1932 Arthur Avenue, Room 709
Bronx, NY 10457
TEL: (718) 579-6990
FAX: (718) 579-6875
Meeting minutes of
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Jannie Armstrong, Claudette Coles, Annette de Jesus, Dior Doward,
Margarita Espinosa, Frank Franz, Maria Garcia, Roger Gomez, Robert
Holliday, Marie Howse, Cindy Ibarra, Sara Logan, Magdamari Marcano,
Thomas Murray, Floretta O’Brien, Rosa Peraza, Rev. Hiram Ratliff, Wendy
Rodriguez, Lissette Torres, and Perquida Williams.
Virginia Bird, Lorraine Brown, Diana Diaz, Yesenia Graciani, Yvonne
Murphy, and Dolores Steele.
Elected officials present:
Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda
Elected officials’ representatives present:
Aurea Mangual, representing Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Katrina Asante, representing State Senator Gustavo Rivera
Helen Reyes Jacome, representing State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr.
Luisa Benedetto, representing City Council Member-elect Ritchie Torres
I. CALL TO ORDER
The December 11, 2013 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was held in
the Murphy Houses’ Community Center, which is located at 601 Crotona
Park North, Bronx, New York, and was called to order at approximately
6:45 p.m. by board chairperson Wendy Rodriguez.
Honorable Ritchie Torres, Honorable Maria del Carmen Arroyo,
City Council Member, 15th Council District City Council Member, 17th
The meeting’s invocation was delivered by community board member Rev.
III. COMMUNITY PERIOD
The following individuals requested to speak during the meeting’s
Ms. Marie Deno, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore
Ms. Deno informed us that the Albert Einstein College of Medicine is
currently recruiting volunteers to participate in a study on health
care. She stated that the goal of the study is to make health care
“fairer for everyone.” In order to participate a volunteer must be
between 18 and 90 years of age, and must have visited a doctor at least
once during the past year. All volunteers will receive a $25 gift card.
Additional information about the health care study may be obtained by
telephoning (718) 904-2400.
Ms. Amanda Marera, Phipps’ Turning Point Center
Ms. Marera informed us about the Turning Point Center’s electrical and
plumbing training programs for youths between the ages of 16 to 21, and
its internship program for youths between the ages of 18 to 24 who have
had contact with the criminal justice system. Additional information
about these programs and their respective eligibility requirements may
be obtained by telephoning the center at (347) 329-4004 extension 5051.
Ms. Sandra Pugh, New York Public Library, Tremont Branch
Ms. Pugh, speaking on behalf of our district’s three branch libraries,
(Tremont, West Farms and Belmont) thanked the community board for
supporting the New York Public Library in the city’s recent round of
budget negotiations. She stated that all of funds that were initially
slated to be cut from the libraries’ budgets have been restored. Ms.
Pugh also informed us that the Tremont branch library has a new,
state-of-the-art computer lab that offers classes in word processing and
other computer programs.
Mr. Saleen Shah, Citizen Committee for New York City
Mr. Shah informed us that the Citizens Committee for New York City is
currently accepting grant applications from volunteer organizations that
are seeking funds to conduct neighborhood improvement projects.
Qualifying organizations include tenants groups, gardening associations,
youth programs, etc., providing that they are led by volunteers and have
no paid staff. The grant applications may be obtained online at
www.citizensnyc.org/grants . The submission deadline is January 27,
Ms. Gail Nathan and Mr. Michael Wheeler, Bronx River Art Center
Ms. Nathan announced the Bronx River Art Center’s winter schedule of
fine arts and media classes. Together with Mr. Wheeler, she also
informed us about the center’s new Teen Project Studio (TPS). Additional
information about the center’s classes and art exhibits may be obtained
by telephoning (718) 589-5819.
IV. BRONX BOROUGH PRESIDENT’S REPORT
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz’s report was presented by his
community liaison, Ms. Aurea Mangual, and included the following
• Applications for membership on the Bronx’s twelve community boards are
now available. They may be obtained either online at the borough
president’s website or by telephoning his community board unit at (718)
590-3914. Current community board members whose terms of membership
expire at the end of March 2014 will receive their reappointment
application through the mail.
