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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, June 20

Weather: Today, a high of 82, with a possibility of showers this evening. 

Story of the Day
Today's supposed to be the last day of the legislative session in Albany, though lawmakers are likely to be there at least for a couple more days. On the agenda, of course, is gay marriage, and there seemed to be signs that Governor Cuomo was close to reaching a deal with Republicans in the state Senate where the legislation has been logjammed. Meanwhile, former Bronx assemblyman Michael Benjamin continues to campaign against again gay marriage in New York State. In a New York Post op-ed over the weekend, Benjamin argues that the fight for marriage equality for gay residents of the Empire State should not be compared to the civil rights battles waged by African Americans: "The same-sex-marriage movement is not nobly about obtaining a long-denied civil right. It's about settling old scores against religious leaders, institutions, parents and the greatest villains of all-time -- 'straight white men of privilege," he wrote. On another issue that's atop the legislative agenda, the Post's Fred Dicker reports that there is a deal afoot to pass rent reform, with the minimum rent for vacancy decontrol likely to be hiked up to $2,500 from $2,000. Dicker says Cuomo is getting the landlord lobby to agree to the change by threatening to use his emergency powers to kick the issue down to the New York City Council, which inevitably would lead to legislation much more favorable to tenants.

Quick Hits:
One idea that's surfaced prior to the release of a report on Kingsbridge Armory development prospects from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. is for a cycling center that will feature a velodrome and BMX course.

Mayor Bloomberg is circumventing the City Council by seeking state legislation to address the issue of livery cabs in the outer-boroughs. No one seems to be happy

The mother of a 5-year-old Bronx boy who was found dead in his E. 227th St. apartment Friday has been charged with murder. It was the start of a tragic weekend: A 3-year-old girl was found unconscious at her home on E. 140th St. on Saturday. She died later at Lincoln Medical Center. While her death was ruled a homicide, there have been no arrests yet in the killing.

Some incarcerated Bronx teens are given the opportunity to write and record their own songs through a program run by the city's Administration for Children's Services. Here's the audio from WNYC.

The cost of an education next school year at Riverdale Country School will be $40,450, the first time a NYC private-school education will top $40,000.

The Times, in this story on Keith Olbermann's new "Countdown" show on Al Gore's Current TV (not available on Cablevision from what I can tell), reports that Bronx-born-and-raised Christopher Hayes, the Washington editor of The Nation and a frequent MSNBC substitute host, will be given a new show on MSNBC. Incidentally, Hayes' dad, Roger Hayes, a NYC Department of Health official who still resides in the borough, was part of the original team of young organizers in the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, which was formed by Jesuit priests at Fordham University in 1974 to stanch the tide of arson and abandonment that was creeping north. (A great book on this critical period in Bronx history is South Bronx Rising, published by Fordham University Press.)

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I realized while he was an Assemblyman, how homophobic Michael Benjamin really is. Trying to play the courage of the black civil rights movement off the gay rights movement is despicable. Each movement is different, but each at their core are about creating greater equality in our country.

    It is beyond offensive to demean the oppression gay people have faced in history with statements like:

    "But equating the quiet dignity of black civil-rights demonstrators carrying "I AM A MAN" signs with gay-rights activists cavorting down Christopher Street proclaiming, "I'm Queer and I'm Here" stretches credulity."

    Mr. Benjamin --do you have any idea the violence, the hatred, the oppression LGBT people have faced in history, in our lifetimes? There is not much value in trying to make exact comparisons with other oppression in history -- but the violence faced by openly gay people ranks near the top.

    It's too bad in your closed-minded, bigoted world you never got to "cavort" with the great LGBT leaders like Bronx-born Brenda Howard -- one the originators of the Christopher Street protests you so blithely demean. Her dignity and commitment ranks up there with the all the great leaders of the Black civil rights movement. Oh, and by the way, the Black civil rights movement might never have happened without the organizing talents of the Bayard Rustin, a gay man.


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