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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Annual Roosevelt Island Blessing Of The Animals At The Church Of The Good Shepherd On October 9, 10:00 A.M.


You Tube Video of 2010 Blessing Of the Animals At St John The Divine

Do you wish to have a blessing said over your pet? If so, no need to go to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine when you can have it done right here on Roosevelt Island. I received the following message from Roosevelt Island resident Francine Lange:
Bless your pet this Sunday, October 9!
Bring your pet(s) or a photo for a blessing during the Blessing of the Animals at our landmarked Church of the Good Shepherd. Time: 10:00 a.m. Address: 543 Main Street on Roosevelt Island.
Image From Francine Lange

Friday, October 7, 2011

No Manhattan Bound F Train Subway Service From Roosevelt Island This Weekend - Tram and Red Bus Running 24 Hours During Subway Service Disruption


You Tube Video of MTA's Weekender Service Change Map

Received the following advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that there will be no Manhattan bound F Train Service at the Roosevelt Island Station from 12:01 AM Saturday, October 8th to 5:00 AM Monday, October 10th.

RIOC will provide 24-hour Tram and Red Bus service during the weekend to minimize the inconvenience to Island residents. There will be no Octagon Express Red Bus service on Monday.

There will be two Trams running during the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. At all other times during the weekend, both Trams will run at 15 minute intervals.

For additional information on the F line diversions, visit the MTA website at http://mta.info/weekender/lineview.html.

For more information on the Red Bus and Tram, visit our website at rioc.ny.gov.

Thank you for your cooperation.
More information available from the MTA's Weekender Service Change Page.

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Roosevelt Island Smart Parking, Bike Sharing, Proposed Budget, Young Adult Recreation At Sportspark, Tram Station Renovation, Fall For Arts & More

Image of DOT Bike Share Map (Roosevelt Island is in Red)

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I recently acted as a tour guide for a Wall Street Journal reporter who was writing about the retail redevelopment on the Island (btw: the article appeared in the September 30th issue of the paper in the Greater New York section). Aside from Main Street, I also got to show off some of the green and community initiatives on the Island. Updates on some of these are below.

Smart Parking

Last year, RIOC introduced an innovative pilot parking program in conjunction with Streetline and Digital Parking System which brought new “smart” parking spaces to the island. These spaces were outfitted with ultra-low power sensors that communicate with one another to deliver valuable real-time information, such as how long a car is parked and when a car enters and leaves a parking space. The spaces were also fitted with smart parking meters that allowed for easier payments and better pricing.

The success of the initial program has given us the incentive to expand the project. RIOC has issued an RFP for a contractor who will provide smart parking solutions, including an intelligent parking guidance and management system, for on-street metered parking spaces for nearly the entire island. This will include installation of occupancy sensors for 250-300 on-street parking spaces. With this new technology in place, residents and visitors will have more convenient way to find and access parking. The selection of the contractor will occur later this year and we will keep you informed as to the next phase of the project.

Bring Bike Sharing to Roosevelt Island

New York City Department of Transportation is launching a bike sharing program with Alta Bicycle Share in the summer of 2012. Bike share systems provide sturdy bikes at self-service docking stations around town. It’s a great new option that can make getting around a little easier. The system will have 10,000 bikes at over 600 stations, available 24/7 throughout the city. Users check a bike out using a membership or credit card, ride to a docking station near their destination and return the bike. Mobile apps show the status of available bikes and docking points at each station.

With its open spaces and iconic views, Roosevelt Island can be an ideal place for bike riding but in order to bring this program to the Island, we need your vote of approval. You can cast your vote to bring a bicycle share program to Roosevelt Island by clicking the following link.

Proposed Budget FY 2012/2013

The Proposed Budget FY 2012/2013 is now available on the RIOC website for public viewing. Go to the “Public Information” tab, “Financial Reports” and then “Budget Reports”.

Sportspark Young Adults Recreation Basketball League

We are so pleased to see so many participants for the Young Adult Weekend Recreation Hours at Sportspark that we expanded the program. A refereed basketball league began on Friday, September 23rd. Interested participants must be Roosevelt Island residents 16-25 years of age. In addition to the basketball, all registered participants will have free access to the open lounge (Netflix, Wii, computers & music), ping pong and the weight room.

