Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Termination Of Main Street Wire Newspaper Door Drop Delivery To Roosevelt Island Apartments And Keeping Member Communications Secret Among Items On Tonight's Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Agenda

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting tonight, 8 PM, at the Manhattan Theater Club (8 River Road).

 Image Of February 2014 RIRA Meeting At Manhattan Theater Club

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 a motion asking Roosevelt Island building owners to prohibit the local newspaper, the Main Street Wire,

from distributing the paper at each apartment door. According to the resolution:
Roosevelt Island Residents Association

Motion Demanding Issuance of Letter by RIRA President re Distribution of The Wire.

Movant: Helen Chirivas, Secretary

“Whereas the WIRE publication does not reflect the interests and aspirations of the entire RI community in its reportage;

Whereas the WIRE publication has offended the sector of the RI community whose interests and aspirations it does not reflect;

Whereas the WIRE publication is currently distributed door to door to every household on RI, thereby causing offense to the residents of the RI community its reportage does not reflect;

Therefore, be it resolved that RIRA President J. Escobar, acting in the best interests of the entire RI Community, will arrange for the dispatch of letters (sample attached) via Email and Certified Mail, to each and every management company on RI, requesting, on behalf of the entire RI community, that said management companies henceforth not permit the door- to-door distribution in their properties of the WIRE publication.”
Below is an except from the sample letter described in above motion:
It has come to the attention of the Roosevelt Island Residents’ Association (RIRA) that residents are unhappy with the quality and tenor of the reporting in the WIRE publication, and many no longer wish to be obliged to take delivery of the publication by means of the present door drop distribution method in effect at your property.

I trust that you will agree that the responsible course of action is to therefore terminate the WIRE door-drop distribution policy in your property so as to eliminate the possibility of further offending any tenants/owners residing therein.

To implement the cessation of the door-drop distribution policy in your property, please contact the WIRE via email...
Other RIRA members who object to the reporting in the local newspaper suggest an opt in policy for delivery of the WIRE. They suggest if a building resident wishes to have the paper delivered to their door, they tell building management of their desire and they will receive delivery. Those who don't opt in will not get door delivery. Supporters of the door drop delivery to every apartment claim that an opt in system for delivery will ruin the business advertising model of the Wire.

Also on tonight's RIRA Agenda is a motion to keep secret from the Roosevelt Island public certain communications among RIRA members. According to the resolution:
Roosevelt Island Residents Association

Motion Regarding Transmittal of RIRA Electronic Communications

Movant: Mickey Rindler, as Chair of Ethics Committee

“Be it Resolved

Common Council members shall not publicly disclose, publish, or distribute confidential information, including transmission of:

1. private emails or conversations in which RIRA business is discussed, unless authorized by the author or speaker.

2. communications posted on Common Council-sponsored websites or email reflectors unless authorized by the author or unless otherwise authorized by the Council.

3. Committee work, minutes, or reports not approved for release.”
Here is the rest of tonight's

RIRA Agenda which includes approval of a conflict of interest policy, support of the annual Blood Drive and more.

UPDATE 11:35 PM - Another excellent job by RIRA President Jeff Escobar presiding over tonight's Common Council Meeting. Here's Mr. Escobar's Report to the Common Council which followed the decision by the Common Council to remove the item regarding the Wire distribution door drops from the Agenda.

Also, the motion by the Ethics Committee Chair to prohibit disclosure to the public of internal RIRA communications was tabled and not approved by the Common Council.

RIRA's Aaron Hamburger stood up for Common Council openness and transparency by stating:
I'm strongly opposed to this motion. We are an open organization. We represent our community. There are no secrets. If you write something you stand behind it. I don't care if gets sent to the public. It should in fact....

... In my view it is contrary to the spirit of this organization....
Here's the RIRA Common Council discussion of the issue

and vote to table the issue.

Needless to say that I agree with Mr. Hamburger.


Mark Lyon said...

