Friday, January 11, 2013

RIRA Public Safety Committee Recommends Studying Replacing Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department With Off Duty NYPD Officers, Seeks Greater Access To Public Safety Incident Information and Results of Prior Investigation

Below is the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee report to the January 2013 Common Council Meeting:

Follow up Initiatives:

Vertical Patrols of Wire buildings. Report from member’s constituents is that if the patrols are being done, they are not visible. One member spoke of seeing the patrol for the first time on the 7th floor in 560. Westview and Island House representatives have not seen Officers anywhere but at the door station of the buildings. Discussion focused on PS staffing issues, as presented in the WIRE article by Frank. Committee is interested in obtaining a break down of how the 37 Officers are utilized, and their ranks.

Traffic Control: PS Officers are being seen at bottom of the ramp on Saturday, during the Farmer’s Market, usually directing traffic. Week day shifts vary in quality with a couple of days a week when the PS vehicle is parked at the bottom of the ramp, with the lights going, but with the officer sitting inside the car rather then outside it directing traffic.

Motorgate Patrols: There appears to be less visibility of vehicles driving through Motorgate than in the past. Members stated that they never see PS Officers on the stairs, or on foot patrols in other areas inside Motorgate, where individuals urinate creating quality of life issues.

Parking Enforcement: A member stated that there are still problems around South Town with unauthorized vehicles not been ticketed. In one instance a vehicle was illegally parked, with Jersey Plates, and a Florida Hang Tag. When PS Officers had it brought to their attention they did not take any action. Residents complain that they never see officers on foot patrols. Another member mentioned that she had not been seeing flagrant abuse of parking enforcement in the North Town area.

Investigation into the Stueber incident: The Committee discussed the Resolution which was adopted by the RIRA Common Council in October 2012 requesting an investigation into this incident . Committee members' noted that they were unaware of any investigative action that might have been taken by RIOC, concerning this incident. Following a discussion on tactics It was decided that the Committee Chair would write a letter to RIOC requesting an update on what steps had been taken to investigate the Public Safety Officer's handling of this incident.

Women's Safety: Laila voiced her concern, for the women on the Island, following the incident she experienced when a young man exposed himself to her while they were on the Manhattan side elevator of the Tram, then came across to the Island. She reported it to PSD but has not heard any updates. The Committee agreed that they would follow up with Director Guerra on what progress had been made on the case. Other ideas discussed for actions that might be explored were as follows: an educational campaign on Women's safety, creation of flyers for distribution within the community, a discussion with Director Guerra on what his department can do to make the women feel safer.

Committee’s Goals for the new term:

The following motion was put to the committee, seconded and adopted by a unanimous vote. The committee agreed to make a Public Call for volunteers to be part of this study group.

“To create a study group whose purpose is to explore the viability of replacing the PSD with an off duty detail of NYPD officers.”

Committee as would like to see the following changes initiated:


a) Increase the community’s access to information concerning the changes within the PSD, as well as information of the specifics of crimes on the Island.

b) Hold quarterly Town Hall Meetings with Public Safety Director to allow a forum for the community to be kept informed of updates and where residents are able to bring their concerns to the table.

c) Respect and answer questions from the Community's media, to allow the dissemination of facts through the community's media channels.

Visibility: More foot patrols of Officers throughout the Island.

Professionalism: Increased training of Officers focusing on: de-escalation techniques, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Sensitivity.

Community Safety Education: Increase public safety education campaigns to include women's issues.

Next Meeting set for 1/16/13 @ 7:30pm in the Senior Center

Minutes respectfully submitted by Erin Feely-Nahem
and the letter sent by RIRA Public Safety Committee to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis requesting an investigation into the Steuber arrest.
Also, video of RIRA discussing the Steuber incident during October 2012 Common Council meeting is here.

RIRA Common Council member Frank Farance adds:
I've heard parents complain that they fear Public Safety more than any gang influence. Some recent events are on-going problems that parents have known for years.

