- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf BxNN Presents: The 33rd Senate District Candidates On the Issues (Part 2) | Bronx News Networkbronx

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BxNN Presents: The 33rd Senate District Candidates On the Issues (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, the Bronx News Network asked candidates in 33rd District senate race to answer, in writing, a number of questions which we hope will shed light on where they stand politically, their position on key issues in the community, and what they would do if elected.

In the coming days we're going to post their unedited answers on this blog, a few at a time. Part 1 was published yesterday.

There are four candidates in the race - Pedro Espada, Jr. (the incumbent), Daniel Padernacht, Gustavo Rivera, and Fernando Tirado - which is turning into one of the most watched in the city. Padernacht, Rivera, and Tirado got back to us with answers, but Espada didn't. In an e-mail, a staffer of his wrote: "Thank you for the survey, however we will not be participating at this time. The Senator's positions will be made available via other media, including his website and Facebook, at a later date."

Part 2

QUESTION: If you were a member of the City Council last December, would you have voted for or against the Bloomberg administration’s proposal to turn the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall? Do you support legislation in the Council right now that would mandate developers seeking city subsidies to require retail tenants to pay a living wage to their workers?

PADERNACHT:  If I were on the City Council last December, I would have first attempted to bring about a consensus between the interested parties involved in the development of The Kingsbridge Armory. I am favorable to the idea of a living wage. However, it is troublesome that we lost thousands of jobs during a terrible economic time. Further, the majority of jobs that were lost would have been paid a living wage. One possible solution I would have offered would have been to ask the developer to pay for daycare on the site for the retail workers. This would have given the workers a financial benefit at least triple the amount as the living wage requirement. It would have also provided the workers with the comfort of knowing their children were safe in the same building that they were working. Further, it would have saved time and money each day for transportation. I am favorable to the concept of a living wage but I would need to analyze any legislation before supporting it.

Photobucket RIVERA: The Kingsbridge Armory plays a big role in my community. I live one block from it and pass it every day to and from work. I did not support the Mayor’s plan because it did not contain the things I believe any publicly-funded development should contain, which would include:

• a living wage for ALL workers - from the construction workers who build the site to every employee who works in the completed complex;

• labor agreements that guarantee the rights of workers to organize if they do not belong to a union;

• community benefits agreements that include things such as environmental protections for the community;

• project labor agreements that outline things like no-strike, no lock-out agreements and specific procedures for settling any disputes between management and labor that might develop during the project.

I didn't support the redevelopment plan as drafted. However, I believe we need to do more for the community than just stop bad proposals: we also have to bring positive change that supports jobs, education, social services, and a better quality of life. At this point, the armory still stands empty, with no new jobs created for our community, and no new services added. We need to ensure that redevelopment benefits everyone involved and we can work towards reaching an agreement that is good for workers and developers alike, good for our neighborhood, good for the Bronx and good for the entire city.

It is unfortunate that as a state senator with political clout, Pedro Espada was unwilling to use his office to help broker a deal for a project that sits in the middle of his district. Time and again he has been on the side of developers and landlords, and against workers and tenants. We can do better than that.

If elected Senator, I will do things differently. I want to look into ways that the state can help the redevelopment of Kingsbridge and maintain an active role in the project. I will work to bring together major players on ALL sides to find a solution that works for everyone involved - especially my neighbors who need the jobs and services this landmark building can provide.

TIRADO: I would have supported the proposal if it included a CBA modeled after Community Board 7’s proposal, which called for setting aside space for professional offices for non-profits, youth and community facilities, small business incubators, and targeted businesses to meet the needs of the community. This would have by default created more “living wage” jobs than having just another shopping center.

Additionally, I would prefer to see a statewide increase in the minimum wage than to have localized wage regulations.

Finally, I strongly believe that the only way to truly affect wages is by raising the education level of the workforce and not by artificially manipulating local markets.

QUESTION: What can you do as a state legislator to address high unemployment in the Bronx?

