Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Community Board 8 Speaks On Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Project -Ellen Polivy Interviews CB 8's Jeff Escobar & Larry Parnes On ULURP, Community Benefit Agreement And Dealing With Cornell

 Image of Ms. Polivy, Mr Parnes and Mr Escobar From CB 8 Speaks

Roosevelt Island resident, Co- Chair of the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) and Community Board 8 (CB8) member Ellen Polivy reports:
I interviewed Larry Parnes and Jeff Escobar in two segments that will air monthly for the next 2 months on all local cable networks. First show will air at 9:30 pm on thurs July 3. First topic is Cornell. Second topic is RI governance. Called "CBS Speaks",  it will be on MNN. (Manhattan neighborhood network)

The show will also be available on the CB8m.com.
Mr. Escobar, President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA), and Mr. Parnes are both members of CB 8 and were very active citizens representing the interests of Roosevelt Island residents during the various negotiations with Cornell NYC Tech.

Topics discussed during the interview included the Cornell NYC Tech Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), community benefit agreements and the strategy used by the Roosevelt Island community to organize themselves for negotiations with Cornell.

Mr. Escobar and Parnes also describe their expertise in real estate and land use matters, Mr. Escobar as an attorney and Mr. Parnes was formerly the Deputy Director of NYC Planning Commission.

Here's the full interview.

The subject of Part 2 will be Roosevelt Island governance.


YetAnotherRIer said...

I wonder if Frank will publicly apologize for accusing the RIOC that they lied about getting it ready for the Fourth of July. Probably not. Any bet takers?

CheshireKitty said...

I don't know if Frank should apologize for his slamming RIOC about the pace of repairs at Lighthouse Park. It's nice that RIOC is finally getting around to repairing the footbridges - but there was really no excuse for them to have dawdled about doing it for almost two years. It's a relatively minor repair - and, the truth is, RIOC repaired the lighting system at the lighthouse, which was a more complicated job, more quickly than they repaired the footbridges. Why? If RIOC is able to effectuate a more difficult/complicated repair more quickly than a simple repair, what does that say about RIOC?

I think Frank was right in pointing out the contradictions of RIOC not fixing the footbridges for about two years, although it did get to the lighhouse lighting system repair meanwhile.

Did RIOC deliberately lie about the timetable of the footbridge repairs? RIOC probably just kept "resetting" the schedule of the repair job. Some might say this represents, in effect, lying. For example, let's say I have to complete a school assignment by August 15th, and I say I will complete it by August 8th. August 8th rolls around, and because I haven't completed the assignment, I then say it'll be August 10th by the time I complete it. Was I lying when I previously said I was going to complete it by August 8th? Some might characterized the earlier statement as a lie - others might say I'm merely pushing the completion schedule forward to accommodate the pace of work.

Look at the Second Avenue Subway construction schedule, for the past probably 50 years. Are all the past projections, which have all fallen by the wayside, lies? Various factors come into play as to why the Second Avenue Subway project is still pending after all these years. Are public officials lying when they give a date for the completion of the project, but it never is completed? I just don't believe any of it by now - but I don't say the officials are deliberately lying. I just will believe it when I see it. I doubt if the Second Avenue Subway will be completed in my lifetime.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: That's what RIOC said in the ops committee meeting: they were having difficulty contacting the vendor and expected it to start the week of July 7.

Frank Farance said...

RIOC is still incompetent: Instead of about 2 years, it's 2 years minus a couple days - which is still about 2 YEARS LATE. RIOC Director Mike Shinozaki is part of this problem: he's got all the book smarts to duel with RIOC's Director of Engineering on the meaning of "galvanized", but Mr. Shinozaki completely lacks the management / executive chops to get stuff done. As Mr. Shinozaki should know from his computer-related experience: How Does A Project Get A Year Behind? Answer: One Day At A Time (see Brooks' "Mythical Man-Month"). So lots of things are way behind at RIOC.

Guess what: Ya know that tram elevator/lift that keeps failing? If Mr. Shinozaki had any management chops, he would have started planning for a replacement years ago (just as managing agents seem to plan appropriately with their elevators). But Mr. Shinozaki would rather show off book knowledge than actually acquire management chops. Mr. Shinozaki, you should have enough experience to know that, in management, its your management skill that helps you manage better, while your subject matter expertise offers little help. Forget showing off your knowledge of galvanized steel ... why not focus on what you're supposed to do?

CheshireKitty said...

All I can say is, let's see how long it takes for RIOC to replace the tram elevator: If it took RIOC almost 2 years to repair the two little foot-bridges @ Lighthouse Park, we can only imagine how long it'll take RIOC to actually replace the tram elevator! The tram elevator should have been upgraded at least when RIOC upgraded the tram if not earlier. But for some reason, that didn't happen. So now disabled riders' access to the tram is up in the air depending on if the elevator/lift on the Manhattan side is operational. That's how it's been for quite some time, and that's how it'll continue to be for probably a very long time into the future.

Also, while we're listing RIOC's infrastructure failures, why did RIOC never get around to doing anything about the escalator in Motorgate? Either remove the escalator or repair it, RIOC!

Frank Farance said...

RIOC Boondoggle: $8000 to watch TV for 20 minutes.

