Monday, January 31, 2005

CERT Application for Cluster V Training: April 2005 - Deadline Fe b. 25

-----Original Message-----
From: Hawa, Sharon [mailto:shawa@OEM.NYC.GOV]
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 4:40 PM

Subject: CERT Application for Cluster V Training:
April 2005 - Deadline Fe b. 25
Importance: High

Dear Community Board representatives,

By now you should be familiar with OEM's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program. The CERT program is designed to train people to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency situations in their communities. CERT Teams serve as a valuable resource for neighborhoods by bringing together committed, motivated volunteers to help improve the overall preparedness and safety of their communities.

OEM is currently recruiting 5 additional Community Boards to participate in the next phase of CERT training; Applications are attached. We are seeking Community Boards that can demonstrate the commitment to support a CERT Team and the ability to identify a wide range of participating community groups. Please note that Community Boards need not have pre-identified participants in order to apply. We encourage all Community Boards which have an interest in starting a CERT Team in their districts to apply now; once selected, OEM's program partner, Citizens for NYC, can provide assistance in recruiting team members and identifying strong community participation.

If your Community Board has an established CERT already in its neighborhood, we ask that you please refrain from re-applying until all Community Boards without CERT teams have the opportunity to establish a team in their Community Board districts.

CERT is an excellent opportunity for your district to become actively engaged in emergency preparedness and response. Community Board CERT teams receive an 11-week training taught by instructors from the FDNY, NYPD, American Red Cross, and Citizens for NYC. Additionally, each team will be eligible to compete for a $500 neighborhood organization grant to assist with team activities.

Training cycle will commence in late April / early May 2005 - Applications due by Friday, Feb. 25.

Only one Community Board per Borough will be selected for each training cycle. Community Boards will be contacted regarding final selections by March 11th, 2005.

For more detailed information on CERT, please see attached copies of the CERT Fact Sheet.

Questions? Please contact us at 718-422-4865.

Completed applications should be submitted to:

Sharon Hawa

CERT Program Coordinator

New York City Office of Emergency Management

11 Water Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201


for Community Boards
Winter 2005 Recruitment

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is designed to train people to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies occur, CERT members can provide immediate assistance to their neighbors until emergency authorities arrive. CERT members can further use their training to inform, educate, and train their fellow neighbors on disaster preparedness that will help improve the safety of their community.


While some of the CERT training is designed to prepare individuals and their teams to engage in disaster response, the primary role of CERT teams in New York City is disaster preparedness - on a personal level, as well as on a neighborhood level.

Fortunately, large-scale disasters that would involve a CERT response are rare. Therefore, it is very important that team members understand that the basic response skills gained during the training are, in fact, a very small part of what a team will focus on post-training.

Much of a team’s time will instead be spent on preparedness for themselves, their families, and their communities. Examples of these activities include:

· Distribution of the Ready New York household preparedness guide to local individuals, families, and businesses.
· Arranging for groups to receive the Ready New York presentation.
· Building relationships within the community (i.e., local business merchants, local firehouses and police precincts) to share information and utilize resources.
· Creating committees/teams for team planning, communication, training, outreach, etc.
· Preparing and distributing a Local Emergency Resource Directory and meeting with representatives of emergency response agencies to discuss preparedness and response coordination.
· Creation of a confidential Special Skills Registry (listing contact information for neighbors with helpful skills such as social work, carpentry, medical training, etc.).
· Creation of a confidential Special Needs Registry (listing contact information for neighbors such as the homebound, seniors, people with disabilities, etc.)
· Creation of an Interpreter Registry to help with language and cultural needs.
· Arranging for additional training opportunities for your team.
· Planning for CERT team continuity, sustainability, and future leadership.


· CERT training requires a strong commitment from its participants.
· Teams will designate one day of the week in which they will receive a three-hour training session for 11 consecutive weeks. The format for training includes both a lecture style and hands-on training. All training materials are included in this 11-week program.
· Upon completion of the CERT training, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion and an official New York City CERT kit that includes a hard hat, CERT vest, flashlight, gloves, goggles, etc.
· Training includes topics such as Fire Safety, Light Search & Rescue, Terrorism and CERT, Disaster Medical Operations, Preparing for the Urban Environment, as well as Disaster Mental Health.
· Teams are also provided with the tools to help get themselves organized. Citizens for NYC provides training sessions entitled Building a Strong Team which address key steps in CERT team and neighborhood organization. Upon completion of the training, Citizens for NYC also offers competitive $500 implementation grants and regular technical assistance.

Training Location

As mentioned, training sessions are held once a week in each respective borough. Each Community Board is responsible for identifying, securing, and serving as liaison to an appropriate location for these training sessions.

Guidelines for the ideal CERT training space:
· A facility with:
o A well-lit room with enough movable chairs and table space for 40 students. (Although the CERT Team maximum is 40 participants, we require a few extra spaces for “transferees” from other CERT Teams, guests, etc. More on the transferee issue below.)
o Space to set up a screen (for projecting PowerPoint slide images) and electrical outlets for plugging in a laptop and projector.
o Access to an outdoor space (such as a parking lot) suitable for conducting the demonstration of use of fire extinguishers. This demonstration involves lighting a fire in special fire pan and then allowing each CERT participant the chance to put out the fire with an extinguisher.
o A secure place to store training equipment in between classes. The place must be locked or secured when the items are not in use and must be accessible in the evenings for classes. For an idea of the volume of storage space needed, imagine a mid-size SUV with all but the front seats folded down. The equipment will include: various types of fire extinguishers (about eight total), CPR mannequin, first aid materials, a body board, a blanket, wood for cribbing, an easel and paper
· The training location must remain constant throughout the training course. This is to avoid confusion amongst participants, instructors and guests, as well as to avoid moving equipment from place to place.
· Sessions will likely be scheduled from 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Most instructors will want access to the room at least 15 minutes prior to the start time.
· The CERT Program Manager will conduct a walk-through of the proposed training location well in advance of the start of training.

Training Equipment

· All course materials and equipment are provided and there is no fee for participation.
· Equipment will be delivered either the week before or the week of the first classes. The CERT Program Manager will coordinate with a designated CERT Liaison a time for this delivery including signing off on receipt of the equipment indicating acceptance of responsibility for returning the equipment at the conclusion of the training.
· As indicated above, it is imperative that a secure location be identified for storage of the CERT training equipment for the duration of the classes.
· With the exception of participant manuals which are kept by the participants, all equipment and materials are the property of OEM and will be collected at the conclusion of the training.
· Should you wish to provide refreshments for the training sessions, any costs are the responsibility of the Community Board and/or participating community groups.


CERT classes will be conducted by a combination of representatives from the Fire Department of New York City, New York City Police Department, New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the American Red Cross, and Citizens for NYC.

A Lead Instructor from FDNY will be with you for the duration of the training and specialist instructors will come to each class.

Class Participation

· CERT participants are expected to attend every training class.
· Participants who are unable to attend a class can “make up” the class by attending the same class offered to another location (in another borough on another night) or working with their instructors to schedule a make up class. A copy of the master training schedule and instructions on how participants can make arrangements to attend a “make-up” class will be available before training.
· Participants who miss and do not make up a CERT class can participate in the program and in team preparedness activities, but will not receive a Certificate of Completion, and CERT kit.

Responsibilities of Community Board

In advance of the training

The primary responsibilities of the CB prior to the start of CERT training are:

· To recruit participants from no fewer than 3 neighborhood organizations in their community district (with support from Citizens for NYC).
· To secure an appropriate space for training.
· To identify a CERT Liaison.
· To maintain contact with your team’s Lead Instructor.
· To maintain ongoing contact with the OEM CERT Program Manager.

· It is the Community Board’s responsibility to recruit participants from groups in all neighborhoods within the Community District for the CERT training. Ideally, each community group will provide 8 to 10 participants to serve on the CERT Team.
· Community Boards should cast a wide net in recruiting groups from their neighborhood/community. Consider including organizations whose members have a variety of backgrounds as well as personal and professional areas of expertise.
· OEM will provide an application and fact sheet to be used to recruit community groups. This will help you set appropriate expectations with potential participants regarding both the training and commitment to being an active member of the CERT team following the training. Citizens for NYC will assist Community Boards in identifying active organizations.
· The Community Board is expected to recruit a minimum of 30 and maximum of 40 participants total.
· Participants must be at least 18 years of age, but otherwise the program is open to any member of your community who can commit to the training.
· The Community Board (working with OEM) is also expected to help identify volunteer support (volunteer ambulance associations are a good place to start) to assist with medical operations modules.
· A list of participants must be submitted to OEM approximately two weeks before training is to begin.

