Thursday, June 16, 2011

Governor Cuomo and NY State Senate Spit In The Eye Of Roosevelt island Residents By Appointing Unelected, Conflict Ridden, Non Resident to RIOC Board of Directors -Horrible Way To Start Your Ethics and Good Government Agenda Mr. Cuomo

Image of Rotting Fish From NY Daily News

Something stinks like rotting fish in the way the New York State Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo are attempting to bring back colonial rule to Roosevelt Island with the apparent naming of Salvatore Fererra, currently Executive Director of the Child School/Legacy High School, to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors.

Mr. Fererra, who does not live on Roosevelt Island and has worked here for less than a year, is being shoved down the throats of Roosevelt Island residents as a RIOC Board Director without having been elected by the community as have 6 of the 7 current resident RIOC Board Directors. The only Resident Board Director not elected by the community is David Kraut who was an existing Board member before the new RIOC election procedure was implemented. The 2 other RIOC Board Members are representatives of NY State government. Notice how the non-NY State government RIOC Board members are residents of Roosevelt Island which Mr. Fererra is not.

I learned about the naming of Mr. Fererra to the RIOC Board yesterday. According to the NY State Senate Finance Committee
Senate Standing Committee on Finance
Senator John A. DeFrancisco, Chair
  Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The Senate Finance Committee will consider the following nominations (TO APPEAR):
... Salvatore Ferrera as a Member of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
(pending confirmation by the Committee on Transportation)...
Later that evening the Albany Citizen One Blog reported:
All of the appointments presented in the Senate chamber were confirmed, ... The following were confirmed...
... Salvatore Ferrera as a Member of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation...
Last night, I sent the following inquiry to Mr. Fererra:
I understand that you were just appointed as a Board Director of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC).

Do you wish to make any statement regarding your appointment that I can publish on the Roosevelt Islander Blog and share with the Roosevelt Island community?

For instance, as Executive Director of the Child School/Legacy High School do you think it is proper for you to be on the RIOC Board when the Child School/Legacy High School is a tenant of RIOC, may be seeking additional space on Roosevelt Island for an Arts Center, Equestrian Center and Boat House as well as being the recipient of an extremely below market rent for your school space of almost 50,000 sq ft. on the Waterfront Promenade at $6 sq ft.?

Do you think that such real estate entanglements represent a conflict of interest to your fiduciary obligations as a RIOC Board Member?  If not, why?

In the past, RIOC Board members had to resign from other Roosevelt Island organizations in order to be on the RIOC Board. Do you intend to resign from the Child School/Legacy High School in order to serve on the RIOC Board?

Do you think it is proper for you to accept an appointment to the RIOC Board without participating in the election process for a RIOC Board seat which many Roosevelt Island residents have fought so hard for many years to achieve at least a small measure of democracy on Roosevelt Island?

Roosevelt Island residents would be very interested in learning exactly what your qualifications are for being a RIOC Director.
As of this morning, I have not received a response from Mr. Fererra.

If Mr. Fererra's appointment to the RIOC Board is not reversed, that means that a current RIOC Board member will have to be replaced. Checking the RIOC web site it shows that the term of three current RIOC Board members have expired.

They are:
  • Faye Fryer Christian - term expired May 19, 2010
  • Jonathan Kalkin - term expired June 10 2011
  • David Kraut - term expired June 10 2011
It will be outrageous if any of these RIOC Directors are replaced by the unelected Mr. Fererra but it will be a gigantic travesty and injustice if Mr. Kalkin is the RIOC Director replaced.

I may not always agree with Mr. Kalkin on a particular issue but he is an extraordinary public servant for Roosevelt Island devoting many hours of his time and innovative ideas for the benefit of our community and individual residents. Through his persistent efforts the Roosevelt Island Retail Main Street Master Leaseholder was accomplished, many companies think of Roosevelt Island as a place to experiment with innovative solutions to municipal problems and Mr. Kalkin is always ready to respond to questions from Roosevelt Island residents as well as this blog and to help residents with any problem or issue they may have.

Something really, really stinks here. Questions need to be asked and truthful answers obtained as to how Mr. Fererra, out of nowhere, managed to be named as a RIOC Board Director. Why? Whose interests does this serve?

UPDATE 1:25 PM - I am now advised that Jonathan Kalkin was the RIOC Director replaced. According to Assembly Member Micah Kellner:
I’m extremely disappointed that Jonathan Kalkin was removed from the RIOC board. Jonathans energy and ingenuity brought terrific innovation to Roosevelt Island and there’s no way that he can be replaced. This is a great loss for everyone who cares about Roosevelt Island.
This is disgusting and a blatant abuse of Roosevelt Island by the NY State Senate and Governor Cuomo. One can only ask WHY? What is going on?

