Vigil for Jose Sucuzhanay - Bushwick, Brooklyn, 11AM, 12.12.2009

Hello Friends and Allies,

We are writing to you to invite you to observe the one year anniversary of Jose Sucuzhanay's death.

In December of last year, Bushwick resident Jose Sucuzhanay was brutally murdered in an anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT attack on Bushwick ave. This unfortunate incident has fortunately given space for a conversation to begin between many communities who are suffering the consequences of hate violence.

Join us for a morning of community healing and to invoke the memory of those family members, friends and community members who have been victims of hate violence and to look at the solutions we have developed with community members in response to the outburst of violence that has hit the LGBT/Latin@/Immigrant communities.

Diego Sucuzhanay & The Sucuzhanay Family

What: 1 year Anniversary of Jose Sucuzhanay's Death
When: Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 11am
Where: Make the Road NY- Bushwick: 301 Grove Street (between Myrtle ave. and Knickerbocker Ave.) Brooklyn, NY 11237
Directions: Take the L or M train to Myrtle-Wycoff
Who: The Sucuzhanay Family, The Lucero Family, The Price Family (to be confirmed), Office of Councilwoman Diana Reyna, James Garci­a- Director of the Film 'Taught to Hate', Make the Road NY, Latinoamericanos Unidos, International Ecuadorian Alliance, other LGBT community organizations and Bushwick Community Members.

For more information contact Karina Claudio-Betancourt at karina.claudio@maketheroadny.org or at 718-4187690 ext 1278.


Taught to Hate - a film by James Garcia Sotomayor

The Long Island Latino Film Festival is this week -- Nov. 6,7,8 . Coincidently, it opens exactly a year and a short drive from the place and time of Marcelo Lucero's murder by a racist wolf pack. That senseless and evil murder shocked the immigrant communities across Long Island, the United States and even across the world.

It also exposed an ugly, deadly vein of hate typically veiled behind the leafyscapes of American suburbia, a vein mined by nativists politicians like Maricopa County's Joe Arpaio, Hazelton PA's Lou Barletta and Suffolk County's Steve Levy.

Now comes what may be the first of its type, "Taught to Hate,” a 27 fiction film based on the Lucero killing and the American sub-culture shaped by hate. The filmmaker is James Garcia Sotomayor, a local filmmaker and Latino immigrant who funnelled his life savings into making the film. He did so because, "I had to do something."

It's been noted that Marcelo's surname name means 'Shining Light'. The memory of Marcelo Lucero and the works of people like Garcia Sotomayor are our Luceros.

The Long Island Latino International Film Festival Nov. 6-7-8, 2009

The Long Island Latino International Film Festival

Nov. 6-7-8, 2009

This year LILIFF is screening several premiers and world premiers including the film “Stereo Typed” produced on Long Island and features actor Frankie G. who has been in films such as “The Italian Job”, “Manito” and the upcoming film the “Devils Tomb”.
Read more

Box Office
Festival Tickets: LILIFF offers 8 Screening Programs throughout the festival. Each program features a group of films for one price.

3-Day Festival Pass Price: $40
Festival passes allow access to ALL Screening Programs.
Get your tickets
Individual Programs Price: $10Get your tickets


Nassau County Exec Tom Suozzi on Immigration Policy 11/17/09

"Getting It Right on Immigration: What’s Working, What’s Next"

Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi and a panel of respected civic leaders will discuss immigration on Long Island and the principles needed to guide the debate on immigration reform.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
6:00PM - 8:30PM

Marriott Hotel
1350 Old Walt Whitman Rd.
Melville, NY 11747


Thomas R. Suozzi
Nassau County Executive

Roger Clayman, LI Federation of Labor

Matthew T. Crosson, LIA

Chung-Wha Hong, New York Immigration Coalition

Sister Margaret Smyth, Hispanic Apostolate of the North Fork

Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Policy Analyst

Admission is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP by email to info@longislandwins.com or by phone to 516-304-5642.


El Diario-La Prensa Endorses Bill Thompson for Mayor

El Diario-La Prensa's endorsement (Bill Thompson for Mayor) tells why all City voters must reject King Bloomies' bid for a 3rd term and instead pull the lever for Bill Thompson. en español

Excerpt 1
After a decade misspent lionizing the rich and their excesses, too many New Yorkers are paying the price for the decisions made in Washington, on Wall Street and in City Hall. What NYC needs is an executive with a balanced perspective...where families most in need are a high priority. This leader is Bill Thompson.

