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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Monthly Meeting Tomorrow January 5 At Sportspark - Come Learn What Is Happening On Roosevelt Island & Read RIRA Committee Reports, You Won't Be Bored

Image of December 2010 RIRA Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be holding it's January 2011 Monthly meeting Wednesday night starting at 8 PM. The monthly meeting will take place at Sportspark (250 Main Street, next to the tram station and tennis bubble) and not at the Good Shepherd Community Center. As always, prior to the start of each meeting there is a public session in which any resident can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern.

Below is the Agenda for the January 2011 RIRA meeting, which includes the creation of the Public Purpose Funds Committee, as well as Public Safety, Communications, Housing and Island Services Committee Reports. Rather than me highlighting selected items from these reports, I recommend you read through all of the reports. They are very interesting and in some cases quite controversial in the context of how Roosevelt Island works.

Rira January Agenda


RIRA PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING DECEMBER 13, 2010

Attendees:
Peter Digilio Joyce Mincheff Matthew Katz Howard Polivy Romano Reid Ellen Polivy
Minutes taken by: Erin Feely-Nahem

Following introductions the committee reviewed the Mission Statement that was adopted by the Public Safety Committee last year and presented to the Common Council. Members’ present agreed that the Mission Statement still seemed to fit the committee’s mission. Chair will send the Mission statement out to all committee members via email for review and comments.

Mission Statement:

To provide support to the Public Safety Department in an effort to assure that community needs are being met. To act as a liaison between the community and the Public Safety department, and to be available as an ombudsman to facilitate resolution as needed.

Committee reviewed and discussed the goals that had been adopted by Public Safety Committee last year. Listed are the goals and the discussion that followed.

1)    Wheelchair accessibility to the Public Safety office and the Cultural center’s elevator. Committee determined goal was accomplished.

2)    Traffic Enforcement: Committee members’ express concern at the dangerous areas of crossing ie: bottom of the ramp. Members recommend that Officer posted in front of 2 River Road conduct traffic, not just stand in front of car. The possibility of a 3 Way Stop sign was raised. Members’ complained that Access a ride and the RIOC buses ignore the traffic signage, and are not ticketed when they do not yield to pedestrians, or go through stop signs without coming to a complete stop. Committee members’ felt that the practice of waving the traffic through the stop signs in front of the school, even when there are no children in the crossing, encouraged drivers to disregard the Stop signs at other times. The Committee agreed to discuss these concerns with Chief Guerra.

3)    Youth Tribunal: Chair explained to members the prior discussions with Chief Guerra on this topic. Discussion about the use of Community Service for youthful offenders, at the Island’s hospitals, in certain cases instead of arrest, was visited. The Committee will revisit this topic this term and will discuss with Chief Guerra.

4)    Parking Priorities: Committee discussed the fair and universal enforcement of existing parking rules. A member addressed favoritism being given to individuals, (seen around South Town) who had an expired Placards from the NYPD 2008, as well as placards from the MTA Police, Board of Education, Japanese Restaurant menus on the dash board etc. All of the above were seen parked illegally in metered areas, all without being given tickets. It was also mentioned that individuals with Wheelchair placards are still required to pay to park in metered spots and should be ticketed, like any other vehicle, if they haven’t. Members’ agreed that individuals should be reminded of the specific areas designated for long term parking, and Island business owners should be encouraged to utilize the courtesy rate offered at Motorgate. Those business owners who choose not to utilize this option should be ticketed, as residents are, when they park longer then allowed. Mentioned again was Kai’s black corvette, which now displays a wheelchair medallion hanging from the mirror. Members noted that there is an increasing amount of illegal parking happening around the Tram area, the Tennis Courts and around South Town. Committee will request that cars are uniformly ticketed, without exception when meeting with Chief Guerra. Photographs will be taken if issue is not resolved.

5)    Traffic Design: Committee members still question the logic and safety of the traffic signage design. Howard Polivy will f/u with RIOC to discuss if a consultant was hired this past year to review this problem and if so, if they completed an assessment which is currently being utilized. If the consultant was not hired, or was not from DOT, or a reputable agency, the Committee will explore obtaining an assessment of the Island’s traffic signage design by DOT. A letter will be drafted then submitted to the Common Council for review, then sent to CB8’s Roosevelt Island Committee requesting assistance in obtaining the assessment.

