Tag Archives: Congressman

Handball Court Free Screening of “A DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN”

A Distinguished Gentleman

MediaNoche presents


East 106th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues
Admission: Free
For info: 212.828.0401


Bring your own seat or cushion!

August 9
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Runtime: 1 hr 52 mins
A small-time con artist goes big time when he hustles his way to the U.S. Congress. Once elected he reaps the usual benefits, and enjoys the perks of power. However, he decides to clean up the Capitol and ends up doing to Congress what Congress has been doing to its constituency all along.

From con man to congressman.

Serrano Concerned About Potential Arecibo Closure

Congressman José E. Serrano
Representing the Sixteenth District of New York

Washington, DC – September 19, 2007 – Yesterday, Congressman José E. Serrano sent the following letter to the National Science Foundation expressing his deep concerns about the potential closure of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.


September 18, 2007

Dr. Arden Bement
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230

Dear Dr. Bement:

I am writing to express my concern over the National Science Foundation’s current and future intentions for the Arecibo Observatory located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. I strongly believe that Arecibo still has a vital role to play in the U.S. and worldwide scientific community.

As you know, Arecibo Observatory has been, and continues to be, at the forefront of radio astronomy research and atmospheric sciences. Scientists from around the globe use Arecibo’s facilities to further research in everything from astrophysics to the atmospheric sciences. There have been several new discoveries in the past year alone, which continue to justify the importance and necessity of the Arecibo Observatory. The potential loss of this device would not just be a blow to Puerto Rico, but to the scientific community at-large.

Additionally, Arecibo plays an important role in the local Puerto Rican economy, providing jobs to members of the surrounding community. It also has an important public relations mission as well, with more than 120,000 visitors, including 25,000 schoolchildren, coming to the facility on an annual basis. At a time when the United States is trying to promote science-related career opportunities to people of color, it is seems unwise to move to close a facility that serves as such an important resource to more than 4 million Latinos in the United States.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have helped increase NSF’s major facilities and construction budget by $50 million dollars since 2004. Moreover, Congress has stated its intention to continue this trend. Because of this, I do not understand why the proposal to build new observatories must come at the expense of those that continue to provide important and relevant information to the scientific community. Given Congress’ interest in renewing our nation’s scientific research capabilities, we should be expanding our facilities, rather than closing them.

It is my hope that you will reconsider this decision. However, please be assured that I will do everything in my power to ensure that federal funding does not fall below the critical level that would force the Arecibo Observatory to close. I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.


José E. Serrano
Member of Congress


Herman Badillo

By Carl Campanile
New York Post (Tuesday, December 19, 2006), page 8

Herman Badillo has dropped a bombshell on his fellow Hispanics – charging that too many are mired in poverty because they don’t value education.

“Education is not a high priority in the Hispanic community . . . Hispanics have simply failed to recognize the overriding importance of education,” the first native-born Puerto Rican elected to Congress writes in his new book, “One Nation, One Standard.”

“Hispanics have failed to assume responsibility for their children’s welfare . . . Hispanic parents rarely get involved with their children’s schools. They seldom attend parent-teacher conferences, ensure that children do their homework or inspire their children to dream of attending college,” he adds.

Badillo writes that many Spanish-speaking immigrants are hard workers, but that to get their children to move up the economic ladder would require a cultural shakeup of sacrifice and “self-improvement” by putting education first – as Asian and other U.S. immigrant groups have.

Hispanics can no longer rely on schools and the government to do it for them, he writes. He further blames “self-segregation” – not discrimination – as a major impediment to progress for many Hispanics. Instead of focusing on assimilating into the American fabric, he writes, too many view themselves as aggrieved minorities.

“Many Hispanic parents seem to accept the characterization of their community as a minority group, something they would find incomprehensible in the Latin and Caribbean countries from which they come,” he writes. “They accept labels such as ‘brown people’ or ‘people of color.’

“Having gone along with such characterizations, some Hispanics behave as if they actually were a persecuted ethnic group, with a permanently diminished capacity for success,” the controversial autobiography says.

Hispanic immigrants would be better served by embracing the American ideal of “one nation, one standard,” Badillo adds.

Badillo, 77, says his own rags-to-riches story proves that the poor – including Hispanics – can become successful. Orphaned in Puerto Rico, he came to the mainland as a boy knowing no English and went on to become the city’s first Puerto Rican borough president, in The Bronx, as well as a congressman, top adviser to three mayors, and CUNY chancellor.

Bronx Democratic leader José Rivera blasted Badillo’s comments as a “total insult” to Latino parent- advocates who fought for decades to get the city to better educate their kids.