Excerpt 2
Thompson has a sterling record...[and] has won the backing of highly regarded elected officials, including Nydia Velázquez, José Serrano, Rubén Díaz Jr. and Adriano Espaillat...DC37, TWU Local 100 and the Firefighters....

Excerpt 3
[Bloomberg's undemocratic maneuver he pulled on term limits] is not simply slick scheming—it is a gross abuse of power. Even Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez conducted a plebiscite on his extended stay in power.

Excerpt 4
With city government already tipped to favor the executive branch, Bloomberg’s power grab delivers a clear message: the ability of constituents to challenge power and shape decisions at the top is seriously in danger.


Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers' LI Networking Event - 10/15

Thursday, October 15, 2009
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Four Food Studio
515 Broadhollow Road
Melville, New York

Please RSVP at rsvp@shpe-nyc.org

Visit www.shpe-nyc.org for more information.


Bogota Latin Bistro

On par with some of Manhattan's best latin restaurants but located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Bogota Latin Bistro is a relaxed neighborhood restaurant that mixes latin-inspired cuisine with tropical drinks including mojitos, caipirinhas, and imported latin american wines and beers.

Bogota Bistro features live music on the first 3 Wednesdays of each month and offers a great happy hour All Night Long on Monday, Wednesday & Thursday with reduced prices on the most popular drinks.


Immigration To Open Long Island City Office

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency announced the opening of a new “one stop shop” immigration office in Long Island City early next year. The facility will reduce some of the legwork required for many immigration documents, but the expansion does not include the hiring of additional staff – a step immigrant advocates say would more significantly reduce the lengthy process of obtaining documented status.

According to a spokesperson, the 104 employees that will staff the new office located at 27-35 Jackson Avenue will be transplants from the Garden City office, which will be closed and split into two locations: one in Long Island City and the other in Holtsville.

Queens Tribune article


Hofstra to Celebrate Suburban Diversity

Hofstra University is hosting a Celebration of Suburban Diversity banquet this fall to raise funds for scholarships and research. It's part of a conference on the "The Diverse Suburb," scheduled for October 22, 2009, 6 p.m., at the university's David S. Mack Student Center.

"The evening will feature inspiring speeches and dramatic presentations, as well as musical performances, art work and awards to students and others."

It's great that Hofstra recognizes that the island's (and Hofstra's ) future is directly tied to the region's exploding racial/ethnic diversify. Hey, late is better than never, right?

Q: Why then are the folks fighting nativism (in its many local guises) missing among the conference planners and speakers? Where is Dr. Valenzuela, Sister Margaret Smith, Patrick Young, Maryann Slutsky, Nadia Marin, Rev. Allen Ramirez, Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter, et al?

Just asking.

Photo: Hofstra towers.


Suffolk Home Foreclosures Up 62%

According to a Long Island foreclosure report, new foreclosures were down in Q2 '09 (757) 20% from Q1 '09 (944), but up 9% over Q2 '08 (696).

In a good sign for Long Island real estate, the rate of new Nassau County foreclosures has diminished. Compared to Q1 '09 (626), new foreclosures in Nassau County Q2 '09 (265) went down 58%. Since Q2 2008 (393), new foreclosures declined by 33%.

In sharp contrast, foreclosures in Suffolk County reached a two-year high in Q2 2009. There were 492 new foreclosure auctions scheduled in Q2 '09. This was up 62% compared to Q2 '08 (303), and up 55% from Q1 '09 (318).

The Suffolk towns of Brookhaven (267), Islip (244), and Babylon (152) and Nassau's Town of Hempstead (649) have the greatest number of foreclosures in the first half of '09.

Click here for the full Long Island Q2 09 Foreclosure Report.


Smithtown Arts Council Presents 'La Guitarra' - Saturday 8.22.2009

The Smithtown Township Arts Council is pleased to present La Guitarra, a concert of Flamenco music, song and dance, in celebration of the Spanish Guitar, Saturday August 22, 2009, at 7p.m. at the Mills Pond House. Join us as two Flamenco guitarists and a Flamenco singer interpret songs that reflect the difficulty, dignity, forbearance and hopes of the outsider in a new land and culture. Dancers Maria Loreta Celitan and Ricardo Santiago will perform a variety of dances of this fascinating Spanish art form.

