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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Circus Is Coming To Town - Roosevelt Island Residents AssociationMeeting Tonight To Continue Witch Hunt Seeking To Expel RIRA Member,Farance Responds Tonight

 She's A Witch Image From Monty Python & Holy Grail

It may not be the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Baily Circus but it's close. The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting tonight, 8 PM, at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street) to continue its witch hunt to expel Frank Farance from the Common Council.

As always, prior to the start of each monthly meeting there is a public session in which residents can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern.

Among the items on tonight's Agenda is Part 2 of RIRA's attempt to expel Frank Farance

from the Common Council. According to Agenda Item 7:
... Second Part of Procedure to expel Council Member:
Member has a chance to rebut the Bill Of Particulars and Council votes on whether or not to expel him...
Here is the Bill of Particulars (and video of meeting) approved by the November RIRA Common Council Meeting:

November 6, 2013

WHEREAS: the preamble of The Constitution of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association clearly states that residents “want to live together in harmony based on mutual respect and the voluntary sharing of responsibility,”

WHEREAS: An environment of intimidation, fear and hostility is not conducive to conducting the work of the Common Council,

WHEREAS: Common Council Representative, Frank Farance, has repeatedly engaged in conduct that is counter to the principles of harmony and sharing but rather is consistent with creating intimidation, fear and hostility in the following ways:

  1. Abusing his position to denigrate and defame people without a basis of fact, endangering their professional and personal reputations,
  2. Denigrating the reputation of the Common Council, itself, thereby diminishing the community’s goodwill and jeopardizing community support,
  3. Threatening and attempting to diminish the respect of government entities with whom the organization interacts, thereby hindering the organization’s effectiveness,
  4.  Cyber bullying by publicizing defaming statements and misusing various communications platforms, both internal and external to the organization, (such as the email reflector, blog, social media, and The Main Street WIRE).
  5. Depriving the members of the Common Council of the respect they deserve for their devoted service to the community.
WHEREAS: The Common Council has previously taken the step to censure Frank Farance on October 5, 2011; But, his offensive behavior has continued unabated and without improvement,

WE THEREFORE MOVE TO EXPELL Common Council Representative Frank Farance, effective immediately pursuant to Article III, Section 9, paragraph (b).
and charge 6 added during the RIRA Meeting:

Organized a “Public “ Safety group independent of RIRA. This group is in competition with RIRA’s Public Safety Committee. This group undermines the work and credibility of RIRA’s Public Safety Committee.
As stated in previous post:
... In my opinion, this Bill Of Particulars against Mr. Farance is ridiculous, a waste of time and damages RIRA more than anything Mr. Farance has ever said or done.

There is nothing that Mr. Farance has published on Roosevelt Islander, or what I have seen in the WIRE, which is defamatory at all. It may be critical, highly opinionated and in some cases rude but it is not defamatory and certainly does not justify RIRA expelling him from a Common Council that he was elected to by the people who live in his building. Also, Mr. Farance often has a valid point to make, or, at least, an issue worthy of further investigation by NY State, RIOC, RIRA and the media.

The attempt to expel him is for his dissident views made public, sometimes rude characterizations as well as personal dislike of him by some RIRA members. None of these reasons are sufficient cause to expel him from RIRA.

Notice that the Bill of Particulars only contains conclusory statements about defamation without any specific examples.

I may or may not agree with what Mr. Farance says or does but he certainly has a right to publicly express his opinions about issues of concern to the Roosevelt Island community and should not be expelled because some within RIRA disagree with him....
Mr. Farance was elected to the RIRA Common Council by the residents of his building - Island House. The Chair of the Island House Tenants Association (IHTA) Graham Cannon sent this message to RIRA and the Roosevelt Island community in support of Mr. Farance:
To whom it may concern:

I understand there are proceedings underway which may result in Frank Farance's expulsion from RIRA

Frank has been an exemplary Island House representative (as well as IHTA Secretary) — promoting our tenants' interests effectively and well. He enjoys widespread and deserved support among the Island House electorate and there would be great concern by them if action were taken that might remove Frank and diminish our ability to have our needs and interests effectively represented at RIRA.

I would urge you to consider the interests of Island House as you make your decisions.