You've got to love CheshireKitty's special brand of crazy. If she's offended by the WIRE, there's nothing preventing her from tossing it into the trash.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Kitty is officially nuts now. I wonder when she is going to suggest banning Internet access to all Roosevelt Island residents because we are insulting her.

Frank Farance said...

[sent April 7]
Subject: In opposition to "appreciation" motion towards me (really!), and other motions

Common Council Members:

I am in opposition to several motions that might arise at tomorrow night's Common Council meeting.

1. I understand and appreciate the sentiment that my neighbor Helen Chirivas has expressed in support of myself and other Common Council Members. However, I oppose this motion for, essentially, the same reasons I opposed the "exoneration" motion for Lynne Strong-Shinozaki: it's not appropriate for the corporation, and I believe the wording (as presently presented) would be inconsistent with the RIRA Constitution because it would prohibit the possibility of disciplinary actions that the RIRA Constitution permits. (Of course, I'm not interested in wasting more time on disciplinary actions, but it is the Principle in which I oppose this motion.)

2. I oppose the motion on limiting the distribution of the WIRE because it is framed in terms of prohibiting distribution. Each building, in a way, has its own culture in how it posts notices, how neighbors interact, and so on. If the tenants of a building decide they want things a particular way (full door-drop, subscriber-only, no door drop, whatever) then we as the RIRA Common Council should not be micromanaging the desires of a building's tenancy.

If you don't like what's in the WIRE, you can write a Letter To The Editor complaining about the WIRE; and if your complaints about the WIRE are substantive, substantiated. and strike a nerve, then its editor will surely find a reason to not publish your complaints.

3. I oppose the motion on recommending further distribution of the WIRE in buildings because it creates a variety of conflicts in what RIRA does and what gets reported in the WIRE. Not to mention, the WIRE has a financial interest in seeing further distribution, so we (RIRA) should stay out of this and avoid these kinds of conflicts.

4. I strongly strongly oppose the confidentiality limitations as suggested by Mickey Rindler's motion. We are not a not-for-profit whose main purpose is to raise-money/operate some charity, or an organization that is protecting the Secret Formula for Coca-Cola. Our purpose is to provide elected representation for our neighborhood, which is dependent upon transparency and a free flow of information to/from the community. The restrictions are impractical in that no Common Council Member would be able to answer a neighbor's question: So What Is Going On In RIRA? Because it is so severe, and so impractical it cannot be followed and, thus, will only be selectively enforced, i.e., punishing (unevenly/unfairly) those in the minority who look to advocate to the members (residents) their positions to get wider support.

Imagine the neighbor who comes to a committee meeting and forwards one of the meeting's E-mails to other neighbors for review ... the confidentiality, as proposed by Mickey's motion, is violated. Is that the image you want to present to residents? Who wants to be involved in such an organization?

I believe these confidentiality ideas are all misguided and all seek to cover people saying dumb things. The solution to the problem is: don't say dumb things. Mickey says in the age of Google, your writings live forever: well then frame your words differently As If the public might read them. Because even if this confidentiality motion were to pass, the public is still likely to read them when anonymous people send your E-mails to the media or post them on-line or, even worse, post/convey your words inaccurately via "paraphrasing": none of us like our words paraphrased by our opponents in debate.

However, if this confidentiality motion is passed, I will work with others to form an new Island-wide association that adheres to the principles of Openness, Fairness, and Transparency.

Frank Farance
Island House

AGuyonRI said...

Is this for real? Do we really have thought police now on Roosevelt Island?

optima dies said...

Seriously??? Who is getting offended by the WIRE? I've been reading it for 9 years and I've seen nothing but Mr Lutz and his staff working hard to maintain journalistic integrity while providing a vital service to the community. It's part of what gives RI its small town feel that so many of us cherish.
And honestly, I probably would have never picked up a copy if it hadn't arrived at my doorstep.

CheshireKitty said...

I'm not so sure you wouldn't pick it up if you like it. Most other community newspapers are distributed at ATM lobbies, supermarket lobbies etc.

CheshireKitty said...