On New Years Eve, eight teenagers (ages 15-19) were arrested for trespassing: waiting in a Westview stairwell (because it was too cold outside) for one of their friends to come down from his apartment so they could go to an event off-Island. None of the kids were making noise, drinking, smoking pot, or making a nuisance. They were all handcuffed and, rather than walk from 591 to Public Safety, were put in police cruisers to drive 200 feet (for a big perp display), then put in holding cells. They were all issued summonses for trespassing and released later on. One of the adult teenagers possessed unopened bottles of alcohol, another adult teenager possessed pot, the remainder kids had done nothing wrong, they were just waiting for a friend to then leave.

The kids need to have their Miranda Rights read to them as soon as they were in custody, i.e., somewhere between putting their hands up against the wall and being handcuffed. Public Safety officers should be reading them their rights because Public Safety (as we can see from its criminal complaints and testimony) can, has, and will use their statements against them. Lieutenant Yee was on duty that night and supervised the arrests. Yee has two decades of experience and there were a handful of officers that helped, but none of them have the training to read Miranda Rights properly? PSD needs to train their officers to read Miranda Rights at the point in time when the suspect no longer has the freedom to move (they are in custody). Also, the under 18 kids need to have their parents called (which was not done for all kids).

As for trespassing, this is both a problem for Public Safety (way too aggressive enforcement) and the managing agents. Did you know you could be arrested for going to the Good Shepherd Church? Walking down the alleyway next to the September 11 memorial to the west promenade, you could be arrested for trespassing ... and that applies to many areas that we believe are public spaces but, in fact, they are not. You can arrested for trespassing walking in the hallways in building you live in (as discovered by some Roosevelt Landings parents). I spoke to Jennifer Jones at RY Management to get a better understanding of where/when one can just merely "stand" (assuming no noise, no alcohol, no drugs, etc.). She believes there is no such place on Roosevelt Island where one has the "right" to stand. She might be right, and this requires study, but Public Safety is the big problem here because they enforce this unreasonably and harshly.

A single 114th Precinct officer on his scooter is able to do more to create quiet and shoo away kids (the right approach) than all of Public Safety. Public Safety doesn't see the damage they do to the kids: a 16-year-old girl in Island House who grew up here, has never had any problems with Public Safety, has been back and forth in all the building with her friends is now traumatized by being handcuffed, put in cell, and having a complaint she must defend in court (taking a day off from school, possibly hiring an attorney, etc.). Creating these criminal complaints means either (1) the kids or parents have to spend thousands of dollars defending them, or (2) if they can't afford an attorney, pleading (which creates a criminal record that has a life-long effect).

As another example, some boys were skateboarding by the church, a PS officer asked them to move to the Island House courtyard. After they moved, another PS officer picked up one of their skateboards, said nothing, and walked away. He wouldn't explain why he took away their skateboard. So now they have to get a parent involved to get their skateboard back when there was nothing that they did wrong.

At this point, really, Public Safety is not the helpful neighborhood force, they are the entity that takes away your possessions without explanation, the entity that your teenage kids get ensnarled in that gives you handcuffs, arrests, cells, and a criminal record ... when you've been doing nothing wrong. It's easy to see why parents find Public Safety more troubling than gangs, and rightfully so.

RIRA's Public Safety committee, chaired by Erin Feely-Nahem, will be convening a study group to investigate how NYPD might replace PSD. Residents are welcome to participate in the meetings.


rilander said...

The problem is that these wannabe cops under the direction of Keith Guerra do not understand that they are public safety, not NYPD! Under his influence they now believe that anyone under 25 is part of a gang, that their role is traffic enforecement for NYC traffic so they can just keep writing traffic tickets, and when asked to enforce "do not feed pigeons" they claim they work for the state, not NY City. Patrol Motorgate? Are you joking? And would they ever enforce any statutes there? In summary, under Guerra's leadership, they are a waste of the money sent from my monthly maintainance!

Westviewer said...

I strongly suspect that a not insignificant reason for the unjustified arrests is the attempt on the part of Guerra to inflate the monthly blotter in order to justify the organization's existence.

