Friday, December 31, 2004

TV debate planned for 2012 Olympic bidders

Subject: Just when the Olympic circus was getting tiring
Date: 31-Dec-04 13:58:26 Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

TV debate planned for 2012 Olympic bidders
Friday, December 31, 2004

(12-31) 10:01 PST LONDON (AP) --

A televised debate is planned featuring bid leaders from the five cities
vying for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

In what would be the first debate in Olympic bid history, the broadcast by
BBC World would include senior figures from the London, Paris, Madrid,
Moscow and New York committees.

The date, site and guests for the proposed debate have not yet been
decided, BBC World spokesman Kevin Young said Friday. The format most
likely would involve each bid leader presenting his case, with a panel
later asking questions.

"It's good to have an open and friendly airing of this important debate,"
London 2012 spokesman Mike Lee said.

The BBC World channel is shown in more than 200 countries.

"It's a fair opportunity for everyone to state their arguments," Paris 2012
spokesman Jerome Lenfant said.

Lenfant said all five cities have agreed to the program. Phone calls to the
other bid cities were not immediately returned.

The 2012 host will be selected by the International Olympic Committee on
July 6 in Singapore. The IOC said it would have no problem with the debate
provided the bidding rules apply. Under the regulations, the cities are
forbidden from attacking each other, and IOC president Jacques Rogge
recently told the candidates to stop sniping at each other.

"The focus will be on each city's own proposals," Lee said.

The IOC's 11-member evaluation commission will visit Madrid on Feb. 3-6,
London on Feb. 16-19, New York on Feb. 21-24, Paris on March 9-12 and
Moscow on March 14-17.

The panel will give its recommendations to the 100-plus IOC members a month
before they vote.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Guevara Watch Off Library's Shelves After Complaints by Cuban-Americans

December 29, 2004 Edition > Section: New York

Guevara Watch Off Library's Shelves After Complaints by Cuban-Americans
BY MEGHAN CLYNE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
December 29, 2004

Time's up, it seems, for the Che Guevara watch at the New York Public Library.

The week before Christmas, the library stopped selling the watch, which had infuriated many Cuban-Americans and others who complained of what they called the continuing transformation of the murderous Guevara into a pop-culture icon. The New York Sun reported on the complaints in a front-page article December 14.

A spokeswoman for the library, Tina Hoerenz, said, "Once an item is out of stock, we take it off the Web site, and in this case we don't have any plans to reorder it at this time."

The library would not provide further comment, and neither apologized for having sold the watch nor acknowledged the outrage of Cuban-Americans and others who sent letters to the library protesting the watch's sale.

One of the library's critics on the matter was the president of the Free Society Project, Maria Werlau. The nonprofit human-rights organization seeks to document the victims of Cuba's communist revolution. Ms. Werlau called that lack of acknowledgment "disappointing and disheartening."

While Ms. Werlau, who coordinated efforts to get the library to stop selling the Guevara timepiece, is accepting the library's action without further protest, she said the institution's handling of it amounted to "a pretty awful public-relations job," showing a lack of sensitivity to Cubans and Cuban-Americans.

Also dissatisfied is Rolando Castano, who gave the following harrowing account of his father's execution by Che Guevara personally.

Mr. Castano's father served first as a liaison between the American and Cuban armies under Fulgencio Batista - the Cuban leader overthrown by the revolution led by Fidel Castro - and later in a counterrevolutionary intelligence organization that monitored communist activity in Cuba. When Batista fled the country, the elder Mr. Castano was seized by the Castro forces and imprisoned. After a sham trial, he was sentenced to death by firing squad, with the execution to be carried out that very night. Immediately after Mr. Castano's father was condemned, intervention by the American Embassy led Mr. Castro to order a stop to the execution. Disobeying his boss's diktat, however, Guevara took the elder Mr. Castano "into his office in la Cabana, and put a bullet in his head," right at Guevara's desk, Mr. Castano said. He added that his father was denied a proper funeral and was buried before family members were notified.

The younger Mr. Castano was 19 at the time and came to America four or five years after the execution, he said.

Getting the New York Public Library to stop selling the watch, he said, is just part of a larger mission to teach the world about the real Guevara.

"Right now, Che Guevara is famous, idealized," Mr. Castano said. "To create a different personality about him is going to take a little while, but we have to start with at least one step right now."

The library was marketing the watch as a bit of "whimsical pop culture." The timepiece was available for $40 online and in library gift stores. Similar watches bearing the familiar faces of Freud and Shakespeare were available from the library Web site yesterday.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

United against filter plant

Subject: NY Daily News article on lawsuits against DEP's plant
Date: 28-Dec-04 16:23:58 Eastern Standard Time
From: MarianR451

New York Daily News -

United against filter plant
Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

The tap is running dry for legal challenges to the filtration plant the city plans to build at Van Cortlandt Park, even as opponents have opted to pool their efforts.

Though their arguments are different, last week the plaintiffs in the three remaining lawsuits agreed to the city's motion to consolidate their cases in Queens Supreme Court.

The Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition, Bronx Environmental Health and Justice and the Town of Eastchester will now all plead their cases in a Queens courtroom to Justice James Dollard.

The move comes a week after a Manhattan judge threw out a suit by Friends of Van Cortlandt Park that alleged the city violated its own zoning rules in appropriating parkland for an industrial facility.

The suit filed by Bronx Environmental Health and Justice complains that the Environmental Impact Study conducted by the city Department of Environmental Protection falsely downplayed the impact on the local community by evaluating a much smaller area of effect around the Van Cortlandt site than it examined around a rival site in the Town of Eastchester.

But Eastchester is also suing to keep the DEP from building the filtration plant in the Bronx - because local leaders actually want the massive facility in their own back yard.

The town's suit relies on similar grounds to the Bronx group's challenge, but Eastchester Town Attorney John Sarcone criticizes the DEP's environmental study from the other end.

"We maintain that the DEP failed to look closely at the effects this plant would have on Eastchester," he said, noting that it would reduce the need for the town's own water utility to expand a water-treatment facility in a more crowded part of the town.

The Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition is suing to block the DEP's current plan on the ground that it's not current enough, ignoring new "membrane filtration" technology that could shrink the proposed 8-acre filtration plant to less than 1 acre, dramatically expanding the city's placement options.

"The city did look at that technology years ago," said DEP spokesman Charles Sturcken.

But that's precisely the problem, says Jim Bacon, the attorney for the Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition.

"The city admits that in the past five years they haven't looked at any new technology," Bacon said. "And [membrane] technology has revolutionized in the past five years."

The city is under federal mandate to build the filtration plant and is already racking up huge fines after years of delays. After beginning the process more than a decade ago, the DEP now hopes to have the facility online by 2011.

Pollard has yet to set a hearing date for the consolidated lawsuits.

Please visit our website:

Vicky Gholsen, PhD, announces:


Thursday, December 30th
10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Prince Hall Masonic Lodge
155th Street between St. Nicholas and Amsterdam

Infants, Children (brand new); Men and Women (new and used)

DEEL (Design Environment for Experiential Learning) local not for profit.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Ohio election action

To keep up with Ohio recount action and to take action visit

The latest:

From the desk of Reverend Jesse Jackson
December 27, 2004

I want to express my thanks for everything Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has done to keep the investigations into tampering and fraud in the 2004 election alive and in the public eye. The work of PDA's grassroots activists helped bring media attention to the election fraud hearings held in Ohio, rallied the House Minority Judiciary Committee to confront the issue of voter fraud, and has forced members of Congress to take the election fraud issue seriously.

I ask you to join in the next wave of election-related actions. We must let the politicians know that we're here, we're watching, and we demand every vote be counted and that every vote count. This is not about whether Bush stole another election, it's about fundamental civil and democratic rights. We must work to change the current system, or we'll continue to have disreputable politicians denying the vote to African Americans, Latinos, youth, and others for years to come.
Please visit the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition website for more information about the upcoming Rallies for Democracy. You may contact George Korn at 740-953-1130 for logistical information.

Additionally, I urge you to go to the PDA website and follow their latest Action Alert which targets a second round of Senators, including John Kerry. In less than 72 hours PDA members were responsible for over 23,000 emails being sent to six U.S. Senators urging at least one of them to join progressive House members in challenging the election results on January 6, 2005. Many of you took the first action. Now we need to contact this second group of Senators as well. Please send this message on to your friends and email lists and ask them to send the action alert also.

Next month we will pause to remember the sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King. I ask that you remember him not only in spirit, but in deed. His words ring as true today as ever, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Commit to taking action in the streets as a tribute to his memory. Two historic rallies will be held at the beginning of January. Start the New Year off right and get involved.

Rainbow/PUSH, PDA, UFPJ, the Greens, and other progressive activists are sponsoring a Pro-Democracy Rally in Columbus, Ohio on January 3rd, 2005.

If you can't be there, ask your friends in the area to attend. Encourage them to add their voices to the chorus.

On the 3rd, we will ask our politicians to stand up for democracy. On the 6th we will be there to support them as they do. A massive Pro-Democracy Rally will be held in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2005, with complementary rallies throughout the country. Take a day off for democracy and join with us as we demand an end to separate and unequal elections, to a system that lends itself to manipulation and fraud. Votes are the building blocks of our democracy, and we must not take them for granted.

We seek to do a glorious thing, and we will be triumphant if we stand together.

Keep Hope Alive

Rev. Jesse Jackson

phone: (877) 368-9221

Friday, December 24, 2004


Click here: New York Post Online Edition: news

December 20, 2004 -- A grubby strip of blacktopped land along the Hudson River is about to be transformed into a sprawling sports and recreational space.
The prime riverfront property between 123rd and 133rd streets will soon be home to a fishing pier, a walkway, a bike path and perhaps a kayak launch site, which together will turn what is now a dreary sight into a sports-lovers' paradise.

"It's going to be a nice green area," said George Reyes-Montblanc, the chairman for Community Board 9 in Harlem.

The community board, along with other governmental agencies, have been shoring up plans for the grimy expanse of asphalt for close to three years now.

"It's an eyesore now," said Reyes-Montblanc. "That area is nothing. It's just some old, dilapidated tarmac that is being used as a parking lot for Fairway [supermarket]."

There'll be no basketball courts or fields for playing organized sports, but people will have a real pier for fishing, and bikers will have a continuous path from 96th Street, with the river just beyond.

Artwork has already been commissioned by a local artist, Nari Ward, who'll create decorative images along the shore's fence.

The cost for the project is estimated to be somewhere around $14 million, coming from city, state and federal agencies.

Work on the project was supposed to start last summer, but it was held up because of concerns over fish life, said Susan Goldfinger, a vice president for the Empire Development Corp.

She said the Army Corps of Engineers has recommended creating pile fields — thick, round wooden poles that are imbedded in the river's floor and stick out above the water line.

The community board, however, objects to the cluster of piles so close to the recreational site — an issue that's being worked out, Goldfinger said.

Groundbreaking should take place this spring or early summer, she added. And Fairway will still be there for shoppers, with a relocated parking lot, Goldfinger said.

Reyes-Montblanc is thrilled with the upcoming changes.

"The waterfront will be what it was meant to be — greenery, piers, accessibility to the water," he said.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

January Manhattan Education Advisory Council Meeting

Subject: January Manhattan Education Advisory Council Meeting
Date: 23-Dec-04 16:54:57 Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

To: CEC Members, Presidents Council Members, Chairs of Community Board Youth and Education Committees

Dear Friends,

Attached is a proposal by members of the advocate and parent communities to ensure some measure of accountability in the spending of the CFE money when New York City receives it. Attached as well is a letter of support for the proposal. If you have any questions about the proposal or wish to sign the support letter, please contact Leonie Haimson at While the Office of the Manhattan Borough President has not yet endorsed the plan, we wanted to make sure that it was available for review by all those in Manhattan education community. We especially urge CEC members to review the proposal as it includes a role for them in the accountability process.

