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Remarks of Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Introducing President Reuven Rivlin of Israel
Bronx Museum of the Arts—January 28, 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming out here. This is truly a historic day. I don’t think you’ve ever seen the president of Israel visit the beautiful borough of The Bronx. And Mr. President, I felt so much joy and so much pride.

What you see here today, and I know this has been a huge undertaking, let me first begin by thanking the Secret Service of the United States as well as the security forces of Israel, the NYPD, and all of the different agencies that are here with us today.

What you see here, Mr. President, is an amazing group of folks, not just in The Bronx but throughout the city of New York. What you should understand that what we are trying to do and what we did last week – and I’ll speak about that in a few moments – is that what are trying to strengthen the relationship of The Bronx, the relationship with the Latino community with that of the leadership and the people of Israel.

Mr. President, here in this audience we have members of the legislature, which you met, from state senators to council members. We have men and women of the clergy, many of them evangelical. And I have to say, and I’ve said this to the president when he received us and the delegation I was with, that the Latino evangelical community is a staunch supporter of Israel and the state of Israel.

Read Borough President Diaz's complete remarks.

Borough President Diaz Hosts Superintendents Meeting

On Friday, January 30, 2015, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and his Education and Youth Services Department hosted a meet and greet with elected officials and public school superintendents from across the borough. Pictured are: Yolanda Torres (D7), Dr. Karen Ames (8), Leticia Rodriguez-Rosario (D9), Melodie Mashel (D10), Borough President Diaz, Maria Lopez (D11), Rafaela Espinal Pacheco (D12) and Senior Superintendent Laura Feijoo.

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and his Education and Youth Services Department hosted a meet and greet with elected officials and public school superintendents from across the borough.

Superintendents and their representatives from Districts 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, attended the meeting, at which they discussed capital funding, programs, parental involvement and ways to collaborate and other issues.

Those in attendance included Laura Feijoo, Senior Superintendent, Office of School Support; Council Members Annabel Palma, Vanessa Gibson, Andy King, Andrew Cohen; State Senator Gustavo Rivera; and Assembly Members Michael Benedetto, Marcos Crespo, Victor Pichardo and Latoya Joyner.

“Having these conversations are important for everyone. It gives us an opportunity to hear about the roles of the superintendents and how we as elected officials can focus on individual district needs yet still collaborate boroughwide,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We will definitely continue this open discussion in the future and keep the dialogue going.”

BP Diaz & Israel's President Rivlin Host Event
Fostering Latino/Jewish Relations

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted a gathering of Latino and Jewish leaders from across the tri-state area with the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven Rivlin, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The event was designed to foster greater strength between the Latino and Jewish communities, both here and abroad. At the event, Borough President Diaz presented President Rivlin with the official “Bronx Afghan” and named him an honorary Bronxite.

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted a dialogue with the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven Rivlin and the Consul General of Israel in New York, Ambassador Ido Aharoni, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The event was designed to foster stronger ties between the Latino and Jewish communities, both in the United States and abroad.

The meeting comes on the heels of Borough President Diaz’s recent visit to Israel, hosted in conjunction with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which saw the borough president lead a delegation of Latino business and civic leaders from across the tri-state area on meetings with Israeli political leaders and tours of religious, historic and tactical sites.

"I am honored to welcome Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, as well as Latino and Jewish leaders from all over the city and the tri-state area, to The Bronx to kick off this important conversation, which builds on my recent trip to Israel with a citywide delegation of Latino leaders. The Latino and Jewish communities of this city have demonstrated a deep commitment to one another for decades, and this event will help strengthen and expand on those connections," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"The Latinos in The Bronx are going to become the majority, not as Latinos but as Americans. And we would like that both friends, American and Israeli, be together because we symbolized the way of how to fulfill and act according to the rules of democrats,” said the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven Rivlin, at the event.

Borough President Diaz and President Rivlin discussed the Jewish history of The Bronx, the roots of the state of Israel, Israel’s role in the fight against terrorism, ways the bond between Latino and Jewish communities can be built even stronger and the important of strengthening the ties between the Jewish and Hispanic community.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Leadership in the NYS Assembly

"As the members of the Democratic conference of the New York State Assembly consider the future of their leadership, one thing must be clear throughout the process: the next speaker of the Assembly must be elected from New York City.

“New York City has always been at the forefront of Democratic Party polices and principles, and the New York State Assembly has traditionally led the charge on issues this city holds dear, be it rent control and tenant protections, the minimum wage, public education and transportation funding, to name a few.

"Without an Assembly Speaker from the five boroughs, no leadership position in the legislature would be held by a legislator from New York City. Abandoning that tradition would be of grave concern to the 8.5 million residents of the city of New York," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Visits Western Wall in Israel

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. prays at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem during his visit to Israel on January 22, 2015. The borough president led a delegation of Latino business and civic leaders from across the city on the week-long visit, which was hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Governor Cuomo’s ‘State of the State’ Address

“Gov. Cuomo continues to outline a strong agenda for the entire state, especially for The Bronx. Our governor continues to put forward policy proposals that have real impact on the lives of people in my borough.

“His continued support of our proposal to expand Metro North services to the East Bronx is incredibly welcome, and shows his commitment to creating new transit options and new opportunities for investment in our borough. While I appreciate the governor’s suggestion that one of these new stations bear my name, his considerable support of this proposal is all the recognition I need. I am grateful that Governor Cuomo has already outlined significant funding for this proposal in his budget, and I will continue to work with the governor, the MTA and the State Legislature to bring this transformative transit proposal to life.

“The governor’s expansion of employment programs in our borough, specifically for young adults of color, is also a major victory for The Bronx. In August, I joined Governor Cuomo, the State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to launch the ‘Bronx Works’ strike force, which is putting unemployed Bronxites in direct contact with the employers who need them. New projects are taking root every day in The Bronx, and this $10 million proposal will ensure that more Bronx residents, especially young adults of color, will be prepared for the jobs we are creating.

“Governor Cuomo’s plan to raise the minimum wage statewide, and to increase the minimum wage to a higher rate in New York City, shows that the governor continues to understand the realities of living in the five boroughs. The cost of living is considerably higher in The Bronx than upstate, and this increase would allow more New Yorkers to make ends meet.

