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MINUTES OF COMMUNITY BOARD #6
Meeting minutes of Wednesday, December 10. 2014


Members present:

Jannie Armstrong, Virginia Bird, Leticia Cintron, Claudette Coles, Annette de Jesus, Diana Diaz, Dior Doward, Margarita Espinosa, Maria Garcia, Robert Holliday, Dr. Helene Jones, Sara N. Logan, Magdamari Marcano, Isabel Matias, Floretta A. O’Brien, Rosa Peraza, Denise Sleigh-Bradley, Alexis Thornton, and Perquida Williams.

Members Absent:

Evonne Capers, Frank J. Franz, Marie Howse, Thomas J. Murray, Rev. Hiram Ratliff, Wendy Rodriguez, and Lissette Torres.

Elected officials present:

Assemblyman Victor Pichardo

Elected officials representatives present:

Aurea Mangual, representing Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.Miguel Rondon, representing State Senator Gustavo RiveraJennifer Rosado, representing State Senator Jeff KleinHelen Reyes Jacome, representing State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.John Sanchez, representing Assemblyman Michael BlakeJoshua Crespo, representing Assemblyman Luis SepulvedaRafael Moure Punnet, representing City Council Member Ritchie Torres

 

I.                   CALL TO ORDER

The December 10, 2014 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was held at the International Central Gospel Church, which is located at 4500 Park Avenue, Bronx, New York, and was called to order at approximately 6:40 p.m. by the community board’s 1st Vice Chairperson, Ms Sara N. Logan.

II.                   INVOCATION

The meeting’s invocation was delivered the church’s pastor, the Rev. Prince Nyarko.

III.                COMMUNITY PERIOD

The following individuals requested to speak as part of the meeting’s community period:

Ms. Imani Brown, representing the Citizens Committee for New York City

Ms. Brown informed us that the Citizens Committee for New York City is currently offering micro grants of up to $3,000 to fund volunteer lead community improvement projects.  The deadline for submission of grant applications is January 26, 2015.  Additional information about the Citizens Committee and copies of the grant application may be obtained by visiting its website at www.citizensnyc.org

Mr. Rene Peralta, representing Metroplus Health Plan

Mr. Peralta informed us about Metroplus Health Plan, a medical insurer for individuals who do not currently have health insurance and who do not qualify of Medicaid.  Additional information about Metroplus Health Plan and its open enrollment period may be obtained by telephoning Mr. Peralta at (646) 634-4756.

Mr. James Montgomery, representing the Fordham Towers Tenants Association

Mr. Montgomery introduced himself as the president of the Fordham Towers Tenants Association and conveyed the association’s objections to efforts by Flash #1 Car Service to expand its operation by establishing a taxi base on the ground floor of the Fordham Towers apartment building (480 East 188th Street).  He informed us that out of the housing development’s 165 leaseholders 111 of them signed a petition in opposition to the car service moving into the building.  The tenants association is to meet shortly with representatives of Flash #1 Car Service in order to discuss their differences.

Rev. Hellen Taylor, representing the First Glorious Church, Inc.

Rev. Taylor asked that the community board support the First Glorious Church, Inc., in its efforts to have the intersection of Arthur Avenue and East 180th Street co-named in honor of the church’s late pastor, the Rev.  Abner Bernard (A.B.) Duncan.

 

Mr. Bernard Abudu, representing the International Central Gospel Church

Mr. Abudu described some of the outreach and community services that are performed by the International Central Gospel Church, including its food pantry, and its summer and winter clothing drives.  He also announced that the church is attempting to adopt   Bathgate Park.  To aid in this effort, he asked that we sign the church’s petition that will be submitted to the Mayor Bill de Blasio along with a request that the city fund this endeavor.

 

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 information:

      Borough President Diaz encourages the public to apply for membership on their respective community board.  The deadline for submission of applications is February 6, 2015.  Current community board members will receive their reappointment application through the mail at the place of residence.  Due to recently changes in the law, individuals as young as 16 years of age are now eligible for board membership. 

      Borough President Diaz recently joined with the city’s other borough presidents and the city’s comptroller in calling for a “Five Borough Broadband Bill of Rights” for public Wi-Fi.  Such a bill would improve Internet service across the entire city.

       Borough President Diaz also issued a statement regarding passing of former Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo.

 

In closing, Ms. Mangual referred us to various fliers that were attached to the Borough President Diaz’s written report.  They included fliers announcing job opportunities with the New York City Police Department; information about Homebase, a program which officer free eviction prevention services; and announcements about upcoming community forums and special events.

V.                ELECTED OFFICIALS’ REPORTS

Assemblyman Victor Pichardo

Assemblyman Pichardo informed us that that State of New York is  currently sitting on a 5 billion dollar surplus.  He asked us to contact  our state legislators and to advise them that the surplus should be  spent on improving our schools. Assemblyman Pichardo also invited  us to attend a holiday party that he is sponsoring on Friday, Dece,ber 19 , 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at his district office, which is located at 2015 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, New York. 