Local artist Pura Cruz uses the guitar to symbolize the parallel experience of the Latino immigrants as they struggle to assimilate into American society today. Her series “Border Wall” will be on display as part of the Arte Latino Exhibition opening August 22, 2009 (reception 4:30-6:30pm). Seating is very limited. Advance reservations are required. Admission by donation.

The Mills Pond House is located at 660 Route 25A, in St. James. For reservations, call 631.862.6575 or email programs@stacarts.org.


Lourdes Ventura Considers Bid for Queens Assembly D38

The Queens Courier reports that seven individuals are ready to compete for the open seat in the State Assembly's 38th District (Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Glendale, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village).

The seat was most recently occupied by Anthony Seminerio who resigned last month following an indictment on corruption charges.

Among those said to be considering a run is Lourdes Ventura, currently the Counsel for Latino and Immigrant Affairs for State Senator Malcolm Smith. An assistant attorney general and former prosecutor, Ventura, was recognized last year as a “Rising Star” in Queens County.
The daughter of Dominican immigrants, Ventura grew up as the oldest of three children and recalls that one of her earliest obstacles was the language barrier. “I remember being in my first-grade classroom and how difficult it was,” she says, “because I didn’t know English at all even though I was born and raised in Queens.” UB Today: Lourdes Ventura
Ventura was an associate at the Long Island-based law firm of Ahmuty, Demers, and McManus and a former president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County.

She is a graduate of the University at Buffalo where she obtained her BA, MSW and JD degrees. Ventura resides in Queens with her husband and son.


Long Island's Top 10 Corporations

1. CA Inc.
One CA Plaza
Islandia, NY 11749

# of Employees: 13,700
Annual Revenues: $4.32B billion

CA is one of the world's largest information technology (IT) management software companies, unifies and simplifies the management of enterprise-wide IT. Founded in 1976, CA serves customers in more than 140 countries.

John Swainson - CEO
Russell Artzt - Founder
Amy Olli - EVP
George Fischer - EVP
Jacob Lamm - EVP Strategy/Corporate Development
Michael Christenson - President/COO
Alan Nugent - EVP/CTO
Donald Friedman - EVP/Chief Marketing Officer
John Ruthven - EVP WW Sales Operations
Andrew Goodman - EVP WW HR
Nancy Cooper - EVP/CFO
Kenneth Handal - EVP Global Risk
James Bryant - EVP/Chief Administrative Officer

2. Cablevision Systems Corp
1111 Stewart Ave
Bethpage, NY 11714

# of Employees: 17,082
Annual Revenues: $7.230 billion

Cablevision Systems Corporation is engaged primarily in the business of cable television. The Company's businesses include the residential telephone and high-speed modem businesses; the commercial telephone and Internet operations of Lightpath; the New York metropolitan area sports and entertainment business, including Madison Square Garden, professional sports teams, Radio City Music Hall, MSG Network, News 12 Networks and Clearview Cinemas.

James Dolan - CEO/President
Charles Dolan - Chairman
Jonatha Schwartz - EVP
Kevin Watson - SVP
Victoria Salhus - SVP General Counsel
John Bickham - Pres Cable/Communication
Joshua Sapan - Pres Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
Patrick Dolan - Pres News 12 Networks
Thomas Dolan - EVP/ CIO
Gregg Seibert - EVP Cablevision System Corp
Tom Rutledge - COO
Michael Huseby - EVP/CFO

3. Canon USA
One Canon Plaza
Lake Success, NY 11042

# of Employees: 12,000
Annual Revenues: $45b (Canon, Inc. revenue)

Canon USA is the domestic affiliate of Canon, Inc., a global leader in professional, business and consumer imaging equipment and information systems. Canon products include color and black-and-white copiers, printers, image filing systems, facsimile machines, cameras and lenses, camcorders, semiconductor, broadcast, encoders/optoelectric components and optical equipment, flatbed scanners, and other specialized industrial products.

Yoroku "Joe" Adachi - President/CEO
Yuichi Ishizuka - SVP
James Sharp - SVP Systems Technical Support
Shunichi Uzawa - EVP/CTO/R&D
Tod Pike - SVP Sales Marketing
Masahiro Haga - SVP CFO
Seymour Liebman - EVP Chief Administrative Officer

4. Griffon Corp
100 Jericho Quadrangle
Jericho, NY 11753

# of Employees: 4,100
Annual Revenues: $1.28b

Griffon Corporation is a manufacturing company with operations in four business segments: Garage Doors, Installation Services, Specialty Plastic Films and Electronic Information and Communication Systems.

