Monday, August 27, 2012

Should Pols get a Pay Raise?

Naomi late to her own party

By Robert Press

BRONX, NEW YORK, August 27- The latest news is that there may be a special session right after the election by the NY Assembly to take up the matter of a pay raise from the current base salary of $79,500 to just over $100,000. 

The key word is base, because there are extra monies for chairing committees, travel expense reimbursement, among the other perks of an assembly member. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in trying to justify the raise by saying that members of the assembly have not had a raise in their pay for 14 years. Silver also says that the legislature has taken measures to end corruption and dysfunction in Albany. Mind you this comes as in the past week Queens State Senator Huntley announcing that she is awaiting to be indicted (most likely) for fraud, Brooklyn County Democratic Leader Assemblyman Vito Lopez was stripped of his committee Chairmanship after being found guilty of sexual harassment, and the most recent scandals involving Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera who is now under investigation by almost everyone. If passed the pay raise would go into effect on January 1st 2013 when there is a new assembly body, otherwise that new assembly body would have to take up the measure which would then go into effect January 1st 2015.

Our Committee of 100 Democrats 8th Annual Free Community Barbecue was a huge success as over 1,000 people attended. Even as we were ending the event there were still over 200 people dancing on East 204th Street. Committee of 100 Democrats Chairman Richardo “Ricky” Martinez who is running for the 78th Assembly seat said that the people loved it, and those voters in the district want him as their new assemblyman in the 78th A.D. A special thank you goes to Senator Jeff Klein an old friend of the committee who stops by every year, and is not influenced by anyone. You can go to my blog at to read more and see photos of the event. There was mention in the New York Post that Mr. Martinez's opponent the current assemblyman owns a house with his wife in Elmont Long Island, and residency questions may now arise about the incumbent.

There was a festival on Allerton Avenue (the 5th Annual) Sunday sponsored by Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera. I arrived at 12:30 p.m. to see the festival that started at 12 p.m. and was scheduled to end at 5 p.m. was not even half set up. While I waited I talked to some people, and asked a few questions. I asked one of the police officers how many people were expected, and was told a few hundred. I stopped at some of booths to find out that they were being charged for their space, and was told that their was no real price structure only as much as could be gotten from the vendor. Many store keepers said that business was down, and the local supermarket was empty with people crowded in the shade in front of the store. I went into Assemblywoman Rivera's campaign office (that just happened to be on Allerton Ave.) to find out when the assemblywoman would arrive, and first was told later, and then about a half hour, which I took as the usual quick photo opportunity whenever, so I left at 2 p.m.

Last week, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., held a press conference with New York Ranger great Mark Messier, Olympic Gold Medalist skater Sarah Hughes, and some of the local elected officials to announce his backing of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center proposal for the Kingsbridge Armory. Diaz said that the Bronx has the “Greatest baseball team, a top flight golf and tennis center under construction, and with this proposal perhaps the greatest ice sports center in the nation.”

Messier and Hughes spoke of the wonderful opportunities that children and adults would have. Of the local elected official, Councilman G. Oliver Koppell said, “Fifteen years ago I had a vision for a sports center here at the armory,” while it seemed to me and others that Assemblyman Jose Rivera was trying to take the credit for fixing the roof and inside of the armory. Go to my blog to read more and see photos of the event, and a sketch of armory in this proposal.

The New York City Council Redistricting Committee held its last preliminary hearing at Lehman College last week, and by the poor turnout and lack of speakers it seems like no one cares. Only nine of the scheduled 10 speakers had any thing to say, and three more people from Queens and Brooklyn spoke after the chairman practically begged the audience if there was anyone else who wanted to speak, even taking a recess for 20 minutes still with no more speakers.

The important thing here is that according to the figures given out Brooklyn lost almost 40,000 people, Queens 150,000 people, Manhattan and Staten Island gained about 1,500 people each, and the Bronx gained 75,000 people. The size of a council district is about 160,000 people, with district 8 part Bronx and part Manhattan the Bronx council delegation is looking to have another full council district.

Lastly, speaking of council districts, there will be a special election on election day for the vacant council seat that Larry Seabrook was elected to. Seabrook was removed from office after being convicted of 9 out of 12 counts corruption in office. Community activist (and friend) Andy King who came in a strong second to Seabrook last year now is favored to win this special election. Since this seat is in Co-op City, we are going to let the Co-op City news cover this special election, but we will give updates in this column.

Don't forget to check my blog at for more details, photos, updates, and items that may not have made it into this column. If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.! Your Online Store for Licensed NFL Apparel! Click Here!

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