Contact with Lead Instructor
The nature and duration of the training will require ongoing coordination between the Community Board CERT Liaison and the Lead Instructor.


New York City Community Emergency Response Team
Community Board Application Form – Winter 2005

To help neighborhoods better prepare for future emergencies, the Office of Emergency Management is expanding the New York City Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Program. Our goal is to have at least one CERT Team in every Community Board by the end of 2006. We currently have the funding to train five new teams. In coordination with the Borough Presidents offices, we are accepting applications from Community Boards wishing to recruit community groups to participate in training during the following time period:

Cluster V: April/May – July 2005

Community Board Responsibilities
The CERT fact sheet outlines the CERT program and responsibilities of Community Boards wishing to support CERT training.

Application Submission and Deadline
Applications must be received by February 25, 2004, and may be submitted by mail or e-mail to:
Mailing Address:
Sharon Hawa
CERT Program Manager
New York City Office of Emergency Management
11 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

To receive an electronic version of this application, send an e-mail to

Questions? Call Sharon Hawa at (718) 422-4865

Selection Process:

Applications will be reviewed by representatives of NYC CERT partners including: OEM, FDNY, NYPD, Citizens for NYC, The American Red Cross in Greater New York, and Borough Presidents’ offices. Applications will be scored based on responses given to each question. If there are several top candidates with similar scores, preference for this round of training will be given to Community Boards not adjacent to existing CERT teams.

Community Boards will be notified of results by March 1.

Contact Information
Community Board (number and borough): ______________________________________

Contact Person (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss)


Work Phone ( ) E-Mail: Cell Phone ( ) _

Application Questions
Please feel free to attach a separate sheet with answers to the following questions:

1. Demonstrate strong interest for CERT in your Community Board.
Examples: Inquiries from groups/individuals interested in CERT, disaster preparedness events held in your community, other related events sponsored by your Community Board.

2. Demonstrate your Community Board’s ability to support a CERT team.
a. Access to appropriate facility in which to conduct training (see fact sheet for details)
b. General Strength of Community Board
Examples: Specific success(es) of past projects, support from the community, infrastructure, leadership

3. Demonstrate ability to recruit individuals from a wide range of groups
(associations/organizations, etc.)
Examples: detail relationships with specific organizations, past collaborations.


I have carefully read the NYC CERT Community Board Application and Fact Sheet. If my Community Board is chosen, we will comply with guidelines set forth in both documents.

___________________________ ____________________________ ________
Representative Name Representative Signature Date

Exile's documentary on Castro lets her confront feelings

Click here: Exile's documentary on Castro lets her confront feelings

Posted on Sat, Jan. 29, 2005


Exile's documentary on Castro lets her confront feelings


There was a time, Adriana Bosch said, when she didn't think Fidel Castro was so evil.

She lived in Boston in the 1970s, and the infectious rhetoric of leftists and hippies had gotten to her. Far removed from the anti-Castro fervor of exile Miami and New Jersey, there were few around to shake some sense into her, she said.

''It was fashionable,'' she said of her Castro ambivalence.

Today, Bosch calls herself a neo-conservative, and her opus on Fidel Castro, a two-hour documentary by that name to air nationally on PBS Monday, should settle the question of how she feels about him. At least she hopes so.

''I'm not supposed to vent my feelings,'' she said, when explaining how she wanted to portray Fidel in her film. ``I'm supposed to look at facts, draw as objective a portrait as I can. Fidel is a man driven by his own ambition. But to think that's all there is to him is underestimating him.''

Bosch, who left Cuba in 1968 at age 13, did not try to put her feelings about Castro aside, but instead ''went head-on into them,'' she said.

During an interview at the Biltmore Hotel, Bosch cradled a pink Campari and soda. She wore a pink shirt with a pink sweater draped over her shoulders, a tropical update to the gray Boston image she embraced for two decades.


Video See the film's trailer
TV schedule


She harbors a certain respect for Castro. ''He has goals, he has ambition, a definite sense of where he thinks he is going,'' she said. ``You don't have the kind of purges under him that you saw under Stalinism.''

However, Bosch says she harbors no illusions about Fidel. She points out his abysmal record on human rights, including his role in summary executions, and believes Castro is interested first and foremost in maintaining power.

''This is not a defense of Fidel Castro,'' she said. ``I really want people to see it and think for themselves.''

The documentary is the latest in a string produced by Bosch for PBS' highly regarded American Experience that includes portraits of Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

Bosch, 49, said she did not want the film to be viewed as an ''exile piece.'' So she chose a white non-Hispanic actor to narrate it. Her idea was to make the documentary interesting to all Americans, not just Cuban exiles.

Miami has been abuzz about the movie the last few days.

''The documentary is extraordinary,'' said local talk show host Maria Elvira Salazar, who saw the film. ``It's the first time that through images and by telling the story in an impartial way, the audience sees what a high social cost the Cuban people have had to pay for the megalomania of Fidel Castro.''

Bosch wants to make a couple of things clear. She is not related to Orlando Bosch, the exile figure who was accused of bombing an airliner that killed dozens.

Nor does she belong to the Bosch family that are heirs to the Bacardi fortune.


She was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1955, and had her first and only meeting with Castro when she was 4. Castro had returned to Santiago in 1959 for the first time since he took over Havana, and Bosch's father, a cattle trader, had taken her to the airport to greet him.

The young revolutionary picked up Bosch and gave her a kiss. ''Que gordita mas bonita,'' (what a pretty little fat girl) she remembers him saying.

Her family fled to Spain in 1968, and later to Elizabeth, N.J., where her father became a butcher and her mother took a job in an organ factory.

After graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in political science and Spanish literature, she moved to Boston in 1977 to obtain a doctoral degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, run jointly by Harvard and Tufts universities.

Surrounded by ''hippie and leftist types,'' Bosch began to think maybe Castro wasn't so bad.

Her view changed when she did a dissertation on Nicaragua's Sandinista movement and its negative impact on society. While working on a documentary on Central America, she fell in love with television and filmmaking. She moved to Miami from Boston last summer.

Although she did not interview Castro, Bosch amassed a collection of archived footage.

''It presents a very objective image of Fidel,'' said journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner, who saw the film. ``The final result is very negative for his [Castro's] image.''

As for Bosch's predictions about the future of Cuba, she said that Castro's biggest mistake is that he personifies his revolution, so once he dies, it may die with him.

''Castro is looking for a history that will absolve him, acquit him, but he hasn't found it,'' she said.

Blogger's Cuban slant draws fans

Click here: 01/31/2005 Blogger's Cuban slant draws fans

Posted on Mon, Jan. 31, 2005


Blogger's Cuban slant draws fans

A Kendall weblogger has found his niche writing about life as a Cuban exile, news on the island and cultural traditions. And, of course, he thrills at taking jabs at Fidel Castro.


Valentin ''Val'' Prieto has few memories of Cuba: the lone plum tree in the backyard of his home in Oriente province, a frail neighbor who regularly slipped him candy through the chain-link fence -- and the day his whole family cried.

Though only 3, Prieto remembers that 1968 day. His whole world changed as he said goodbye to his island home -- a bittersweet choice his family made to flee Fidel Castro's communist regime.

Prieto's story is not unusual in Miami. But the way he tells it is. Several times a day, the 40-year-old Prieto -- a project manager for a South Miami architectural firm -- logs onto his home computer as ''Babalú blogger,'' one of the first Cuban Americans to chronicle the exile experience in the fast-developing genre known as blogging.

From one-liners to longer, more passionate tales, Prieto routinely files posts onto his web log,, about anything and everything Cuban. Especially, its infamous dictator.

''I wanted to have a place where people who don't know anything about Cuba can come and read the reality,'' said Prieto, who added that there are only a few bloggers who write solely on Cuban issues. ``I wanted to demystify the myths and clear up the misconceptions about this culture.''

Since Prieto launched his Babalú blog in June 2003 -- named after a saint worshipped in Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion, and made popular by actor Desi Arnaz -- the site has become a favorite to many computer junkies around the world.

Hits to the site come from as far away as Japan, Switzerland and Australia. Each day, about 1,000 people drop by, Prieto said.

Readers often post remarks to Prieto's blogs, either thanking him for what he's written, criticizing him for his conservatism or asking him for more information on the topic.