6)    Opening of Sports Park for Teens: There was discussion about the continuing need for a place where the older youth can congregate and not be a quality of life issue. The idea was raised that Sports Park could be utilized as a community center as well as a place for the Teens. One member was afraid that this would not work because the teens on the Island now were just “bad”. A suggestion voiced was that the City, and State funding designated for the Youth Center could be utilized, if the majority of the residents feel that the Youth Center is not meeting the needs of the Residents. If the community feels that the Youth Center should oversee this project, then it was suggested that a new Executive Director be hired, and the Youth Center change the hours they are open. It was decided to discuss this idea with other Common Council Committees, such as the Social, Educational and Cultural, the Services Committee, or possibly see if a work group could be formed. It was decided that when we decide to move ahead that Donna Masly, from RIOC should be contacted. This idea will also be discussed with Chief Guerra as a solution to the quality of life issue, as the place where the needs of this population can be met. A suggestion to complete a survey and send it out to ascertain resident’s satisfaction with the Youth Center’s services was discussed, although no member has agreed to draft it to date. An audit of the utilization of the Youth Center services was suggested which Howard Polivy, RIOC Board Member stated that he would request from Steve Kaufman.

7)    Motorgate crime: Members discussed whether the crime had decreased or escalated over the past year. Several members felt that it was still problematic, especially in the lower area where the disable park was reported as being increasingly problematic. Discussion around Public Safety patrols, cameras, new lighting, etc were covered. It was determined that the Committee will discuss with Chief Guerra whether the crime rate had increased or decreased and request and review any data available.

NEW BUSINESS:

Vertical Patrols in WIRE buildings”
There was concern expressed by members that the Vertical Patrols, conducted by Public Safety, were not happening on a regular basis and if they were, were not effective. This complaint led to a discussion of youth hanging out in hallways, and concern that when tenants reported this problem to Public Safety their identity was being divulged to the individuals they were complaining about. This concern will be explored with Chief Guerra.

Public Safety Incident report documentation:
There was concern voiced that incident reports, completed by Public safety were not being properly documented. Complaints made by phone were not always being recorded either. Member felt that sometimes a copy of the complaint was unable to be found, and the name and badge number of the officer who took the complaint were not provided when requested. This concern will be brought up in a meeting with Chief Guerra.

Transparency:
Committee member felt that to assist with this problem there should be a Roster of the Officers on duty, hanging up in the Public Safety for each shift. This issue will be discussed with Chief Guerra, and suggestions made.

Community Police Officer:
Members expressed dissatisfaction with the job Police Officer (UPDATE 1/5 from Roosevelt Islander Blog - the officer's name has been redacted) from the 114th Precinct was doing on Roosevelt Island. There were complaints that he was abusing his power, was bias since his days as a Public Safety Officer, and more recently had been reported by residents to be stopping and frisking individuals unnecessarily. Many committee members felt that it was time for a change and wanted to request that we be sent “fresh blood” from the precinct. There was disagreement on how to go about this, which the committee members still need to determine. One member suggested that we speak to Keith first, to see if he could request a change, another felt we should go to the Sergeant at the 114th responsible for Community Affairs and ask for his reassignment, and others felt that the Common Council should be involved, to reflect transparency and community support, suggesting that a resolution is drafted, submitted to the Common Council for approval, then brought to the attention of CB8. The committee still needs to come to an agreement on how to proceed.

Issues on Main Street:
Committee was informed by a member that there has been an increase in the number of Resident’s cars being vandalized on Main Street, although residents are not contacting Public Safety, instead calling the police.

Complaints were heard about the tickets being given out to take out delivery cars.

Committee members voiced their concerns that Public Safety Officers often do not see infractions of the law, although they are standing right there. ie: cars running Stop signs, cars refusing to Yield to pedestrians, etc.

Civilian Complaint Review Board:
This is still an issue of concern to this committee. Discussion of the recent bill that Micah Kellner introduced was discussed. The development of a State Review Board, as proposed by Assembly member Kellner has not been adopted yet. Being able to hold Public Safety accountable for their actions is still an issue this committee is concerned with. The committee will continue to research and determine if a Civilian Complaint Review Board can be created on Roosevelt Island for this purpose.