RIOC Staffer Erica Spencer-EL is spending $8000 to rent a big TV on the
side of a truck so we can watch the July 4 fireworks, which last 20

Ms. Spencer-EL and the rest of the RIOC Board/staff (as presented at
last week's RIOC Ops Committee) think that this is a good use of
money. Having listened to many Public Purpose Grant applicants, those
eight thousand dollars could have been used in a variety of ways that
would have much longer lasting affects (certainly longer than 20
minutes) and with a broader swath of the community ... the PTA could
have done more with $8K, the RI Disabled Association could have done
more with $8K, and so on.

Part of the problem is that RIOC isn't interested in hearing any
dissenting opinions, like RIOC Board Member David Kraut who allows
agreeable people to speak, but those with disagreements not to speak.
Since the WIRE doesn't publish complaints about RIOC (the WIRE is
infested with conflicts of interest), we're left to voice our complaints
on kiosks? I guess the kiosk in front of 591 is the prime spot to get
heard, right?

Why is it that anyone who has access to RIOC money wants to throw a
party? Lynne Strong-Shinozaki with the infamous Cherry Blossom Festival
(approx $30K of RIOC funds), Sherie Helstien and her Bollywood Party
(approx $10K of RIOC funds), and Erica Spencer-EL with $8000 for a
20-minute TV event.

Is the explanation simply: Hey Let's Have A Party Because Someone Else Is Paying For It -- like the State government.

Frank Farance

Island House

Frank Farance said...

RIOC's Incompetence: A Gary Hart-Monkey Business-Donna Rice moment.

Last Monday June 30, RIOC took pictures of workers repairing the Lighthouse foot bridges and sent them to the RI Blog, presumably, to counter the on-going complaints of RIOC doing nothing and its overall incompetence at operations -- the "O" in RIOC is about Operations, the main part of their mission.

Do you remember Senator Gary Hart's campaign? (see "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Rice_Hughes#Gary_Hart_scandal")

"Soon after meeting [Donna] Rice, Hart announced that he would run for nomination as the Democratic candidate for President. Having enjoyed a surprisingly strong campaign in 1984 against the eventual nominee, former Vice President Walter Mondale, he was widely perceived as a front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 1988. However, shortly thereafter rumors began circulating about his having an extra-marital affair, leading the candidate to challenge the media to surveil him, and to also claim that anybody who did so would "be very bored." The day before Hart's dare to the media was to appear in The New York Times, however, two reporters for the Miami Herald observed Rice coming out of Hart's Washington, D.C. townhouse, and their story was published on the same day that his challenge appeared in the Times. ..."

So you're having an affair, you ask the news media to follow you, and then they discover Yes, you're having an affair. That's where much of America chuckled: What A MORON!

But we have that right here on Roosevelt Island: RIOC touts work being done (Monday), and then nothing is done thereafter. Attached, are two pictures: one on Wednesday July 2 and the other on Saturday July 5. Yup, nothing done, RIOC's incompetence endures.

In other words, thanks to RIOC's pointing this out: of the 618 days since Hurricane Sandy, only 1 day of work has been done. Incompetence that RIOC itself touts!

Frank Farance
Island House

OldRossie said...

This is awesome. Can you send another on Wednesday the 9th? Would be great to see if it's the same after a full week.

CheshireKitty said...

So the Lighthouse Park footbridges weren't repaired by the Fourth of July, as RIOC had said they would be.

Although work on repairing the bridges started, then it stopped. I am the thinking the reason for the work absolutely ceasing is that all RIOC personnel had to "focus" on the July 4th event at Firefighters Field, and RIOC had no-one to spare to effectuate or supervise the reconstruction of the footbridges at Lighthouse Park. Or maybe RIOC prioritizes the RIOC employee vacation schedules over the need to repair those foot-bridge so that the park can be fully re-opened for everyone's enjoyment.

After July 4th, the weekend rolled around; meanwhile July 4th came and went, and no foot-bridges.

Wanna bet RIOC won't publicly apologize Lighthouse Park foot-bridges weren't repaired and Lighthouse Park wasn't fully re-opened by July 4th - as it said it would be?

Frank Farance said...

RIOC's Incompetence: Untruthful on Lighthouse Footbridge delays.

Now 619 days and counting, RIOC has now done a couple hours more work: sawing a few railroad ties to replace the stanchion tops on the west footbridge (no work appears to be done on the east footbridge). With approximately 1.25 days worth of effort, RIOC broken a new threshold: an uptick to 0.2% of the days were work was done.

But wasn't the delay, as reported previous at the RIOC Ops Committee Meeting (a year ago?), explained by: FEMA had to approve some design on digging the stanchions deeper and pouring concrete so that they didn't float away again?

As the picture shows, simply the old stanchions were reused: you can see the old red paint on the northwest stanchion, on right in photo.

And I've heard that the work was delayed because RIOC was waiting for the FEMA money to arrive, which is bogus away since the FEMA work for deeper stanchions isn't getting done. Well that's bogus, too, because it was possible to do Hurricane Sandy repairs and get reimbursed afterwards, as the City did:


"... New York City responded to the storm's damage by tapping into city coffers to immediately get neighborhoods up and running again under its Rapid Recovery system, in which they restored utility services to get residents back in their homes quickly. The city is seeking to be reimbursed by the federal government now. ..."

RIOC didn't have the spare cash to replace the footbridges and get reimbursed later? So RIOC did this incompetently and they lied to us (and FEMA?) about the kinds of repairs they would make, right?

Sounds like an investigation is necessary for the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and (yet another investigation for) the New York State Inspector General.

Any comment from RIOC?

Frank Farance
Island House

YetAnotherRIer said...

Oh my! A Lighthouse Park scandal! I am glad that Frank keeps us updated.