One of the regular visitors to the site is A.M. Mora y Leon, a California journalist who uses a pseudonym to protect her identity because some of the topics she writes about are controversial.

Leon enjoys reading Prieto's blogs because his posts are unique and offer readers an insight into Cuban life, which, she said, is nearly impossible to find on the Internet.

''All over the Internet you can talk to people in rice paddies in southeast Asia, on the dusty plains in India and even in China, but you can't talk to anyone in Cuba,'' Leon said. ``But Val is the closest thing to it. He fills that gap.''

Prieto's introduction to blogging happened by chance.

Up until a few years ago, Prieto said, he didn't even know he could write.

But as the blogging phenomenon continued to gain popularity, Prieto became curious. He surfed the Internet, reading blog after blog.

''I was hooked,'' he said.

He was also shocked by the lack of posts about his country.

''There was nothing about Cuba in all the different blogs I read,'' Prieto said. ``I decided to change that.''

From current events making news on the island to meaningful Cuban holidays, there is little that goes unwritten in Prieto's world of blogging.


Most of what Prieto writes about is his reaction to news happening in Cuba, which he sees on television news or reads in newspapers or wire reports. He has little family remaining in the country and rarely speaks to anyone on the island, he said.

But some of his most treasured posts, he says, are the stories he remembers being told by his parents and grandparents about life before Castro.

He also gets inspired by flipping through old photographs of his parents walking through the streets of Havana, or his late aunt Amanda, a beautiful Cuban movie star who died at 17.

''I was young when I left there,'' Prieto recalled. ``What I know of the life there is what I know from my parents.''

Some of the stories, however, aren't happy ones.

Soon after Castro took control of Cuba, Prieto's father was imprisoned for making oil lamps.

When he was released, the family had no choice but to move to the U.S. The freedom they had while living in Miami's Little Havana, and then a neighborhood near the airport, was a nice change.

Both of Prieto's parents worked three jobs, trying to make ends meet for their two children.

But the family missed their home in Cuba and believed they would one day return.

That day has never come, though.

Growing up in Miami, Prieto said, it was hard to forget his homeland. Everywhere he'd go, from Little Havana to Hialeah to Westchester, he'd be reminded of the country he left.

His blog is the perfect outlet, he says, to vent his feelings of anger and sadness.

One of his most recent posts reflected on the valor of Cuban patriot, José Martí. In another, he praised Cuban graffiti artists for painting anti-government slogans that read ''Down with Fidel'' on a hospital in Placetas.


During the holidays, Prieto is on the computer more than usual informing his readers on Cuban traditions, such as cooking lechon, a pig, in La Caja China, Chinese roasting box, for Nochebuena, Christmas Eve. He also explained why nibbling on 12 grapes on New Year's Eve is good luck and tales about The Three Kings, or Los Reyes Magos.

Whatever subject he writes about, Prieto said, he feels that he is making a difference by enlightening readers about his life, the country he loves and misses, and the tyranny that plagues it.

''I'm doing what I set out to do,'' Prieto said. ``Open some eyes, open some ears, open some hearts.''


Subject: Coaltion to Presrve Community:Batch 1, UPCOMING SCHEDULE, FEB, 05
Date: 1/30/2005 2:24:32 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: BFrappy24
To: BFrappy24



Upcoming meeting schedule for Feb. '05:
(1) Housing march and rally at City Hall, 4:30PM on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

(2) NOTE THAT THE CPC MEETING WILL BE ON Feb. 3, Thursday, 6:30PM. THIS IS THE confirmed date for the next Coalition to Preserve Community meeting, St. Mary's Church, 521 West. 126th st., 6:30PM. PLEASE COME OUT.

The community has been asking for answers to important questions from Columibia for many months. It is impossible to understand the implications of Columbia's zoning change requests without information which Columbia is consistently refusing to provide.

Please review the questions pasted in below and come to the meeting and let us know what you think - add on questions to the list, expand on those we have outlined below. (You can also send back any comments or suggestions you have.)

We expect that Columbia will soon try and present some compromise position on the 197A plan and its expansion without providing the real information that is needed for the community to make intelligent decisions about development.

It is important that we hear from everyone so we can wisely counteract this anticipated move by Columbia.

The flyer below with the questions we need answers for explains this process a little more. We will have various presentations at the meeting and discuss other action plans and your ideas are welcome.

COMMENT: In the Sunday NY Times today (Metro Section, first page) there is an article on eminent domain use in New London, Conneticut.

Dana Belinger, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice (a libertarian group which supports some very conservative causes at times) says the following about the use of eminent domain which her group is opposing: " It is usually an effort to go from lower to middle class, and from middle class to upper class. It is almost always an attempt to replace poorer people with richer people and middle income businesses with upscale businesses."

Of course in the West Harlem expansion, there is also a racial component. The vast majority of the residents who Columibia wants to remove are non-white, as are the vast amount of workers in the businesses Columbia wants to drive out.

The entire working class community of West Harlem is facing secondary displacement in terms of housing and the businesses that are affordable to the current residents. In addition, the fact that over a third of Columbia's expansion will be for a biotech center in a residential neighborhood makes the plan much more than a fight against eminent domain. Another difference between the New London battle is that this is New York and the greater community loves the diversity which West Harlem represents, from its historic people to its historic buildings.

We have a lot to defend. Come on out.

(3) Feb. 15 , Community Board 9 Housing committee meeting. CB 9, 565 W. 125th st. 6:30PM.

(4) Feb. 17, Community Board 9 Monthy membership meeting. CB 9, 565 W. 125th st. 6:30PM.

(5) Student forum on gentrification, 11:00 AM. all day Sunday, Feb. 27 at Columbia University and musical tribute to the community on Sunday, Feb. 27 at St. Mary's Church from 1:00PM to 7:00PM. More info on both to follow once it is emailed along from the organizers of both events.

(6) Feb. 28, Community Board 9 Task Force committee meeting. CB 9, 565 W. 125th st. Monday, Jan. 24, 6:30PM. (note, due to snowstorm, you might call CB 9 to confirm this meeting 212 864-6200)


United for an Open and Strong Community
POST OFFICE BOX 50 - Manhattanville Station
365 West 125th Street
NEW York City, New York 10027

The Coalition to Preserve Community requests that the following questions be answered by Columbia in writing and that this information not be delayed any longer. Many of these questions have been on the agenda of the Task Force for six months or more. Columbia must provide concrete responses at the next meeting.


(1) Define the financial benefits Columbia will receive from a zoning change?

What is the value of the property Columbia has in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets currently?

How much of a tax exemption does Columbia receive on that current property? What is the value of the property Columbia wants to purchase in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets?

How much of a tax exemption will Columbia receive on that property it wants for its plan?

What will be the value of the property in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets after Columbia completes the Full Build plan it has proposed?

What will be the tax exemption on the property in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets after Columbia completes the "Full Build" plan it has proposed?

What Federal money does Columbia estimate it will receive and from what sources in terms of biotech, bio-defense, and general educational purposes funding as well as any Federal dollar cost benefits in the construction phases of the plan?

Provide the community with the tax revenue amount in current buildings in the expansion area paid by current businesses and land owners in terms of property and employment taxes.

(2) Gary Tarnoff advised the Task Force in August '04 that discussions were occurring with state agencies about the active nature of the expansion area.

Provide an update report on Columbia's "blight designation" discussions and whether there has been any applications filed regarding this issue?

Provide current leasing information about sublet rentals for each of the Columbia owned buildings in the expansion area - length of leases in place, a breakdown in terms of the length of leases offered by Columbia over the past ten years and what is being offered currently, as well as information on requests by tenants for both longer lease terms and/or their expressed intentions to improve their rental space.

Does Columbia have any alternative agreements with businesses (Dinosaur, for example) in properties it does not own in the expansion area to provide them space in the future in buildings it does own?

(3) Provide Task Force meeting attendees with basic process information on scoping, the EIS, and ULURP process which Columbia representatives promised to bring in Sept. '04.

(4) Does Columbia plan to use Eminent Domain to get property in the proposed expansion area?

(5) Provide an update on any discussions Columbia has had with HPD regarding any and all of the residential buildings in the expansion area?

Does Columbia have any agreement with HCCI about the newly renovated 601 West 132nd St. building relevant to the tenancies of the apartments and commercial space?

(6) Will the underground tunnel system being proposed to connect Columbia buildings have any commercial spaces or be used in any commercial way from vending machines on up?