Ronald J. Kramer - CEO
Franklin H. Smith - EVP
Gary Abyad - Pres Clopay Plastic Products
Patrick L. Alesia - VP/CFO

5. Henry Schein, Inc.
135 Duryea Road
Melville, NY 11747

# of Employees: 12,550
Annual Revenues: $6.39B

Henry Schein, Inc. is the largest distributor of healthcare products to office-based practitioners in the combined North American and European markets. Customers include dental practices and laboratories, physician practices, and veterinary clinics, as well as government and other institutions

Stanley Bergman - CEO/Chairman
Michael Zack - President International Group
James Breslawski - President/COO
James Harding - SVP/CTO
Mark Mlotek - EVP Corporate Business Development
Michael Racioppi - SVP/Chief Merchandising
Steven Paladino - CFO/EVP
Leonard David - SVP/Chief Compliance Officer
Gerald Benjamin - Chief Administrative Officer/EVP

6. JetBlue Airways Corporation
118-29 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Phone: 718-286-7900

# of Employees: 8,902
Annual Revenues: $3.39b

JetBlue is a low-fare, low-cost passenger airline, which provides high-quality customer service. Since launching operations in February 2000, the airline has carried more than nine million passengers.

David Barger - CEO
Alex Battaglia - VP Airports
James Hnat - EVP Corporate Affairs/General Counsel
Russ Chew - President/COO
Joseph Eng - EVP Systems/Technology
Scott Laurence- VP Network Planning
Martin George - SVP Marketing & Commercial Strategy
Robin Hayes - EVP/Chief Commercial Officer
Ed Barnes - CFO/EVP

7. NBTY, Inc.
2100 Smithtown Avenue
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

# of Employees: 13,760
Annual Revenues: $2.33b

NBTY is a leading vertical integrated U.S. manufacturer and distributor of a broad line of high-quality, value-priced nutritional supplements in the United States and throughout the world. The Company markets more than 1,200 products under several brand names, including Nature’s Bounty®, Vitamin World®, Sundown®, CarbSolutions™, MET-Rx®, Puritan’s Pride®, Holland & Barrett®, Nutrition Headquarters®, American Health® and Home Health®.

Scott Rudolph - Chairman/CEO
Harvey Kamil - President/CFO
James Flaherty - SVP Marketing/Advertising
John Leahy - SVP, Wholesale Business
Hans Lindgren - SVP, Operations & Corporate Secretary

8. North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System
145 Community Drive
Great Neck, NY 11021

# of Employees: 33,000
Yearly Revenues: $?

Serving Long Island, Queens, and Staten Island, the North Shore-LIJ Health System, headquartered in Great Neck, N.Y., strives to provide an unparalleled spectrum of services in the region. The 18 hospitals of the System include three world-class tertiary hospitals recognized throughout the N.Y. area for their clinical, teaching, & research capabilities. The System includes a nationally recognized children's hospital, psychiatric facility, and community hospitals dedicated to providing outstanding primary and specialized surgical care.

Michael Dowling - President/CEO
David Battinelli - SVP/Chief Academic Officer
Jeffrey Kraut - SVP, Strategic Planning/Marketing
Howard Gold - SVP, Managed Care/Business Development
Gene Tangney - SVP/Chief of Staff
Mark Solazzo - SVP/COO
Robert Shapiro - SVP/CFO
Lawrence Smith - SVP/Chief Medical Officer

9. Pall Corporation
2200 Northern Boulevard
East Hills, NY 11548

# of Employees: 10,600
Annual Revenues: $2.51b

Pall Corporation is the largest and most diverse filtration, separations and purifications company in the world.

Eric Krasnoff - Chairman/CEO
Donald Stevens - President
Sandra Marino - SVP & General Counsel
Roberto Perez - President Life Sciences
Lisa McDermott - CFO

10. Yellow Book USA
398 RexCorp Plaza
Uniondale, NY 11556

# of Employees: 8,100
Annual Revenues: $1.89b

Founded in 1930, Yellow Book USA is one of the nation's largest publishers of Yellow Pages directories, with almost 600 directories in 41 states and the District of Columbia. It also publishes college directories, city and county directories, and a business-to-business directory serving Long Island, New York. Yellow Book USA is a subsidiary of Yell Group.

