B – to the – R – to the – O – N – X!!! News Roundup, Feb. 25

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We're skipping the usual intro today and just giving you the “BX Marks the Spot” hip hop video shown yesterday at Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.'s state of the borough speech yesterday. Produced by Bronxnet's Derek Woods and featuring Opera Steve, Silkedeezy and Steve Kane, the video was created in response to what Diaz Jr. perceived as negative stereotyping of the borough by “American Idol.” Enjoy. The Bronx, The Broooooooooooonx!

Story of the Day:
Diaz Jr. spoke at length yesterday about his support for the Fair Wage for New Yorkers Act, also known as the “living wage” bill, which was born out of the battle over wages during the Kingsbridge Armory mall negotiations in 2009. The legislation, sponsored by Bronx council members Oliver Koppell and Annabel Palma, would tie city subsidies to wage guarantees. In other words, under this law, if a developer receives city subsidies – tax breaks, no-interest loans, etc. – then the companies who move into the devleopment will be required to pay employees who work there, $10 an hour, plus benefits, or $11.50 an hour, without benefits.

City Limits writer Neil deMause sifts through the arguments on both sides of the issue in this hearty piece of in-depth journalism.

A couple of follow-up notes on this: 29 Council members support bill, including everyone in the Bronx delegation aside from Jimmy Vacca. They need five more to create a veto-proof super majority. Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera told me yesterday that they will work hard to get Vacca into the fold, but that the east Bronx representative has a “different constituency” than he and the other Bronx delegates and that the living wage issue isn't as important to them, and consequently, Vacca. “All politics is local,” Rivera said. Stay tuned.

Quick Hits:
A big drug raid on Villa Avenue netted a small arsenal of firearms, including five assault weapons.