Last year the Borough President's office began bi-monthly meetings to network with and provide information to community members involved in public education; this informal group was styled the Manhattan Education Advisory Council (MEAC). This school year, given the newness of the Community Education Councils, we elected to restrict our first two meetings to that group. We are now prepared to expand attendance to other involved parent and community leaders.

You are invited to the January MEAC meeting, which will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Office of the Manhattan Borough President. The office is located at One Centre Street on the 19th floor. Please let us know on which of the following four dates you could attend this meeting (we will select the most convenient date for the greatest number of you):

January 24, 25, 26, or 27.

Please also let us know which one of the following topics most interests you:

"The Education of Our English Language Learners and Communication with Immigrant Parents"

"High School Education - The New Admissions Process and Available Options"

"The Third and Fifth Grade Promotion Policies"

"The NYC Accountability Proposal and the Role of CECs"

Please RSVP by emailing or calling:
Nicole Phillips [, (212) 669-2206] and indicate which date(s) you are available and which topic you prefer.

Hoping to see you in January,

Nicole Phillips
Policy Analyst
Jacquelyn Kamin
Manhattan Representative, Panel on Educational Policy


If you’d like to sign this letter, please contact with your name, school, district or other organizational affiliation. Thanks!

Justice Leland DeGrasse
New York State Supreme Court
60 Centre St.
New York, NY 10007

Dear Justice DeGrasse:

We urge you to strengthen existing accountability measures in your ruling in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case. We strongly support the funding recommendations made by the court-appointed panel of referees. However, additional resources alone will not be sufficient to ensure that New York City students receive their constitutional rights to a sound basic education, unless these resources are invested wisely.

More specifically, we do not believe that the referees’ recommendations sufficiently address the need to “ensure a system of accountability to measure whether the reforms actually provide the opportunity for a sound basic education,” as the Court of Appeals directed. Enhanced accountability is critical so that citizens and taxpayers, both in New York City and the rest of the state, can be assured that the increased funds devoted to our public schools will be efficiently and appropriately spent.

We urge you, therefore, to adopt an accountability system, with each of the elements outlined below, to make certain that the systemic deficiencies found by the Court will be remedied, without delay.

• The city’s plan should be required to conform to commonly accepted principles of planning design, including transparent and measurable goals and objectives, with annual benchmarks for improvement;

• The plan should achieve adequacy after four years in the core areas the Court held were key to ensuring a sound basic education, (appropriate class size, teacher quality, and instrumentalities of learning) with adequacy defined, at minimum, as conditions equal to those that exist in the rest of the State outside New York City;

• The plan should undergo a thorough process of public input and review within existing governance structures, from the school level on up, including the duly elected Community Education Councils;

• There should be annual evaluations, again including bottom-up reviews, as well as mandatory yearly audits by the State Comptroller’s office, to ascertain whether the money is being efficiently spent to achieve the goals and objectives as outlined in the plan;

• There should be a documented grievance and appeals process, to assess if problems of a systemic nature remain, and if so, allow for intervention.

An accountability system with these elements will be necessary to ensure that the systemic deficiencies found by the Court are addressed, without delay. Each of these elements is described in more detail in the attached accountability proposal, drawn up by a working group consisting of representatives from key parent and advocacy organizations.

Thank you for your consideration,

Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters

Carolyn Prager, Advocates for Public Representation in Public Education

Jan Atwell, former Board member, Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Ellen Raider, member, CFE Accountability Task Force

Cecilia Blewer, member, CFE Accountability Taskforce

Larry Wood, President of President’s Council, District 3*, Board Member, Alliance for Quality Education*

Missy Frey, parent, Lab School, District 2, Board member, Alliance for Quality Education*

Maria Dapontes-Dougherty, District 30, Queens, Board member, Alliance for Quality Education*

Kathleen Gomez, parent, PS 116, Board Member, Alliance for Quality Education*

Gale Brewer, City Councilmember, Upper West Side, Manhattan

Carmen M. Colon, President of Community Education Council for District 13, Founding Member of the Association of New York City Education Councils

Yuet Chu, Director of the Middle School at School of the Future, Manhattan

Nancy Carbone, parent, PS 58, member, Community Education Council D24, Queens

Elizabeth M. Garcia, Esq., President, Community Education Council District 8*, Bronx

Ira Zalcman, LCSW, elected Member, Community Education Council, D21, Brooklyn

Laura Nathanson, NYC teacher, Professional Judgment Panel member, CFE Costing Out study

Luis O. Reyes, Ph.D., Bronx Institute, Lehman College*

Dolores Schaefer, Former Chair, Community school Board One

Robert S. Johnson, Vice President, Presidents Council*, District 2, Manhattan

Josh Karan, More Schools/Smaller Classes Campaign, D6, Manhattan

Yvonne L. Killebrew, member, Community Education Council, D 21

Tracey Fuller, parent, Seth Low I.S. 96, 2nd VP Community Education Council D 21

Bill Rosenthal, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Hunter College*

Patricia T. Warner, PTA President, Louis D. Brandeis High School

Julie Drake, PTA co-president, Midtown West (P.S. 212), D2, Manhattan

Jane Hirschmann, Co-Chair, Time Out From Testing

Bijou Miller, Co-President, PTA, PS 77, D.2

Pat Thompson, Grandparent/Caretaker, D13 and D17, Brooklyn, Parent Advocacy Group for Education*

Rea Rosno, SLT member, PS 295, District 15, member, Women’s President Educational Organization

Lisa Anderson, parent and PA Communications Secretary, P.S./I.S. 187*, D6

Solomon Panitz, Vice President, PTA, PS 372, Co-President, President’s Council, D15

David Wolfson, parent, School Leadership Team PS 163 *, D3, Manhattan

Heather Strano, PTA President, PS 121, D21, Brooklyn

Joan McCabe, parent, PS 41 and executive board, IS 89, D2 Manhattan

Neil Friedman, UFT Chapter Leader, The School for International Studies, Region 8

Walter Goodman and Mary Cash, parents, P.S. 124 and Lab Middle School, D2

Teresa Solomita, MS 51, District 15, Brooklyn

Linda Dalton, parent, PTA Treasurer, SLT member, PS 95, D21, Brooklyn

Rocco Rella, MS 51, District 15, Brooklyn

Paula Gillen, parent of special education student, P.S. 87, D24, Queens

Lila Deis Lauby, parent, La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts

Lee Levin, Recording Secretary PTA, Clinton School for Writers and Artists, D2

Shellie Sclan, member, School Leadership Team, parent, P.S.75, D3, Manhattan

Marshall Berman, parent, P.S.75, Distinquished Professor, City College

Vivian Farmery, School Leadership Team, School of the Future, District 2 Presidents' Council

Laura Tietjen, parent, PS 163, D3

Margaret Marcy Emerson, parent, Brooklyn New School, Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies

David Bushman, parent, PS 89 and Lab School, District 2, Manhattan

Lisa Bleyer, parent at Brooklyn New School, District 15

Paula Rogovin, author, teacher for 32 years, PS 290, The Manhattan New School, D2

Anthony Romeo and Karen Van Outryve Romeo, parents, IS 89, District 2, Manhattan

Jennifer Plassman, parent, Brooklyn New School and Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, District 15

Michael Weinberg, teacher, Far Rockaway High School, Region 5, Queens

Ellen Bilofsky, PA Recording Secretary*, I.S. 239 Brooklyn, and parent, Stuyvesant HS

Debbie Fine, teacher, PS 79, D 25, Queens

Karen Friedland, parent MS 51, D 15, Brooklyn

Dan H. Sanes, parent, Institute for Collaborative Education, Manhattan

Rosemarie Stupel, parent of child in the Brooklyn New School (P.S. 146), D15

Dan Avallone, parent, Brooklyn Technical High School

Carrie Feinstein, parent, Eleanor Roosevelt HS and PPAS HS, District 2, Manhattan

Alison Liotti, parent, PS116, District 2, Manhattan

Maria & Konstantine Ouranitsas, parents, P.S. 89 & I.S. 89, District 2

Sara Workman, class parent representative, PS/IS 187, District 6, Manhattan

John Lawhead, ICE-UFT, ESL teacher, Brooklyn

Karl F. Lauby, parent, La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts

Maretta Callahan, PS 133 Manhattan School for Children, District 3

Margaret Benczak Porter, parent, MS 158, D26, and member of Queens Advisory Council.

Marva Bhalla, PTA President, MS67, Queens, District 26

Wendy Zeichner, District 2 parent

Bryna Levin, PTA Officer, Midtown West, P.S. 212, D2

Marian Trupiano, School Leadership Team, David A. Boody Middle School, D21 and former PAC president and CPAC rep. for District 15

Emily O. Alfonso, parent, PS 38, District 15
Sanja Zgonjanin, CUNY Law School student, parent PS 75

Marion Richman, M.D., parent, PS 163, District 3

Lenny Gold, parent, PS41, District 2

Robin Moore, PS 87, Co-Chairperson, Afterschool Committee, PA Executive Board member

Gail Rodgers Zecker, PA grade rep, School of the Future, District 2 Region 9

Beth Bernett, School of the Future and P.S. 116M, District 2

Erik Wood, School of the Future and P.S. 116M, District 2

Diane O'Donnell, parent, Curtis HS, District 31, Staten Island

Yvette Toma, Co 3rd Vice President PTA, Midtown West School (PS212), D2

Karen Mooney, parent, MS 54, District 10 and Stuyvesant H.S.

Marie Pollicino, parent, D26, Queens

Miriam (Mimi) Erlich, retired teacher, PS145M, D3

Litonia Harrell, Center for Collaborative Education

Richard Boschen, parent, Institute for Collaborative Education & PS 261

Nina Musinsky and Jean-Claude Grattery, parents, Beacon High School and P.S. 166, D3

Maggie Fishman, School Leadership Team, The Earth School, educational consultant

Barbara Barbaria, P.T.A. President, PS 60, District 31, Staten Island

Betsy Combier, President of The E-Accountability Foundation, and Editor,

Connie Quinones, PA member, P.S.126 , District 2

Tim Fredrick, teacher, Thurgood Marshall Academy, MetLife Fellow, Teachers Leadership Network Institute

Sara and Wayne Kimbell, P.S. 41, District 2

Victoria Dallas-Stephenson, teacher, Muscota New School, PS 314*

Mike Kramer, parent, IS 89 and PS 41, D2, Manhattan

Tony Mikolajczyk, parent, PS 146, Brooklyn New School, District 15

Jill Herlands, class parent, PS 89, D2, Manhattan
Judy O'Brien , parent and educator, District 15, Brooklyn

Jonathan Keller, parent, Earth School, District 1 and La Guardia High

Kristin Faivre, parent, PS/IS 187 (Hudson Cliffs School) District 6

John Wehba, class treasurer, PS 163, District 3, and Stuyvesant High School

David Bloom, parent, PS 166 and MS 54, District 3, Manhattan

David Ruderman, parent, PS 261, Brooklyn

Veronique Sway, PTA Correspondence Secretary, Children's Workshop School, D1, Manhattan

Melah L. Gindi, parent M605

Molly Delano, NYC Asset Lab Project, YMCA of Greater New York

Wendy Liquet, parent District 15

Carmen Liquet, parent District 15

Susan Eby, parent, PS9, District 3

Linda Aizer, SLT member, Corresponding Secretary, School of the Future, District 2

Miles Chapin, resident District 30, SLT member, PTA officer, PS 212, District 2

Gerry Griffin, parent, Children's Workshop School, Dist. 1 and Clinton School for Writers and Artists, Dist. 2, Manhattan.

Elizabeth Scaffidi, parent, MS 104, District 2

* affiliation for identification purposes only; not an organizational endorsemen


New York City Sound Basic Education Plan
A Model for Public Accountability & Public Engagement

December 16, 2004

Submitted bBy : a committee with participants from the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), Class Size Matters, Advocates for Public Representation in Public Education (APRPE); CFE Accountability Task Force members, and other leading education advocates.


