Thursday, January 10, 2013

Highbridge News: Political Field's Starting to Get Crowded in 2013

Highbridge News: Political Field's Starting to Get Crowded in 2013: --> 100 PERCENT By Robert Press BRONX, NEW YORK, January 10- With many elected positions becoming vacant finally due to term...

Political Field's Starting to Get Crowded in 2013

By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, January 10- With many elected positions becoming vacant finally due to term limits at the end of this year, the field of candidates to replace most those term limited officials is growing. 
Starting with the mayor’s race on the Democratic side City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson have been joined by another Democrat (and also past mayoral candidate) former Brooklyn Councilman Sal Albanese. Albanese could take away some of the Quinn vote with his noted support on the issue of Gay Rights, and his pro-stance on the issue of term limits while in the city council. Speaker Quinn was leading in the early polls for mayor on the Democratic side, but now as some of the other potential candidates for mayor have dropped out Quinn is now in second place to undecided by several percentage points. She still has has hefty lead over the other democratic candidates.
On the Republican side, former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion has been joined by several higher profile candidates with former MTA head Joe Lhota being the latest to jump in. Other high profile candidates include George McDonald (founder of the Doe Fund, and good friend of current mayor Michael Bloomberg), supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis (who like Bloomberg has deep pockets of money), and others like Manhattan media CEO Tom Allon, and former Democratic State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith have also made overtures to the tune of possible Republican runs for mayor.
While the race for Bronx Borough President should be a solo race as current Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. has two terms still as Bronx BP, it is not the same in term limited Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan (but who cares in those boroughs). Turning to Bronx city council races in the 11th to replace term limited Councilman G. Oliver Koppell currently there are two announced candidates, with a few other potential but not probable names. The 12th should be a contest again this year for Andy King who was just elected in November to replace former Councilman Larry Seabrook who should have a new residence in Chez Federal Pen. King has not been able to get his feet wet in the district, and will be running against several candidates again. Jimmy Vacca 13th and Annabel Palma 18th should get a free ride in their last terms, while Fernando Cabrera 14th could see a major challenge if Assemblyman Jose Rivera is true to his words of wanting to finish out his political career as a city councilman. The 15th to replace term limited Councilman Joel Rivera is the big race this year with as many as ten people possibly going for this seat, with the name of Bronx Democratic County Committee Executive Director Ischia Bravo now being mentioned. I asked Ms. Bravo about her running in the 15th recently, and she said that there is a good possibility of it happening. In the16th where Councilwoman Foster will be term limited out, the rumor is that Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson should be seeking that seat, and a host of others that should drop out if Gibson does enter that race. In the 17th (Arroyo who still has one term) and 8th (which has a small part of the Bronx) no one knows what those districts will look like, as the redistricting commission has been asked to redraw the lines again. I caught up with Councilwoman Viverito (8th) at an event and asked her if her current Manhattan district was to be made a Bronx district for Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie's support of Speaker Quinn's campaign for mayor. Councilwoman Viverito was very candid in saying that yes indeed that there was politics involved in the redrawing of her district lines.
In other political news this month, newly elected Assemblymen Luis Sepulveda (87th A.D.) will have his swearing in at St. Raymond’s School auditorium (Tremont and Purdy Ave.) on Saturday January 12th starting at 12 p.m. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (80th A.D.) will have his swearing in at Columbus High School (925 Astor Avenue) on Sunday January 13th at 2 p.m. 
Don't forget to check my blog at for the story on and many photos of the Annual Three Kings Celebration by Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, and the New york Hispanic Clergy Organization. The Three Kings, Santa Claus, and several elected officials or candidates for office were in attendance, and some may have been wondering where their present from Santa or the Three Kings was. Also on the blog are other interesting items such as a link to mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion's first campaign expenditure disclosure, how much has been spent in less than two short months, and which family member is on the Carrion for Mayor payroll.
If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.
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Feds Shut Down Bx Drug Gang