PADERNACHT: In order to bring jobs to our borough, we need to create incentives for businesses. As a legislator, I can try to bring about incentives to hire locally. One such incentive is to offer Bronx businesses tax credits to hire individuals that reside in the Bronx. In addition, we need to match the skill sets of our residents with new opportunities, such as programs in green development projects.

RIVERA: Protecting and creating jobs for my neighbors is one of my top priorities. My community is home to the largest employer in the Bronx (Montefiore Hospital), many nursing homes and senior centers and several vibrant commercial districts, but we have been disproportionately hurt by the recent recession. 13% of Bronx residents are out of work —a number that is well above the city, state and national averages. Four out of ten of our children live in poverty, and our families are barely making ends meet.
We must work to ensure that all members of our community have access to jobs, a living wage, and good benefits. Many residents in our community work in vital fields: teaching our children, taking care of our elderly, and saving lives as nurses and hospital workers. Yet these important jobs are often the first cut in times of economic worry. We must protect these jobs while promoting new job growth and development within our neighborhood.

• Protect and Save the Jobs in the Community

Hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to health care and education have endangered the jobs of thousands of the hardest working members of our community. I will resist ALL cuts to the nursing homes and hospitals in our community and to our schools. Budgets must not be balanced on the backs of our neediest neighbors.

• Ensure Summer Youth Jobs are Protected

New York State has proposed cutting $35 million from summer youth programs. These unacceptable cuts would cause New York City to lose more than $19 million in funding for summer youth jobs. These cuts will leave the city 28,000 jobs short. Supporting the youth in our district is vital towards establishing a vibrant future for all of us.

• Promote a Living Wage for All

Community members in the Bronx know all about the fight for a living wage. The Bronx has led the city in its fight for living wage jobs. My friend, City Council Member Annabel Palma, recently introduced the “Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act,” which would require that all publicly subsidized development projects pay workers a living wage. Initiatives like Palma’s are a necessity for our community. We must ensure that the hardworking members of our district make enough money to feed their children and support their families.

• Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprises

I support legislation to expand the opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in New York State. This proposal would double the amount of goods and services bought from for minority and women owned businesses without a bidding process, and establish standards to hold state & public agencies accountable for supporting Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Promoting MWBEs supports community members and promotes diversity within our state and will help our community. I believe that the businesses operating in our area must be a reflection of the community itself, and showcase the diversity of our city.

• Green Jobs/Green Homes

Energy costs within our district can prove to be a huge financial burden. I support The Working Families Party’s “Green Jobs/Green Homes” New York campaign that will offer green “retrofits” to homeowners. By upgrading homes to be more energy efficient, and creating jobs in the up and coming field of green construction, this program could help New Yorkers save thousands of dollars each year.

TIRADO: Funding higher education- keeping public higher education affordable is necessary to provide residents with the opportunity to develop skills that are required in today’s workforce.

Encouraging sustainable, mixed-use development to take advantage of the existing transportation infrastructure and attract jobs to the Bronx.

Support and fund institutions that attract tourism dollars to the district that create local jobs and support small businesses.

Editor's note: Tomorrow's post will include candidates' responses to questions about the budget and "sin taxes." 


  1. I'd just like to say that when bxnn reports substansive articles like these that offer insight in to the men who one of which might be our next state senator, the reponse is tepid. When the articles are pf the scandal/non-essential variation however, the comment section lights up. What does this say about us as readers/bloggers/constituents/voters? Not a criticism, just an open-ended inquiry.

    I thought Padernachts stances were the most reasonable, Rivera's the most predictable, and Tirado's the most conservative. We need more of this kind of reporting..

  2. I thought Padernacht sounded scared, a fence sitter. Stop over-thinking! Take a stand! Tirado sounds like a classic bureaucrat who doesn't know anything but how to spend public money. I liked Rivera's more obviously thorough presentation that is very much in line with the people of the Bronx.

  3. Rivera issued platitudes...nothing that made me say "wow, this is guy is far ahead of the pack"...he may be the presumptive nominee at this point, but I wouldn't consider his presentation more thorough as much I would consider it lengthy.


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