This proposal was drafted by a group of NYC education advocates who saw a need for a
framework to provide public input, public review and appropriate oversight in the development and implementation of New York City’s Sound Basic Education (SBE) Plan using existing governance and accountability structures.

Enhanced accountability is critical so that citizens and taxpayers, both in New York City and the rest of the state, can be assured that the increased funds devoted to our public schools will be efficiently and appropriately spent on programs that will offer our students an adequate education.


• The city’s plan should be required to be reformulated so that it conforms to commonly accepted principles of planning design, including transparent and measurable goals and objectives, with an annual benchmarks for improvement;

• The plan should achieve adequacy after four (or five) years in the core areas the Court held were key to ensuring a sound basic education, including appropriate class size, teacher quality, and instrumentalities of learning, with adequacy defined, at minimum, as conditions equal to those that exist in the rest of the State outside New York City;

• The plan should undergo a thorough process of public input and review within existing governance structures, from the school level on up, including the duly elected Community Education Councils;

• Following implementation, there should be annual evaluations following the same process as in the initial review, as well as mandatory yearly audits by the State Comptroller’s office, to ensure that the money is being efficiently spent to achieve the goals and objectives as outlined in the plan;

• There should be a documented grievance and appeals process, to assess if problems of a systemic nature remain, and if so, allow for judicial intervention.


The proposed accountability model involves at least four basic components that reflect commonly accepted standards of good practice in planning and assessment:

A. Planning Design to arrive at shared vision for public education,
B. Public Review that includes public engagement and review within existing governance and accountability structures,
C. Evaluation and Audit that include public engagement as a way to foster public oversight of CFE implementation,
D. Appeals Process to redress CFE non-compliance issues.

A. The Planning Design: The committee proposes a planning design for NYC’s SBE plan consistent with commonly accepted standards of good practice.

The City’s five-year and annual plan must include but not be limited to remedies that address the areas found by the courts to impede NYC’s current delivery of a sound basic education.

All the components of a sound basic education as defined by CFE must be addressed in the plan, with special emphasis on achieving adequacy in the three areas specifically identified by the Court of Appeals in its decision, i.e. teacher quality, class size, and instrumentalities of learning. Adequacy will be defined, at minimum, as conditions at least equal to those that exist in schools in the rest of New York State outside of New York City.

To provide an objective basis for public review, in addition to the comprehensive five-year plan, there will be detailed plans for the first year and each year there after.

The design of the City’s SBE Plan must include:

1. Documentation of Need
2. Goals
3. Objectives
4. Activities, Strategies, and Timelines .
5. Budgets
6. Evaluation

Need: In all draft and final forms, the City’s SBE Plan must document need for each goal with quantitative Federal, State, and City data that compare the academic needs and performance of NYC public school students to the rest of the State. The documentation of need must also be used to justify the plan’s measurable objectives.

Goals: In all draft and final forms, the City’s SBE Plan must include but need not be limited to discrete goals for the required areas that the Court has determined necessary to provide a sound basic education.

Objectives: Measurable objectives underpin accountability. Without measurable objectives, it would not be possible for the public to hold the City accountable for its SBE Plan and expenditure of CFE funds.

Therefore, in all draft and final forms, the City’s SBE Plan must include specific measurable outcomes, performance, and process objectives for each goal with defined baselines and benchmarks. Each goal must have multiple measurable objectives. Outcomes must be established that equal or exceed the average for all public schools in the rest of the State. Objectives must be defined in quantitative terms, even where they might involve qualitative assessments.

Activities, Strategies, and Timelines (with rationales): In all draft and final forms, the SBE Plan’s objectives must contain a rationale for specific activities, strategies, and timelines at the school, district, and citywide levels. The rationale must reflect sound data-based research to demonstrate each activity’s likely efficacy.

If the city plans to spend CFE funds on programs not identified in the court record as a necessary component of a sound basic education, it should justify the purpose of the expenditure through reference to research or robust evidence from other school districts where such programs have led to higher student achievement or a narrowing of the achievement gap.

Budgets : In all draft and final forms, the SBE plan must contain detailed budgets for each activity or strategy at the citywide, district, and school levels. The draft and final annual plans must include line item budget allocations to each school, each school district, each region, and to the DOE for each of the implementing established in the SBE Plan.

Internal Evaluation Plan: In all draft and final forms, the DOE must write a SBE Plan that contains a detailed formative and summative Internal Evaluation Plan. The Plan must provide for an evaluation of the measurable outcomes defined in the SBE objectives.

In submitting annual plans to the public for review, the DOE must include copies of the internal formative and summative evaluations for the preceding year(s). The DOE shall also make its intenal evaluation plan and the annual and cumulative formative and summative evaluations based on the Plan available to the public through the DOE web-site and in written form at the school and district levels at least one month before it make public its draft annual and five-year SEBs for public review.

B. The Public Review Process: The committee proposes a public review process for NYC’s SBE plan within existing governance structures, similar to that which presently exists for the District Comprehensive Educational Plans as well as the City’s capital plan for schools.

The Public Review Process for Five-Year and annual SBE plans must engage the public to the greatest extent possible. The public review process should result in a shared vision for public education addressing the conditions and inadequacies of NYC public education identified by the Court. The Public Review Process must provide for:

• Annual and Five-year public reviews,
• Timely public reviews, and
• Documented public reviews.

Annual Plan Review: The SBE Plan must be a comprehensive five-year plan with a detailed plan for the first-year and each year thereafter. The plan must be updated and reviewed each year in accordance with the public review process described below.

To enable the Public Review Process, each Borough President’s Office and the Public Advocate must be funded from the CFE settlement at a level commensurate with their public review responsibilities as defined below. [See NYC Charter on the role of the Public Advocate and Borough Presidents attached]

The Public Review Process must flow from the school forward in the order listed below:

• School Review—Each School Leadership Teams in collaboration with its respective PA/PTAs will submit a formal report of the review to the District level, based on a needs assessment at the school level.

• District Review—Each Community District Education Councils (CDECs) in collaboration with its respective Presidents Councils and the citywide CECs for high schools and special education will hold district-wide public hearings, will review the school reports, and will submit its formal report to the Borough level.

• Borough Review—Each Borough President will hold public hearings and review the results, including the district and school level reports, with his/her Borough Board (which includes each borough’s City Council members and Community Board Chairs). The Borough Board deliberations will include the Borough’s Panel for Education Policy (PEP) representative. Borough Presidents will also submit formal reports to the Public Advocate.

• Public Advocate—The Public Advocate will hold citywide public hearings after reviewing the results of the school, district, and borough reviews. The Public Advocate will summarize and analyze results of the public review and make public a comprehensive report that is also submitted to the DOE. The comprehensive report will provide the DOE with public input into a shared vision for the SBE plan for DOE’s consideration in making revisions.

The Public Advocate will retain all documentation related to public input from the school level forward. The Public Advocate will also submit a formal report to the State Department of Education with an analysis of the DOE’s final plan.

• Department Of Education—The DOE will use the comprehensive Public Advocate’s Report as input for possible revisions to the SBE plan, as well as comments included a review by the Panel on Educational Policy. DOE will then and will submit its revised plan to the NY State Education Department for approval or disapproval. The Public Advocate will also evaluate the revised plan and will provide an assessment to the SED of the extent to which the revisions respond adequately to public concerns with a recommendation for approval or disapproval of the revised SEB SBE by the by SED.

• State Education Department will make reference to the recommendations of the Public Advocate as well as the comments of the various levels of public review in its final decision as to whether the City’s Plan should be approved or amended. SED will also make reference to its own evaluations of the plan, including an independent 360 degree survey of a representative sample of schools.

Timely Public Reviews. Public reviews shall be timely. To assure timely reviews, the DOE will provide its full draft plan to each of the school, district, and borough and citywide review entity at least one month before the review process is to begin.

Documented Public Reviews. Public reviews shall be formal. They shall include public hearings at each level. To assure that reviews at each level are comparable, the review body at each level shall report on the results of its review in writing on a report form designed by the Public Advocate with input from the DOE and education advocacy groups.

C. Public Evaluation and Audit Component

Public Evaluation: To provide an informed basis for its annual review of the DOE’s draft SBE Plan for the coming year, each public review entity listed above shall review the DOE’s internal evaluation report described in Section A, above, and incorporate an assessment of:

• the preceding year’s/years’ implementation of the SBE at its level of review and
• the preceding year’s/year’s appeals processes. .

Audit Component: The State Comptroller’s office will perform annual fiscal and performance audits of the city’s implementation of the SBE plan. If these audits find that the plan itself or its implementation is insufficient to bring the city into compliance in the remaining years of the five-year planning cycle, especially as concerns the areas highlighted by the Court as necessary for a sound basic education, it will recommend to SED that the city’s plan be amended.

D. Appeals Process

The Appeals process includes procedures for individual grievances as well as a process to redress systemic, non-compliance on CFE issues, up to and including judicial review and action.

Grievance Documentation: Grievance documentation related to CFE compliance areas may be used as evidence :

• of continuing systemic problems in the provision of a sound basic education and
• of continuing systemic problems in the resolution of grievances filed by members of the public.

Grievance Process: To protect the rights of each child to receive a sound basic education, individual parents, teachers and other stakeholders must have the right to file a formal grievance at the local level and to have their grievance addressed in a timely manner.

A form, numbered to facilitate tracking, will be designed. Once the form has been completed at the school level it is given to the principal, who will have not more than 30 days to try to remedy the problem. (A copy will also be given to the complainant, and others forwarded to the district’s Community Education Council, the Borough President’s office and the Public Advocate’s office.) If the grievance is not resolved to the parties’ satisfaction at the school level, it is appealed to the district’s Community Education Council who will have no more than 30 days to act before it is automatically appealed to the next level (Borough President) and so on up the ladder to the Public Advocate’s office.

At each level of authority, the governance body will have no more than 30 days to try to remedy the problem. In addition to being the final adjudicator of grievances that cannot be resolved at lower levels, the Public Advocate shall have the responsibility to track grievances and compile data on a citywide basis, including the total number of grievances filed, the number that are resolved, the levels at which they are resolved, etc. The data so collected will be reported to the State Education Department, as well as to the public, to help inform and improve the evaluation process, including the public review process on each level. Data compiled by the Public Advocate can be used to document system-wide non-compliance when numerous grievances emerge on similar issues across the city that remain unresolved for long periods.

Judicial Review: When areas of systemic non-compliance can be documented, either through data collected by the Public Advocate or elsewhere in the evaluation process, a judicial review should automatically be triggered in the areas of non-compliance. If, after judicial review and report of findings are issued the areas of non-compliance are still not remedied, then the court may act to force compliance.

Appendix 1: Defining a Sound Basic Education [To be added]

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Green Buildings Salons for January in and around New York City

Subject: Green Buildings Salons for January in and around New York City
Date: 22-Dec-04 10:57:51 Eastern Standard Time
Reply To:
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Dear New York Energy Smart Partners, FYI
Dean Zias

January 12,8:00am – 10:00am, The Weeping Willow, Long Island

Check our calendar for updates:

High Performance Green Buildings Design Salon
To be announced soon

Speakers: to be announced

Co-Hosts: EBA/NYS, USGBC, ASHRAE Long Island Chapter

Sponsor: NYSERDA

January 13, 5:30 – 7:30pm, Center for Architecture, New York City (online shortly)

High Performance Green Buildings Design Salon
To be announced soon

Speakers: to be announced
Co-Hosts: AIA NY Chapter, ASHRAE NY Chapter, EBA/NYS, USGBC NY Chapter

upcoming events calendar at You may email your registration to or you may fax your information to 518.432.1383

Telephone: 518.432.6400 x221 (Robyn Stewart)
Fax: 518.432.1383 (use form below)

Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact
Ed Parker at (518) 432-6400 x227 or email:

Thank you,

for CEEP Inc.
Donna C. Denley
Administration and Program Director
Environmental Business Association of New York State, Inc.
126 State Street, 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12207-1637
(518) 432-6400 x224
(518) 432-1383
Become a member of EBA/NYS!


Subject: Henry Hudson Parkway: questions about the process
Date: 22-Dec-04 6:27:16 Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)


December 22, 2004

In the next few months the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) will begin developing the corridor management plan for the Henry Hudson Parkway as a prelude to its possible designation as a New York Scenic Byway. Members of Manhattan Community Board 9 (Harlem) raised important questions about the role of community boards and the public in the process, especially in the current organizing phase. Answers were provided by Gerry Bogacz and Aizaz Ahmed, NYMTC staff overseeing the project, and Nancy Alexander, director of the NYS Scenic Byways Office. They are summarized here by Hilary Kitasei for the Henry Hudson Parkway Task Force.

Q: Can the community board participate in the development of the scope of the RFP (request for proposals) and the selection of the consultant?

A: Not directly, for the reason given below, but their input is welcome and important.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Committee (NYMTC) is the agency that is funding and developing the corridor management plan. It is a regional council of governments which is funded by the federal government and hosted by New York State government, making it subject to the regulations of each.

The RFP is governed by the New York State Administrative Rules. NYS rules prohibit outside participation in the process of awarding contracts. Nevertheless, NYMTC welcomes community boards and other stakeholders to provide the selection panel with suggestions about their priorities and concerns. They welcome relevant information about a community’s experience with consultants and/or prior projects.

Q: Who will be on the selection team?

A: Typically, a team is made of up NYMTC’s member agencies. In this case, they will likely include New York members, like NYC DOT, NYS DOT, MTA, PANY&NJ (Port Authority), and City Planning. The members may also invite others to participate on the selection team, such as representatives of non-member agencies that also have jurisdictional interests in the parkway (e.g., NYC Parks, NYS Parks, NYC Art Commission, NYC Landmarks Commission, NY Economic Development Corporation, Department of Environmental Conservation, etc.) or representatives of the public.

Q: How can the community board participate in the development of the Corridor Management Plan itself?

A: After the consultant team is hired, NYMTC will organize a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Community boards and elected officials will likely be asked to nominate representatives for the Committee. NYMTC members can nominate stakeholders as well. Stakeholders include anyone with a clear interest in the future of the parkway corridor. This might include individuals or organizations outside the geographic area that have an interest in protecting its resources: e.g., the river, the historic parkway, landmarks, etc.

All stakeholder committees are consensual, as opposing to formally-voting bodies. Their recommendations are provided to steering committees, which make decisions for planning projects.

Q: Who will be on the steering committee?

A: This will be determined by the members of NYMTC.

Q: To whom is NYMTC accountable? What authority does it have to implement or enforce the Corridor Management Plan?

NYMTC is accountable to its member agencies (for a complete list, see Its staff, who serve as facilitators on projects, report to NYMTC’s board members.

NYMTC is a regional body charged by federal regulations to coordinate transportation planning for the tri-state metropolitan area. Its role is to capture the maximum federal funds available to achieve the goals of the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Only improvements identified in these long-range planning programs are eligible for federal transportation funding, without which no major project by any agency can be funded through Federal sources. In this way the Corridor Management Plan will identify needs in the corridor for which member agencies can then sponsor specific projects (not only pure transportation funding but also “quality of life” projects, or enhancements.)

In addition, the Corridor Management Plan will also identify other sources of funding for projects for which other entities, both public and private, would be encouraged to apply. These might be very large (e.g., environmental bond money) or relatively small (e.g., public and private grants for specific projects that enhance the goals of the scenic byway.)

A major goal of the Corridor Management Plan is to establish design guidelines for the parkway, as well as a plan for their implementation and enforcement by all agencies with jurisdiction.

Q: Will there be an entity, like a Scenic Byway Commission, created to manage the parkway, and will it make decisions about funding priorities for the corridor or future scenic byway? And since the Scenic Byways Office is part of New York State DOT, does that mean that the Commission would come under NYS DOT?

A: The steering committee will make the recommendation regarding any new framework or entity to oversee the parkway. There are many possible models to be studied.

The New York State Scenic Byways Office encourages and assists communities in creating byways. It does not manage them. However, a requirement for becoming a state scenic byway is having a corridor management plan that addresses the issue of implementation. In the case of the Henry Hudson Parkway, given its complex city-state multi-agency jurisdiction, a natural choice for coordinating or managing the corridor might very well be NYMTC.

In short, every byway is unique. The best outcome can be achieved by consensus of stakeholders in the most creative, open-minded process.

Remember: byways are created to help protect the resources that are valued by the communities they pass through. This is why we need YOU to tell NYMTC what those are.

Please feel free to contact Hilary Kitasei ( ) or Aizaz Ahmed ( with additional questions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

[PlanPutnam] Conservation Commission Agenda 12-28-04

Subject: Fwd: [PlanPutnam] Conservation Commission Agenda 12-28-04
Date: 21-Dec-04 1:20:54 Eastern Standard Time
From: MarianR451
To: Reysmont

Please not that there is going to be a Public Hearing held by the Southeast Conservation Committee on the impacts to wetlands and wetland buffers by the proposed development on Terravest Phase 3 (T-3).

Forwarded Message:
Subj: [PlanPutnam] Conservation Commission Agenda 12-28-04
Date: 20-Dec-04 15:34:22 Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Town of Southeast
Conservation Commission
7:30 pm at
Lakeview Manor


Public Hearing
Terravest Phase 3

Regular Meeting
1. Review and approve September 28, 2004, AND October 26, 2004 AND
November 30th 2004 minutes
2. Vita Subdivision
3. Bucaj Property


Wetland Inspector's Report

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West Side Plan Is Risky Effort, Forecasters Say
New York Times
December 21, 2004

West Side Plan Is Risky Effort, Forecasters Say

he Bloomberg administration's $4.1 billion financial plan for transforming the West Side of Manhattan has run into increasing criticism from independent financial analysts as an expensive and risky strategy that may be impossible to pursue under current statutes.

Critics are not opposed to the extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue, or the new streets, parks and other projects within the plan. But they say that the administration's method of paying for these projects, along with the city's $300 million share in a new football stadium for the Jets, will add an unnecessary $1.3 billion to the price tag and pose risks for the city budget.

To provide financing for the project, the administration plans to create the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, which would issue long-term bonds and short-term debt to pay for the parks, the streets, the subway and a deck over a railyard east of 11th Avenue, between 30th and 33rd Streets, where new development could take place. Using the corporation means the city's financial plan would not have to go through the normal budget process and avoids a potentially nettlesome vote by the City Council.

"The city's proposed Hudson Yards financing scheme is fraught with several serious problems and, in my opinion, should be scrapped," James A. Parrott, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-backed research group, told council members at a hearing last week. "Instead, a plan of infrastructure improvements for the far West Side should be incorporated into the city's capital budget."

Ronnie Lowenstein, director of the city's Independent Budget Office, told council members that the city's proposed plan would cost $1.3 billion more than if the city used conventional borrowing.

City officials do not deny the additional cost, but say that the projects, along with a rezoning of the West Side and the proposed 75,000-seat stadium, would catalyze residential and commercial development in the 59-block area, generating more than $60 billion in new tax revenues over the next 30 years. At the same hearing, Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said that in an era of limited resources, the "only alternative is to do nothing." He added, "It's an investment we can't afford not to make."

The hearing before the City Council's finance committee did not have the raucous, carnival-like atmosphere of another forum the same week concerning the proposed $1.4 billion stadium over the West Side rail yards, where the chants of protesters collided with the boisterous roar of construction workers demanding jobs.

The finance hearing was conducted under the dim lighting of the Council chamber. There were no raised voices and the room began to empty after only 30 minutes. But with the Council expected to vote next month on rezoning the neighborhood, critics painted a dark picture in contrast to the administration's sunny view.

Mr. Doctoroff said the advantage of the plan is that it would pay for itself. The corporation, he said - not the city - would be responsible for paying off the bondholders, using tax revenues from new development on the West Side.

"We developed a creative financing plan that pays for itself with new revenues it will generate - not with capital budget money," Mr. Doctoroff testified. "That means the Hudson Yards plan won't compete for resources with other important capital projects."

In the early years, said Mr. Doctoroff and Mark Page, the city's budget director, new residential and commercial development would not generate enough revenue to pay the interest on the bonds. So under the city's plan, the corporation would issue about $1 billion in short-term debt backed by the city's Transitional Finance Authority and income tax revenues.

But critics say the city would be on the hook for the short-term debt if West Side development did not occur quickly enough and investors failed to buy the corporation's short-term notes. They say the corporation would then be using income tax revenues that flow into the city budget.

"You're putting city income tax revenues in jeopardy," said Richard Ravitch, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and once the state's top economic development official. "But the law is clear that T.F.A. can't be used for projects that don't go through the budgetary process."

Earlier in the hearing, Mr. Page insisted that the city was using the finance authority properly, although he acknowledged that the administration had not gotten a legal opinion to that effect.

Mr. Ravitch added that the city's financial plan was vulnerable to a legal challenge. And both sides expect opponents of the stadium to file at least two lawsuits in the coming weeks, one challenging the adequacy of the environmental view for the stadium and one challenging the city's financial plan.

In an October letter to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, William C. Thompson Jr., the city comptroller, also warned that his plan represented a substantial commitment of funds "without the oversight protections inherent in the city's capital budgeting process."

Mr. Doctoroff did not dispute the extra cost, but he played down the risk that the finance authority would have to step in, saying, "We don't expect it will ever get called on."

As for the long-term bonds issued by the development corporation, the deputy mayor said that bondholders, not the city, would be at risk if the tax revenues from new development failed to materialize and the corporation defaulted on its obligations.

But some experts have questioned the city's estimate that 26 million square feet of office space and nearly 14,000 apartments would be built on the West Side over the next 30 years. While the city's demand for housing appears insatiable, economists like Rae Rosen at the Federal Reserve Bank, and James Diffley, a managing director of Global Insight, one of the nation's largest economic forecasting companies, say that the Bloomberg administration is being overly optimistic when it comes to office buildings.

"What's implausible is that one new, unproven district would capture all that demand," said another economic forecaster, Hugh Kelly of Real Estate Economics.

Critics say that raises the possibility of a default by the development corporation. Although the corporation would be a legally separate entity from the city, State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi warned in a July report that the bonds "may be perceived by the financial community as a moral obligation of the City of New York and could adversely affect the city's credit rating."

Mr. Hevesi noted that the extension of the No. 7 subway line accounted for half the debt. He said major transportation projects have a history of large cost overruns and delays.

"I know the bonds can't be sold just on the credit of the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation," Mr. Ravitch said at the hearing. "Mr. Doctoroff may be sincere in saying that the city is not on the hook. But to suggest that a default wouldn't affect the credit of the city is silly."

Monday, December 20, 2004

City air won't meet new rules (probably not with Hudson Yards)

Subject: City air won't meet new rules (probably not with Hudson Yards)
Date: 12/19/2004 2:44:40 AM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

City air won't meet new rules
NY Daily News

Small particles, big problems.

All of New York City and its suburbs are in violation of new air-quality
health standards, the Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday. The
problem is microscopic but dangerous soot from diesel-burning trucks, power plants and other sources. "This is not a story about the air getting
dirtier," outgoing EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said. "It is a story
about higher, more stringent standards and healthier air."

The state environmental conservation commissioner, Erin Crotty, said that
in the city only Manhattan south of midtown and the South Bronx exceeded federal standards, and she vowed they'd be in compliance before a 2010 deadline. She also partly disputed the feds' findings in telling the Daily News that Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland counties meet U.S. guidelines.

