Bronx Political Round Up: Gun Control

AM-15 Rifle used in BLHC Shooting

AM-15 Rifle used in BxLebanon Hospital Center Shooting

Schumer: Trump’s Budget Would Slash Funding For The Gun Check System

In the wake of the tragic Parkland, Florida shooting that took the lives of 17 innocent individuals, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer revealed that the just-released White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 cuts millions of dollars from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). NICS is used by law enforcement to check records on individuals who may be prohibited from purchasing firearms. Polls show that over 90 percent of the American public supports a background check system on all gun buyers. Schumer, author of the Brady Law that passed in 1993, said “In the midst of the national tragedy in Parkland, Florida, and on the heels of now 30 mass shootings that have taken place this year alone, it is downright dangerous that the president’s budget would seek to undermine the gun background check system.”

Photo: Team Diaz honoree Ms. Norma Saunders. Credit: Robert Press

Team Diaz Abrazo Afro-Americano Held

Along with Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., Team Diaz comprises Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Bronx Democratic county leader and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, and Councilman Rafael Salamanca. The Abrazo’s five honorees were: Norma Saunders, Annie Johnson, Constance Walker Hendricks, Daniel Barber, and posthumously Ms. Charlotte Terrel Sapp. The event was celebrated at Maestro’s Caterers last Friday night.

Senator Jeff Klein Celebrates Black History Month

On Saturday, four-hundred people attended State Senator Jeff Klein’s Black History Celebration at Villa Barone on Throgs Neck Expressway. The event’s keynote speaker was Ms. Bertha Lewis, president, The Black Institue and the founder of ACORN. The seven honorees included Michael Barnes, Founder of C.A.L.F. Industries (Courageous Athletic Leaders Forever); Deputy Inspector Benjamin Gurley, Commanding Officer of the 43rd Precinct; Stephanie Hill Community Organizer and Activist; Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, Superintendent of the Mount Vernon City School District; Katherine Hamm, principal, P.S. 107X; Larry Robinson, Chair, Bronx Community Board #2’s Youth Services Committee; and Madge Leanna Holsey Shaw, community activist and education advocate.

Beltzer Files for Independent Run for April 24 Special Elex

Michael Beltzer has filed an independent petition to run for the 32nd State Senate special election. Democratic party sources say that Beltzer will be challenged on residency tomorrow. The Bronx Chronicle was informed that Beltzer had lived (213 Husson Av) in the nearby 34th senate district until November 3, 2017, when he moved to (1247 Virginia Av) and re-registered to vote (11/13/2017) in the 32nd district. State election law requires that a candidate “be a resident of a district for 12 months immediately preceding election.”

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda (AD 84) is the Democratic candidate and Patrick Delices, a Hunter College professor, former city council candidate (17th Co), is the Republican standardbearer and Pamela Stewart-Martinez has the Reform Party nod in the special election to be held on Tuesday, April 24. The 32nd Senate district covers Parkchester, Castle Hill, Soundview, West Farms, Morrisania, Melrose, Concourse Village, Hunts Point, Longwood, Unionport, Crotona Park East and Bronx River communities (formerly represented by now Councilman Ruben Diaz, Sr).

Last year, Beltzer finished fourth in balloting in the Democratic primary for city council (18th Co) and was unsuccessful in the general election running as a Liberal Party candidate.

PA James Calls on City to Defend Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James called on the City’s Corporation Counsel to defend a constitutional challenge to the Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act (VGMVPA), a law that gives victims the right to sue for damages and relief. Fox News anchor Charles Payne, joined by 21st Century Fox, is challenging the law in a case brought by Scottie Nell Hughes, a journalist suing the company for gender-motivated violence, gender discrimination, retaliation, and defamation.

The VGMVPA allows an individual to file for relief and damages if they are the victim of a gender-motivated crime. Scottie Nell Hughes, a journalist, is suing Charles Payne, Fox News, 21st Century Fox, and some Fox News executives. The defendants are questioning the constitutionality of VGMPA in an attempt to defend themselves. New York City has the right to intervene in any case when the constitutionality of a law in its jurisdiction is being challenged. Public Advocate James is calling on the City to do just this.

Vote Better NY Lauches Petition Drive

A coalition of civic groups and citizen advocates launched the Vote Better NY petition calling on lawmakers in Albany to adopt essential voting reforms that will take down barriers to the ballot box. With the presidential election only two years away, state lawmakers must act now to ensure that all eligible New Yorkers can register to vote and cast a ballot that counts on Election Day in 2020.

Organizations partnering with NYC Votes on this effort to date include: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Inc. Delta Rho Omega Chapter, City University of New York Student Senate, Coalition Z, Dalton High School, Dominicanos USA, Educated Voter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. North Manhattan Alumnae Chapter, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Eta Nu Zeta Chapter, NAACP Syracuse Chapter, NAACP NYCHA Chapter, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and NYC Veterans Alliance.

Councilman Jumaane Williams (1st row, 2nd from right). Photo: Jumaane4NY

Bernie Bros Endorse CM Williams for Lt. Governor

Last week, City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) declared his candidacy for the office of Lieutenant Governor of New York State. The People for Bernie Sanders activist group is endorsing CM Williams’ left-leaning candidacy and will carry petitions to get him on the ballot in the Democratic primary. The announcement was made at a large rally on the steps of City Hall in lower Manhattan and was attended by elected officials, activists, and community members in support of William’s bid for to be Governor Andrew Cuomo’s running mate. Current Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul is running for election.

Where The Pols Are, February 25

Mayor Bill de Blasio is in New York City with no public schedule.

8:30 AM – “Cats’ Roundtable Radio Program” with John Catsimatidis features New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, state Sen. John DeFrancisco, and other guests. AM 970.

12:00 PM – Public Advocate Letitia James appears on WABC’s “Here and Now with Sandra Bookman”

12:00 PM – Public Advocate James delivers remarks at the 19th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival. 119 Mott Street, NManhattan.

3:00 PM – Public Advocate James delivers remarks at Council Member Rory Lancman’s Black History Month Celebration. First Presbyterian Church, 89-60 164th Street, Jamaica, NY

3:30 PM – Assemblyman Michael Blake delivers remarks at Mount Carmel A.M.E. Church Men’s Day program in New Rochelle.

— Compiled by Michael Benjamin

Robert Press contributed to this report.

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