For more information, Please call Othniel Maragh at (212) 832-4540 ext. 321 or othniel.maragh@rioc.ny.gov.

Tram Stations Renovation

The Tram Stations Renovation Project (phase 1) has begun. The phase 1 work scheduled to be completed by mid-December includes new bathrooms for the Roosevelt Station, station platform enclosures, new station concrete decking and concrete corrective work. Phase 2, schedule to start next spring includes an additional ADA elevator for the Manhattan Station and painting of both stations. Renovation work will be scheduled whereby at least one tram cabin should be running at all times.

Good Shepard Plaza Renovation Project

I wanted to give you just a quick update on the Good Shepard Plaza renovation project. While we have run into some unexpected delays with the contractor, work at the site continues at a steady pace with all the work expected to be completed by the end of the year. We will continue to keep you updated as this project moves forward.

6th Annual Fall Arts Festival

Don’t forget to come out and enjoy the 6th annual FREE Fall for Arts Festival that will take place on Saturday, October 15th from 11am- 4pm at the lawn south of Rivercross and Blackwell plaza.

The event will include an outdoor art gallery and interactive arts, crafts and cooking stations for adults. For children there will be an “Imagination Station” with storytelling and music by popular English-Spanish children’s musician Louie.

There will be an encore performance of Oedipus Rex, Saturday, at 2pm at the Roosevelt Landings Amphitheater, behind 536 Main Street and to cap off the festival, there will be an evening Latin jazz band concert and Latino poetry reading in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at 6pm at the Child School Auditorium. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Other Upcoming Events

We have several events coming up:
Halloween Day Parade, Saturday, October 29th, 12pm Main Street
Tree Lighting Thursday, December 1st at 7pm Blackwell Plaza

Thank You Steve Jobs - One Of The Crazies Who Changed The World By Thinking Different - Somewhere He Is Saying There Is Just One More Thing


You Tube Video of Steve Jobs Narrating Apple's Think Different Commercial

From Wired:
Steven Paul Jobs, 56, died Wednesday at his home with his family. The co-founder and, until last August, CEO of Apple Inc was the most celebrated person in technology and business on the planet. No one will take issue with the official Apple statement that “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”...
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Steve Jobs urged people to think different, and wowed them when his own different thinking put thousands of songs in their pockets, the power of the Internet at their fingertips and a whole world of possibilities in the palm of their hands.

For many, his vision resulted in more than another gadget. The tools inspired careers, opened doors for communication and fueled a new economy.

As Jobs admirers pay tribute to the computer wizard, the signs of his influence can be seen everywhere: A farmer in Arkansas monitors crops from the field on his iPhone. A North Carolina father develops an app that helps him communicate with his disabled son. A Silicon Valley technology worker uses an Apple program to disseminate lectures to people across the globe.

Brent Izutsu, the manager of Stanford on iTunes U, fondly recalls Jobs' stirring 2005 commencement address to Stanford University graduates....
Here's Mr. Jobs 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University.


You Tube Video of Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech

More on Steve Jobs and his One More Thing from Tech Digest as well as NY Times obituary.

Thank you Steve Jobs. You were one of the Crazies who thought different and changed the world for the better.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dead Squirrel Lying On Roosevelt Island Southtown Riverwalk Lawn For Last 4 Days - Please Remove Before It Starts To Decay Asks Resident

Image of Dead Squirrel Next To Southtown Lawn Tree

Roosevelt Island resident Rebecca Knell reports on a dead squirrel left on the Southtown Riverwalk lawn for the last 4 days:
If you walk toward the subway via the old / original road - past the driveway - under the 2nd tree closest to the pathway you will find a dead squirrel that has been there for over 4 days. No one is removing it. Don't even know if anyone has noticed it's not sleeping, but dead!  I wish someone would remove the poor thing. I don't want to watch it decay each day.

Is That An Old Scottish Castle Or Roosevelt Island's Illuminated Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital Visited By Adventurers From Nomading Film Festival


You Tube Video of Nomading Film Festival Visits Roosevelt Island

It's the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital - more information on this Roosevelt Island landmark from previous posts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wall Street Journal Reports On Plans For Rivercross and Other Roosevelt Island Buildings Leaving Mitchell Lama Program

Image of Rivercross Building Entrance

Today's Wall Street Journal reports on plans for Roosevelt Island buildings to leave the Mitchell Lama program:
... In the case of the 365-unit Rivercross co-op, the board of the 38-year-old building has created a framework that will initially cap the sale price of 80% of the units at $500 per square foot.

Of that $500, the building will take a "transfer fees" of $150, which will allow it to subsidize the remaining 20% of units in the building, keeping prices near Mitchell-Lama levels

The strategy provides a middle way, supporters say, between moving to market rates or staying in the Mitchell-Lama program and allowing a building to fall into disrepair because of a lack of maintenance funds. ...

... "The board has put the building in a position where it must vote in favor of this thing because they borrowed $50 million, much of that is to be recovered from the so-called flip taxes as apartments get sold," said David Bauer, a resident of the building since it opened....
and:
... The Eastwood building went market rate a couple of years ago, renamed Roosevelt Landings. Two other large rental buildings, Westview and Island House, are also contemplating how to exit the program.

Island House is experimenting with an approach that would allow it to exit the Mitchell-Lama program by converting the rental to co-ops that will be sold with income restrictions, according to Frank Farance, a resident who has worked on the plan.

"We worked on this for five years to finally hone in on what made it work for everyone," Mr. Farance said. "The owner is happy, too, because he doesn't have to fight with us."...
Click here for the entire article.

Rivercross resident David Bauer adds some concerns regarding any Rivercross privatization:
- the State, under Nelson Rockefeller created the model community here in an effort to turn the tide of the middle class leaving NYC
- the State put in the proceeds of a quarter of a billion dollars to build the infrastructure
- I have lived in the coop since 1978
- I have been lucky to live in a pleasant place, close to the big Island of Manhattan
- I believe the idea of privatization of Rivercross coop should be investigated
- until there is a piece of paper with a definite plan it is hard to tell whether privatization is good or bad
- until the final plan is put together and voted upon we do not know whether there is a decision to exit ML

Some factors:
- the Rivercross Board has a majority of large apartment owners. One member has an interest in four apartments
- large apartment shareholders have benefited from an under allocation of shares (and carrying charges) for large apartment
- shareholders are inclined to believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to which they are entitled, at a ratio of $10 back for every dollar they used to purchase shares
- I come from Syracuse
- the whole stretch from Schenectady through to Buffalo had been devastated by the loss of manufacturing
- relatives of mine have lost their jobs by the economic changes

My dilemma:
is it reasonable for anyone to benefit from the State investment in the Island until that quarter of a billion has been paid back to the State? Should the rust belt of the State be subsidizing 1000% gains by Rivercross coop shareholders?"
More information available on Rivercross privatization and Roosevelt Island affordable housing issues here. including questions regarding how the recent Rivercross 10 year, $50 million, interest only mortgage refinancing will be paid back.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Intermittent Raisings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge After 8 PM Tonight Due To NYPD/FDNY Investigation

Received the following advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Due to an NYPD/FDNY investigation in the East River West Channel, the 36th Avenue bridge will be raised intermittently until further notice starting at 8pm.
UPDATE 8:35 PM - From RIOC:
The Roosevelt Island Bridge detail has been completed.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Censure Motion Against Common Council Member Frank Farance on Agenda For Wednesday's RIRA Meeting - Here's What The Motion Says


As reported in post yesterday, the October 5, 2011 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) meeting includes an agenda item to censure former RIRA President and current Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance. According to the Agenda item:
New Business (9:55) X B. Long- Resolution to censure F. Farance
What has Mr. Farance done that some members of the Common Council think deserves censure? Here's the explanation from the proposed RIRA Motion:
Motion to censure Common Council member Frank Farance

WHEREAS the RIRA Constitution states that Roosevelt Island residents “want to live together in harmony based on mutual respect and the voluntary sharing of certain responsibilities”, and