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz adds:
Your blog says it all and in the appropriate outraged language.  Salvatore Ferrera’s appointment to the RIOC Board of Directors was a stealth campaign that maliciously and deliberately took place behind our backs.   Having been one of the workers who created and executed the highly successful elections that placed six Island residents on the nine-member RIOC Board of Directors, I am astounded at the arrogance of our colonial masters in Albany and the insult to this community that this step encompasses.  A decade’s slog towards democratic government has been upset in a day.  I await a response from the current resident Board members, whose seats are now all in jeopardy.  We will devise an appropriate community response as we learn the full import of this calamity.
          Matthew Katz
          President, RIRA 
UPDATE 2:05 PM - Sherrie Helstien, Secretary of RIRA Common Council and the person in charge of PR for Maple Tree Group’s (MTG) two Community Elections writes:
Those of us who have worked our asses off to get two impeccable elections created for, and on behalf of this community in order to bring us some small semblance of local, democratic governance, are stunned, disturbed, infuriated, and utterly nauseated by this turn of events.  We had the help and  support of the Spitzer and Paterson administrations, as well as former DHCR Chair, Deborah van Amerongen and RIOC President/CEO, Steve Shane in our election endeavors.  Former Governor Pataki (Rep.), initiated the concept of having local residents participate in determining the direction of the community’s development and  its varied issues in his “Open Spaces Law”, passed by the NY State legislature:  it states that the RIOC Board must be comprised of a majority of ISLAND RESIDENTS.  The current Governor and Senate Republicans who supported this nomination need to be reminded of their obligation to follow the law and to honor past precedents put into place by past Governors.

We have yet to find out exactly who else on the current Board this community chose may be getting replaced and by whom.  This is a continuation of past assaults on a community that has lived under the grave assault of “taxation without representation” for far too long and it is UN-DEMOCRATIC. 

We have troops in two countries (as far as we know), and if our federal reps vote on it, the (any) President of the U.S. may be given the right to decide unilaterally to declare war anywhere in the world, at any time, to “support democracy”—but what about here at HOME?  Where is this small community’s DEMOCRACY???   Will Roosevelt Island residents unite and start thinking like the people in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, & Bahrain? 

We need to open our eyes and see  ourselves as we are seen by these state legislators: as a housing development with people who have no legal standing which translates into having no local representative democracy.  It is that simple.  And it is that hard.  Will our new residents see and understand what this means to them when, for instance, the parkland they thought was theirs/ours, is given away (and for a pittance at that), yet again without meaningful community input?  We’ll have to see… 

Shame on this Governor and shame on the MONEY and deal-making  that has probably been behind this extremely aggressive act.
Sherrie is right - who economically benefits from replacing Mr. Kalkin on the RIOC Board? In almost every scandal involving government appointments - follow the money, follow the money and let's see where that leads. 

UPDATE: 11:55 PM - Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano comments:
The controversy regarding the recent RIOC Board appointment highlights the need for legislation, like the bill (S4405) I’m sponsoring with Assembly Member Kellner, that would give Roosevelt Island residents a higher degree of self-governance. Roosevelt Island has distinctive needs that are specific to the area, and its residents uniquely qualified to play an active role in its leadership.
UPDATE 6/17 - Here is the video minutes for the meeting dated June 15, 2011 at 5 PM - 5:51 PM of:
The Senate Finance Committee will consider the following nomination:
Salvatore Ferrera as a Member of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation 
The video shows at approximately the 31 minute 15 second mark,  that Mr. Fererra's appointment was withdrawn to be dealt with at a later time according to the Committee Chair. Nothing else was mentioned about Mr. Fererra for the rest of the meeting so unless there was another committee meeting later in the evening, I can't tell when the appointment to the RIOC Board was approved by the Committee.

Also, Mr. Fererra advises in response to a question from me:
As far as my appointment it went thru the office of Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos.
UPDATE 6/17 -RIOC Director Margie Smith comments:
Yesterday’s appointment of Salvatore Ferrera to the RIOC Board is outrageous on so many levels.  This community has worked tirelessly for over a decade to have elected representation on the RIOC Board.  In the last two rounds of board appointments, Island residents gave their neighbors a voice by running for election rather than just accepting appointments without any input from the community.  That set a precedent, or so we hoped, for future appointments.  Yesterday’s action ignores that precedent and shows a total disregard for the community’s wishes.

To add insult to injury, Mr. Ferrera will be taking the place of resident Board Member Jonathan Kalkin.  Jonathan has been one of the most active members in the history of the board.  He has initiated, and is currently managing, a number of crucial projects, and, because of his special expertise in technology, and his forward-thinking, these projects could be in serious jeopardy.  The remaining board members will do our best to see these projects through to fruition, but Jonathan will be sorely missed at the helm of these initiatives.