I wist RIOC had not given Public Safety the most prominent sport and wide footage on Main Street. It send the wrong message to the world: that this is a dangerous neighborhood.

David Enock said...

PSD Chief Guerra brings to Roosevelt Island "police" tactics that are in excess of the need of our community. There is no excuse for arresting, handcuffing and jailing eight teenagers behaving normally, and charging them with trespassing for hanging around in a stairwell. This is just another of the far too many complaints about PSD's overly aggressive handling of non-threatening situations, especially those involving young people. It is time for this to stop. We need a more sensible approach to maintaing a safe and secure community. One that does not include abusive behavior by the PSD. Chief Guerra must be asked to leave.

Romano Reid said...

To all residents of Roosevelt Island interested in Public Safety issues. I give you all my word" As a dedicated member of Roosevelt Island's Public Safety Committee & 23 years resident of the Island, I will advocate for more changes on this Island with regard to Public safety.All residents pay into Public Safety's salaries .We all need to be treated with the utmost Respect. However, I do urge all residents to speak out on all Public Safety related issues.There should be no reason whatsoever an Island resident wins election or re-election to any Public office on this Island if they do not listen to the concerns of their fellow neighbors..

Jumbo Shrimp said...

I have lived in this wonderful neighborhood for just under 2decades. I have seen and heard many oxy-morons, like Jumbo Shrimp. For instance, I heard neighbors say bad things about Romano, but then say I want him to advocate for my cause. I heard neighbors say Frank should be RIRA president, then say he needs to go. I heard Matt stinks, then let's bring him back. I heard PSD Chief Jim Frye is a do-nothing, then PSD Chief Keith Guerra is too progressive. I heard we need PSD to do more in our buildings, then they are doing too much. I heard neighbors say we need to do something about the young adults always hanging out in the stairwells drinking, smoking and making noise, then why is PSD bringing them in? I don't get my neighbors sometimes. Don't we want the quality of life on our beautiful island to be high? Or is it only the wish if that doesn't include someone I know getting in trouble. You know, catch that person who stole my cell phone. Oh wait, that's So-and-so's kid - so forget it. In the passage above we read that 8 teenagers were in a stairwell with alcohol and marijuana, yet below this post it says something about them acting normally. Are we to the point where under-age drinking and pot smoking suddenly became legal? I don't think so. Let us all be consistent with what we want our neighborhood to be.

Frank Farance said...

Jumbo Shrimp, there's a consistent message: we want quality-of-life, however an infraction doesn't rationalize beating the crap out of someone. In other words, we want quiet at night, we don't want pot-smoking or drinking in the stairwells (which was NOT the case with the 8 teenagers). And if someone as violated the law, we want law enforcement to respect/protect the rights of the accused, e.g., read Miranda rights when taken into custody; call the parents for those under 18. It is possible that better outcomes can be affected, such as the 114th Precinct Officer who can make quiet with fewer arrests.

Really, the goal is not to make the most arrests (which have their own social costs), the goal is a peaceful community.

As we've discovered, the trespassing issue is so problematic, any of us can be arrested for just taking a walk. Public Safety's over enforcement is unreasonable and counterproductive.

Joe Carbo said...

the biggest crook on the island is ron vass just look what he did to eastwood

Joe Carbo said...

you heard bad things about romano well i can tell you now romano has never hurt anyone on this island.the one who hurt many people is ron vass .he made sure he took care of himself.just ask a few people who moved into westveiw after living in eastwood for over 30years thanks to ron vass for selling these people stop talking about romano. ron vass is the crook

Joe Carbo said...

it is taking years for island house and wesrveiw to come out m.l. it took eastwood ten months thats right ten months. wow i wonder why so fast.

Frank Farance said...

Why was PSD Deputy Director Rene Bryan suspended without pay?

