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Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Puerto Rico Economic Crisis

“Puerto Rico’s latest default on its debt today and the moratorium enacted on future payments by Governor Garcia Padilla were dire necessities caused by Congress’s epic failure to adequately address the multitude of issues at hand.

“Congress has failed to provide Puerto Rico access to bankruptcy.  Moreover, the ‘Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability’ Act (PROMESA), advanced by Speaker Paul Ryan, doesn’t do nearly enough to address the long list of legislative reforms needed from Congress to grow the Puerto Rican economy. The bill’s proposed Control Board is woefully problematic. 

“Congress must act in order to resolve this very serious problem as soon as possible.

“While we appreciate the efforts of those advocating to resolve this critical humanitarian and economic crisis, it is abundantly clear that we have to do much more to resolve this catastrophe. It is unconscionable that Congress is dragging their feet in attempting to find a resolution.

“Congress is doing a huge disservice to the citizens of the island procrastinating on this matter.

“Puerto Ricans deserve equitable treatment under the law, just like every other American citizen on the mainland.  Yet, the island of Puerto Rico is being short-changed by their own government.

“Such inaction not only hurts our fellow Americans of Puerto Rico, but also drags down the entire American economy as well. I call again for Congress to allow Puerto Rico to restructure their debt, so that they can start recovering from this economic quagmire impacting the island,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Kicks Off Bronx Week 2016

Bronx Week 2016 honoree Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, the nation’s first and oldest Latino dance organization; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Dave Greco, proprietor of Mike’s Deli in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, make fresh mozzarella together at the kickoff celebration for Bronx Week 2016. For more information about Bronx Week 2016, visit www.ilovethebronx.com. --Photo by Victor Chu. Download the photo at https://flic.kr/p/GE3dDN.

Vincent Pastore, Peter Sohn, Arlene Alda and Eduardo Vilaro
To be Inducted Into Bronx Walk of Fame

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. officially launched Bronx Week 2016, hosting a celebration of the “Best of The Bronx” with over 150 people in attendance at Mike’s Deli in the famous Arthur Avenue Retail Market.

“This is a time when we celebrate everything that is fantastic about The Bronx. From new developments to the diversity in our borough and from delicious restaurants to great drinks, there is so much happening and so much to do,” said Borough President Diaz. “We kicked things off yesterday acknowledging the “Best of The Bronx”, this week and next we are holding 10 days’ worth of amazing and fun events for the whole family throughout the borough, all culminating with the Walk of Fame inductions and parade.”

A full calendar of events is available at www.ilovethebronx.com.

“Bronx Week is one of my favorite times of the year, because the entire borough celebrates together as it showcases the best of the borough,” said Bronx Tourism Council Executive Director Olga Luz Tirado. “We invite visitors to join in the fun!”

“Bronx Week is a time to celebrate our businesses, big and small, that provide much needed jobs to our community as well as a time to honor veterans, seniors, youth, volunteers and our hometown greats.  This year we have even more to celebrate as more than 100,000 jobs were created in our borough,” said Marlene Cintron, President of The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

This year’s 2016 Bronx Walk of Fame inductees includes: actor Vincent Pastore, best known for his role in HBO’s hit series The Sopranos; award-winning animator and director of Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” Peter Sohn; award-winning photographer and author, Arlene Alda, and Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, the nation’s first and oldest Latino dance organization.

Bronx Week 2016 is made possible thanks to the support of the Montefiore Medical Center, the principal sponsors of this year’s events.

"We feel privileged to continue to be the principal supporter of Bronx Week,” said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., President and CEO of Montefiore Health System. “This is a time where we can celebrate the collaborative efforts of Bronx providers, elected officials and community based organizations who work together with the single goal of creating a healthier community. In the past year, we have seen improvements such as the reduction in sexually-transmitted infections and teen pregnancy rates. We are also sparking demand for and have increased access to healthier foods, as well as partnered together to create more park space and safer walkways to help Bronx residents live richer, fuller lives. We look forward to building on this legacy of collaboration and continuing to improve the health and wellness of our borough.”

Participants in the press conference included Mike’s Deli, The Bronx Beer Hall, UpTown Roasters, Lloyd’s Carrot Cake, The Bronx Brewery, Delicioso Coco Helado and The Bronx Hot Sauce.