Bottom line, I personally believe it's a privilege being on the RIOC Board, but only if you hold that seat because the residents of the Island vote you in.
and so does RIOC Director Howard Polivy:
Without touching on all the issues of this recent Albany action, I just want to react to the end of Jonathan's tenure on the RIOC board.

He worked tirelessly to improve our shared quality of life. These broad efforts ranged from the details necessary to assure smooth operations of the complex urban ecology that this Island represents in miniature, with all the balancing of competing interests, to the notion that our community may model new interesting technologies to benefit all New Yorkers.

Most importantly, as Chair of the Real Estate Committee, he gave a great deal of his time and energy to two key developments. Much has been made of the Master Lease which will soon become effective. However, and much less in the public eye, Jonathan took the lead in efforts preserve effective affordable housing for the middle class. I am confident that as details emerge his vision will be vindicated and it's success will prove useful in other areas in the state.
UPDATE 6 PM - Roosevelt Island's New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin comments:
No disrespect to the new incoming member, but it’s outrageous that the Governor’s office didn’t consult or inform any of us before making this appointment.  I don’t understand why he disregarded the electoral process we had previously hammered out.  It’s sad to lose both Jonathan and the more transparent and democratic process we’d worked out for selecting RIOC board members.
UPDATE 10 PM - Jonathan Kalkin comments:
I appreciate the huge amount of support from the community that I have been getting not only today, but for the last several years. This decision is a threat to our democracy on Roosevelt Island and ignores the hard fought democratic process that so many have worked tirelessly for so many years. Roosevelt Island is closer than ever to having a vibrant Main Street and long term affordable housing and we must not let anything disrupt that progress. I challenge the current and incoming board members to continue and complete the reform initiatives I have fought so hard for and I know they are up to the task. Public service can take many different forms and I will continue to be a voice for a better quality of life and democracy for this community.
UPDATE 6/18 - Roosevelt Island Maple Tree Group met with Mr. Fererra to urge him to resign or not accept appointment as RIOC Director. More Here.

UPDATE 6/20 - Latest on whether Mr. Fererra will accept the appointment to RIOC Board or resign his seat.

UPDATE 6/30 - Roosevelt Island residents and RIOC Directors urge Mr. Ferrera to resign during June RIOC Board Meeting (includes video of statements)


Denise said...

First of all, based only on his presentation at RIRA last month - and taking him at his word, I think he is a great choice. I loved his presentation, openness and ideas.

Now... as for having to replace - that is a whole different matter. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment regarding Mr. Kalkin. If we were to lose him, well... there are no words for that.

I am not familiar enough with the work of the other two to have an opinion.

Anonymous said...

Geez. Don't we want to give that guy a chance before we tear him apart? I expected a bit more from the Rooseveltislander. That guy has connections to the island through the Child School/Legacy Highschool. Let's just wait and see before we pull a Farrance here.

Everybody on the RIOC board has some sort of conflict of interest. Resident or not.

Denise said...

I realized I just spoke too soon - all of the RIOC directors should be elected by the community. Period.

We live in a place where we are not fully represented - unlike almost anywhere else in the US - we aren't represented in government by people we elect.

HOW CAN THAT BE? We need to do - and to help those who are already doing it (Maple Tree) - to be a place where all of our representatives to government are elected by the community.

How can we stand for anything less?

Denise Shull

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Denise. "Hooray" for the Governor for selecting a man of integrity and professionalism to the RIOC Board. Lord knows, there are too many RIRA people on the Board now. Ridding the Board of Kalkin & Smith will be good for the island. Both are smart, but also smart-alecks!

RIRA has too much influence here and the only reason Matt is the President is because nobody else (besides Frank Farance) wants to do it. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with residents of the island being on the RIOC Board - but not RIRA members. They think they speak for all residents here, but clearly - THEY DON'T.

Denise said...

Election representation is the issue. As I said above, my impression of this appointed person is a good one.

But... if you go down the road of being represented by people who aren't elected - and favor them over those who are, you risk those in power controlling everything . You risk losing any say at all.

Get involved - run for RIRA, get on sub-committees -participate. But keep the idea of elected officials at the core of everything. It is the heart of freedom.

Dan Chen said...

So disappointing...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's start a revolt. Good idea, Ms Helstien. Pass the popcorn, please.

So much hoopla about this little rock. No matter how mismanaged the RIOC could be it's not going to impact much of our lives here. And if you've had enough pack your stuff and move.

Anonymous said...

Big Bad Sal, wasn't RIRA that was saying how great this guy was and he had agenda he just wanted to help us.

RIRA you always are the suckers in the Island game.

Anonymous said...

Why can't an appointee replace an appointee? THAT is the question. Why or how do they think they can replace an elected director with an appointee?

For those of you to whom this doesn't matter - it is just a matter of time before the government does something to you, that you are outraged with.

