Wednesday, April 1, 2009

RIRA Monthly Common Council Meeting Tonight 8 PM - Planning, Island Services, Communications Reports Below As Well As Proposed Resolution

Image of Previous RIRA Common Council Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting tonight Wednesday, April 1, 8PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). Prior to the meeting, time is alloted for any resident to speak before the Council and air their views or issues of concern to Roosevelt Islanders.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows:

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish
Place: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
1. Public Session (8:00)
- No requests for public session

2. Roll Call (8:00)
X 3. Approval of Agenda (8:10)
X 4. Approval of Minutes (8:10)
5. Treasurer’s Report (8:30)
6. President's Report (8:30)
7. Committee Reports (8:40)
Government Relations - M. Smith
Communications - E. Erickson
- Committee report.
Public Safety - R. Schuppert
Housing - J. Micheff & L. Strong-Shinozaki
Social, Cultural and Educational Services - N. Leopold
Island Services - A. Hamburger
- Committee report.
Planning - M. Katz
X - Planning Committee Resolutions
- Status report on RIOC long-term budgeting.

8. Old Business (9:45)
9. New Business (9:45)

10. Adjourn

X Agenda items requiring action
Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 (Mailing Deadline: May 1, 2009)

Here is the Report of the RIRA Planning Committee.

Report of the Planning Committee – March 24, 2009

Present: M. Katz (Chair), A. Barfield, P. Bozzano-Barnes, R. Baranov, H. Chirivas, F. Farance, J. Kalkin, J. Mincheff, E. Polivy, H. Polivy, S. Marcus

Absent: William Buckley, Linda Maynard-Hall, Lynn Strong-Shinozaki

1. Katz discussed the ongoing efforts by the two graduate classes at Columbia University and Hunter College to address Island issues, especially transportation. He reminded the committee of the two dates scheduled by the Hunter group to present their data: March 31 and April 4.

2. Community Board 8 Member, Ellen Polivy, discussed the work of their Parks Committee to plan a Citywide forum in May on the appropriate commercial use of parks. CB8 has banned vendors from Tram Plaza, and Mincheff noted that their presence would act as a deterrent to vagrants as well as helping to maintain the site and provide refreshments to the Islanders who are primary users of the Tram. The Committee agreed to draft a resolution (under separate cover) to CB8 asking them to reconsider and to present it at the April 1 Common Council for their approval. The Committee agreed to draft another resolution (under separate cover) to RIOC encouraging them to provide refreshment services, either directly or through outside vendors, at our parks.

3. Farance noted that RIOC President Shane appears to have reversed his endorsement of a master leaseholder for the Northtown Main Street retail stores. The RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee, chaired by Charlee Miller, is still supporting the plan, although they have yet to make recommendations to the Board. Kalkin said that RIOC VP, Rosina Abramson, has called for a study of the master lease proposal, as opposed to having RIOC or a hired consultant, fill the empty stores. Kalkin said he is investigating banks and credit unions that might take over the NYNB space when they leave in June. Mincheff noted how important a banking presence on the Island is, especially for seniors.

4. Farance, who proposed and convened a sub-committee of this Committee to investigate RIOC’s inadequate budget projections, reported that CFO Chironis has reneged on his guarantee to provide complete financial data. He was promised a database dump from 1991 that would include line-item actuals, and this has not been forthcoming. Farance noted in The WIRE RIRA column that RIOC’s five-year revenue projections don’t offer satisfactory assurances of solvency in the current economic atmosphere, especially with future Southtown ground lease revenues put on (what we can only hope will be) temporary hold. Farance has posited three scenarios for the future development of the Island, each of which results in RIOC’s insolvency sometime in the middle or distant future. Accurate data from RIOC could corroborate or refute these analyses and aid both RIRA and RIOC to plot a future course of fiscal action. Farance is pursuing various avenues, including Board members and local legislators, to acquire this information. Kalkin said he would try to get the data.

Respectfully submitted,
Matthew Katz
Chair, Planning Committee
The Report of the RIRA Communications Committee:
Report of the Communications Committee
March 27, 2009

The set-up of the website is still underway. As stated in the prior report, with only two members, this chair will be communicating with the committee via email as necessary, rather than holding formal meetings.

I have communicated with the Roosevelt Island Blogger who has generously agreed to post the agenda and the meeting materials on that site so that this information is accessible to the public.

As stated previously, I hope to eventually post the pictures of the Common Council members on the website as many tenants recognize faces rather than names and may improve communication between representatives and the tenants. Pictures will be taken during the April meeting.
The Report of the Island Services Committee:

Credit Card Theft
We have learned that in the last 6 months, there have been 35 cases of credit card theft on Roosevelt Island. These incidents are now under active investigations by the Post Office, the NYPD and the Secret Service. Since these cases are being pursued by the proper agencies, ISC will no longer be active on this issue. However, we will continue to closely monitor developments.

Red Bus – Morning Rush Hour Service
Red Bus morning rush hour service problems seem to have been relieved. However, at least one problem remains. From time-to-time, the local Red Bus will not pick-up passengers at the Good Shepherd and Island House bus stops due to overcrowding on the bus.
ISC will monitor the situation to determine how frequently the by-passing occurs. We will be asking residents at these bus stops to report to us on all incidents. Notices will be posted on appropriate Main St. kiosks requesting the information – date and time of each missed bus pick-up during the weekday period of 7 am – 9 am.

Disabled Accessibility to F train
In March, the MTA finally installed a ramp in the middle of both Roosevelt Island station platforms that will allow wheelchair and motorized carts to easily board the F train. This successfully close out the ISC ‘s interest in this important issue.

Public Library
Committee members and RI residents report that our branch library is not providing a variety of services expected from Manhattan libraries. Some examples: the RI library is not scheduling children’s reading groups, not cataloging and properly shelving the special collection of documents, reports and books relating to RI history, and not out-reaching to the community, especially to our schools.
ISC will gather additional information and then consider taking our concerns to the higher management of Manhattan libraries.

Bike Storage Racks At Subway Station
Many bikes seem to be permanently stored at the subway station racks. This prevents residents from using the the racks for their intended purpose – temporary storage of a bike while a resident is using the subway or tram to travel to another part of the City.
We are contacting the Public Safety Department to see if they can control the bike storage situation.

Aaron Hamburger, ISC Chair
And a proposed RIRA resolution to Community Planning Board 8 regarding lifting a ban on licensed vendors at the Manhattan Tram Plaza.
Whereas, Roosevelt Island residents are the largest group of users of the Roosevelt Island Tram and Tram Plaza, and

Whereas, this community, through its elected representatives on the Roosevelt Island Residents Association were not consulted regarding the banning of vendors from Tram Plaza, and

Whereas, the Tram Plaza is frequently used as a resting place for vagrants, homeless people and beggars, and

Whereas, our residents would feel safer in the Plaza if it were better trafficked, and

Whereas, our residents would like to see constructive activity and the possibility of services on the Plaza, and

Whereas, the presence of vendors on the Plaza is unlikely to impede foot traffic, or to have any other negative consequences,

Therefore, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, representing 12,000 residents of our community, respectfully requests that Manhattan Community Board 8 reconsider its ban on the presence of licensed vendors in Tram Plaza.

Approved by the RIRA Common Council
April 1, 2009