The proposed expansion area has been estimated by Columbia to total anywhere from 5 to 7 million square feet of space.

Define what that space means in terms of floor space, block and lot space, air rights, etc.

(7) Columbia representatives have indicated that some of the construction on 125th Street will involve the "bathtub" approach similar to what was used as the foundation for the World Trade Center.

Explain how this would be implemented in the expansion area in terms of its proximity to the Hudson River?

What consideration has been given to the reasonably contemplated biotech hazards in terms of the presence of earthquake fault line on 125th Street as recently highlighted in a report on CNN?

Does the subway being above ground in the West 125th Street neighborhood play a role in the choice of the placement of a biotech center?

(8) Why has the alternative of placement of the biotech center in a research park, instead of a residential neighborhood, not been proposed?

What kinds of military defense projects will be researched in the biotech center?

What additional security measures are planned for this biotech center as opposed to the one on 168th Street?

(9) Columbia doctors stated that they are not paid by Columbia, that their salaries are paid by grants they receive from the Federal government (NIH grants).

How does Columbia hold these doctors accountable to the self-audit process currently being performed, some in #3 labs?

What kind of community review process does Columbia propose for monitoring its research center? Will there be community membership?

(10) Provide an update on discussions with the MTA about any and all properties it owns in the immediate expansion area and nearby.

(11) What is the breakdown of academic and commercial researchers at the Audubon Research Building (ARB) since it opened?

Have the available spaces allocated for commercial biomedical companies been regularly occupied?

Provide the tax revenue dollar amount from these companies since the ARB opened?

(12) It was estimated in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the ARB that 1627 of the 1965 new jobs would be created in the commercial and university labs. How many of those jobs went to local residents?

Provide a detailed account of the results of the job training program required in the ARB project.
(13) There was considerable uncertainty about the type of biotech companies which would be working out of the ARB and identifying the exact amount and nature of the hazardous materials being used.

What manufacturing operations have occurred at the ARB. Provide the community with a statistic analysis of the number of accidents that have occurred at Columbia Hospital or the Hammer Center and a breakdown of the categories of accidents and how they were dealt with.

The EIS listed three hazardous chemicals that will be used in high quantities - chloroform, petroleum distillates, and carbon tetrachloride.

What hazardous chemicals will be used at the expansion site?

The EIS for the ARB failed to state specifically if any agents requiring containment higher than BL2 will be prohibited.

Have biohazard agents higher than for BL2 been used at the ARB site?

(14) What impact will the expansion plan have on the water supply, sanitary sewage, solid waste disposal and increased energy demands on the infrastructure?

Explain the history of the red waste disposal procedure at the ARB and other lab waste. Is it possible that viruses "cooked" in sludge for three weeks before dumping may still harbor viruses?

1) In terms of the PRESERVATION of the affordable housing the remains in the CD9 area,

a) Will Columbia agree to cease all further conversion of community housing stock and keep rent regulated apartments on the market available to the general public with a rental policy that preserves the existing diversity, as called for in the 197A Plan?

b) Will Columbia publicly oppose any efforts to privatize public housing and the removal of subsidies from those who need them?

c) Will Columbia publicly oppose any efforts to Mitchell Llama housing and the removal of subsidies from those who need them and stand beside the efforts of tenants in 3333 Broadway to remain in their apartments at affordable rents?

2) In terms of the CREATION of affordable housing, will Columbia commit to providing affordable housing for long term local residents at income levels reflecting CD9’s current social make-up as an integral component of its development plans, as called for in the 197A?

3) In terms of sustainable economic development and job creation,

a) Will Columbia protect locally owned business currently in operation as well as promoting local ownership of new businesses?

b) In terms of new businesses, will they provide a living wage with a future for local residents?

c) Is Columbia prepared to provide or fund training programs and educational opportunities accountable to the community to address any disparities in skill levels that may prevent locals from obtaining the new jobs?

4) With respect to social services needed for the well being of CD9 residents, will new development include community facilities with space and resources for advocacy groups, supervised youth activities, centers for seniors, and health care delivery?

5) Will Columbia respect the historical and architectural integrity of existing structures and ensure that new structures are contextual to the size and bulk of surrounding ones?

6) Will Columbia guarantee no practices that are harmful to the environment or the health of CB9 residents and will Columbia establish procedures that ensure real community oversight and accountability for all activities carried out in any biotech facilities?

7) Will Columbia commit to including any of the above that are not specifically addressed in the 197A, in a Community Benefits Agreement?

For additional information contact: Coalition to Preserve Community (CPC), P O. BOX 50 Manhattanville Station, 365 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027. Call: 212-666-6426.

Stadium Land Could Cost Jets $300 Million

Subject: Times: Stadium Land Could Cost Jets $300 Million
Date: 1/30/2005 9:29:55 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

January 31, 2005
Stadium Land Could Cost Jets $300 Million
NY Times

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants the Jets to pay nearly $300
million, or nearly three times what the team has offered, for the rights to
build a 75,000-seat stadium over the railyard on the Far West Side of
Manhattan, according to executives who have been briefed on the negotiations.

The gap between the two numbers, which are based on each side's land
appraisals, sets up a showdown on the value of the property, which
represents one of the last hurdles in the Jets' quest for a new home in
Manhattan. It is also a final step in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's campaign
for a stadium that could be used for the 2012 Olympics if the city's bid
for the games is successful.

For months, both sides have been debating the value of the Long Island Rail
Road yard, a roughly 13-acre site between 11th and 12th Avenues, from 30th
to 34th Street. Stadium proponents have staked out a position that the land
is worthless, while transportation advocates and stadium opponents have
demanded that the team pay top dollar for the property, in hopes that a
high price will either kill the deal or produce a windfall for the authority.

Already, the project has gotten increasingly expensive for the Jets. The
team initially agreed to invest $800 million in the stadium, the largest
sum ever contributed by a professional team, and to cover all cost
overruns. The city and the state agreed to put in $600 million. Since then,
the Jets have agreed to pay for several other stadium-related costs,
including two pedestrian bridges over the West Side Highway, which are
expected to cost about $75 million. In addition, Jets executives say that
new construction estimates put their cost at closer to $1 billion - an
amount that does not include any costs for the development rights.

Peter S. Kalikow, the chairman of the M.T.A., and Katherine N. Lapp, its
executive director, are expected to give the appraisals from both the
authority and the Jets to the 23-member authority board today or tomorrow.
Mr. Kalikow and the Jets have tentatively agreed that if the two sides
reach an impasse they will call on former United States Senator George
Mitchell to arbitrate the dispute.

Because the M.T.A. has so far refused to make its appraisal public,
Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Democrat of Westchester and chairman of
the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, issued
a subpoena for the document last week and called for a public hearing on
Thursday. It now appears that Mr. Kalikow will appear at the hearing and
provide the appraisal.

The Empire State Development Corporation, the state's economic development
arm, is expected to reaffirm its support for the project at a meeting this
month, despite opposition from some local residents, West Side politicians
and some Broadway theater owners. The stadium still needs approval by
legislative leaders in Albany in the coming months and it faces two
lawsuits that challenge the project on environmental grounds.

The only other remaining issue is the negotiation over the railroad yards.

Mr. Brodsky, along with transit advocates and stadium opponents, has argued
that it would be unconscionable for the M.T.A. to give the land away to the
Jets at a low price, at a time when the authority is desperately in need of
cash just to keep its vast network in proper working order.

The Bloomberg administration, the Jets and some members of the Pataki
administration have argued that the railyard is essentially worthless,
because nothing can be built there without an expensive platform that will
be paid for by the city and the state.

The Jets have complained in the past that Gov. George E. Pataki has not
pushed Mr. Kalikow to move more quickly. According to several people who
know him, Mr. Kalikow has been reluctant to make a "sweetheart" deal with
the Jets to sell the development rights for a low price when the
transportation authority is facing a fare increase and multibillion-dollar
deficits in its capital budget.

But land appraisals are more art than science, especially in Manhattan. The
parcel is well west of highly sought neighborhoods. Also, the city recently
rezoned much of the Far West Side for high-rise buildings, making
development sites suddenly plentiful. Construction of the platform over an
active train yard would take 30 months, according to the team's estimates.

The property would, however, provide potentially valuable views of the
Hudson River in a city that seems to have an unquenchable thirst for housing.