“Governor Cuomo understands what is important to this borough: economic development and job creation, making sure Bronxites are getting the jobs we create, and making sure those jobs pay a decent wage. I will continue to work with my good friend, our governor, and his administration to enact strong policy proposals and affect positive change for the people of The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz in Israel

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stands with United Nations soldiers monitoring the border between Israel and Syria on Monday, January 19. Borough President Diaz visited the site following an Israeli strike against Hezbollah terrorists who were planning an attack on the Golan Heights. The borough president is leading a delegation of Latino business and civic leaders on the week-long visit, which is being hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

“Why I am Visiting Israel”
by Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President

The people of the United States have stood strong with the people of Israel from the day that country was founded in 1947. As the only democracy in the Middle East, and as our key ally in the fight against terrorism, Israel holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans. This is especially true in New York City, which has shared a unique and significant relationship with the Jewish people and the state of Israel for decades.

Tomorrow, I will travel to Israel with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, leading a delegation of our city’s growing Latino population. This group, which includes business, civic and non-profit leaders, will spend a week discovering what Israel has to offer, learning about why Israel’s continued strength is so important, and exploring the growing relationship between the people of the Promised Land and Latinos across the world.

This is of critical importance, given not only the continued vitality of the Jewish population at home, but the longstanding history of Jewish acceptance in countries like the Dominican Republic and growing Jewish population in places like Argentina, Brazil and Panama, as well. On this trip, I will lead a discussion about the future of Jewish/Latino relations, both here and abroad, and take the first steps toward cementing a lifetime bond between these two communities.

I have been to Israel before. I have seen, firsthand, the attacks the Israeli people face every single day. But the people of Israel persevere. Now, more than ever, their example deserves our praise and our support.

The horror of the attacks on the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket—and the subsequent exodus of Jews from Paris—show us just how critical our support of Israel is right now. As Martin Niemöller wrote, reflecting on the Nazi atrocities of World War II, “First they came for the Jews…”

Following these acts of terror, the Paris Grand Synagogue closed for the first time on Shabbos since World War II. The meaning behind such imagery cannot be understated. Israel is one of our strongest allies. Israelis and all Jews must know that our Latino community, and in fact the American people, are on their side during these troublesome times. As we saw world leaders standing arm-in-arm in solidarity following these attacks, we too stand arm-in-arm with Israel and the world’s Jewish population.

Does a borough president have an interest in promoting Israel?  Of course.  At one point more Jews lived in The Bronx than in Israel, and our Jewish community remains vibrant and strong. Across the entire city, Jews and Latinos are already working hand-in-hand on the issues that unite us, be it economic development, housing, education and more.

Israel has produced and continues to work on some of the most amazing technological and scientific advancements the world has ever seen.  Israel is a partner in our security, and what keeps their country secure helps keep our borough and our city secure. Israel is worthy of not only our respect, but our support.

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. next week, we must also remember his message that we are all God’s children, including the people of Israel. "Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity,” said Dr. King. “Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality."  

Both the nation of Israel and Jews everywhere around the world are under perpetual attack. Their peace today, as Dr. King so eloquently put it, requires our commitment to their continued security. I will work to join the Latino and Jewish communities together in new bonds of strength, and I will help create new friendships during difficult times.

Israelis do not let terrorism and hate keep them down. Neither do Americans, and neither do I.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Gov. Cuomo’s Property Tax Relief Plan

“The negative impact that high property taxes have on homeowners and renters in The Bronx cannot be overstated. It’s time that we see real property tax relief for the working and middle class families that need it most, and I am very encouraged by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax credit proposal. The Governor’s plan is based on a progressive income scale – so individuals who earn less and pay more will see the help they need – and I am pleased to see the Governor addressing this issue head-on,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: IDNYC Municipal ID Launch

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. signs up for his own “IDNYC” municipal identification card at the Bronx Library Center at its launch on Monday, January 12, 2015.

“The people of The Bronx can now represent their borough and their city with great pride by signing up for the new IDNYC municipal identification card, which launches today.

“The program, which will not only provide people with a legal identification recognized as a valid form of ID, but it will also help the 1.4 million residents of The Bronx gain access to city programs such as discounts on prescription drugs, libraries across three boroughs, movie tickets, fitness and health centers as well as free memberships to some of our borough’s amazing cultural institutions such as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.

“I congratulate Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the entire City Council on the implementation of this incredible, groundbreaking program, and encourage all New Yorkers to sign up, just like I did today. If you live in New York City, show that you’re a real New Yorker and sign up for IDNYC,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

For more information about IDNYC and how to sign up, visit: http://on.nyc.gov/1CTMkvz.

Health Department Launches New PrEP & PEP Campaign:
New Ways to Prevent HIV

New PrEP & PEP Detailing Kit to Reach 600 Practices Citywide

Health Department Issues Health Alert to Providers Showing Benefits and Guidelines of PEP

The Health Department today launched a new outreach campaign, PrEP & PEP: New Ways to Prevent HIV, at The Oval Center at Montefiore Medical Center to provide primary care and infectious disease practices with resources to support pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP). Each year, approximately 3,000 New Yorkers are newly diagnosed with HIV. PrEP and PEP are highly effective in preventing HIV when taken as directed. PrEP is a pill taken daily to prevent HIV infection when used in combination with other risk reduction strategies, while PEP is a combination of pills taken daily for 28 days to prevent HIV infection immediately after a high-risk exposure to HIV.

“I am delighted to see DOHMH showing great leadership in fighting HIV/AIDS in The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “My office has been actively engaging community based and health organizations in our borough to promote HIV testing (including our new initiative, Bronx Realness After Dark - where we have been testing people where they are during the overnight hours). I convened an HIV Roundtable to advise me and my staff last year, and recently released a survey to query medical facilities and CBOs on their knowledge of, and ability to connect clients to, PEP and PrEP and will be sharing the results in late February. We will continue to partner with DOHMH and Bronx providers to combat HIV and reduce HIV transmissions.”

Read the complete press release.

Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Chamber of Commerce: Graduates of Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivors Program Start New Internships in The Bronx

New Year Means New Start & New Job for Six Local Domestic Violence Survivors

Graduates of the Bronx H.I.R.E. Domestic Violence Survivors program will start new internships at small businesses and city and state offices across the borough, State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Bronx Chamber of Commerce executives announced today. The two-part initiative includes a six-week job training course followed by a six-week paid internship program geared toward increasing job readiness, preparing survivors for the workplace and putting women on a path to financial independence.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said: "Today, we welcome our first Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivor Program intern who will join my executive office to hone the administrative skills she was trained in.  My hope is that the real life, high intensity experience she will gain over the next six weeks will serve her well in her permanent job placement and future success.  Financial  independence is the surest way to keep survivors of domestic violence empowered and free from abusive, dependent relationships.”