WHEREAS it is not in the best interests of the Common Council for deliberations to take place in a hostile and intimidating environment, and

WHEREAS Common Council member Frank Farance has engaged in conduct that is detrimental to the workings and deliberations of the Common Council in the following ways:

1.
Recklessly publicizing defamatory statements that impugn the personal and professional integrity of fellow members of the Common Council by making unfounded accusations of unethical conduct, fraud, and otherwise nefarious self-dealings without any evidence or basis of support for the truth of those accusations.
2.
Maliciously, and with defiant disregard, endangering the professional and public standing of fellow members of the Common Council in their individual and professional communities by recklessly publicizing such defamatory statements.
3.
Openly publicizing defamatory remarks in public forums denigrating the competence of
his fellow Common Council members in their professional lives.
4.
Attempting in his public e-mail communication to intimidate and bully fellow Common
Council members who disagree with him.
5.
Abusing his position as a Common Council Member by recklessly publicizing defamatory
statements and remarks impugning the integrity of non-Common Council members
of Subcommittees by making unfounded accusations of unethical conduct, fraud, and
otherwise nefarious self-dealings without any evidence or basis of support for the truth of said statements.
WHEREAS e-mails that Frank sent on September 25th, 2011, as well as his letter to the editor of the Main Street WIRE on August 27th, 2011 are just a few examples of this type of behavior, which has continued throughout his tenure on the Common Council,

THEREFORE, we hereby condemn the behavior of Frank Farance and censure him for the
above referenced conduct.
Here is a copy of Mr. Farance's letter to the Main Street WIRE editor and emails referenced in the resolution. In my opinion, one can disagree with some of the statements made by Mr. Farance in the letter and emails but they are not defamatory. Here's a general definition of defamation.

The whole idea of censuring Mr. Farance for publicly expressing his views on issues of concern to Roosevelt Island residents is ridiculous. Surely, there must be more important issues for RIRA to be discussing than trying to keep one member quiet. If a fellow RIRA member objects to statements made by Mr. Farance, the solution is not to censure him but to address the issues he raises and correct them, or just ignore him.

UPDATE 11:10 PM - RIRA Communications Chair Vini Fortuna clarifies the meaning of the censure motion.
Could you please update your post to make it clear that the motion it to "censure", not to "censor" Frank? That is being a big source of confusion:

to censure:
Express severe disapproval of (someone or something), typically in a formal statement

to censor:
Examine (a book, movie, etc.) officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it

People are reading the motion as if it was the second, but it's actually the first, and it's important to make that distinction. The way you presented the whole thing also made it look like the second, and the posting of the big red image of the word "censuré", meaning "censorship" in French was completely inappropriate.
UPDATE 10/11: As reported in this comment a few hours after the October RIRA meeting, the Censure Motion against Mr. Farance was approved by the RIRA Common Council by a vote of 12 in favor of the censure motion, 10 against and 4 abstaining.

Below is a video of the RIRA Common Council discussing the Censure Motion. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out of power after approximately 36 minutes of the discussion and not all of the discussion is included in the video including Mr. Farance's response to the motion. About 80% of the discussion is included in the video.

Here's what happened. Some RIRA members in favor of the motion stated that they were personally hurt by, or objected to, what they believe (rightly or wrongly) are unfair and uncalled for communications by Mr. Farance and hoped that this Censure Motion would be a formal demonstration of RIRA's disapproval against Mr. Farance's actions.

Opponents of the resolution thought it unfair to censure Mr. Farance for his strong opinions and one RIRA member compared the motion to an angry mob with a torch directed at Mr. Farance. Another RIRA member questioned whether RIRA even had the authority in its bylaws, constitution or Robert's Rules to censure Mr. Farance.

After the RIRA members, other than Mr. Farance, who wished to speak on this issue did so, it was absolutely clear that Mr. Farance made no defamatory statements or accusations of fraud against anyone as charged in the motion.

Mr. Farance was the last RIRA Common Council Member to speak. He denied his statements were defamatory, said he did not violate any provisions of the RIRA Constitution or bylaws, asserted that the factual charges in the Censure Motion were unsubstantiated and that he is entitled to his opinions even if others disagree with him.