Ms. Jennifer Rosado representing State Senator Jeff Klein

Ms. Rosado informed us about some of the work in which Senator Klein’s office has been engaged in terms of constituent services and outreach.

Mr. Miguel Rondon, representing State Senator Gustavo Rivera

Mr. Rondon announced that the Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program is severely underutilized.  He urged senior citizens to take full advantage of this program and stated that Senator Rivera’s office will assist them in completing all necessary applications.  Mr. Rondon also informed us that Senator Rivera recently convened a conference regarding the Ebola outbreak, and is currently conducting a medical supply drive in response to this crisis.  The medical supply drive will continue until December 15, 2014.

Mr. Rafael Moure Punnet, representing City Council Member Ritchie Torres

Mr. Punnet announced that Council Member Torres is now in the second stage of the Participatory Budgeting process and is currently sorting through the hundreds of budget proposals that he has received from his constituents.  Council Member Torres also has a bill in committee in the City Council which, if enacted into law, would require police officers who stop an individual for questioning to provide that person with their business card and an explanation as to why he/she was questioned.

Ms. Helen Reyes Jacome, representing State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.

Ms. Jacome reported that Senator Diaz recently surprised a senior citizens group with free holiday food vouchers.  She also announced that the senator will hold his annual Christmas party at Maestro Caterers on Friday, December 19, 2014.  Senator Diaz will also distribute holiday food at Intermediate School 216 on Wednesday, December 16, 2014 beginning at 4:00 pm. On January 3, 2015 he will distribute holiday food at Public School 5 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. in honor of Three Kings Day.  Additional information about these events may be obtained by contacting Ms. Jacome at (718) 991-3161. 

Lastly, Ms. Jacome invited us to provide her with our email addresses so that she may ensure we receive copies of Senator Diaz’s opinion piece entitled “What You Should Know.”

Mr. Joshua Crespo, representing Assemblyman Luis Sepulevda

Mr. Crespo announced that Assemblyman Sepulevda is conducting a holiday toy drive.  Additional information on this matter may be obtained by contacting the assemblyman’s office at (718) 931-2620.

Mr. John Sanchez, representing Assemblyman Michael Blake

Mr. Sanchez reported that Assemblyman Blake is sponsoring state legislation that would require the state attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor in all cases where a civilian is killed by a police officer.  Ms. Sanchez also reported that Assemblyman Blake will participate in the upcoming march on Washington.  The assemblyman’s office address is 1149 Boston Road; its telephone number is (718) 842-2019.  Mr. Sanchez may be reached by email at John79districtbx@gmail.com.

VI.       DISTRICT MANAGER’S REPORT

Ms. Galarza reported that a meeting has been scheduled between the community board and representatives of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) for 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at the community board’s district office.  This meeting is in response to the community board’s letter requesting that DYCD fully explain the criteria it uses to determine which community based organizations receive DYCD funding and how information about its funding opportunities is disseminated to the general public.           

A copy of Ms Galarza’s written report was included in our meeting packages for us to read at our leisure.   

VII.     ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE

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

VIII.    COMMITTEE REPORTS

Law Enforcement Committee:  Ms. Claudette Coles, Committee Chair                                     

Ms. Coles reported on the business that was conducted at the  November 18, 2014 meeting of the 48th police precinct’s community  council.  At that meeting, the council received an update from Deputy Inspector Thomas Connolly on our community’s current crime statistics.  Also, a request was made by the council’s president for monetary donations to purchase uniforms for the precinct’s youth explorers program.  The council’s next meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 and will be held at the precinct, which is located at 450 Cross Bronx Expressway

Law Enforcement Committee:  Ms. Maria Garcia, Committee Co-chair

Ms. Garcia, who represents the community board at the 42nd police precinct’s community council, stated she will have a report on the council’s activities at our next meeting (January 2015).

Parks and Recreation Committee:  Ms. Margarita Espinosa, Committee Chair

Ms. Espinosa reported on the Parks and Recreation Committee’s meeting of Monday, December 8, 2014 with merchants from East Tremont Avenue and representatives of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.  The purpose of the meeting was to continue the discussion of the department’s 20-year plan for the renovation and improvement of Crotona and Tremont parks.  Comments arising out of that meeting included a suggestion that additional lighting be installed in the parks; that the parks include a track and field; and that a gymnasium be constructed that includes both basketball and tennis courts.  This discussion will be continued at an upcoming committee meeting. 

Youth & Education Committee:  Ms. Perquida Williams, Committee Chair

Ms. Williams announced that the Youth and Education Committee met on November 29, 2014 for the purpose of continuing to plan for its upcoming annual Youth Peace conference.  The conference will be held on Friday, January 16, 2015 at the International Central Gospel Church, which is located at 4500 Park Avenue, Bronx, New York.  Ms. Williams asked that we actively participate in planning for this activity and that we recruit others to do the same.