• Borough President Diaz has issued public statements mourning the
passing of South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela;
commending Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio on his selection of Bill Bratton
as the city’s new Police Commissioner; and expressing condolences on
behalf of the Bronx’s 1.4 million residents to the families and friends
of the victims of the recent Metro-North train derailment.
• The online grocer, FreshDirect, has donated 2,000 Thanksgiving turkeys
to local schools and charitable organizations.
• The New York City Council has approved plans to convert the
Kingsbridge Armory into the nation’s largest ice sports center.
• The borough president is a co-sponsor of C-Ball, a Bronx-wide
basketball competition that includes the borough’s twelve community
boards, many of the borough’s elected officials, and numerous city
agencies and community-based organizations.
• Borough President Diaz wishes the community board’s members and staff
a joyous holiday season.
V. ELECTED OFFICIALS’ REPORTS
Honorable Luis Sepulveda, New York State Assemblyman
Assemblyman Sepulveda informed us about several activities that he has
undertaken in recent weeks; including, a clothing and Thanksgivings
turkey drive, a town hall meeting in West Farms, and a meeting with the
commanding officer of the 48th police precinct in order to discuss local
crime issues that are impacting our community. The assemblyman then
introduced us to Mr. William Rivera, the new district leader for the
87th Assembly District, and invited us to attend a Christmas party that
he and State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., are co-sponsoring on December
State Senator Gustavo Rivera
Senator Rivera was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms. Katrina
Asante, who informed us that the senator is conducting a Christmas toy
drive; the toys may be delivered to his office at 2132 Grand Concourse
until Friday, December 20, 2013. Ms. Asante also informed us that
Senator Rivera is sponsoring a series of free legal clinics. The first
clinic will focus on issues relating to tenants’ rights. Lastly, she
urged organizations that wish assistance in publicizing their activities
to contact the senator’s office so that he may include information about
the activities in his e-blasts.
Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr.
Senator Rev. Diaz was represented by Ms. Helen Reyes Jacome who invited
us to forward our email addresses to the senator’s office so that we may
receive his “What You Should Know” columns directly in our inboxes. She
also informed us that the senator invites us to attend his annual
Christmas party which, this year, will be held on December 20, 2013 at
Maestro Caterers. Lastly, Ms. Jacome announced Senator Diaz’s upcoming
Christmas toy giveaway that is to be held on December 16, 2013 at 977
Tiffany Street, and his activity celebration 3 Kings Day that will be
held on January 4, 2014 at Public School 5, which is located at 554
Council Member-elect Ritchie Torres
Council Member-elect Torres was represented by Ms. Luisa Benedetto who
announced that she would stay throughout the meeting in order to hear
any concerns that we wish her to relay to him.
VI. DISTRICT MANAGER’S REPORT
Ms. Galarza was not in attendance due to the fact that she was on jury
duty; however, her written District Manager’s report for the period of
November 14, 2013 to December 10, 2013 was included in the meeting’s
information packages for us to read it at our leisure.
VII. SPECIAL PRESENTATION ON THE FEDERAL AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, FOLLOWED
BY A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION.
Chairperson Rodriguez informed us that the scheduled presentation by
representatives of HealthFirst on the subject of the federal
government’s Affordable Care Act has been postponed until further notice
at HealthFirst’s request.
VIII. ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE
A roll call attendance was taken verifying the presence of a quorum of
twenty-one (21) members.
IX. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Law Enforcement Committee: Ms. Claudette Coles, Committee Chair
Ms. Coles reported on the business that was conducted at the November
19, 2013 meeting of the 48th police precinct’s community council. At
that meeting, Deputy Inspector Connolly, the precinct’s commanding
officer, announced that the precinct recently received seventeen new
police officers. He also provided current crime statistics for our
community and informed the council that the number of robberies and
shootings in our community has diminished. Deputy Inspector Connolly
also announced that a new anti-crime Impact Zone has been established
for certain areas of our community; it is to go into effect sometime in
January, 2014. The community council’s next meeting will be held at the
precinct at 450 Cross Bronx Expressway at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December
Law Enforcement Committee: Ms. Mara Garcia, Committee Co-Chair
Ms. Garcia informed us of the business that was conducted at the 42nd
police precinct’s community council meeting of November 22, 2013. The
meeting included a report on recent criminal activities that occurred
within the precinct’s boundaries and a discussion of the services
provided by several local youth programs.
