Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Naomi Rivera on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity, to interview New York State Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, who represents the 80th AD. Here are some of the Assemblywoman's views, on the issues of the day. Below the quotes, is the audio of the interview.

Rent-Regulation Laws

" The clock is on, and we are very concerned, because it does not appear to be the priority of the Governor. I am not hearing very much. What is resonating is Marriage Equality, Ethics Reform, the Property Tax-Cap."

" On rent-regulation laws we just don't hear the same level of concern."

Ethics Reform

" We continue to be the target. The concentration is not about the legislature being the bad guy, quite frankly I think it is just a smoke in glass."


" We did not extend the millionaires tax, and that is critical. What does that mean to our kids, that continue to be the ones that suffer at the brunt of the mis-management of dollars by the state."

" The day after we passed the budget one of the Republicans came into our members lounge, and he said. I knew we could pass an on time budget, cut spending, and not raise taxes. We just needed a Republican Governor."

" I was disappointed our kids, and our seniors will suffer. Education and Health-Care have been sacrificed."

Health Care

" We must address Medicaid fraud."

" Are we not going to be able to provide transplants for those people that are on Medicaid, because we don't have the money, and we are not doing real reform all we are doing is cuts."

Mayoral Control of Schools

" He is in the world of Billionaire Bloomberg."

" I was against Mayoral control. Why doesn't anyone hold him accountable."

" Our schools are bursting at the seams our kids are failing."

" I am so against charter schools. I am saddened by the fact that he has this much power."

Bronx Democratic Party

" I was disappointed in the way that it happened."

" That was then, now we understand that the bottom line is there is new leadership, and the only way to get things done is to work together. Carl Heastie, and I have been friends long before there was a coup. When I say friends we worked together. There was a time where we were not working together, and that was not working for the Borough of the Bronx. These days we are working together, the party is united, together is better."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mark Weprin on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity, to interview New York City Councilman Mark Weprin, who represents the 23rd CD. Here are some of the Council members views, on the issues of the day. Below the quotes, is the audio of the interview.


" The conversation between the Council, and the Mayor has not been good. The Mayor seems adamant about wanting to lay-off teachers, and we don't want teachers laid off at all. Those are cuts that would go directly to the class rooms."

" The Mayor talks about over-crowded classrooms this would make that worse. This is something that goes directly to the students, and that will affect how students learn."

" The Mayor is trying to make a deal with the Unions to try to change LIFO. I just think it's outrageous to play with kids lives like that."

" I don't know when the teachers became the enemy."

" In the end the Mayor does care about his public image it appears, he just spent 1 million dollars of his own money in order to try to repair it a little bit although it hasn't worked so well."

" I am very frustrated with the way the DOE is running our schools right now, I think they are too focused on trying to make themselves look good instead of actually doing good. So much of what they are doing, is how do we compile some type of data that we can use in order to make the schools look like they are improving."

" I don't think the schools are improving. I think the kids are learning less lately, and spending more time taking standardized tests."

" The City is spending 64 million dollars to give students another standardized test. The students are being used like lab mice. I personally think that these standardized tests are not a good evaluation of how students are doing, or how teachers are teaching."

" I get the feeling that the Mayor, and the Chancellor are laundering students. I am offended that this Mayor is closing schools especially historic high-schools. He was not given the right to take schools, and destroy them , and he has done that."

" The resources from the DOE are pouring into charter schools."

Governor Cuomo

" He is trying to bring the fiscal house in order. The millionaires actually got a tax decrease this year so that's a little offensive. There are things he's done that I don't agree with completely."

Homeless Population

" I assume that when the Mayor rides the subway with the five security people around him that might be a deterrent to a pan-handler, I can understand why he doesn't see them that often."

Co-Op Taxes

" They are getting slammed by the Department of Finance. The DOF is supposed to do an accurate tax assessment. But they are supposed to do a fair assessment."

" After beating him a little bit, he now agreed to cap it at 10%, so the co-op owners are being treated unfairly."