Read the complete press release.

BP Diaz & CM Espinal Introduce Legislation on
'Nail & Beauty Salon' Grading System

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Council Member Rafael Espinal, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs, officially unveiled a legislative package relating to the creation of a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spas, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar establishments throughout the five boroughs.

This legislative package, which was officially introduced in the City Council at Wednesday’s stated meeting, includes a resolution calling on the state to allow New York City to create a letter grading system for salons and spas, as well as a bill creating a “Customer’s Bill of Rights” for salon and spa patrons. A third item, a resolution, calls on the New York State Division of Licensing Services, which provides licensing for cosmetology professionals, to expand its health and safety training options.

“While most salon and spa owners operate clean, reputable establishments, some do not, and they are putting the health and safety of their customers at great risk. The procedures used in many salons can almost be medical in nature, yet oversight of these businesses is currently very minimal. We have to change that,” said Borough President Diaz. “The health and safety of the people of this city is our top priority, and these bills will go a long way towards protecting New Yorkers from unhealthy, potentially dangerous conditions. I look forward to working with all of you to make our city’s salons and spas safer for everyone.”

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Police Shooting in the 46th Precinct

“Last night, two police officers were shot in the 46th Precinct. Reports indicate that their injuries are not life threatening, and for that we are incredibly grateful. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families as they recover.

“The Bronx is not a safe haven for criminals, and we cannot and will not tolerate the criminal actions of thugs. To that end, I urge anyone who has information about this crime to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS and share what they know, to help take down those individuals who would commit such reprehensible acts.

“The men and women of the NYPD put their lives on the line each and every day to keep the people of The Bronx, and the entire city, safe. We respect their sacrifice, and we will continue to work with our police to make our borough an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

For more details about last night’s shooting, including a photo of one of the suspects and reward information, visit http://bit.ly/13W6TrL.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: 2014 Crime Statistics

“Mayor de Blasio’s announcement today—that New York City saw in 2014 the lowest number of homicides since modern policing began in 1993—shows us just how far The Bronx and the entire City have come in so short a time.

“This year, for the second straight year, the number of murders in The Bronx was lower than 100, a level of success in policing this borough had not seen since the early 1960’s. This would not be possible without a deeply committed, highly professional police force like the NYPD, working hand-in-hand with the citizens of our borough and our city. It is worth noting that this continued reduction in overall crime occurred alongside a dramatic decrease in the use of ‘stop & frisk,’ which proves that effective crime fighting and strong police work does not require questionable tactics.

“As the people of this city continue to examine the role of law enforcement within their communities, we must not forget the important role that the police department and its dedicated membership play in keeping our communities safe and secure. I will continue to work with our mayor, Commissioner Bratton and the New York Police Department to build on the continued efforts to make The Bronx an even safer place to live, work and raise a family,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The passing of Mario Cuomo

"Mario Cuomo was a great governor and a great man, and the people of our state owe him a debt of gratitude for his lifelong commitment to serve New York. My thoughts and prayers are with the governor and his entire family during their time of grief," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

FreshDirect Breaks Ground on New South Bronx Facility

FreshDirect officially broke ground on their new South Bronx facility on Monday, December 22, 2014. Pictured at the groundbreaking are (l to r) Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Freshdirect founder and CEO Jason Ackerman, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz and Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation President Marlene Cintron.

Leading New York-based online fresh food grocer to begin construction on new 500,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at the Harlem River Yard

Relocation will create local jobs and opportunities for employee growth; increased capacity needed to meet growing customer demand for a greater selection of high-quality, fresh food

FreshDirect, a leading online fresh food grocer, is excited to announce the groundbreaking on its new South Bronx headquarters today. The 500,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at the Harlem River Yard will help create more local jobs, foster employee growth opportunities, and provide additional capacity to allow the company to offer a greater selection of high-quality, fresh food to customers. The new facility is slated to be completed in late 2016.

“This project represents new jobs, and new development, and is a key component of our ‘New Bronx’ agenda,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “FreshDirect has cleared every hurdle placed in its way, and today’s groundbreaking puts the company on the fast track to their future Bronx relocation. I’m proud to support FreshDirect, and I look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand with the company and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to put even more Bronx residents to work.”

Read the complete press release.

Remarks of Borough President Diaz
RE: Murder of Officers Liu and Ramos

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. lights at candle at the Brooklyn memorial for Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on Sunday, December 21, 2014.

”Good morning.

”Before I say anything else, I want to take a moment to offer my own condolences, on behalf of my staff and the people of The Bronx, to the families of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, two heroes who were senselessly assassinated yesterday at the hands of a madman.

”I know that words alone cannot make these families whole, and I know that words cannot bring these young men back to us. But I sincerely hope and pray that the families of Officers Liu and Ramos understand that the people of this city—all of this city—are with them in their time of need.

”I want to thank my fellow borough presidents for standing here today, and all of you for attending.

”Too many people have drawn a line in the sand, and have demanded that we, as New Yorkers, pick and stand on either side of that line. Today, we stand together in condemnation of what everyone should and must consider a hate crime. Today, there is no line.

”We have heard, over the past several weeks, about the importance of peaceful demonstration to the health of a democracy as diverse as ours. With that said, we cannot allow for an atmosphere to be created within this city that allows hateful invective against New York’s Finest to become the norm.

”If this level of rhetoric was being aimed at any other community in our city, and was followed by acts of violence, we would condemn it as a hate crime. These are hate crimes against the NYPD, and all New Yorkers of good faith must be willing to stand up and denounce them, as I do today.

”We are a city of roughly 8.5 million individuals, all of whom come from different walks of life and have different stories. But we are all New Yorkers, and we are all a family.

"And the police department, the NYPD, is just as much a part of that family as anyone else. We could not see crime at record lows, in The Bronx or anywhere else in the City, without the hard work and dedication of the NYPD.

”We have more than 35,000 men and women in uniform who are protecting us everyday. I’ve seen it firsthand. Crime in my borough is as low as it’s been since the 1960’s. That would not be possible without the NYPD, working hand-in-hand with a concerned citizenry.

”This is even more tragic, given the timing of the holiday season, of Chanukah and Christmas. How do you tell a 13 year old boy that he won’t see his father again? We cannot devalue the sacrifice of these two officers in any way.

”For the good of this city—and to honor the memories of Officers Liu and Ramos—it is time for the people of New York and its police department to stand together to work for a better city.