R.I. Cert Team recruitment:
Howard Polivy spoke to the committee requesting support of the RI Cert Team’s recruitment efforts. Committee members offered their support.
Click here for more


Communications Committee Report

Meeting Date: December 12, 2010 Chairs: Ava Dawson & Vini Fortuna In attendance: Ava Dawson, Vini Fortuna, Joe Terranella, Matt Katz, Sherie Helstien, John Paul, Frank Farance, Rick O’Connor, Mihaela Preradovic and Ahmed Darwish

“The RIRA Column”
●    Currently, the column written by Matt Katz is able to be published solely in the WIRE, under the title “The RIRA Column” at the discretion of the editor. The Roosevelt Islander Blog no longer has rights to publish this content.
●    It has been proposed by Matt Katz that his column could be published on the official RIRA website (see below), and then published both in the WIRE and on the Roosevelt Islander, at a specifically agreed upon time.
●    In a discussion between co-chair Ava Dawson and Dick Lutz on December 29, 2010, Mr. Lutz reiterated that he will not permit the Roosevelt Islander blog to publish the RIRA column in full. It was proposed that RIRA could archive the RIRA columns in full on its website for public access after a period of time has passed after initial publication. This resolution will be explored in the coming weeks.
●    It has been proposed by John Paul that the Communications Committee could publish their own column of RIRA activity both in the WIRE and on the Roosevelt Islander, in addition to the official RIRA website. This was discussed with Dick Lutz at the meeting described above, who agreed to consider submissions of Press Releases from the Communications Committee for publication, and agrees that these submissions could also be published on the Roosevelt Islander Blog.

New Domain: riraonline.com
●    riraonline.com will be the domain address for the new official website of RIRA. ●    The cost for the domain is $10 per year. ●    Frank Farance will continue to support and host the old RIRA minutes website (rira-
council.org) and the documents contained on that site. He will provide a link on rira- council.org to riraonline.com, directing visitors to the official RIRA website. Access to the archive documents will be made available to the Communications Committee to host on the new website in the future.
New Website
●    We are working on a new website that will be up and functional as soon as the Communications Committee has permission to publish (see resolution below).
●    RIRA archive documents will be available on the website (agendas, committee reports, minutes, etc).
●    A link to Roosevelt Island's See Click Fix will be integrated into the new website. ●    We will be using Google Apps to manage and serve the website. The cost is free.
Calendar
●    A calendar of community and RIRA events will be available on the website using Google Calendar technology and integrating the calendar from the Roosevelt Islander Blog.
●    Will will create a calendar@riraonline.com email that the community can send events to be added to the calendar (should be low volume). The volunteers will receive those emails and be responsible to update the calendar.
●    Barbara Allen have volunteered to maintain the calendar and Frank Farance volunteered to do some programming if necessary. Vini will help at the beginning to get things set up.

Facebook and Twitter
●    We are working on a Facebook and Twitter that will be up and functional as soon as the Communications Committee has permission to publish (see resolution below).
●    Ava Dawson and Barbara Allen have volunteered to maintain the Facebook; John Paul has volunteered to Tweet.
Emails

●    E-mail groups have been established for committees. E-mails sent to these addresses will send an e-mail to all members of the committee whose e-mail address has been added to the list. For additions/changes, please contact the communications committee.
○ communications@riraonline.com ○ govtrelations@riraonline.com ○ housing@riraonline.com ○ islandservices@riraonline.com
○ planning@riraonline.com ○ publicsafety@riraonline.com ○ sce@riraonline.com
●    The communications committee will be developing a “Best Practices” document to refer to when e-mailing within RIRA. This will be sent to the President in early January.
●    If we have volunteers and interest, the committee could set up training on how to handle emails more efficiently.
●    We will keep the “reflector” rira-council@rira-council.org for one-way communication from the officers, and possibly committee chairs, to the council.
●    We agree that user-managed mailing lists should be employed so that each committee can manage their own lists (more visibility and more features). To add this service we need to upgrade the Google Apps account, which would cost $50 per year.