Water Taxes

" The co-op owners especially get killed some people waste water, and everyone picks up the tab. It is outrageous the way the water-board operates independently. They are definitely using this as a back door real estate tax."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Robert Rodriguez on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity, to interview State Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, who represents the 68th AD. Here are some of the Assemblyman's views, on the issues of the day. Below the quotes, is the audio of the interview.

The Budget

" There needs to be a fundamental re-consideration of member items. What isnt really recognized is the amount of good that gets done."

" Unfortunately the politics around member-items, and the abuse around that has put in so many considerations, and safe guards. The smaller organizations are forced to do without."

" There is a disproportionate impact in terms of the funding that low income communities get, and the fact that this makes the problem worst rather than makes it better."

" Every time we run into fiscal difficulties the first items on the chopping block are title 20, and summer youth. Every year these programs have been cut."

" Why are we targeting our seniors, and our young people."


" In East Harlem we continue to lose affordable housing."

" With the expiration of the Mitchell-Lama legislation we lost whole square blocks of apartments to de-control. We continue to lose roughly 3000-3500 apartments a year."

" We are effectively saying that there is no room for working class people."

Independent Re-Districting

" We need to make sure that there is the same level of diversity on that committee as there is in the communities that they represent."

" I want them to understand what that means to communities of color, and making sure that we comply with the voter rights act."


" What we do expect is transparency, and cooperation between the Mayor the DOE. In terms of addressing the needs of our different communities."

" Mayoral control has had it's problems. We have to be bottom line driven."


" Just cause you don't see them on every corner, does not mean they don't exist."

" The work advantage program was not a perfect program, but it was absolutely keeping people in their homes."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kumbaya In The Bronx

On Thursday, May 19th a fund raiser hosted by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. titled “ Bronx Politicians Unite in Support of Assemblyman Castro.” Was held, to demonstrate that there is now peace in the valley, between the Bronx Democratic Party, and Assemblyman Nelson Castro. In the not too distant past, Castro faced a primary from the County backed Hector Ramirez. The fundraiser raised 12,000 at the door with a goal of 20,000.

In attendance were Bronx County Democratic Party Chairman Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. In addition to the elected officials, were representatives from labor unions that supported Ramirez in the last election. " Every day when I check my mail box, there are checks in the mail." Stated Assemblyman Nelson Castro " I fully expect to meet my goal of 20,000 dollars." " The 20,000 dollars will help me, to retire my campaign debt which is about 40,000 dollars."

These types of fund-raisers, in some cases are meant to 1. show solidarity, and to deter prospective challengers. So we will see what happens.

Cuomo is Dragging His Feet

Is Governor Cuomo serious—or even interested— in extending or reforming rent regulation laws?

This is the question that some of his supporters are posing with the June 15th expiration of rent stabilization around the corner.

Advocates for the legislation say that while Cuomo’s push for a property tax cap and ethics reform are valid goals, they do not trump an issue that affects 2.5 million New Yorkers. State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Housing Committee, is among those disappointed. “This needs to happen yesterday, I don’t see why this is dragging, people are feeling anxious.” This is something that should be the number one issue. He has not placed this issue as a priority. He has the power to get this done.”

Bronx Councilwoman Annabel Palma who sits on the New York City Council’s distressed housing Task Force minced no words: “This is not the time to play politics with people’s lives, and it does not serve us to have to have a governor who is a Democrat on paper only. We need a leader that looks at the state as a whole, and not just pockets of the state that can help you win an election.”

East Harlem Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez had this to say." With the expiration of the Mitchell-Lama legislation, we lost whole square blocks of apartments to de-control. We continue to lose roughly 3000-3500 apartments a year."