Crotty said New York had approved initiatives to control acid rain and
emissions at power plants, and had passed anti-idling laws on vehicles, as
well as other anti-pollutant regulations. "We are aware [of the EPA report]
and we are doing something about it," she said.

Leavitt said 223 counties nationwide - in New York, New Jersey, 18 other
states and the District of Columbia - don't meet new air-quality health
standards, which for the first timeregulated fine particles - soot that's
2.5 micrometers in diameter, or 30 times smaller than human hair.

Originally published on December 18, 2004

Friday, December 17, 2004

N.Y.C. Eyes $650M of PILOT Bonds - Debt Would Fund Jets, Javits Subsidies (but no source identified

Subj: N.Y.C. Eyes $650M of PILOT Bonds for Jets, Javits (but no source identified)
Date: 12/17/2004 5:31:49 AM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

N.Y.C. Eyes $650M of PILOT Bonds
Debt Would Fund Jets, Javits Subsidies

Posted 12/16/04
By Michael McDonald

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration is considering
selling $650 million of bonds backed with payments in lieu of taxes, or
PILOTs, and other fees in order to finance a $350 subsidy for the Jacob
Javits Convention Center and a $300 million subsidy for the proposed Jets

The bonds would come on top of $4 billion of bonds and notes the
administration has proposed for other infrastructure projects such as the
extension of the No. 7 subway line in the neighborhood around the Javits
center and proposed stadium. These bonds and notes would also be secured
with PILOTs and other fees, though only from developers in the Hudson Yards

Deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff said on Wednesday evening after he testified at
a City Council hearing about the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp. that he
believes there are sufficient PILOT payments and other fees paid to the
city to back bonds to finance both a $300 million subsidy to the Jets
stadium and a $350 million subsidy to the Javits expansion.

"It's not just PILOT payments," he said. "It's other fee streams that we
could capture."

According to city budget documents, New York City had more than 5,000
property tax exemption agreements in place last year through public
agencies such as the Industrial Development Agency. In lieu of property
taxes, developers and others have agreed to make annual PILOT payments that
were estimated to total $209.2 million in fiscal 2004, which ended June 30.

The IDA accounted for $46.6 million of PILOT payments in fiscal 2004,
according to the estimates, while the state-run Battery Park City Authority
accounted for $131.5 million.

The Bloomberg administration originally proposed using money from the
Battery Park City Authority to back bonds for the $350 million Javits
subsidy. Earlier this month the state Legislature and Gov. George Pataki
reached an agreement on legislation permitting the convention center
expansion that includes language preventing the city from using "any funds"
from the Battery Park City Authority.

Doctoroff said the city would not attempt to use the Battery Park City
PILOTs for the Jets stadium.

The Bloomberg and Pataki administrations have been working in concert on
redevelopment plans for Manhattan's far West Side, including building
platforms over the Hudson Yards to accommodate a football stadium and other

The two sides signed memorandums of understanding in March, along with the
New York Jets, whereby the city agreed to provide $350 million of the
financing for the $1.4 billion Javits expansion, with the state proving the
rest. The city and state also agreed to subsidize $600 million of the
proposed $1.4 billion Jets stadium, with the football providing the other
$800 million.

The state and city said it would sell $400 million of tax-exempt bonds to
raise half of the Jets contribution.

It was later revealed that the city would sell raise all of the $600
million of the Jets stadium subsidy if the state Legislature prevented the
Pataki administration from selling $300 million of state appropriation bonds.

Doctoroff said the city would not sell PILOT- and other fee-backed bonds
for the state.

"We won't do $600 million unless there is compensation from the state in
another form," he said. "So we don't ever see our exposure being $950

The City Council on Wednesday evening criticized the Bloomberg
administration's plan to use the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp. to sell
$4 billion of bonds and notes. It said the financing could be done more
cheaply through the city's general obligation bond program.

State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried also criticized the administration's
reluctance to reveal the sources of funding for the stadium subsidy.
Gottfried said that New York City"s deputy budget director Alan Anders
testified to the City Planning Commission last July that the Bloomberg
administration was "looking at several revenue streams to back" bonds to
raise the $300 million subsidy it agreed to make in March for the proposed
$1.4 billion Jets stadium.

Anders said "those revenue streams are currently not supporting the city
budget and estimated the amount needed to be $20 million to $30 million,"
to back the $300 million bond issue, according to a letter Gottfried
submitted to the administration seeking more detail.

Gottfried distributed a copy of the letter from July on Wednesday at the
City Council hearings. "At a time when the mayor is asking the council to
cut important services and projects, OMB [the Office of Management and
Budget] says there are several revenue streams that could support that
magnitude of expenditure that are coming to the city but are not currently
being used to support the city," Gottfried testified at the council hearing.

The OMB referred questions about the PILOT payments to the city's finance
department. A spokeswoman for the finance department said that it estimates
"what [the public agencies] should pay in PILOTs]" and referred questions
about where the money goes from there back to OMB and to the public
agencies. The IDA did not respond to questions about the PILOT agreements.

Subj: Re: [CB9M Chair's Blog] N.Y.C. Eyes $650M of PILOT Bonds - Debt Would Fund ...
Date: 12/17/2004 7:16:10 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Cbleelaw
To: Reysmont


Just how many places have had those PILOTs committed to them, in one shot fixes to solve other income problems.

In addition, it does appear that this is a huge tax stream which is becoming a tax flow from one busienss to another, not paid as taxes, but then not put into the general budget either but reserved for still other business subsidies.

We are already in the position that a very large percentage of all large businesses pay no Federal income tax at all.

Are we now going to vouch for a mechanism whereby their should have been tax money is now to be diverted into a daisy chain of goodies passed out by politicians from one business to another wihtout stopping at schools, firehouses, hospitals and the like. Sheesh!

The sprawl of suburban sprawl

Subj: The sprawl of suburban sprawl
Date: 12/12/2004 1:06:55 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: MarianR451

Sound familiar (except for the burned homes)?

Neighbors of Burned Homes Pained by Suburban Sprawl

Published: December 12, 2004

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 - Blue plastic ribbons dangle from some saplings that line the mouth of Araby Bog, delineating the wetland boundary, as recognized by the State of Maryland and the development companies that are building 500 homes in the area. About 100 feet away, the tree branches hold a few pale pink ribbons, marking the edge of the future housing lots.

Up the small hill from the mouth of the bog, clearly visible through the naked trees of December, are the large houses of Hunters Brooke, where 30 fires were set before dawn on Monday and 10 houses were consumed by the flames.

W. Faron Taylor, the deputy state fire marshal, said on Saturday that investigators had not narrowed their search for a suspect, but after the blaze it was widely noted that a group of eco-terrorists had set fires at other new buildings or developments from San Diego to Long Island, N.Y. In those cases, however, a loosely knit group, the Earth Liberation Front, explicitly took credit - and that has not happened here.

Whatever the motive, the fires have highlighted a long and contentious battle over whether this instant dose of suburban density belonged here. The flames seem unlikely to alter the outcome: the developer of Hunters Brooke said this week that the houses would be rebuilt.

For years, local citizens fought their way from the Charles County Planning Commission to the federal courts to preserve the bog. It was not just the wetland, one of the few remaining magnolia bogs in the mid-Atlantic region, that they sought to preserve. They cherish their isolation from Washington's inexorably spreading suburbs. They do not want to lose their chance to see the full panoply of stars in the deeper dark of a rural night.

For Patricia Stamper, a 66-year-old government statistician who has lived up a dirt road in the Mason Springs area with her horses for 30 years, it is impossible to untangle her concern for the environment from her anger that "a high density housing complex is being dumped on us all at once."

She lives less than a mile from Hunters Brooke and a few hundred yards from the companion planned development called Falcon Ridge, which will also border the bog. Asked which was more important, keeping the bog pristine or preserving the quiet life she sought when she moved here, Ms. Stamper said, "You're asking me to make an artificial choice."

David Boswell is also feeling crowded. His great-great-grandmother, in 1902, bought the old slave quarters he owns one mile down another dirt road near the rear of Hunters Brooke. Mr. Boswell, who is 37, said: "There was a woman in the paper who said she wanted to move out here in the country and see a hawk in the trees. What about me? I'm already here. I've been working on my house for years. Now I'll have their street lights across the way."

The clash of cultures that has been an inevitable consequence of suburban sprawl for 50 years has slowly changed its context. Rising environmental awareness has coincided with the ability of ever-more-distant national homebuilding conglomerates to plant dense modern developments far into the countryside.

Of the 1.7 million dwellings constructed in 2003, 15 percent were in rural areas, according to Gopal Ahluwalia, a statistician with the National Association of Home Builders.

Now, however, many rural areas are home to sophisticated transplants like Ms. Stamper, or her friend Ellie Cline, a former real estate agent who lives in Araby House, a colonial-era home. They can find their way around a county government. They know or are quick studies on environmental rules. They can reach out to experts and environmental groups with money and muscle when a fragile environmental area, like Araby Bog, is jeopardized by loss of water, polluted runoff or any other incidental consequence of development.

They can form organizations like Save Araby, Mattawoman and Mason Springs, or Samms. With aid from pro bono lawyers , they can sue.

The 6.5-acre magnolia bog, soon to be flanked by developments, is one of the last of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region. Roderick Simmons, a botanist with Maryland Native Plants Society, said that the 100,000 gallons of water flowing daily from the bog into Mattawoman Creek, and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay, is "ultra-pure spring water."

It is ringed by sweet bay magnolias and carpeted with sphagnum moss, and is home to several rare or threatened plants. Robert DeGroot, president of the Maryland Alliance for Greenway Improvement and Conservation, said, "This is a very small pristine area just full of plants that you don't see anywhere else."

Please visit our website:

Subj: Re: [CB9M Chair's Blog] The sprawl of suburban sprawl
Date: 12/17/2004 7:29:43 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Cbleelaw
To: Reysmont

This is one of the many problems which relates to a movement in this country favored by certain folk whom the nonpartisan nature of the board forbids naming, whereby those who own private property in their own minds, believe themselves entitled to do with it precisely as they choose, without regard to environmentalism and other factors, AND to be financially compensated in the event that environmental or other governmental regulations limits the maximum economic benefit to them and exploitation of their property.

Those who had to find something else to read in November will have noted that there was a proposition which passed in Oregon which requires that the state compensate private property owners for the economic loss caused to them by environmental regulation if they owned the land prior to the regulation coming into effect.

Those who buy later are out of luck under current law, and that appears to be unchanged. Thus, if a field becomes unusable for housing because of a program to protect farmland, or some endangered creature residing thereon, either the restriction must be eliminated or the owner must be paid at a rate specified in the proposal.

In Oregon, the issues have either been the kind of nonurban environmental habitat preservation made famous by the Spotted owl, OR the creation of greenbelts around Portland which are designed to keep the local urb from spreading and spreading, and throwing off governmental costs which are harder and harder to cover.

This kind of exurban sprawl is one of the reasons that the Feds are considering different rules for forest fire prevention, well off people living well off teh beaten path who want the same protections which they would get if they lived across the street from the statehouse.

In Manhattan, we also have a version of this, which might bear thought.
We have air rights. The buildings in the would be North Campus area all have air rights associated, namely the difference in volume between the largest as of right building which could be built on the lot under current zoning rules, and the one which is actually there.

These rights are traded commercially in midtown, so that a buyer within a certain distance of a seller who has not maximized his construction can sometimes buy the right to overbuild by transferring air rights from the seller's lot to the buyer's lot nearby.

It might be worth considering as a means of avoiding all the eighteen story buildings which are planned to see if the resisters would consider donating their air rights to some local entity committed not to use them So that the largest thing that could be built on the site is what is already there.

Thus, even if Columbia eventually got the lot, they wouldn't be able to build higher than what now is. That might help matters a bit.

I think that is Maritta's committee but it is definitely worth a thought or two. Edwin Marshall can fingure out precisely what the FAR for the buildings now in exitence are and what the Zoning permits, to see what can be done with this. If he will.