PSD Deputy Director Rene Bryan was Suspended Without Pay for the
following: "Willful violation of, or neglect to comply with RIOC's rules
and regulations, orders, policies, instructions or practices including
the Code of Conduct". Certainly, the #2 person at PSD being Suspended
Without Pay is a serious matter, especially in a leadership position,
yet he is still on the force. What are the circumstances surrounding
his suspension? The residents deserve a more detailed explanation of
Mr. Bryan's suspension.

[The request above was sent to RIOC Acting President Don Lewis, Director Guerra, Rene Bryan, and the RIOC Board members.]

Frank Farance said...

In short, Eastwood was a simple M-L exit, with a compliant RIOC Board (Kraut, Stewart, Ponton?). Why David Kraut allowed a loss of a thousand units of affordable housing, I don't know. The GDP (General Development Plan) was violated, too. Over a decade, there were lots of bad real estate deals that stunted the financial growth of RIOC and the Island, Mr. Kraut was involved in all of them.

Sure, one can say without the Octagon deal, the landmark would have not been restored, but the long-term finances are a negative: at a ground lease payment of $4000/month through 2068, no one at RIOC (Mr. Kraut?) had the sense that not only were we giving away the land, we (RIOC) would be operating it at a loss for the next six decades?

Jesse Webster said...

Was this individual suspended without pay pending an investigation into alleged wrongdoing? You need to find out more than just whether the person was suspended. What's the entire chain of events? Was this person reinstated following an investigation in which no wrongdoing was found?

Frank Farance said...

I am asking RIOC to provide additional information, hopefully it answers those same questions. A Deputy Chief getting suspended for "willful violation or neglect to comply ...", however, is a big deal, right? My curiosity is piqued, too.

Frank Farance said...

Here's a bigger picture of RIOC's FOIL process, which RIOC's legal department (headed by Don Lewis) manipulates the flow of information. I have made several FOIL requests and, typically, RIOC does not provide all the information or delays providing it (there's a 5-day for acknowledgement, and a 20-day deadline for documents). In some cases, RIOC (illegally) withholds the information until (1) it is revealed they are withholding the information sought, or (2) the RIOC legal department feels they can influence public discussion by selectively providing more information (e.g., additional records revealed on Sgt. Veras once RIOC saw public discussion in the WIRE and RI blog).

RIOC's legal department also feels they can slow down discussion by delaying information (as many of us have experienced, including Rick).

RIOC has digitized their records, so the documents (in PDF) are readily extracted from their document management system and sent as E-mail attachments. For my PSD request, this was a couple hours work, which could have easily been spread across the one month statutory requirement.

Thus, it is disingenuous to claim a four month delay in providing FOIL records about Public Safety, i.e., RIOC will continue to drip-drop these FOIL responses through April, so these Public Safety items will be an ongoing story through at least April. As I get information, I will post it.

The RIOC legal department is controlled by the RIOC Board, so if the RIOC Board wanted the residents to have information, it could easily be accomplished, but it seems the RIOC Board doesn't want information shared with the community, such as Public Safety reports/info that are commonplace in many towns/villages (even NYPD responds promptly to Rick). With all these residents on the board, look how far your resident board members represent your interests. (Nada.)

Joe Carbo said...

matt katz says in an interveiw with the wire. that the people in eastwood are secure. really matt. why dont you ask wendy heash who had to move into westveiw. after living in eastwood for over 30 years

while you were rira pres. ypu were asked to help people like wendy so she would not have to move so you are aware of whats happending as she did not want to move.and then you say in the wire that all the tenants
. in eastwood are secure.oh i do know your freind ron vass is secure

Joe Carbo said...

well matt was right when he said the people who made this agreement were just looking to geta good deal for their apartments of couse that would be ron vass and
the other members of the eastwood building committee.ron vass should hang his head in shame when he walks on main st .frank when i see you on main st. i will give you a copy of the agreement. so you can see how these people sold out the people of eastwood
.shame on all of them.

CheshireKitty said...