Joseph Walsh - CEO/President
Mark Cairns - Chief Publishing Officer
Patrick Marshall - Chief New Media Officer
Victoria Sharrar - SVP, Organizational Development
Gary Shaw - CIO
Jim McCusker - Chief Sales Officer
Jim Haddad - Chief Financial Officer
Tim Zalak - SVP, Mergers/Acquisitions


The 43rd Annual LI Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade - 6.7.09

KJ, 5, enjoys the sights and sounds of the 43rd Annual Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade (June 7) in Brentwood. The young Boricua proudly sports the traditional guayabera and pava while waving the red, white and blue flag of the Puerto Rican nation.

Thousands of islanders of Puerto Rican heritage, Latinos of all nationalities (Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Dominican Republic, et al), and many nonLatinos as well, came out to what is Long Island's most festive Spring ethnic fiesta.

Below are wonderful photos of the parade by Newsday's Ana Gutierrez. Click on the photos for a large view and click here for the full series.

Click here a Ana's video of the parade.

Link: Thousands watch LI's Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day parade by Laura Rivera (Newsday)


Latina Hat Luncheon

Dilcia Granville of Elmont is all smiles in a dynamic, chic straw hat with a turned-down brim, giant bow and fuchsia flowers. (Photo by Gina Tomitz). Newsday
The Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently held it's Latina Hat Luncheon and Golf Outing at Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage State Park. Below are links to the photographs of this important annual event.

Founded in 1988, LIHCC seeks to advance the business interests of the Latino communities of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Photo Links:
Newsday Photo Series
Latina Hat Luncheon and Golf Outing 2009: 80 images (Photobucket)


Guitarist Bryan Vargas on His Brooklyn Neighborhood

Latin Jazz guitarist Bryan Vargas (Bryan Vargas & Ya Esta) talks to Clinton Hill Blog about what he likes about his Brooklyn neighborhood:

What I love most about the neighborhood is the general vibe. I truly feel relaxed as I walk down the streets. Other Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods have a hustle and bustle that we just don’t have here. Folks here are CHILL. People get along. They help each other out. They play with each other’s dogs. It’s a great place to live.

I also love the food. We have some of Brooklyn’s best restaurants, and I love the fact that I never have to leave the neighborhood to eat if I don’t want to.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I love Ft. Greene Park. I think it’s the greatest small park in all five boroughs. It has a peaceful serenity to it that you feel as soon as you step foot on the block.

I’ll save what I DON’T like about the ‘hood for another time. For now we can stay positive!



Latino Films @ the Brooklyn International Film Festival - June 5 -14, 2009


Falling Awake" is the powerful story of Jay (Andrew Cisneros), a young man struggling to find his identity in The Bronx in a house crowded with family members and a neighborhood filled with loyal friends and dangerous enemies. A gifted musician, Jay hopes to leave it all and pursue his dream of composing and performing music. Once he meets Alessandra (Jenna Dewan), a beautiful young woman who lives in Brooklyn, his determination to defy the expectations of his frustrated, angry father become even stronger. Yet Jay is tied to his home through loyalty to his friends and to his brother, who has returned unexpectedly from service in the Marines. As he reaches toward a wider world, he is pulled back over and over by the cycles of anger and violence that have defined his life and neighborhood for so long. It takes love, a change of heart and a new understanding of life's elusive chance at happiness to finally help Jay make the long, uncertain leap to a fresh chance.

DON ROBERTO'S SHADOW by Juan Diego Spoerer & Håkan Engström

A boy travels to a saltpeter office with his family, to the city of Chacabuco in the Chilean desert, where he walks along the old buildings. The years pass by and, as the wind erases the days and hours from yesterday, the boy is now grown up, a lonely old man, and that old man decides to move to Chacabuco.

SIRENS (SIRENAS) by Alejo Levis

She lost the baby. She stares out the window. Every night when he arrives home, an argument. One day she told him, a few black women on the street walked strangely, like dancing, they looked like dark sirens.

FLYING LOTUS by Daniel Garcia

Concentrate produced this music video for Flying Lotus. The video, 'Infinitum' was directed by Daniel Garcia

COTTON CANDY by Aritz Moreno

The cold always complicates things.


