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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Thursday, March 24

Weather: Welcome to spring! Call me crazy, but doesn't spring in the Bronx look and feel -- the snow, the biting cold -- a whole lot like winter? Temperatures will remain in the low 40s today, but skies should clear up this afternoon. 

Story of the Day: Husband Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charge
Throgs Neck resident Eddy Coello, the former NYPD housing cop whose wife's strangled body was found in Westchester County woods last week, pleaded not guilty to murder charges at Bronx Criminal Court yesterday. Prosecutors said evidence linking Coello to the murder of his wife, Tina Adovasio, is overwhelming and includes Coello's own statements. Bronx DA Edward Talty: "We have video surveillance, forensic evidence and statements from the defendant's own mouth that the night of March 11 and morning of March 12, after strangling her, he carried her dead body, put it in his car and dumped her in Westchester County."

Quick Hits:
Kappy talks redistricting rumors that are ruffling Congressman Charlie Rangel; a scuffle between Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz and former Council candidate Tony Cassino about a proposed ice rink in Van Cortlandt Park; says they should given ex-Mayor Ed Koch's name to a bridge in the Bronx -- where he was born -- not the Queensboro Bridge, which the Council voted to do yesterday.

The Bronx Museum will host a Negro League baseball exhibit from March 31 through April 6. On April 2, former Negro League star Jim Robinson will sign autographs, along with former Yankee Bill White, at Stan's Sportsworld on River Avenue.

Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera introduced a bill that would require medical care providers to scan the palms of their patients before offering them services. Rivera says the $20 million cost of implementing the technology would save the state "billions" in fraud problems.

A state committeeman wants signs leading to the Bronx to say: "The Bronx: The Birthplace of Hip Hop."

Michelle Parris, a recent Stanford law school graduate from Queens, is doing a fellowship at Bronx Defenders.

Middle Eastern and West African Bronxites talk about the turmoil in the region and the antics of embattled Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy.

Homeowners in the Bronx and other outer boroughs continue to struggle paying their mortgages. Advocates say they need government help.

State Democratic say it will be difficult to get rent regulations extended in through the budget process. (Side note: Affordable housing advocates and elected officials who are pushing for the extension of rent regulations will be rallying tonight at the Bronx Library Center, on Kingsbridge Road, at 6:30 p.m.)


  1. Regarding tonight's Rent Reform rally at the Bronx Library Center -- it is happening in the auditorium of the library, inside. Apparently a few people thought it was outside. Nope -- in the beautiful, accessible auditorium on the lower level. Simultaneous Spanish translation with headphones will be provided.

  2. Yeah, so Dinowitz is concerned about Community Board 8 being kept in the loop...

    but who cares about the rest of his constituents in Community Board 7?

  3. To anon at 12:06 -- Not sure what the specifics of your complaint regarding Assemblyman Dinowitz are -- but I can give one specific example of "caring" about constituents in Community Board 7. Mr. Dinowitz was the first elected official to respond to our invitation to the Bronx Rally for Real Rent reform --which happened in the geographic confines of CB 7. Among Bronx electeds, he has been one of the strongest supporters for renewing and strengthen rent laws. I don't have the data in front of me, but given the number of coops in CB8, I have to assume a higher percentage of his Community Board 7 constituents are affected by rent laws.

  4. Let me clarify Jack. Dinowitz has a clear bias toward Riverdale. Perhaps because that's where his campaign funding comes from?

    Take the Kapstatter piece:

    "Dinowitz is grousing Cassino, head of the nonprofit Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, keeping Community Board 8 out of the planning loop. Tony says the Conservancy first had to figure out what was feasible and if the city was interested before it hit three local community boards for their input. But Dinowitz said Board 8's parks committee was told details wouldn't be available 'til AFTER a concessionaire was picked."

    Cassino at least recognizes that all three community boards have an interest in Van Cortlandt Park.

    Dinowitz is acting like he could care less about the residents in his district who live outside Riverdale's Community Board 8.

    Or maybe he thinks we just have poverty issues, and quality of life and parks are only important to our more affluent neighbors in Riverdale?

    Either way, he should do better to represent all his constituents consistently and fairly.