C'mon Joe - there was no critical mass within EW to convert it to a coop. Only then would it have benefited the tenants. But, if you ask me, a far simpler exit would have simply been to extend rent stabilization without an additional 1% to all tenants - no LAP, no Sec 8. As far as the bldg changing hands several times after it exited, I'm sure that's what Belsen had in mind from the beginning. There's no way of knowing if he made even more money later - when the price really ballooned - in some surreptitious way. Now, the only way the Putnam partners can really recoup on the gigantic price they paid for the portfolio is to get rid of as many of the original tenants as possible. The "reasonable" way of implementing submetering though was effectively blocked due to Micah's & the RA's heroic efforts, as well as the State gov/PSC clearly seeing through the owner's ploy, that it wasn't about energy conservation - which is nearly impossible in the sieve-like bldg - but that it was about getting rid of vulnerable/marginal tenants. It was about taking advantage of submetering in order to apply vacancy decontrol. Lucky for EW, the PSC saw this very clearly and ruled accordingly. Re: The likelihood of Sec 8 ending. Quite unlikely at this time IMO. It's relied on by many, many poor/disadvantaged/elderly/disabled throughout the country. If it was discontinued, you might see riots - if people on a mass basis were turned out of their apts. And tell me, if they did discontinue Sec 8, what would you do with all those tenants with no place to go? Let them freeze to death on the streets? As I said, I doubt if it'll get to that, but at one point, when the needs of capital/finance collide with the needs of poor people (as powerless as they may seem) usually the enlightened people in gov, such as at the PSC in the submetering case, will pull back from the brink of cruelty and the resulting social chaos. That reflex, of exercising wise judgment, compassion, and kindness, is what distinguishes us from heartless beasts. Unfortunately, that reflex is actually the opposite of the pure profit motive - yet, as I said above, there are judges, there are gov officials, who balance interests and consequences of actions and laws, and very often if not usually, will protect the powerless. So I do think Sec 8 will continue for quite a while, and will remain a priority for funding since it enables decent housing for so many of the most disadvantaged.

CheshireKitty said...

Hey, has everyone suddenly forgotten that Pataki was in office throughout all these fiascos - the EW exit, the Octagon & ST give-aways? And the RIOC Board - wasn't it dominated by Albany appointees? Does anyone really think the 3 resident Board members could have stood up to the Albany "puppets" on the Board - "puppets" insofar as they were there merely to carry out Pataki's wishes? And how long does anyone think Kraut, Stewart, Ponton would have stayed on the Board if they had started screaming their heads off about the giveaways? They would have been removed from the Board pronto by Pataki. At least by trying to play a diplomatic game, they kept their seats. For the State, having a few resident Board members was useful - a sop to the community clamor for representation. But there was never any question of really letting the community have any say in the key decisions such as the EW exit. This - like the Octagon & ST giveaways - was a clear case of cronyism: Pataki rewards his friends in the real-estate industry/finance with lucrative deals that he can control. This is their thank-you for donating generously to his campaign fund. This is how politics works on the city level, on the state level and on the federal level. We all know this and until campaign finance is reformed, this is how it will always be. The interests of the people be damned - the most important thing is having a healthy campaign fund, even if it means selling your soul to the most generous donor. Later, you repay the favor by transferring properties you effectively control - like EW, Octagon & ST groundleases - for a song.

CheshireKitty said...

Joe - you think Ron got rich, got personally rich, because he landed in LAP? None of the LAP tenants were rich or became rich off of LAP. LAP is rent stabilization + 1%. The person to "blame" is Serge - for not having the backbone to insist on rent stabilization, straight rent stabilization with no added percentage, plus no downsizing. That would have been a good deal - in fact, a better deal than LAP, and it would have covered all tenants. But Serge didn't push for it, and everyone trusted Serge as being so great. Was Serge really that great? You tell me.

CheshireKitty said...

