Friday, January 25, 2013

Lots to Talk About


By Robert Press

BRONX, NEW YORK, January 25- Our headline was not able to be made into one specific topic, as there is lots to talk about in this column. You can check my blog at for more on what was in this column, what did not make it into the column, and of course the many photos that are posted.

Last week we told you of the swearing in of the two new Bronx State Assembly members, and Assemblyman Luis Supelveda sent out a lengthy summary of what the assembly has done in its first work of the new session. Legislation passed bans assault weapons, closes loopholes and cracks down on the horrific gun violence. Many other provisions of the legislation can be found on my blog archive under the heading “A Response to the Newton CT. School Shootings”, which includes the increased criminal penalties and added requirements for gun ownership.
As for education, the mayor decided to play chicken with the teachers union (UFT) on the subject of teacher evaluations that was a requirement for certain state aid of hundreds of millions of dollars. UFT President Mike Mulgrew said that the UFT and the city reached an agreement before the deadline of last week, but that the mayor had backed out of the deal. Mayor Mike Bloomberg said that the UFT was unreasonable in their demands. The state has already said that the city has lost $240 million in aid for failing to come up with a new teacher evaluation plan, and now has a deadline of February 14th imposed by State Education Commissioner John King or loose even more school aid.

School bus drivers for New York City public schools went on strike last week forcing students who rely on the yellow buses to find alternate means of transportation to get to school. While children were given metro cards that may not help in most cases where the MTA does not service where the child may live. A few years ago all bus routes were changed by the DOE, but someone forgot to let the children and their parents know about it. School bus routes have more than tripled under Mayor Bloomberg going from over 2,000 to 7,700. Children are now bused past each other to schools, and there is no more neighborhood school for the neighborhood children. Neighborhood parents are left in the dark as they may want their children to attend programs offered by their neighborhood school such as a gifted and talented program being offered. It seems that more than half of the neighborhood children who apply to these special programs at their local school are slotted to other schools for the same program, and children are then bused in to fill the program. As we have seen from the strike it is now not unusual for a parent with many school age children to have each child go to a different school.

On the subject of the school bus driver strike, Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEA) have been placed outside of every school in the Bronx, so if you are wondering why you did not get that traffic ticket during arrival or dismissal times the TEA's have gone back to school.

New Councilman Andy King opened up his 12th Council district office last week to hundreds of supporters. The office is located at 940 Gun Hill Road at the corner of Coulden Ave. The Bx 28, 30, and 38 go right past the new office, and you can go to my blog to read more and see photos of the grand opening of the cozy new 12th city council district office.

A new poll of Republican voters shows recently announced candidate Joe Lhota heads the field of candidates with 23 percent, John Catsimatidis next at 9 percent, Tom Allon tied with not voting at 5 percent each, Adolfo Carrion at 3 percent, George McDonald at 2 percent, with undecided at a whooping 53 percent.

Upcoming events include the Bronx Chamber of Commerce Inauguration of their officers for 2013 by State Comptroller Ton DiNapoli on Thursday January 31st 5:30 p.m. at the Lighthouse Restaurant located at 565 City Island Ave. The BCC also has rescheduled its 10th Annual Awards and Scholarship Gala benefit for Thursday February 28th at Marina Del Ray. The latter event was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy, and will help benefit The Empire State Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. You must RSVP to the BCC at 718-828-3900 or

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be giving his “State of the Borough” address on Tuesday February 19th in the James Monroe High School auditorium located at 1300 Boyton Ave. at 11:30 AM. RSVP to or call 718-590-6116.

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.

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