Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Toll of the Great Recession Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation The spread of poverty across the United States that began at the onset of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and accelerated last year hit one fast-growing demographic group especially hard: Latino children. More Latino children are living in poverty----6.1 million in 2010----than children of any other racial or ethnic group. This marks the first time in U.S. history that the single largest group of poor children is not white. In 2010, 37.3% of poor children were Latino, 30.5% were white and 26.6% were black, according to an analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. This negative milestone for Hispanics is a product of their growing numbers, high birth rates and declining economic fortunes. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hispanics today make up a record 16.3% of the total U.S. population. But they comprise an even larger share----23.1%-----of the nation's children, a disparity driven mainly by high birth rates among Hispanic immigrants. Of the 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, more than two-thirds (4.1 million) are the children of immigrant parents. The other 2 million are the children of parents born in the U.S. Among the 4.1 million impoverished Latino children of immigrants, the vast majority (86.2%) were born in the U.S. The Great Recession, which began in 2007 and officially ended in 2009, had a large impact on the Latino community. At its beginning, the unemployment rate among Latino workers increased rapidly, especially among immigrant workers. Today, the unemployment rate among Latinos, at 11.1%, is higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.1%. Household wealth among Latinos declined more sharply than either black or white households between 2005 and 2009. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity among Latino households increased sharply at the start of the Great Recession. In 2008, nearly a third (32.1%) of Latino households with children faced food insecurity, up from 23.8% in 2007. Prior to the Great Recession, more white children lived in poverty than Hispanic children. However, since 2007, that pattern has reversed. Between 2007 and 2010, an additional 1.6 million Hispanic children lived in poverty, an increase of 36.3%. By contrast, even though the number of white and black children living in poverty also grew, their numbers grew more slowly----up 17.6% and 11.7% respectively. These findings are based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Social and Economic (ASEC) Supplement of the March 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS), supplemented by historical time series data based on the CPS. The March CPS is the official source for national poverty estimates. The report, "Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation," authored by Pew Hispanic Center Associate Director Mark Hugo Lopez and Research Analyst Gabriel Velasco, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website, www.pewhispanic.org. The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. # # # . source: The Pew Hispanic Center press release
Monday, September 26, 2011
In the eyes of justice United Hispanic Construction Workers Charged With Using Threats and Violent Tactics to Extort Builders and Contractors Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of UNITED HISPANIC CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, INC. (“UHCW”), its President, DAVID RODRIGUEZ, 54, and his chief lieutenant, DARRYL JENNINGS, a/k/a “DJ,” 50, for running a criminal enterprise that lasted for at least 17 years. UHCW, founded as a minority labor coalition, was used by RODRIGUEZ and JENNINGS as a vehicle to extort money and jobs from builders in the construction industry, typically in return for labor peace at the builders’ job sites. The defendants are charged with Enterprise Corruption in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. “As alleged in the indictment, the defendants threatened builders into hiring workers that the contractors did not need,” said District Attorney Vance. “In several charged instances, as many as 30 members stormed a job site in an attempt to intimidate the builder and force him or her into paying for bogus security costs, labor peace, or protection from other labor coalitions. In other cases, the defendants demanded payments simply to leave their victims alone. These defendants exploited their positions to the disadvantage of honest contractors and union workers.” Acting as the head of the criminal enterprise, RODRIGUEZ controlled and directed all daily activities of the organization, according to the indictment. JENNINGS, who acted as RODRIGUEZ’s enforcer on the ground, in turn controlled the activities of 20 to 50 UHCW members who travelled with him in vans to construction sites. Their collective presence was meant to intimidate builders, and coerce them into hiring coalition workers, or else pay the coalition up front in exchange for what was termed “labor peace.” “Labor peace,” in the context of coalitions, means freedom from assault, property damage, vandalism, or harassment from other coalitions. Between October 2006 and March 2011, both RODRIGUEZ and JENNINGS are charged with directing and participating in the extortion of builders at more than 15 job sites throughout Manhattan and in the Bronx. According to documents filed in court, RODRIGUEZ would give JENNINGS a list of sites to visit with coalition members, and the two were in frequent daily contact by phone. UHCW vans would transport the coalition members to job sites designated by RODRIGUEZ, and the vans were equipped with large duffle bags containing pick axe handles. Often, the members would carry these pick axe handles, as well as bats and tools, to intimidate and harm workers at the construction sites. At times, dozens of coalition members would enter construction sites, using intimidating tactics and sometimes physical force to bring work to a halt and demand money and jobs for coalition members. At other times, the coalition members would leave the vans and remain on the street en masse, as a show of potential force. JENNINGS would demand jobs and money from the builders or contractors in charge of the sites and, depending on the perceived threats, contractors often hired UHCW workers, or else simply paid the coalition for “no-show” jobs or for services that were not provided. The payments that the victims in this case made to UHCW varied. Most payments started at a few hundred dollars per week, but that amount could be increased at any point. By the end of a construction project lasting many months, the total payment made to UHCW by a builder could range from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. According to documents filed in court, some of the payments that were made in addition to or in lieu of hiring UHCW workers included: · $100-200/week in exchange for “good will” · $250/week to “coordinate laborers” · $300 monthly contributions to UHCW · $360/week for “security” · $400/week