Transportation Committee:  Ms. Magdamari Marcano, Committee Chair

Mr. Marcano reported on the Transportation Committee’s meeting of December 4, 2014 which dealt primarily with a request from Flash #1 Car Service for a letter from the community board stating that it has no objections to the car service expanding its operations by establishing a base on the ground floor of the Fordham Towers apartment building located at 480 East 188th Street.  Ms. Marcano also reported that the Fordham Towers Tenants Association submitted a petition to the community board stating that it is strongly opposed to the car service moving into its building.  Consequently, the committee has invited both the tenants association and representatives of Flash #1 Car Service to attend its next meeting in the hope of reaching a compromise.

Housing & Land Use Committee:  Ms. Sara N. Logan, Committee Chai

Ms. Logan reported that the Housing and Land Use Committee met on December 4, 2014 to consider a request by SoBRO for a letter from the community board supporting its plans to develop 4529 Park Avenue (located at the corner of Park Avenue and East 183rd Street) as a seventy-six unit apartment building for a mixed population of special needs tenants with preference given to veterans and low-income individuals and families.  The committee resolved to table discussion of this requests until such time as it meets with representatives of Urban Pathways, the non-profit organization that will provide support services to the building’s residents.

On another matter, the committee resolved to recommend that the community board issue a letter to City Council Member Ritchie Torres asking that he introduce legislation in the New York City Council that would permit the intersection of East 180th Street and Arthur Avenue to be co-named after the Rev. Abner Bernard (A.B.) Duncan, the late pastor of the First Glorious Church, Inc.  The church is located at 2084 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, New York.

Senior Citizen Outreach Committee:  Mrs. Virginia Bird, Committee Chair

Mrs. Bird announced that the Senior Citizens Outreach Committee would begin to meet regularly on the first Thursday of each month in conjunction with the other community board committees that meet that day.

IX.       ADOPTION OF MOTIONS

1.      A motion to adopt the minutes of Bronx Community Board #6’s meeting of November 12, 2014 was made by Mrs. Bird, seconded by Ms. Rosa Peraza and unanimously adopted by acclamation.

2.      A motion to issue a letter to City Council Member Ritchie Torres asking that he introduce legislation in the New York City Council that will result in the corner of East 180th Street and Arthur Avenue, in the borough of the Bronx, being co-named in honor of the late Rev. Abner Bernard (A.B.) Duncan, the former pastor of the First Glorious Church, Inc., was made by Ms. Jannie Armstrong, seconded by Mr. Robert Holliday, and adopted by a vote of sixteen in favor, two opposed (D. Diaz and M. Marcano) and one abstention (R. Peraza).

3.      A vote to amend and table the motion to support the efforts of the Murphy Houses Tenants Association to establish a community garden on East 181st Street, directly across the street from its housing development was made by Ms. Espinosa, seconded by Ms. Diana Diaz and adopted by a vote of eighteen in favor, zero opposed and one abstention (R. Peraza).

Background on the motion:  The original motion incorrectly referred to the Murphy Houses Tenants Association rather than the Monterey Houses Residents Watch and, therefore, needed to be amended.  Additionally, Mr. Isabel Matias, President of the Monterey Houses Tenants Association suggested that the proposal for a community garden on East 181st Street requires further study and deliberation.  He then provided the community board with a petition and counter proposal that was signed and endorsed by a sizable number of residents of the Monterey Houses apartments.

X.        ANNOUNCEMENTS

         Ms. Marcano informed us that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will hold a public hearing on its proposed bus and subway fare increases on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at the Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College. She stated that it is important for us to attend the hearing inasmuch as the MTA proposes to increase the fares effective March 2015.

         Ms. Galarza announced that she has invited a representative of the MTA-New York City Transit to attend the Transportation Committee next meeting in order to address the committee’s concerns regarding local bus service.

         Ms. Espinosa announced that the next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee will be held on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at the Monterey Houses’ community center.

         Mr. Jose Padilla informed us that the filling period for the Heat and Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) closes at the end of the month (December 2014).

        Bronx Community Board #6 member Alexis Thornton spoke briefly about the city’s Conflict of Interest law and provided us with literature regarding the same.

XI.       SPECIAL PRESENTATION

At this point, Pastor Prince, on behalf of the International Central Gospel Church,  presented plaques to Assemblyman Pichardo, District Manager Galarza, and (in absentia) to Senator Gustavo Rivera and Council Member Ritchie Torres in appreciation of their support of the church’s activities 

XII.     ADJOURNMENT

There being no other business to discuss, the December 10, 2014 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was adjourned at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:

Leslie A. Jones,

Community Coordinator


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