  5. I have no strong opinions on this disagreement between Mr. Cassino and Assemblyman Dinowitz on the skating rink. Whatever the issues involved and wherever one comes down -- I do not think the quotes you cite are evidence of Dinowitz's lack of concern for his non-CB 8 constituents. The fact of the matter is that this rink, while certainly of interest to all Bronxites, especially those in CB 7, is being proposed to be located in CB 8. Naturally, CB 8's Parks Committee is going have to deal with this issue in some way. The fact that Dinowitz alleges that CB 8's Parks Committee has been out of the loop thus far is hardly evidence that he thinks CB 7 has no interest in the rink or that he does not care what his CB 7 constituents think. It seems to me he is simply saying this rink is located in CB 8 -- so they should have been in the loop. If you've got some other evidence to support your claims -- I'd like to see it. But what you've offered so far is not convincing in the least.

    One thing this discussion does raise in my mind is the need for rational, independent redistricting of Assembly Districts -- all districts for that matter. We are facing re-districting this year. Unfortunately the Republicans in the NYS Senate have abandoned their pledge to enact independent redistricting so I am not very hopeful for any positive change. I happen to live in Kingsbridge Heights/Van Cortlandt Village. My neighborhood is really mis-served by the current Assembly boundaries because we are divided between three Assembly members, Dinowitz, Naomi Rivera and Jose Rivera. Naomi Rivera's district is particularly irrational. Everything she has west of Webster Avenue would seem much more rationally connected to the 81st District uniting Norwood and Bedford Park, for one thing) The small slice of Wakefield that is in the 81st would more rationally be connected to a district in the East Bronx.

  6. One final point -- looking at the map of the 81st Assembly district, if you could present some evidence of Riverdale bias -- it would be hard to blame any representative in that office of having such a bias. The only intact neighborhoods in the district are Riverdale and Woodlawn. I don't have the numbers -- but Riverdale probably has 10x's the number of voters compared to tiny, single-family home filled Woodlawn. The rest of the district is bits and pieces of neighborhoods. That, of course, does not excuse a representative to ignore these bits and pieces. I'm just not convinced you've made that case yet and, as I said in my original post in this thread, my recent dealings with Mr. Dinowitz on the rent reform issue left me impressed with his strong commitment to an issue much more important in the non-Riverdale parts of his district.

  7. Sorry Jack. You sound as bad as Dinowitz.

    Van Cortlandt Park does NOT belong to Riverdale or Community Board 8. It is a shared area. We ALL should have a say!!!

  8. I never said anything about Van Cortlandt Park belonging to any one CB. My point, and I think it is a rather obvious one, was that the section of the park where the rink is proposed to be situated is clearly adjacent to CB 8 and therefore CB 8 would be most directly impacted. If the rink had been proposed for Indian Field -- then CB 12 would have been most directly impacted. Had it been proposed for Gun Hill Meadow then CB 7 would have been most directly impacted. The fact that Dinowitz focused his remarks on the CB most directly impacted by the rink is hardly evidence that he doesn't care about the other Community Boards adjacent to other sections of this rather large, sprawling park.

  9. I'm sorry, Jack, by you're wrong, no matter how you try to revise and parse your words.

    You said it would "be located in CB 8." I say it will be located in Van Cortlandt Park, using the resources from a Conservancy that is supposed to serve ALL of the neighborhoods around the park. Only one of us is right - and the park is NOT in CB 8.

    And skating rink isn't an impact. It's an amenity. I find it shocking that you could write, "CB 8 would be most directly impacted." You must surely mean "CB 8 would get the most benefit."

    Yet when the filtration plant got dumped into Van Cortlandt Park - in a location where CB 8 was NOT "most directly impacted," Riverdale and Dinowitz didn't waste a second making demands to get improvements for their areas, far from the construction impacts and loss of parkland.

    Parks is running out of money to finish all the Croton projects, yet magically Riverdale's projects just aren't the ones getting cut now, are they?

    But back to the skating rink! Why should Riverdale automatically get all the amenities in our park? Why should their community board - the only one benefitting - be the only one that gets to have a voice?

    Why don't the rest of us, neglected, deprived of amenities, stuck with the construction mess and the broken promises of improvements left undone, get something more accessible to us? Why shouldn't our community get to be included in the discussion about the skating rink?

    Why doesn't Dinowitz think other neighborhoods should get to weigh in on how the Conservancy uses the resources of OUR park?

    And why don't YOU?

  10. Wow --where to begin.

    I'm not trying to parse anything. The Conservancy and Bloomberg have proposed the rink for an area of Van Cortlandt Park smack dab in the middle of CB 8. This is just a fact. I don't place any more significance on Dinowitz's reference to CB 8 than that. You want to make it into a revelation of his bias towards Riverdale. Fine. You have not convinced me on that score.

