police say the investigation is ongoing. The Post has a small blurb about it in its Daily Blotter.
A man has been arrested in connection with a shooting on Morris Avenue (near the Cross Bronx Expressway) that left a 17-year-old girl dead and two other teenagers wounded. Late Sunday night, Brandin Santiago was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
The Daily News picked up the Norwood News' story about how the city's Dept. of Health is going to turn the old Fordham Library into an animal shelter. Here's the Norwood News story about it.
Speaking of the Health Dept., the agency has created a Web site where residents can track rat infestations and how they're being dealt with. Here's the Web site: https://gis.nyc.gov/doh/rip/.
The city says it was all a big understanding that led them to build a new school on a contaminated site in Mott Haven.
Speaking of Mott Haven contamination, residents in that area are complaining that a toxic sludge is mucking up an abandoned railway.
Fordham University and Albert Einstein Medical School are teaming up to help strengthen their science and medical programs.
And for dessert, Daily New Borough Chief Bob Kappstatter's political gossip column. He says Assemblyman Jose Rivera has the Bronx Democratic party running a budget deficit; District Leader Hector Ramirez, Luis Diaz's hand-picked successor in the 86th Assembly District, says he was betrayed by two lawyers associated with Rivera's County leadership. (Rivera's man, Nelson Castro, ended up winning the seat.) And he gives Councilman Jimmy Vacca a pass for voting in favor of a term limits extension (after he initially opposed it) because he says Vacca received some concessions for his district from the mayor.
[Update, 3:32 p.m. Thanks to Mr. Kappstatter for clearing up this last tidbit, which I misinterpretted earlier. It wasn't that Vacca received any concessions from Mayor Bloomberg for voting in favor of the term limits extension. But he could have lost some valuable goodies for his district if he didn't support the measure. It's a subtle, but substanative difference. The question remains: was it a smart move and what exactly did he protect? I think we'll see how some of this plays out during the fight over the mayor's plan to consolidate neighborhood senior centers. Vacca and others in the Bronx (like Oliver Koppell) who voted for the term limits extension have voiced their opposition to the plan. Will Bloomberg back off or roll right over them?]
Monday, November 17, 2008
On Saturday, thousands of gays rights supporters rallied outside City Hall to bring attention to legislation that outlawed same-sex marriage in California, Florida and Arizona, and to push for marriage equality in New York.
According to the NYC Independent Media Center:
State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., of the Bronx, was a specific target for his stated and long-held opposition to gay rights. Diaz Jr. [sic] is one of the senators who is threatening to withhold support from potential Senate Majority leader Malcolm Smith. He told the New York Post, in reference to Malcolm Smith, to “give it to me in writing that you will not bring gay marriage to the floor and you got me.” A speaker at the protest announced Diaz Sr.’s office phone number and encouraged activists to call on Monday morning to voice their displeasure at Diaz Sr.’s position on gay marriage.The Daily News' Elizabeth Benjamin has more on the all attention Diaz has been getting these past few days.
Here's a look at the Bronx stories floating around cyberspace today.
The Times' City section picked up the story on a busy Highbridge food pantry facing eviction.
Congratulations to Helen Diane Foster, the City Council member representing the Highbridge area, who married Eric Kenyetta McKay on Saturday.
A 17-year-old girl was shot to death on Sunday morning during a shootout outside of a party near the Cross Bronx Expressway on Morris Avenue. Two other teenage males were shot as well. Police are still investigating the incident.
Jury selection is set to begin today for "Bronx Tale" star and ex-"Sopranos" part-timer Lillo Brancato, Jr. He's being charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an off-duty cop in Pelham Bay. Another man, Steven Armento, who Brancato was with on the night of the shooting (they were allegedly breaking into a home to steal painkillers), was recently sentenced to life in prison for shooting the officer, Daniel Enchautegui. Brancato's lawyers say he had nothing to do with the burglary or the shooting.
Long-time Bronx political lawyer Stanley Schlein was busted by the NY Post for using a fireman's union placard (he's not a fireman) to park illegally near the Bronx County Courthouse. Schlein worked for Bronx Democratic Assemblyman Jose Rivera for years, but has now aligned himself with the insurgent group currently trying to unseat Rivera's leadership of the party.
On Saturday morning, Best Buy opened its first Bronx store on Fordham Road. Basketball star Magic Johnson spoke at the event, saying, "This is going to make a huge impact on the community." As part of the kickoff event, Best Buy announced it was giving $10,000 to two Bronx nonprofits: The Point, a multi-service center in Hunt's Point, and The Wildcat Service Corporation, which provides job training and placement.
The NY Botanical Garden here in the Bronx is conducting information sessions on horticulture jobs this week.
Friday, November 14, 2008
"Who, us?" State Sen.-elect Pedro Espada and his unlikely compadre, State Sen. Ruben Diaz, say its Gov. Paterson who put them up to demanding a Hispanic leader to replace Malcolm Smith. Uh-huh.
Think there aren't any vegan restaurants in the Bronx? Think again.
Best Buy is opening a new store in Fordham Plaza, in the renovated Sears building tomorrow.
Lots of lists floating around today as to who Gov. Paterson would pick to replace Hillary Clinton should President-elect Obama tap her for a cabinet position. This longshot rundown has the only Bronxite, former B.P. Freddy Ferrer.
The giant social service agency RAIN which scored a controversial city contract to take over most of the borough's Meals on Wheels deliveries from rival organizations (Norwood News covered this in 2004) now has extended its reach to include Riverdale and Kingsbridge.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The latest edition of the Norwood News is hot of the presses and online and on the streets now. Here's a quick preview of what's inside.
