Why Wait For The State? City Racing To Budget Deal

Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council are aiming to strike a handshake agreement on a city budget by Friday, three days before the state’s self-imposed deadline to complete its long overdue spending plan, according to people with knowledge of the budget process.The rapidly approaching deadline had advocates crowding the steps of City Hall and lobbying councilmembers on Wednesday. At around noon, as the Council’s budget negotiating committee was set to meet, advocates for after-school programs sat on the sidelines as supporters of immigrant assistance programs packed the steps. A lobbyist for day care workers chatted with reporters. Said Greg Faulkner, chief of staff to freshman Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera, in a phone interview: “You can’t walk through the hallway without people pouncing, which is what they should do.”Click here for a list of Council members.Gov. Paterson has set a deadline of Monday, June 28 to complete the state budget that was supposed to be done by April 1. The lack of a firm state budget means the city must guess at how much state aid will come its way.

High Hopes For Paterson's Immigrant Pardon Panel

At a recent city council hearing, local immigrants and their advocates spoke with restrained optimism about Paterson’s new panel, which held its first meeting the last week of May. By: Chris Giblin

At a hearing conducted last week by the City Council’s Immigration Committee, city officials and residents spoke with restrained optimism regarding Gov. Paterson’s recently created immigrant pardon panel. The panel – designed to review the pardon requests of ex-convicts facing the threat of deportation – held its first meeting on Monday, May 24th, according to Paterson’s Director of Communications, Morgan Hook. A pardon from the panel – the first of its kind in the country – would prevent an ex-convict’s deportation by wiping his criminal record clean.Mark Maynard, a Guyanese immigrant who testified at the City Council’s hearing, said he is worthy of such a pardon. Maynard testified that he emigrated to the United States at the age of nine, was convicted of armed robbery in 2000, and is now facing the threat of deportation.

Bronx News Roundup, June 23

The Obama image on a toolbox that landed a Tremont firehouse in hot water earlier this week has been removed, FDNY officials have said.A farm in upstate Schoharie County is a new source of fresh produce for the South Bronx.Two Bronx sites were granted landmark status yesterday. The Haffen Building, on Third Avenue in Melrose, and the Noonan Plaza, on West 168th Street in Highbridge, are now both preserved as city landmarks-meaning they can’t be altered without the approval of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.Speaking of landmarks: the city is considering making the Grand Concourse, between

Story of the Day: Seeds for Future Sowed in Classroom Garden

The perimeter of Steve Ritz’s classroom at Discovery High School is consumed by sprouts, vegetables, and flowers that grow in pots, and on walls.What began here as a simple science experiment has grown into a gardening phenomenon that is opening doors and eyes. It has led to a school-wide lesson in healthy eating and, ultimately, to Ritz’s students getting certified and employed as green technology workers.Read more here in the Norwood News.

Renovations at Roberto Clemente's Pool Still Not Finished

The pool at Roberto Clemente State Park in Morris Heights is still undergoing renovations, which started last year. (File photo, Mount Hope Monitor)While most public pools will open at the end of this month (City-run pools are slotted to open on Tuesday) swimmers near Roberto Clemente State Park will have to find somewhere else to cool off-for the second year in a row.Local residents were irked last year when the park’s Olympic-sized swimming pool was closed for the summer to start renovations, which were supposed to take only 12 months. But construction is still going on, according to Rachel Gordon, a regional director with the State Parks Department. She had no estimates for when the project would be finished.”It’s nowhere near ready,” said Leon Johnson, president of the nearby apartment complex River Park Towers, and a Community Board 5 member. “They’re talking about August, they’re talking about October.

Bronx Green Business Summit This Friday

Come join Bronx business owners, advocates, executives, entrepreneurs and the Bronx News Network this Friday at the Bronx Green Business Summit.The summit will include breakout sessions on “Attainable-Measurable-Sustainable” business practices, an expo area of green products, programs and services and a Keynote Luncheon featuring Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.The event will be held at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, 3901 Fieldston Road, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more info, call Angela Boston at (212) 289-8506 ext. 305 or visit www.bronxgreenbusiness.com.

Diaz, Parker Battle in the Senate Chambers

State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr., sent out a press release this morning to “set the record straight” about his very public argument with fellow Senator Kevin Parker, of Brooklyn.The two exchanged heated words in the Senate chamber yesterday when Diaz planned to vote against a democrat-backed bill. He claims Parker threatened him verbally-using a colorful obscenity to do so.”As I stated last night Senator Parker was saying eff this, eff that. In front of the ladies,” Diaz said in a statement. “It’s uncalled for. If I want to vote no on something, nobody is going to tell me to eff me.

Hunts Point Riverside Park vandalized

Hunts Point Riverside Park is one of the city’s prettiest public spaces, the gateway to the Bronx River, rescued by a community that cleaned up an illegal dump and fought to get the city to create a park. On Saturday night, vandals spray-painted tags on its paths, walls, benches and even trees. The full story is in The Hunts Point Express.

Hunts Point Riverside Park Vandalized

Hunts Point Riverside Park is one of the prettiest open spaces in the city, the gateway to the Bronx River and a symbol of community engagement. On Saturday night vandals spraypainted graffiti on every surface, from walkways to piers to benches and even trees. The full story is in The Hunts Point Express.