”We are one family, one New York City, and we cannot forget that.

”Thank you.”

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: NYPD Officers Shot in Brooklyn

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and fellow officers of the two NYPD officers who were shot today in Brooklyn. Though we may at times be critical of tactics, that does not diminish the support and admiration I have for New York's Finest. These men and women put their lives on the line everyday to keep our communities safe, and their sacrifice demands our respect. The people of The Bronx are praying for these two heroes," said Borough President Diaz.

Borough President Diaz Distributed Toys to Military Families
with Wildlife Conservation Society

On Friday, December 19, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at Wildlife Conservation Society, joined Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo to distribute toys to local Bronx military families in need of support this holiday season.

Borough President Diaz Hosted Annual Chanukah Celebration

On Thursday, December 18, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his annual Chanukah Celebration and Menorah Lighting Ceremony in the rotunda of The Bronx County Building. Here, Borough President Diaz is joined by (l to r) Rabbi Israel Greenberg of the Bronx Jewish Community Council, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, City Council Member Andrew Cohen and event emcee Arlene Salman to light the candle signifying the third day of the Chanukah celebration.

BP Diaz, Chess in the Schools Co-Hosted Youth Chess Tournament

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Ariel Polonio, a student at P.S./M.S. 390 in University Heights, enjoy a game of chess during a youth tournament on Wednesday, December 17, in the rotunda of The Bronx County Building. The tournament was co-sponsored by Chess in the Schools.

On Wednesday, December 17, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Chess in the Schools co-hosted a youth chess tournament for borough students in the rotunda of The Bronx County Building. Over 250 students from all corners of The Bronx participated in the tournament, which will feature students from third grade through middle school. The event was co-sponsored by Jetro and Restaurant Depot, who graciously donated refreshments for the students participating in the event.

BP Diaz Calls on PBA President to Apologize

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. today sent a letter to Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, asking that he apologize for his union’s distribution of a petition urging police officers to preemptively disinvite both Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to their funerals if they are killed in the line of duty.

“This rhetoric, demanding that Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito stay away from the funerals of fallen police officers—heroes killed in the line of duty—is both beyond the limits of reasonable discourse and, frankly, embarrassing,” writes Borough President Diaz in the letter.

Borough President Diaz added, “You, Mr. Lynch, owe the mayor, the speaker, your membership and the people of this city an apology for your divisive, irresponsible remarks and actions.

The full letter can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/1yUMuRA.

Mayor De Blasio and Cardinal Dolan Join Highbridge Community Development Corporation to Break Ground on New Affordable Housing for Seniors

Photographer/Mayoral Photography Office

Artsbridge will be 100 percent affordable, provide homes for 61 low-income seniors and new community space for Highbridge Voices

De Blasio administration projects reaching 16,000 affordable units by December 31 toward Housing New York plan

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Timothy Cardinal Dolan today joined officials, clergy and community partners in Highbridge to break ground on the Artsbridge senior housing complex. When completed in 2016, the seven-story development will be 100 percent affordable, providing apartments for 61 low-income seniors and a 19,000 square-foot community space that will be the permanent home of Highbridge Voices.

Financing for the project was completed in August, adding these affordable apartments to the 16,000 units the de Blasio administration projects to close and move forward in calendar year 2014. As the administration’s first year draws to a close, it has implemented New York City’s first-ever mandatory affordable housing requirement at Astoria Cove, launched a community-driven planning process to protect and expand affordable housing in East New York, spurred major new affordable housing development at the Domino and Atlantic Yards sites, and brought together private investors and public pension funds to finance hundreds of millions of dollars in affordable housing rehabilitation.

“This is a great day for Highbridge, and it’s possible because of the extraordinary partnership we’ve forged between the City and the Archdiocese. We all jointly committed to confronting inequality and ensuring all New Yorkers can live in dignity in their neighborhoods. That mission is at the center of our plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable units of housing. Artsbridge exemplifies the kind of ground-up planning that can lift up seniors and families across the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This project is another major component of the ‘New Bronx,’ and I am proud to have provided this project with $3 million in capital funding. This is an innovative new development that works for all New Yorkers, and I thank Mayor de Blasio and Cardinal Dolan, the administration and the archdiocese, for creating a strong model for future housing development in our city,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Statements from Borough Presidents Adams, Brewer, Diaz, Katz and Oddo
on their FCRC Vote to Expand Public WiFi Access in New York City

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.: “Throughout this process my office, my colleagues in the other boroughs and Comptroller Scott Stringer raised serious concerns about the proposed ‘LinkNYC’ WiFi program. We are grateful to this administration, especially the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, for listening to our concerns and working with our offices to make this project more equitable. Thanks to our advocacy, the city has agreed to expand higher speed WiFi access throughout the five boroughs and to implement a 10 kiosk solar pilot program in The Bronx, among other concessions. Specifically, The Bronx will receive an additional 240 one-Gbps kiosk in the first four years of the eight year franchise agreement.  Moreover, by decoupling advertising and the one-Gbps speeds, a greater percentage of the total number of Bronx kiosks will now have 1-Gbps speeds at the end of the eight years.   From the time this was first proposed my office has been concerned that ‘LinkNYC’ would meet appropriate standards of equity and resilience, and issued a report outlining those concerns. Our negotiations on this issue have certainly helped to create a better system for the entire city. I commend my colleagues for their efforts on this issue. This shows that each of our boroughs, united in a cause, can affect positive change for our constituents.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams: “Through negotiation with City Hall and DoITT, as well as the important collaboration between all five borough presidents, we have arrived at a stronger agreement that will better ensure equity in the expansion of free municipal WiFi. Our voices were heard on critical issues such as the need to enhance community input on the siting of Wi-Fi kiosks, as well as on investing revenue from the deal into infrastructure improvements that will help our City close the digital divide for Brooklynites and all New Yorkers. Thanks to the collaboration of my partners in government, this is a deal I can be proud to support.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: “Today’s agreement meets the goals that I and the other Borough Presidents were fighting for: community input on the siting of WiFi kiosks and more high-speed hotspots in northern Manhattan and the other boroughs. These improvements to the original proposal make it a plan worth voting for. I’m glad that, working together, we could deliver this win for all New Yorkers.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz: “It’s great news that free, citywide public WiFi is on the way. Free public Internet is more than just a leisurely perk, it's a way to fairly bridge the Digital Divide already predisposed to income inequality. City Hall has sufficiently addressed our concerns in an MOU that formalizes a siting agreement, a plan to ensure equitable access and a process for community input.  I thank the administration for recognizing the potential in Queens and taking effective steps to ensure our fair share and facilitate our economic growth.  I also thank Comptroller Stringer for uniting with the Borough Presidents on this issue.”