Google Docs
●    Google Documents will be used for attendance keeping. ●    Google Documents can be used for agendas, minutes and reports, and is specially
useful for collaborative or shared documents (like the calendar)

Resolutions
1. Whereas we the Communications Committee have been given the right to publish a newsletter and a calendar by the Constitution and Bylaws of RIRA, be it resolved that the Communications Committee requests authorization by the Common Council to publish a website, Facebook, Twitter and informational column to be published in external sources regarding RIRA activities and community events to better foster communication with the Island community.
2. Whereas we the Communications Committee will maintain a website and require web tools, be it resolved that the Communications Committee requests funds in the amount of $60 per year to cover the cost of the domain name and web tools necessary for hosting and functionality, in an effort to create tools that will foster communication with the Island community.
Respectfully submitted, Ava Dawson & Vini Fortuna
Co-Chairs

January 2011: RIRA Housing Committee Report By Helen Chirivas

The Committee met on 12/6/10 and the attendees included Lorraine Williams, Lisa Knox, Russell Fields, Matthew Katz, Sal Morabito, and Committee Chairwoman Helen Chirivas.

Our Committee met to consider the three questions on the Agenda:

1. Section 8 tenants in Eastwood that eventually exceed the Section 8 income guidelines are not then automatically transferred to the LAP Program; this violates the exit agreement whereby all of the tenants of Eastwood were to be protected upon exit from Mitchell Lama.

2. Southtown is not in compliance with the guidelines set forth in the General Development Plan, as it was not developed inclusively and does not provide low-income or affordable housing, a vital component of the General Development Plan, which is still in effect. Unfortunately, the lack of affordable housing at Southtown and the sense that Southtown is an enclave has exacerbated social tension and resentment on RI. Whereas RI was previously an oasis where the socioeconomic mix provided opportunities for building bridges and friendships across the ethnic, economic, social spectrum, we now have the phenomenon of a nearly complete lack of contact between the populations of Southtown and Northtown, leading to community conflict and the tarnishing of its reputation as an inclusive, caring place to live. The divisions of NYC, which were previously absent on RI, have now arrived on RI. Day and night, the million-dollar apartments of Southtown telegraph the message to the people of Northtown: We have money, you don’t; we do not need to know you much less lay eyes on you; Northtown residents don’t count because they can’t afford million-dollar apartments; Southtown is where the money is; that’s why Southtown residents never set foot in Northtown and definitely do not care to interact in any way with Northtown residents. Buildings 7, 8, 9 should be developed as truly affordable Rent Stabilized housing open to tenants with fixed incomes, moderate incomes, and those receiving Section 8 subsidies– this would help rebalance the socioeconomic mix on RI.

3. The RIRA Housing Committee would be happy to assist and support efforts in any of the complexes on RI; however, we can only assist at the request of the building associations. If a building or complex does not have a building committee or association, the Housing Committee has no-one with whom to coordinate efforts within a particular building. Landlord intimidation may be a factor preventing tenants from organizing building committees in some buildings.

The attendees had a thorough discussion about the lingering issue of the Section 8 tenants of Eastwood, who, because of economic circumstances such as families doubling up due to rampant unemployment, children becoming adults, managing to get jobs but still not being in the position to move out because of high rents, or Section 8 tenants slowly getting pay increases through the years so that eventually their income may exceed the Section 8 guidelines, and many more possible situations whereby a household may no longer qualify for the Section 8 subsidy, these families are suddenly exposed to the excessive
market rate rents being charged by Urban American, and because of this unjust economic circumstance, are usually then forced to face the harm of having to give up their apartments. This represents an unfair displacement since the other tenants that were in place at the time the building exited Mitchell-Lama in 2005, those that did not qualify for Section 8 subsidies are permanently protected from excessive market rate rents by having been placed in the LAP Program. Yet all Eastwood tenants at the time of exit from Mitchell Lama were promised they would be forever protected from market rate rents. The Committee agreed there is unfairness with the above scenario – the loophole whereby the landlord can prey on Section 8 tenants that may wind up even slightly exceeding the Section 8 income guidelines
by suddenly imposing excessive rents on those tenants -- and considered how the situation can be corrected.

