Thursday, June 30, 2011
Here is an article from Bob Kappstatter of the Daily News about the fallout from the much anticipated report on the Kingsbridge Armory released by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. last week. After blocking an earlier deal to develop the Armory, Diaz appointed a task force 15 months ago to explore alternative uses for the site. However, to many people, the 267 page report was short on substance and any ideas that have a real chance of happening given the massive public dollars that would be needed. Kappstatter references the Daily News editorial about the report that said, "No money. No business. No renovation. No employment. No prospects for anything,". The report calls for a number of possible uses, including a sports arena, film studio, an indoor bike track and a megachurch. Kappstatter also quotes a developer who said, "Even the best of these proposals would violate his own conditions,"..."None of these proposals have wall-to-wall living wage jobs, and the best proposal he's got is 420 jobs, of which 270 are living wage." In a tongue and cheek reference, Kappstatter joked that one way resolve the controversy and save a whole lotta money would be to remove the lighting rods from the roof of the structure and hope for a storm. UPDATE: Here is a letter by Ruben Diaz in today's Daily News responding to his critics on the Armory. In this article he likens the Armory to the High Line in the City -- you be the judge.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Citizens Union released a report today that shows that 1 in 4 legislators were first elected in a special election. That means that they managed to get into office outside of the normal democratic process. The report urges a number of reforms to ensure that whenever there is a vacancy there is a process where the voters get to decide who fills the seat.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
It's finally here -- Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. released his long awaited report on what should fill the vacant Kingsbridge Armory. As Bronx News Network reports this report really does not recommend a specific use. Instead it calls on the EDC to issue another Request for Proposal for the site. Is anyone else confused by this? I think Bronxities were led to believe by the Borough President a year ago that this task force would come up with a better idea for this unique site. Of course all is not lost. As reported in the NY Post, one idea put forth is to have an Atlanta based evangelist turn it into a mega-church and multi-purpose site (whatever that is). The minister, who drives a rolls and flies in a private jet, is appropriately named Creflo Dollar. This was definitely worth the wait! UPDATE: Here is an editoral from the NY Daily News on the report released by the BP entitled "Bronx Borough Pres. Ruben Diaz made a fool of himself claiming he'd find use for Kingsbridge Armory"
Monday, June 20, 2011
Here is a article from the NY Post about the financial disclosures of New York members of Congress. Nita Lowey is the wealthiest with assets ranging from $15 million to $67 million and no liabilities. On the other end of the spectrum is Eliot Engel of the Bronx who reports $50,000 in credit card debt.
Here is an article from New York Magazine about a push by some NY State lawmakers, including Bronx Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, to kill the electoral college. For many people the Bush/Gore fiasco was their first realization of how under the current system more people can vote for one candidate but he or she can still lose because all of a state's electoral votes go to the candidate who wins that state. However under a new proposal, all of a state's electoral votes would go to a candidate who wins the popular vote -- thereby killing the electoral college without having to endure a Constitutional amendment. Thus far, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, have pledged their 77 electoral votes to this new arrangement. New York is now considering doing the same. It has already passed the State Senate and now under a bill sponsored by Bronx Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz it may well pass the Assembly. However it appears that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may not be too keen on it. The articles quotes Dinowitz as saying, "I really have trouble understanding why somebody would object to the first-place finisher actually winning an election," said Dinowitz, sounding sincerely bewildered."
Friday, June 17, 2011
With the debate in Albany in full bloom regarding gay marriage, here is a piece from Michael Daly at the Daily News where he contrasts the position of State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. on the Weiner texting scandal and the battle over gay marriage. Diaz has been the most vocal opponent of the gay marriage bill, but Daly points out that "At the same time, Diaz (D-Bronx) seems to think it's no big deal for a man who is married to a woman also to be a lying perv with any number of other women." As backup, he quotes Diaz as saying, "The Bible teaches us to take care of others and to help others when they are down. ... It is shameful to see how many of Congressman Weiner's supposed friends have abandoned him as the media makes a total mockery of him." Daly follows up with these words, "In Ruben's World, the Good Book commands the faithful to help and take care of a perv but shun gays who seek only to live in a relationship sanctioned by the law as well as by love."