The fact that it is Sal is unfortunate - he seems like he could be an asset - if he were elected or replaced a current appointee.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope Ferarra realizes the HUGE conflict of interest his appointment represents and he turns it down.

Kalkin works harder than anyone at RIOC, especially Torres. His reward for bringing innovative solutions to RIOC is to be replaced by an unelected fellow with less than one-year's presence on the Island.

Anonymous said...

4:16pm - I've lived on this island ling enough to have a good opinion about what the RIOC can and cannot do. It's always been okay. Nothing ever really anything outrageous.

Farance for RIRA Pres said...

Frank's wisdom in pushing for RIOC Bd member elections last year is now more than evident. The RIOC Bd needs to change when terms expire - not continue so that Bd members get "experience" as some said last year. So, folks, if we do not have elected members that the Gov. can pick from to appoint, then he will simply appoint community-minded people like Sal, whether or not they live on RI.
In Sal's case, as the Child School director, he basically "lives" here anyway since he is here all the time running the school. The Child School is well-run and if there is anybody who would have an interest in keeping RI safe, livable, and beautiful, it's Sal.

Anonymous said...

Ever since Ms. Torres was appointed,mediocrity and lack of ambition has returned to RIOC.

Her continuous lack of presence on the island shows how little regard
she has for the job.

Mr. Ferrera has a lot of conflicts and will have to recuse himself from most major decisions, especially real estate.

He has friend in Albany.
Jon Kalkin had brains, that is the difference.

An Old time Islander

Ava said...

This is very disappointing - Kalkin is one of the only people who has ideas and pushes to get things done. He has been a great asset to the community on RIOC.

Are there channels to fight this?

Howard Polivy said...

Without touching on all the issues of this recent Albany action, I just want to react to the end of Jonathan's tenure on the RIOC board.

He worked tirelessly to improve our shared quality of life. These broad efforts ranged from the details necessary to assure smooth operations of the complex urban ecology that this Island represents in miniature, with all the balancing of competing interests, to the notion that our community may model new interesting technologies to benefit all New Yorkers.

Most importantly, as Chair of the Real Estate Committee, he gave a great deal of his time and energy to two key developments. Much has been made of the Master Lease which will soon become effective. However, and much less in the public eye, Jonathan took the lead in efforts preserve effective affordable housing for the middle class. I am confident that as details emerge his vision will be vindicated and it's success will prove useful in other areas in the state.


This comment is from Joyce Mincheff.

The Maple Tree Group lost it's traction last year by it's failure to support holding a RIOC Board Member election in 2010.

Unfortunately, I was the only MTG member supporting that concept and I can't even begin to tell you how much flack I received as a result. It caused a huge rift between me and the other members and ultimately lead to my stepping down from RIRA because the cliquishness of their protest was too ugly to deal with.

They got exactly what Frank Farance and I warned them against. Frank, as President of RIRA at the time, was also outspoken about holding such an election. No one listened.

Ashton drew her pretty charts, which they all admired for such clarity, regardless that they were meaningless to the politics of the situation.

Without that election, and stand-by nominees in place, the Governor stepped in and did it his way.

Here is the other major concept that I've attempted to get through to the MTGers but they all complained that they were just too tired and that someone else should do it....No one's father, grand father, uncle or son ever risked their lives in the armed forces of the United States to make the world safe for..... Public Benefit Corporations!!

The constitution of the United States assures all of its citizens, including Roosevelt Islanders, democratic government. The State of NY is flagrantly depriving democracy to the residents of our community and it is imperative that we collectively bring a constitutional law suit before the Supreme Court of the United States in order to get them to stop.

Cuomo has made it blatantly clear that the State will not stop itself, and unless we proceed in a constitutional law suit, along with demonstrations to create press focus on this issue, it will not change.

This is not about the appointee himself. It is not about whether he may or may not be a good board member although it is crystal clear that he has financial links even more deliterious to objective thinking than any of the other members who were required to severe even more beneign ties in order to serve. Certainly Jonathan Kalkin proved his value to our community time and time again.

As an added insult, there is only one seat on the RIOC board that is not filled with someone who is elected to that position, and that is the seat of David Kraut. Cuomo choose to remove an elected Director who had the support of the community in favor of holding onto someone who had never sat for election for his seat.