to ensure “labor peace” · $500/week to be left alone · $750 biweekly payments for no work completed · $1,000-1,200/month for “security” · $4,000 over a six month period to prevent UHCW from stopping construction Since 2003, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has investigated corruption in minority labor coalitions. This investigation has led to the conviction of the leaders of five different coalition groups since 2007, mostly recently, the Committee on Contract Compliance. On August 11, 2011, defendants Kyle Correll and Anthony Lewis were convicted on charges of Enterprise Corruption, Grand Larceny, and Scheme to Defraud. A jury in New York State Supreme Court found them guilty of creating a phony minority labor coalition, known as the Committee on Contract Compliance to extort contractors of tens of thousands of dollars. They would visit various construction sites throughout New York while posing as inspectors allegedly affiliated with various governmental agencies by wearing hardhats with “Committee on Contract Compliance” written on them. They threatened to report contractors to regulatory agencies unless the contractors paid them. If the contractor refused to pay, the defendants made false reports of violations and hazards to various agencies. The unnecessary site inspections interrupted and delayed construction projects, costing contractors considerable money and time. Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced on September 27, 2011, and Correll is scheduled to be sentenced on October 5, 2011. Both face considerable prison time. District Attorney Vance thanked Assistant District Attorney Thomas Mooney, Senior Investigative Counsel in the Rackets Bureau, who led the investigation and is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Bureau Chief and Deputy Chief of Investigations Michael Scotto and Chief of the Labor Investigations and Construction Fraud Unit Brenda Fischer. District Attorney Vance also thanked his Investigation Bureau, including Supervising Investigator Terrence Quinn. Investigative Analyst Michael Taddei also assisted in the investigation, as did members of the New York County District Attorney’s Squad. District Attorney Vance also thanked the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Panella; Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn of the New York City Department of Investigation; and the Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson and his prosecutors for their assistance with the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Mooney also prosecuted Kyle Correll and Anthony Lewis in the Committee on Contract Compliance case. source: press release from the Manhattan DA's office Note:  The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Health Free yoga, tennis & fitness walking instruction at city parks September 16 – October 28 City Parks Foundation welcomes all New Yorkers, 60 and over, to participate in CityParks Seniors Fitness. The Fall 2011 season of Seniors Fitness programs will begin the week of September 19, and will offer free tennis lessons, yoga instruction and fitness walking in 16 parks across the city. All activities in this eight-week fitness program take place twice a week at each location through October 28th. Participants are encouraged to maintain regular attendance to maximize health benefits. CityParks Seniors Fitness has served over 3,400 participants since it began in 2006 and aims to keep neighborhood parks a great place for community activity. The program encourages New Yorkers to maximize the health benefits of staying active at all ages. Even in moderate amounts, exercise can help participants feel better, maintain or lose weight, reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes, and minimize the symptoms of arthritis. For more information about City Parks Foundation’s free Seniors Fitness programs, please call the Sports Department at (718) 760-6999. All equipment and instruction is provided free of charge. Sessions are one hour, twice a week. The following is a detailed schedule for CityParks Seniors Fitness for Fall 2011 in the Bronx: Crotona Park Tennis - Mondays/Wednesdays at 9 AM - Tennis Courts E 173rd St & Crotona Ave Pelham Bay Park Yoga - Mondays/Wednesdays at 9 AM - Middletown Rd & Stadium Ave Van Cortlandt Park/Woodlawn Yoga - Mondays/Wednesdays at 9 AM - Woodlawn Tennis Courts Jerome Ave & E 233rd St Walking - Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9 AM -Woodlawn Tennis Courts Jerome Ave & E 233rd St source: press release
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Community calendar Wave Hill Wave Hill invites visitors to include this public garden and cultural center in their observance of the tenth anniversary of September 11th. A serene landscape that overlooks the Hudson and Palisades, Wave Hill waives admission to the grounds all day, offering the peaceful oasis of its gardens as a place for contemplation and remembrance. Wind Elegy: Noon—4 pm In addition to regularly scheduled programs, visitors are invited to inscribe or illustrate strips of natural-fiber paper with personal reflections, messages or blessings during Wind Elegy, a special anniversary event. The flag-strips will be affixed to Wave Hill’s Pergola to flutter gently in the breeze. Later in the month, the paper will be composted to rest in the garden. More info, www.wavehill.org. New York Botanical Garden In recognition of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 tragedies, The New York Botanical Garden is offering free All-Garden Pass admission from 10 am to 12 pm on Sunday, September 11. All New Yorkers, particularly Bronx residents who may be in search of a way to commemorate the anniversary locally, are invited to enjoy the Botanical Garden as a beautiful venue that naturally lends itself to both quiet contemplation and family sharing. More info, www.nybg.org.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
STATEMENT FROM BOROUGH PRESIDENT DIAZ (SEPT. 4) RE: Labor Day Weekend Gun Violence Incidents “Yesterday, the Bronx fell victim to a wave of disturbing gun violence. In just the 47th Precinct, our borough saw eight separate shooting incidents, and three small children—a 13 year old girl two boys, ages 11 and 10—are among those affected by these senseless acts, both in the 47th Precinct and elsewhere in our borough. “The response of the Bronx must be to act, and my office will continue to work to take as many illegal guns off of our streets as we possibly can. I urge all Bronxites with knowledge of illegal guns in their community to call 866-GUN-STOP to anonymously report those guns to the police, an action I encourage through my office’s ‘Peace in our Streets’ campaign. “We cannot allow the summer to close in a hail of bullets, and I know I speak for all Bronxites in condemning the despicable, cowardly violence that descended on our borough not only this weekend, but throughout the summer. This violence must stop,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. More information on the 866-GUN-STOP program can be found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/rewards.shtml.