Other Bronx Week 2016 sponsors include: Care Connect, United HealthCare, Healthfirst, BlueCross BlueShield, conEdison, Lehman College, Bronx Community College, Hostos Community College, Goya Foods, Cablevision, CenterLight Healthcare, WellCare Health Plans, Affinity Health Plan, Lincoln Hospital, MetroPlus Health Plan,WellCare Health Plan, News 12, Domino’s, Bronxnet, Coco Delicioso Helado, Bronx Design Group, AposTherapy, Bliss Specialty Pharmacy, Cary Leeds Tennis & Learning Center, Sussman Sales, Citadel Rehabilitation & Nursing Center at Kingsbridge, Jewish Home LifeCare, Millennium Medical Staffing, AMP Radio, Telemundo 47, New York State of Health and Xtreme Care.

Following Pressure, Amazon Expands Same-Day Delivery to The Bronx

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz are praising an announcement by online retailer Amazon that it would expand same-day delivery service to The Bronx. The announcement comes following criticism from both officials regarding the borough’s previous exclusion from these services.

Last week, it was revealed that Amazon was providing same-day delivery services to nearly the entirety of New York City except for The Bronx. Following the news, Borough President Diaz issued a letter to Amazon Founder & CEO demanding an end to his borough’s exclusion from these services. In a separate letter, Assembly Member Dinowitz urged New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate Amazon’s inequitable business practices.

In letters to both elected officials issued late Friday, Amazon stated that they would reverse this practice of excluding The Bronx, adding that the company was “actively working to enable service to the Bronx in the coming weeks.”

"The over 1.4 million residents of The Bronx deserve the same level of service and amenities as their neighbors. Amazon's reversal of their previous policy, which excluded my borough from the same-day delivery services offered to the rest of the city, is a welcome one. I appreciate that Amazon heard our concerns and have made this change, and will provide The Bronx with service equity in the coming weeks. I will continue to hold businesses and entities of all kinds accountable when they slight my constituents," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“I am very grateful that Amazon has listened to our concerns regarding the exclusion of The Bronx from their Prime same-day delivery service," said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz. "I am pleased they will be working to expand access to their services to a borough that has seen one of the fastest economic expansions in several decades – The Bronx. Providing equal services to all New Yorkers, including the 1.4 million Bronxites and countless of businesses that call our borough home is not just good for The Bronx, but Amazon as well. Moreover, I am hopeful that this decision means Amazon will take a second look at the several other cities with excluded neighborhoods.”

Amazon’s letter to the elected officials can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/1WAptO2.

Mayor De Blasio, Borough President Diaz, HPD Commissioner Been and HDC President Rodney Announce Development Team That Will Build 241 New Affordable Apartments in a High-Efficiency “Passive House” Design in the Mott Haven Neighborhood Of The Bronx

425 Grand Concourse development, location of former P.S. 31 School building, to be 100% affordable, use 70% less energy than conventional buildings, and serve hundreds of low- and moderate-income households

Adjacent to Hostos Community College, the development includes plans to re-open Garrison Playground; create variety of commercial and non-profit spaces, including a supermaket and a school

Renderings Courtesy of the Development Team/Dattner Architects

MOTT HAVEN (BRONX), N.Y. – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been, and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Gary Rodney today announced the selection of a development team for the former site of P.S. 31, at 425 Grand Concourse, in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. A joint venture between Trinity Financial and MBD Community Housing Corporation (MBD), the development team was selected through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process to build a 100% affordable building. The team’s high-quality, mixed-use and mixed-income development plan includes the creation of 241 units of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income families. The curving 24-story tower with sweeping views will be the largest residential Passive House built in New York City to date, and consume 30% of the energy a conventional housing project typically consumes. The three-story base will house a charter school, medical facility, and cultural and community spaces, including a social services facility.

“As a proud graduate of P.S. 31, I was sorry to see my beloved school building fall into such disrepair, and even sorrier to see it demolished. However, HPD and HDC recognized the need for new life and new development at this historic site, and have moved to bring welcome new affordable housing units, commercial activity and a reinvigorated Garrison Playground to the Lower Concourse neighborhood. I’m especially gratified that the City has chosen ‘Passive House’ construction, bringing a level of environmentally-friendly development to our borough that has not been seen here before. This project will be a great fit for the neighborhood and the borough as a whole, and I thank Mayor de Blasio, HPD Commissioner Been and HDC President Rodney for their efforts on this development. I look forward to working with both agencies on the continued redevelopment of this location,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz & Assembly Member Crespo
Host ‘Day of Solidarity’ for Ecuador Earthquake Victims

On Monday, April 25, 2016, in the wake of the powerful earthquake that recently devastated Ecuador, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., New York State Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, elected officials from across the city and members of the Ecuadorian community hosted a “Day of Solidarity” press conference to highlight ways to provide aid to Ecuador.