We delve a little deeper into the city's controversial plan to turn the old Fordham Library into an animal shelter, which is enraging local leaders and residents. Our editorial slams the plan, but says its "heartening" to see the community fighting to overturn it.
Newly elected State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr., says he can't back Malcolm Smith for Senate Majority Leader after Smith spent thousands of dollars trying peg him as a Republican during his ugly primary battle with incumbent Efrain Gonzalez.
New Day, a fledgling Methodist church in the area is preaching about change and seeking active, social justice-minded parishioners who don't currently attend church.
The dramatic story of a Kingsbridge Heights man who climbed out onto his windowsill (after allegedly slashing his wife) and then stayed there, keeping police at bay for 13 hours.
The Bronx has the least amount of banks per person of any borough in the city. And now, with the economy sliding and banks merging, the situation could worsen.
Citizen scientists help track climate change at the New York Botanical Garden.
Plus, all the local election results for those who live in our coverage area (Community Board 7), our expanded Neighborhood Notes section and our Out & About arts and entertainment guide
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Getting a little bit of a late start today, but let's see what's floating around cyberspace.
My favorite story today is about a Morrisania area grandfather named Diogenes Angeles, 57, who used karate learned as a youngster to successfully defend himself against a trio of would-be attackers.
State Senator Carl Kruger of Brooklyn said he and the other two Democratic dissidents, Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Senator-elect Pedro Espada, Jr., both of the Bronx, would not decide on who they would support for Democratic leader until January. New York Democrats now control the State Senate 32-30, but need the threesome, which Espada is now dubbing, "The Three Amigos,"to vote in Malcolm Smith, the party's current minority leader.
More on this in the Daily News and more coming in the new edition of the Norwood News, which will be online and on the streets by tomorrow morning. We spoke with Espada, Jr. on Monday. He basically said the same he planned to vote for a Democrat, "but not Malcolm Smith." Say what you will about Espada, but the man knows how to make headlines. We're going to keep a close eye on how this story unfolds.
Bronxites are having a disporpotionally tough time getting new or refinanced loans, according a new report by Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, an NYU thinktank.
The DOE is asking principals to trim 1.3% of their budgets, meaning big schools will take bigger hits. The north Bronx's DeWitt Clinton High School stands to lose $400,000.
Speaking of cuts, the Animal Care and Control Center, a nonprofit wing of the Health Department, will slash $434,000 from its budget. The Center wants to put a new animal shelter in the old Fordham Library, much to the dismay of local residents and leaders.
Look for what's new in the Norwood News, coming tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The November edition of the Mount Hope Monitor is now online.
A Brighter Future for University Woods?
It was once the worst park in the city. Today, it’s become a symbol of what local residents can achieve with hard work and a little imagination. Here's a related editorial.
Mitchell-Lama Buildings Continue to Vanish
Since 2006, 15 Bronx apartment buildings have been taken out of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program.
On Nov. 7 last year, Jacqueline Irizarry of Crotona Park was viciously attacked and then thrown off the roof of a six-story apartment building at 110 E. 177th St. Police pronounced her dead at the scene. A year has now passed, and no arrests have been made.
Residents Air Concerns About Housing for Mentally Ill
At a public hearing on Oct. 29, Morris Heights residents voiced their concerns about an apartment complex that will soon go up in their neighborhood.
Happy Veterans' Day!
Here's some Bronx-related news from the past few days.
Tomorrow, a man who grew up in the Bronx and fought and died in the Korean War, will be given a long overdue burial in the Arlington National Cemetery. Cornelius Charlton, who died in 1951 aged 21, received a medal of honor for his bravery, which entitled him to burial in the Arlington National Cemetery. But his family was never notified he was eligible. Charlton will finally be laid to rest at the cemetery tomorrow and a ceremony will be held in his honor.
Eighth graders at CIS 339 are ecstatic about President Elect Obama’s victory. They feel top priority issues for the new president should be improving the public school system, the economy, and health care.
Hundreds of students at five Bronx high schools in West Farms are unable to access their library because of delays in library construction, which was supposed to be finished in the summer before the start of the school year.
A judge ruled that city officials broke environmental laws when they proceeded with construction of the Mott Haven school campus without first outlining safety measures to protect students from exposure to pollutants. The 6.6 acre site used to be home to a rail yard, laundry, and coal plant.
Members of the exclusive Yale Club in New York complain that their facility is overrun with nonmembers, and in particular, those from the Bronx. The IRS is investigating whether the club is following tax-exemption rules to reserve 70 percent of its rooms for members. Members claim the club is not, making it difficult for members to book rooms and use club facilities.
Early Monday morning at the corner of East Tremont and Boston Road, a pit bull attacked a pregnant woman, biting her on the leg. In an attempt to rescue the woman, a police officer fatally shot the dog.
Party Chairman Jose Rivera and attorney Stanley Schlein, the former legal mind for the Bronx Democratic Party, allegedly exchanged heated words during the Somos El Futuro Conference in Puerto Rico. Schlein left the Democratic Party earlier this year to act as counsel for the "Rainbow Rebels," a group of rival politician challenging Rivera's leadership.
In an effort to help residents of the Bronx remain in their homes and prevent foreclosure, New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. will host his “Save Our Homes” initiative at Lehman College, Music Room, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, on Saturday, November 15th from 10 AM – 3PM.