If you are interested in helping to create a constitutional law suit to bring democratic government to Roosevelt Island, please contact me at Use the subject line: "RI Democracy!" or simply "RID!"

oldtimer said...

i am happy for mr for matt katz and the rira .they can all go to hell . they are all useless . . get rid of the rira .best of luck to mr ferrera . torres is useless rioc is useless .rioc did nothing to help the working class people in eastwood as ron vass back stabbed the middle working class people in eastwood.he made sure he got a great deal for himself and others in the same boat as him . the hell with the working middle class peoPLE who were put into sec 8 , and were forced to move because their income got to high to stay in sec8 8 ,and were forced to pay the market rent . shame on you ron vass maY YOU ROT IN HELL.NOW ALL YOU HAVE IN EASTWOOD IS PEOPLE ON FIXED INCOMES WELFARE SSI DISABLE OLD PEOPLE LIVING on FIXED INCOME . PEOPLE IN LAP.AND A FEW MArket rent . but the middle income working class is gone . thanks to ron vass .shame on you ron vass

Denise said...

It would seem, at Joyce has said, that the only way to solve this long term is through putting forward the basic idea of representation through election - or a constitutional case.

I believe there are organizations that would help us do this and that this avenue should be explored.

It leads to direct representation, the elimination of taxation without representation and a host of other issues with the convoluted structure we now have.

Ava and others who want an avenue - ?

This is the smartest long term solution that may help the short term too! It is not about Sal or Jonathan - it is about a community in the USA being governed without having a say in whom they are governed by.

bill said...

what the hell are you saying

Anonymous said...

Careful what you wish for. You can be sure that the end of RIOC as it exists today would be the end of any of the services that make this island habitable. Without RIOC, we would be left to fend for ourselves in the NYC bureaucracy, with it's 8,000,000 other priorities.

If you don't like who Cuomo installs to the RIOC board, you have a democratic alternative: don't vote for him. And take it up with your legislative delegation to lobby in the senate against confirming these appointments.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.


added link to video minutes of State Senate Committee meeting regarding appointment of Mr. Fererra as RIOC Director. Starts at approximately 31 minute 15 second mark

Anonymous said...

I moved here 2 years ago, and what I thought was an island filled with great, hard-working people is really an island filled with spoiled residents who feel entitled.

I was present at the meeting where the topic of continuing the elections was brought up , and RIRA (or Maple Tree) decided it had so much power that it did not need to have another election for stand-by positions to pick from. Instead, the spoiled - "We'll do it our way" mentality took over and no election occured.

You got what you sowed. The Governor filled an expired spot with a viable candidate. You gave him no options, so YOU FAILED!

I believe that Mr. Ferrera and the future appointees will serve our Community fine.

Anonymous said...

"Spoiled residents who feel entitled" is absolutely right. I've been here a little longer than you but even at last night's transportation meeting the words, "We are special" were uttered over and over.

We aren't special. This is NYC. We are New Yorkers - which has upsides and downsides. RI needs to realize it can't have it both ways no matter what some utopian vision from the 1970's said.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the MTG is going to apologize to Frank Farrance now. He was right. Elections were needed. The state saw expired board members still sitting there and replaced one of them. I wonder how they chose who to replace, though. Looks like they removed the most helpful and smartest from the bunch (even though he is a bit annoying).

lizrinyc said...

I am greatly dismayed that Jonathan Kalkin was removed as an ELECTED Resident Board Member to RIOC, something most of the residents fought long and hard for.

We need Representation here, not more "appointees" from whomever the Sitting Gov. happens to be.

Mr. Kalkin is an incredible asset to the RIOC Board and entire Community.

He has personally taken time out whenever I emailed him or called him and explained things to me and my concerns about my home of 29 years Westview and Roosevelt Island.

He was-is fighting hard to protect the real meaning of "affordable" housing here-the complexes that remain, IH, WV in particular.

He is very concerned about the residents in those complexes that are the ones without the means to buy an apt. and wants protections in place for these many Residents.

This Island was founded with the whole premise of "Affordable, Safe Housing FOR EVERYBODY".- That is not "Utopian"- it is what conceived this Island for residential buildings back in 1975.

Mr. Kalkin was on the Real Estate Committee, Transportation and Operations Committees and doing an excellent job on all of them..

Why remove him NOW?!!!-very interesting- Gov. Cuomo- come to the Island, call a Town Meeting and explain to all the Residents who voted for Resident Board Members on RIOC if you have the guts- which sure looks like you do not- SHAME and we though Gov. Pataki was bad...

This Island is indeed special to the "newcomers" who don't think so-the Island is owned by the City of New York and leased to the State of NY from 1968-2068. We aren't just "New Yorkers" we are administered by NYS.

There is no other place like this in this huge city- maybe City Island.

Who said we thought we were "entitled"- no one!!!

We had years here- were the Upper East side people and Upper West sider people snickered about this lovely Island.

We have had many, many battles here in my 29 years of living here-and we used to band together for things that were imporant.

I think this is one of them- Gov. Cuomo needs to know our displeasure at this- call his office or write or both on the removal of J. Kalkin.. Could it be that Mr. Kalkin was fighting too hard for "affordable housing" and the powers that be- DHCR, NYS and the greedy owners of the building due to come out of the ML program- IH and WV- not yet out- didn't like it...