Members of the Ecuadorian community will join BP Diaz & AM Crespo to help guide concerned constituents who want to help the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in Ecuador

In the wake of the powerful earthquake that recently devastated Ecuador, and the death toll rising to about 600 victims; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; New York State Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, New York City Council Member Rafael Salamanca and members of the Ecuadorian community hosted a “Day of Solidarity” press conference and rally to highlight ways the community can help provide aid to Ecuador.

Bronx Borough President Diaz Jr. was also joined by US Congressman Jose E. Serrano; City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson; State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.; Assemblyman Michael R. Benedetto; Assemblyman Jose Rivera; Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj; Assemblyman Victor Pichardo; Assemblyman Francisco Moya; Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer; District Leader Yudelka Tapia; District Leader Cynthia Cox; and District Leader Israel Martinez.

The earthquake that shook Ecuador, the worst in nearly seven decades, with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, left more than 600 dead, injured 12,492 people, left 130 still remain missing and 25,000 people without shelter, according to the Ecuador’s Risk Management Office.

Ecuador has deployed 10,000 soldiers and 4,600 police officers to the affected areas, with hundreds of rescuers from eight countries having traveled to help with relief efforts. Troops have set up mobile hospitals and temporary shelters but more is needed to help the country rebound from the natural disaster.

The Ecuadoran consulate, which has been directing relief efforts in New York City, and has made a lists of things that are much needed, such as canned foods, baby food, diapers, water, sports drinks like Powerade or Gatorade, large tents, folding beds, batteries, LED lights, flashlights, sleeping bags (sleeping bag), as well as first aid material such as over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and ibuprofen (please no liquid medications), Band-Aids, and gauzes.

“This powerful earthquake has destroyed many lives, and we must all come together to help those who need most in these most dire of circumstances,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Ecuadorians are the fourth largest Hispanic group in this city, and many members of this community make their residence in The Bronx. We must come together to help our brothers and sisters in their greatest time of need.”

Read the complete press release.

From Pale Ales to Puerto Rican Moonshine,
The Bronx Trolley Offers Tours and Tastings
at Borough's Finest Craft Beverage Producers

Participants get their Savor The Bronx Passports stamped for
additional promotions from the borough’s bar/restaurants

As more craft beverage producers and bar/restaurants make The Bronx their home, The Bronx Tourism Council, in association with Taste NY, an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries, has launched the Savor The Bronx Breweries & Distilleries Trolley Tour.

While riding the famous Bronx Trolley, a historian will talk about the history of brewing in the borough, which dates back to the late 19th century and ended during the Prohibition Era.

The trolley visits Gun Hill Brewery, established in 2014 and produces a variety of beers for all palates ranging from their light seasonable ales to their pitch black stout. Then onto Chelsea Craft Brewing Company, which relocated from downtown Manhattan this year. The company brews over 20 ales annually and their signature Checker Cab Blonde Ale is brewed in the style of a German Kolsch beer. The third, and last, brewery the trolley visits is the Bronx Brewery founded in 2011 and offers a uniquely diverse range of beers that explore the limits of what a pale ale can be.

Tirado Distillery is the veteran of the bunch. They opened their doors in 2010 and was the first artisanal spirits producer in the borough since the 1920s prohibition. Their desert whisky is infused with apricot and still-filtered twice for smoothness. The fifth and last tour/tasting is at Port Morris Distillery, who’s Añejo Pitorro (or Puerto Rican moonshine) has a smoky taste while their Coquito Pitorro is sweetened with coconut and cinnamon and is perfect straight or mixed.
Tour participants will also receive a Savor The Bronx Passport to be stamped by the places they visit. The fully-stamped passport can be taken to any of the aforementioned breweries and distilleries, as well as any of the following restaurants that serve craft beverages, where the passport holder will receive their first pint free: Blackstone Bar and Grill in Riverdale; Bronx Ale House in Kingsbridge; Bronx Beer Hall on Arthur Avenue; and Bronx Draft House near Yankee Stadium. The Breweries and Distilleries Passport Promotion is open to anyone who chooses to visit the Breweries and Distilleries on their own as well and can be acquired at any of the craft beverage producers.

“This is the perfect tour for folks who are both history buffs and craft beverage aficionados”, says Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council.