To prod Cuomo into action and to neutralize the interests opposed to the extending, and strengthening rent stabilization, a mobilization was organized by the Real Rent Reform Movement which was held Tuesday in Albany. In a sign that Cuomo sees that the tide is turning against him, he held a press conference with the Leaders of the Legislature making it clear that any legislation that puts a cap on property taxes would be tied to an extension of rent-regulations. Senator Espaillat, was disappointed, with the way Cuomo framed the issue.” He only mentioned an extension of the current laws, the language was very vague.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Toby Ann Stavisky on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity, to interview State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who represents the 16th SD. Here are some of the State Senator's views, on the issues of the day. Below the quotes, is the audio of the interview.

Flushing Commons

" I would like to see some more parking there."

" I would like to see more affordable housing there."

" Congestion is something in Downtown Flushing that we need to reduce."

Willets Point

" All but 9 of the businesses have been re-located."

" The city has issued a request for a proposal."

" They are going to raise the road bed, so that they can overcome the flooding, the lack of sewers, and side walks. Its an embarrassment."

" Where else do you have this large a plot of vacant land, you have something in the neighborhood of 60 acres."

Co-Op Tax

" My increase would have been 147% increase from 5 million to 12 million couldn't believe it."

" Then the city announced we are only going to raise you 50% that's ridiculous to increase the assessment on co-ops, and condo's by 50%."

" The city changed it's position took another turn because of the out-cry, they decided my co-op would only be increased 6.5%."

" I cannot answer the question how come we go from 147% down to 50 down to 6 to me this makes no sense at all, currently co-ops are considered with rental housing."

" As a result they are subject to these heavy assessment increases."

Property Tax Cap

" I am not going to support a property tax cap unless there is a circuit breaker in there to help the people in co-ops."

" Condo's and rental's unfortunately the cost of a circuit breaker could be rather high, but it's more equalizing in terms of economic policy."

Ethics Reform

" Disclosure is extremely important if you are an Attorney such as Dean Skelos, and your firm has clients that do business with the state , I think you have an obligation to disclose those clients."

Rent Protection Laws

" The number one un-met need that we have in Albany."

" So we just have to make sure that we don't weaken existing regulations."

Marriage Equality

" I believe you cant pick, and choose who you are going to discriminate against."

" I see it as a Civil-Rights issue."

" Nobody is forcing any body to perform a wedding in fact there is an opt-out clause."

Mayor Bloomberg

" Yes I think he's got money in his rainy day fund, and it's raining."


" How insane can that be to me that he is hiring all kinds of consultants."

" He is contracting out."

" I am convinced that this Mayor would like to close public schools and replace them with charter schools."

" I think that is a terrible idea."

" They are doing the best they can to leave the parents out of the equation."

" I want to see the schools enhanced."

" I want to put the word public back in public schools."

" I am very troubled by the Mayor's attitude toward privatization."


" I am not convinced that the commuter rails the Metro North the LIRR are paying their fair share of the cost of their ride."

" We somehow seem to bail-out Nassau, and Suffolk, and West-Chester at the expense of the subway, and I find that to be troubling."

Independent Caucus

" When they said it was not about the money. It was about the money."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Annabel Palma on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity, to interview New York City Council member Annabel Palma, who represents the 18th CD. Here are some of Councilwoman Palma's views, on the issues of the day. Below the quotes, is the audio of the interview.

Living Wage

" I was overwhelmed with the response of the public and those opposed to the bill as well."

" We have to wait for the next steps which is try to negotiate on some issues of the bill, and see if we can bring the bill to a vote."

Kings Bridge Armory

" If I had to do it again I would definitely be fighting for jobs with fair wages and benefits."

" Because it is the only way we are going to lift people out of poverty."

School Closures

" I don't think closing a school, and re-naming it something else with out any real changes to policy in terms of what level of education we are going to be delivering is going to correct the problem."

" I don't think buildings, tables, and chairs are responsible for education."

Closing of Fire Houses

" I don't think it would be wise, and responsible of this administration to close any Fire Houses."

" All Fire Houses are important."

" I don't think we need to put the lives of New Yorkers in jeopardy that way."

City Surplus

" The administration has admitted there is a surplus."

" It would be wise of him (Mayor Bloomberg) to invest now in certain programs especially education."