Ringleaders Charged with Kidnapping,
Burning the Victim with an Iron
BRONX, NEW YORK, January 10- The FBI and NYPD announced charges against 10 members of a criminal organization based on Wyatt Street in the West Farms section of the Bronx. Nine of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and heroin. 
The crew’s alleged ringleader, Anibal Ramos, and one of its members, Anibal Soto, were charged in the original, July 2012 indictment with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and the brandishing of a firearm in connection with, and in furtherance of, the kidnapping. Ramos and Soto are alleged to have kidnapped and tortured an individual, including by burning the victim with an iron. The superseding indictment adds narcotics charges against Ramos and also charges him and three of the new defendants with possessing firearms in connection with, and in furtherance of, the crack cocaine and heroin conspiracy.
All eight of the new defendants charged were taken into custody as part of a coordinated operation involving federal and local law enforcement officers. Ramos, who was arrested in August 2012, and Soto, who was arrested in July 2012, remain detained. All the defendants arrested today will be presented in Manhattan federal court this afternoon.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As alleged, for far too long, these defendants were a bloody blight on a Bronx community, contaminating it with poisonous and highly addictive drugs and the guns and brutal violence that are part and parcel of the drug trade. This case demonstrates our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who engage in this conduct and to expand cases previously charged when we develop new evidence. With the charges we bring today in two separate cases against 19 defendants, the Bronx neighborhoods in which they ran amok are safer places for their residents.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos, “This case highlights once again the dual threat posed to our communities by the illegal drug trade. The drugs themselves are poison, with life-altering and lethal consequences. And violence almost always comes with the territory. We remain committed to restoring our communities to their law-abiding residents.”
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, “The depraved acts of torture described in the indictment need no further characterization, other than to observe that the nexus between drug trafficking and violence is well-established, and the commitment among police and prosecutors to bring its practitioners to justice is unyielding.”
As alleged in the superseding indictment unsealed and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:
From at least 2000 through August 31, 2012, Ramos was the leader of a drug crew that operated on Wyatt Street in the Bronx and sold significant street level quantities of crack cocaine and heroin. In addition, members of the drug trafficking organization used firearms, threats of violence, and violence to secure and enforce their drug territory, including the kidnapping and brutal torture committed by Ramos and Soto.
Ramos, Joel Cabrera, William Zacchi, Christopher Hernandez, Michael Aviles, Latrell Riddles, Charitza Quintana, Yasmine, Zelayandia, and Jacqueline Hernandez are charged with conspiring to distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute, crack cocaine and heroin.
Ramos, Aviles, Riddles, and Zelayandia are also charged with possessing firearms in connection with, and in furtherance of, the crack cocaine and heroin conspiracy.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD. He added that the investigation is continuing.
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Cops Catch ‘Mugger’ Following Dimwit Pic taken from Stolen iPod

Photogenic Felons
More Criminal Masterminds Join Cops’ List of Getting Caught on Camera
By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, January 7- How did cops catch this criminal mastermind? Maybe it was the photo she took of herself from a stolen iPod.
We all know that if criminals weren’t stupid they wouldn’t get caught, but one suspect made it too easy for cops. Police released photos taken, allegedly by a thief, from the victim’s stolen iPod. The drama began at around 7 p.m. on December 21. A 17-year-old woman was waiting for a bus at Tremont and Crotona Avenues. A person walked up behind and punched her in the head. The attacker took the victim’s handbag and fled. 
Although the victim was able to give a description, cops received an early Christmas present. Turns out the suspect took pictures of herself using the victim’s stolen iPod. 
Police arrested 17-year-old Felecia Cooks over the weekend for the East Tremont mugging. Cops were able to enact an arrest just days after they released photos of Cooks allegedly taken from the iPod stolen in the mugging. 
Another photogenic perp was caught on camera for a Parkchester stickup. Cops released photos of the suspect for a robbery that occurred in the vicinity of Purdy Street and Maple Drive. At around 9 p.m. on December 20, police say two men approached a 17-year-old, displayed a gun and demanded money. The pair snatched the victim’s cellphone and jewelry before fleeing on foot. However, surveillance video from inside a Parkchester building captured one of the suspects.
Cops described the suspects as both black men in their 20s about 180 pounds. One was last seen wearing blue jeans, brown coat and a blue Nautica baseball cap. The second suspect was seen wearing black jeans, blue leather jacket and black hoodie under his jacket.
In another case, police just released surveillance video of a suspect wanted for a Morris Park stickup. At around 6:30 p.m. on December 29, without wearing a mask the suspect walked into a grocery store on Morris Park Avenue and pulled out a silver handgun. Waving the weapon, the crook demanded cash. When the clerk would not move fast enough, the robber went behind the counter and took the cash out of the register. He fled on foot. 
The suspect is described as a black male 40 to 50 years old, 5 foot 8 to 6 foot 2, and weighing between 170 and 200 pounds. 
Another criminal mastermind had his victim come to him. Cops say the suspect posted an ad on Craigslist selling a laptop. On December 26, an interested buyer went to 1275 Lafayette Avenue to meet the seller. Instead of a laptop the victim got a face full of mace. The crook made off with $350 in cash but not before a photo was taken of him. 
In yet another robbery, cops released photos of a suspect in a Bedford Park robbery who did not bother to try and hide his identity while pretending to be a cop. The suspect headed a crew of four other men who all wore ski masks. However, the leader did not and his image was caught on surveillance video.
At around 5 a.m. on December 9, the suspect entered the building on Orloff Avenue and let his four accomplices in. He then proceeded to knock on an apartment door claiming to be a police officer. When the tenant opened the door, the crew rushed inside. The thieves tied up the occupants and made off with property. The phony cop is described as a Hispanic male, 30 to 40 years old and 200 pounds. He was seen wearing blue jeans and a white jacket. The four other suspects who wore ski masks are believed to be Hispanic.
Anyone with information is urged to call CRIMESTOPPERS at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are confidential.
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winners & Losers 2012