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo: “We have carefully gone through this process with the goal of ensuring that city taxpayers get the best deal possible, as well as the fastest and most accessible WiFi access.  Additionally, we have been careful to build in protections, which guarantee that each borough's public officials play an important role in the siting of these units, and by working diligently with my colleagues, the comptroller, and the Administration we have achieved that. Going forward, we will continue to work with the Administration and CityBridge to ensure Staten Island receives the best possible WiFi service and that the units are sited in appropriate locations.”

Borough President Diaz Hosts Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his annual Christmas Tree Lighting event at the Bronx County Building on Thursday, December 4, 2014. Here, Borough President Diaz distributes $10 Barnes & Noble gift cards to students from the choir of P.S. 1—The Courtlandt School, who performed at the event, which was attended by hundreds of children and their families.

“Rather than give a toy, I felt that this year was a great time to gift the gift of reading, especially since we worked so hard to save our borough’s only bookstore this fall,” said Borough President Diaz.

The choir from the Celia Cruz High School of Music also performed at the event, which also featured an appearance from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

Borough President Diaz Urges Bronx Residents
to Apply to Your Community Board

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is inviting Bronx residents to make a difference in their community by joining their local Community Board. The Office of The Bronx Borough President will be accepting applications for all 12 Community Boards from city residents who reside, work or have professional or other significant interests in The Bronx.

“Participation on local Community Boards can provide Bronx residents with a forum to share their expertise and talents with their local community,” stated Borough President Diaz. “There are great things happening in The Bronx that involve the participation of community boards. It is important that community residents participate in the decisions that are building the ‘New Bronx’ and our community boards are a great place to do so.”

In addition, this year due to a change in state law, the minimum age for those allowed to apply for community board membership has been lowered to 16.

“I know firsthand how important it is to be active in community affairs at a young age, and I believe that the earlier young people become engaged in community affairs and interact with government officials and agencies, they more they will understand government and become active leaders in their communities in the future. It is important to hear the voices of our youth when planning for our neighborhoods.” said Borough President Diaz.

Applications are available at the Borough President’s Community Board office at (718) 590-3914 or at your local community board office. Interested applicants may also get the application on line at http://on.nyc.gov/1ytGUFq.

The deadline for submission of applications for the next round of appointments is February 6, 2015.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The Passing of Madeline Provenzano

“Madeline Provenzano was a good friend, and someone who was passionate about her community. As a City Council Member Madeline helped make the East Bronx a better place, and was a champion for the creation of a new golf course at Ferry Point Park and a fighter for the needs of senior citizens and youth throughout the community. Madeline Provenzano was a strong women, a paragon of public service and a role model for other elected officials, and her spirit and conviction will be sorely missed.

“The thoughts and prayers of the people of The Bronx are with her family in their time of need,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Failure to Indict in the Case of Eric Garner

“I am incredibly saddened and shocked that a grand jury on Staten Island has failed to indict Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.  The system is broken. Officer Pantaleo’s deadly encounter was caught clearly on videotape, and yet Eric Garner and his family will not know the justice of a jury trial. This is a travesty. I hope that a federal investigation will be forthcoming.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Garner family, and I wish them peace in their most difficult hour. This is why we protest: to fight injustice. Whether Amadou Diallo or Eric Bell or now Eric Garner, we protest to stand up against a justice system that so often seems to fail men and women of color. We can no longer allow that to stand.

"With that said, this is not the time for violence. I urge the people of this city to fight their battles through continued protest and activism, and not to meet this outrage with more violence,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Comptroller Stringer and Borough Presidents Diaz, Adams, Brewer, Katz and Oddo Call for Five Borough Broadband Bill of Rights on Public Wi-Fi Agreement

On Wednesday, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. along with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo outlined a Five Borough Broadband Bill of Rights to improve Internet speeds across the City, create stronger oversight and accountability and ensure greater community involvement in the proposal to create a free public WiFi system across New York City. The Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC), on which Comptroller Stringer and the five Borough Presidents sit, will hold a hearing on Monday to discuss the draft franchise agreement for CityBridge LLC to create the “LinkNYC” WiFi system.

“I want to make sure we bridge the digital divide, but we have to make sure we do it in the right way. Access to high-speed Internet cannot be based on the presumed advertising revenue available in any given neighborhood. DoITT must ensure that LinkNYC is implemented in a way that is equitable, sustainable, resilient, and meets the needs of the people of this City regardless of their neighborhood or income level,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The passing of former Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of a man whom I looked up to as a role model and who represented Latinos, Bronxites and all New Yorkers as an exemplary public servant.

“As the first Puerto Rican to be elected as Bronx Borough President, as U.S. Representative and  to be a mayoral candidate in our city, Herman Badillo was one of my inspirations as a young man of Puerto Rican descent who was born and raised in the  Bronx and pursuing a career in politics. He was a true Bronxite and the epitome of a passionate leader who truly cared for his community. Herman Badillo worked assiduously throughout his career to make a difference in the lives of countless individuals across our Borough and City.

“Most importantly, Herman Badillo was both a mentor and a friend to me personally. Herman was always there to listen to questions and offer advice. He was a guiding voice early in my career, and he remained a rock throughout my time in elected office.

“I, along with all 1.4 million residents of The Bronx as well as all the people whom he touched during his long work in public service, offer my thoughts and prayers to Mr. Badillo’s family,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: World AIDS Day

"Today, December 1, we recognize World AIDS Day.  I want to take this opportunity to remind Bronxites, and in fact all New Yorkers, that knowing your status is incredibly important, and is the best way to combat HIV/AIDS.  When you visit your doctor or healthcare provider, take a moment and get tested.  Everyone should take the time to know their status,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz’s office is co-hosting an event for World AIDS Day on Friday, December 12. The flyer for that event can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/1rMHEDZ.

In 2009, Borough President Diaz recorded public service announcements, in both English and Spanish, urging people to know their status and get tested for HIV/AIDS. They can both be watched at http://on.nyc.gov/1rNPqrH.

BP Diaz Issues 'LinkNYC' Wi-Fi Report

In a new report Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is calling on the City to pursue an environmentally-friendly component to the new, free wireless network, LinkNYC, announced by Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) last week.

