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Monday, July 6, 2009

Bronx News Roundup, July 6

New York Magazine recently published an extensive profile of the Bronx State Senator Pedro Espada Jr.'s rise to power and role in the Albany leadership coup. From his humble beginnings in Puerto Rico to his seemingly ruthless quest for domination in the Senate, Espada makes for a fascinating story. This article provides some clarity for the web of chaos in Albany.

Highly disturbing, though, is Espada's confession, "Plotting [the coup] was fun.” Also discussed in the article is Espada's mysterious financial situation. Espada has circumvented the campaign finance disclosure rules by simply not filing reports of where his money comes from. Instead, Espada frequently chooses to pay a fine and not disclose his monetary sources. Still, the article holds that even though Espada appears to be relishing in the fact that he is a villain in the Senate, he is not entirely at fault for the corruption in Albany. New York Magazine also places some of the blame on the Bronx political system's corruption and lack of diversity.

Right now, New York State Republicans are
dangerously close to securing Espada in his much sought-after throne as Senate president. Governor Paterson’s decision to continue with the Senate’s voting on bills despite the coup could lead to an alliance between the Republicans and Democratic Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz Sr. When the same-sex marriage bill is put on the table at the Senate, many suspect that Diaz, who is anti same-sex marriage, will side with the Republicans. This could be the force needed to ensure Espada’s presidency.

In other news, Republican and fellow Bronx native C0lin Powell defends Sotomayor, despite the Supreme Court's ruling reversing her decision against white firefighters denied a promotion due to their race.

In a drug bust in the Bronx on Saturday, police found millions of dollars worth of
heroin hidden in Build-A-Bear stuffed animals. 12 suspects were arrested and charges are still pending.

Former police cadet,
Tommy Rodriguez, shot in the Bronx early this morning is now in stable condition after surgery.

On Saturday, July 4, a
police officer in the Bronx shot an armed man, Jesus Roldan. Roldan did not drop his weapon despite multiple orders. He is now in critical condition.

Fondation Cartier in Paris will display the works of South Bronx-born
graffiti artist and rapper, Koor in an upcoming exhibition. Koor is now based in Brussels.

The historical Bronx church,
Saint Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, held its last mass yesterday. The church, which opened in 1849, is set to close due to a decline in attendance and structural problems.

The Bronx Zoo will celebrate the
10th anniversary of the Congo Gorilla Forest this month. Activities will include guided tours, African arts and crafts and African dances.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate that the last mass in the physical space of St. Augustine Catholic Church got some coverage on the Examiner and the Bronx News Network. But, the posting is misleading. The St. Augustine Catholic faith community will continue to hold masses across the street from the current church in the parish school.

    The closing of the church has little to do with attendance, but is due to the structural deterioration that has worsened over recent years (Apparently, contractors did a poor job fixing the roof and stuck the parish with the problem. Insurance on the church only covers interior renovations and will not pay to replace the roof). The parish has been collecting money for years to demolish the current cathedral and rebuild affordable housing with worship and parish spaces on the first floor. This reconstruction (if approved by the Archdiocese) would provide the parish community with a regular revenue source, as the church has not been able to meet operating expenses for many years.

    Unfortunately, the Archdiocese appears to be getting cold feet on the development side while moving full steam ahead with the demolition of the church. While parishoners continue to fight for the parish's survival, the faith community is active and strong with nearly 400 people attending weekly Sunday Spanish and English masses. The gospel mass at 11am on Sunday mornings is particularly inspiring. Guests are always welcome, just now in the school auditorium instead of the church.


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