The M.T.A. puts the value of the entire 560,000-square-foot parcel at
nearly $900 million, while the Jets' appraisal puts it at $365 million to
$390 million, according to the executives. Because the stadium would
account for about one-third of the parcel's 6.5 million square feet of
development rights, each side is beginning the negotiation at an amount
equal to about one-third of the full appraisal. The M.T.A. anticipates that
it could sell the remaining rights to other development projects at almost
$135 a square foot.

The Jets' appraisal puts the value of the development rights at a much
lower figure, anticipating that no developer would be able to build as much
as the M.T.A. suggests. The team's appraisal also discounts the price
because of potential environmental risks and the premium for building over
an active railyard.


Subject: Notes on Air Rights and the NYT article
Date: 1/30/2005 10:57:55 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Here's some of my notes on the Bagli Times article:

If the MTA demands $300M for the value of Air Rights (AKA development
rights) over the Western portion of the West Side Rail Yards, it could be
the deal-breaker. If I were Dan Doctoroff, I would be plenty nervous
without having a back-up plan in place in Queens. The Jets lease in New
Jersey is up in 2008, so what are the team's options?

According to the article, with cost overruns, extra items such as
pedestrian bridges, reassessments of building costs and now the cost of
land, just the Jets part itself could approach $1.4 million. That would
make the total cost, with the platform and retractable roof, approach $2

The City and Jets want to deduct the cost of the platform, arguing that the
land is worthless without it. But that's not so. If something else were
constructed there, there would be no platform per se. Look at what happened
over the Grand Central rail yards. Every building, in essence, created its
own platform and sunk its own pilings and columns depending on the
engineering requirements of the specific structure(s).

There was no overall platform constructed over the Grand Central rail yards
with buildings placed on top as is being proposed here. For Grand Central,
the City's role was limited to streets between the buildings (in
conformance with the Manhattan grid) and the Park Avenue wide viaduct. For
every building, each developer designed and constructed the necessary
superstructure to support the specific projects. For alternative proposals,
that would be a likely scenario on the West Side Rail Yards except for
streets and parks.

Without having to build a broad platform over the entire rail yards, there
would be no need to subtract its cost from a price for the Jets or any
alternative. In short, each developer would pay for the structure over its
own footprint.

In valuing the air rights themselves, Bagli is correct that it's an art.
While the NY Times paid $57 per SF for its new HQ on 8th/41st, the City has
incorporated a set price of $100/SF into the Hudson Yards plan ... not
reflecting the vagaries of the market.

While the rail yards are several blocks away from midtown, that could
change if demand picks up (although demand itself on the West Side is
debatable), that would lower a market price for the AR, however, being on
the river could raise the value at the Westernmost edge.

Also consider there will be a glut of AR from the Western rail yards,
Eastern rail yards, the new Penn Station, etc. A glut will depress the price.

In sum, no one knows what a market value could be.

Generally AR can be valued by the SF size of the land (560,000 SF for the
stadium) X (the FAR that is used) X (the market value). If the land is
rated 15 FAR and the stadium only uses 4 FAR, then there's 11 FAR that
could be sold elsewhere ... helping the glut and lowering the value.

But here's the flip side. With lower value, the city or state will be less
able to sell the AR for a high price, generating less revenue to pay off
the No. 7 subway. If there's less revenue coming in for the HY
infrastructure, that puts pressure on the city's general fund and TFA. Not
much of a win there.

Also consider that a low price for the AR on the West Side would lead Bruce
Ratner to demand a similar low price for the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn.

One last thing to consider, in most previous reports on the value of the
rail yards AR (including some that I put out), the value of $1.2 billion
(my estimate), $1.5 billion (from another web site), and for a brief period
$3 billion (from Richard Ravitch), have all focused on the aggregate value
of Air Rights over the entire rail yards, west and east.

But here we're only looking at a portion of the Western rail yards, the
part that the physical stadium would occupy, which could explain why the
MTA's figure is about only $300 million. The stadium would likely not
occupy the entire Western Rail Yards and of the part it did occupy, would
probably only use a portion of the available FAR.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

There Goes the Old Neighborhood, to Revitalization

Click here: The New York Times > New York Region > There Goes the Old Neighborhood, to Revitalization

January 30, 2005
There Goes the Old Neighborhood, to Revitalization

EW LONDON, Conn., Jan. 17 - On a good day, Matt Dery can see Fishers Island, off the tip of Long Island, from his kitchen window here at the mouth of the Thames River. The view is one thing he loves about his home, and one reason he wants to stay.

But what Mr. Dery, his aged parents in the house next door, or the handful of other owners who still live nearby, cannot see is how long they will be able to stay here. Legally, their properties have belonged to the City of New London for four years. The city used its power of eminent domain to take their homes and some 90 other nearby properties in the hope of attracting new development, including improved housing and wealthier people.

"I think they don't want to have to look at us," said Mr. Dery's neighbor, Susette Kelo, a nurse who lives in a little pink cottage.

There are nine holdouts in the city's Fort Trumbull section, dozens of cases in the New York region and dozens more around the country in which property owners are fighting local governments to hang on to their homes and businesses. The municipalities want the land for new developments that will revitalize communities and bring in higher taxes. But it is the case in New London that is scheduled to be heard next month, when the United States Supreme Court hears arguments in Kelo vs. New London.

In Highland Park, N.J., the owners of a photography studio fear that a plan to redevelop Raritan Avenue, the main street in town, will force them out of a location they have occupied for 25 years. In Port Chester, N.Y., a small furniture plant is fighting a state development agency that wants its site for a Home Depot parking lot. And in town after town, people of modest means, often members of minority groups, complain that they are being moved to make way for people who either have more money or, in some cases, lighter skin.

The issue that binds them - whether a municipality can take someone's property through eminent domain and hand it over to developers in the name of economic development - will be aired on Feb. 22, when lawyers for Mr. Dery, Ms. Kelo and other New London holdouts have their day before the United States Supreme Court.

The issue is particularly fraught in the Northeast, where two trends have intersected to sharpen the struggle between the deeply held values of individual property rights and the public benefits of bringing aging neighborhoods back to life. One is the scarcity of suburban land available for development, as local communities and state governments organize to prevent sprawl and developers turn their eyes to the cities.

The other is the need for the region's aging small towns and cities to rebuild their tax bases, lest they sink deeper into poverty and abandonment.

"With eminent domain we can now get a large tract of land and bring back to the urban centers the retail, the shopping centers, the office parks," said Thomas Londregan, New London's city attorney. "Or do we have to wait for our urban areas to deteriorate and decay into blight before we get the blessing to try to help ourselves? I hope not."

The courts, including the Supreme Court, have generally supported Mr. Londregan's argument that economic growth amounts to an overriding public benefit. But now an odd alliance of conservative and libertarian property rights campaigners and civil rights advocates are hoping that the Supreme Court's decision to hear the New London case could signal a shift. The case is an appeal by the New London residents of a unanimous decision last year by s the Connecticut Supreme Court upholding the city's condemnation rights.

Dana Berliner, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, a libertarian group, and perhaps the country's leading opponent of the use of eminent domain for economic development, has counted nearly 40 cases of private land condemned or slated for condemnation for private development in Connecticut. There are more than 60 each in New York and New Jersey, and many more across the rest of the country, she said.

Ms. Berliner notes that the Fifth Amendment prohibits the taking of private property for public use without just compensation; this, she argues, does not mean that property may be taken for economic development.

"The Constitution says public use, not public welfare, not public benefits," she said in an interview. "And for many years eminent domain was used for exactly the kinds of thing you would think, like roads and irrigation."

But in the 1950's the power of eminent domain was used for slum clearance. Ms. Berliner said she believed that that opened the door to its widespread use as an economic development tool. Since the logic of economic development anywhere is to lift property from a low-economic use to a higher economic use, the trend favors the well-to-do, she said.

"It is usually an effort to go from lower to middle class, and from middle to upper class," Ms. Berliner went on. "It is almost always an attempt to replace poorer people with richer people and middle income businesses with upscale businesses."

In New York City, the Empire State Development Corporation used its powers of eminent domain to assemble a portion of the property at Eighth Avenue and West 40th Street for construction of a new headquarters for The New York Times Company.

In New Jersey, Ken Goldman, a lawyer with the South Jersey Legal Aid Society, is trying to rebuff an effort to displace families in Ventnor from a multiblock section of the city to build multifamily homes, arguing that the civil rights of its largely Latino residents are being violated. City officials say they will use eminent domain only as a last resort.