Graham Cannon
Chair, IHTA
A voice of reason comes from RIRA Common Council member Cynthia Choi who asks her colleagues to table the Expulsion Motion. According to Ms. Choi:
... I would agree to tabling the expulsion motion!

We know what Frank said and what other member stated.

We heard and read all side of reasoning, this had both positive and negative effect. It is healthy that we are able to express to each other our opinions, but enough is enough.

It is so true, two month of RIRA meetings on this matter is waste of our time and Island resident's time.

As RIRA community representatives, we should be able to accept positive or negative comments and expressions of individual's opinion. We know the comments only represent person themselves not as an opinion of whole RIRA itself, but if we expel Frank because of a few members are uncomfortable with what Frank said; e-mail, send letters, published on WIRE, that alone can be a very bad image of RIRA. It'll really damage Ellen's leadership of RIRA permanently.

Dear respective RIRA Members, this is not about who wins or loses. Please think big and wisely, not waste too much of everybody's time!

There were a few members who have lost interest in attending RIRA meeting, but Frank is not to blame for that. I understand people come and go. It is natural, sometimes they are tired of something, health reason, just because...

I attend RIRA for my own interest as well as community interests, but resign or attend are each individual responsibility not to blame anybody else.

Hope our meetings are more positive and productive in the future.

All the respect and Best Wishes!
RIRA has created a Motion To Expel Frank Farance web page to set forth its reasons for seeking his expulsion. According to RIRA:
In response to numerous and ongoing complaints, the Communications Committee began an investigation into various misconducts committed by Frank Farance. We reviewed hundreds of internal and external emails, blogs postings, letters to the press and other documents. In them, Mr. Farance works the same three themes over and over...
  1. He makes repeated attempts to discredit the Chair of the Social, Cultural and Educational Committee most recently over a manufactured issue regarding a preliminary committee report
  2. He attempts to undermine and unseat the President
  3. He refuses to abide by the majority decisions of the Council, most notably the Public Safety Committee
Rather than working discretely within the organization to resolve what he feels are issues, Mr. Farance prefers to create a public spectacle of the organization's internal affairs. He repeatedly circumvents protocol by releasing information to the press and blogs. Mr. Farance uses an astounding assortment of tactics including inuendo, omission, fabrication, supposition, intimidation and threat to advance his agenda, all at the expense of other council members and the orgnization overall.
Bound by its fiduciary duty to protect the orgnization, the Communication Committee concluded that intervention was required. We prepared and presented to the Common Council a Bill of Particulars calling for the expulsion of Frank Farance. The measure passed with an overwhelming majority. This corrective measure is part of a long history of attempts to correct Mr. Farance's behavior. Over the years he has been counselled, asked to resign, rebuked by the Common Council, and formally censured.

We've made a number of documents available to help you understand the situation we face. Included are...
The organization's Constitution which defines the process for expulsion
The Bill of Particulars that outlines the grounds for Mr. Farance's expulsion
A document describing fiduciary duty in non-profit organizations
An article describing methods for dealing with rogue members like Mr. Farance
The statement by the RIRA Treasurer that he found no irregularities in the SCE Committee's accounting of the 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival
Minutes from the meeting in which Mr. Farance was censured
After reading the RIRA Expel Farance web page, I asked RIRA Communications Committee Chair Jeff Prekopa last week:
I am preparing a post for Roosevelt Islander Online regarding the RIRA Communications Committee meetings which prepared the Bill of Particulars to expel Frank Farance from RIRA.

The RIRA web page dedicated to the expulsion of Frank Farance states:

...Bound by its fiduciary duty to protect the orgnization, the Communication Committee concluded that intervention was required. We prepared and presented to the Common Council a Bill of Particulars calling for the expulsion of Frank Farance....
I am not aware of any RIRA Communications Committee meeting held to discuss the subject of expelling Frank Farance.

Were such meetings held?

Were these meetings announced publicly before they were held?

When were these meetings held?

Were minutes kept of these meetings?

If there were minutes, please post them on the RIRA web site or send them to me for review.
Did not receive an answer. I followed up this week:
I am following up on November 25 email below seeking comment from RIRA regarding the Communications Committee procedure used to bring a Bill of Particulars to expel Frank Farance. Please let me know if you or any other RIRA member wishes to comment.