Mr.Kalkin genuinely cares about this Community and people living here- even people not in his complex in Riverwalk and fights for all of them.

He has done an excellent job with the Tram, trying to improve it- with straps to hold on, improve the Red Bus system, bring in new ideas and technologies to improve the Island.

He also was fighting hard to get RI a Ferry service.

I do believe that the RIOC elections should have been held last November and now- look what happened- RI has now lost one of the most active, dedicated Resident Board Members we had doing a great job for ALL of the Residents on the Island...

I am disgusted and saddened and hope this can be hopefully overturned..

Jean M. Shea
29 year Resident of Westview and Roosevelt Island.

Anonymous said...

It won't be overturned... and frankly, it shouldn't.

If they are expired, then they are just that - expired.

Who stays in any Official Position after their term has EXPIRED.

You should have had elections. Kalkin could have run for re-election. But, even he thought he was "entitled" and that's why he's gone.

RI Wins said...

It is possible the Governor did not appreciate the Board's ouster of Steve Shane, which was thought to be largely coordinated by Mr. Kalkin, the biggest advocate of the Master Lease concept, which Mr. Shane steadfastly opposed.

Now that Mr. Kalkin is gone, it remains to be seen if the Master Lease agreement will be executed after all.

Whatever happens to the Master Lease concept, no Governor would want to see his appointee -- RIOC Pres -- "fired" by the RIOC Board. The Governor appoints the RIOC President, and, logically, the Governor dismisses the RIOC President.

Gov. Cuomo does not make appointments without a reason.

There were Board members with expired terms lingering on the Board, and no pool of standby elected board members available from which to appoint new board members. Gov. Cuomo thus had no choice but to appoint a non-elected Board member, in this case appointing a particularly valuable, hard-working member of the community, Mr. Sal Ferrara, the director of the Child School.

This worthy appointment is a plus for RI - no matter which Board Member with an expired term Gov. Cuomo decided to dismiss.

Gov. Cuomo, in dismissing Mr. Kalkin, regains control over RIOC. Mr. Kalkin may have imagined he could always orchestrate the Board to do as he wished - in effect, dictate to the RIOC President. This indirectly challenged the State authority.

Plus, it cannot be easy for any RIOC President to function with in effect the threat of a Board voting as a bloc, ready to terminate the RIOC President seemingly at any time, over reasons that do not even need to be revealed by the Board.

Boards are not constituted to be the tools of one particularly active Board Member. Boards are forums where each Board member should have an equal say. A Board that is dominated by a particular Board member loses its validity as a group of independent-minded, equally empowered members.

So, thank goodness for Gov. Cuomo's action - and welcome Mr. Ferarra to the RIOC Board!

Anonymous said...

The RIRA in general and the MTG in specific totally have full responsibility for what has happened. We need fresh blood for the RIRA. From what I heard, though, new comers are shot down pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

Kalkin was if you agreed with him or not was off the charts brilliant and it was a joy to see him solve huge issues that RI has faced forever. His seat is gone for now but all the changes he made are still here and moving forward and his plan on affordable housing has already moved through his committee which he reported the previous RIOC meeting. One new voter can't undo what he did. It is a shame that more people didn't see this young highly educated person in action. It looks like the whole democratic Senate voted against allowing Sal to take his seat and by the response here it is obvious that Kalkin has a lot of support from the politicians and residents. We need his talent and I know he will be helping this community again in some way.

oldtimer said...

where is ron vass ,in all of this

oldtimer said...

when talking about keeping affordable housing on the island. just ask ron vass.

Anonymous said...

There’s been speculation in some of these posts that the Governor put Ferrera on the Board because he didn’t have a list of elected candidates to choose from. That’s nonsense. Senator Golden, from Brooklyn, wanted Ferrera on the board and pulled political strings to make it happen, with the obvious knowledge and consent of Ferrera. In the past when a seat opened up, the Governor’s office either left the incumbent there or consulted the local politicians for replacement candidates. For the last several years, our politicians have given the names of the candidates who had been elected. The Governor selected some, not all, of those people. In this instance, our local pols were deliberately kept in the dark and when they found out about this nomination, they successfully had it removed from the agenda of the Senate Finance Committee. After the session had been adjourned, in a backroom political deal, Senator Golden got it put back and then immediately passed it through the Senate. No list of Island candidates would have made any difference at all. This was a clear move by the Governor’s office to do a favor for Senator Golden and to reinforce to this community that our interests are irrelevant and he’s running the show. The real question is why would someone who supposedly has integrity want to play any part in this debacle by accepting the appointment?

If anyone believes that Ferrera knew nothing about these underhanded political shenanigans, they’re being na├»ve. But let’s assume they’re right and I’m the jaded one, now that Ferrera knows how he got this position, wouldn’t a person of integrity turn it down?