Upcoming hearings by the New York City Council's Committee on Technology in Government (as of 12.17.04).

Subj: Upcoming hearings by the New York City Council's Committee on Technology in Government (as of 12.17.04).
Date: 12/17/2004 4:26:44 PM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Hello All,
I am informing all of you of the upcoming hearings that the Committee on Technology in Government of the New York City Council is holding. If you can, please join us. All events are open to the general public. No RSVP is necessary.


On Monday, January 10th, 2005 from 2 PM to 5 PM, Dibner Auditorium, Polytechnic University, 5 MetroTech, the Committee on Technology in Government, chaired by Council Member Gale A. Brewer, will hold a hearing entitled, “Oversight: Is Brooklyn Business Suffering From A Broadband Gap?”

Here are the directions to Polytechnic University:

Here is a map of the campus of Polytechnic University:

The Dibner Auditorium is in Building C – Dibner Library / CATT Building – on the above map.
At this hearing, we will discuss the following:

Is there is a “broadband gap” for Brooklyn businesses?

Does city government have a role in closing this gap, if it does indeed exist?

If so, what role should city government play?

Efforts by the private sector to close this gap; and,
The possibilities of wireless broadband technology as an affordable broadband alternative.
Invited witnesses include:
New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication (DoITT), Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Department of Small Business Services (SBS);
Dianah Neff, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the City of Philadelphia;
To learn more about Philadelphia’s efforts, go to:
Jonathan Bowles, Research Director, Center for an Urban Future;

To read Jonathan’s recent broadband report, go to:

Brooklyn businesses associations and small businesses; and,
Major wireline (DSL and cable) and wireless broadband providers.
Please feel free to publicize this hearing.

On Friday, January 28, 2005 at 10 AM, Committee Room, City Hall, the Committee will hold an oversight hearing on NYC-TV, the City’s municipal cable network. More details to come.


The Committee has a web page now.
Go to:

All briefing papers from the current session (beginning in January 2004) are available.


If you know of people who would be interested in the Committee on Technology in Government’s activities, please feel free to forward this e-mail to them. If you know of anyone who would like to receive these e-mails, just have them e-mail me, and I will be put them on the list. Finally, feel free to post this information on any listserve you may belong to or on any website you are affiliated with.

Thank you. I look forward to seeing you at one of our hearings.

Bruce Lai

Legislative Policy Analyst
Committee on Technology in Government
New York City Council
250 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Observer: Keep City's water safe

Forwarded Message:
Subj: Fw: Observer: Keep City's water safe
Date: 12/12/2004 10:49:26 AM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

----- Original Message ----- From:
To: Carolyn Zolas
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 12:34 AM
Subject: Observer: Keep City's water safe

June 27, 20021:33 AM

Keep the City’s Water Safe

It’s hard to imagine a resource more critical to New York than water. Indeed, it wasn’t until the city had a safe, reliable source of drinking water that it could begin the expansion that led to New York becoming what it is today—one of the world’s great cities.

So it is disheartening to realize that the city’s Department of Environmental Protection has not been on the job in its mission to protect the water supply. For the last six years, the D.E.P. has failed to report complete results from its testing of city water for lead, a dangerous contaminant. It turns out, now that the full results have been compiled, that lead in city drinking water was slightly above allowable levels from 2000 to 2001.

While officials are at pains to point out that there is no danger to the public, and even environmental advocates don’t see any intentional or criminal misconduct, the revelation is disturbing. At a time when terrorists would be happy to poison our water supply, it is imperative that we have confidence in D.E.P.’s ability to spot potential contamination. When contamination is found, D.E.P. has to respond swiftly and be candid with the public.

State officials have stepped in, properly, and demanded that D.E.P. devise a plan to deal with lead leakage into the water supply. They also want D.E.P. to tell the public how much lead is in its drinking water.

These are important steps, but the larger issues remain. We live at a time when we can no longer take so many things for granted—including the safety of our water supply. The public must be reassured that D.E.P. is on a footing equal to that of the Fire Department, Police Department and other first responders.

D.E.P., like it or not, is on the front lines in the battle against terror at home. Its oversight of the city’s watershed, aqueducts and water tunnels means that it is responsible for some of the city’s most important infrastructure.

The public must be reassured that D.E.P. is doing its job, now more than ever.

This column ran on page 4 in the 12/13/2004 edition of The New York Observer.


Trade Waste Commission / Kerik scandal

Is our MTS boondoggle (trash pier at W. 137th) impacted by this entity called the
Trade Waste Commission that appears now in the Kerik scandal? Anyone up to date
on sanitation issues could well look into illegal 'shortcuts' made by shady characters when it comes to trash disposal.

Today's New York Times:

"Mr. Kerik spoke on Mr. Ray's behalf to the chief of enforcement for the Trade Waste Commission, which was performing the background check on the company, according to the chief, Raymond V. Casey."
[ from ]

As far as I'm concerned, all of Mr. Keriks 'friends' are up for scrutiny.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Co-Op Board Approves Famous Hawks' Return

Co-Op Board Approves Famous Hawks' Return

Manhattan Hawks Allowed to Rebuild Nest

1 hour, 1 minute ago U.S. National - AP

By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - A week after two red-tailed hawks were evicted from their aerie outside a luxury apartment building, the board that runs the high-rise on Fifth Avenue has given in to the demands of bird lovers and agreed to let Pale Male and Lola rebuild their nest.

AP Photo

Slideshow: Hawks Evicted From NYC Perch

Now the question is whether the birds that flew the co-op will come home to roost.

The possible return of Pale Male and Lola came after a week of angry protests and bizarre Big Apple street theater on a stately block of Manhattan. Women chanted with stuffed birds on their heads, ambulance sirens screamed in support of the hawks, and a 13-year-old girl tap-danced in a cow costume in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

The tale of two hawks began a decade ago, when Pale Male took up residence at 927 Fifth Ave. With a succession of mates, he raised 25 chicks to the delight of many New Yorkers, who watched the brood through binoculars and telescopes. Each year, more sticks were added until the nest, on an arched cornice outside a 12th-floor window, came to weigh 200 to 300 pounds.

Finally, on Dec. 7, the board had the nest pulled down and carried away, citing hazards from falling debris, including the occasional squirrel, pigeon or rat carcass flung out of the nest by the hawks after feeding. The board also feared the nest would weaken the cornice.

Scores of demonstrators flocked nightly to the corner of 74th and Fifth, often joined by actress Mary Tyler Moore, an ardent hawk advocate who lives in the building. The protesters directed their anger at the co-op board, headed by developer Richard Cohen, the husband of another celebrity: CNN anchor Paula Zahn.

Like many apartment buildings in New York City, the building is a cooperative run by a board of directors.

In a single night outside the building, two women stood with stuffed birds perched on their heads. Car horns blasted in support of the demonstrators.

"Bring back the nest!" about 75 protesters shrieked in unison as building residents looked from their windows in disbelief.

And then, her tap shoes clicking on the pavement, 13-year-old Samantha Brown-Walker, clad in a cow costume with shaking udders, danced in the middle of Fifth Avenue as her mother watched proudly. "MOOOVE Over Co-op Board," read her sign.

On Tuesday, a protester, Lincoln Karim, was arrested and charged with harassing and stalking Zahn and her family. Karim, a video engineer with Associated Press Television News, agreed on Wednesday to stay 1,000 feet away from the building. A court date was set for Jan. 26.

On the same day as the arrest, a deal was announced to restore the pigeon spikes that had anchored the nest, and to install a protective guard rail. The spikes were originally intended to keep pigeons from depositing their droppings on the building.

E.J. McAdams, executive director of NYC Audubon, was confident the hawks would return to their nesting site.

"If we put the spikes up, Pale Male will return," McAdams predicted.

But when last spotted, Pale Male was avoiding the entire scene, scrounging for vermin in Central Park.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

December 16th Finale of "The Apprentice" filmed at Riverbank State Park

Subject: December 16th Finale of "The Apprentice" filmed at Riverbank State Park
Date: 12/15/2004 5:30:22 PM Eastern Standard Time
To: Reysmont
Sent from the Internet (Details)

I thought you would be interested to know that Riverbank State Park is featured on NBC this Thursday evening, Dec. 16 from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the season finale of Donald Trump's reality TV show, The Apprentice .

The context is that the two final contestants have been assigned to put together a charity sporting event. One team was assigned to put on a polo tournament at the Greenwich Polo Club. The other was assigned to put together a charity NBA basketball game and VIP reception at Riverbank State Park.

The Riverbank portion of the show was shot in early June. The film crew spent three days continuously filming the contestant and her team as they make all the arrangements for the NBA charity game that was held in the outdoor Skating Rink (that they converted to a basketball court). The game was followed by a VIP reception in Earl Monroe's Restaurant (formerly known as the Riverbank Café).

Jack Dolgen
Special Assistant to the Regional Director
New York State Parks - NYC
(212) 866-2450

Problems with Landmarks Preservation Commission

Subject: Problems with Landmarks Preservation Commission
Date: 12/15/2004 7:37:49 AM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

We have been asked by Landmarks West (Upper West Side group) to pass-along
the following report. I haven't read the entire thing yet, so I'm just
passing it along.

If any of your groups would be interested in this, please contact Kate Wood
at Landmarks West at



Problems experienced by community groups working with the LANDMARKS

The Arts and Landmarks Committee
of the Women's City Club of New York, Coordinator
33 West 60 Street, New York NY 10023
Phone: 212-353-8070 E-mail:

First Issued: 17 November 2004

Compiled by the Following Groups:
Women’s City Club of New York (Coordinator)
Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side
Hamilton Heights-West Harlem Community Preservation Organization
Historic Districts Council
Landmark West!
Morningside Heights Historic District Committee
Society for the Architecture of the City

Endorsed by the Following Groups
as of 1 December 2004:

Association of Neighbors on the Upper East Side
Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association
Brownstone Revival Coalition
Carnegie Hill Neighbors
Coalition for a Livable West Side
Coalition to Save the East Village
Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile District
East 78th Street Block Association Park/Lex.
East Harlem Historical Organization
East Village Community Coalition
Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance
Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America
Modern Architecture Working Group
Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
Prospect Park South Association
Queens Historical Society
Queensborough Preservation League
Richmond Hill Historical Society
The St. George Civic Association
Union Square Community Coalition
List in formation


How the Report was Compiled 1
Summary 2
Problems in the Designation Process:
I. Lack of Transparency and Responsiveness 4
Problems in the Regulatory Process:
II. Pre-Hearing Disposition of Certificate Of Appropriateness Applications 6
III. Lack of Public Hearings for Substantially Altered Certificate of
Appropriateness Applications 7
IV. Absence of Leadership in Protecting Landmarks Administered by Other
Agencies of Government 8
V. Need to Provide Enough Information for Informed Public Hearing Comment 9
VI. Need for Public Access to Staff-Level Permit Records 11
VII. Need to Ensure Community Board Participation 12
VIII. Need for an Improved Sound System in the LPC Hearing Room 12
IX. Lack of Consistent Standards in Regulation 13

Recommendations: 14
I. Public Participation in the Appointment of Commissioners
II. Adequate Funding for the Necessary Staff
III. Regular Public Hearings to Address Designation and Regulatory Issues

How the Report was Compiled:
During the September and October 2003 City Council hearings on the proposed
designation of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine various questions were
raised about the propriety of the procedures being followed by the
Landmarks Preservation Commission ("LPC"), crystallizing doubts that many
organizations had had for numerous years about LPC procedures. Afterwards,
members of preservation groups who had testified at the hearings were
looking for a positive, constructive way to express their mutual concern
that the integrity of the LPC was in jeopardy.

The Women's City Club of New York is a multi-issue, non-partisan advocacy
organization, celebrating its 90th year working to influence and shape
public policy decisions affecting the city. An important part of our work
is to partner with other organizations on specific issues.

