Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Rappers claim they were evicted to make way for yuppies
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, March 13- A community space serving hundreds of teens and young adults each month and run by members of the popular rap trio, "Rebel Diaz," has been shut after being evicted from their Mott Haven loft.
According to members of the community space, known as the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective of the Bronx (RDACBX) members of the NYPD were joined by Federal marshals who raided the building on Austin Place on February 28.
According to Rodrigo Venegas, who performs under the name, RodStarz, "He (the landlord) openly said, 'I have no interest in working with the community.' He said, 'Personally, I want you out of here.'"
Venegas claims he and the landlord Austin Realty Group had a verbal agreement to start a new lease last November, when Venegas explains, "He increased it by 100 percent, he gave us a $1,000 increase out of nowhere. He even offered us money to get out of the space."
The reason behind the land grab Venegas claims, "The South Bronx is going through an abrupt process of gentrification that I think is sneaking up on a lot of us. A block away we have a 16-story condominium being built that is going to have one- bedroom apartments starting at $1,200 or $1,300. We have seen a rezoning of the West part of the Bronx by Yankee Stadium and we know that this part is next."
Venegas claimed that in more than three years since they began hosting concerts and open mic nights at the former abandoned factory, the police had never been called, not a single time for a disturbance.
Venegas concluded, "We are public enemy # 1 in these streets. Our young people are being hunted in these streets and you just closed a space that for the last three-and-a-half years was keeping young people off the streets."
The rebels admit the landlord was against some murals recently painted on the roof, visible to the nearby Bruckner Expressway, but say the hip-hop concerts; seminars and workshops have benefited the community, since they took over the space.
The group says they spent $8,000 on a new electrical system and installed a professional recording studio and a performance stage that through various programs and workshops, served between 500 and 700 teens and young adults each month.
Former member Karen Louviere, 19, recalled the invasion of the groups space, stating, "They came in with armed officers into what is suppose to be a safe space for the community. A space that has served as an alternative for young people in the area, helping develop their talents in a positive way."
Calls to the New Rochelle-based landlord were not immediately returned but in one published report, the landlord's attorney said it was, "nothing personal," for the group's ouster other than complaints from neighbors, graffiti and having not paid rent since September.
In response to the eviction, more than 150 supporters shutdown Austin Place during an illegal gathering the following evening as the group used the electric, they installed-- one last time. As a wire was run from their former space to a light and sound system where a deejay would spin records for the next several hours.
NYPD patrol cars circled the area, but never came down the street. The crowd eventually disbanded, but the group has vowed to find another location.
Posted by Bronx News at 10:35 AM
Friday, February 1, 2013
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. issued the following statement on the passing of Mayor Ed Koch:
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 1- “Today the Bronx is mourning the death of a son and one of the city’s greatest and most charismatic public leaders. Mayor Ed Koch was a man of wit and wisdom, a leader who helped lift our city out of the brink of bankruptcy, raising our spirits along the way and securing New York’s place as the capital of the world.
“Mayor Koch was always proud of his Bronx roots. During his administration he helped rebuild the South Bronx, creating a task force that helped restore burned-out buildings while creating new, thriving communities—work that still resonates to this day. He was a man of deep devotion, who after leaving office continued to inspire New Yorkers through his activism and his commitment to a city he fiercely loved.
“While we mourn his loss we honor his legacy, commitment to civil rights and his civic leadership, which will forever live in our hearts and in the millions of lives he touched. On behalf of the 1.4 million residents of the Bronx, I would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this very difficult time,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
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Thursday, January 10, 2013
Hunts Point News: Political Field's Starting to Get Crowded in 2013: --> 100 PERCENT By Robert Press BRONX, NEW YORK, January 10- With many elected positions becoming vacant finally due to term...
Posted by Bronx News at 1:41 PM
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By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, January 10- With many elected positions becoming vacant finally due to term limits at the end of this year, the field of candidates to replace most those term limited officials is growing.
Starting with the mayor’s race on the Democratic side City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson have been joined by another Democrat (and also past mayoral candidate) former Brooklyn Councilman Sal Albanese. Albanese could take away some of the Quinn vote with his noted support on the issue of Gay Rights, and his pro-stance on the issue of term limits while in the city council. Speaker Quinn was leading in the early polls for mayor on the Democratic side, but now as some of the other potential candidates for mayor have dropped out Quinn is now in second place to undecided by several percentage points. She still has has hefty lead over the other democratic candidates.
On the Republican side, former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion has been joined by several higher profile candidates with former MTA head Joe Lhota being the latest to jump in. Other high profile candidates include George McDonald (founder of the Doe Fund, and good friend of current mayor Michael Bloomberg), supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis (who like Bloomberg has deep pockets of money), and others like Manhattan media CEO Tom Allon, and former Democratic State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith have also made overtures to the tune of possible Republican runs for mayor.
While the race for Bronx Borough President should be a solo race as current Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. has two terms still as Bronx BP, it is not the same in term limited Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan (but who cares in those boroughs). Turning to Bronx city council races in the 11th to replace term limited Councilman G. Oliver Koppell currently there are two announced candidates, with a few other potential but not probable names. The 12th should be a contest again this year for Andy King who was just elected in November to replace former Councilman Larry Seabrook who should have a new residence in Chez Federal Pen. King has not been able to get his feet wet in the district, and will be running against several candidates again. Jimmy Vacca 13th and Annabel Palma 18th should get a free ride in their last terms, while Fernando Cabrera 14th could see a major challenge if Assemblyman Jose Rivera is true to his words of wanting to finish out his political career as a city councilman. The 15th to replace term limited Councilman Joel Rivera is the big race this year with as many as ten people possibly going for this seat, with the name of Bronx Democratic County Committee Executive Director Ischia Bravo now being mentioned. I asked Ms. Bravo about her running in the 15th recently, and she said that there is a good possibility of it happening. In the16th where Councilwoman Foster will be term limited out, the rumor is that Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson should be seeking that seat, and a host of others that should drop out if Gibson does enter that race. In the 17th (Arroyo who still has one term) and 8th (which has a small part of the Bronx) no one knows what those districts will look like, as the redistricting commission has been asked to redraw the lines again. I caught up with Councilwoman Viverito (8th) at an event and asked her if her current Manhattan district was to be made a Bronx district for Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie's support of Speaker Quinn's campaign for mayor. Councilwoman Viverito was very candid in saying that yes indeed that there was politics involved in the redrawing of her district lines.
In other political news this month, newly elected Assemblymen Luis Sepulveda (87th A.D.) will have his swearing in at St. Raymond’s School auditorium (Tremont and Purdy Ave.) on Saturday January 12th starting at 12 p.m. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (80th A.D.) will have his swearing in at Columbus High School (925 Astor Avenue) on Sunday January 13th at 2 p.m.
Don't forget to check my blog at www.100percentbronx.blogspot.com for the story on and many photos of the Annual Three Kings Celebration by Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, and the New york Hispanic Clergy Organization. The Three Kings, Santa Claus, and several elected officials or candidates for office were in attendance, and some may have been wondering where their present from Santa or the Three Kings was. Also on the blog are other interesting items such as a link to mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion's first campaign expenditure disclosure, how much has been spent in less than two short months, and which family member is on the Carrion for Mayor payroll.
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 email@example.com or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.
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Posted by Bronx News at 1:40 PM