The free event will provide homeowners with the opportunity to meet with financial servicers and learn ways to avoid foreclosure. If an attendee’s servicer is not present at the event, the Comptroller’s Office will conduct outreach on behalf of that individual to facilitate communications between the two parties. In addition, trained staffers from the Comptroller’s Office, non-profit groups, and legal service organizations will be on hand to offer advice to attendees.
“We see that more than fifty percent of people who enter foreclosure do so because they do not know where to turn,” Thompson said. “By bringing people face-to-face with financial servicers, we can create a dialogue between the parties and bring everybody one step closer to a solution.”
Bring your mortgage loan documents to meet one-on-one with the mortgage lender/servicer. Also bring any recent correspondence from your lender/servicer, as well as relevant information pertaining to any hardship that led to the default. Participating lenders include:
- American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. (formerly Option One)
- Chase (Encore Credit Corp. & EMC Mortgage Corp.)
- Goldman Sachs (Avelo Mortage, Litton Loan Servicing, Freemont Investment & Loan)
- GMAC, LLC (Homecomings Financial)
- Morgan Stanley (Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc.)
- Wells Fargo (America's Servicing Company)
“It is imperative that we provide the necessary financial assistance to those who need it,” Thompson said. “I encourage all to attend this event. Whether you are facing foreclosure or not, the services available are for everyone’s benefit.”
This is the third foreclosure clinic Thompson has held in recent weeks. Others were held in Queens and Staten Island. So far, hundreds of New Yorkers have taken advantage of the services provided by the Comptroller’s Office.
For more information, call 212-669-3089 or check out the brochure.
Friday, November 7, 2008
State Senators Pedro Espada and Ruben Diaz, and two colleagues from Queens and Brooklyn, continue to rankle their Democratic colleagues. Liz Benjamin has the latest from a Democratic confab in Puerto Rico.
For two years, local leaders and residents have demanded the vacant old Fordham Library building be turned into something that benefits the underserved and densely populated community. But recently, the city quietly gave control of the 27,400-square-foot structure over to the Health Department for use as an animal shelter.
Community leaders are not happy, saying they feel the city went behind their back without consulting anyone locally about the animal shelter plan despite full knowledge that residents wanted the building for community space.
“This is outrageous and a slap to the community,” said Community Board 7 Chair Greg Faulkner, whose board has made the library renovation its number one budget priority for the past two years. “We won’t accept an animal shelter at that location.”
Read the full story here.
Plans to put a 37-story 911 call center in Morris Park have been put on ice, after the estimated cost increased to nearly $1 billion.
A University Avenue man was involved in a tense standoff with police yesterday, after allegedly stabbing and seriously injuring his girlfriend.
In July, WFUV, the radio station run out of Fordham University, interviewed the Bronx-raised singer-songwriter Regina Spektor. The hour-long interview, in which Spektor talks about her music career and childhood, is now online.
One of the two men convicted of the 2006 murder of Dr. Leandro Lozada, a popular pediatrician who ran a medical clinic on Kingsbridge Road, will serve 40-years to life in state prison, a judge a ruled. More about the murder here.
It could be that Bronx State Senators Ruben Diaz Sr. and (newly elected) Pedro Espada aren't as rebellious are previously thought.
Studs Terkel, the author and radio broadcast personality, died last Friday aged 96. Terkel once lived with his family on Bathgate Avenue, and following his death the NY Times paid a visit to his old, and much-changed neighborhood.
Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion has "quietly dumped a slew of staffers" according to the NY Post because of "mandatory belt tightening." In all, 16 of his 77 staffers have been let go. In a July editorial titled "Nix the Beeps" the paper accused Carrion and his fellow borough presidents of spending big and doing little. In a letter later that week, Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz hit back:
We provided you with substantive information, but balance wasn't your goal. Then again, when The Post can't even get the Bronx Borough President's name right in an editorial - it's Adolfo not "Alfonso" - why should we expect you to get the facts straight?
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I've just been told by Chauncy Young, an organizer with United Parents of Highbridge (UPOH) ,that a Highbridge Middle school is included in the city's new education capital plan.
Highbridge residents and education advocates have been fighting for a new middle school for the past few years, arguing that the lack of a school in the community forces area students to endure long and sometimes unsafe commutes.
The West Bronx News Blog will post further updates in the near future.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
There is a shortage of local Bronx news today. Understandably, most newspapers are focused on Barack Obama’s history-making win in this year’s Presidential Election.
Though Democrats now control the State Senate by a two-seat majority, two Bronx Democratic State Senators Rubén Díaz, Sr., and Pedro Espada, Jr. may not support the democratic majority leader. Along with two other NYC Democratic Senators, Carl Kruger and Hiram Monserrate, they say they are forming an “independent caucus.”
Local Bronx election results have been released for the Assembly, State Senate and Congress races. The statistics for some West Bronx candidates:
78th Assembly District: Jose Rivera (Dem) received 15,870 votes (90.25%)
80th Assembly District: Naomi Rivera (Dem) received 17,482 votes (77.23%)
81st Assembly District Jeffrey Dinowitz (Dem) received 25,522 votes ( 95.96%)
86th Assembly District Nelson Castro (Dem) received 16,865 (95.43%)
28th State Senate District Jose M. Serrano (Dem) received 56,368 (93.74%)
32nd State Senate District: Ruben Diaz (Dem) received 66,001 (98.68%)
33rd State Senate District: Pedro Espada (Dem) received 45,625 (97.39%)
16th Congressional District: Jose E. Serrano (Dem) received 112,204 (96.58%)
For a more detailed report, see NY1’s 2008 Election Return
Politics aside, Bronx-based health-food restaurant, 4Food, is currently receiving “Corporate Social Responsibility" consulting help from IBM who agreed to assist the business in developing a company that is both financially successful and also beneficial to the community. An IBM global CSR survey revealed that some younger consumers actively choose products from socially-responsible companies, especially those with fair labor and environment-friendly practices.
The Horizon visited CES 73 in Highbridge yesterday, and interviewed local voters coming out of the polls. Though we interviewed 15-20 voters, you will note that, as was the case with Alma Watkins' reporting, we didn't come across anyone who supported McCain. (We did find one person who said he used to support McCain).
Below are some excerpts from the interviews we conducted on Election Day.
Giselle Pagan, 21: (Pagan sported buttons reading "Hope" and "Witness History")
On her feelings this election day compared to previous election days:
"Whether he [Obama] wins or not, we're making history by having a woman and African-American run up until now. Whoever wins, it's gonna have an affect on who our future president can be."
On what issues matter to her most during this election:
"The economy is number one. The war and the economy."
On what changes she envisions if Obama wins:
"Hopefully, it will show other people that they do have the potential to lead and be on top and they're not those stereotypes many people believe them to be."
Mark Yarde, 42
On why he switched from supporting McCain initially to ultimately voting for Obama:
"McCain started out as a maverick, but took too many of Bush's views."
"First he said the economy was sound. then, 3 or 4 weeks later, he said we have to have a bail-out. How can he flip-flop so fast?"
On both McCain and Obama's support for the recent $700 billion bail-out plan:
"Either one wants to push this economic plan really serious. All the other stuff about wars and what's going on overseas, I think they gotta deal with the homefront first. That's their first agenda -- to deal with this bail-out plan."
"You can't see massive amounts of people laid off and stand by and do nothing."
On the impact of an Obama victory:
"If Obama wins, it's a feeling of accomplishment. I'm not really African-American, but coming from an African-American perspective, maybe it's something African-Americans were looking forward to for some time. "
"If Obama wins, I think it's a change because you had 8 years of a Republican government that didn't really work. If McCain wins, I hope he becomes the maverick he once was."
Madeline Luna, 30
On why she voted for Obama:
"I voted for him because we needed a change."
"I'm trying to get people out of Iraq, not keep them in there."
On what issues matter most to her:
"The economy is really bad right now. I'm hoping everything just gets better."
On what she views as the similarities between McCain and Bush:
"They're both Repbulicans. That's a no-no for me. I'm a Democrat."
"We don't want no more wars. I'm just hoping the war is over sooner than soon."
On Barack Obama's plan to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan:
"That I'm against."
"I think we just need to take everybody out of there, period. I think we've lost enough."
Doug Matthews, 55
On whether an Obama presidency will reduce racism:
"I know it exists, but with myself, everybody's equal. I don't think it's Black and white. It's gray. Green. Currency - that's the color I'm thinking about."
On how he expected to feel the day after the election:
"When he wins, good work, and we'll see what he's gonna do when he has the ball. If McCain wins the voters spoke. McCain has a good platform."
On whether life for people in Highbridge will change if Obama wins:
"Right now, it's changing. There's a lot of employment going on. They're building a new Yankee Stadium in the area. They got the mall on River Avenue. There's gonna be employment over there."
Coraliza Rodriguez, 78
On why she voted for Obama:
[After noting she originally wasn't going to vote, and her daughter convinced her]:
"She said, 'Mommy, you don't want Bush to stay.'"
On what she hopes Obama will do as president:
"I hope that he does what he promises - especially for senior citizens."
"I hope that this guy does something for poor people."
Judith Dilpan, 23
[Dilpan noted that she had hoped to vote for the first time, but upon arriving at the polls, found out that she was not registered]
On what she wants to change under the next administration:
"The economy, taxes. So it could be lower."
J. Hill, 50
On her hopes for an Obama presidency:
"That he'll be able to help turn the economy around."
"Whoever wins, it's a major mess to straighten out. I'm hopeful that it's all gonna turn around. These are very desperate times."
On the prospect [now a reality] of Obama becoming the first Black president:
"I'm elated. I'm really elated, I can't even begin to tell you. I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime."
On whether Obama winning will improve the situation for Black people in the U.S.:
"I would hope it would change for the better. Hopefully, it would get people to get their act together and think about everything like the crime and the drugs. Hopefully it would stir up something in the Black race."
On McCain's vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin:
"I don't think she was qualified. I think she just came out of nowhere. I don't think her family's that stable, either."
Derrick King, 34
On his hopes for the next administration:
"My hopes are particularly within the immediate community - to finally see some real change. Every politician promotes change. But we never actually see it."
On the U.S. wars in the Middle East:
"Personally, I would say that it's more than enough time to our have our troops return home. But that' s a decision the powers-that-be can make."
Shameena Morris, 26
On her hopes for the upcoming election:
"In my hopes, Barack Obama comes out and is able to make change as far as the economy, as far as health care."
On Obama's plan to send more troops to Afghanistan:
"I guess he figures the war wasn't supposed to occur in Iraq - this is where the war was supposed to occur, in Afghanistan."
[Follow-up: What does Morris think of that argument?]
"Hmm. That I'm not too sure."
On the prospect [now a reality] of Barack Obama being the first Black president:
"Hopefully, he's out for change. He can't disappoint us. He shouldn't."