Why not have a PSD Public Forum or Town Hall Meeting regarding the recent incidents? Let the PSD explain exactly what are the laws regarding trespassing so they are clear to all. The teens that were busted for taking shelter in the stairwell may not have been aware that they were technically trespassing by doing so. If I decide to take the stairs in my building instead of the elevator in order to be more physically active, am I trespassing in doing so? If I did walk up those stairs, it is likely I would have to pause after 3 flights to catch my breath before continuing. At that point, would I be trespassing? I personally would like to have these laws explained once and for all by Cmdr. Guerra, and hear Guerra pledge that his team will not detain residents for an innocent act such as walking up a flight of stairs in their own building. I will reserve judgment on the stop-n-frisk aspect of the case of the teens; that is, if, once they were busted, law enforcement had the right to search them, which I think they then did have the right. The question is really, when does PSD detain a resident? At what point is walking up stairs in your own building, or pausing to catch one's breath when walking - even on the sidewalk - considered trespassing? We all need to have these questions clarified by Guerra and a Public Forum would be a very good setting wherein Guerra could answer the community's questions.

CheshireKitty said...

Pigeons have colonized the major cities of the world. There is a reason for that. They are adaptable, and being self-taming, they are usually liked by residents. As we know, pigeons or doves, are even symbols of peace, and in Christianity, have even become a symbol of a component of the Supreme Divinity, as the Holy Spirit, which is often depicted as a white dove, or pigeon. Pigeons were originally brought to the States by Europeans to raise, practically with no effort, for food and the squab that is served in restaurants is a form of pigeon, albeit obviously not the wild variety. In cities, the "do not feed the pigeons" laws are usually only enforced, meaning tickets written, in the case of those who may buy 25-lb bags of bird feed and the like. For the random park-goer who may toss a crust of bread toward a pigeon, cop in general will not write a ticket. I don't think we have any residents on RI who are regularly toting around large bags of bird feed to distribute to the pigeons on an ongoing basis. If this was going on, it would no doubt have been reported on by the Wire or the blog. So what you see on RI - the colonization of Motorgate, the subway station (pretty well mitigated by now), the bridge, and many other spots, is simply part of the overall colonization of all the cities worldwide by pigeons. It's part of the urban ecosystem in a way, and the benefit residents derive from the pigeons is the same benefit we derive from most wildlife: A sense of wonder at nature, and in the case of pigeons, an avian that is actually very gentle basically self-taming. I would just accept the reality of this colonization, which has been around for a long, long time. If there is some aspect of their existence here that particularly bothers you, for example the mess in Motorgate, complain about it. The windows of Motorgate were power-washed not too long ago, but the myriad struts were not scrubbed and so the pigeon droppings still mar the building's superstructure, unfortunately. I think the company that did the power-washing should be called back to finish the task at no additional cost, since they neglected to wash off the droppings from these struts. Then, once the struts are cleaned up, the same mitigation system in place at the subway station - the recordings of the raptors - could be implemented in Motorgate, to ensure that the pigeons do not recolonize the structure. The pigeons also live within the bridge - just as they live within all the bridges and elevated subway tracks, overpasses, and myriad other structures throughout the city. The city makes efforts to remove the pigeons in as humane way as possible when the droppings become a health hazard. So far, I think the colonization of the bridge, where you can see them flying to at dusk to roost, is not too serious a problem for RI residents, so they may as well stay there. I do think Motorgate, though, deserves more attention in terms of getting the struts scrubbed and the pigeon colonization ended.

Frank Farance said...

Joe Carbo: There's a very simple reason why Eastwood did not turn co-op or condo. With 85-90% of the apartments in Section 8, then the conversion to ownership would have likely failed because little money would have been raised through the sale of apartments. If a Section 8 tenant is paying $200-400/month, what kind of mortgage do you think they could pay? My point is merely a financial one: there wasn't the financial base to accomplish this kind of task.

Regardless, I am curious about that agreement. Feel free to say Hello!

Frank Farance said...

CheshireKitty: You bring up a good point, either they are Albany's flunkies or they have intestinal fortitude. Let's game this out.