Senior Citizen Outreach Committee: Ms. Lissette Torres, Committee Chair
Ms. Torres reported on the Senior Citizens Outreach Committee’s November
18, 2013 “Senior Citizens Whistle Blowers” safety workshop that was held
the Notre Dame senior citizens apartment building. The workshop was
conducted in conjunction with police officers from the 48th police
precinct and provided those senior citizens who were in attendance with
important information on personal safety. For example, the seniors were
urged to be sure to be aware of their surroundings whenever conducting
financial activities at a bank.
Transportation Committee: Ms. Magdamari Marcano, Committee Chair
Ms. Marcano informed us that she attended a meeting on November 18, 2013
at the New York City Department of City Planning regarding the status of
the Sheridan Expressway/Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study.
She noted that a lot of details need to be resolved between New York
State’s and New York City’s respective transportation departments before
there can be any movement towards implanting the study’s
Ms. Marcano further reported that the Transportation Committee is still
waiting for a response from the Bronx commissioner of the New York City
Department of Transportation (DOT) to the community board’s objections
to the department establishing Shared Bike Lanes along Crotona Avenue
and Southern Boulevard. The committee is also awaiting the results of
the lighting survey that the DOT was to conduct for the area that
encompasses Lebanon and East 179th streets between Morris Park and East
In response to Ms. Marcano’s report, it was suggested that the community
board write a letter to Senator Diaz requesting that he attempt to
expedite the implementation of the Sheridan Expressway/Hunts Point Land
Use Study, particularly as it relates to the proposal to create a
pathway from the West Farms community to Starlight Park.
Youth & Education Committee: Ms. Perquida Williams, Committee Chair
Ms. Williams reported on the Youth and Education Committee’s ongoing
preparations for its upcoming January 17, 2014 annual Youth Peace
Conference. Ms. Williams encouraged us to support the conference and
invited us to attend the committee’s next meeting which will be held on
Monday, December 16, 2013 at the Wings Academy High School. The school
is located at 1122 East180th Street.
X. ADOPTION OF MOTIONS
1. A motion to adopt the minutes of Bronx Community Board #6’s meeting
of November 13, 2013 was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Thomas J.
Murray, and unanimously adopted by acclamation.
2. A motion to remove community board member Lorraine Brown from the
board for having missed three (3) consecutive, regularly scheduled
community board six meetings was made by Ms. Margarita Espinosa, second
by Ms. Sara N. Logan and adopted by a vote of twenty (20) in favor, zero
(0) opposed, and one (1) abstention (R. Peraza).
3. At this point, Board Chairperson Rodriguez read a motion that called
upon the community board to issue a letter in support of St. Barnabas
Hospital’s application for a FEMA grant that will fund the installation
of a steam power plant to replace the hospital’s current antiquated
plant that has been in place since 1930. The motion was made by Ms.
Torres and seconded by Mr. Roger Gomez.
After the motion was read, Ms. Arlene Allende, Senior Vice President at
St. Barnabas Hospital, clarified that the hospital had already begun
work on the installation of the steam power plant and that the hospital
now hoping to “enhance” the project. She further clarified that the
hospital is actually asking that the community board supports its
efforts to acquire a FEMA grant for a “combined heat and power plant.”
Following Ms. Allende’s clarification, however, the community board
proceeded to vote on the motion to support the steam power plant exactly
as it was previously read. No changes or amendments were made.
The vote on the motion was nineteen (19) in favor, zero (0) opposed, and
zero (0) abstentions. Mr. Murray and Ms. Rodriguez were ineligible to
vote on the motion due to their affiliation with the hospital.
XI. OTHER BUSINESS
With regards to a letter from board member Yvonne Murphy requesting a
leave of absence that the community board, it was stated that the matter
would be referred to Mr. Tom Lucania, Director of Community Boards at
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz’s office, for his advice and
There being no other business to discuss, the December 11, 2013 meeting
of Bronx Community Board #6 was adjourned at approximately 8:40 p.m.
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