The WCC's Arts and Landmarks Committee therefore gathered representatives
of several preservation groups to identify recurrent problems experienced
in dealing with the LPC, and to suggest possible solutions.

Recognizing the excellence of New York's Landmark Preservation Law, we had
two over-riding concerns. First, securing an adequate budget and increased
staffing for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to fulfill its mission
of identifying and protecting the City's cultural and architectural
heritage. Second, improving the relationship of the LPC with the
preservation community.

Represented at meetings held throughout the year were the Historic
Districts Council, Landmark West!, The Society for the Architecture of the
City, Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side, Morningside Heights
Historic District Committee and the Hamilton Heights-West Harlem Community
Preservation Organization. All of these individuals and groups have
extensive experience, over numerous years, in monitoring the work of the
LPC in various parts of New York.

Together we drafted a list of issues needing to be addressed entitled,
Memo: Outline of Problems Experienced by Community Groups Working with the
LPC, which was presented to members and staff of the City Council. The City
Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses
subsequently held an oversight hearing on the administrative practices of
the Landmarks Preservation Commission on October 20, 2004. The outpouring
of people wishing to testify at that hearing could not be accommodated and
the Subcommittee had to adjourn the hearing with a promise to reconvene it
at a later date in a larger room.

original Memo, which is carried over and appears in italics. The REPORT
expands the description of the problems identified, presenting them in a
new and clearer format.

Since its establishment by the City Council in 1965, the New York City
Landmarks Preservation Commission has saved many elements of the City's
history and beauty. Through its open and participatory procedures, it has
given innumerable New Yorkers a voice in shaping the environment that has
such impact upon their daily lives. Indeed, as Robert A. M. Stern observed
in New York 1960, the application of the Landmarks Law has become "New
York's most proactive form of planning."

Nearly forty years later, the LPC has had an excellent overall record,
encompassing the designation of 1,101 individual landmarks, and more than
22,000 properties in 81 historic districts, according to the Mayor's
Management Report: in total about, 2.3 percent of the entire city. But, it
still has important work to do.

The conservation of these 23,000 properties requires countless acts of
stewardship, both large and small; it is an ongoing task that would be
impossible to achieve without the help of citizen-preservationists across
the five boroughs. The LPC administers the statute, but it is the
involvement of the city's inhabitants that makes its application a
political reality.

Landmarks and historic districts simply cannot be designated without broad
community support, nor can the LPC supervise 23,000 properties without the
aid of well-informed individuals who live in the neighborhoods involved and
know the principles of sensible conservation practice.

It is out of this necessity that, in step with the LPC's work of
designation and regulation, groups of local activists have formed with
every new historic district. By now there are more than 100 such societies
in the city, learning the Landmarks Law, monitoring the LPC's practices,
testifying in regard to new construction, alerting the LPC to violations,
warning the city when unprotected parts of our patrimony are endangered,
and so spreading the ethic of preservation among their neighbors.
Yet New York's success in preservation over the past decade has brought
with it a serious challenge. Over the course of several Mayoral
administrations, an increasingly understaffed and underfunded LPC has
confronted the prospect of an enlarged regulatory workload along with each
new designation.

Bit by bit, during this period, public access to the LPC's decisions has
been hindered, making it hard to discern how, when, and on what basis the
LPC is exercising its authority. A participatory decision-making process
has become an administrative maze.

The early years of the LPC's existence were marked by lawsuits brought by
litigants who sought to overturn the Landmarks Law. But more recently, we
have seen lawsuits brought by those who believe the LPC should have taken
stronger measures and applied higher standards to protect the historic
city. For instance:
" 67 Vestry Tenants Association v. Raab
" Maxtone-Graham v. Landmarks Preservation Commission
" CitiNeighbors Coalition of Historic Carnegie Hill v. NY City Landmarks
Preservation Commission
" Save the Cottages and Gardens v. The City of New York et al.
" Historic Districts Council, Inc. et al. v. Eliot Spitzer (re Poe House)
" Landmark West v. Burden (re 2 Columbus Circle)
" Beresford Apartments v. City of New York, et al. (re Planetarium).

Meanwhile, the current administration has received at least one extensive
document complaining of procedural problems at the LPC-not from the real
estate industry, but from the Historic Districts Council, a citywide
organization representing dozens of neighborhood groups concerned with
historic preservation.

The resulting climate of conflict seriously endangers the cause of historic

Thus, late in 2003 the Arts and Landmarks Committee of the Women's City
Club invited neighborhood preservationists from across New York to meet and
attempt to resolve this dilemma. After almost a year, nine distinct
problems were identified-which are elucidated in the following pages.
The City Council has the power to affect reform in several important
ways. In addition, many of the problems described in this report can be
ameliorated via the administrative authority of the LPC.
The following three recommendations were formed.

1) We hope that opportunities for public testimony will be reinstated at
the confirmation hearings of LPC commissioners. This will help revive the
dialogue and bridge the current gap between the public and the municipal
guardians of preservation policy.

2) Most importantly, the LPC requires increased funding to sustain its
programs and achieve the full range of necessary reforms the public is
seeking. Under-funding gravely impairs the LPC's ability to fulfill its

3) Public hearings should be held on a continuing basis to gather comment
in regard to the designation and regulatory functions of the Landmarks
Preservation Commission. These hearings would serve the particularly
important purpose of providing a forum for the concerns of owners of
historic properties, neighbors affected by LPC decisions, and
community-based preservation groups. This would enable the LPC to better
evaluate the impact of its actions on the city.

The landmarks of our city can never be irrevocably secured, only passed on
from one generation of stewards to the next, with each generation required
to meet its own particular challenges. Our purpose in producing this
report is to make positive and constructive suggestions as we seek to
improve the procedures followed by the Landmarks Preservation
Commission. It is our goal to support the LPC and to improve its
interaction with the individuals and communities affected by its
decision-making process.


The working group identified nine problems in their engagement with the
Landmarks Preservation Commission.

I. Designations: Lack of Transparency and Responsiveness

The process by which the LPC determines whether or not to hold a
designation hearing is a mystery. We would like the designation process of
the LPC to become more transparent, as transparency is the cornerstone of
good government.

According to the LPC's official website, the procedure for considering
whether to hold a designation hearing is as follows: 1) Once the LPC
receives a request for evaluation (RFE) of a potential landmark, an RFE
Committee, consisting of the Chairman, the Executive Director, the Chief of
Staff, the Director of Research, and other agency staff members, review the
materials submitted and discuss whether the property meets the criteria for
designation. 2) The Director of Research then sends a letter to the person
who submitted the request, informing him or her of the committee's
determination. 3) If the RFE Committee determines that a proposed historic
property merits further consideration, the property is reviewed by the
Designation Committee, which consists of five Commissioners (less than a
quorum of the full commission). The Designation Committee then votes on
whether to send the property to the full Commission for review.
This pre-hearing process is conducted behind closed doors. There is no
public record or disclosure of the committees' deliberations or the basis
of their decisions.

All LPC designations must be supported by Designation Reports, which cite
scholarly opinions and/or broad public support confirming that landmarks
and historic districts meet widely accepted standards for judging
architectural, historical and/or cultural significance, as stated in the
Landmarks Law.

If it has been demonstrated that potential landmarks meet these criteria:
" by assembling statements of confirmation from numerous widely-recognized
" and especially when the weight of support by outside experts equals or
surpasses the weight of support for comparable designated structures
when the LPC refuses to calendar such properties for public hearing, it has
failed to uphold its "Purposes" as established in the Administrative Code §
25-301 Purpose and declaration of public policy;
a. "The council finds that many improvements, as herein defined, and
landscape features, as herein defined, having a special character or a
special historic or aesthetic interest or value and many improvements
representing the finest architectural products of distinct periods in the
history of the city, have been uprooted, notwithstanding the feasibility of
preserving and continuing the use of such improvements and landscape
features, and without adequate consideration of the irreplaceable loss to
the people of the city of the aesthetic, cultural and historical values
represented by such improvements and landscape features." [emphasis added]
When the LPC declines to hold designation hearings despite authoritative
evidence of eligibility it fails to provide the "adequate consideration"
that the law requires.

Public participation in the identification and designation process is
critical. By its own account the LPC has no other system for identifying
potential landmarks for designation than acting on Requests for Evaluation
submitted by the public. From the late 1970s to 1990 the LPC had a Survey
Department, which investigated potential landmarks in the city. That
department no longer exists, and the interested public has had to assume
this responsibility of the agency.

II. Regulation: Pre-Hearing Disposition of Certificate of Appropriateness

When reviewing Certificate of Appropriateness applications, the LPC sees
the applicant as a partner or client and therefore gives less consideration
to the views of owners of neighboring properties and the views of community
groups. In some cases, negotiations with applicants seem to have reached a
very advanced stage before the public hearing, without input from the
public. The LPC does not seem to consider itself accountable to communities.

In the regulatory process it is important for the LPC to help applicants,
especially if they are inexperienced, to understand the proper practice in
maintaining and altering historic structures, as well as to observe the
general parameters for designing harmonious new buildings in historic

Such negotiations frequently occur prior to public hearings and behind
closed doors. It is essential to recognize that there is a distinction to
be made between discussion that educates in terms of general practice and
extensive pre-hearing private consultation in which the LPC becomes a
de-facto co-designer of the submission.

In cases of highly experienced applicants or major institutions who come
equipped with the best legal advice and well-known architects and historic
preservation consultants, such wide-ranging confidential pre-hearing design
settlements with LPC commissioners and staff compromise the LPC's statutory
obligation to be a neutral arbiter of the public welfare.

Further, the LPC's general practice of using pre-written staff
recommendations as the text of motions to approve suggests that a decision
has been made prior to the hearing. This practice creates another
impediment to meaningful citizen participation in public hearings.

The Landmarks Law states as one of its purposes to "promote the use of
historic districts, landmarks, interior landmarks and scenic landmarks for
the education, pleasure and welfare of the people of the city." Another
stated purpose is to "stabilize and improve property values in such
[historic] districts." Therefore, it is vital that the concerns of the
general public and, in particular, owners of neighboring properties whose
properties may be severely impacted by proposed changes, be part of the
decision-making process.

III. Regulation: Lack of Public Hearings for Substantially Altered
Certificate of Appropriateness Applications

Certificate of Appropriateness items that received a public hearing, but
were not approved, are often brought back in radically altered form, to be
reviewed not at a public hearing, but at a public meeting, where public
testimony is not taken and little public notice is provided. The LPC's
criteria for scheduling items for a public meeting versus a public hearing
are obscure, especially in cases where the application has changed
substantially (e.g., a new design, a different architect. Examples: 322
Hicks Street, Allen Stevenson School.)

The Landmarks Law requires ten days statutory notice of the LPC agenda for
public hearing items, which consist of Certificate of Appropriateness
applications and some Reports. This provision allows interested citizens to
prepare testimony in regard to projects that might have dramatic impact on
individual landmarks and the character of historic districts.

At public hearings, after public testimony has been taken, the LPC may then
determine how to dispose of various items. In such deliberations, in order
to avoid unnecessary delay for the applicant, the LPC often allows the
proposal to be modified after the hearing. The application is then brought
back to a public meeting for final approval. At a public meeting there is
no requirement for public testimony and no statutory requirement for
notice. This is a sensible approach in most cases where needed
modifications are minor or non-controversial. However, when a proposal is
altered radically, a new public hearing should be required.
Failure to recalendar proposals for a new public hearing evades the
Landmarks Law's intent that there be "adequate consideration of the
irreplaceable loss to the people of the city of the aesthetic, cultural and
historical values represented by such improvements."

For example: on one such recent occasion, a design for a new building in an
historic district was "brought back" and approved at a public meeting four
months after the original presentation, with a new architect and a
completely different design.