“The Bronx is quickly becoming known across the world for its top notch breweries and distilleries. If you’re interested in the art of craft beverages, and would like a closer look at the ongoing revitalization of our borough, this tour is a tremendous opportunity. I look forward to greeting visitors from all over the region as they take part in the Savor The Bronx Breweries & Distilleries Trolley Tour,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The tour costs $50 per person, lasts five hours, and includes a passport and light snacks at one of the breweries. The trolley leaves from 851 Grand Concourse (between east 161st Street and 158th) at 11am. No one under 21 years of age is allowed on the trolley for this tour. For a full schedule and to purchase tickets visit www.ilovethebronx.com or call 718.590.3518.

Read the complete press release.

BP Diaz & The Bronx Tourism Council Announce
2016 Bronx Walk of Fame Inductees

Vincent Pastore, Peter Sohn, Arlene Alda & Eduardo Vilaro make up this year’s class

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and The Bronx Tourism Council announced that actor Vincent Pastore, animator & director Peter Sohn, author Arlene Alda and dance pioneer Eduardo Vilaro are the 2016 class of honorees for the Bronx Walk of Fame.

“Once again, we have put together a tremendous class of individuals that represent the best of our borough for induction into the Bronx Walk of Fame,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “These four individuals have seen considerable success in their chosen fields, and throughout it all they have highlighted their strong roots in The Bronx. I congratulate Vincent Pastore, Peter Sohn, Arlene Alda and Eduardo Vilaro on their induction to the Bronx Walk of Fame, and I look forward to celebrating their accomplishments during Bronx Week 2016.”

Vincent Pastore has been a star of screen and stage for decades, and is best known for his role in HBO’s hit series The Sopranos, for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in 2001. A City Island resident, Mr. Pastore has appeared in films including Goodfellas, Carlito’s Way, Awakenings, State of Grace, The Godfather Part III and many more.

The first Asian-American to ever be inducted to the Bronx Walk of Fame, Peter Sohn is an award-winning animator and director with Pixar Studios, having worked on numerous hit films including Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Up. Most recently, Mr. Sohn directed Pixar’s 2015 feature hit The Good Dinosaur.

Arlene Alda, who grew up in Williamsbridge and graduated from Evander Childs High School, is an award-winning photographer and author whose work has appeared in numerous books, newspapers, magazines and galleries. Mrs. Alda is the author of 19 books, most of them children’s books featuring her words and illustrations. Her latest book, Just Kids from The Bronx: Telling it the Way it Was, An Oral History, consists of stories about growing up in The Bronx based on interviews with over 60 accomplished and proud Bronxites.

First generation Cuban-American Eduardo Vilaro became artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, the nation’s first and oldest Latino dance organization, in 2009. He is only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. In 2015, Mr. Vilaro took on the additional role of Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Hispanico. Mr. Vilaro has been part of the Ballet Hispanico family since 1985. As a dancer with the Ballet Hispanico company, he performed throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe for an audience of nearly 3 million while assisting founder Tina Ramirez with the development of dance education residencies.

“I love living in The Bronx,” said Vincent Pastore. “This borough is a great mixture of cultures and ethnic groups—a true cross section of today’s America. And my home, City Island, is growing each year. It’s New York City's very own Martha’s Vineyard.”

“I am so proud to be honored in this way.  The Bronx is a part of me in so many ways, in how I was formed and how my family was formed,” said Peter Sohn. “My father came to the United States from Korea with nothing and he started our family in The Bronx.  And just like all those other families that would come to my dad’s vegetable store it became a community of immigrant families that were all just beginning and helping each other out. My career as an artist in film started here as well.  There were several years of study and drawing at the Bronx Zoo that helped me fill up my portfolio to get a job in animation.  And the stories and memories of my youth here have fueled so much of the work I do at Pixar today.  So thanks Bronx.  Thanks for taking care of me and my family.” 

“I am a first-generation American, and so to be inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame is especially meaningful to me. I feel the special connection to the current generation of first generation immigrants in The Bronx, now. It is a deep honor I do not take for granted,” said Arlene Alda.

“I have been blessed with a special life. I create art and impact young people with the arts education and my culture. When I look back and think of what in my DNA made me strong enough to contend with the challenges I had to face, I know it is because I grew up in the Bronx,” said Eduardo Vilaro. “The Bronx gave me the strength and determination to excel and succeed. Growing up in a tough neighborhood wasn't just about learning to stand up for yourself. It was about community and the neighbors who watched out for you—the helping hand when one of your own was in trouble. We learned the respect and dignity of hard working adults. Behind the often described gritty face The Bronx, there is a community that is full of pride and a beautiful soul that welcomes everyone.”

