Bronx Community District 7 Bronx Community District 5 Bronx Community District 11 Bronx Community District 4 Bronx Community District 3 Bronx Community District 2 Bronx Community District 9 Community District 10 Community District 10 Community nDistrict 10 Community District 12 Community District 8

 


Bronx Community Districts

1932 Arthur Avenue, Room 709
Bronx, NY 10457
TEL: (718) 579-6990
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email: brxcb6@optonline.net

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MINUTES OF COMMUNITY BOARD #6
Meeting minutes of March 12, 2014


Members present:
Jannie Armstrong, Claudette Coles, Annette de Jesus, Diana Diaz, Dior Doward, Frank Franz, Maria Garcia, Yesenia Graciani, Robert Holliday, Marie Howse, Cindy Ibarra, Sara Logan, Magdamari Marcano, Thomas Murray, Floretta O’Brien, Rosa Peraza, Rev. Hiram Ratliff, Lissette Torres, and Perquida Williams.

Members absent:
Virginia Bird, John Colangelo, Margarita Espinosa, Roger Gomez, Yvonne Murphy, Wendy Rodriguez, and Dolores Steele.

Elected officials present:
City Council Member Ritchie Torres

Elected officials’ representatives present:
Aurea Mangual, representing Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz
Katrina Asante, representing State Senator Gustavo Rivera
Shirley SanAndres, representing Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda
Nicole K. Lauterbach, representing Assemblyman Victor M. Pichardo
Rafael Moure Punnett, representing City Council Member Ritchie Torres
Brian Saltos, representing City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo


I. CALL TO ORDER
The March 12, 2014 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was held at Community School 211, which is located at 1919 Prospect Avenue, Bronx, New York; and was called to order at approximately 6:45 p.m. by board Chairperson Wendy Rodriguez. Ms. Rodriguez then asked that the board members to introduce themselves to the public.

Honorable Ritchie Torres, Honorable Maria del Carmen Arroyo,
City Council Member, 15th Council District City Council Member, 17th Council District

II. INVOCATION

The meeting’s invocation was delivered by Chaplin Perquida Williams, chair of the community board’s Youth and Education Committee.

III. COMMUNITY PERIOD

The following individuals requested to speak as part of the meeting’s Community Period:

Jose Ithier, Tec2Biz
Mr. Ithier, a former community affairs police officer at the 48th police precinct, informed us about his new business, Tec2Biz. He explained that Tec2Biz is an information technology company that will evaluate a firm’s entire information technology system and provide advice as to how the system may be improved. Mr. Ithier also asked that the community board give thought to advocating for increase technology instruction in our local schools. He stated that he would be willing to volunteer his time and services to teaching such classes. Tec2Biz may be contacted by telephoning (804) 372.7846.

Jorge Sierra, Bronx LGBTQ Community Service Center
Mr. Sierra, representing the Bronx LGBTQ Community Service Center, informed us that the center sponsors an LGBTQ youth group that meets every Friday at the Union Community Health Center, which is located at 260 East 188th Street, Bronx, New York. The group is for youths from the ages of 12 to 20.

Mr. Sierra further informed us that the LGBTQ center also sponsors free LGBTQ legal clinics at Union from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Michael Benjamin, SHARE NY
Former Bronx State Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, stated that he is now a consultant for the organization SHARE (Safe Healthy Affordable Reliable Energy) which promotes the use of nuclear energy and is fighting efforts to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant. He provided us with literature regarding SHARE’s work and informed us of the negative environmental consequences that closing the Indian Point power plant would have on the Bronx’s air quality. SHARE’s website is www.shareny.org.

Betty Gonzalez-Soto, Community School 211
Ms. Gonzalez-Soto, the principal of Community School 211, welcomed us to her school and recounted how fifteen years ago the community board was instrumental in helping the school move from a former warehouse to its current facility. Ms. Gonzales-Soto also thanked former City Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera who, before leaving office, provided Community School 211 with a $69,000 grant that it will use to upgrade its internet.

Omisha Covington, New York Public Library, West Farms Branch
Ms. Covington, of the West Farms branch of the New York Public Library, informed us that in addition to providing programs and services for youth (such as afterschool homework assistance), the West Farms library also offers services that are geared towards adults. These services include, but are not limited to, GED preparedness classes, instruction in computer programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint, and classes that teach basic computer skills such as how to use a Kindle and an IPad. Ms. Covington asked that we assist the West Farms library in publicizing and promoting its services. The library is located at 2085 Honeywell Avenue, Bronx, New York.

Carl Conde, St. Barnabas Hospital Health System
Mr. Conde, a Health Educator at St. Barnabas Hospital, invited us to participate in a series of health related workshops that are conducted at the hospital on the last Wednesday of each month. Fliers offering additional details about the workshops were distributed and made available at the meeting’s information table.