First, we must find out how many Section 8 tenants are vulnerable to displacement as outlined above. We agreed that many Section 8 tenants, those on fixed incomes for example retirees or disabled, would likely not exceed the income guidelines, but that many other Section 8 tenants, those whose children have grown up and gone to work but cannot afford to leave home, or other families that may have taken in a grown child or relative that may be down on their luck but eventually may earn some income, may be affected. It is possible that this data may be available from the DHCR so that we could have an idea of the size of the problem. If in the end it turns out that the number of households in danger of displacement is in the range of 300-400, then the issue is a major problem with the risk of displacement affecting hundreds of residents. We would like to have this data before proceeding with next steps such as having meetings with RIOC, Urban American, elected representatives, etc., to plead that the
exit agreement and the agreement worked out with the tenants and the new owner upon exit could be amended to extend LAP protection to Section 8 tenants that may eventually exceed the Section 8 income guidelines. We need to find a way to keep people in their homes especially in these times of high unemployment and high rents.

We recognize that the Tenants Association of Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings is currently fighting the landlord over electrical sub metering, that is, electrical sub metering the way the landlord wishes to carry it out –making electrical bills a lucrative source of income as well as providing another way to evict tenants that may be unable to pay grossly inflated electrical bills, by considering the non-payment of inflated electrical bills as equivalent to the non-payment of rent, and extending to the landlord the power to evict tenants even if the tenant can afford to pay the rent but cannot afford the unjustly inflated electrical bill. As the Tenants Association is currently focused on this problem which threatens the future of all Eastwood tenants, the issue of Section 8 tenants exceeding income guidelines and not being transferred into the LAP Program, may not be immediately addressed. Also, the above possible steps can only be carried out under the auspices of, and as an effort by, the Eastwood tenants and their organization. We discussed that it is vital for Section 8 tenants of Eastwood to become active and involved in the Tenants Association. If requested by the Tenants Association the Housing Committee is happy to lend support and help with these issues.

We discussed the problem of Southtown not providing affordable housing. Related has said the hospital housing is affordable housing. This claim is ludicrous not only because hospital housing not open to the general public, but even within the hospital community itself, this housing is only made available to certain exclusive employee categories such as doctors, nurses, post-docs etc. These segments of the hospital community, with the exception of post-docs, do not earn low or moderate incomes. The hospital buildings cannot be described as affordable housing and do not satisfy the requirement to provide publicly accessible affordable housing. Related would go a long way toward correcting this imbalance by constructing buildings 7, 8, and 9 and insuring that these buildings are Rent Stabilized and open to Section 8 tenants as well. It appears that Related would like to “protect” its investment – the enclave of Southtown -- by conveniently “forgetting” to build the moderate income buildings – RIOC and the State Government should hold Related’s feet to the fire and force them to build these buildings. State Government must act in the interest of all of the people of the State of New York, not just the high-income people.

We discussed the problem of Manhattan Park not having a Tenants Association so that there is no counter-weight to oppose landlord actions that harm tenants such as inflating the price of the sub metered electricity. Manhattan Park tenants must first organize themselves and form a Tenants Association. The Housing Committee would then be happy to assist a Manhattan Park Tenants Association once it is organized.

RIRA ISLAND SERVICES COMMITTEE (ISC) REPORT TO THE COMMON COUNCIL MEETING 1/5/11

The ISC did not meet in December. Its first meeting will be in mid-January, sometime after the 1/5/11 Common Council meeting.

However, thereʼs been some developments on Red Bus issues which are of interest to ISC & RIRA. In a meeting on 12/22/10 with Fernando Martinez, RIOC Vice-President – Operations, Matt Katz, RIRA President, Frank France, Chair RIRAʼs Planning Committee, and Aaron Hamburger, Chair RIRAʼs Island Services Committee, we reached agreement on the following:

o RIOC will implement a Red Bus stop for the Tram on the left side (Queens side) of the Tram entrance. The stop will be on the south side of the road. Expected date for implementation will be January 15 or within two weeks thereafter.
The Red Bus going south from the Riverwalk complex will turn left at the fountain, stop at the new Tram stop to discharge and pick-up passengers, continue east and south, go around Sportspark and then head north to the subway stop.

o In the next week or so, RIOC will “experiment” with a 20 minute Red Bus schedule for non-rush hour operations starting at the Octagon. For example, the Red Bus will leave the Octagon at 11 am, 11:20 am and 11:40 am. Arrival at the Tram stop will be on or before 11:20 am, 11:40 am, and 12 noon. The bus will leave for the Octagon at 11:20 am, 11:40 am, and 12 noon. We will operate with this schedule for the Red Bus for 3 - 4 weeks to determine if this approach will lead to a predictable and consistent operating schedule for the Red Bus in non-rush hour periods.

o Whenever possible and especially during inclement weather, the Red Bus will stop at the protected area at the subway. If there are other buses coming behind the first Red Bus, then the bus will have to stop further north on the road.