"Politics is bound to change, but hopefully he'll stand his ground."
On whether Obama winning will change the situation for Black people in the U.S. :
"Hopefully, not only will racism change, hopefully everyone will focus on taking a stand when it comes to everything overall."
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Earlier today, Bronx photographer Alma Watkins captured the following quotes and photos outside polling stations in the Mount Hope area.
I like what Obama’s doing. I think he is someone we can trust. For the first time in [my] 48 years I can vote for an African American president. - THOMAS WALSH
Every man, woman, deserves a chance. I found in Obama a decent, humble being. I’m sorry about his grandmother and I wish him and his family well. - SAMUEL GORDON
Obama, because he inspires people to participate in the governmental process. He’s an agent for change, an honest upfront official who says what he means, and means what he says – hopefully. - ARLENE MCLAREN
I’m a Democrat. [We need] someone who is fresh, with new ideas that can turn around the past eight years. - BAYLA LOVENS
I voted for Obama because he is black and I know he will make a change and fight for real issues. - KEILA P
I voted for Obama. He is the future for us immigrants. He is intelligent and I know he will do his best to stop the war in Iraq. He is the future of the United States. -PABLO RIJO
I voted for Obama because I like his ideals, his push for change, and his personality. I didn’t vote on a local level because I didn’t know the people. I’m not going to vote for someone I don’t know. - DIA CHARLES
I like the way Obama speaks and he’ll fight for us on housing and make college affordable. I voted for the Democratic party all the way down the list, because they are the ones that will help us. - VICTORIA GARCIA
I voted for Obama because I like the way he speaks on issues. He reminds me of Martin Luther King. And I voted for [Congressman] Jose Serrano ’cos I remember him from when I was younger - he was always doing something for the community. - ROSELINE GARCIA
And, finally, a Republican, albeit one with a liberal name.
I'll vote for McCain. I don’t agree with his [Obama’s] policies. - HARRY REID
The lines today have been the biggest issue with many schools citywide but PS 8’s line moved fairly quickly into the lunch room, where the voting took place.
Demographically, the crowds ranged from the age of about 25 and older and were from many different ethnicities but predominantly Latino and African American.
After voting for Obama, Gloria Ramirez said, “Education is important to me. I have kids who are finishing high school and I want a president who will help me out.” Soon after voting, Ramirez put on her Obama pin and headed to work showing full support for the Democratic candidate.
Here’s what some other Bedford Park residents had to say:
Rosanna Nunez: “Barack Obama and Joe Biden are going to change the world. Let’s just say we needed them in office eight years ago! It is our mission this Tuesday Nov. 4 to change our executive branch for a better America.”
Jeffrey Morales: “Let’s be real, the only way Obama can win is if we all come out and vote, that’s why I’m here! We need him in office.”
Jim Tiribio: “I’m not sure who I’m voting for yet but I think this election will be one to remember.”
Despite the polls, Obama supporters said they wouldn’t stop worrying until the polls close. “We will not know for sure until all votes are counted and that scares me, all I can do now is pray” said first-time voter Hector Vargas Jr.
--By Jorge Manana
Just by standing outside the polling station at PS 46 in North Fordham, there was no denying the positive energy surging through the crowds. Voters waiting in a line that often filed out through the main entrance, spilling onto the street, created an electric atmosphere that both onlookers and organizers said they had never seen before.
By the time I made it over to the polling station this morning, the lines may have thinned—for the most part voters were able to get in and out of the voting booths in around 15 minutes— since the “before-work-rush” to the polls. But the excitement of those coming and leaving the school hadn’t wavered, probably best exemplified by one exiting voter who proudly yelled, proclaiming to no one in particular, “I feel very good about what I just did!”
According to Jose Pizarro, who identified himself as the station's coordinator, his location is “having a very good turnout,” and one that started to show its strength as early as an hour before the polls opened. “When I pulled up at 5am the line was out around the corner,” Pizarro said, adding that he expects the after-work rush to pick up around 4pm. Between the eight voting machines inside, the coordinator said there were already about 200 votes on each machine as of 11:30 this morning. Expecting a record turnout, Pizarro said this number was bolstered by “a lot of first timers, a lot of young people, and a lot of older people.”
Of the almost 1600 votes that were registered before noon, two came from the mother-daughter team of Cynthia and Camille Newell. Cynthia, who arrived at the polls at 8am, cast her ballot and was taking in the scene at the polling station when her daughter joined her an hour later. Off from work for the day and dressed in her “Vote or Die” t-shirt, the 25-year-old Camille had given her vote for President to Barack Obama. “We need a change,” said the younger Newell. “People really see that they have a choice this time.”
“It’s never been like this before,” said Cynthia Newell. “Some [voters] are first timers, some have been registered but normally don’t vote, but its this year’s presidential election” that is drawing crowds to the polls.
Both Newells said that the economy was an issue they expected to be addressed by whoever takes control of the White House for the next four years. “It’s not just one group of people. Everybody is hurting,” said Cynthia. "We need to help those college kids that are trying to find a job.”
By and large everything ran smoothly inside of PS 46; it was outside the building that the operations could have been run more efficiently. There are “not enough people working outside,” pointed out Camille Newell. “People don’t know about the side entrance.” That entrance, equipped with a ramp, was largely underutilized. The lack of volunteers providing direction outside the main entrance, and the lack of appropriate signage—none, if you approached from the south along Briggs Ave.—caused problems for the occasional elderly voter who had difficulty making it up the stairs and into the building. Pizarro did a good job of assisting these voters when he was on-scene, but most voters did not know about the handicapped accessible side entrance.
