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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

RIOC Recommends Roosevelt Island Youth Program To Continue As Youth Center Operator Following Advice Of Independent Review Panel - But PS/IS 217 PTA President Starts Letter Writing Campaign To Oppose RIYP Selection

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) confirmed last week it will recommend to the RIOC Board of Directors that the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) continue to be the Operator of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center.

On January 9, I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
I understand that the Roosevelt Island Youth Program was awarded the RFP contract by RIOC to operate the Youth Center.

Is that true?

Any comment from RIOC?
Ms Rosenthal replied the next day:
Based on RIYP’s grant application– which received the highest rating from an independent panel of reviewers from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services and the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery – we will be recommending that the Board, at its upcoming January 25 meeting, award the $200,000 annual grant to RIYP....
Newly hired RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson added:
The Roosevelt Island Youth Center operator contract term is for three years with a RIOC option to renew for up to two additional one-year terms.

Click here for all the details outlined in the original RFP.
RIYP Executive Director Charlie Defino reacted to the news:
The announcement that the Roosevelt Island Youth Program Inc.. has been selected to continue it's mission of serving the Roosevelt Island community is wonderful. We are ecstatic about having the opportunity to continuing offering free services to the entire island and building on our four decades of successful operation.
According to reliable sources, there were two applicants for the current Roosevelt Island Youth Center Operator Request For Applications - RIYP and Island Kids.

At least one Roosevelt Island resident disagrees with RIOC's recommendation of RIYP as the Youth Center Operator. A tipster forwarded this message sent by PS/IS 217 PTA President Erin Olavesen to the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network yesterday:
According to the WIRE, RIOC has confirmed that the RIYP is the highest scorer for the Youth Center operator contract. The award requires approval from the RIOC board. This will be put to a vote on January 25, at their next board meeting.

RIOC giving a 3 year contract to RIYP to run our youth center is distressing and disappointing on so many levels. I hear the talk and know many of you feel the same. I’m sending a letter to RIOC to express my concerns, and asking the WIRE to publish it. I know many of you feel the youth center leadership will never change, and it isn't worth giving it a second thought. I'd hope if enough of us raise concerns, RIOC will be forced to act.

Please let me know if you’d like to read it and possibly sign your name with mine. Our kids deserve better.
I asked Ms. Olavesen:
I understand that you sent a statement today to the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network objecting to RIOC awarding the Youth Center Operator RFP to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP). You also stated that you will be contacting RIOC asking them not to award the Youth Center Operator RFP to RIYP and urged members of the Parents Network to contact RIOC and do the same.

Is that correct?

If it is correct, why do you think it is appropriate for the President of the PS/IS 217 PTA to advocate, either in favor or opposition, to any specific applicant for the Roosevelt Island Youth Center operator, particularly since the PTA itself receives Public Purpose Funding from RIOC?

Please let me know if you will comment on this matter. I am happy to include your response in a story I plan on publishing tomorrow.

Also, if you wish, am happy to publish any letter from you on the subject as well.
Ms Olavesen replied:
Please note that I sent an email to the RIPN and posted on the Roosevelt Island Parents' Facebook page as an island resident and mother of two children. I did not send the email or post on behalf of the PTA.
There is a contentious history between the RIYP and PS/IS 217 school principal/PTA. As previously reported last spring and summer, the PS/IS 217 PTA and School Principal were responsible for removing the RIYP as the PS/IS 217 Beacon After School Provider.

Also a prior 2016 Roosevelt Island Youth Center Operator Request For Proposals was withdrawn by RIOC. The reason for the withdrawal according to RIOC President Rosenthal was:
... members of the Roosevelt Island community have submitted numerous communications to RIOC generally questioning the legitimacy of the review that resulted in a tie. Some communications included disparaging remarks about bidders. All such communications, attempting to influence the RIOC review committee while the RFP is pending, are inappropriate and are prohibited by State Finance Law. These communications, among other things, caused RIOC to withdraw the RFP on January 27, 2017.....
The tie was between RIYP and Island Kids.