By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, January 2- Losers in 2012. I am going to start with the real losers of 2012, and save the politicians for last. The biggest losers were the people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, because there were so many of them. Some are still without homes that were either ruined or are uninhabitable, and have lost almost everything they had. Many other people citywide and beyond were losers when the transit system relied upon every day went down. Tunnels as well as many lower Manhattan buildings were flooded, and power was lost for more than a week in many areas. New York City lost umpteen millions of dollars in revenue, and the lasting damage of Hurricane Sandy to the tune of over $60 million in federal aid to the tri-state area is still being felt.
The biggest loser in sports is a toss up between the National Hockey League and Lance Armstrong. While the Yankees may have won their division they were losers in the playoffs. However even bigger losers were the Boston Red Sox who finished in last place in the division. The Red Sox team was partly dismantled during the past season, and one has to wonder how the 2013 Yankee team will look like let alone perform. Staying in baseball the 2012 Mets were losers, and their prospects for 2013 look worse since losing their number one “Cy Young Award” winning pitcher. The New Jersey Jets were losers, because it didn't matter who was at quarterback since all three were trounced by the opposing defense.
Turning to politics the biggest loser has to be New York State Senate Democrats. While the official election results are still unknown two months later, unofficially Democrats had either a 33-30 or 32-31 lead after election day in the state senate. So how will Republican State Senator Dean Skellows be sworn in as Senate Majority Leader? While the names may change Democrats who were incarcerated in 2012 was former Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger. Democrats who were convicted in 2012 and will be sent to jail in 2013 are former Bronx State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., and former Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook. Others like former Queens State Senator Shirley Huntley (indicted three weeks before her primary), and former Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera (involved in several investigation for alleged wrongdoing) lost their primary elections in 2012.
Winners in 2012. We have to start at the top, and say President Barrack Obama has to be the biggest winner on his re-election as president. Staying in politics locally newly elected Assemblymen Mark Gjonaj (80 A.D.) and Luis Sepulveda (87 A.D.) were big winners. Gjonaj for beating an incumbent who was endorsed by almost every Bronx elected official and the Bronx Democratic County organization, not to mention being the daughter of the former Bronx Democratic County Leader. Sepulveda for his huge victory over the former Chief of Staff to the previous assemblyman. In the special election to replace convicted former Councilman Larry Seabrook was new Councilman Andy King who brings much promise to the area he now represents. The people of the Bronx were winners when current Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that he will be running for re-election in 2013.
Other winners on the short list in 2012 include NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for the continued low levels of crime in the city. Derek Jeter for the better than average season he had in 2012, as he was the spark plug that drove the hitting engine. The Washington Nationals baseball team, who in two short years went from a last place division team to the best record in the 2012 baseball season. The final winners are all the people who helped, and are still helping in the recovery of Hurricane Sandy.
While you may think I left out a name you can e-mail it to me. Next week I will have things to look forward to in 2013 like a Democratic mayor being elected. Don't forget to check my blog at for updates, late arriving news, or items that may not have made it into this column.
If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.
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