The problem is the editorial slant on the WIRE which some disagree with. The idea is to make distribution similar to that of other free papers, which aren't distributed door-to-door (such as the Voice, AMNY, many other community papers in the boroughs, etc). Then the resident could have a choice in picking up or not picking up the paper.

CheshireKitty said...

Frank certainly was a one-man wrecking crew at the CC last night! Every single motion he opposed above he either removed from the agenda, or battered down. The motion in support of the WIRE wasn't even filed. Frank is incredibly strong, it seems.

Question is: After the swathe of destruction, did anything actually get done? LOL.

But seriously, the meeting was great; Escobar is great as President.

CheshireKitty said...

Actually, this isn't a position that is only the person you seem to think is Kitty. As you know, Kitty is Kitty, a cat.

The Helen person finally hit a home run with her amazing motions regarding the complete banning of the WIRE insofar as door-to-door delivery is concerned. The idea is to make it an option, not an obligation, to pick up, from spots such as the supermarket lobby, or the entrance lobby at Duane-Reade etc.

All other free papers in NYC are distributed this way, or from specific boxes on street corners etc (just as AMNY has its boxes etc).

The reason for the move is to avoid offending anyone who might not appreciate the editorial slant of the paper. However, not all papers can be "beloved" by all people all the time. The difference is, here on RI, the WIRE is distributed to all residents to their doors, whether or not they love it. Imagine if the Post were delivered for free to every door every day? It might be a novelty at first, but then the editorial slant might start to annoy some. Finally, for some people it might become a nuisance. That is the issue that not only that Helen person is trying to address, but others are also addressing.

Frank Farance said...

CK: All four motions I opposed were bad for RIRA and bad for the community. But not everything went my way, the Conflict of Interest (CoI) wording did not get approved, even though we will be required (as a NYS not-for-profit corporation) to have a CoI policy. Oh well, maybe next meeting.

Maybe another way of thinking about it is: my positions and rationale resonated with much of the Common Council.

OldRossie said...

It's amazing to me that a weirdo like Helen is able to even begin the discussion to stop the wire delivery. I'd like to propose a motion to stop her internet and cellular service. There is an editorial slant that we should not be subject to.

YetAnotherRIer said...

So, you disagree with the WIRE and your "solution" is to interfere with its distribution? Isn't that somehow against what you keep preaching?

YetAnotherRIer said...

Please, refrain from speaking on behalf of Roosevelt Island residents. You do not represent me or anybody I know on this island.

YetAnotherRIer said...

You are a marvel of contradiction. I believe I said it in the past, but you should offer yourself up to science as subject.

YetAnotherRIer said...

This is what everybody is hoping for: Frank starting his own Island-wide association.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Opposing your weird motions did not take much strength.

OldRossie said...

Narcissistic Personality Disorder. That's the closest I can come to Helen's diagnosis.

Mark Lyon said...

Normal people understand that the remedy to speech they dislike is more speech. Intolerant people like Helen think the remedy to speech they dislike is to ban the speech. We can't allow thoughtcrime, after all.

CheshireKitty said...

No, that's not true. The reps on the CC are your representatives - the elections are financed by State money, even. Helen and the other 30 reps were elected by their constituencies. If you dislike your representation, you should file a Bill of Particulars (BOP) to remove Chirivas, or any other rep. A BOP can be filed by any RI resident, not just a CC member. Enjoy!

YetAnotherRIer said...

Sorry, but you will never represent me. End of story.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: The problem with RIRA is that it is so bollixed up with conflicts that some as simple as getting Island House's (or Eastwood/RL's) law enforcement concerns heard suffers from all the Roosevelt Island Royalty (Lutz, Katz/Helstien, WIRE staff, Shinozaki's, Polivy's, etc.) blocking efforts to get actual residents' concerns heard. Thus, RIRA has adapted to the point that other non-RIRA entities must exist.

CheshireKitty said...

But Helen does represent you - especially as a Corporate Officer on the organization.

You can only reverse that by filing a Bill of Particulars against Helen. I strongly urge you to do so if you want to correct that particular problem. Otherwise: STFU!