Stay tuned for more.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day Today, Take A Moment To Remember And Honor His Legacy - "Life's Most Persistent And Urgent Question is: What Are You Doing For Others"

The third Monday in January has been designated as a Federal holiday in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was born January 15, 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King is remembered and honored for many things including his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".

An excerpt:
... A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in it's application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest....
The full text of Letter From A Birmingham Jail is here and a short excerpt of audio below.

Here's an excerpt of Dr. King's last speech - I've Been To The Mountain Top.

Politcio has an excellent article on the last years of Dr. King's life.
... Almost 50 years after his death, we remember MLK as the transcendent figure who helped lift the South out of Jim Crow. We also remember him as almost preternaturally calm in the face of great pressure and danger. He was indeed all of these things. But the passage of time has obscured his dimensionality. In the last years of his life, King expanded his vision beyond the former Confederacy and took on a broader struggle to dismantle America’s jigsaw edifice of racial and economic discrimination—a struggle that took him deep into northern states and cities, where onetime allies became bitter enemies. He did so even as he strained to keep a fractious civil rights movement unified, and in the face of unremitting sabotage from federal authorities.

He was a young man, still in his 30s—foisted onto the national stage with actors many years or decades his senior, suspect in the eyes of both younger and older civil rights leaders—and the burdens of leadership took their toll on him....
Take a moment today to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
and the good work he accomplished to make our country a better place:
"Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"
More on Dr. King from

Watch Video Of Roosevelt Island Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's Forum On How New Tax Plan Affects New Yorkers - "Tax Scam Will Be Devastating For New York City" Says Maloney

Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hosted a forum on how the new Tax Plan will impact New Yorkers last Sunday. Elected representatives attending the forum included:

You can watch the forum below.
According to this January 13 Press Release from Congresswoman Maloney's office:
Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) hosted a community forum on how the GOP tax law affects New York State. She was joined by a panel of experts including Director of Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign Mark Hannay, Senior Budget & Policy Analyst at the Fiscal Policy Institute Jonas J. Nazimoff Shaende and AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. The panel used their expertise to help break down the GOP tax law that was rushed through the House and Senate at the end of 2017 despite opposition from every Democrat in both chambers.

“While Americans were celebrating the holidays, President Trump and Congressional Republicans handed millions of hardworking people a big lump of coal with their tax scam, disguised as a tax reform bill,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “This tax scam will be devastating for New York City and raise taxes on over 80 million Americans across this country. The new Republican tax law steals from states like New York and borrows another $2.3 trillion that our children and grandchildren will have to pay back, in order to give massive tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthiest, fortunate few.

“This bill is a disaster for the middle class, for healthcare, and for New York. Our state already pays more than its fair share. We were already sending over $56 billion more to the federal government in taxes than we got back in federal spending. We are a donor state – and proud to do our part, but we’re not fools and can see how badly we’re being taken advantage of.”

Constituents spent over an hour asking questions about the State and Local Tax Deduction cap, the mortgage interest cap, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, the $25 billion cut to Medicare, and the Republicans’ plan to slash funding for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. A full video of the event can be found here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Help Needed In Finding Missing Roosevelt Island 28 Year Old Man

Friday, January 12, 2018

Beautiful And Spooky Low Hanging Fog Over East River Roosevelt Island Waterfront And Below Queensboro Bridge Today

That's right. Here's what the fog looked like from the Roosevelt Island ground,

above it all

and from the Cornell Tech campus.

UPDATE 2:55:

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - But No F Service Between 57th & York Street Says MTA

According to the MTA, there will be Roosevelt Island F Train service

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

SIGNAL IMPROVEMENTS Service is rerouted in Manhattan and Brooklyn...

...No F service at 57 St, 47-50 Sts, 42 St-Bryant Pk, 23 St, 14 St, W 4 St, B'way-Lafayette St, 2 Av, Delancey St/Essex St, East Broadway, and York St.
Image From MTA

Click here for more MTA Weekender info.