Sylvia Hill, Good Shepherd Services/Monterey Cornerstone
Ms. Hill announced that as of January 6, 2014 Good Shepherd Services has assumed management of the Monterey Houses Community Center (now known as Monterey Cornerstone), which is located at 2100 Monterey Avenue, Bronx, New York. She also informed us of some of programs offered at the center; they include, but are not limited to, afterschool services for youths ages 5 to 12, a teen program for teenagers and young adults ages 13 to 21, and a summer day camp program. The summer day camp will begin operation on July 7, 2014. Additional information about any of the center’s programs may be obtained by telephoning (718) 367-6689.

IV. BRONX BOROUGH PRESIDENT’S REPORT
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr’s report was presented by his community liaison, Ms. Aurea Mangual, and contained the following information:

• Borough President Diaz has stated a new initiative entitled “Respect our Block.” The initiative consists of a contest among elementary, middle and senior high school students where they compete to create a winning poster that encourages Bronx residents to respect their neighborhood by keeping their block clean and free of graffiti.

• The borough president delivered his fifth annual State of the Borough address on February 20, 2013; the event was very well attended.

• The borough president has gone on record stating that he feels it is a disgrace that the City of New York has allowed Public School 31 to fall into a state of disrepair. He urges the city to issue a new Request for Proposals that would solicit plans for developing and preserving this iconic structure.

• Borough President Diaz has released his Annual Development Report for the Bronx. The report demonstrates that the borough has achieved $5.768 billion dollars in development since 2009, the year in which he took office.

• The process for appointing and reappointing members to the Bronx’s twelve community boards is ongoing.

• The borough president will hold an activity celebrating Women’s History Month on March 20, 2013. Individuals wishing to attend may RSVP by telephoning (718) 590-3522.

V. SPECIAL PRESENTATION:

Deputy Inspector Thomas Connolly, New York City Police Department
Deputy Inspector Connolly, Commanding Officer of the 48th Police Precinct, provided us with current crime statistics for our community and updated us on several shootings that recently occurred. He also informed us that the police precinct is increasing its enforcement of traffic laws, such as those laws that prohibit speeding and driving while talking on a cellphone.

In response to questioning from the community board, Deputy Inspector Connolly promised to follow up on complaints of cars blocking traffic at East Tremont and Devoe avenues as they wait to enter or leave the nearby carwash; and to look into a concern that was raised about vehicles entering the Cross Bronx Expressway from the wrong traffic lane.

VI. ELECTED OFFICIALS’ REPORT

Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo
Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo was presented by her Administrative Assistant, Mr. Brian Saltos, who stated he would be present throughout the meeting and would relay our issues and concerns to the council member.

Council Member Ritchie Torres
At this point Council Member Torres was represented by his Chief-of-Staff, Mr. Rafael Moure Punnett, who informed us that the council member held a press conference earlier that day on the issue of public housing. The council member’s aim is to improve communication between housing management and tenants. Mr. Punnett also announced that Council Member Torres’ district office has moved to 573 East Fordham Road.

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda
Assemblyman Sepulveda was represented by Ms. Shirley SanAndres who announced that the assemblyman supports Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Universal Pre-K initiative. She also informed us that Assemblyman Sepulevda will participate in the community board’s upcoming March 21, 2014 press conference where an announcement will be made concerning plans to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the Happy Land Social Club fire.

Lastly, Ms. SanAndres announced that the assemblyman is sponsoring free health screenings for asthma, hypertension and obesity on March 14th and 28th at 1211 White Plains Road, Bronx, New York. Screenings for mammography will take place on March 20th.

Senator Gustavo Rivera
Senator Rivera was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms. Katrina Asante, who provided us with a listing of locations offering free tax preparation services. She also informed us that the Senator Rivera is sponsoring several free legal clinics. The clinic on March 17, 2013 will focus on issues relating to elder care, and the clinic on March 26th will address issues relating to housing court and tenants’ rights. Lastly, Ms. Asante announced that beginning March 18, 2014, and continuing every Tuesday thereafter, the senator’s office will provide free legal services to his constituents. Appointments for the legal services must be made in advance.

Assemblyman Victor M. Pichardo
Assemblyman Pichardo was represented by his Chief-of-Staff, Ms. Nicole K. Lauterbach, who provided us with fliers from the assemblyman’s office containing contact telephone number for various governmental services. Assemblyman Pichardo’s district office is located 2175-C Jerome Avenue, Bronx, New York.

VII. DISTRICT MANAGER’S REPORT
Ms. Galarza’s district manager’s report included the following information:

• We are urged to report all potholes to the city’s 311 non-emergency telephone number, and to then contact the community board with the 311-issued service request number so that the community board may track and follow up on the matter.

• Ms. Galarza recently met with the executive director of the Belmont Business Improvement District where, among other things, the issue of possibly of obtaining a security guard for the Arthur Avenue municipal parking lot was discussed.

• Other meetings at which Ms. Galarza represented the community board during the past month included the Bronx Borough Board’s public hearing on the city’s Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2015; and a meeting with homeowners from Fairmount Place and Elsmere Place regarding construction that is occurring at 861 Fairmount Place.