Aaron Hamburger, Chair - ISC

26 comments :

Anonymous said...

It seems odd not to schedule the Red buses to arrive at the tram station before the tram is scheduled to depart and then wait for the incoming tram before going back to Octagon (like it was before).

With regard to the "first" Red bus vacating "protected area" at the Subway if another bus follows then many waiting passengers will probably take the second bus.

Hopefully the buses will find a way not to run close together as a "convoy".

Anonymous said...

The Public Safety Committee is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

This committee always seems to amaze me.. I find it amazing how you want to public safety to function as a full police force but fail to realize officers safety.. In regards to car stop and issuing summons there the number one cause for officers killed in the line of duty ... To go along with Domestic Violence, burgarly, robberies, assaults. Public safety isn't fully equipped to handle these type of jobs ... If you want public safety to function as a police force then equip them so they can operate as one.. Those guys have families just like anyone else and there safety comes first.. As far as the community police officer I think he's good ... You don't want to bring in someone who doesn't know those place or doesn't produce at all..

Anonymous said...

Re: Community Police Officer - I would like to see reports on the incidences of him abusing his power, where exactly is he stopping and frisking these individuals,as far as an abuse of power it seem that that this "committee" is abusing their power. Before "suggesting" someone be removed from their position there should be PROOF not rumors or suspicion.
It seems as though an amazing VIRUS on Roosevelt Island called Blame It On Someone Else. Rather than Island residence standing up for what they are doing or not doing they would rather blame the problems on the island on.

And with bringing someone else into the community who does not understand the unique needs of Roosevelt Island, may be opening a can of worms the community is not ready to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't public safety start their officers off at $14 an hour? Makes sense why they don't want to perform police officer duties at a security guards pay grade.

The whole department looks like they don't want to be there. Look at some of their faces! They look miserable!

As far as the "public safety committee" goes they are a joke and do not deserve any respect. Maybe they should sit down individually with the officers and ask what they feel would be the best for the island safety wise, since they are the ones there 24/7 patrolling this damn place.

Anonymous said...

It's as if the committee thinks there are 100 public safety officers out there to patrol the whole island. there's 40, and sometimes as little as 4 of them on the island at one time.

Fight for your officers to get paid more and get more manpower, and you'll get better quality candidates.

If you haven't noticed, the best officers tend to leave within a year.

Anonymous said...

1. All drivers of Red Buses have radios so they can actually talk to each other. Some of them actually do this so as to reduce or prevent convoys or bunching. Occasionally we have to remind Mr. Martinez and Mr. Baker to remind the drivers to TALK TO EACH OTHER so that riders are not waiting forever during rush hours waiting for buses at the Tram or Subway...This is not brain surgery here...or rocket science either.

With regard to all the stuff about public safety -- the abuses of power, the inconsistent enforcement of parking and other regulations, the wide variation in officer behavior to Islanders of all ages, races, & persuasions continues unabated. And did we mention the breakfast club at Trellis when at least 3 or 4 PSOs are bulking up simultaneously ? And the fact that the officers at desk are still sitting on chairs so low they cannot see over the desk -- well I think that says it all.
Guerra must go - or shape up.

Anonymous said...

I'm in RIRA and did not join the Public Safety Committee because of who was voted to chair the committee. She has her own issues, and also because one of the other members is not necessarily a Law Abiding Citizen. Funny how he gets on the PSC when he lives in a "glass house". The Chief shouldn't waste his time talking to them. PSD is vastly improved and they do a job nobody else would do for what they get paid.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I can't believe that those minutes were posted on the Blog. I will be resigning from the Public Safety Committee. This is rediculous!

