Señor Oscar Martinez & Farmingdale State College

Three sons, two daughters, spouses, six grand children--and an older brother, were all present at last night's Farmingdale College Alumni Gala at the Chateau Le Mer in support of Señor Oscar Martinez.

An elegant, close-knit and multi-lingual family based in Monterrey and Mexico City, the Martinez family was in town to witness the family patriarch--Oscar Martinez--receive Farmingdale College's 2009 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Señor Martinez ('50) took a mechanical engineering degree, a stint at the Carrier International and leveraged it into his own Bel Air, a leading Mexican air conditioning manufacturing and service corporation. Señor Martinez retired in 1995 after selling his business to his employees.

The highlight of the evening was when his son Alejandro, speaking in flawless and slightly accented English, talked about Señor Martinez and his journey as a beloved father and successful businessman. But it was the 8 year old grand daughter who stole the show in her own loving tribute to grand papa--again, in flawless English.

While the college also recognized a professor, administrator and a local business, it was Señor Martinez' story that offers important lessons for Long Island's past as well as its future. Shamefully, anti-Mexican propaganda, racism and the ongoing nativist spasm against Latino immigrants make reduce the possibility of future Martinez/FSC-type success stories. If so, we'll be poorer for it.

Photo: Oscar Martinez points to his graduation photo.


'Justicia Para Kenny Lazo' Nominated for BOLI Award

Five videos by Suffolk Community College and Eastern Suffolk BOCES students, in collaboration with MyLITV, have been nominated for 2009 BOLI (Best On Long Island) awards by the Long Island Ad Club.

Justicia Para Kenny Lazo is a 1 minute, cinéma vérité style, video of an April '08 community protest in Bayshore of the tragic death of Kenny Lazo while in the custody Suffolk County Police.

Here's the write-up from the MyLITV press release:
Suffolk Community College Intern, Luis Diaz, was the reporter for the video "Justicia Para Kenny Lazo" and he lives only blocks away from the protest site. He captured the anger and sorrow of the moment without ever uttering a word on camera. Although it's almost all in Spanish, you don't need to know what the crowd is saying in order to feel their pain. Subtitles were left out, because there are no subtitles in life.
Congratulations to Luis and his fellow student video producers. Bravo!

Luis' video:

Was Lazo For more information on the Kenny Lazo murder story, please watch this clip from RNN Long Island which contains graphic photos. Also, see these articles:

Family of man who died in cops' custody files $55M suit - 3.13.09
Lawsuit Being Filed Against Suffolk County for Wrongful Death - 3.12.09
Feds Request Files in L.I. Police Custody Death - 8.22.08
Kenny Lazo lawyer (Fred Brewington) talks about - 8.19.08
Death of man in police custody ruled homicide - 6.28.08
Kenny Lazo - 5.8.08 (YouTube video includes disturbing photos of Lazo's fatal injuries)

Photo: Kenny Lazo


Carmen Piñeyro & Livio 'Tony' Rosario Win

Voters in the Village of Freeport took change to heart and swept all four members of The Change Freeport Party into office. In so doing, Freeport elected its first African American mayor, Andrew Hardwick, and its first Dominican heritage trustee, Carmen Piñeyro.

The two other winning members are Trustee-elect Robert Kennedy and Justice-elect Stephen Drummond.

Up the road in the Village of Hempstead, incumbent Wayne Hall, running for reelection under the Democratic and Working Families Party lines, defeated his two rivals, including James Garner, the Republican he bested four years earlier. Voters also approved of Hall's team members, candidates for open trustee positions, incumbent deputy mayor Henry Conyers and newcomer Livio Tony Rosario.

Incumbent Theodore Gutierrez was uncontested in his re-election bid for Trustee in the Village of Cove Neck.



Alonzo's House 4 Sale

He hasn't played in Queens since 2000 but former New York Mets--and most recently, LIDucks--player, Edgardo Alonzo, is still trying to sell his grandiose grand 14,000 square foot home in Little Neck. Like so many others in a bad market and in need of moving on, Alonzo put his house on the selling block back in '06.

Asking price? $8 million greenbacks! Not bad since Alonzo is said to have paid $900,000 in 1999.