Furthermore, the calendar for the public meeting is published on the LPC
website only a few days before the meeting, and the agenda is often revised
up until the day before. Additionally, the descriptions of agenda items
that are used are the same as for the original hearing. All these factors
combine to create a situation where the general public does not know when a
completely new design is to be reviewed, and there is no opportunity to
submit new testimony that is relevant.

In response to recent complaints, the LPC has made a gesture toward
outreach through private, selective notification. There is, however, no
legal basis or guideline for determining which members of the public are
entitled to this outreach and the general public remains disenfranchised
through the public review process.

IV. Regulation: Absence of Leadership in Protecting Landmarks Administered
by Other Agencies of Government

We would like to see more openness in the review of alterations to
landmarks owned by the City, the State, and public authorities.
Applications for reports on such properties should be available to the
public before the Commission takes action. In all cases, alterations to
City, State, and Authority owned properties which would require a
Certificate of Appropriateness if privately owned should come to public
hearing. There must be prior public notice, and notice to affected
Community Boards. We believe the Charter requires notice to Community
Boards under Section 2800(e).

While the Landmarks Law specifically states that public notice must be
given for items calendared for designation, or for Certificate of
Appropriateness review, it does not stipulate public hearings for items
which require advisory Reports on alterations to government properties.
However, in the decades prior to the Giuliani Administration, the LPC
consistently calendared for public hearing items requiring reports to other
governmental agencies (if a comparable project on private property would
have warranted Certificate of Appropriateness review). Here, the LPC acted
in the belief that all divisions of government should respect each other's
mandates and procedures, for instance, by appearing at public hearings when
seeking a Report from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Under this policy citizens were able to monitor and contribute to the
successful restoration practices that reclaimed Central and Prospect Parks,
as well as numerous other projects affecting some of New York's most
prominent landmarks.

Arguably, no other self-generated LPC policy has had such profoundly
positive environmental benefits for the people of the city.
Nevertheless, starting under the Giuliani administration, the LPC began to
experiment with new procedures for reviewing alterations to landmarks in
government ownership, sometimes avoiding full public review in important
cases which would formerly have received it.

These changes have reduced public participation and institutional
accountability and led to the loss of an excellent administrative practice.
Indeed if interagency preservation initiatives with other branches of
government were cultivated, the City as a whole would benefit.

There is a need for improved coordination between the LPC and other
agencies such as the City Planning Commission, the Department of
Transportation, the Board of Standards and Appeals and the Department of
Buildings. Agency rules should be reviewed to identify and attempt to
resolve interagency conflicts. We are also concerned that there is a
failure to note deteriorating conditions in City and State owned historic
properties, and in properties controlled by authorities such as the MTA and
the School Construction Authority. The LPC could play an advisory role here.

V. Regulation: Need to Provide Enough Information for Informed Public
Hearing Comment

Plans and materials pertaining to applications scheduled for public
hearings are made available for review by interested members of the public
on the Friday prior to the Tuesday public hearings, and this is very
helpful; however, the materials are often incomplete. The public is not
allowed to speak to staff members who are directly knowledgeable about the
applications and can answer questions.

The Landmarks Law, Section 25-313 Public Hearings (b) establishes the right
of New Yorkers to testify in regard to C of A applications: "the commission
shall afford a reasonable opportunity for the presentation of facts and the
expression of views by those desiring to be heard . . ." [emphasis added]
This process cannot function effectively if the public is not given
sufficient access to information about the applications in advance of the
public hearings.

" Materials presented for public review prior to hearings often lack
clarity and crucial pieces of information; such as plans showing existing
conditions versus proposed alterations, tax photographs from the Municipal
Archives and other types of historic photographs, and photographs in the
LPC's file documenting condition at the time of designation.

" Queries about applications are channeled through the Director of
Community and Government Affairs, who must relay questions to staff,
creating delays in the retrieval of information, some of which is lost in
the process.

" In some cases applications change between Friday afternoon and the
Tuesday hearing so that the public comments on obsolete presentation boards.
Obviously, under these conditions, it is difficult for citizens to deliver
informed testimony and contribute positively to the landmarks process.

Members of the public offering testimony should be allowed to use
illustration boards and audio-visual presentations to make their points.

The LPC has no clear guidelines for public participation. For instance, at
various times Chairs have forbidden the use of illustration boards, the
circulation of documents to commissioners, private communications with
commissioners, and the use of audio-visual presentations such as
PowerPoint. It is unclear whether these prohibitions are still in effect.
Furthermore, members of the general public who seek to participate in LPC
hearings are habitually denied rights extended to applicants. For instance,
the general public is not permitted to "pass the bar," or the invisible
line separating the panel of commissioners from the public seating area. By
contrast, the applicants and their lawyers, consultants, etc., are allowed
to go to the front of the hearing room, where the commissioners are seated
and where it is possible to directly refer to the visual materials of an
application-a location with far better visual and auditory access. On
occasion, applicants have been allowed to use PowerPoint presentations and
other sophisticated means in making their case.

By contrast, recently, the LPC denied a community group the use of
PowerPoint as part of its testimony. Members of the public have sometimes
been refused permission to distribute illustrative handouts to
commissioners during hearings and use illustrated boards as part of their

A basic principle of equity is involved: those who desire to be heard-often
inhabitants of the neighborhoods where new work is proposed to be
constructed-should be allowed equal access to the hearing room, not by
virtue of sufferance but by fundamental right and established rule.

VI. Regulation: Need for Public Access to Staff-Level Permit Records

A vast and growing majority of applications to alter landmarks are approved
at staff level under the rules. We believe that concerned neighbors and
the public should have access to information about existing and pending
staff-level permits. Certificate of Appropriateness decisions are already
being made available on line through the Center for New York City Law. The
technology is there and the available materials should be expanded.

The LPC website has made it much easier to retrieve information about
designations, public hearings and meetings, and agency rules. In addition,
recently, the New York City Center for Law has started making Certificate
of Appropriateness decisions available on line, which is a giant step
forward, although it still does not fulfill the government's responsibility
to provide public information on its actions.

There is one area where information about the LPC is difficult to obtain.
The majority of the permits issued by the LPC, that is, staff-level
permits, are issued without public notice or review and not systematically
made available to the public.

Staff-level permits are no longer just for minor work. The LPC has
instituted a policy of moving as many permits as possible out of the public
hearing process-by authorizing Rules, and Master Plans under the Rules.
These empower staff approvals for substantial projects, some of which
entail Buildings Department permits. Included are restoration, certain
rear yard and rooftop additions, HVAC work, sign, window and awning
changes, and new window openings. In some historic districts, new
storefronts, visible additions to buildings, and other major construction,
such as the demolition of certain categories of building, are approved at
staff level. Consequently, work in historic districts that in the past
might have been calendared (and in many cases reviewed by the local
community board) now comes as a complete surprise to the people who live in
such areas.

The public deserves to know what is pending and what has been approved.
Sharing of information about pending permits can also help prevent the
issuance of invalid permits, which has happened on occasion when staff has
approved applications that do not comply with zoning or other city
regulations. The Department of Buildings Building Information Service (BIS)
and the Department of Finance Automated City Register Information System
(ACRIS) provide a comparable service. The technology exists and other
agencies have shown it can be done. The public interest would be better
maintained if all LPC permits and permit applications were available on
line on the agency's website.

VII. Regulation: Need to Ensure Community Board Participation

The LPC must honor the meeting schedules and procedures of Community Boards
so that their reports on Certificates of Appropriateness applications can
be received and considered by the commissioners at public hearing prior to
a vote.

This is particularly important as Community Boards serve a vital advisory
role in all municipal land-use decisions and, as an appointed arm of
government, should have the sufficient opportunity to fulfill that role.

VIII. Regulation: Need for an Improved Sound System in the LPC Hearing Room

A better sound system needs to be installed in the hearing room to enable
the public to hear the applicants' presentations and the commissioners'
discussion. The existing sound system is defective and is not always fully

Section 25-313 of the Landmarks Law; Public hearings; requires that the LPC
hold "public hearings." [emphasis added]
After innumerable complaints, over many years, the discussion of
commissioners remains frequently inaudible.

IX. Regulation: Lack of Consistent Standards in Regulation

The LPC no longer seems to be adhering to widely recognized standards of
preservation practice such as the preservation of the original fabric and
structure of buildings under restoration. It can be unclear what criteria
are being used when the LPC makes its determinations. In some cases, there
appears to be a lack of consistent and rational policy from neighborhood to

Looking at the roster of landmarks, we see a wonderful variety of places, a
panorama of our culture and history. Flexibility in dealing with this
variety is an important feature of the Landmarks Law, which gives decision
makers discretionary powers when they rule on the appropriateness of
alterations. Many times, landmarks present unique problems that require
unique solutions.
Nevertheless, there are some general principles of historic preservation
which are recognized nationally and internationally in regard to
maintaining the integrity of landmarks:
" It is better to preserve the original building, the original materials,
the original structure and the original setting-rather than making a copy,
an imitation or a memento.

" If parts of the original are highly deteriorated, it is better to repair
them rather than replace them.

" When original materials cannot be retained, it is better to replace them
in kind.

The New York City Landmarks Law includes a section which permits the LPC to
make a finding of hardship, allowing relief from more rigorous preservation
standards because of extenuating financial circumstances. A real test for
hardship was carefully prescribed by the City Council, as well as by the
courts in various relevant findings.

Yet in recent years the LPC has given undue consideration to factors of
economics in cases where the hardship test has not been formally applied.
The LPC routinely approves discarding of original historic building
components and replacing them with substitute materials of poor quality and
appearance. Sometimes much or all of a structure behind the street wall is
allowed to be destroyed.

Furthermore, the LPC has applied uneven standards to different
neighborhoods. An equally high standard of preservation should be applied
in every historic neighborhood across the city, while recognizing that each
neighborhood possesses its own unique characteristics and qualities.
Finally, the LPC must uphold preservation standards that fulfill the intent
of the Landmarks Law when it comes to responding to work performed without
LPC permits. Property owners and other members of the general public
perceive the LPC's enforcement of the Landmarks Law as inconsistent and
erratic. Work done without permits is often undetected and uncorrected, in
part due to shortage of enforcement staff. Furthermore, work done without
permits is sometimes retroactively approved at a lower preservation
standard than would have been maintained had the work been reviewed by the
LPC prior to completion, even though the LPC 's stated policy is to
maintain a uniform standard.

The signatories of this report recommend that:

I. Public Participation in the Appointment of Commissioners Be Reinstated.
As Commissioners must be confirmed through action of the City Council, we
hope that the Council will confirm only those who are conversant and in
sympathy with preservation goals.

We believe there should be an opportunity for public input on appointments
and would like to work in partnership with the Rules, Privileges and
Elections Committee of the Council so as to ensure a comprehensive,
detailed interview for each Commissioner being considered.

II. Adequate Funding for the Necessary Staff Be Provided.
While the work load of the LPC has increased, the staff and funding have
been cut. The LPC is short of staff in all departments. The Preservation
Department needs more staff to conduct thorough investigations of the
growing number of applications it receives, and make more site visits.

The Research Department needs more staff to conduct surveys to identify
buildings worthy of designation and to produce designation reports in a
timely manner, and to perform community outreach, as it once did. More
violation officers are needed to enforce the landmarks law. As the number
of landmarked properties continues to grow, and the amount of investment in
restoration and renovation of those properties continues to increase, the
agency's resources must be expanded to meet the increased workload.

III. Regular Public Hearings Be Held to Address Designation and Regulatory
Many of the problems described in this report can be ameliorated via the
administrative authority of the LPC. In order for this to occur, continuing
public dialogue is needed.

Public hearings should be held on a continuing basis to gather public
comment in regard to the designation and regulatory functions of the LPC.
These hearings would serve the particularly important purpose of providing
a forum for hearing the concerns of owners of historic properties,
neighbors affected by LPC decisions, and community-based preservation groups.

This would enable the agency to better evaluate the impact of its actions
on the city.