Thursday, April 3, 2008

Assembly Member Kellner's Support of Roosevelt Island Community To Be Communicated to Governor Patterson

Image from Newsday

At last night's Roosevelt Island Common Council Meeting it was reported that Assembly Member Micah Kellner will be meeting next week with Governor Patterson's representatives to discuss issues facing the Roosevelt Island community. I hope those issues include:
  1. status of affordable housing and Mitchell-Lama program on Roosevelt Island,
  2. exemption of Main Street retail from the Public Authorities Act
  3. appointment of the elected nominees to the RIOC Board
  4. opposition by residents to the Louis Kahn memorial but residents favor a true memorial to FDR
  5. Increasingly overburdened Roosevelt Island transportation infrastructure.
Below is copy of April 1, 2008 letter sent from Assembly Member Kellner to Governor Patterson requesting the Governor to re-schedule the the vetting interviews for the winners of the RIOC Board nomination vote, and to appoint them if they pass the vetting process. Note that Kellner references the anniversary of RIOC's creation - April 1 - April Fools Day.

How fitting. Now I understand. It has all been one big joke!

April 1, 2008

Governor David Paterson
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Paterson:

I am writing on behalf of the residents of Roosevelt Island on this, the forty-first anniversary
of the creation of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), a public benefit corporation which governs the island and whose board members are appointed by you as Governor. For many years now, Roosevelt Islanders have sought a greater role and a more democratic voice in determining the future direction and operation of their island home.

In response to the islanders’ calls for better representation on the RIOC Board of Directors
and in the affairs of running the island, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) held an Island-wide referendum on February 5, 2008 to reccomend residents’ choices for filling the six vacant or expired Board seats.

Turnout for this historic vote was unprecedented. More people voted for the RIOC Board
than in the Presidential primary or for Governor in the 2006 election. Altogether, 1,718 residents came out and cast ballots.

The top six candidates were Kathie Grimm, Jonathan Kalkin, Frank Farance, Erin Feely-
Nahem, Fay Christian, and Howard Polivy. These individuals truly represent the diverse nature of Roosevelt Island and include a pediatrician, lawyer/entrepreneur, systems analyst, social worker (who runs a women’s shelter), teacher, and an actuary. Together they represent hundreds of years of Island residency and activism.

Former Governor Spitzer was gracious enough to begin the vetting process by scheduling
interviews with each of the winning candidates and his Appointments office. However, these
appointments were understandably cancelled during the recent transition to your administration. It is my hope that you will pick up where former Governor Spitzer left off and these interviews can quickly be re-scheduled so that the vetting process can go forward.

I believe that the recommendation vote was a stunning example of civic activism and
democracy in action, and I hope that you share in that sentiment. I am very supportive of the process undertaken by the residents of Roosevelt Island, and I request that, if they are successfully vetted, you appoint the six winning candidates to the RIOC Board of Directors so that, as set out by statute, they may be confirmed by the State Senate as swifty as possible.

I very much look forward to working with your administration, and I know that you will be a
friend to Roosevelt Island’s thousands of residents. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Very truly yours,

Micah Z. Kellner
Assembly Member

cc: Matthew Katz, President, Roosevelt Island Residents Association
David Bauer, Chair, Maple Tree Group
Deborah VanAmerongen, Chair, RIOC Board of Directors
Stephen H. Shane, President, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
Charles O’Byrne, Secretary to the Governor
Carl Andrews, Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of the Governor
James Clancy, Director of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Governor