A real estate bust coupled with the challenges of selling an overbuilt house, Alonzo's expanded mansion didn't sell -- even after a price drop in 2005 to the $5 million range.

With a new gig to play for Japan's Yomiuri Giants, Alonzo has switched brokers and dropped the asking price further to $4.3 million--a 46% drop from the original price.

Know anyone looking for a big house on the North Shore of Queens? Call me.


Ramos Endorses Hempstead's Wayne Hall and Tony Rosario

Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) was in the Village of Hempstead last week to show support for the reelection of incumbent Mayor Wayne Hall. Running with Mayor Hall is Livio Tony Rosario, a candidate for Village Trustee. If elected, Mr. Rosario becomes the first Latino elected in the Village Board.

The election takes place Wednesday, March 18, 2009.

Photo (r to l): Wayne Hall, Phil Ramos, Tony Rosario


Latino Thugs Attack Daryl Jackson in Roosevelt: Equal Opportunity Hate on LI?

A gang of Latino thugs attacked an African American in Roosevelt in what appears to have been a hate crime. Four men were arrested, including an off-duty NYC police officer-- and a fifth suspect is being sought. All five could be charged under the state's hate crimes law.
"There's no question that a violent crime has taken place and there's no question that racial epithets were used in the attack. It's a heinous crime and people will pay for it." NC Executive Thomas Suozzi
Q: Have racist thugs from every group been given license?

Latinos are attacked and Marcelo Lucero is murdered in Suffolk by white 'Beaner Jumpers". Black thugs join in by killing Jose Sucuzhanay in Bushwick. Yesterday, a gang of Latino thugs attacked Daryl Jackson.

Violence begets violence. Hate begets hate.

Suozzi is absolutely right! The cost to the guilty in this--and other hate crime cases across LI--must be high.

Cops: 4 Latinos arrested in racial attack on black man


Affordable Housing Expo - Saturday, 3.7.09 @ Westchester County Center

See attached flyer
En Español

Teatro Yerbabruja's 3rd Annual Gala - 3.21.08 @ Brentwood Country Club

click to enlarge
Support Teatro Experimental Yerbabruja, Inc. in its mission to provide more art, and opportunities for constructive social change, in Long Island communities by attending the MASQUERADE BALL 3rd Annual Gala Dinner, 8pm, Saturday, March 21, 2009 at the Brentwood Country Club.

Honorees include State Assemblyman Phil Ramos and Suffolk County Legislator Ricardo Montano. Dr. Luis Valenzuela will be awarded the Jorge Renderos Social Justice Award for his leadership in the fight against anti-immigrant policies on Long Island.

Tickets are $100. Jacket & Tie/Cocktail Dress or Theatrical Costume (Use your imagination!)

For more information call 631.626.3603 or email teatroyerbabruja@yahoo.com.


Severe & Deeply Rooted Housing Discrimination on Long Island

The advocacy group Education Research Advocacy Support to Eliminate Racism (ERASE Racism)'s latest report, The Racial Equity Report Card: Fair Housing on Long Island (pdf), concludes that African Americans and Latinos are still treated unfairly when searching for homes in Long Island (New York).

The discrimination, the report observes, is severe and deeply rooted in the highly segregated society that is Long Island.

A primary culprit? Real estate professionals.

The report found that some Long Island real estate agents routinely practice housing discrimination, despite efforts to crack down on it, including repeatedly steering African Americans and Latinos to rundown neighborhoods.

Seventy three percent (73%) of all housing race discrimination complaints on Long Island from 2000 to 2007 were filed against real estate professionals.
The report also found that local state and federal government agencies failed to act to stem housing discrimination based on race on Long Island.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under George W. Bush failed to oversee and monitor New York’s human rights cases.

The state’s Division of Human Rights under George Pataki dismissed most housing discrimination complaints. Between 1999 and 2007, 90 percent of the race-based fair housing complaints from Long Island received a “no probable cause” finding.

And local municipalities failed to take “any significant steps towards drafting and implementing community development plans that address inequities caused by racial segregation.”

Report: Housing discrimination on LI 'routine practice'
Not so fair housing on LI
Housing Barriers Persist on Long Island: New Study Reveals Housing Discrimination on
Long Island Is Severe and Deeply Rooted - report press release

The Racial Equity Report Card: Fair Housing on Long Island