Teacher Lay-Offs

" I think if the Council lets him go forward with it I mean anyone would do whatever you let them do."

" Not one Council member in this body believes that teacher lay-offs is the answer."


" I support seniority in any work area."

" At the same time I also believe that if a worker is not doing what they need to do properly there are steps to remedy that, and thats how we should be looking at that issue."

Pension Reform

" I don't support the discussions that are going on now."

Mayor Bloomberg and the Homeless population

" To say that we don't have pan-handlers to say that we don't have homeless people that's just not correct."

" Turning your face not to look at them does not mean that they don't exists."

" His record speaks for itself there are policies in place that are ill-conceived."

" People do not wake up, and say I want to be homeless."

" I wasn't the number one fan of the advantage program but taking it away from 15,000 people is just irresponsible."

Governor Cuomo

" This is not the time to play politics with people's lives, and it does not serve us to have a Governor who is a Democrat on paper only we need a leader that looks at the state as a whole, and not just pockets of the state that can help you win an election."

" Cutting vital services especially social services is not how we get our state out of the trenches."

" I don't think that this Governor has the best interest of the working class."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sayu Bhojwani on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity, to interview, New Americans Leaders Project founder Sayu Bhojwani. We discussed the mission statement of the organization, and a number of other topics. Here are some of the things we covered. Below the quotes, I have included the audio of the interview.

New Americans Leaders Project

" I started to explore the idea of a new organization that would train first, and second generation immigrants in civic leadership skills."

" We are the only national organization that is focused on preparing first, and second generation immigrants for civic leadership positions."

Diversity in Government

" The downside is that there are still a lot of first's which means that there a lot of barriers that have yet to be broken."

Voter Turn-Out

" The presence of new voices and new faces on the ballot is likely to motivate and spike voter turn out. That's part of what happened in 08, is that President Obama was able to ignite interest among people who might not otherwise have voted."

" And I think that phenomenon is very true among new american candidates. I know that when you look at the election of John Liu for example he was able to mobilize the Chinese American community in a way that no other candidate has."

" When a South Asian candidate runs anywhere in the country they bring in money from South Asian's all over the country even when they are not in their district."

" It's an argument we make all the time that there is a connection between who is running and who they can mobilize to vote in support of them."


" 13% of the country is foreign born and that just under 2% of Congress is represented by people who are born outside of this country."

" It confirms the disparity in leadership."

" I think there is that stark disparity."

" There is a huge surge in growth in sub-urban and rural areas of immigrant populations."

" 15 million people in the US are registered voters who are new Americans."

" We are not just around to be mobilized as numbers but we also can step into leadership positions."

" For some people it's an eye opener, but for some people it's also very threatening because it threatens the existing leadership."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Old Grudges Die Hard

New York State elected officials, who rely on discretionary funds for clout in their districts, are pulling their hair out over budget cuts. For the second consecutive year, they do not have discretionary money to dispense.

To read the rest of this column, please follow the link

Los Rencores Son Dificiles De Olvidar

Los funcionarios electos de Nueva York, quienes dependen de fondos discrecionales para ayudar a sus distritos, se están arrancando los pelos por las reducciones presupuestarias. Por segundo año consecutivo, no tienen dinero para repartir.

To read the rest of this column, please follow the link.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Keith Wright on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity to interview New York County Democratic Party chairman Assemblyman Keith Wright, who represents the 70th AD. Here are some of the highlights, of the interview, the entire audio of the interview is below the quotes.

On serving in Congress

" That is like asking Mark Sanchez of the Jets, if he wants to play in the Super Bowl."

" It is something of course, I would love to do."

Ethics Reform

" I am sure there will be something that does in fact happen."

The City Budget

" I do believe that the Mayor has a surplus."

" Where the surplus has gone I don't know."

Independent Re-Districting

" Whoever appoints a panel is definitely going to have some biases and prejudices."

" I think it's a misnomer."

Mayoral control of schools

" The Mayor has gone buck-wild."