Also, do you or any other RIRA member have any comment on statement by RIRA Treasurer Russel Fields that the RIRA web page describing Mr. Fields as finding no "irregularities" in the Cherry Blossom Festival accounting is "misleading". Mr. Fields added that he found the Cherry Blossom Festival accounting to be "unacceptable".

Why does the RIRA web page on the Farance Expulsion motion not include Mr. Fields true remarks?

Here is link to Mr. Fields statement.

Again, please let me know if you or any RIRA members wish to comment on these issues. If not, I will report that you were offered the opportunity but declined to respond.
Still have not received any explanation.

In regard to Mr. Farance's efforts on Public Safety issues, the IHTA Chair Graham Cannon supports Mr. Farance's efforts as Island House RIRA representative to set up a Public Safety committee (RILEC) even if it is outside of RIRA. According to this October 2013 letter from Mr. Cannon to the RIRA Common Council:
To RIRA Common Council:

As you know, in Island House, we have been quite successful in negotiating an affordable housing plan for our tenancy. Our efforts have helped the 1000 residents and 400 families of Island House, and we hope we have created a template that can be replicated/adapted to benefit Westview tenants. Any success we have had has come from extensive and open negotiation with the key state agencies and, most importantly, a free, open and ongoing dialog with our tenancy who, at every juncture, have provided the most valuable input and strategic thinking that have enabled us to reflect and include their diversity and complexity in our agreements.

I was concerned at reports from our RIRA common council representatives that there may be attempts to limit debate/discussion at RIRA and/or limiting the engagement of RIRA members with the various State and law enforcement agencies with whom all of us do business on Roosevelt Island.

Please be assured that our RIRA representatives (Frank Farance, Russ Fields, Helen Chirivas) continue to represent the interests of our tenants. Based on our experience at Island House I would urge that:

(1) As at Island House meetings that allow all tenants to be heard, the RIRA Common Council should let all its delegates be heard.

(2) Island House tenants participate in the RILEC committee. The "three prong' framework suggested by our RIRA representatives seems a good basis for examining concerns about Public Safety issues.

(3) That RIRA oppose any attempt to set it up as "gatekeeper" as to who or what groups can meet with Public Safety (PSD) and/or RIOC. The standard across the city is that law enforcement meets with the widest range of community representatives and individuals to ensure they have a direct understanding of all community issues and concerns.

I encourage the RIRA Common Council to seriously consider the positions and proposals of the Island House delegation.

Graham Cannon
Chair, Island House Tenants Association
This whole attempt to expel Mr. Farance is absurd and is accurately characterized as a Witch Hunt.

Below is the full Agenda for tonight's RIRA Meeting.

UPDATE 11:40 PM - The attempt to expel Mr. Farance failed. Before Mr. Farance was to give his rebuttal, a motion to strike the Expulsion Agenda Item was made and approved by a vote of 15 to 14.

Upon losing the vote, several supporters of the motion to expel Mr. Farance immediately resigned from RIRA.

Will have more later.


rilander said...

Instead of wasting time and energy on this ridiculous embarrassment of what a duly elected residents association should be, I have yet to see you take a stand on other pressing issues to ensure support for the people of this community. RIRA has not done anything to pressure RIOC about the shameful and age inappropriate equipment debacle at the new toddlers playground. RIRA has not done anything to pressure RIOC about the pigeon droppings on the island, especially in Motorgate. RIRA has looked the other way about the removal of the glass protection in front of Eastwood. As far as I and many others on this island are concerned you are turning into an amusement park! Cut the baloney and get to work!

Frank Farance said...

We had 800+ pages of documentation dumped on us after Close of Business the night before the Common Council meeting, this is impossible to review. Some combination of Jeff Prekopa, Nicole Walden, Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, and Ellen Polivy have sent us 800+ pages of documentation that purports to support their claims, but in fact does not substantiate anything.

According to forensics, this document was prepared the evening of Wednesday, November 20 around 11 PM. Why was this document delayed two weeks?

The document purports to be the last 2 years of my blog comments. There appears to by little analysis within the document, it looks like a simple search/replace: Search "RIRA", Replace with Red Highlighting.

I looked somewhere in the middle and found a discussion about the Roosevelt Island Bridge painted red and had mentioned it was discussed in RIRA. I don't understand why that (among many other instances) was highlighted, it has nothing to do with the Bill of Particulars.