“Witnessing our hometown heroes take their rightful place on The Bronx Walk of Fame is one of my favorite events for Bronx Week. It fills me with pride to honor these sons and daughters of The Bronx!” said Olga Luz Tirado, Executive Director of The Bronx Tourism Council.

Mr. Pastore, Mr. Sohn, Mrs. Alda and Mr. Vilaro will be officially inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame as part of the 45th annual Bronx Week, a program of The Bronx Tourism Council.

Bronx Week 2016 is a highly-anticipated 11-day event where the entire borough, including government, business, and the community-at-large, come together to celebrate “The Best of The Bronx” through festivals, concerts, health fairs, parades, performances and a host of other activities. It will take place from May 5th – May 15th.

At the end of the 11-day celebration, these four hometown heroes will be honored with induction into the Bronx Walk of Fame, where their names are emblazoned on a street sign to reside on the historic Grand Concourse forever.

For more information about Bronx Week 2016, visit www.ilovethebronx.com.

Update on the Zika virus

For more information on the Zika virus, click here. Fight Back NYC!

Para obtener más información sobre el virus Zika: http://www.nyc.gov/health/zika | ¡Protégete, NYC!

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: 2016 Gifted & Talented Testing Results

“The newly released results of this year’s testing for Department of Education gifted and talented programs shows how much more work we need to do to make these programs accessible to all students, especially minority students. Far too few children in The Bronx are testing for these programs, and therefore many students are deprived of this option. Requiring all students in public universal pre-K programs to be tested for gifted and talented classes in the best way to ensure that more students have access to highest level of classwork, placing them on the path to specialized high school admissions and success in higher education.

“Today’s announcement that the Department of Education will open gifted and talented classes in the third grade in four districts that do not currently have such programs—including two in The Bronx—is a welcome one. The children of these districts deserve the same access as their counterparts in other communities, and I encourage parents in those school districts to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Parents in Bronx School Districts #7 and #12 can learn more about the new third grade programs by visiting:  http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/GiftedandTalented/default.htm.

BP Diaz Receives Masonic Award

Pedro Maldonado, Worshipful Master of Uhland Lodge #735, presents Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. with the DeWitt Clinton Award for Community Service on Monday, April 11, 2016, at the  City Island Masonic Hall. The award is given to Non-Masons or Non-Masonic organizations that have demonstrated exceptional service to their community.

New York State Budget Includes Funding for
Conversion of South Bronx Sheridan Expressway into Boulevard

Statement from Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance on the inclusion of $97 million in the NYS budget to convert a portion of the Sheridan Expressway into a boulevard:

“After advocacy led by the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance (SBRWA), the final 2016-2017 New York State Budget includes $97 million to convert the at-grade portion of the 1.5 mile Sheridan Expressway into a boulevard. The funding is a huge victory in a 17-year community-led campaign to transform the arterial eyesore into an asset.

The SBRWA has worked closely with elected officials to transform the Sheridan and especially thanks Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senator Jeffrey Klein, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo for championing the project and calling for funding in the state budget.

In 2013, New York City completed a comprehensive study made possible by federal funding championed by Congressman Jose Serrano by releasing a series of recommendations heavily influenced by years of community advocacy and visioning showing how converting this badly-designed highway as a neighborhood-friendly boulevard could transform the South Bronx communities around it. Following the city’s endorsement of the conversion, the New York City Council passed a resolution in support of the conversion in 2014. Then in 2015, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. in his State of the Borough and Mayor de Blasio in OneNYC both called for converting the Sheridan into a boulevard.

Read the complete press release.

BP Diaz Tours Orchard Beach

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Bronx Parks Commissioner, and John Krawchuk, Director of Historic Preservation for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, on a tour of the historic Orchard Beach promenade on April 8, 2016. In his recent “State of the Borough” address Borough President Diaz committed $10 million in capital funding towards the building’s renovation.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: #FightFor15 Minimum Wage Victory

“I congratulate my colleagues in Albany on their victory for greater economic equality in New York. The Bronx was the birthplace of the ‘living wage’ movement, so we know just how important the push to raise the minimum wage was. The #FightFor15 has achieved a major, game-changing victory in New York State, thanks to the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his partners in the New York State Legislature.