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the Public Safety Committee and can't believe the minutes were posted on the blog as well. To be clear, minutes of a working committee are not generally posted. A report is.

We were told that the discussion about the officer would not see the light of day unless and until the committee determined whether they felt it warranted to take action. Particularly in the case of the Public Safety Committee, where inuendo is often rampant and nothng should be disclosed until it has been determined to be fact, disclosure of this sort was totally unacceptable.

Fortunately Rick agreed to redact the name of the Officer whose reputation, career and ability to do his job was being compromised, however, once he received word from the source that supplied the material to him, asking him to remove it, he should have.

The Officer in question has devoted a tremendous amount of time to our community. People often expect law enforcement officers to be somewhat paternal in their approach and are dissappointed when they are not. I fully beleive that the officer is well suited for his job.... he has a history with us, and has taken commendable action that put his personal safety on the line in many instances. During most of his time with us, he is the only officer who our Public Safety Department can rely on to back them up. His job is not only to protect us from crime but to protect our unarmed Public Saftey force in the performance of their duties. He has done an outstanding job with quiet dignity. He deserves to be commended and appreciated. I hope folks will stop and say thanks to him the next time they pass by.

I'm appalled that the privacy with which the discussion took place was compromised, particularly because the committee determined to drop all concerns about the performance of this officer. I'm equally disturbed that the blog carried the minutes even when asked to remove them by the President of RIRA and Chief Guerra.

Joyce Mincheff

Anonymous said...

I think that the only time a person complains is when they are hit with a problem.!!!!I have personally witnessed this officer walk up to individuals and ask the to open their hand bag .inferring that they would have a open container of alcohol...Secondly, Yes he is very proned to searching young black men..Just because he is a police officer does not give him a right to intimidate people..

Anonymous said...

What is very dangerous is this officer use to be a Public Saftey officer..Every since he became a cop Not only do he turn his nose up to residents but he acts as if he is superior to Public Saftey..As Quiet as kept they want him replaced too....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

Anonymous comments that call specific people incendiary or insulting names will be removed like the one above.

Please refrain from doing so. Make your point by stating facts and not conclusions without evidence.

If you insist on insulting people, put your own name to the charge.

Anonymous said...

I must admit that this is turning into an interesting discussion. I have a question, though. Are those committee meetings public or behind closed doors? If the former I think Rick is within his rights to publish the minutes on his blog because any reader of this blog could just sit in those meetings anyway.

Moral of this story: be careful what you do in public meetings. Simple as that. If that involves calling out an individual for doing something disagreeable you must learn to approach this problem delicately. Don't rely on the media to do that job for you - that is not its job, it's yours.

I really appreciate what Rick is doing here and I have been following his block since his everything-in-caps times. The slowly but surely censorship that he has to endure lately is bothersome. These are the Internet times. Just like everybody else even the RIRA has to embrace it and find ways to adopt them.

Anonymous said...

I can see the above poster's point. The real issue is that Rick was given this information by the RIRA President. If it was not intended to be made public, Matt Katz should have never given it to Rick. As the President, he should be more careful of what information is made public and he was irresponsible not to provide the full report of the actual meeting that took place.

That being said, if someone gives information to Rick, and then they realize they shouldn't have and ask him to remove it, he should have the courtesy to do so. If he doesn't, he runs the risk of them not sharing information with him in the future.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

This has nothing to do with courtesy. Once information is given to me that is not off the record or told in confidence and is posted - it is news and will not be taken down because it is embarrassing to some or inconvenient to have been made public.

The information was lawfully obtained, was not defamatory towards anyone and was an issue of public concern to the Roosevelt Island community.

As a result of this post, the RIRA Common Council voted last night to restrict the distribution of committee material to the media and others unless approved by a 2/3 vote of that committee. I will have more on this later and am awaiting receipt of the resolution from RIRA so I can have the exact wording of it and then post on blog.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

RIRA's Public Safety Committee Chair sent in this comment.

"Everyone that was sitting on a committee was surprised to find their conversations in print. Why this would make someone resign from the PSC beats me. My main problem with reading these minutes, standing outside of the loop, is that it is only a snap shot of what was discussed. And there were even other minutes which follow these, where issues were discussed, and some decisions made. And another vote after that meeting, where an action item was voted down. This event is still not written having happened only days ago. There is nothing to inform you that in our last meeting, the one with Chief Guerra, the committee was very productive. We spoke of our concerns, he listened, and the following day we were informed he had heard us and was implemented several changes.