Addressing the post from RI Wins, the Governor does NOT appoint the RIOC President. It’s very clear in the RIOC By-Laws, which are public information, that the RIOC Board hires and fires the executives of the corporation. It even describes, by job title, who those executives are. In the past other boards accepted nominees from the Governor’s office and pretty much rubber stamped them into that position. This board, finally, stood up to that and took back the power given to them by law. I guess Cuomo didn’t like it, but what good is having an elected board if they’re going to allow Albany to continue to run the Island? We may as well go back to the old days and eliminate the time and effort it takes to put on an election.

D. Evans said...

It is great to witness the resident passion for Roosevelt Island and its future. A common thread in the various comments is that Jonathan Kalkin is a tireless worker with vision and an ability to advocate and sell "great for the community" ideas. I have not known him known long but certainly am impressed with this gentleman. So, my first suggestion would be that RIOC, to amplify the "BENEFIT" in its characterization, should bring him into its fold as a well compensated employee/consultant.

Further and importantly, there is much interest in, even though burdened with challenging questions, how to best craft and implement a mechanism where citizens are availed, and have a sense of, rights conferred in a democracy. Perhaps the most difficult question is whether and to what extent such rights can in reality coexist with Public BENEFIT Corporations given the manner in which they are established in New York and elsewhere. Thus, my second suggestion is that we minimize discord and gather many, from the many bright minds on Roosevelt Island, to review the past, learn from it, shore up our alliances, and press on to greater future achievements in the pursuit of a satisfactory outcome. Sooner rather than later!

Truth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

That is an outrageous slur against Mr. Kalkin by the Fererra supporter hiding behind the moniker of Truth.

It demonstrates the ugliness, muck and distortion of Truth that detractors of Mr. Kalkin will sink to in order to justify Mr. Kalkin's replacement with the clearly conflict ridden Mr. Fererra.

It is truly sad that the discussion over Mr. Fererra qualifications, or lack thereof, have degenerated into this personal attack against Mr. Kalkin.

If you have any evidence to back up the claim please present it.

I don't think you can do that.

To my knowledge Mr. Kalkin does rent, not own, in a Hudson Related Building.

I do too and that has no influence regarding my support of the Hudson Related Master Leaseholder deal.

Truth be told, you should be ashamed of yourself for raising such a demonstrably false claim.

Why would you do so?


The comment by Truth above my last statement has been removed.

The accusation made anonymously without any evidence whatsoever is probably defamatory which is why it was removed.

oldtimer said...

i say call ron vass and the eastwood building committee.

The Complete Truth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Well if we are going to go down the investigative road, how about we begin due diligence on Dr. Ferrara - political contributions, board member connections...

He looks like he could be qualified - but the process of a back-room deal should not have been necessary if that were the case.

Even our elected representatives, who normally are given the common courtesy of being involved in the appointments were - at least in appearance - purposely put in the dark. Who is hiding what?

It is unlikely that it is someone as sincere as Jonathan Kalkin.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't own a condo on the island. There was more than one bidder. Maybe we could all learn from Mr. Kalkin, a man much younger but obviously more mature than some of us on this blog. He has so much support that every democrat Senator voted against this. As seen here this community needs and praises him. His ideas have taken this island ahead in many ways. His statement here is about the issues, shows he cares about the ideas and not himself and has a dignity humility and quiet intelligence that we should be lucky to find in any of our leaders. His ideas moved forward because he worked hard and didn't compromise his beliefs for his own self interest. I sincerely hope his plan preserving affordable housing can be completed without his remarkable abililty to solve problems and prove his points.

Anonymous said...

PEOPLE PLEASE! This is not about Kalkin -vs- Fererra. This is about a RIOC Board position that expired. Don't blame Sal Fererra for doing what he needed to do to get on the board. Blame RIRA for thinking they could extend RIOC Board positions by not holding the elections Mr. Shane allowed them to have.

Oh yeah, and let's not forget that the same authority Shane gave them was used against him by Kalkin to remove him as President of RIOC. That's what you call, "What goes around, comes around."

So, the Maple Tree Group met with Fererra and asked him to step down... DON'T DO IT SAL!

They think they run this island. Show them that they don't.

Why is Mr. Kalkin silent? said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Unless you are willing to put your real name to these malicious and ugly slurs against Mr. Kalkin and subject yourself to a charge of defamation, I will not allow such remarks to remain on this blog.

I wonder who is orchestrating this campaign against a hard working, respected Roosevelt Island resident and whose interest it is to malign him so?

Needless to say the comment at 3:07 PM was removed as will similar such comments.

As the 3:07 commenter is probably aware, condo ownership for the Riverwalk Buildings is easily accessible on Property Shark or ACRIS to anyone interested in the truth.

