- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Praise and Prayers for Cabrera on Inauguration Day | Bronx News Networkbronx

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Praise and Prayers for Cabrera on Inauguration Day

Fernando Cabrera's ceremonial inauguration last night at Bronx Community College played out like a star-studded spiritual revival as a small army of city politicians lined up to offer congratulations and predict a bright future for the Bronx's newest City Council member.

Although the night was ostensibly about Cabrera, who unseated two-term incumbent Maria Baez last fall, it was also bigger than him.

Speakers, from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to new Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio to Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., hailed Cabrera's induction into the City Council as another big step in the positive reshaping of the Bronx political landscape.

"Something wonderful is happening in the Bronx," said DeBlasio, going on to praise the "new and dynamic leadership" in the borough.

DeBlasio and others said new B.P. Diaz and new Bronx Democratic Party leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie had made great strides in uniting the borough's historically-fractured gaggle of elected officials.

This manifested itself at the end of 2009 with the Council's nearly unanimous rejection of a Bloomberg-backed plan to turn the Kingsbridge Armory (which sits in the middle of Cabrera's 14th District) into a shopping mall. That wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the Bronx Council delegation's cohesion during the failed negotiations of a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with the Armory's designated developer, The Related Companies.

During his rousing speech, Diaz, who opposed the Armory plan without a CBA that would include guarantees of good-paying jobs, heaped praise on Cabrera for showing "leadership and courage" in stepping up during the negotiating process in December, though he had yet to take office. That was partly due to Baez's inexplicable absence (she's reportedly ill, but never made an official announcement about what's happened to her), but it was also because Cabrera offered his services and proved to be an asset during the process.

"It was there that he showed that over the next four years, we're going to have a productive time," Diaz said.

Heastie, new City Comptroller John Liu, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (fresh off her re-election and four months removed from her strong backing of Baez during the primary against Cabrera), as well as Cabrera's spiritual mentor, Pastor Victor Torres, all spoke glowingly about the new Councilman. (Dozens of other elected officials were in attendance. This was obviously a Big Deal for city Democrats.)

In addition to the praise, there was also much prayer during the ceremony. Bishop Fernando Rodriguez of the Latin and African American Chaplain's Association (LACA), who played a big role in Cabrera's campaign, offered an opening prayer. Two LACA chaplains flanked the sides of the stage throughout the two-hour-plus ceremony. The ceremony ended with a prayer and words of encouragement by Pastor Ron Bailey of Love Gospel Assembly.

Then there was Cabrera's speech, a stream-of-consciousness that sounded a lot like one of the Sunday sermons he offers up during services at New Life International Church on Morris Avenue, the church he founded 20 years ago.

Weaved inside of his preacher-like style, Cabrera mixed in some substance, indicating some of issues he wanted to pursue as a Councilman. He spoke at length about the problems facing the area's youth and pledged to work hard to improve schools and educational opportunities. He talked about improving conditions for small businesses and creating good jobs in the community. Above all else, he said he wanted to help people and be available, adding that he wanted his new office on Burnside Avenue to be flooded with constituents. "I want you to create a problems in our [district] office," he said.

Toward the end of his speech, Cabrera quoted Jesus Christ about the rewards of public service and said it's time "to change the destiny of our community."

Finally, he ended with: "We can do it! It's going to happen!"

We'll have lots more on Cabrera's inauguration and his new district office in next week's edition of the Norwood News.

1 comment:

  1. Maria Baez is not ill. She was a disgusting excuse for an elected official and when she lost the election, she decided to disappear, displaying even less regard for the people of her district than when she was in office.

    It must be noted that her chief supporter is Jose Rivera, who also has no regard for anyone but himself. It's time for him to be put to pasture, just like Maria was. When that happens, you can bet he'll skulk away just like she did. The Bronx doesn't need leaders like that. Good riddance.


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