The new system, which will replace existing public pay telephones with devices to create the world’s fastest municipal Wi-Fi network, should include the installation of solar panels as part of the new installations, said Borough President Diaz.

“DoITT needs to ensure that the implementation of the ‘LinkNYC’ plan is equitable, resilient and meets the needs of the people of this city regardless of their neighborhood or income level. Serious questions have been raised about ‘LinkNYC,’ and DoITT must address those concerns before this contract is approved,” said Borough President Diaz.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has taught us that all major infrastructure investments need to be implemented in a manner that incorporates sustainability and resiliency for major emergencies. 

The design selected has several desirbale feautures.  However, the 24-hour battery back up is insufficient.  After Hurricane Sandy, lower Manhattan was out of power for five days.  “LinkNYC” should be required to implement a design that incorporates solar power and reduces the network’s dependence on ConEdison.

Borough President Diaz’s report outlines various recommendations for the implementation of “LinkNYC,” including the potential inclusion of fire call boxes as part of the system. The report also discusses the various fiscal issues similar networks have faced in other cities, such as Philadelphia, Seattle and Akron. Greater transparency is needed in regards to the projected advertising revenue generated by this new system, in order to ensure greater equity in service delivery.

The report can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/11PZgCl.

Borough President Diaz, AT&T Host Celebration at Yankee Stadium
for Borough President's Cup Little League Players and their Families 

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T, join team members of the Bronx Bombers in a show of borough pride at Borough President Diaz’s annual Borough President’s Cup brunch and award ceremony, held at the Yankee Stadium Hard Rock Café on Sunday, November 23, 2014.

AT&T Presents Little League Teams with Equipment Grants

Bronx, NY- On Sunday, November 23rd, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and AT&T’s New York State President Marissa Shorenstein hosted a celebration for the Little League teams that participated in this year’s Borough President’s Cup. The breakfast celebration took place at the Hard Rock Café at Yankee Stadium and was attended by players, their parents and their coaches.  

During the celebration, each of the Little League teams was recognized for their hard work in school and on the field, and the winner of the championship game and Cup overall, the Bronx Bombers, was congratulated. Shorenstein and Borough President Diaz also presented each team with a gift card to Modell’s Sporting Goods to help the teams pay for equipment for the upcoming Little League season. These equipment grants were sponsored by AT&T.

In order to compete in the Borough President’s Cup, players on each Little League team were required to meet a set of prerequisites unrelated to their performance on the field, including a B-average in school, 90 percent or greater school attendance and a demonstrated commitment to community service.

“This event continues to make me proud every year. We are giving good kids a chance to play baseball at the highest levels while also helping their league’s purchase new equipment, and I am incredibly grateful to Marissa Shorenstein and everyone at AT&T for their continued support of the Borough President’s Cup,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“AT&T is proud to support such an amazing tournament that encourages kids to participate in competitive team-building sports, while also encouraging strong academic performance and a commitment to community service," said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T. “These kids truly demonstrate what it means to be student-athletes, and are testament to what hard work, both on and off the field, can bring. I want to thank Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for holding this great event every year and we look forward supporting it in the years to come.”  

In August, Shorenstein and Borough President Diaz presented the trophy to Bronx Bombers after they won the Borough President’s Cup championship game. The game was held at Yankee Stadium, and family and friends of the teams were able to attend the game free of charge.

Senator Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce Honor First Graduates of
Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivors Program

BRONX, NY – State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr, and Bronx Chamber of Commerce executives celebrated the graduation of the first class of women enrolled in the Bronx H.I.R.E. Domestic Violence Survivors Job Readiness and Internship Program Thursday. The graduation marks the first step in securing domestic violence survivors good jobs that will lead them on a path to financial independence.

“This program is providing a real service for victims of domestic violence, who often need financial and employment assistance as they escape their abusers and pursue an independent life. These graduates have learned invaluable skills and received critical training through the Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivors Program, and I am proud to have partnered with State Senator Jeff Klein and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce on this important initiative,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz, FreshDirect Distribute Thanksgiving Turkeys

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Jason Ackerman, founder and CEO of FreshDirect, teamed up to distribute 500 turkeys for Thanksgiving to residents of the Mitchel Houses in Port Morris on Friday, November 21, 2014.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: President Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

"“I applaud President Obama for taking action to offer assistance to undocumented immigrants, especially in the face of our nation’'s currently dysfunctional immigration policies. While President Obama’'s actions are a considerable step in the right direction, more must be done. Congress must act on legislation for comprehensive immigration reform. As President Obama’s actions today show, we can no longer afford to wait,”" said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Hosted Annual Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his annual Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration at Don Coqui on City Island. Here, Borough President Diaz is pictured with honoree Tonio Burgos, honoree Caridad De La Luz, event emcee and FOX-5 NY meteorologist Audrey Puente and Jimmy Rodriguez, owner of Don Coqui.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem

“I condemn this heartless act of violence in Israel and stand in solidarity with the families of the victims.  To have committed these brutal murders in a house of worship is appalling and I, along with all people of conscience, denounce these horrendous acts.  I send my prayers to the families of the four rabbis killed and will continue to pray for peace in Israel,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Remarks of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at the
New York Hispanic Cosmetology & Beauty Chamber of Commerce’s
4th Annual ‘Business, Cosmetology Licensing & Regulations Symposium’

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at the New York Hispanic Cosmetology & Beauty Chamber of Commerce’s 4th Annual “Business, Cosmetology Licensing & Regulations Symposium” at Lehman College on Tuesday, November 18, 2014. At the event, Borough President Diaz discussed his recently introduced legislation calling for the creation of a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spas, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar businesses throughout the five boroughs.

Good morning.

It’s great to be here, with the leaders of the beauty industry, as you celebrate your accomplishments from the past year and look forward to a successful 2015.

I also want to take a moment to thank my good friend, your president, Charito Cisneros, for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today. For years, Charito and I have partnered on our annual “DiVA Spa” event for domestic violence awareness, and I am always grateful and appreciative of her continued support and friendship.

Read Borough President Diaz's complete remarks.

Testimony of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Before the Empire State Development Corporation
RE: Freshdirect’s Proposed Relocation to The Bronx

Good evening.

I testify today in favor of Freshdirect’s move to The Bronx, and in favor of the subsidy package the State has presented to the company.

What we have in Freshdirect is an opportunity to expand a diverse economy in The Bronx, to create new jobs on an underutilized industrial waterfront, and to develop the blueprint for corporate America to work hand-in-hand with elected officials, community organizations and the people of this borough to make sure those jobs go to Bronx residents.