I also found most of the document without any highlighting. What is the purpose of sending 800+ pages?

There is nothing substantiated in any of the documents. They sat on it for two weeks and waited the night before to deliver it. This isn't about being fair, it isn't about being the best informed. This isn't about doing what is right for the community.

Trevre Andrews said...

Many RIRA council members agree and are making an effort to table these proceedings tonight. Email your rep ( or post a comment here if you agree with tabling these proceedings.

Jeff P said...

Mr. Cannon, is this the sort of representation you are endorsing? Here's a typical example of one of your representatives addressing the Common Council (yes, this is for real)...

The measure is based on mischaracterization and
misrepresentation – there is no justification or substantiation of the
allegations or contentions: It is exactly what might take place under
totalitarianism, where a resident is “denounced” for acts characterized as
“treason” “sedition” and the like which he did not commit, that is – for
perhaps daring to speak out against the totalitarian dictatorship – that is,
the Leader and the Leader’s friends – and for that “insolence” is sentenced to
expulsion from the community - detention in a concentration camp, or possibly,
the death sentence.

To repeat: “It’s my patriotic responsibility, as the
daughter of an immigrant who was nearly beaten to death by intolerant
monomaniacs “much like you” President Ellen Polivy, and the grand-daughter of
someone who did not make it to the US, one who was in fact murdered by another
breed of intolerant monsters – Nazis, to expose the “evil machinations”
of your Communications Cttee!” To be perfectly clear, my dad was nearly
beaten to death over a period of several days (torture killing) by communists
during the Greek Civil War a couple of years after his mother was first
mistreated, (tortured) left naked by the side of the road after being murdered
by the Nazis: Both actions were for political reasons since both
ancestors did not agree with either totalitarian and evil ideology.

rilander said...

Thanks Trevre. Right now all I can think of is how childish this baloney has become. RIRA members who are on this witch hunt need to grow up and stop this crap. And I can tell you that if they don't then a new residents organization should be formed because they certainly do not represent most of this community. Right now they make the US House of Representatives look like contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize. RIOC must be laughing their asses off!

AGuyonRI said...

To repeat comments I previously posted: everyone involved in this thing looks like an idiot.

RooseveltIslander said...

The attempt to expel Mr. Farance failed. Before Mr. Farance was to give his rebuttal, a motion to strike the Expulsion Agenda Item was made and approved by a vote of 15 to 14.

Upon losing the vote, several supporters of the motion to expel Mr. Farance immediately resigned from RIRA.

Denise K Shull said...

I am sure it does. But this is NYC and a LOT of people have dogs. I'm just betting that after about the 3rd or 4th sale that can't happen because the buyers have a dog...that will change.

I could be wrong. Time will tell.

YetAnotherRIer said...

None of the things you listed are any "pressing issues" but rather opinions.

Mark Lyon said...

In NYC, there is about one pet for every three households. Somehow, I suspect sales will still occur.

OldRossie said...

That sounds like CheshireKitty!!

CheshireKitty said...

To repeat: “It’s my patriotic responsibility, as the
daughter of an immigrant who was nearly beaten to death by intolerant
monomaniacs “much like you” President Ellen Polivy, and the grand-daughter of
someone who did not make it to the US, one who was in fact murdered by another
breed of intolerant monsters – Nazis, to expose the “evil machinations”
of your Communications Cttee!” I agree - even as a Kitty. In fact, it's everyone's patriotic responsibility to expose the secret and evil doings of the Communications Cttee! No-one must stand in secret judgment stifling citizens' free speech rights. Thank goodness the good sense of the polis prevailed last night!

OldRossie said...

Cheshirekitty - is jeff quoting you here?

Mark Lyon said...

Helen, as I have told you elsewhere, RIRA is not the government. It is not suppressing your (or any else's) rights.

Please put an end to the outlandish and disrespectful persecution fantasies.

CheshireKitty said...

Why would you confuse CheshireKitty with someone called Helen?

Please take your "law school" pomposity and bombast elsewhere: Of course we all know RIRA isn't the real government although it's a representative organization.

Like the government, though, that doesn't entitle it to officially lie - either in a report, on tape, on its website, or in a completely false Motion.