• Ms. Galarza represented the community board at the February 19, 2014 press conference where Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Luis Sepulevda announced that they are introducing legislation in the state legislature the would increase criminal penalties for unlawfully firing a gun in the vicinity of schools and playgrounds. The proposed legislation, if passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, would be known as “Luisito’s Law.”

• Bronx Community Board #6’s C-Ball male and female basketball competition will be held on Saturday, April 5, 2014. At this time the venue for the activity has not be identified.

• The community board congratulates board member Jannie Armstrong and the other members of the Quarry Road Homeowners Association on marking their 30th anniversary as homeowners.

VIII. PUBLIC HEARING ON THE CITY’S PRELIMINARY BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2015
The community board’s public hearing on the city’s Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 was opened and promptly closed inasmuch as no one requested to present testimony.

IX CITY COUNCIL MEMBER RITCHIE TORRES
City Council Member Torres briefed us on the city’s budget process. He also announced that he has been appointed as a member of the City Council’s leadership team and that he chairs the council’s committee on public housing. Council Member Torres is currently drafting a bill which, if enacted, would assess a “re-inspection fee” to property owners who do not correct code violations after their first inspection.

X. ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE
A roll call attendance was taken verifying the presence of a quorum of nineteen (19) members.

XI. COMMITTEE REPORTS

Health & Human Services Committee: Thomas J. Murray, Committee Chair
Mr. Murray reported on the business that was conducted at the Health and Human Services Committee’s meeting of Tuesday, March 11, 2014. At that time, the committee discussed and reviewed St. Barnabas Hospital’s Community Service Plan. The plan is available at the hospital’s website.

The committee also entertained a presentation from representatives of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regarding the department’s campaign to encourage the public to apply for health coverage through the federal Affordable Care Act. They also discussed the department’s campaign to protect children from commercial marketing that promotes unhealthy foods and beverages. The campaign includes a pledge document which individuals and organizations are asked to sign promising that they will be work towards that goal. The department has asked the community board to commit to signing the pledge agreement.

Law Enforcement Committee: Maria Garcia, Committee Co-Chair
Ms. Garcia reported on the business that was conducted at the January 23, 2014 and February 27, 2014 meetings of the 42nd police precinct’s community council.

Law Enforcement Committee: Ms. Claudette Coles, Committee Chair
Ms. Coles reported on February 25, 2015 meeting of the 48th police precinct’s community council. The meeting included a discussion of our community's current crime statistics and a guest speaker from the organization Cop Watch Patrol Unit. The council's next meeting will be on March 25, 2014.

Transpiration Committee: Ms. Magdamari Marcano, Committee Chair
Ms. Marcano informed us that, at its meeting of March 6, 2014, the Transportation Committee met with representatives of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) for the purpose of receiving an update on planned improvements for the Bx 41 Select Bus Service, which travels along the Webster Avenue corridor.

At that meeting, DOT’s representatives also informed the committee that the department would analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the Crotona Avenue and Southern Boulevard Shared Bike Lanes in the spring of 2014. DOT will also undertake a study of the traffic patterns at the intersection of East Fordham Road and Southern Boulevard to determine if changes need to be made.

Lastly Ms. Marcano reported on the “We’re Walking Here” competition wherein schools across the city compete to create a winning public service announcement that promotes the benefits of walking.

Ms. Marcano’s report generated discussion on the status of DOT’s promised light survey for the Lebanon Street/East Tremont Avenue area, and on whether Phipps Houses had committed itself to providing lighting for the blocks in that area that are directly impacted by its new housing development.

Housing & Land Use Committee: Sara N. Logan, Committee Chair.
Ms. Logan reported that the Housing and Land Use Committee met on March 7, 2014 with several homeowners from the Fairmount Place/Elsmere Place area regarding their concerns about a residential construction project that is currently taking place at 861 Fairmount Place.

XII. ADOPTION OF MOTIONS
1) A motion to adopt the minutes of the community board’s meeting of February 12, 2014 was made by Ms. Lissette Torres, seconded by Ms. Logan and unanimously adopted by acclamation.

XIII. ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michael Blake, Green for All/ Operation HOPE
Mr. Blake announced that June, 2014, has been designated as “Gun Violence Awareness Month.” He also invited the community to attend a free screening of the movie “12 Years a Slave” on Friday, March 14, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at Hostos Community College.

Rev. Hiram Ratliff, Bronx Community Board #6 member
Rev. Ratliff informed us that his church, the New Tabernacle Baptist Church, operates a food pantry every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. He also invited us to attend the church’s upcoming annual community outreach day activity.

Dior Doward, Bronx Community Board #6 member
Ms. Doward announced her excitement at the fact that the founders of the “Hip Hop” musical genre were honored earlier that day at an event at City Hall.

XIV. ADJOURNMENT
There being no other business to discuss, the March 12, 2014 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was adjourned at approximately 8:30 p.m.

 


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