Censored! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Free Speech - Not Allowed on Rick's Blog! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jr said...

a investigative report should be done on eastwood . as the master lease calls for affordable apartments on this island when it began in 1975 . how about that

Anonymous said...

why is it that the same kids get the summer jobs every summer with rioc , , its the same people getting the jobs every summer . every summer , my kids have been trying to get a summer job with rioc but the jobs go to the same people each and every summer . rira/ if you want to do something usefull instead of the useless b.s you all do , why dont you look into this matter , and come up with a fair plan for kids to get a summer job with rioc . matt do something .i have more respect for the mafia than i do for rioc .my kids have been trying for years for a summer job . and every summer its the same bs the jobs go to the same kids .

Anonymous said...

Where in the "RIOC BY LAWS" does it say that the board members have 100% control of this island?

Just curious.

It is also not a by law, but an actual law of 1984.


I am a strong advocate for the free exchange of opinions and ideas about all events and circumstances of interest to Roosevelt Islanders, and encourage the use of this forum for such an exchange. I think a robust exchange of differing viewpoints will benefit the community.

Unfortunately, the series of comments today from one or more anonymous readers filled with unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing by specific members of this community go beyond the bounds of constructive discourse - despite the writer(s) disingenuous attempts to pose the comments as mere questions.

In my view, they are not only demonstrably false, reckless and mean spirited, but are dangerously close to, if not crossing, the line of what is defamatory - jeopardizing individual reputations behind a thinly disguised veil of suggestive questions and snarky sarcasm.

This anonymous poster or posters has tried to take advantage of the open forum provided here, and a policy permitting all posts, no matter how odious or offensive, so long as not containing unproven allegations of illegality or otherwise defamatory.

These offending comments do not merely question or criticize, they violate my policy of civil discourse, and make serious claims of illegal behavior against contributing members of our community without one shred of evidence.

I am sick of that crap and wonder what is the real reason for such comments.

For these reasons, those comments cannot remain and any similar ones will be removed as well.

Yet another RIer shaking his head said...

I like the fact that you have to use your Google account to post comments. Thanks, Rick. That should get rid of jr and the like.

Anonymous said...

So, when CAN we hold elections so that the remainder of the expired terms are not given to non residents?

Gm1231 said...

RIRA/MTG obviously blew it with the elections decision; however, I am opposed to Mr. Ferrara at this time for two reasons. First, I also do not understand why he did not replace an appointed board member rather than an "elected" board member (even though those elections do not HAVE to be honored; they show good faith). Maybe the Governor just looked at the board and saw three people whose terms had expired and should not be sitting at this time!  Second, I am NOT in agreement with expansion of the Child School, nor an Arts Center, Fitness Center or Equestrian Center. If any school expansion is done, it should be PS/IS 217 since it that would benefit OUR RESIDENTS more. We have several culural programs as well as RIVAA here. Almost every building has a fitness room, there's Sportpark, sports fields, even the Youth Center has a workout room. I haven't heard anyone LIVING HERE over the years begging for horses.  What we everyday residents would like to see are more retail stores (affordable, NOT upscale - go to Manhattan for that!), and some form of entertainment (bowling, ice/roller skating, miniature golf/arcade...) Everything here seems more and more to be catering to or planned for the more "well-to-do" residents, who have the means and ability to go off-Island more often, unlike many of our youth, seniors and disabled. There are still many everyday people and youngsters here who should be considered in all this decision making. (RIRA pretty much advocates on behalf of WV, IH, and Rivercross.) I can only hope that many of Mr. Ferrara's big ideas will be shot down in favor of more suitable use of the remaining real estate here. If he is representing us, he should browse through the survey taken a few years ago asking what residents want here.    

Adrian Schnell said...

Why doesn't Sal Ferrara put his name up for nomination on the RIOC board?  Why didn't the Gov suggest that nominations be put forth?  Why all the back-room dealing?   And what about putting up the [Ferrara] proposals for an Equestrian/Art Center, Boat House up for a vote by the RI residents?  (...Who would pay for the boat house?)  Let's review and vote on the merit of those ideas.

Christopher Fuller said...

Maybe at the next anti-Ferrara protest rally you should make a sign expressing how you don't want nice stores to open on the Island.

octagon6 said...

No pun intended , However, What can Jonathan do that Sal cannot ? They both seem very educated on the issues..I personally feel that the RIOC board always had the same old click Until this day most feel there is no diversity on the Board.......Why is it so damning that the governor appointed Sal? I think that this entire self governance thing will lead to disaster in the community....Nothing will ever change , The votes on every election will be rigged and the same ole residents will get reelected...It will be one ole grand community CLICK !!!

SF Results said...

That set a precedent, or so we hoped, for future appointments.
Computer Repair League City TX

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