"In New Jersey," Mr. Goldman said, "because of the scarcity of land and restrictions of growth, more and more municipalities are turning inward for redevelopment, and the people being affected most are in the lower-income sections. Redevelopment for them means a ticket out of town."

In the Northeast, the pressure to condemn for redevelopment appears to be particularly advanced along rivers or ocean shoreline, whether here on the banks of the Thames, or along the Delaware in the Cramer Hill section of Camden, N.J., where 1,200 families are facing the condemnation of their homes for economic development. This affinity of developers for projects with views like Mr. Dery's strikes Ms. Berliner as particularly unfair.

"If you live near water or if you have a good view, you are really going to be under pressure to move," Ms. Berliner said. "It's like the poor don't deserve to have a nice view."

The officials leading the fight in New London are frank, saying they hope to attract higher-income professionals to the Fort Trumbull area where Mr. Dery, who is the home delivery manager for The New London Day, and his remaining neighbors live.

The city is a blighted area by state designation and half of its property is tax-exempt; much of its old frame housing dates from the early 20th century and is second rate; and an already high unemployment rate worsened in 1996 when the Naval Undersea Warfare Center moved to another town, taking 1,400 jobs with it.

The city saw a chance to rebound shortly after that, when the Pfizer pharmaceutical company built a $350 million research center along the Thames below Fort Trumbull, a mid-19th century installation used by troops during the Civil War. The city and state governments have since created a new park around the fort, opened the riverfront to public access for the first time in years, filled in a flood plain and cleaned up the Navy's asbestos-riddled site. Now it wants new homes for new people to fill the riverfront blocks around the fort.

And not just any housing, and not just any people either.

"We need to get housing at the upper end, for people like the Pfizer employees," said Ed O'Connell, the lawyer for the New London Development Corporation, the city's redevelopment arm. "They are the professionals, they are the ones with the expertise and the leadership qualities to remake the city - the young urban professionals who will invest in New London, put their kids in school, and think of this as a place to stay for 20 or 30 years."

The nondescript frame and brick buildings of the holdouts look all the more forlorn among the empty lots where their neighbors once stood. One by one, residents have been moving out and their homes have been razed. Mr. Dery, Ms. Kelo and the other holdouts say they would be delighted to have an affluent new world grow up around their old houses, as long as they can stay.

But developers want open space, Mr. O'Connell said, not a checkerboard of old and new to work around, and particularly not the few old houses that remain in Fort Trumbull.

"You're not going to get a developer to put a $10 million development next to some of these houses," he said on a tour of the area recently.

For Mr. Dery's parents, the prospect of moving is particularly burdensome. The family owns four properties and the city has told them it will pay them half a million dollars for them. But Wilhelmina Dery, 87, was born in the house she lives in with her husband, Charles, who is 85. The offer is no consolation to her, said her son, Matt Dery.

"We get this all the time," he said:" 'How much did they offer? What will it take?' My parents don't want to wake up rich tomorrow, they just want to wake up in their own house."

Mr. Londregan, the city's lawyer, realizes that it is hard for New London to make a generalized case for citywide improvement in the face of specific hardships for the people caught in the path of progress.

"You look around the urban centers in this country, and you read about how they need help," he said. "But you may have to take somebody's home, and then what do you say to that little old lady, who's 87 years old, when it's time to move? That there is a greater good? That's a tough issue."

Friday, January 28, 2005

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Subject: Let Your Voice Be Heard
Date: 1/28/2005 5:19:03 PM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

New York State Senate, 26th District

“Let Your Voice Be Heard”

There are two critical events taking place next week that everyone should know about.

1. Rally on February 2nd for Housing for ALL New Yorkers

One in four New York City households—more than 500,000 families—spend over half of their income on rent, and too many New Yorkers can’t find decent housing at all. That’s why the number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters is at an all-time high.

Right now, we have a special window of opportunity to fix this situation – massive redevelopment projects are proposed around the city and we’re about to hold elections for Mayor and other City government offices. This year’s election presents a rare chance to win new housing policies that work for all New Yorkers.

The “Housing Here and Now Coalition” is breaking the cycle of politics and power that puts decent housing out of reach for millions of people in our city. This new, hard-hitting coalition of affordable housing groups, labor unions, AIDS activists, churches and community groups have joined together at this unique time.

Please join the more than 5,000 New Yorkers who already have signed up to participate in the Housing Here and Now March and Rally at 4:30 PM on Wednesday, February 2nd at City Hall (on Broadway two blocks south of Chambers Street).

You can sign up at the website, call (718) 246-7923 or by contacting my office at (212) 490-9535.

2. City Council Hearings on the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) plans to “re-open” a marine transfer station on East 91st Street. While, I do support marine transfer stations as processing centers for refuse, I strongly oppose this plan because transfer stations do not belong in any of New York’s residential communities and DSNY has acted duplicitously.

Overall, the plan is riddled with flaws, and some of the most notable are:

DSNY’s MTS site at 91st Street will endanger the health of thousands of children.

DSNY is seeking to either “bait and switch” the City or waste money by building an MTS with a capacity three-times larger than the projected need.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that DSNY has released violates the City and State laws that govern the Marine Transfer Station siting process.

If the plan to open a transfer station at 91st Street goes forward, the City will have effectively enacted a number of unnecessary, harmful changes, and it will have done so in an illegal manner that will surely invite subsequent lawsuits.

The New York City Council will eventually be voting on whether the E. 91st Street Marine Transfer Station should be built. They have the power to stop this terrible plan. Let your voice be heard at this important hearing! It is crucial that residents who feel their lives will be impacted by this project have a chance to speak on the record. Even your very presence at one of these hearings would be effective.

The hearing dates are:

Tuesday, February 1 at 10:00 AM
Wednesday, February 2 at 5:00 PM
Friday, February 4 at 10:00 AM

For more details go to

Please spread the word by forwarding this message to your family and friends!

Thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing you there.


Liz Krueger
State Senator


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Secret land city deal a whopper

Subject: Bloomberg gives Doctoroff pal West Side Windfall
Date: 1/25/2005 3:53:11 AM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Secret land city deal a whopper
Daily News
by Juan Gonzalez
January 26, 2005

When the City Council approved the massive Hudson Yards development project
last week, it gave the Bloomberg administration permission to condemn and
acquire several parcels of land on Manhattan's far West Side.

One of those parcels is a city-owned block along 42nd St.'s Theater Row,
between Dyer and 10th Aves. The buildings there would be torn down to
facilitate construction of the No. 7 line subway extension and eventually a
new station on the site.

But the Council was never told the city had no intention of condemning the

The city had quietly decided last fall to sell it to one of this town's
biggest real estate developers, Stephen Ross, for the price of a song:

If it sounds like a sweet deal, Ross must have thought so: He and his
partners, TRM Associates, paid $107 million for the lease rights to the
property, and sources say they plan to build a 60-story building there.

Ross, chief executive of the The Related Companies, is a close friend and
former business partner of Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff.

He bought the site's lease in early November in a federal bankruptcy court
settlement from the partnership that controlled the block for 25 years.

Among the small buildings on the block are the former West Side Airlines
terminal and two off-Broadway theaters, neither of which produces much
rental income.

But the block's real value is its development potential, thanks to the
city's decision to build a new subway station that will have four
escalators and two elevators emptying into it.

On the surface, it smacks of a back-room agreement.

The city issued no press releases on its deal with Ross, and the settlement
papers weren't filed with the city Finance Department until Jan. 18 - the
night before the Council's vote.

Bloomberg aides said last week that the lease sale was a private
transaction, and that City Hall had no favorites.

But according to documents in the bankruptcy case, the Ross group won City
Hall's support as far back as July.

At the time, several developers were feverishly bidding to win control of
the site.

Theater Row Phase II Associates held the site's lease but was in bankruptcy
and owed the city nearly $14.5 million - making City Hall's approval a

The Theater Row group, headed by William Condren, had bought the site's
lease in 1980 for just $450,000.

After the sale, the Condren group paid the city $9.5 million to settle its
debt, and walked away with a profit of nearly $100 million.

One of the developers who competed with Ross for the lease was Robert
Gladstone of Madison Equities LLC. His lawyers have charged in court papers
that the negotiating process was unfairly skewed in favor of the Ross group.

Madison Equities points to an unpublicized July 22 agreement among the
city, Condren and one of the partners in the Ross group, in which the city
agreed to back the Ross partnership.