    When did "impact" become a negative word? I was deliberately choosing a neutral word. The rink is likely to have many positive impacts on the community -- but there will be other types of impacts as well. All the communities around Van Cortlandt Park have every right to discuss openly all the impacts the rink will have. In particular the neighborhood immediately around the proposed location for the rink (which is in CB 8) certainly will want to consider all the impacts, good, bad and otherwise the rink will have.

    Regarding Riverdale getting all the amenities -- seems to me your gripe is with the Conservancy and the mayor if that is how you feel. They are the ones who decided to locate this particular amenity in the CB 8 portion of the park. Did they look at Indian Field? Did they look at Gun Hill Meadow? Did they look at Shandler? We don't know. Perhaps the real Riverdale bias you are searching for is with the Conservancy and Bloomberg? You said -- "Why shouldn't our community get to be included in the discussion about the skating rink?" Seems to me that question is most properly directed at the Conservancy and Bloomberg. They are the ones who have made all the decisions so far, most significantly where to locate the amenity.

    Honestly -- where do you get the idea that Dinowitz is against other Community Boards weighing on how the Conservancy uses the resources of "our park"? I think that is exactly Dinowitz's position-- that the Conservancy and Bloomberg acted without hearing from the community. Yeah, yeah -- you think his reference to CB 8 means that is the only voice he cares about. That is just a tortured reading of his comments that flatly ignores where the rink is to be located.

    Interesting that you choose to talk about the filtration plant getting "dumped" in a non-CB 8 section of Van Cortlandt. I really have no desire to carry water for Mr. Dinowitz, but he has been a very harsh critic of the filtration plant and the empty promises of "benefits" for Bronx residents. You are right -- the neighborhoods most negatively impacted are non-Riverdale ones. The fact that Dinowitz has made this one of his foci tends to disprove your original thesis, no?

    I'd honestly like to see more evidence for this statement: "Parks is running out of money to finish all the Croton projects, yet magically Riverdale's projects just aren't the ones getting cut now, are they?" Can you point to specific examples. You may be right. Just give us some evidence to support the claim.

  11. By the way -- earlier in this discussion, when I said I don't have strong opinions about this dispute between Cassino and Dinowitz, I meant it. It may sound like I have a gripe about this rink with Cassino and the Conservancy based on my last post, but that is not the case. I am simply trying to point out to Anonymous how his/her gripe about lack of non-Riverdale community involvement in the process (which he/she directs solely at Dinowitz) may be more legitimately directed at the Conservancy.

  12. Sorry Jack. You need to inform yourself. Go check the Department of City Planning website or something!

    NO PART of Van Cortlandt Park is IN CB 8. No part of it belongs exclusively, or even primarily, not even a little bit more, to that community. We ALL have a say in OUR park!

    Your acceptance that Riverdale would get extra say over ANY portion of a park that belongs to ALL the surrounding communities only propogates the privileges of that more affluent community.

    And again, that standard only applies when it works in their favor. They claim rights to the whole park when it works in their favor - then neglect and marginalize the rest of us when that works in their favor. Don't deny it, because it's obviously true!

    Sure, I could have a gripe with the Conservancy, and the Mayor, but I've got a gripe with Dinowitz too. His concern here is clear - CB 8 wants more information and input to make sure their new, special goodie is set up just exactly the way they want it. And Dinowitz is right there helping them get exactly what they want, instead of making any effort to even recognize that his other constituents have needs and interests, and a right to have him fight for goodies for them also.

    Why else would he be crying for CB 8 getting more, instead of showing the least bit of interest in why the rest of the communities he represents are getting NOTHING?

    Why is he ONLY representing the community that is ALREADY getting the most? Does he really have to SAY, in so many words, that he is ignoring the other communities for that to be obvious to you?

    You may mean well, somehow, but your acceptance of the privileged status of Riverdale - the same way Dinowitz does in his lopsided representation of his constituents - only serves to reproducd the oppression of the other communities in the Bronx.

    There is nothing tortured about recognizing how the affluent and powerful try to naturalize their control. (Perhaps there is SOMETHING tortured - the tortured feeling you get once you realize how the system is stacked against you!)

  13. Norwood News just reported Regatta Park isn't happening. We heard some time ago they scrapped the pedestrian overpass to allow people on the east to get over the Deegan to the part of the park where Riverdale keeps getting all the benefits.

    Yet the Putnam Trail moves forward? Yeah... and just coincidentally, even though it's supposed to be a continuous greenway along the Harlem River, it stops at the edge of CB 8?

    Dinowitz fights the filtration plant because it was good politics. He likes to get up and complain, and it was something to complain about. And it gave him a great opportunity to extract concessions for the benefit of his Riverdale constituents.


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