How would you like to explain the lies contained in the above to the real government, Mark?

CheshireKitty said...

Me? Naaahh... He's confused me with someone else. I am just a kitty.

Jeff P said...

Yes, CheshireKitty is Helen Chirivas, and yes Helen wrote the ludicrous email I quoted here, and yes, Helen is complimenting herself on what a great quote it is. In her defense, she probably just lost track of which of the voices in her head said what.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Why does everybody's thinking stop at the idea that this is about Frank being critical? There is a lot more to it. It's about what happens when he does not get the last word in, if somebody does not agree with him, when he does not get his way. THEN he gets ugly and airs his opinions and doesn't care that he is part of an organization that is supposed to find a compromise instead of one being better/"more correct" than the other. Sometimes he doesn't even care to involve the community and organization and goes straight to the barricades (see his actions as RIRA president, for example).

rilander said...

Agreed! :=))

rilander said...

Any and all issues that residents are concerned about are opinions, but those opinions become requests for assistance. For example, when the tram elevator doesn't work, the opinion of a wheelchair bound resident who can't go up or down without a lift or elevator becomes an issue, and when that issue is not resolved it is a pressing issue.

NotMyKid said...

amen to that. I gave up trying to explain the simple things to him. It's my way or the highway with that man. Egomaniac.

CheshireKitty said...

Look Jeff, there was a rumor that Kitty is Helen, but there is no proof.

Who told you that Cheshire = Chirivas? Whoever said so has to be someone that can actually confirm it.

I know it can't be Rick, since he would never break a blog participant's anonymity.

As far as the quote being ludicrous, this actually underlines your cynical, self-serving attitude toward anything having to do with the rights of citizens. As far as you are concerned, we might as well be robots, dancing to your tune - you, the quitter, right?

You quit, but some people don't quit; Some people don't give up, some people don't shut up, and some people lose their lives for that - such as the person who died at the hands of the Nazis in the above quote.

Citizens have certain rights that no amount of haranguing and lying on your part can ever remove: Free speech, free press and free assembly.

Whoever wrote the above quote about the sacrifices of those who paid with their lives for refusing to buckle under to the dictates of totalitarian regimes or ideologies, should be applauded.

CheshireKitty said...

But that's not true. Frank says what he thinks at CC meetings, just as others speak their minds. Of course a compromise or consensus is reached, which Frank respects.

In matters where he may act independently, sometimes that approach makes more sense. Isn't there a saying, he who walks alone walks the fastest? Of course when circumstances demand the reverse, he will collaborate with colleagues on a project.

Frank was a good RIRA President, and should have run again in '12. I suggested he do so last year but he wouldn't listen to a mere cat like me. Instead, we are now stuck with a real loser as President, who has made RIRA into a 3-ring circus in which to play out her fantasies of destruction.

Jeff P said...

I don't blame you for hiding behind a pseudonym. If I posted your kind of mindless drivel, I'd be embarassed to use my real name too.

Jeff P said...

I think Helen's been drinking the Kool-Aid! A good President?!? Frank Farance is Chair of the Planning Committee and he didn't have a single meeting in over a year! Where's the leadership in that?

CheshireKitty said...

That's a complete fabrication, just like the expulsion page you put up on the website. Frank has had three Planning Cttee meetings this past year: 2/13/13, 10/9/13, and 12/2/13.

Joyce, one of your "co-conspirators" on the Communications Cttee, however, has had no Housing Cttee meetings this year, and of course Ellen lets her get away with it. Joyce tried to pass off the MPTA meeting that Mark organized and held on 11/4/13 as a meeting of the Housing Cttee, and probably Mark - a fellow "co-conspirator" - agreed to let her characterize it as such so she could fulfill the requirement of having at least one meeting, but the fact is Joyce has no members on the Housing Cttee other than herself.

President Polivy should next bring about the only possible reform that will make sense of the RIRA leadership by immediately quitting: She's been a consistently incompetent, biased, and dishonest RIRA President who is leading RIRA into disintegration. She needs to go pray for a long time for forgiveness for all she's "accomplished".

CheshireKitty said...

LOL. Don't dis CK - drivel or not, there aren't that many kitties out there that can sit at a keyboard and tap out a few words. At least I'm a kitty that can tell right from wrong, unlike you and your shameful buddies.