Saturday, December 14, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Holiday Community Spirit, FDR Hope Memorial Donations, Cert Graduates & RIRA Goals, Expulsion, Resignation, Improvements

Roosevelt Island 2013 Christmas Tree And Chanukah Memorah Lit In Front of Blackwell House

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
As I walk down Main Street, I’m reminded of the wonderful feeling of community that we enjoy on our Island at this time of year. Gatherings at the Christmas Tree and Chanukah lightings, holiday sales at RIVAA and the Senior Center, the tree sales on Main Street, and preparations for Kwanza, all make me consider how wonderful it is to live in our neighborhood. I hope all your holidays are filled with love, good cheer and lots of the warm, Roosevelt Island “Ben Hugs” that were named for Benjamin Imbrogno, a young Roosevelt Islander who embodied human kindness and left us this year, far too soon. Hugs pass along a sense of well-being, trust and relaxation, so I hope you’ll pass them around in great abundance and receive your fair share as well.


Joyce Short, who has served on our Common Council for many years while also running the Island's free tennis program for kids, has written a brave and important new book, Carnal Abuse By Deceit. It is a “must read!” It’s a sad and powerful account of her life with a psychopath and a cautionary tale for anyone looking for a relationship. You will recognize her reason for reclaiming her maiden name when you read it. You can buy it on

Jim Bates, President of the Roosevelt Memorial, (at South Point Park,) has created a new crowdfunding video to raise money to install a sculpture of an active FDR in his wheelchair. Please watch the video and donate at

RIRA congratulates the 15 new graduates who will be joining our CERT team. They deserve our utmost gratitude for the training they completed in order to serve our community in a time of peril.

Goals for the New Year

• Working collaboratively with RIOC toward the betterment of the community.

• Advising RIOC and advocating to insure that the needs and interests of the residents are met.

• Creating a dialogue with the community’s tenant associations, residents and the various Managing Agents to address residents’ needs and encouraging more involvement in RIRA.

• Enhancing a sense of community throughout Roosevelt Island by producing a variety of special events.

• Encouraging volunteerism by creating a link between opportunities and people with an interest to serve.

• Developing internal structures to improve the interpersonal functioning of the Common Council.

• Work cooperatively with other groups to ensure the health and safety of Islanders during demolition, construction and operation of buildings and facilities on or near Roosevelt Island.

Common Council Losses

Jeff Prekopa, our Secretary and Communications Chairman, has resigned from his the Common Council. Jeff tackled the job of web design for RIRA,and succeeded where everyone before him had failed. He was an extraordinary, focused, diligent worker and an excellent web designer. He set up a state-of-the-art, interactive website that is increasing the visibility of the Common Council in a meaningful way. Because of his continued commitment to our community he has agreed to continue to improve our website. His departure is directly the result of the Common Council’s inability to stop Frank Farance from defaming his colleagues and making derogatory public comments. Over the years the Common Council has lost many responsible workers for the same reason, and a number of current Common Council Representatives are contemplating stepping down for the same reason.

For instance, since Lynne Shinozaki took over the Social, Cultural and Education Committee, RIRA’s community activities have greatly expanded. Lynne created late night basketball, created our Easter Egg Hunts, Cherry Blossom Festivals and skating in the school and RIRA showcase. She has brought us concerts, dancers and additional events and has more planned for this year. She embodies integrity and community spirit. For her and her hard working committee members to come under attack by the unwarranted rumors that Frank Farance has spread about her conduct is heartbreaking.

No one should be rewarded for unsavory behavior by basking in the limelight it creates, so I do not intend to give Frank Farance more than 30 seconds. His behavior has been a problem for many years. He has had second, third, fourth, and more chances. In fact, he was censured by the Common Council during the last term for the same behavior he is currently exhibiting. It was hoped that the censure would raise his awareness, but it did not seem to affect him at all. Rather, he is like the defiant child who is impervious to punishment. The Bill of Particulars to remove him from the Common Council was not resolved in the last meeting because his supporters, along with others who preferred avoidance over confrontation, voted to remove the matter from the agenda rather than deal with it at the meeting. It is unfortunate because Mr. Farance cannot be cleared of the charges until the Council does its job to hear and decide on the matter. Until it is decided, the issue is simply in limbo.

We have lost many good Council Members over the years who decided that the incorrigible behavior they faced was intolerable. Mr. Farance has set a new level for offensive conduct and the losses we could sustain by his continuing unabated would be too great.


To their credit, a number of Council Members have begun a discourse on improving communication and interactions both within the Common Council and with the community. Erin Feeley-Nahem, Romano Reid, Sharon Pope, Micky Rindler and Nicole Walden are among the people who have spoken up with positive ideas for change. The Common Council is reviewing any and all constructive suggestions. We expect to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient. But ultimately whether the Council improves or limps along with contention will be up to the Council to decide or the community to say "enough is enough".

Although not unique to Roosevelt Island bullying behavior is destructive everywhere. It is prevalent enough to elicit a May 2013 article in the Daily Kos. I attach the link here.

I hope your holidays are fun.