" The Mayor is out of control."

" The Mayor is drunk with power."

" I would vote no right now."

" They don't listen to anybody."

" They have taken a very paternalistic view-point."

Bringing back the Commuters Tax

" I did not vote to get rid of the commuters tax the first time."

" You have to pay the piper if you come into NYC make your money here, and use the services you should be able to afford at least a penny per person."

" I think it's something we need now more than ever."

The State Budget

" This will be the second year in a row that we don't have member items."

" It is absolute devastation."

" A 10 Billion Dollar hole is a 10 Billion Dollar hole."

" If we did not pass his budget, and if we had a late budget, he was (Governor Cuomo)
going to make it worse, we were caught between a rock, and a hard place."

Rent Protection Laws Governor Cuomo

" I live in the same rent-stabilized apartment that I grew up in."

" I just don't know his total opinion on the subject."

" I think at the end of the day after much input from people like me he will understand our position."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Marcos Crespo on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity to interview Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, who represents the 85th AD. We discussed a number of issues, here are some of the highlights of the interview. In addition to some quotes, below you will find the audio of the entire interview.

Ethics Reform

" I think it's important for the Governor to put for public perception purposes for his own purposes it's important for him to keep this mantra, as the one who is forcing us to do this ethics bill."

" I have to highlight though that it's a minority of the members of the Legislature that have been caught doing things they shouldn't be doing its a black eye on all of us when those things happen."

Governor Cuomo and Silver vs. Pataki

" Any Governor can simply put our backs against the wall and force us into whatever he wants to see happen."

Rent Protection Laws

" This has got to be the most important policy decision we make this session rent protections we have to address this issue."

" The Senate is in the pockets of Land Lords."

" We believed in good faith that the Governor would use his political clout his 75% of New Yorkers agree with his agenda, well if thats his agenda then he needs to push that."

Millionaires Tax and Governor Cuomo

" Some of us continue to believe that we should re-visit the idea of the millionaires tax whether he thinks its a good idea or not."

" I said the same thing to him about even discretionary dollars in communities like mine where there are no resources."

Marriage Equality

" I am not against same sex marriage I am for traditional marriage."

" I have a faith based position on this issue."

" It's funny how we get used to using terms that advocate for one side subliminally."

" I think it's misunderstood just how conservative on moral issues the African-American and Latino communities really are."

" I am pro-life, and pro traditional marriage."

" I am offended when folks expect me to be ashamed of my positions, there is nothing to be ashamed of."

" I think there is room in the Democratic party for a conservative minded Democrat."

" I don't agree that marriage equality is a civil-rights issue."

NY Dream Act

" I think there are some issues with the bill as it is written."

" I support the initiative."

Education and Mayor Bloomberg

" We have seen enough of Mayor Bloombergs policies."

" I explained my vote against Mayoral control."

" There is no accountability when the guy can simply ignore community concerns ignore parental involvement."

" When Cathie Black was appointed I thought was the epitome of disrespect."

" I don't think he has understood the needs and the expectations of our communities."

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Sources tell me, that former Queens New York City Council member Helen Sears will be appointed Queens Deputy City Clerk in the very near future. The position of Deputy City Clerk is currently filled, but the current clerk is likely to step down, creating a vacancy likely to be filled by Sears.

The maneuvering for the Speaker of the New York City Council, has already begun. Here are the names being mentioned, in no particular order, as to who the favorite may be.

1. Inez Dickens

2. Melissa Mark Viverito

3. Jimmy Vacca

4. Mark Weprin

5. Jimmy Van Bramer

In a recent conversation, I had with Councilman Danny Dromm, he mentioned that he was receiving e-mails from the office of State Senator Ruben Diaz. He made it clear, to the sender, that he did not want to continue receiving e-mails from Senator Diaz. When the emails continued, he let be known, that he was going to make a complaint to the State Senate. The emails have since ceased.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Eric Stevenson on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity to interview New York State Assembly member Eric Stevenson, who represents the 79th AD. We discussed a number of issues, but you have to listen to the audio of the interview to hear them all. Below, I have transcribed some of the high-lights of the interview.