A majority of those RIRA members present did not vote for the Censure resolution. The final vote tally was 12 for Censure, 10 against and 4 abstentions. The Censure motion was approved because it received the most votes.

The Censure motion achieves no consequence against Mr. Farance other than its approval by a very divided RIRA.

Let's hope that now that this issue has been debated and acted upon, RIRA members can learn how to work together for the betterment of Roosevelt Island.

Here's the video. Make up your own mind.


You Tube Video of RIRA Censure Motion

Monday, October 3, 2011

Residents Create Safety Building Watch For Urban American's Roosevelt Landings on Roosevelt Island - Bring Back Eastwood Facebook Page Too


Roosevelt Landings Residents Association President Joyce Mincheff reports:
We've put together a facebook page for the Roosevelt Landings Residents Association. It's called "Bring Back Eastwood". Here's the link.

We created a "Building Watch" because Urban American's attention to safety of the residents is severely lacking. One of the "Watch" activities will be checking on unlocked and/or open/broken common building doors. For example, last night's "Watch" reported 6 doors in such condition. With the increased amount of recent crime and a shooting in the building, we feel it imperative to make this initiative to protect the residents in the building.
More on security, safety and unlocked doors at Roosevelt Landings from earlier posts here and here.

Going To Be An Interesting Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Monthly Meeting October 5- Censure Former President, Disavow Current President Redistricting Testimony, Demand Main Street WIRE Retraction and Presentation Of Proposed Upcoming RIOC Budget

Image of September 2011 RIRA Meeting

 The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting Wednesday October 5, 8 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). The Agenda for the meeting is below.

October RIRA Meeting Agenda Agenda

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.

Among the speakers at the October Public RIRA Session are Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) CFO Steve Chironis who will speak on the proposed RIOC 2012-13 Fiscal Year Budget and Miranda Murray from the Roosevelt Island Public Library.

An item on the Agenda under new business is a resolution to censure former RIRA President and current Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance. According to the Agenda item:
New Business (9:55) X B. Long- Resolution to censure F. Farance
During a September 26 RIRA Governance Committee meeting, an attempt was made by some present to censure Mr. Farance because of what they perceive to be inappropriate statements made by Mr. Farance to the Main Street WIRE and in emails to other RIRA members. The Censure motion was not voted on at that time because Mr. Farance was not present at the meeting. For the record, I was at the meeting and objected to the censure of Mr. Farance because he was not present. I would also have objected on the merits as well. The subject of censuring Mr. Farance for comments he has made is now on the RIRA October Agenda.

Another issue sure to be discussed at the October RIRA meeting is the Housing Committee Report below which, among other points, is critical of RIRA President Matt Katz's recent testimony during the LATFOR Redistricting Hearings and seeks an apology and retraction for an article in the most recent Main Street WIRE. Here is the Housing Committee Report to October RIRA Common Council.
A. The Committee’s attention was drawn to the front-page article in the Wire of 9/24/11, by David Stone, as well as the caption of the photograph of Matt Katz and others at a redistricting hearing of 9/21/11. The caption reads: “At Wednesday’s redistricting hearing, Linda Heimer, Residents Association President Matthew Katz, and Nancy Cruickshank asked that Roosevelt Island be mapped into a Manhattan district with which there is a “community of interest”. (My bolding.) This wording reads as a snide insult to the existing alignment of Roosevelt Island with the wonderful communities, including our own, represented by Senator Jose M. Serrano. The Committee was appalled by this wording on the front page of the Wire, which does not at all reflect the community’s affinity and brotherly feelings with the residents of the entire District. Roosevelt Island is already in a wonderful District which is represented by a hard-working, energetic and able State Senator. To say otherwise is to insult the residents of Roosevelt Island, the Senate district, and Senator Serrano.

1. Although the matter does not directly pertain to housing, we agreed that State Senator Jose M. Serrano has been a great help to RI, including with housing issues. We found that our community was not consulted prior to Matt Katz embarking on a unilateral effort to switch RI to State Senator Kreuger’s district. We therefore introduce the following Resolution by the RI Community in Support of Senator Jose M. Serrano at our upcoming RIRA meeting:

Resolution of the Roosevelt Island Community (RIRA) in Support of Senator Jose M. Serrano

Whereas, Roosevelt Island is well and ably represented and helped by Senator Serrano; Therefore, Roosevelt Island wishes to remain within Senator Serrano’s district.