XII. Brooklyn International Film Festival
BiFF 2009 Trailer YouTube

Meet Alfonso Quiroz - Queens City Council Candidate, D25

Update: 6.5.09 - Alfonzo Quiroz, who had hoped that the term limit override would be ruled illegal, has pulled out of the race given that final appeals have been lost in that case.

On September 15, 2009, the people of Jackson Heights, Corona (including Lefrak City and Sherwood Village), Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and Rego Park have the chance to send a Latino to the City Council: Alfonso Quiroz.

Like Obama, Alfonso is a community organizer from the South Side of Chicago. A fourth-generation American of Mexican, German and Ukrainian descent, Alfonso grew up in a middle-class, union family; his dad was a Steelworker union member.

When he was 22, Alfonso served as a White House Intern during the Clinton Administration in the office of Hillary Clinton. In 2000, Alfonso served as a political aide in Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign.

After the 2000 presidential race, Alfonso settled in Queens and learned about city government as a member of Mark Green’s 2001 mayoral campaign. He subsequently worked for MTV News and then in the office of current City Council Member Helen Sears. After leaving Sears’s staff, Alfonso took a PR assignment with ConEd.

In June 2008, Alfonso was sworn in to a second term on the Queens Community Board 3. He is also a member of the Citizens Advice Bureau, the JFK Democratic Club, the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York and is active in the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.

Star Of Queens
Gay Candidate Series: Alfonso Quiroz
Alfonso Quiroz: JFK Democratic Club City Council Candidates Night


Tom Suozzi Seeks 3rd Term: Promises a Property Tax Revolution

Tom Suozzi kicked off his bid for a third term as Nassau County Executive with a spirited call for a property tax revolution.

Billing himself as a problem-solver, Suozzi credits his administration with stabilizing the county's finances and cleaning up brownfields. But, he says, property taxes are still a major problem.

Suozzi's gameplan:
    • make the governments in Nassau more efficient including consolidating governments
    • expand the tax base by getting projects the like the Lighthouse Project and the Coliseum built
    • fight for Nassau's 'fair share' of state aid
    • Stop costly state mandates
What's interesting is that Suozzi is both a seasoned executive as well as one of New York's most promising politicians. He's also one of the most Latino-friendly political leaders in the state.

Friends of Suozzi - Youtube

Jon Cooper's Excellent Adventure

Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper tied the knot recently with long-time partner Rob in a ceremony in Connecticut.

What's Cooper's next adventure?

To decide whether he has enough political juice to prevail in a Democratic Party primary for the U.S. Senate. He's now formed an exploratory committee. To win Cooper would have to not only defeat possible contenders Carolyn McCarthy, Jerold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, but take down incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand as well.

Pundits discount Cooper's chances of winning the Democratic Party's nomination. After all, Gillibrand has the support of Chuck Schumer, David Paterson and Hillary Clinton and other establishment types. And all of the other contenders have higher profiles by virtue of their jobs as members of Congress.

On the contrary, Cooper is a nearly perfect antagonist to Gillibrand. Here's why:

1) He's a genuine Progressive in a deep blue state. Gillbrand is not. And while the other possible contenders can claim long records of moderate to liberal voting records, none can match Cooper's appeal to the Democrat's progressive base.

2) In a head-to-head contest, Gillibrand probably wins with the support of the party machine. However, if it's a three or four way split, Cooper can win with a plurality.

3) Only Cooper's entry neutralizes the Clinton-Schumer factor. These two pols were big supporters of Gillibrand, but Cooper--as Obama's man in NY--would have the benefit of the Obama campaign operation. It's a largely grassroots operation that is still in place, truly progressive, energetic, and ready to go. He's likely to also receive support -- although not an endorsement -- from President Obama.

4) While McCarthy, Maloney and Nadler are formidable fund raisers, and Gillibrand's big ace was raising big bucks, Cooper has his own money. More importantly, he has the appeal and capacity to tap into a national progressives network to fuel his campaign. There's a thirst for electing true progressives. People also want new, fresh faces. That's why Cooper's Washington inexperience and new face at the statewide level are net pluses.

Think Paul Wellstone.

5) Cooper could quickly garner support from the African American, Latino, Gay/Lesbian, student and progressive activist communities. He could match Gillibrand with suburban democrats. And he could out point anyone on business related issues and the stresses on local governments.