Possibility #1 is they just go along with the Governor (because many resident RIOC Board members see their membership as the highest rung in social status on the Island and everything must be done to protect that status), which means you're still on the RIOC Board, but you've let something immoral happen (such as losing a thousand units of affordable housing disappear) and/or you've let something ENORMOUSLY STUPID happen (like stunting the growth of RIOC and the Island's finances for the next six decades).

Possibility #2 is that you (politely) disagree with the Governor, and maybe get a couple other board members to stand up with you. And given that there would be three No votes at a board meeting with explanations from (say) Kraut, Stewart, and Ponton on why this doesn't work for Roosevelt Island, I'd guess that the RIOC Board Chair wouldn't even bring it to a vote if there were that kind of moral-based objection. And, thus, there might be some change, even if they didn't have a majority vote.

Possibility #3 is that you (politely) disagree with the Governor, and they you are replaced. Well, at least you stood for your principles.

Given Mr. Kraut's huffing and puffing, but lack of follow-through, I think he's in the category of Possibility #1, and was willing to (and did) let something immoral happen, and something enormously stupid happen. He doesn't get to claim he was Fighter because he did nothing about it (multiple times).

Sadly, this story is told every generation about the person who had the opportunity to do the Right Thing (possibly at the cost of fame/vanity) but withered away.

Joe Carbo said...

frank i am paying 500 dollars more in rent because i am in sec8 .if i was in lap my rent would be 500dollars less this how cazy this agreement is. they placed working middle income i. sec 8 this is why wendy was forced to move out
i think you do not understand how bad this agreement is for the w orking middle income .people these people are getting hurt.when you see the agreement you will understand

Joe Carbo said...

frank what would you like to pay. the rent you are paying now. or 30 percent of all your income. and i mean all of your income not just your pay check.

Frank Farance said...

Joe Carbo: I don't have a copy of the agreement. If you'd like, you can drop a copy for me at the Island House doorman and I will look further. Thanks.

Samantha Foxx said...

I agree with Cheshire in that I would also like to hear from Guerra. All we get on this blog is a lot of negative feedback on PSD, but no response from them. I know he has had a few Town Hall type meetings in the past. I attended one on gangs and another on crime prevention. Funny thing was, I saw the same 20 or 30 people at both. I don't really think the people who should go to these things take the time to go. I don't even think the posters here go either (just my opinion). If we are going to ask for these types of meetings (which I agree we should), we have to do our part as a concerned community and show up. Make sense?

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Foxx, Director Keith Guerra and RIOC/PSD have had ample opportunity to speak to the community, but they choose not to. For example, I've heard Rick and Dick Lutz had some grumblings from RIOC over the past couple months, and their response was: What was factually incorrect? Silence was RIOC's response. So when I point out Director Guerra seems to be more concerned with subjects faking injuries (because of Guerra's Maximum Enforcement Approach and cracking skulls), he can't refute that because it's the truth. Just look at any of the negative criticism, there was ample opportunity for RIOC/PSD to respond in any forum, but they chose not to ... and I'm guessing they did so because there was a strong factual basis for what was posted/written.

Taking it one step further, the community liaison from the District Attorney's office was at the RIRA Public Safety Committee meeting last night and she will come back to the Island to understand how some of the testimony in PSD's criminal complaints is fabricated. Really, there are major issues with PSD on many fronts.

Also note, you'll see in Ms. Feely-Nahem's report, under Transparency, a request for:

"Hold quarterly Town Hall Meetings with Public Safety Director to allow a forum for the community to be kept informed of updates and where residents are able to bring their concerns to the table."

This has been a long standing request. My sense is that Guerra believes this will just blow over, but he's wrong because there is still another 4-6 months of material to post (thanks to RIOC delaying FOIL responses). And, Guerra might be gone soon (he wasn't visible in December, so I'm guessing he took all his comp days in anticipation of leaving). The RIRA Public Safety Committee has already heard about candidates that would replace Guerra.

westviewgirl said...