Be It Resolved: The Community of Roosevelt Island (RIRA) Votes to Disavow the Initiative of RIRA President Matthew Katz requesting remapping of Roosevelt Island into Senator Kreuger’s Senatorial district, which was taken without a vote of the RIRA Council; RIRA Instead Enthusiastically Endorses and Embraces the Existing Senatorial District of Roosevelt Island which is the District Represented so Well and Ably by Senator Jose M. Serrano.

2. We learned that many African American RI residents were offended by a paragraph in David Stone’s article commenting on the shifting demographics of RI.

The paragraph in question is:
“Roosevelt Island’s ethnic balance is shifting, and is more in line with Manhattan than with the other boroughs. We’ve become more white, as has Manhattan. Blacks are leaving Roosevelt Island, too, but not at the bigger island’s 12.5% rate. Blacks remain our largest minority, at more than 21% of the population, greatly exceeding Manhattan’s 13%.” (My bolding.)
We agreed that the above paragraph was insensitive and that the information should have been presented in a less “slanted” and more sensitive manner. For example, the information could have been presented in the form of a table of numerical data, without commentary added about whether the island of Manhattan or RI is becoming “less white” or “less black” and so forth. Presenting data in a divisive manner is both hurtful and counterproductive as it is giving the impression that the newspaper is “keeping score”. We are all doing the best we can to survive in NYC and it is not necessary to appear to “gloat” about the departure of one group and/or the arrival of another group. For that matter, people of all colors are being priced out of NYC by richer newcomers of all colors – it might have made more sense to present this economic data. Yet, make no mistake: Discrimination based on skin color is still very much alive today, and the economic crisis that has hit New Yorkers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds is definitely hitting African Americans especially hard.

We are all, after all, brothers and sisters, and a community newspaper should reflect that spirit of community and cooperation. The article incidentally failed to mention that, overall, the number of whites has for some years (possibly decades) fallen below the 50% mark in NYC so that characterizing any particular ethnic group in NYC as a “minority” is technically a misnomer since there is no longer any one ethnic or racial “majority” in NYC.

Therefore, we wish to introduce the following resolution at our upcoming RIRA meeting protesting the insulting and divisive paragraph in the David Stone article and demanding that the Wire apologize in print for the wording of this paragraph because of the distress it has caused to a large number of residents on RI.

Resolution Protesting the Wording of Paragraph 10 of David Stone’s 9/24/11 Wire Article
Whereas, Roosevelt Island is a Community of Many Different Ethnic Groups – Like all of NYC – All of Us Living Together in Peace;

Whereas, the Wording of Paragraph 10 of David Stone’s 9/24/11 Wire Article Singled out an Ethnic Group – African Americans – as a “Minority”;

Whereas, there is currently no majority in NYC thus all the various ethnic and racial groups in NYC are “Minorities” including whites/Caucasians;

Whereas, We Believe Information regarding the socio-economic and ethnic composition of the Island would be best presented in a tabulated format, such that the reader can draw their own conclusions without editorial bias in the conveying of the information.

Be It Resolved: The Wording of Paragraph 10 of David Stone’s 9/24/11 Wire Article was both Inaccurate in its Characterization of African Americans as a “Minority” in the City of New York and Hurtful to the African American Residents of Roosevelt Island, and Was Not in the Interests of Brotherhood and Peace.

We therefore Demand, that Editor David Lutz of the Wire Issue a Retraction of the Characterization of African Americans as a “Minority” in New York City and an Apology for the Wording of Paragraph 10 of David Stone’s 9/24/11 Wire Article and have the Retraction and Apology prominently appear on Page 1 of the next Issue of the Wire.