When Freshdirect’s move to The Bronx was first announced, the company entered into a “memorandum of understanding” with my office and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

Read Borough President Diaz's complete testimony.

BP Diaz, Marty Markowitz promote Bronx restaurants

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz perused the menu at Tin Marin in Riverdale as Marty Markowitz, the former Brooklyn Borough President and current vice president of borough promotion and engagement at NYC & Co., served as guest maître d’ on Friday, November 14, 2014. The event was designed by NYC & Co., the city’s official marketing and tourism agency, to promote dining in the outer boroughs and to bring tourists to The Bronx.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Nomination of Michael Greco to Serve as U.S. Marshal

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Michael Greco, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York. I am proud to have personally advocated for his selection to Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, given that he is both a Bronx native and of Puerto Rican descent, and that his story resonates with me so personally.

“During his considerable career as a New York State Police Officer, Michael Greco has proven himself to be a valuable asset to his department and our state, and a pillar of the community-at-large. Michael Greco has received numerous awards and promotions during his service to the New York State Police, indicating to all that he is a man of great competence and integrity. I am proud that he has been nominated to serve as U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York, and I am grateful to President Obama, Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for supporting such an exemplary candidate for this important position,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

President Obama’s announcement of Michael Greco’s nomination can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1qIWDZw.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Intros 486-A & 487-A

“I am glad that the City Council has passed this package of legislation, and that Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed them into law. These new laws provide our city with a fair, compassionate immigration policy that does not take the most drastic measures to deal with undocumented immigrants in our city. I congratulate Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their advocacy on this issue.

“I am deeply appreciative that our city is leading the way on developing an immigration policy that respects the law and the rights of those individuals and families that are helping our city grow and prosper. This is especially welcome at a time when our federal immigration policy has been so dysfunctional,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Kicks Off
4th Annual 'Savor The Bronx' Restaurant Week

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and a variety of local epicureans sample the flavors of The Bronx Beer Hall as part of the kickoff of the 4th annual “Savor the Bronx” restaurant week. The Bronx Beer Hall, which is located in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, is one of restaurants participating this year. For more information, visit www.savorthebronx.com.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. officially kicked off the 4th Annual “Savor the Bronx” Restaurant Week today at The Bronx Beer Hall in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.

“Savor the Bronx” Restaurant Week, produced by the Bronx Tourism Council and co-hosted by the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC), showcases the borough’s best eateries by offering special values and discounts. 

“We have so many great flavors in our borough, and I hope everyone—visitors and locals alike—will take advantage of this promotion and try something new. Our borough has an amazing food culture, and ‘Savor the Bronx’ is a great way to explore our epicurean delights,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"Savor The Bronx Restaurant Week is our way of featuring some the borough's best eateries. We invite visitors to sample a few and enjoy the diverse flavors we have here,” said Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council. 

This 12-day event, which runs from November 3rd to November 14th, is the perfect opportunity to explore your taste buds and the Bronx.  From Italian cuisine in Little Italy to seafood on City Island, from sushi in Mott Haven to burgers in Kingsbridge and everywhere in between, “Savor the Bronx” offers everyone a chance to enjoy the diverse flavors our borough has to offer. 

During the press conference The Bronx Beer Hall highlighted its new menu while also providing samples from two borough breweries: Gun Hill Brewery’s Void of Light Stout, which recently won a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival; and Jonas Bronck’s Beer Company’s New York Chocolate Egg Cream Stout, which includes the iconic Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup among its ingredients.

In addition, Chef King Phojanakong of Small Axe Peppers was on hand to provide samples of The Bronx Hot Sauce, a new product that is made using peppers grown in community gardens across the borough.

For more information, visit www.savorthebronx.com.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The Passing of Jonathan P. Hicks

“Jonathan Hicks was a good friend, and someone who I knew not only through his work in journalism at The New York Times, the Amsterdam News and BET. Jonathan had a personal impact on me, encouraging me to follow my dreams, stay confident in myself and to aspire for greatness. These words were especially powerful coming from someone who I thought should only care about the powers that be. Instead, in what I later realized was that, in classic Jonathan Hicks fashion, he cared more about inspiring a young father and college student working as a messenger, urging me to stay in school and provide for my family.

“I’ve considered Jonathan a friend and a mentor ever since. Jonathan’s impact on the world, through his writing, inspirational music and mentorship to dozens of young men like myself cannot be adequately measured, and I offer my condolences to his family and friends in their time of loss,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Deputy Borough President Greene Spoke at Event
Honoring Breast Cancer Survivors

On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene spoke at an event honoring breast cancer survivors over the age of 62 at Don Coqui on City Island, sponsored by Wellcare. Pictured with Deputy Borough President Greene are Melissa Fernandez and Joiel Ray Alexander of Wellcare.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Upcoming Forum on the Ebola Virus

“While we are extremely happy today to hear the news that the five-year old boy in Soundview has tested negative for the Ebola virus, we are just as saddened to learn that two young children were bullied in their school over this virus last week, simply because they are of African descent.

“We have seen far too much hysteria surrounding the issue of the Ebola virus. To help combat this, my office, in conjunction with the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, is hosting a town hall forum on the Ebola virus on Wednesday evening. It is taking place at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, from 6-8 p.m.

“Given the levels of sensationalism and misinformation surrounding the issue of the Ebola virus, this is event is a great opportunity for Bronxites to get clear, concise and medically-correct information about the virus directly from the Department of Health and to have their questions answered.

“I hope everyone who can will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the Ebola virus. And I urge all Bronx residents to join me and keep those affected by this terrible virus, both here and abroad, in their thoughts and prayers,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

View the event flyer here: http://bronxboropres.nyc.gov/events/2014-10-29-understanding-ebola.pdf

Barnes & Noble to Remain in Bay Plaza

BP Diaz Brokers Compromise Between Bookseller & Prestige Properties

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. signed up for a savings club membership and purchased several books following Thursday’s announcement that the Barnes & Noble in Co-op City would remain open. The bookseller and its landlord, Prestige Properties, reached a compromise extending the store’s lease for two years following the intervention of Borough President Diaz and his staff.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. today joined representatives of Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties to announce that the bookseller’s location at the Bay Plaza Shopping Center will remain open.

Following the intervention of Borough President Diaz, Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties have agreed to a two-year extension of their current lease, averting the expected closure of the store in January, saving 50 jobs and allowing both companies more time to develop a long-term agreement.