“This is unfair. You cannot write a book blaming the victim,” said Rivera.

Instead, Rivera blamed Badillo for educational shortcomings of Latinos – because Badillo held city leadership positions overseeing education under Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch.

“He was part of the system that miseducated our children for many years. We are constantly being shortchanged,” Rivera said.

From Amazon.com:


Linda Chavez, author of Out of the Barrio
Herman Badillo is a true leader who doesn’t flinch from expressing difficult truths. His own amazing story provides inspiration and the moral authority that allows him to advocate hard choices for American Hispanics.

Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York
He provides nourishment for intelligent people who call themselves liberals and equally intelligent people who call themselves conservatives. I call him brilliant.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, former mayor of New York City
The greatest lesson of Herman Badillo’s story is that the genius of American life—the upward ladder of opportunity that American freedom at its best provides—is better at solving most any problem than any government program.

Edward I. Koch, former mayor of New York City
Herman’s recollections on a host of important national issues, described and discussed in One Nation, One Standard, are fascinating. It is a wonderful read.

Book Description

Why aren’t Hispanics succeeding like Asians, Jews, and other immigrant groups in America? Herman Badillo’s answer is as politically incorrect as the question: Hispanics simply don’t put the same emphasis on education as other immigrant groups.

As the nation’s first Puerto Rican–born U.S. congressman, the trailblazing Badillo once supported bilingual education and other government programs he thought would help the Hispanic community. But he came to see that the real path to prosperity, political unity, and the American mainstream is self- reliance, not big government. Now Badillo is a champion of one standard of achievement for all races and ethnicities.

In this surprising and controversial manifesto, you will learn:

* Why Hispanic culture’s trouble with education, democracy, and economics stems from Mother Spain and the “five-hundred year siesta” she induced in Latin America.

* Why the Congressman who drafted the first Spanish-English bilingual education legislation now believes that bilingual education hurts students more than it helps.

* Why “social promotion” — putting minority students’ self-esteem ahead of their academic performance and then admitting them to college unprepared — continues to this day, despite the system’s documented failures and injustices.

* How self-identifying as “Hispanic” or “white” or “black” undermines achievement, and what lessons we can learn from Latin American countries, where one’s race is irrelevant.

With Central and Latin America exporting a large portion of their poor, Hispanics are on the way to becoming a majority in the United States… but one with all the problems of a minority culture.

Badillo’s solution to this problem relies on traditional values: hard work, education, and achievement. His lessons are important not only for Hispanics but for every American.

About the Author

Herman Badillo was the nation’s first Puerto Rican– born congressman. He also served as the borough president of the Bronx, deputy mayor of New York City, and chairman of the board of the City University of New York. Currently he is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

FBI Destroying Records

Congressman José E. Serrano
Representing the Sixteenth District of New York

Serrano to FBI: Destroying Records is Counterproductive to Gov’t Openness

Washington, DC – August 22, 2006- Congressman José E. Serrano sent the following letter to the FBI late last week in response to recent revelations that the Puerto Rico field office destroyed certain records in the past. Serrano asked that the Bureau immediately suspend any further destruction of records. In 2000, Serrano and then-director Louis Freeh initiated a years-long effort to promote openness and accountability by the FBI in Puerto Rico.


August 17, 2006

Robert S. Mueller, III, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building

Dear Director Mueller:

As you know, I and other members of the Puerto Rican community have been grateful for your continued cooperation in the initiative by your predecessor, Louis Freeh, to disclose files related to the Bureau’s actions against supporters of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. These files have been invaluable in building the historical record of this dark period in our nation’s history, and it is my ongoing interest in this subject that inspires this letter.

It has been brought to my attention that the San Juan field office destroyed certain records on the independence movement in February of 1989. This information came to light as the result of a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request by Jan Susler of the People’s Law Office.

I write to request that, notwithstanding any standard procedure, you suspend any further destruction of records concerning organizations and individuals related to the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. I would also like to request documentation of the destruction of any such records to date, and their former locations before they were destroyed.

Given the fact that the recent release of the Inspector General’s report on the Ojeda Ríos incident has done little to allay concerns about the Bureau’s modus operandi in Puerto Rico, I believe that the your continued commitment to the preservation and disclosure of these files will be essential to improving the Bureau’s image on the island.

Thank you for your attention to these concerns. I look forward to continuing our cooperation on this matter.


José E. Serrano
Member of Congress


Congressman José E. Serrano has represented the Bronx in Congress since 1990. He is the longest serving Member of Puerto Rican descent.