“I congratulate Governor Cuomo, my good friend Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the members of the State Legislature who fought so hard to raise the minimum wage and do right by the workers of this City and State,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

With New York Voter Participation at All-Time Lows,
New #PromoteTheVote Campaign Aims to Increase
Turnout for State's Presidential Primary

Nonpartisan Initiative Enlists Employers to Encourage Employees to
Vote Employers Can Sign Up at PromoteTheVote.nyc

New York, NY – The Association for a Better New York (ABNY) and the Partnership for New York City, along with elected officials, civic, business and labor groups and non-for-profit organizations, today launched the #PromoteTheVote campaign, a first-of-its-kind effort to increase voter turnout in New York. With state voter participation among the lowest in the nation, this new nonpartisan initiative will enlist employers in a push to encourage employees to get to the polls for New York’s April 19 presidential primary.

Today’s announcement also featured the launch of a new website, PromoteTheVote.nyc, where employers can sign up and join the effort. The website includes informational material that can be posted publicly in workplaces to inform employees of state laws that support voting rights.

“Voter participation is critical to the civic health and well-being of our city, our state and our nation,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “With a hotly-contested presidential primary just days away it is incumbent on all New Yorkers to ensure that their voices are heard by participating in the electoral process. I encourage all New Yorkers—Democrats and Republicans alike—to participate in the upcoming primaries, and I am proud to join ABNY in their campaign to #PromoteTheVote.”

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz to Host
Affordable Housing Information Session

HUD Regional Administrator Holly Leicht to Moderate Panel of City Officials,
Housing Developers, and Community Organizations

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr invites the public to an upcoming workshop designed to help Bronx residents successfully apply for affordable housing. The event will feature a panel discussion moderated by HUD Regional Administrator Holly Leicht, who oversees federal housing programs throughout New York and New Jersey.

Titled “Successfully Applying for Affordable Housing,” the event will take place on Wednesday April 13, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx NY.

“Affordable housing and its role in the future of our borough and our city has been the topic of discussion across the city for years. We have seen considerable new development in our borough, and my office is working to make sure that this new development works for everyone. I invite all Bronxites interested in applying for a new apartment to come to this workshop, hear from our speakers and learn more about this process,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Finding affordable housing in New York City is a challenge under any circumstances, but it’s incumbent upon government at all levels to ensure that those most in need are aware of the resources that are available and understand how they can access those resources,” said Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “HUD welcomes this opportunity to join Borough President Diaz, Jr. and many housing organizations to get the word out about how to navigate the process of identifying and applying for subsidized housing.”

In addition to remarks from Borough President Diaz and Regional Director Leicht, attendees will hear from speakers representing New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Housing Development Corporation, Phipps Houses, Bronx Pro Real Estate Management and the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation. The event will also feature resource tables with one-on-one attention and materials related to housing matters and other services. Light refreshments will also be provided.

Download a flyer for the event.

BP Diaz Releases Bronx Veterans' Resource Guide

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Veteran Advisory Council hosted a special meeting to educate & update community boards and elected officials on veterans’ resources in The Bronx and across the city.

In addition, Borough President Diaz released the “Bronx Veteran & Military Resource Guide,” the first of its kind, published by his office.

“Our veterans have given so much for the safety and security of this nation, and my office is proud to support them,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “It is my hope that this guide will serve as a key resource for both veterans and service providers across the borough, and I encourage our servicemen and servicewomen to take advantage of the ‘Bronx Veteran & Military Resource Guide.’”

The complete guide can be viewed at http://on.nyc.gov/1XY8nIr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: City Council Vote on MIH/ZQA

“As our city continues to grapple with the mayor's rezoning proposals—Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability—I am pleased to see progress has been made at the lower end of the affordability spectrum. While the housing deal does not go as far to assist the low income community as many of us had hoped, it is an encouraging step in the right direction. I commend the City Council for their diligence and commitment on this issue and for listening to the concerns myself, my colleagues, our community boards and the people of this city on other issues, including parking and the need for greater affordability.

“However, I remain concerned that the minor change at the upper end of the affordability spectrum does nothing to encourage developers to create units that would maintain our professionals and foster socio-economic diversity. Preventing developers from using already existing subsidies hinders the opportunity for truly mixed-income development in the borough.

“As I have previously stated, the process that has led us to this point has been flawed. These changes are substantial, and the people of this city—who have been incredibly critical, if not outright hostile to MIH and ZQA to this point—should have been given another chance to voice their opinions prior to any vote. I am hopeful that the City Council will make every effort to explain these changes to community boards and other concerned parties, to ensure both a productive dialogue and appropriate community engagement moving forward,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.