As a Fordham University student relatively new to Bronx politics, standing with a couple of the other onlookers assembled outside of PS 46 throughout the morning was not only a unique experience in my life, but, just as importantly, fun. Coming from out-of-state, I mailed in my absentee ballot about two weeks ago. There was no way I was going to let this election, the first Presidential election where I have had the opportunity to voice my opinion at the polls, pass without casting my vote. But by voting through the mail and in the silence of my apartment I missed out on the other side of voting, the sense of community felt as you cast your vote, not as an individual, but as part of something bigger than yourself. Today, by watching and reporting on the residents of North Fordham vote in what should be record numbers, I felt like part of that community's expression of their hopes for the future.
Some stats from NY1:
In 2000, 256,322 Bronx residents voted for Al Gore. Just 33,224 went for George Bush.
Four years ago, these numbers were 53,738 for Bush, and 276,938 for John Kerry.
In 2008, nearly 60,000 Bronxites have registered as Democrats. In the same time period, fewer than 3,000 people registered as Republicans.
When the dust settles, we'll post Bronx-related figures from tonight's election.
So I went over to the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center a couple of hours ago to check out the situation Don Bluestone told me about. It was hectic – the room with the polling stations was mobbed and there was a line all the way down the hall to the front entrance of the center.
There had been problems with a machine earlier and some of the poll workers apparently didn’t show up, although that seemed to have been remedied by the time I got there. It was crazy busy but no one was complaining. In fact, most people I talked to, even those waiting in long lines, seemed to be exhilarated by all the goings on.
I took some pictures inside but two officers from the 52nd Precinct told me they had been informed by a superior that photos inside the polling station were not allowed. I called their supervisor, a lieutenant, and he asked me a few questions, and I told him that I would only take shots of people who gave me their permission. He said he’d find out more from the Board of Elections and he’d have to get back to me. A little later the officers came over to tell me the lieutenant called back and told them pictures were not allowed in the polling station. This goes on every year, and I’ve never been able to find out what the actual policy of the Board of Elections is. Maybe they don’t have one.
Still, I had photos from before I encountered the offices and from the hallway.
My favorite interview of the day was with a couple who were patiently waiting on line. They looked a little tired, but when I began asking the questions you could see they were incredibly energized and motivated.
They were making something of a date of the day. The man, Miguel Cintron, lived in Norwood and this was his polling station. But his girlfriend, Jessica Clemente, lives clear across the borough in Pelham Bay. So, after Cintron voted they were going to head over to Clemente’s neighborhood. “We’re going to rock the vote in two districts!” Cintron declared. (Hard not to enjoy being a reporter on a day like this.) Here's a picture I took of them as they waited in line.
Earlier, Edgar Jordan, 46, a native of Guyana who has been here since he was 27, said he was worried about some votes not being counted, because the lights at the top of the polling booth weren’t flashing. But, later, I asked Councilman Oliver Koppell, who stopped by during a tour of polling stations in his district about this. And he said that the lights are only used during primaries. Each colored light stands for a different party, so when a Republican goes to vote, for example, the booth allows votes in the Republican primary when the appropriate light is lit. Edgar gave me his e-mail address. I’ll have to let him know what I found out. Here's Edgar ...
Edgar Jordan after voting at MMCC polling station in Norwood.
Speaking of Koppell, who launched his career in politics in 1971 in the state Assembly, he told me that this was the highest turnout he had seen. “I’ve been active in politics for over 40 years and I’ve never seen turnout like this today,” said Koppell, 67. He said he had just been to PS 16 in Wakefield, a largely African American community, and the “lines were unbelievable.”
Koppell said the last significant turnout he remembers was when David Dinkins was elected mayor in 1989 but that this far surpassed that.
Koppell said there seemed to be problems all around with inspectors – there weren’t enough of them at many polling sites, he said. And he said there were problems with some of the machines up in Woodlawn.
Andrew Laiosa, a long-time neighborhood activist and member of the community board, was participating as a poll worker for the first time. “I wanted to be a part of history,” he said. “Look at this place! Usually this place is dead.”
on an added responsibility as a poll worker today as did ...
Another community stalwart, Denise Sullivan, who has long taught local children to dance and is now a vice president of Community Education Council 10 was also a poll worker at the site.
And my favorite photo of the day... All these nuns from the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, based at the convent near St. Ann’s Church on Bainbridge Avenue, turned out en masse to vote.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in the lobby of MMCC after they voted.
Here, posted more prominently, are some of the comments we've been getting from readers on their experience at the polls. We'll do the same with comments all day long. Keep 'em coming, folks. Just click the word "comment" at the end of this, or any, post.
Insanely long lines in Bedford Park. BoogieDowner was there as the polls opened at 6am and didn't vote until 7:20am.
It is scary that the most important aspect of our democracy is administered by retirees and unemployed people. They couldn't find me on roll, sent me to the wrong district booth, and began to search for my name by looking up my first name. Shocking!
On a positive note, the buzz in the crowd was electric. So much positive energy. When people drove by and say the long line at 6, they would honk and declare, "We're going to do this thing tonight." And everybody would cheer.
We all knew what the motorist meant...
-The Boogideowner (boogiedowner.blogspot.com)
I went to vote at PS 80 on Mosholu Parkway at 8:30 and was on line for an hour and a half. I've been voting there since 1976 and never seen more than 15 people on line before.