"There was never really a conversation between our side and the city," a
Madison Equities source said last week.

David Burger, Condren's attorney, scoffed at the claim and said Gladstone
is a sore loser.

As for Bloomberg officials, they insist their only concern from the start
was for Condren to pay his debts. They added that the Ross group was the
only suitor to agree to provide the city all the easements it needed to
build the subway and the new station underneath the site.

"It not only cleared up a longstanding dispute, but it provided the city
with money it was owed," said Michael Sherman, spokesman for the city's
Economic Development Corp., and "will allow the No. 7 subway extension to
be completed."

But at the Council, all were shocked to learn about the secret sale of a
property it had just approved for condemnation.

"It's very surprising," said Councilwoman Christine Quinn, who took part in
marathon talks with City Hall over the Hudson Yards plan. "When you don't
make complete disclosures, for any reason, it raises questions."

Ross recently built the giant Time Warner headquarters at Columbus Circle.
His side wouldn't confirm plans to build a 60-story skyscraper.

Jeff Blau, Ross' second in command, would say only that it will be a "mixed
use" commercial and residential structure.

Given the close relationship between Doctoroff, the city's economic
development czar, and Ross, it's natural to ask if the deputy mayor had
anything to do with the transaction.

Doctoroff, once a co-owner of the New York Islanders with Ross, did not
return calls for comment.

"Neither Doctoroff nor the mayor had anything to do with this," said one
city official involved in the deal. "[Doctoroff] is recused from any
decisions involving Ross.

"It was a team decision," the official said.

Christine Quinn: Show Your Opposition to the Stadium

From: "Christine Quinn"
Subject: Show Your Opposition to the Stadium

West Side forum with Mayor Bloomberg on Thursday 1/27 Mayor Bloomberg is coming to the West Side to sell his stadium plan. He is scheduled to address the Park River Independent Democrats about the stadium and other West Side issues. Stadium opponents, come show the Mayor how West Siders feel about his stadium!

West Side Forum with Mayor Bloomberg
Thursday, January 27th, 8:00 p.m. (arrive by 7:45)
Council Senior Center
241 W. 72nd Street between West End and Broadway

Please RSVP to or call 212-629-1760.

Poll: Most New Yorkers don't want West Side stadium

Subject: [New] Poll: Most New Yorkers don't want West Side stadium
Date: 1/20/2005 12:56:35 PM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Poll: Most New Yorkers don't want West Side stadium,0,5031567,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

January 20, 2005, 10:09 AM EST

NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be gaining ground in his quest for
re-election, but voters remain opposed to one of his pet projects: a $1.4
billion stadium to host the New York Jets and attract the 2012 Olympics.

More than half _ 58 percent _ of New York City voters don't want the
stadium, while 34 percent are in favor, according to a Quinnipiac
University poll. The new statistics were released Thursday, a day after
results from the same survey showed Bloomberg in a statistical tie with
former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a Democratic challenger.

Some respondents (26 percent) even said the mayor's support of the plan
would dissuade them from voting for his re-election in November, though 69
percent said it wouldn't make a difference.

Fifty-three percent said they would support the project if it were true
that the stadium would generate enough income to repay the money the city
and state would borrow to help build it. Matthew Higgins, vice president
for the Jets, emphasized that finding.

"The poll shows New Yorkers support the project so long as it pays for
itself, which even the independent budget office says it will," Higgins said.

Only 19 percent said they would be more likely to attend a Jets game if the
team moved to the proposed stadium, which would be located on the far West
Side of Manhattan. Nine percent said they would be less likely to attend a
game, while 70 percent said it wouldn't make a difference. The Jets
currently share the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. with the Giants.

If the stadium were built, the poll found, 66 percent of New Yorkers would
travel there by public transit, while 15 percent would come by car. The
reliance on mass transit could hamper tailgate parties, which 64 percent of
respondents said were "very" or "somewhat" important to their enjoyment of
a game, the poll found.

While most voters (63 percent) said they want the city to host the 2012
Olympics, only 36 percent said they believe Bloomberg's claim that the
stadium is necessary to bring the games to New York, the poll said.

The poll surveyed 1,027 New York City registered voters from Jan. 11-17. It
has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


On the Net:

Int. No. 200-1998

Int. No. 200-1998

By Council Members McCaffrey, Duane, Fisher, Marshall, Wooten, Freed, Koslowitz and Reed; also Council Members Leffler, Michels and Robles.


A Local Law to amend the New York City Charter, in relation to giving community boards the authority to make a written recommendation to the City Planning Commission under the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which recommendation contains an agreement on community amenities.


Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

Section 1. Subdivision e of section 197-c of chapter 8 of the New York City Charter is hereby amended to read as follows:

e. Each affected community board shall, not later than sixty days after receipt of an application that has been certified pursuant to subdivision c of this section, (1) notify the public of the application in a manner specified by the city planning commission pursuant to subdivision i of this section, (2) either (a) conduct a public hearing thereon and prepare and submit a written recommendation directly to the city planning commission and to the affected borough president or (b) where authorized by this charter, submit a written waiver of the right to conduct a public hearing and to submit such written recommendations to the commission and the affected borough president. If a written recommendation is submitted, such written recommendation may contain an agreement on community amenities that has been negotiated among the community board, the applicant and/or an agency or department of the city of New York, pursuant to paragraph 17 of subdivision d of section 2800 of chapter 70 of this charter.

'2. Paragraph 17 of subdivision d of section 2800 of chapter 70 of the New York City Charter is hereby amended to read as follows:

(17) Exercise the initial review of applications and proposals of public agencies and private entities for the use, development or improvement of land located in the community district, including the conduct of a public hearing and the preparation and submission to the city planning commission of a written recommendation. Each community board may directly negotiate and conclude an agreement on community amenities with the applicant and/or an agency or department of the city of New York that addresses the direct impact of the project, which community amenities become a condition of the recommendation. A community amenity is defined as a specific improvement to be granted to the community by the applicant and/or by an agency or department of the city of New York, in the form of a physical improvement, which may be either on‑site or off‑site, and a service improvement, which may be either on‑site or off‑site.

'3. This local law shall take effect thirty days after its enactment into law.

News from NYC Department of Education

Subject: [Fwd: News from NYC Department of Education]
Date: 1/25/2005 12:38:56 PM Eastern Standard Time
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Date: 2005/01/25 Tue AM 11:06:05 CST
To: "Klein Joel DOE Update"
Subject: News from NYC Department of Education

If you have trouble reading the document below, click HERE

Published by The New York City Department of Education
Chancellor's Message
Happy 2005!

This year, new as it is, has been filled with encouraging news for New York City's public school children. Our schools are safer, student achievement is climbing, and we are finding ways to upgrade school buildings to the highest standards at the same time we are making limited funding go further.

Thanks to the School Safety Initiative inaugurated twelve months ago, major crime is down 43% in the 16 Impact Schools, and overall crime in these schools is down 33% from a year ago. Five Impact Schools have improved so much that they are being phased off the list. Drawing on lessons learned about assessing safety, we are now providing extra support to six schools that have been added to the Impact Schools list. The Citywide school safety task force of uniformed police officers and supervisors will expand from 150 members to 200 to help these schools.

A second major achievement was reflected in the State's announcement this month that the number of NYC schools identified as Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) - those that are in danger of being closed for low student achievement levels - has dropped to an all-time low of 35. In 1997, New York City had 104 SURR schools. The number has declined 55% over the last three years and 24% from a year ago.

The Department of Education (DOE) has also signed two historic labor agreements that will save $500 million in school construction costs over the next five years and assure quality work at the same time. This will help us create new schools and opportunities for our children in a more cost-effective way than ever before.

Finally, I am proud of the way that the school children of New York City quickly opened their young hearts to help survivors of the tsunami disaster with fundraising drives. To coordinate their spontaneous efforts, we have launched the Tsunami Relief Fund.

Looking ahead, we are working to consolidate and expand the gains we have made under Children First. As the Mayor announced in his State of the City address, next September we will offer a "Learning to Work" program designed for overage under-credited students. "Learning to Work" will combine internships and paid work with existing programs that help such students earn diplomas or GEDs. At the same time, we will launch enrichment programs for students in schools that have historically lacked programs for gifted and talented youngsters.

With 1.1 million students in over 1,300 schools, we have a diverse student body with diverse needs. We are making strides in helping each child meet his or her potential.