B. The Committee discussed the status of sub metering of Roosevelt Landings. Although there have been some indications that Urban American has succeeded in its effort to sub meter Roosevelt Landings, the Committee, because of the element of doubt that remains that sub metering of Roosevelt Landings has been implemented, has decided to forego for the time being submitting a resolution in support of Roosevelt Landings residents in their struggle with the landlord over sub metering. We will await the final outcome of this matter before we proceed with a general resolution of support, to be submitted for the Council’s review and hopefully endorsement.

C. The Committee discussed the on-going unjust situation pertaining to the large number of Section 8 tenants of Roosevelt Landings: For these tenants, when their household income exceeds the Section 8 income guidelines, they are no longer eligible to receive their Section 8 housing subsidy and in view of the unaffordable “market” rents charged by Urban American, are then forced to leave their apartments. The Section 8 tenants feel they are discriminated against in being forced to abandon their apartments even though the Roosevelt Landings tenants receiving a Landlord Assistance Program (LAP) lease do not have income limits and remain in their apartments (rent-stabilized + 1%) no matter how high their income rises. Both groups of Roosevelt Landings tenants – Section 8 and LAP – form the group of original tenants of the building that were in place when the building exited the Mitchell-Lama program.

The condition stipulated by the State for the building exiting the Mitchell-Lama program was the on-going protection of the whole group of original tenants – with no exceptions or exclusions. The landlord has violated this condition by nonetheless charging a portion of the original group of tenants, those whose rising income makes them ineligible to receive the Section 8 subsidy, “market” rents.

The Committee concluded that the Section 8 tenants portion of the group of original tenants of Roosevelt Landings remains a victim of unfair and discriminatory practices, a situation that can be remedied by the landlord placing Section 8 tenants either in the alternate available program of protection, the Landlord Assistance Program (LAP) or in a similar program such as rent stabilization upon tenant exiting the Section 8 program. This would satisfy the requirement of protection for all original Roosevelt Landings tenants which was agreed upon by the owner as a condition for the building exiting the Mitchell-Lama program.

This issue has been on-going for many years and at this time, the Committee has decided to form a Subcommittee at our next meeting consisting of Roosevelt Landings residents to gather information and support from elected officials as well as to seek legal advice on the matter. Once the Subcommittee has completed the above effort and feels a sufficient amount of information has been gathered, the Committee will hear its findings and proceed with the introduction of a general resolution of support for the entire group of original tenants of Roosevelt Landings so that these tenants can continue to be protected either in the Landlord Assistance Program (LAP) or Section 8 or if they exceed the Section 8 income guidelines, then in LAP or a similar rent stabilization program.
More information on Mr. Katz's testimony before LATFOR and reactions from local elected officials available at this previous post.

So if you are interested in learning more about what is happening on Roosevelt Island, come on down to RIRA's October 5 8 PM meeting at the Good Shepherd Community Center.

Here's a re-post of an interesting discussion with RIRA President Matt Katz. Mr. Katz was recently interviewed for the Community Board 8 Speaks program. He talks about the role of RIRA as well as the history, governance and current issues facing Roosevelt Island.

Full Time 114 Precinct NYPD Officer Assigned To Roosevelt Island - Welcome Officer Sitaras

NYPD Inspector Cirabisi and Colleague Speaking With RIRA's President and Public Safety Chair at April RIRA Meeting

Received the following report on September 28 from Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Matt Katz:
Dino Sitaras, an NYPD officer from the 114th Pct. met with the RIRA Public Safety Committee last night to introduce himself. A native of western Queens, he is very familiar with Roosevelt Island and is looking forward to his shift here, and especially to working with Island kids. This fulfills the promise of commanding officer, Deputy Inspector, Stephen Cirabisi, to assign a full-time officer here. RIRA has extended an invitation to Officer Dino to meet the Common Council at one of our monthly meetings.
RIRA Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feely-Nahem adds:
The RIRA Public Safety Committee had the pleasure of spending several hours with Community Officer Sitaras during our last Committee meeting. Officer Sitaras was open and interested in learning about the Roosevelt Island community. Through reflection of his 17 years of experience on the force, and because of his desire to work as the Roosevelt Island Community Officer, together we were able to discuss the needs and desires of our community. The RIRA Public Safety Committee welcomes Officer Sitaras and looks forward to working with him.

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