It was fairly smooth although there was some confusion, mostly because people did not know their ED #. (and folks were getting confused because one of the ED there was # 80 - same as the school-you get the general picture)
For the most part people were very patient and pleasant - there was a real sense that this was special.
My only concern was seeing elderly people leave without voting because they couldn't stand on line.
No lines in Van Cortlandt Village. This is my first election up here (just moved up from Manhattan in August) and had no problem transferring my registration. Helps to plan ahead, I guess. I work at home, but decided to get dressed up to go cast my vote. Walked into the booth and, for the first time in New York, I voted FOR someone instead of choosing the lesser of two evils or casting a protest vote for one of the third-party candidates (since NY and the Bronx are so reliably Democratic). Forty years from now I want to be able to say I voted for Barack Obama. That being said, I exchanged good mornings with a man wearing a McCain/Palin sticker and looking proud. That's what it's all about--CAST YOUR VOTE, BE PROUD.
[Leave your names, people! At least a first name. Thanks. –ed.]
Happy Election Day! Let's get to the news.
Bronx Elections Commisioner J.C. Polanco says his office is expecting record turnout with 715,000 new voters registered in New York City. He also says they're prepared for it. Based on Jordan's earlier post, we'll see.
The Inner City Press Web site just posted about voting troubles in the South Bronx.
The Attorney General set up a hotline for voting problems. Bronxites having problems should call, (718) 254-7000.
An interesting story in the Times about the half dozen closely contested State Senate Races that will decide which party takes the majority, which Republicans have held for decades. Also in the article, some intriguing in-fighting amongst the Democratic leadership. Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz, Jr. says he's forming a caucus that might side with Republicans if current Democratic leader Malcolm Smith (Queens) decides to pursue same-sex marriage legislation. Meanwhile, up-and-coming Senate Minority Leader Jeff Klein, reportedly a fundraising star, says he'll support Smith as majority leader if the Dems take control of the Senate.
Daily News Bronx Chief Bob Kappstatter has an imaginary conversation with former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (he's a fan of Bloomberg's term limits move), ruminates about Maria Baez's re-election prospects (they're not bad) and exposes Councilman Jimmy Vacca for his egregious flip-flop in supporting the mayor's term limits extension.
Produce business owner John Caggiano was sentenced to prison for running a gambling ring out of Hunt's Point Market for the Genovese crime family.
Bronxites play the name game a little differently than other boroughs. Jayden was the number one name in 2007 for Bronx boys. Ashley garned top spot among Bronx girls.
Mount Hope Monitor photographer Alma Watkins says there's lengthy lines inside I.S. 117 Joseph Wade this morning. She spoke to a number of voters as they entered the Morris Avenue school to find out what's driving their decision.
I came from Costa Rica 40 years ago and have always heard rascally remarks about how the white man keeps the black man down. Now we see with our own eyes that a black man is a candidate for president of the United States. That’s why I’m voting for Obama. - RALPH BLESSITT
We've had enough with white presidents - it is time for a change. He [Obama] ran a good campaign and is a better speaker then McCain or Bush. Bush just never connected with the American people. We need a president that can communicate with the people.- JD MORRISON
I’ve been a Democrat all my life. I wanted Hillary for president but I picked Obama. He's better then the other guy.
- SANTA MERCADO
Obama for change, get Bush out, get the money back to the people. - ANDREW LAIOSA
I'm voting for Obama as he will help minorities and has a good health plan for the elderly. - CYNTHIA SCOTT
Obama has better ideals, and stands firm on his feet. He will make a good leader, a strong leader. - ISRAEL ROBLES
It was taking voters about an hour to get in and out of the building, Alma said. She says she's "still working on finding a McCain fan."
If you voted today, we want to hear your stories ... How long were the lines? Any problems casting your vote? Any interesting discussions with poll workers or fellow voters?
I voted this morning in Kingsbridge Heights with my wife and 4-year-old daughter. Last year, she was scared to come in to the booth with me and sat on a poll worker's lap. Today she came in with each of us as we voted. I told her to try and remember this day, that it was truly historic. Whoever wins will be the first president she probably remembers. If it's Barack Obama, the first president she'll remember will be an African American. It won't be unusual to her. Wow.
I just got a call from Don Bluestone, the executive director at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center. He was hopping mad. Said it's chaos over there, since the Board of Elections only took one room for the polling machines rather than their usual two. "This is how they treat poor people," he said in a phone message.
I'm headed over there now. Stay tuned.
Monday, November 3, 2008
First and foremost, you can find out where to vote by clicking here.
Plus, here's some helpful hints from NYC Voter's Assistance Commission:
The NYC Voter Assistance Commission (VAC) reminds you that Election Day is this Tuesday,November 4th. Voting is quick, easy, and important! You can find your poll site by calling 311 or
visiting www.nyc.gov and take part in the 2008 election to have your voice heard. In
To ensure New Yorkers are prepared to cast their votes on Election Day, VAC has a few pointers:
• Save Time – Know your District
To save time, write down your Assembly District and Election District and bring it with you on
Election Day. This information can be found on the registration confirmation card sent to you by the Board of Elections after you registered and on the information card also sent to you by the Board of Elections prior to the primary elections. Please call 311, the Board of Elections hotline at 1-866-VOTE-NYC (866-868-3692), your local Borough Board of Elections, or visit www.nyc.gov to locate this information.