Rent Protection Laws and Governor Cuomo

" I have not seen anything in writing, yet, and I only hear the talk, but when it comes to the walk. I hope he is walking a straight line, in what he is saying, and he does the right thing."

Independent Re-Districting

" They know a Presidential is coming up, they cannot afford to lose Republican seats."

The Budget

" The Governor could have prioritized some other things, and did some better things for our communities."

" I am un-happy with the cuts to medicaid."

Ethics Reform

" We should have an upright, and clean Government."

" It is a right thing, but you should have had it 20 years ago."

Mayoral Control of schools

" We should have kept our school boards."

" Where are the results."

" What about the public schools."

Bringing back the Commuters Tax

" Now you have given me some new legislation."

" I think it is a great idea."

" I think we should re-visit it."

Millionaires Tax

" I guess the Governor has a lot of millionaire friends, and he did not want to step on them."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Make The Road NY Launching New Campaign


WHO: The Make the Road Action Fund, is a newly formed organization working to build political power rooted in working class Latino communities, promote policy solutions that improve the lives of all New Yorkers, and strengthen the movement for justice through electoral and grassroots organizing to advance progressive political and policy change in New York State

WHAT: Make the Road Action Fund is hiring canvassers to knock on doors in Brooklyn & Queens to engage thousands of people in the next 4 weeks.

If you are interested please contact the person below:
Yorman Nunez - yorman.nunez@gmail.com

WHY: We are partnering with community and labor allies on a city-wide campaign to engage working class New Yorkers to fight for good jobs, stronger communities and quality services.

See attached job description.

Make the Road Action Fund is partnering with community and labor allies to lead the FIGHT FOR A FAIR ECONOMY, a city-wide campaign to engage over 300,000 working class New Yorkers in a movement to demand respect and dignity for workers and communities.

Make the Road Action Fund will work primarily in Brooklyn and Queens to find workers interested in joining the fight for justice, people who support paid sick days and an increase to the minimum wage.

We are looking for people to work as door-to-door canvassers.



· You must be eligible to work in the U.S. (with two forms of ID)
· You must be organized, punctual, and a good team player.

What do you need to do to apply?
· Please call (347) 709-7131 or email: yorman.nunez@gmail.com to confirm set up a time for an interview
· Bring a copy of your social security card and government issued photo ID to the interview.


· Walk up and down the streets of designated neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens knocking on every door to identify people interested in joining the fight;
· Knock on a minimum of 100 doors and identify at least 25 campaign supporters every day;
· Keep accurate records of every door and every conversation, and complete reports at the end of every shift
· Work 25 hours a week, including evenings and weekends;
· Work collaboratively with door canvass team to achieve project goals.
START DATE Canvassers will work for 6 weeks, starting immediately
· 4-9pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
· 10-3pm Saturday
· 2-7pm Sunday
PAY: $10.50/hr

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Americans Leaders Project

Dear Friends,

As many of you may know, I have recently began working with a new organization called the New American Leaders Project (NALP). This is the only organization in the country specifically focused on preparing immigrants and their children for civic leadership.

Today nearly one in five Americans is an immigrant or a child of immigrant parents. Despite the electoral power immigrants hold, elected leadership across the country fails to mirror our country’s diversity. Here at NALP, we believe that through civic engagement and leadership, immigrants and their children can help strengthen the fabric of American democracy. I hope that my work here builds a powerful movement nationwide that recognizes the importance of immigrant contributions while working towards a more inclusive and representative democracy, and I need your help.

In partnership with Wellstone Action, NALP will offer a 3-day signature-training “Ready to LEAD” training that addresses the challenges and opportunities facing immigrant candidates while providing intensive self-assessment and skills building that will prepare individuals for political leadership from the community to the Capitol.

