By New York City Bronx Borough President Diaz
January 20, 2011
“While I understand that these are difficult financial times and that tough choices have to be made, any cuts made to the City budget must neither affect the vital services that Bronxites rely on nor do any immediate harm to our hard working City employees, retirees and their families. My office will analyze the specifics of the mayor’s budget proposals as they are made available and judge them on their merits at the appropriate time.
“It is unfortunate that Mayor Bloomberg hardly mentioned the Bronx in his speech, and that when he did so failed to mention any of the major projects that our borough needs his support on. Of particular note is the Hunts Point Cooperative Market, perhaps our borough’s largest economic engine, which we are actively trying to keep in our borough in the face of an uncooperative administration.
“I am also disappointed that the mayor did not speak frankly on the crisis facing our public schools, instead choosing to congratulate himself and the Department of Education on the ‘enormous progress’ he claims to have made. This year’s adjustment of state test scores showed us all just how small those gains really were, and it would have been appreciated by City parents if the mayor had been frank and honest about the performance of the Department of Education and the future of our schools in his speech.
“Not everything in the mayor’s speech is worthy of criticism. His proposal to allow livery cabs in the outer boroughs to pick up street passengers is a great idea, and one that will improve the lives of both passengers and livery cab drivers. It is rare to see a yellow cab in the Bronx, so this new program will give borough residents in many underserved neighborhoods the ability to hail a legal taxi.
“This plan will also give livery cab drivers the ability to have the protection of the law on their side when they do pick up street passengers, preventing them from being subjected to tickets, fines and other penalties that only make their lives and jobs more difficult than they already are.
“In addition, I remain proud of Mayor Bloomberg and his commitment to keep guns off our streets, and I will stand with him in his efforts to change our laws in order to ensure that individuals who should not have guns cannot have guns. The recent tragedy in Arizona has shown us just how ineffective our gun laws can be, and I am ready to stand with the mayor to fight for sensible gun policy that protects innocent Americans. I am also supportive of the mayor’s call for comprehensive immigration reform, which is long-overdue.
“It was mentioned that, in 2010, 48 million visitors came to the City. The Bronx is the only borough that lacks a world-class hotel, and bringing such an amenity to the Bronx is a perfect opportunity for the mayor to work with my office and make this important project a reality, ensuring that the Bronx can welcome as many of these visitors as possible,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.