Mayor Bill de Blasio's State of the City Address portrayed a New York that's on the rise, but Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. had a very different outlook during his eighth State of the Bronx speech. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
In his eighth State of the Bronx speech, borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. wasn't shy about taking shots at Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"Our homelessness problem is at an all-time high. Yet the city has not been able to stem the tide of increasing homelessness," Diaz said.
He complained about the city's shelter-siting process and fauled the city for placing homeless families in unsafe buildings.
"We cannot accept another catastrophe like the one we saw this December, when a faulty radiator killed two small children in their city-provided housing."
Diaz was also critical of the schools, noting Bronx students undeperform children in other boroughs and that only 63 percent of Bronx high school studetns graduate in four years.
Diaz revealed he wrote a letter to de Blasio in August asking him to create a commission to examine school overcrowding. The mayor, he said, never responded.
"This disparity must end," Diaz said. "We cannot continue to see talent wasted."
Diaz has long been at odds with de Blasio. While he's expected to seek re-election this year rather than run for mayor, Diaz attacks help to keep him in the political conversation..
And his criticism wasn't limited to the mayor. Diaz also blasted President Trump's immigration policies.
"This borough and this city will remain a welcoming home for all people, including our immigrant population, no matter how high the level of hatred and invective rises in Washington," Diaz said.
Diaz used most of his speech to claim credit for the Bronx's renaissance, and said government not only must encourage the building of housing for low-income New Yorkers, but for middle-class and young professionals, too.
Notably, there were protests.
"There's affordable housing being built and being built not for the residents of the Bronx. Some of this affordable housing that they're talking affordable is just gentrifying the neighborhoods," said Eddie Jorge, coordinator of the NYC Community Alliance for Workers Justice.
It was the first protest at one of Diaz's annual addresses, a sign that criticizing de Blasio is not enough. He will have to defend his own record, too.