• Ask for Help
If you do not know how to vote, you can ask for help. If you do not understand English, the City’s
Board of Elections provides help in Spanish, and, depending on the location of your poll site,
Chinese and Korean. You can also bring information in your native language into the voting booth.
If you have a disability, a Ballot Marking Device (BMD) will be available at each poll site.
• Bring ID
If your identification was verified through your
Election Day, you will not have to provide identification when you vote. If you are not sure, please bring an acceptable identification. Acceptable IDs include: a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or some other government document that shows your name and address. If you still do not have identification, you will be asked to vote by affidavit ballot (paper ballot), instead of on the machine. Your identity will then be checked and your vote will be counted if you are found to be properly registered.
• Leave Campaign Materials at Home
State law prohibits people from electioneering or bringing political posters, placards, buttons and
other campaign-related materials to poll-sites or within 100-feet of poll site entrances. So when you come out to vote on Election Day, make sure you leave these materials at home or you may not be admitted to your poll site.
• Absentee Ballot Deadline
Absentee ballots for the upcoming General Election must be postmarked no later than November 3rd. They may also be delivered by hand to the home borough office for a voter who is unable to vote at the polls because of an accident or illness, no later than 9 pm on November 4th, Election Day. The five Board of Elections Borough Offices will be open for extended hours from October 20th through November 3rd to accommodate Absentee Ballots being delivered in person.
For questions on absentee ballots call 866-VOTE-NYC or 212-868-3692.
To find out where your poll site is located please visit www.nyc.gov or call 311. New Yorkers can also call or visit their local New York City Board of Elections office in the five boroughs.
Here's one of a handful of photos we received from Halloween. Above, is Clark Kent with his alter-ego Superman (aka Dr. Nelligar with his 2 1/2-year-old son Ryan). We'll post more throughout the rest of the week. If you have photos you'd like to share with us and the rest of the blog's readership, send them to us at email@example.com.
Here's an e-mail we just got from the Working Families Party. They want Obama supporters to vote on the WFP line. (Getting any interesting local election mail/e-mail? Send it our way.)
Good candidates are important, and we have one in Barack Obama.
We hope you're not just voting for him, but doing so enthusiastically on the Working Families ballot line ("Row E").
At least as important as the candidate is the party. Parties allow people to support a set of values, not just a candidate. Voting on the Working Families line on Tuesday counts the same, but it also says "Yes!" to the Working Families view of the world.
You're saying: we can do better than this. We can create a country in which all people have a decent shot at a meaningful, secure life.
It's not pie-in-the-sky. We know how to do it.
Health care for everyone. A decent job with decent wages. A house or an apartment you can afford. A good school with a good teacher. An end to stupid foreign policy adventures. An end to Wall Street rip-off artists.
That's the Working Families Party. We stand with you 365 days a year. Please stand with us tomorrow by voting for the entire Working Families Party ticket.
Learn more at: http://workingfamiliesparty.org/obama
Why is voting Working Families so critical?
Even if Obama and the Democrats sweep into power, our work for a better world only gets more important.
In Washington - and Albany - Democrats will be under extraordinary pressure to play it safe.
America is facing big problems. And with them come big opportunities to create a fairer society. The health care crisis, the mortgage crisis, the crisis on Wall Street, the need for a Green economy - all of these cry out for bold solutions.
If politics teaches us anything, it's the need to keep the pressure on. And votes on the Working Families Party line are a way of doing precisely that. It's a message to the politicians: be bold!
If you haven't already, take a moment to share this message with 5 friends or family who'll be voting for Obama in New York tomorrow.
The more votes cast on the Working Families line, the greater our strength for the fights ahead.
We're going to be covering the election at local polling places tomorrow. If you've got questions about your registration or local polling place, or have problems at the polls tomorrow, check out this information guide from the current issue of the Norwood News.
First of all, we hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween weekend. Secondly, we hope everyone of age is voting tomorrow. Now, on to the news.
On Halloween, violence hit the Boogie Down particularly hard. Two young men were killed in the Bronx that day. One of them, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast named Terrence Taylor, who his family called Abdul Toure (his African name) was shot in the head at a party in Highbridge.
Another, Alesio Vega, 22, was fatally shot inside a Morris Avenue home.
Last Thursday, Steven Armento, a friend of actor Lillo Brancato, a native Bronxite who starred in "A Bronx Tale" and played a bit role in the "Sopranos," was found guilty in the murder of off duty cop Daniel Enchautegui. Armento, 51, was convicted of first-degree murder after expressing little remorse for the killing, even bragging that it would make him "a king in jail," according to prosecutors.
Armento is actor Brancato's ex-girlfriend's father. The two broke into a Pelham Bay home to look for drugs after spending all night at a Yonkers strip club, when Enchautengui confronted them. A shootout ensued and Enchautegui got the worst of the exchange, taking a bullet to the heart. Click here to read more about the trial. Brancato is expected to face trial later this month.
Validus Preparatory Academy, a new high school in the south Bronx, has gotten political during this long presidential campaign, writing journals, staging debates and a mock election (Democratic candidate Barrack Obama won 88 percent of the votes).
Speaking of elections, Jeffrey Klapper is hanging on as a Conservative candidate in the 81st Assembly district where he faces powerful incumbent Jeffrey Dinowitz. According to the Gotham Gazette, Dinowitz is sitting on $171,067 in campaign contributions, while Klapper hasn't raised a dime.
Bayside High School beat Kennedy in the Bronx school's own girls volleyball tournament last weekend.