“For several days my staff and I went back and forth with both Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties, and we were able to help these two entities work towards a compromise that keeps this bookstore in The Bronx. I hope that, during this two year extension, both companies are able to reach a long-term agreement that ensures their mutual success in our borough while keeping Bronxites employed. This is a major victory for The Bronx, and I am grateful that both companies have come to an agreement for the betterment of our borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Barnes & Noble is extremely excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Prestige Properties to extend our lease.  We deeply appreciate the help of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in helping to coordinate our discussions with Prestige.  We look forward to continuing to serve the Bronx community,” said David Deason, Vice President, Real Estate, Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

“As a courtesy to the community and upon the request of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., we made every effort to ensure that Barnes & Noble remains at their current location. Keeping Barnes & Noble in our borough is beneficial for all and we are thankful for the Borough President’s assistance in helping make this happen,” said Sam Shalem, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Properties and Development Co., Inc.

Read the complete press release.

The Bronx Hot Sauce has arrived!

GrowNYC and Small Axe Peppers bring NYC’s first community sourced & produced hot sauce to market

GrowNYC and Small Axe Peppers announce the release of a brand new locally sourced and produced hot sauce called The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce. The product was created by acclaimed Chef and CIA graduate King Phojanakong of NYC. The Serrano peppers that make up the sauce are 100% locally sourced from community gardens in The Bronx and R&R Produce Farm in upstate New York, and the fiery condiment is manufactured and packaged by Farm to Table Co-packers in Kingston, NY. The production team was further completed by Robin Puskas as Product Development consultant and John Jaxheimer as Creative Director.

The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce will be available at select Greenmarkets and Youthmarkets starting with the Times Square Pop-up Greenmarket on October 30. In addition, it will be sold online through Good Eggs and at local food retailers throughout the city.

“I’m thrilled to see our developers and community gardens join together on this wonderful venture,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Bronx has an amazing food culture, and ‘The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce’ will only add to the great flavors our borough produces each and every day. GrowNYC and Small Axe Peppers have developed a product that not only tastes great, but also supports our local community gardens. That’s a ‘win-win’ for our borough, and I hope epicureans from all over the region enjoy our borough’s latest food creation.”

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz, Bronx Tourism Council Co-hosted 'Tour de Bronx'

On Sunday, October 27, 2014, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and The Bronx Tourism Council co-hosted the 20th annual “Tour de Bronx,” New York State’s largest cycling event. Over 6,000 riders took part in the event, including Borough President Diaz and his wife, Hilda. Here, Borough President Diaz addresses thousands of cyclists participating in the 40-mile ride in the shadow of The Bronx County Building and Yankee Stadium, prior to the Sunday morning launch.

Watch Borough President Diaz address the crowd at http://youtu.be/HEiPH2WeL-o.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Mayor de Blasio Signs Executive Order to Expand
Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act

“I am thrilled with Mayor de Blasio’s executive order to expand the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act. Today’s announcement is a victory for the hard working people of the Bronx and the City of New York.  The mayor's executive order will benefit thousands of workers, covering employees of commercial tenants in development projects that take in more than $1 million in city subsidies.  

“We first introduced the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act in 2011 to fight for the rights of those underserved and often ignored residents of this City.  The expansion of this bill will ensure that tax payer subsidized developments work for even more New Yorkers and we applaud Mayor de Blasio for it.   

“As I have said in the past, when developers voluntarily use taxpayer subsidies to make their projects work, they must do better by their employees. New York City is open for business, but at a better rate of return for the taxpayer.  The Mayor’s executive order marks another important step forward for economic development policy in our City and will have an incredible impact on the lives of thousands of hardworking residents,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: MTA Vote to Approve Proposed Capital Plan

“The MTA’s inclusion of the East Side Metro-North expansion in its capital plan is another major step forward for our borough, and I am thrilled that the MTA board has voted to support this expansion and send it to the State Legislature for final approval. I like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his strong support of this project, as well as State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein for his tremendous advocacy on this issue. I would also like to thank our two MTA board members from The Bronx—Fernando Ferrer and Charles Moerdler—for their unwavering support of this proposal.

“As we make our final case to the State Legislature to approve the funding for this expansion, Albany will see an entire borough united in support of this revolutionary project. These four new Metro North stations—Co-op City, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park and Hunts Point—will not only be amazing new amenities to the communities they serve, but will help transform the entire region.

“This is my highest priority, and I look forward to discussing this proposal’s merits with my friends in the State Legislature. No project is more important to the future of The Bronx than the East Side Metro-North expansion,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Bronx Unemployment Drops to Single Digits

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. praised the news, announced today by the New York State Department of Labor that the Bronx County unemployment rate has dropped to single digits, down to 9.8 percent.

“When I first became borough president, I made it clear that job creation would be a top priority of my administration. Over the past five years my office, in partnership with the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, city and state officials, our business community, no-profits and everyday Bronxites, we have worked hard to create thousands of new jobs in The Bronx. What we are doing is working,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The borough has had a double-digit unemployment rate since January 2009, when it stood at 10.2 percent, peaking at 13.9 in January 2010. One year ago, in August 2013, the borough’s unemployment rate stood at 12.1 percent.

Since Borough President Diaz took office in 2009, The Bronx has seen $5.768 billion in total development, the creation of more than 13,000 in new units of housing and more than 14,000 new jobs created. Much of this progress is outlined in the office’s annual development report, which can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/1pkMnYS.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Calls for New Letter Grade System
for Salons & Spas

Nail Salons, Spas, Barber Shops and Similar Businesses Would be Covered by New System,
Similar to Current System Covering NYC’s Restaurants

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is introducing legislation in the City Council that would create a new system of letter grades for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spas, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar businesses throughout the five boroughs. The legislation will be introduced at the behest of Borough President Diaz by Council Member Rafael Espinal, chairperson of the City Council’s Consumer Affairs committee.

The new system will be modeled after the current letter grading system used by the Department of Health to monitor restaurants and food service establishments.

“While most salon and spa owners operate clean, reputable establishments, some do not, and they are putting the health and safety of their customers at great risk,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The proposals we put forward today will go a long way towards ensuring that the people of this city have a clean and safe atmosphere to get their hair done, to get a manicure or pedicure, or any of the other practices typically found in spas and beauty establishments.”

In addition to creating a new letter grade and inspection system Borough President Diaz’s proposal also calls for the creation of a “Customer’s Bill of Rights,” which would be hung conspicuously in each establishment.

Read the complete press release.