6) Finally, as a legislator at the county level, Cooper is best situated to appeal to his fellow colleagues in urban and suburban legislatures and councils -- neutralizing Gillibrand's Albany-centered advantages.

At the end of the day, it's possible Cooper decides he's not interested in the seat. And Gillibrand could still emerge as the darling of both moderates and progressives, erasing Cooper's path. Cooper could also bow out for an ambassadorship. Who knows?

However, if Cooper runs my sense is that -- if done right -- he could be the dark horse in the race and win the nomination. If he could do that, he'd have so much momentum that defeating any GOP retread (Pataki, Faso, Lazio) would happen. Defeating Rudy Giuliani may be another matter, but I think Cooper would be in a great position to be David against Rudy's Goliath and take him down as well.

My advice? Run, Jon, Run!

Jon Cooper for U.S. Senate: Exploratory Committee - website
Who Is Jon Cooper, and Why Does He Think He Can Run for Senate? - CAPITOL
Another Dem forms committee to challenge Gillibrand - The Hill
Jon Cooper - Polit Bureau


Rising LI Foreclosures: Latinos & African Americans Hit Hardest

In the 44 months of foreclosure studied by The Times, nine Long Island communities had more than 10 percent of homes in foreclosure. All but two of them — Islandia and Mastic Beach — had a mostly minority population at the time of the 2000 census.

The communities cut a swath from Freeport, Roosevelt, Uniondale and Hempstead in Nassau County to Wyandanch in Suffolk County, then east to Brentwood, Central Islip, Islandia and Mastic Beach.

As has occurred elsewhere in the region, foreclosure has hit African American and Latino areas hardest. In Long Island’s mostly African American and Latino census tracts, more than 13 percent of homes were in foreclosure at some point since 2005 — more than four times the rate for white tracts, raising questions among housing advocates about “reverse redlining” and concerns about the long-term impact of the foreclosure crisis on neighborhoods and the loss of wealth.



Felipe Vergara & Felipe Garcia Victors in LI Marathon

Felipe Vergara (right) , 44, was the victor in year's LI Marathon with a men's time of 2:34:12.

Felipe Garcia (left), 26, won the half-marathon with a time of 1:09:09.

The men -- Mexican immigrants -- are repeat winners of their respective races, and sponsored my Mi Territa, a Colombian Latino restaurant in the Village of Hempstead.

Other high finishers in the marathon include: 2nd placer finisher Carlos Sauce, 30, 2:43:33; 5th place finisher Mario Dimas, 26, 2:46:09; and seventh place finisher Jaime Palacios, 54, 2:49:36.

Carlos Techera, 21, had the 8th best time in the half marathon.

Alexis Fernandez, 13, was third best time among the women -- and 1st in her age division -- in the 5K at 20:20.

Nassau County Legislator Dave Mejias, 38, finished 7th in the 1 mile race with a time of 8:09.

Full Results


Tom Suozzi's Born to be Wild

Watch Tom Suozzi's 'Born to be Wild' performance at Dave Mejias' fundraiser in Farmingdale. Check out Mejias' nifty guitar playing. Nice to see the lighter side of these guys.

via Polit Bureau


1 Million Uninsured

A new report on poverty reveals that 1,052,611 residents of Long Island under 65 have no health insurance. Yup! That's 43% of the state's 2,471,152 uninsureds. And 1 in 6 islander under 65 lacks coverage.

Here are the numbers and percentages of the uninsured by county:
    • Kings County: 335,289 - 15.9%
    • Nassau County: 173,349 - 15.1%
    • Queens County: 345,196 - 17.6
    • Suffolk County: 198,777 - 15.2%
A few questions:
    • How is it that the economically challenged Western NY counties of Erie, Monroe and Niagara have lower rates of uninsureds (11.3% - 11.9%) than wealthy LI?
    • How is it that Bronx County manages an uninsured rate of 11.1%?
    • How is it that 68% of the largely rural Upstate counties (27 of 40) have uninsured rates greater than 15% and as high as thirty per cent in state as rich as NY?
    • Furthermore, how is it that NY spends so much while managing to leave millions uninsured?
Link: 2009 New York State Poverty Report

Meet Mel Gagarin - Queens City Council Candidate, D29

Melquiades Gagarin was born in Elmhurst, Queens to a diverse family background. His father was raised in the Philippines and moved to New York to pursue a better life. Gagarin's mother is a first generation New Yorker born to Puerto Rican parents. Mel was raised largely by his grandmother Ramona and mother Maria, a nurse at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Both women emphasized the value of hard work and education.