Joel I. Klein

Spotlight on: School Safety Improvements
Sometimes the hardest thing to change is a reputation. In recent years, Washington Irving High School had acquired a reputation as one of New York City's most dangerous schools. Last year the Department of Education designated it as an Impact School, one of 16 that received extra safety agents and support to address safety and security issues. But these days, the halls, classes and entryways at Washington Irving tell a different story.

As Principal Denise DiCarlo walks the halls between periods, all the students move from room to room with relaxed purpose. One pair of girls practices a step dance pattern with focused intensity, but the two still go directly into their classroom. There is a strict no hat policy here, and as a tall, skinny boy passes Principal DiCarlo with the hood of his sweatshirt up, all she has to do is tap her head for him to pull it down automatically. The school is filled with this feeling: a giant well-oiled engine humming in low gear.

After Principal DiCarlo surveys the floors of the building, she peeks into several classrooms where students are creating an original opera, others are designing and making clothes, and yet others are studying to earn their International Baccalaureate degree. She reveals what has made the difference at Washington Irving. Is it SWAT team techniques, lock downs, maybe patrolling with a bullhorn? No.

"We received more safety agents, but that's only part of the answer. It's more a matter of organization and insisting on the little things. If a student is chronically disruptive in class or has shown a consistent pattern of cutting classes, he or she will get a suspension. If they are consistently late to school, they'll get detention." As she walks down a set of stairs, she hears loud screaming. Not to worry - it turns out to be two teams of floor hockey players neatly lined up along the walls of the gym, cheering for players scrambling after an orange puck.

She moves on to talk with the sergeant in charge of the safety agents, giving him a heads-up on a drama that is unfolding among a clique of girls. "The consequences for every rule are clear, and because we communicate constantly with our deans and safety agents, those rules are always enforced, and soon students realize that it just isn't worth it to act out."

This message is echoed by Ernie Oliveri, the Assistant Principal for Administration, who runs the safety system at the school. "We have set aside space in the auditorium for students to go immediately after an infraction. We make sure no kid has an electronic device of any kind. We post deans in the halls who have a clear role: crowd control." Underlining the rigor of the system he outlines, a chair in Dr. Oliveri's office is filled with about fifteen hats - the day's take. "All these small things add up to a culture. We establish a regime of order for learning, and soon all the students become a part of that culture."

This kind of order is at the heart of the Impact Schools effort. Last January, school safety intervention teams composed of experts from the Department of Education and New York City Police Department, as well as community representatives, conducted thorough assessments of key conditions and procedures at all 16 Impact Schools. Guided by a "best practices" document, the intervention teams focused on more than 100 variables including entry and exit procedures, hallway conditions, Discipline Code enforcement, instructional environment, passing between classes, cafeteria environment, facilities, and detention and suspension rooms.

Based upon their reviews, the teams assigned each school an assessment score. Each school then developed a plan focusing on three main areas: intensifying enforcement against low-level crime and disorder; rigorous enforcement of the DOE's Discipline Code; and correcting school conditions conducive to disorder.

When follow-up assessments were conducted in the fall, the teams found dramatic improvements. The percentage of conditions approaching or meeting best practice standards at the 16 schools increased from 16% to 50% and average assessment scores rose 36%. After one year, major crime went down 43% and overall crime was down 33% compared to the same period last year. Five of the original Impact Schools are now being transitioned out of Impact status, including Washington Irving.

"They're a little too strict," says Lovely Luster, a Washington Irving junior who is taking classes to prepare her to be a health teacher. Still, she likes the change that has occurred.

"When I was a freshman, there were three fights a week, probably. But things have slowed way down. It's much calmer now." Asked what people say when she tells them she goes to Washington Irving, she says, "They're like, 'you go to that school?'" Luster laughs. "I have to tell them what it's really like here. It's not like people think at all."

For More Information click here.

Spotlight on: Another Sign of Success
The remarkable reduction of Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) in New York City shows that our Children First reforms are making a difference. The State identifies SURR schools based on the results of Grades 4 and 8 English and Math tests, or the percentage of high school students meeting graduation assessments in English and math. Schools, which are listed because of low student achievement levels, are in jeopardy of being closed.

M.S. 88 in Brooklyn is one of the 16 schools that were just removed from the list this year. Principal Edna Straus attributes the turnaround to improvements such as the new curriculum, literacy and math coaches, and a strong staff of certified teachers. She also credits stronger professional development and shared school leadership.

"Our teachers work and learn together in each others' classrooms. They use the shared prep time to come up with fresh ideas for implementing the citywide reading and math curriculums," Straus says and further emphasizes, "It allows them to explore effective teaching strategies that address the individual needs of students."

Other innovative approaches at M.S. 88 contributed to its success. The school was restructured into small learning communities or "houses"; the staff focused on special education student needs; and teachers offered tutoring help after school. The results of these changes speak for themselves. In 2001, less than 4% of eighth-grade students met State math standards and only 13% met the State reading benchmark. In just three years, the number of students meeting math standards has shot up by a staggering 42 percentage points. While there is still more progress to be made, 39% now are making the mark in reading.

"It's amazing, just amazing the changes that have gone on at M.S. 88," says Suzette Williams, the mother of 8th grader David Williams. She gives credit to the hard-working school staff. "The teachers know how to help the children excel in the classroom and they go out of their way to do so. Principal Straus is always available and encouraging. They've had a wonderful impact on my son and on me."

For more information, click here.

Call To Action
To find out how you can become involved in NYC public schools, contact Jean Desravines at

In This Issue
January 2005

Hot News Update
Message From the Chancellor

Spotlight On: School Safety Improvements
Spotlight On: Another Sign of Success
DOE Calendar

Six Bronx High School of Science seniors were named as semifinalists in the national Intel Science Talent Search - more than any other school in the City. From left: Nathaniel Lubin, Allison Kline, Chancellor Joel I. Klein, Abba Leffler, Shoshana Leffler, Tai Ho Shin, Milana Zaurova.

Hot News Update
New School Information Fairs

In an effort to offer more quality choices and to increase educational opportunities for incoming high school students, the Department of Education will be opening new small high schools in September. Details of these new options will be announced in early February and New School Information Fairs are scheduled for February 5, 6, 10, 12, and 13. Eighth grade students and their families are encouraged to attend the fairs to learn more about these new schools. Students who are interested in applying to these new high schools must submit their New Schools Choice Form by March 1.

For more information, click here..

Opportunity for Free Tutoring

Over 66,000 children have already signed up for free tutoring through the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) program this school year, more than were registered during all of last year.

Free SES academic assistance programs are still available for a large number of students. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, children are eligible if they:

1) attend a school listed for two years or more as a Title I School in Need of Improvement;
2) qualify for free lunch; and
3) have not yet participated in SES during the current school year.

Parents who have not enrolled their eligible children may do so by contacting the Parent Coordinator at their children's school for a selection form. Applications received by the January 21st deadline will be processed first for programs beginning January 31st, 2005. However, parents should be aware that enrollment is ongoing.

A provider directory, including an addendum with additional SES providers approved by the state and more information on the SES program, is available in 10 languages by clicking here.

Tsunami Relief Fund

New York City public schools are coordinating fundraising efforts for survivors of December's tsunami in Southeast Asia through our own Tsunami Relief Fund. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein teamed up with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), and District Council 37 to launch the Fund on January 7th.

School communities are encouraged to raise funds through events such as bake sales, community concerts, and coin drives. Proceeds collected during the twelve-week drive will be donated to the International Rescue Committee and the American Red Cross in Greater New York. The DOE has requested that the money be dedicated to children and to rebuilding the education infrastructure in the affected areas.

For more information, click here. .


Chancellor Joel I. Klein greets a crowd at a community gathering at the Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx. On left, Paul Williams, President of 100 Black Men of NY Inc., CBO partner to Eagle Academy. On right, Jasmine Nickles.

DOE Calendar
Click here for comprehensive list of schedules and calendars


Grades 9-12: NYS Regents Testing Program

NO SCHOOL for High School Students ONLY

Panel for Educational Policy Meeting at Forest Hills HS, 6pm


High School Spring term begins

Grade 4: NYS English Language Arts Test

Middle school Parent/Teacher afternoon conferences

Middle school Parent/Teacher evening conferences

Learning Support Centers Closed**

Midwinter school recess

Panel for Educational Policy Meeting at the Tweed Building, 6pm

** Regional Learning Support Centers are closed on this date

Contact Us
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Please contact Jean Desravines, Senior Counselor to the Chancellor for Public and Community Affairs, at