I really get frustrated with all the talk about a " democracy " here on RI. fThis place is run more like a Monarchy than anything else. Elitists with huge egos and no personality and knowledge on how to treat and talk to people are everywhere. Being polite and kind to people is something that should be taught early in life. Maybe that did not happen. Self consuming personalites should never be put in the seat of power to decide what is best for a community. Where is the compassion? Where is the heart? Where is the common goal to be one community one people and have a good life here? I am not sure where a lot of people on RIOC and others that live on this island have gotten their sense of being kings and queens, they have a job to do, and talking down to poeple to build yourselves up is what happened to us all in high school. I feel like a bunch of kids are in charge of things here most of the time with all the temper tantrums, profanity, hostile debates that get personal that go on all the time, Seems the loss of sight about out commmon goal of a good life here are being forgotten, makes me sad.

westviewgirl said...

I agree we need NYPD here. We are part of the city, and we all pay taxes for city services. We NEED police service here. PSD should be trained and promoted to NYPD with all the perks and benefits. !4,000 people live here? Where is the Police dept? The old days of RI being the quiet Mayberry are long gone. Drugs, gangs, and crime are here and will be growing going foward. It needs to happen very soon.

Frank Farance said...

westviewgirl: right, but a couple twists. We do have NYPD coverage (we're 19th Precinct in Manhattan, but served by the 114th Precinct in Queens). The problem with mere NYPD coverage is that it is based upon crime statistics and Roosevelt Island (sector R of the 114) is one of the safest sectors in Queens. Thus, if we merely let our tax dollars get what we pay for, we would have very little coverage and Quality of Life issues would be a bigger problem.

Fortunately, the ground leases for the buildings provide $1.7 million in Public Safety Fees, but Public Safety spends over its revenue, so another $1.2 million (which comes from ground leases, usage fees (parking, fields, etc.), and other Island sources) is spent to make up for that deficit.

What the RIRA Public Safety Committee is studying is: getting NYPD officers (via off-duty detail program, the same way Barnes & Noble and other retailers have NYPD officers in their stores), and paying only $1.7 million to get the same coverage (17-21 officers) that Public Safety presently has right now.

Not only would we have real police officers with better training, we'd be spending within budget and freeing up $1.2 million annually, money that could be spent on other projects or saved. Also with NYPD, we'd have a CCRB to provide oversight (right now Public Safety has no oversight and the RIOC Board is lame in their oversight).

This looks promising, but it requires further study before making a formal recommendation. We hope to have more information soon.

Frank Farance said...

Why no PSD status for November and December?

Mr. Guerra:

I've checked regularly, and it seems that you've stopped posting PSD monthly stats since October:


When will the monthly stats be available? Thanks.
[E-mailed to RIOC and PSD today.]

CheshireKitty said...

Eastwood exited in 2007 - long after Vass exited RIOC. Even if the resident RIOC Board members in '07 (or the year before) would have wanted to get more for the Eastwood ground lease transfer, they would have been totally "nullified" by the vast majority of "patronage" Board members and the Pataki appointee Board Pres. Berman. The Rep admin in Albany wanted things to go a certain way, which they did. The point is, no matter what the residents want - in the case of the Eastwood exit, or the construction of Octagon and Southtown - if there isn't a Dem admin in Albany, forget it. We can all scream our heads off, it doesn't matter - ultimately, the decisions will always be made for us among a group of pols and developers. Even now - do you think any of our input will make a difference in the chipping away of Southpoint Park, when the ruins are turned into a "welcome pavilion" for the FDR memorial? The deal will be made in Albany and later simply "announced" to RI residents. It's a matter of time before some plan, preferably a money-making idea, is also hit upon for the area of the water tunnel construction - one of the remaining few open areas left on RI. Little by little, any parkland, or what could have become parkland - will be transferred for development, until you just have more or what you have now -- thousands of apt-dwellers, trapped on a picturesque island with wonderful views but with few or no trees, who can't get to a non-minuscule park like Central Park fast enough to breath in some oxygen!

Starsky said...

Wow, are you now saying that 8 teenagers had the crap beat out of them by the PSD cops? Your stories just keep getting better and better.

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