Bronx Political Round Up: State of the City’s Juvenile Justice System

Last year, Gene DeFrancis recorded an endorsement of Democrat Mark Gjonaj for City Council. Today, he’s running on the GOP line to fill Gjonaj’s vacancy in the 80th AD. (YouTube)

Political Independent Gene DeFrancis Readies GOP Bid for State Assembly

New York Assembly candidate (8oth AD) Gene DeFrancis became the official nominee of the Republican Party of Bronx County back February 13, 2018. DeFrancis joins Democrat Nathalia Fernandez in the race to replace former assemblyman and now city councilman Mark Gjonaj in Albany. The 80th AD covers parts of Morris Park, Allerton, Gun Hill, Norwood and Pelham Gardens.

DeFrancis, 37, is founder of the Allerton International Merchants Assosiation and a veteran of the United States Navy, has championed small business development and expansion within the 80th Assembly District, and placed education and healthcare reforms at the core of his candidacy. In a statement released to The Bronx Chronicle, DeFrancis said he believes “…we must support our students at all levels of education to ensure they are on the right path and have the tools they need to achieve success in the future.”

Among his campaign promises, DeFrancis pledges to “be an accessible, reliable, and transparent candidate and Assemblyman as my campaign moves forward. I will fight for my constituents and will a candidate that the party will be proud of.”

The special election wll be held on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. You can learn more about Gene DeFrancis and his campaign by visiting his campaign website:

State of the City’s Juvenile Justice System

Bronx Councilman Andy King, chair of the Committee on Juvenile Justice, holds his first public hearing to assess the state of the city’s juvenile justice system today at 1 p.m. in the Committee Room at 250 Broadway, 16th Floor, Manhattan.

“We will be hearing from young people who have endured being in the ‘system’,” said CM Andy King. “We plan to assess the state of the juvenile justice system in the City of New York, come up with solutions and action plans.”

Representatives from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Division of Youth and Family Justice are expected to testify along with advocates and members of the public.

Living Legends: An Evening with the Tuskegee Airmen

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Assemblyman Michael Blake, City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and Congressman José Serrano co-host a Black History Month celebration, “Living Legends: An Evening with the Tuskegee Airmen and the Harlem Hell Fighters — the 369th Infantry Regiment” at 6:00 PM at the Renaissance Youth Center located at 3485 3rd Avenue (163rd Street) in the Bronx. Doors open at 5:30 PM and the program begins promptly at 6 PM.

US Supreme Court Rules in Jennings v. Rodriguez

State Senator Gustavo Rivera released a statement criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Jennings v. Rodriguez: “Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court denies immigrants the right to periodic bond hearings while they wait for their immigration cases to be determined. This is a clear violation of our constitution and overall human rights. While this case has been sent back to the Ninth Circuit Court to be reexamined, the decision will leave thousands of immigrants, including those who are seeking asylum or have a permanent legal status, behind bars for months, without any reasonable recourse. At a time when we have an administration that is blatantly pursuing racist and aggressive deportation policies, this decision will have a devastating impact on our values as a country and the lives of countless individuals.” Sen. Rivera added that he commits himself “to continuing the fight against the unjust and inhumane treatment of immigrants across our country.”

Recapping the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Conference

On Wednesday, Assemblyman Michael Blake circulated an email recapping the 47th annual New York Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Conference which was held over the President’s Day three-day weekend in Albany.

The My Brother’s Keeper session focused on the MBK initiative is being applied in New York and is #ChangingTheNarrative. The Criminal Justice Reform session focused on efforts to amend the Tinted Windows law, which can have similar effects to stop and frisk. Assemblyman Blake discussed how the weekend conference empowered young community leaders to talk about social issues affecting people of color in the Millennials as a Voting Bloc / State of Young Black New York workshop. Lastly,some attendees gathered to mobilize with New York Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. fraternity at The Urgency of Now training and reception.

Blake recounted attending the annual worship service at Wilborn Temple Church of God in Christ and spoke to the A.I.P.A.C. reception on Sunday. Paola Mendoza of the Women’s March and Junior Martinez and Alfredo Anguiera from the Bronx Drafthouse were honored. The Caucus weekend concluded with the annual scholarship gala where CNN’s Bakari Sellers was the keynote speaker.

Best Tweet — Sweet Victory

On Tuesday, City Councilman Andy King and scores of Bronx residents descended on a NYC Board of Standards and Appeals administrative appeal hearing for a Bronx developer who wants to install an electronic billboard consisting of 54 individual signs at 2001 Bartow Avenue in Co-op City. Plans for the potential billboard was rejected by the BSA. It was a sweet victory for CM King and his spirited group of Co-op City residents.

Last month, Councilman King and Co-op City residents rallied on Bartow and Baychester avenues against the triangular electronic billboards that went up at that location in December 2017. The neon signs have been a disruption to nearby cooperative apartment owners, shining bright light into their bedrooms all night. Baychester Retail III seeks to install another electronic billboard at the same location but 34 stories tall.

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