Thursday, November 15, 2007

Liberate Roosevelt Island from State of NY Says 1999 Rudy Giuliani

At last Thursday's orientation meeting for potential candidates considering running for the Roosevelt Island Resident's Association nomination to the RIOC Board of Directors, two current resident RIOC Board members spoke of their experiences on the Board and answered questions from those in attendance. At this meeting it was pointed out that there has been no significant decision made by the RIOC Board in recent years, (perhaps ever) that was contrary to the wishes of RIOC's Chairperson and management. (If anyone has any information that this statement is not accurate, please let me know.)

The consensus at the end of this meeting was that the primary political governance problem facing Roosevelt Island is the practice of the appointed RIOC Board to automatically approve or rubber stamp the wishes of the RIOC Chairperson and President. The advocates for elective nominees to the RIOC Board believe that any future elected RIOC Board member, by virtue of participation in a democratic elective process, will be more likely to act in an independent, supervisory role over the conduct of RIOC operations rather than the RIOC Board's current practice of subservience to the decisions made by RIOC management. The result of such an independent Board will be a more efficiently managed RIOC attuned to the needs of the Roosevelt Island community. This may or may not be true. There is just no way of knowing until elected nominees are finally placed on the RIOC Board and a reasonable amount of time has elapsed in order to properly compare their conduct with the current appointed RIOC Board.

However, in the past there have been other alternatives suggested for governing Roosevelt Island. For instance, returning control of Roosevelt Island from the State of New York to the City of New York. This may not be as far fetched as it first appears. Politicians rarely give up power to others but remember that Mayor Bloomberg was able to gain control of the City's school system when most observers thought that it would be impossible. Perhaps the Mayor can accomplish the same thing for Roosevelt Island that he did for the NYC Public school system - return it to the control of the City of New York where it belongs!

As reported in the Main Street WIRE, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani took some baby steps toward the liberation of Roosevelt Island in 1999 during a Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting when he proclaimed:

"I'm very much in favor of the City controlling our own destiny... Ultimately, you'll be better off when you can touch it, scream at it, deal with it. The Commissioners are accessible... You're much better off moving more of this back to the City. We'll try."
According to the same article this comment from a Roosevelt Island Resident:
"What we're looking for here is democracy," and an escape from the "bureaucratic quagmire" that is RIOC.
drew this response from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani
"I would be very happy to work with you to liberate Roosevelt Island."
Will Mayor Bloomberg take on this challenge.

Image is from Main Street WIRE.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Contact Informaton for RIOC Board of Directors

A reader of this post criticizing the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club License Modification asks:

... how to contact our "representatives" at RIOC - Board of Directors?
During the Town Hall question period following the October 18,2007 RIOC Board of Director's meeting, I asked if the RIOC Board members would be willing to provide a public email address so that Roosevelt Island residents are able to contact Board members with questions, comments or ideas of concern to Roosevelt Islanders. Well, as requested, RIOC has provided such an email address on the RIOC home page. The email address is Good job by RIOC in responding quickly to a suggestion by a Roosevelt Island resident!

Take advantage of this opportunity to directly address the RIOC Board on important Roosevelt Island issues and feel free to send a copy to Roosevelt Islander blog if you wish to share your thoughts with fellow Roosevelt Islanders.

Image of email system is from How Stuff Works.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Roosevelt Island Building Boom May Cause Eviction of Elderly and Disabled Hospital Patients

In the November 3 issue of The Main Street Wire (PDF File), one of the resident members of the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors expressed great concern regarding a possible plan by NYC to tear down the 10 acre south campus complex of Coler-Goldwater Hospital, move the patients from its South to North Roosevelt Island campus and replace the hospital with more East River waterfront luxury residential housing. He writes:
For the past few months I have been losing not a little sleep over the City’s plan to move Coler and Goldwater hospitals off-Island and use the land for residential purposes.
These fears are justified since I have been advised that many of the hospital employees have been told that a sale of the property is going to happen.

The hospital, which some describe as dilapidated, offers many elderly and disabled patients quality comprehensive long term and rehabilitative care which many believe will not be available elsewhere, if as feared, the hospital is closed. Last July, New York 1 reported that NYC was considering consolidating the South Campus of Coler-Goldwater with its northern Roosevelt Island campus.
But now there are rumors that the city plans to merge the two campuses and sell the southside location to make room for luxury apartments. ....Patients are not the only ones concerned about a possible merger. City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin says she worries about the stress new residents would put on the island's already taxed transportation options – the F train and the tramway.

"Commuting is already a nightmare for the people who live here, forget the people who are planning to come,” said Lappin. “So I'm very concerned about how we'd accommodate 3,500 additional units on this site."

There's recently been a building boom on Roosevelt Island, with nine new buildings finished or in the works, all renting or selling at market rate. Residents say they must start working to prevent more apartment buildings from going up where the south complex stands.
Coler-Goldwater Hospital's East River waterfront location, just south of the Roosevelt Island Tram, is a site that any real estate developer with a pulse would love to get his or her hands on. However, this site is owned by New York City and is not controlled by RIOC or a private sector owner. It may be possible to persuade NYC officials that the removal of essential health services to the elderly and disabled hospital patients together with the additional burdens on an already breaking Roosevelt Island transportation infrastructure is sufficient reason to forego any plans for converting Coler-Goldwater to yet another luxury residential housing condominium complex. Unfortunately, it is possible that city officials make the political calculation that favors residents of Roosevelt Island and the elderly/disabled patients of Coler-Goldwater hospital, though not likely.

Video link from Truveo is here.
Video link from NY 1 is here.