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Friday, December 17, 2010

Bronx News Roundup, Dec. 17

Happy Friday afternoon everyone. Holiday housekeeping prevented us from getting this up earlier, but here's a brief Bronx news roundup, just in time for the Friday evening commute. Please, don't read and drive. 

The state health department ignored warnings that Pedro Espada Jr.'s network of nonprofit health care clinics was running afoul of regulations and a recommendation that Espada should give up control of the clinics, according to the Wall Street Journal. Espada and his son were indicted on Tuesday for allegedly using the clinics as their "personal piggy bank." They pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday.

The Daily News focuses on the Kingsbridge Armory angle in sizing up Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.'s showdown with the mayor over the fate of the vacant Muller Army Reserve Center in Wakefield. We reported (in a BxNN exclusive, I might add) on Wednesday that Diaz was boycotting a meeting to prevent the mayor from voting to turn Muller into a homeless shelter. But what I didn't mention was that Diaz has an alternative plan: moving the National Guard units, currently housed in the Armory's annex buildings, to Muller to make way for new schools.

The Mindful Chef is from the Bronx.

The real estate company of Ex-Red Sox star Mo Vaughn, who makes a brief cameo in our New Yorker-esque story about Councilman Fernando Cabrera, is pledging $30 million to fix up two dilapidated Bronx apartment buildings.

The Fiscal Policy Institute issued a report today on the widening gap between New York's rich and poor, pointing out fun facts like: "Wall Street, with its stratospheric profits and bonuses, sits within 15 miles of the Bronx -- the nation's poorest county." Here's the report itself.

Eater.com's Manhattan/Brooklyn-centric "Who goes there?" feature takes a look at Arthur Avenue's 89-year-old Mario's Italian restaurant


  1. But what I didn't mention was that Diaz has an alternative plan: moving the National Guard units, currently housed in the Armory's annex buildings, to Muller to make way for new schools.

    Alternative plan? I thought that was the plan. I believe Koppell had touted that has something he was trying to do since early 2009. What's changed (other than the fact that the Mayor is probably going to screw us again?)

  2. Ha -- "Ex-Red Sox Star Mo Vaughn" Why are you ignoring the fact that he was a member of a more local team, i.e. the Mets? Shouldn't it read "Ex-Met Albatross"? Would any of the editors care to comment on how they decided on that description of Vaughn -- especially when the link is to an article that identifies him as an Ex-Met?

  3. jack.... it's a minor point and i'm assuming you're being a bit tongue-in-cheek with it. what mo is doing is wonderful. he deserves all the credit and support in the world. if there were more real estate moguls like mo vaughn, we could turn around a lot of the bronx.

  4. GAX- My apologies to you and anyone else for not making it much clearer that my post was completely tongue-in-cheek.

    I meant to say nothing about Mr. Vaughn's current work. I was poking fun at certain staff at the BxNN whom it is rumored have an allegiance to a certain baseball team from Flushing. This was done with the intent of being good-natured. If I failed to communicate that, again, apologies to all.

    Vaughn was a complete bust as a Met (more a criticism of former Mets GM, Steve Phillips than Mo). I am positing that a desire to forget the Mo Vaughn Era in Queens played a role in the choice of appellation - "Ex-Red Sox star".

  5. i probably even have a stronger affiliation to said baseball team! but you're right, they should have referred to him as a former Met. Why avoid it? you think he's the only bust we've ever had? it's part of the legacy, so what are we gonna do at this point, pretend it doesn't exist?

  6. He played for the Mets? I kid, but let's be honest, Big Mo was a "star" for the Red Sox and even for the Angels for a couple of years, but he flamed out after one ok, but injury-plagued, season (2002, plus 27 games in 2003) in Queens with the Mets. For non-Mets fans, he will always be an ex-Red Sox star, not a Mets flame-out who got paid to be injured for three years.

    But here's the bigger philosophical question then: Do Mo Vaughn's positive accomplishments as a do-good real estate mogul make up for his decidedly negative contributions to New York baseball?

  7. In my mind -- Mo has very little for which to make up. He bears little or no responsibility for the albatross his contract became. What -- he shouldn't have taken the money Steve Phillips offered him? On the other hand, if I were a Mets fan (and I am most decidedly not), Steve Phillips could renovate every troubled building in the entire city and let families live in them rent free and he still would be struggling to make up for his negative contributions.

  8. in answer to alex.... YES! mo vaughn is a modern day hero for what he's doing. no doubt about it. (and this is coming from as die-hard a Mets fan as you can find).

    unfortunately, he's one of the only ones of his financial stature who cares enough to do it. and it's interesting that this is not some not-for-profit charity thing. he's set up a for-profit company and has shown that it is possible to be a property owner in the bronx, improve people's quality of life and lives, and still be able to make money at it. it puts to shame all of those other despicable creeps who own property in the bronx and don't maintain them.

    so yes, mo is a hero.

  9. and i should add, that when he started a few years ago, we had him on bronxtalk. i found him to be one of the nicest people i had ever met. one bad year on a crappy team? yeah, he's well above that now... and we should be, too.


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