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
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
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
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
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
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
|• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
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
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
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 & 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.
Michael Blake, Green for All/ Operation
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
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.
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.