After graduating from Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, Mel took the values instilled by his family and attended The American University in Washington, D.C. Earning his degree in Political Science, it was at American where Mel developed his passion for public service, and met hisfuture wife, Aleda. After graduation, Mel served as a Board Liaison for the National Foundation for Women Legislators in Washington, a non-profit organization that helps female state legislators develop leadership skills.
LI's 20 Latino Pols = shocking under-representation
In the fall of 2005, Mel and Aleda returned to New York and moved to Kew Gardens. That same year, Mel served as the Communications Liaison to New York State Senator José Serrano in East Harlem. His work in Senator Serrano's office attracted the attention of Congressman Anthony Weiner, who hired Mel as his Community Representative.

It was in Congressman Weiner's office that Mel had the opportunity to meet with many individuals in the community. Mel became familiar with the hurdles that the average New Yorker faces in having their basic needs met by the different levels of government. Gagarin brings this same desire into his campaign to represent the 29th Council District. "Our neighborhoods need a new and vibrant vision at City Hall," says Gagarin. Our city must remain a haven of shared prosperity for New York's middle-class. Our future demands action that cannot wait."

Mel currently works as the Media Manager for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he is responsible for disseminating the organization's message of equality and justice for all Americans. Mel is a member of the New York State Young Democrats and the National Association of Black Journalists. He is also working with a group of his neighbors in Kew Gardens who areunited against irresponsible development.

Mel lives with his wife Aleda and two year old son Micah. They are expecting their second child in time for the New Year.

Source: Meet the Candidates with ChangeNYC.Org

Meet David Galarza - Brooklyn City Council Candidate, D38

Update 5/20/09: The coast is clear for Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez’s re-election campaign since challenger David Galarza on Thursday dropped out of the race for the Democratic primary election this September — after making a vigorous and outspoken campaign that promised political fireworks in the 38th Council District.

David Galarza has spent his 20 year professional career engaged in union, political, civic, religious and journalistic activities. As a candidate for the 38th City Council District (encompassing sections of Sunset Park, Red Hook, Windsor Terrace and South Slope) he plans on utilizing his experience to continue his advocacy on behalf of his fellow Brooklyn neighbors.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Sunset Park, David has been active in, and helped establish, numerous local organizations including SPAN (Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors) a grassroots civic group that works on zoning, land use and housing issues; and the Latino Youth League of Sunset Park, which ran after school and summer programs for youth and in 1993, successfully fought against the building of a sludge treatment plant planned for the area.
LI's 20 Latino Pols = shocking under-representation
David is currently a Communications Specialist for CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME. In that capacity he has helped workers obtain improved safety and health conditions, better wages and benefits, helped organize direct care workers, and fought against the closure of a several State facilities. David began his professional career as a journalist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Miami Herald. He went on to serve as a spokesperson for former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, and worked in the public affairs offices of the New York City Comptroller, the Board of Education and served as a consultant to the non-profit Children’s Aid Society.

A former member of Brooklyn’s Community Board 7, David chaired the Housing Committee. He helped organize the community against the inappropriate use of land and buildings, created an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged abuse of a local family and youth by police officers and assisted local organizations in promoting affordable housing initiatives. David has served on the boards of Latinos for National Health Insurance, The Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID). In 2003, David was named Community Advocate of the Year by the Sunset Park Lions Club.

David attended Long Island University and is a product of Brooklyn public schools. He and his wife Inez, a New York City public school speech therapist and member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), are the parents of a son, Sean, a high school junior.

Source: Meet the Candidates with ChangeNYC.Org


"A 20/20 Vision of Our Diverse Society" Featuring John Quiñones - 4.20.09

"A 20/20 Vision of Our Diverse Society"


John Quiñones

April 20, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.

St. Joseph's College
D'Ecclesiis Auditorium, O'Connor Hall
155 West Roe Blvd, Patchogue

John Quiñones is anchor of ABC's What Would You Do?, a co-anchor of Primetime, a correspondent for 20/20 and the author of Heroes Among Us: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Choices (Harper).

Winner of seven Emmy Awards, Quiñones has also been honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards Grand Prize for International Reporting.

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Religion in Community Life. Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 631.447.8252 or email jmcaleer@sjcny.edu.

Related: Latino Bashing, What would you do?