Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The New York Times reports that Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook's former mistress testified at his corruption trial that in some instances when he got her a consulting job she gave him part of salary. Seabrook is on trial for stealing public money using various schemes.
A piece by Greg David in Crain's New York says that the living wage bill introduced by Councilman Oliver Koppell is so diluted that it's "absurdly weak" because it would only affect about 4 to 5 projects a year. The article states that after "facing intense opposition and testimony from businesses, which showed how so many small firms could be considered as having received a city subsidy, the proponents have scaled back the bill so it applies to companies with at least $5 million in annual revenue and that received at least $1 million in subsidy." Mr. David goes on to say, "yet bill sponsor Oliver Koppell says he is willing to make even more changes to accommodate the complaints of opponents. Really? What would be left? The key is that Mr. Koppell and his allies aren’t sincere. They want to pass a living-wage law, any living-wage law, and then expand it year by year as broadly as they can."
Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. made headlines recently by saying that its a shame that low-income New Yorkers can't take advantage of those low prices at Walmart. He is quoted as saying "Although I deplore the violent incidents at some at some Walmart stores, I congratulate Walmart and Sam’s Clubs for their astronomical sales. However, I feel much more sympathy for the City’s poor who failed to benefit from Walmart’s bargains. " This is certainly a rare statement from city elected officials.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News reports on a rally held for the living wage bill in the City Council, where Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. spoke forcefully in favor of the bill. Mr. Gonzalez reported that the BP was sticking up for the "other New York" and connected the bill to the Occupy Wall Street protests. The bill would require "any company seeking more than $1 million in tax exemptions or other forms of public assistance for a development project must agree to pay workers on that project at least $10 an hour. That's $2.75 more than the state's $7.25 minimum wage. " It has been opposed by Mayor Bloomberg, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has not supported it in the past but said she was mulling it.
As the trial of Councilman Larry Seabrook takes it twists and turns, the New York Post reports that prosecutors say his mistress “is prepared to testify that she paid Seabrook cash kickbacks” that he “demanded” for getting her consulting jobs between 2002 and 2004." She will testify that she "gave him “thousands of dollars” in cash from the $9,600 a shady Bronx pharmacy paid her after Seabrook arranged for her to do “lobbying or consulting work” in early 2003."
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
This story from the New York Times provides an update on the latest news from the trial of Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook. Yesterday the trial's guest witness was Bronx County's most politically connected lawyer Stanely Schlein. Schlein is a consultant for the Yankees and was called to testify about Seabrook's lobbying efforts on behalf of a Bronx boiler company looking to do business with the Yankees. All interesting inside baseball for you political junkies.
Monday, November 14, 2011
A recent article from On Top Magazine quotes State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. as saying that NY Post reporter Candice Giove "disregarded" what he said about a gay rights group moving into a building named after him. Giove, who formerly was a mud-slinger for the Riverdale Review, quoted an "unnamed" source as saying that Diaz was furious that Bronx Pride was moving into Rev. Ruben Diaz Gardens. In a statement released on Monday, Diaz said Bronx Pride's move honored his work. “I was surprised to read today's New York Post's sensational story by Candice Giove because she completely disregarded what I specifically said to her about Bronx Pride moving in to the Rev. Ruben Diaz Gardens building.” Good to see that Giove is using all the tricks of the trade she learned from Andy Wolf at the Riverdale Review.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Kenneth Lovett of the NY Daily News reports that State Senator Jeff Klein and his three other Democrats who formed an independent caucus have been rewarded with coveted chairmanship positions and would not get strong Republican challenges. Klein and the three other Democrats -- Diane Savino of Staten Island, freshman David Carlucci of Rockland County and David Valesky of Syracuse — have worked closely with the Senate GOP over the past year. This group has a lot of influence in the Senate because the Republicans hold a slim 2 seat majority. They have said they will not support Democratic Leader John Sampson if the Dems win back the Senate.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Roberto Perez, over at the Perez Notes, looks at the possibilty that the current and former Bronx Borough President's could both be running for citywide office. He reports that former BP Adolfo Carrion Jr., is a possible Mayoral candidate, while current BP Ruben Diaz, Jr. could also be eyeing a citywide office but has not made any final decision. A run by either or both could lead to some very interesting dynamics in 2013.
He may still be in office, but the seat held by indicted Councilman Larry Seabrook is already drawing a crowd. As reported in this story by Chris Bragg at City Hall News, at least five people are eyeing the seat. Bragg reports that "community activist and union organizer Jerome Rice, has led rallies calling for Seabrook to resign. Others who have created committees include civil rights activist Andy King – who along with Rice ran unsuccessfully in 2009 against Seabrook and would have pre-existing name recognition – Cheryl Simmons-Oliver, Michael Welch and Pamela Johnson. (Only King and Simmons-Oliver both had raised any money for a run as of the July filings). " Seabrook's trial is just getting under way almost two years since he was indicted on federal charges for allegedly bilking taxpayer-funded nonprofits – and forging a receipt for a $177 bagel and soda.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Here is a piece in the NY Post by Nicole Gelinas about Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.'s proposal to bailout the company that operates the parking garage at Yankee Stadium. The company, the Bronx Parking Development Co, borrowed $230 million to build the lot through the issuance of bonds. Now that the company is close to defaulting on those bonds, Diaz is pushing to build a hotel on the site. His proposal would call for the hotel bailing out the parking lot company, and that hotel company getting multi-million dollar subsidies. Gelinas says of the proposal, "Diaz’s proposal relies on fear of a bond-market panic, which would force another 2008-style bailout of sophisticated investors. Apparently, such bailouts are OK as long as they come in the form of useful goodies, like the promise of taxpayer-subsidized construction jobs for Bronx voters."