If you know individuals and community organizations interested in our upcoming June 9th training in New York City, please pass this message along or have them complete our application online at http://newamericanleaders.org/programs_training/application

In Solidarity,

Naila Caicedo-Rosario

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Workshops Being Held to Empower Latinos

Earlier in the day, I had a conversation with Jaime Estades, who is the founder of the Latino Institute Leadership Academy. The mission statement of the academy, is to train Latino's interested in running for office, or managing campaigns for national, or state office.

Jaime stated "That he was interested in following the model of political empowerment, of the Chicano's in the south-west and the west- coast." "That movement began 25 years ago and has led many Mexican-Americans to hold elected office and to play a vital role in the shaping of public policy."

Below, is a statement from Jaime, where he describes how he came up with the idea for the Latino Institute Leadership Academy. In addition to Jaime's statement. I am going to give you the list of political players conducting the work-shops. The sessions will be held on June 4th and June 5th 2011 at the Community Service Society 105 East 22nd Street Lexington Ave, NYC.

Thank you for your good wishes! To briefly answer your question, I incorporated the Latino Leadership Institute (LLI) in 1999 and then attained tax exempt (501(c)(3)) status. At that time, we did a couple of workshops in the Southside of Williamsburg and Washington Heights. The facilitators were Mike Nieves, Santiago Nieves and myself.

In 2001, I went to law school, and the project remained dormant until last year, when I attended the Latino Gatherings convened by Gerson Borrero and hosted and moderated by Juan Cartagena at the Community Service Society (CSS). There, I realized the political hunger that existed in our community to expand our political influence, create the right political representation and provide the tools to create new leadership.

In February of last year, I made a presentation at CSS about Latino politics in NYC, and I mentioned the need to have a political training institute (which is a primary component of LLI's stated mission).

In subsequent meetings, people kept reminding me of the importance and need of the Institute, until finally I called a meeting at Casabe Houses (hosted by Yolanda Sanchez) with people who had expressed their interest in working to revive the Institute. More than a month ago, we started working on the project.

Because of the great response we have had for the June Academy, we scheduled with CSS a second Academy for November 19 and 20, 2011. We are also in discussions to have a third Academy for upstate Latinos, most likely to take place in Syracuse.

The long term plan is to focus on the 2012 Presidential election in the East Coast and the 2013 New York Mayoral and local elections. Our future activities will include not only trainings but also nonpartisan voter registration and turn out the vote.

Juan Cartagena, ESQ Speaker: 2011 Redistricting and the Law

Jerry H. Goldfeder, ESQ Course: Petitions

Gerson Borrero Speaker: Latino Politics and the Media

Hank Sheinkopf Course: Identifying Voter Issues and Polling

Leo Glickman, ESQ Course: Campaign Finance/Fundraising

Felipe Luciano Course: How To Handle the Media

Jose Ithier Course: Public Speaking

Zenaida Mendez Course: Building Base-Issue Oriented/Voter Registration

Lucia Gomez Speaker: 2011 Re-Districting

Yolanda Sanchez Speaker: Women and Politics

Alice Cardona Course: Issue Building a Volunteer Base/Voter Registration

Jose Candelario Course: Message

Debra Martinez Course: Public Speaking

Juan Martinez Course: Field Operation/Get Out The Vote

Ydanis Rodriguez on THE PEREZ NOTES

I had the opportunity to interview, New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, whose district is the 10th CD. Here are some of highlights of the interview. Below the quotes, is the audio of the interview.

On the cuts in the budget.

" The cuts are based on social services."

" The struggle is always there. It is a matter of social class."

" The elite have been running this city."

" It is basically in the Black, and Latino in the poor communities, that always the cuts affect the most. In the 80's and still today in 2011."

" The city is not broke, Wall Street is doing better that ever."

" We are balancing the budget with priorities on capital projects."


" We have to invest in early childhood education."

" Black and Latino children when they turn 5 they have a deficit."

" So many DOE contracts benefit corporations."

" When our children are not ready, they wind up in the juvenile system."