Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Councilmember Torres & NYCHA Infill, and South Bronx Pride

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor / Image via (Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor / Image via (Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

On Bronx AM Links we have stories on standing proud of being from the South Bronx, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and how she almost pulled away from the confirmation process, and Councilmember Ritchie Torres on controversial plans for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) plans for infill at public housing to create market rate and “affordable” housing on its properties. (Click the links for full stories)

I Am Proudly From the South Bronx

“I have been bragging about the Bronx for as long as I can remember. Those of us who have been living in the South Bronx have known, what many are now, finding out. The South Bronx is one of the best places to live in N.Y.C.!

That’s right… My parents came straight from Puerto Rico in 1956, I have been a resident of the area since. I have never moved further than two-square miles from 156th St. and Cauldwell Avenue, my childhood residence.

Growing up, we did move often, mostly due to poverty and landlords burning buildings. With many whites fleeing to the suburbs, there was very little demand for the apartments in the South Bronx. Robert Moses destroyed vibrant neighborhoods with his highway projects and the Bronx faced the brunt of it. Landlords only able to rent to poor people realized they were better off burning their buildings and collecting insurance. So the reality was then, that one-day afterschool, you might come home and your building is burning.” Via The Huffington Post

Bronx Progressive Sees Pragmatism in Controversial NYCHA Moves

“For Torres supports some controversial measures. He has come out in support of Infill—the plan to develop public-housing land in order to generate revenue for the cash-strapped authority. He also supports Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a federal program that converts public housing into Section 8, another kind of subsidized housing in which the resident receives a voucher to live in private housing. Many public-housing residents, resident advocates, and even elected officials oppose these measures on the grounds that they represent the end of public housing, or at least, the first steps towards its privatization. Not Torres.

He casts his position as pragmatism. “In some sense, market-rate development on public land creates a visual tale of two cities,” he allowed. “It reminds us of what is wrong with our society. But no one is promoting infill as a public good,” he insisted more than once. “It is a tragic necessity in a world of federal disinvestment from public housing. If the federal government is no longer going to remain in the business of supporting and investing in public housing, we need to generate revenue by other means, and one of those means is building on public land.”

Coping with tragic necessities—surviving, despite the challenges posed by life, is not only a professional ideology that Torres espouses and that distinguishes him from his colleagues. It is part and parcel of his personal journey. Ritchie Torres is a survivor, and it is this personal narrative that fuels not just his deep commitment to the survival of public housing, but a certain lack of sentimentality when it comes to qualms about the choices NYCHA is making.” Via City Limits

Sotomayor had to be convinced to become first Hispanic justice: ‘This isn’t about you’

“Sonia Sotomayor said she almost pulled out of the confirmation process to become the country’s first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court Justice because critics said she wasn’t smart enough.

But a friend reminded her that she could make history. And the friend told Sotomayor, who grew up in a housing project in the Bronx, to think of thousands of minorities dreaming of making it big.

“She said ‘This isn’t about you,'” Sotomayor said during a speech at the Richmond School of Law. “This is about my daughter. She’s 8 years old, and there’s no Hispanic in a high position of power in the United States of America. Your presence there will give her, and many other children, the possibility of hope.’”

But the jurist said there were times when she had doubts. She said the stinging criticism she received after President Barack Obama nominated her to the Court in 2009 was hurtful.

“During the nomination process, there were many who said I wasn’t intelligent or smart enough to be on the court,” she said. “It was very, very painful.” Via Fox News Latino

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.