Problems started when a call was made, from the Lieutenant at the 114th to Chief Guerra. At this point we discovered, through a third party, that the intentions of a call that I had made to the 114th had been misunderstood. Clarification of police procedure and protocol had been the point of my call, made at the committee's request. To our dismay the purpose of the call was misinterpreted and seen as purposely malicious. If I had known that any conversation with the Lieutenant from the 114th, concerning police coverage in Sector Robert would put someones job on the line I wouldn't have made it. We would have contacted a different precinct to find our answers, if necessary. Honestly from the tone of the conversation I didn't think it had caused any negative repercussions for the Officer, and if it did we would like to correct it because to have done so was not our intention.

Because of the way the situation was handled the Committee was unable to find resolution. The focus of conversations became defensive, and in the end, the concerns brought to our attention were never fully addressed. We never had a chance to discuss the concerns that these residents had shared, in a productive way which we regret.

In retrospect, there were too many cooks in the kitchen, and all contacts to any officials outside of the community should have been handled differently, and will be in the future. This issue ended up being blown out of proportion. The time the committee devoted to this issue did not prove that these complaints were justified. We were unable to find any justification for requesting rotation, and unanimously voted not to.

I would like to apologise personally to the Officer, and to Chief Guerra for all the drama that has surrounded this issue, and for any misunderstandings that may have affected their ability to carry out their jobs. What has happened, including the strain on what was a decent working relationship between us, is not what we wanted and was certainly not our intention. As we have stated, the interest of the Committee is to work with our law enforcement officers on the Island to provide a safe, secure environment for the residents of Roosevelt Island.

If any resident feels that the PSC is not moving in the right direction, or if you do, please take the time to consider joining. And for those who commented that our expectations are too high, remember this, we've come a long way from where we were under Frye. Don't discount our officers ability because of how much you think they are paid.

Crime is down, and the number of complaints over the past 3 years have dropped from 10 to 4.

Sincerely,

Erin Feely-Nahem
Committee Chair.

on that note, this has not been viewed prior to distribution by the other committee members, therefore it is solely my opinion, although I think they would agree."

Anonymous said...

Funny how the RIRA starts doing things they have been accusing the RIOC of doing.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

Thanks to the reader for being here since the everything-in-caps time. Wow that seems like so long ago. The blog started in summer of 2007 - hard to believe. I appreciate your staying with me here.

Anonymous said...

Don't pay attention to the breakfast committee of PSOs. Anyone that was hired before Guerra came on board is not of good quality. Look at all the young guys that he's hired and the sergeants on the afternoon shift. Those are police-worthy officers. It's a shame that we keep losing them, and if any of them end up like the breakfast club, its because the administrators aren't rewarding the good officers or punishing the slugs.

Anonymous said...

P.S. (same poster as above)

When has the NYPD officer asked to see inside someone's purse for any reason, especially an open container? If by purse you mean, brown paper bag that you're drinking from? Then, maybe. That's also not a FRISK.

Let's all settle down. Learn the law, and what is considered intimidating. If anyone but a former PSD officer was the NYPD officer on the island, there would be a rude awakening. The officer lets this island off easy. Bring in anyone else from the 114th precinct.... they would be dragging people to jail left and right.

Anonymous said...

If you wanted to personally apologize to the officer you could see him any evening from tuesday to saturday. You can usually find him patrolling the island in the 3 wheel scooter or on foot in the hallways of eastwood. Somehow I don't feel this forum is a personal apology since he may not even be reading it. I also don't think his bosses at the 114 th pct read this forum.

Anonymous said...

RIRA attacks Youth Center, Public Safety, Bus drivers, Santa Claus, Christmas Lights. What's Next, oh maybe disolving.

Anonymous said...

RIRA stands for

Roosevelt
Island
Resident
A-holes

...with apologies to the newbees, who joined not knowing the deal.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

The two RIRA Resolutions together with roll call vote are available at this link.
http://tinyurl.com/2dbgrce