Thursday, May 2, 2013

City Politics

Riverdale Report
By Robert Press

Keeling Endorsement in 11th Council Race

BRONX, NEW YORK, May 2- 11th City Council candidate Andrew Cohen may be raking in the endorsements of the elected officials, but he will not be getting the endorsement of State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr. 

That endorsement went to 11th council candidate Ms. Cheryl Keeling at Saturday's breakfast of the Hispanic Ministers of New York. Senator Diaz and the Hispanic Ministers of New York endorsed 11th council candidate Cheryl Keeling, 15th council candidate Reverend Joel Bauza, and Reverend Erick Salgado for mayor. Two weeks ago Senator Diaz's son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., endorsed 11th council candidate Andrew Cohen, and this is not the first time the two have chosen to endorse different candidates in the same race. I suspect it won't be the last time they disagree. Both father and son say that they can disagree on who they choose to endorse, but at the end of the day they still love each other. This now leaves 11th council candidate Cliff Stanton as the only candidate in that race without any elected official endorsement. Stanton says however that he only needs the endorsement of those people who will vote.

Last week’s Community Board 8 Parks Committee meeting lasted much longer than usual, but there were several hot topics on the agenda. First up was the revised proposed replacement of the golf course clubhouse that was removed so the Croton Water Filtration Plant at Van Cortlandt Park could be built. The $40 – $45 million clubhouse replacement includes an amphitheater, waste water recovery project, new grass over the roof of the plant for the driving range, other plantings, and restoration of the nine hole course. The first sticking point was just who would be maintaining the grass over the plant. Was it the Department of Parks, Department of Environmental Protection, the lease holder of the golf course, or someone else? The first words out of Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte's mouth was that this was the first time he had seen this revised proposal. Aponte then said that it would not be the Parks Department, because they do not have the manpower. He then said it would be the responsibility of either DEP or the holder of the lease to the golf course. DEP said it was not them, but they would have to give clearance to anyone who would have to go on to the roof over the plant for security reasons. DEP also said that they do not mow grass. The holder of the lease for the golf course was not present. Then the responsibility of maintaining the amphitheater came up with again the “Not Me's” coming from DEP and the Parks Department.

After several questions from the board members and public present the Parks Committee chair Bob Bender decided that the committee would need to have the questions answered and the lease holder present for the committee and then full board to comment.

Next up was a redesigned proposal for the repair of the basketball courts in Ewing Park, and the placement of a “Tot Park” for parents to bring toddlers and young children. The tot area would have a sprinkler for the kids, and other places for small children to play along with the most modern safety features. The question of adult children playing basketball at night, and the noise among other things that come with the basketball courts were brought up by neighbors. Some said they thought that one court was to be eliminated for the Tot Park. Andrew Sandler of Councilman Koppell's office said that he, the councilman, and the Parks Department met with community members for what the community wanted. During the presentation earlier it was said that the plan was modified because Ewing Park is at such a slope a new area was found for the Tot Park so it could be on level ground lower in the entire park and more accessible to people with strollers. The conclusion was that another meeting with community members will be scheduled to hammer out any problems.

As the meeting was about to end after almost three hours several men in the back asked the committee to look into the issue of why they could not play or have a football league even for kids in the recently redone Van Cortlandt Park Parade Grounds. Bronx Parks Commissioner Aponte said it is too late to go into this matter, but the men insisted saying that they had waited three hours to be heard. There seemed to be a question of who was getting the permits, and why only soccer leagues got them. It was said that at times the fields are empty, but can not be used. Commissioner Aponte said that football is kept off the parade grounds, because the players wear cleats that rip up the grass. The men argued that the soccer players also wear the same cleats, but it is all right for them to use the fields. It was also stated that young children would be playing in the football league mostly who do not weigh as much as the soccer players. Because of the time the matter will be taken up at the next CB 8 Parks Committee Meeting on Wednesday May 22nd. Also on the May agenda is a final look at the Putnam Trail that should lead to another very long meeting.

Don't forget to check my blog at for more on these stories, other items that did not make it into this column, items that may come in after our deadline, and the many photos. 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.

No comments: