Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Subject: OEM Recognizes National Preparedness Month in NYC
Date: 8/31/2005 4:32:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time
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OEM News and Events & Information for Community-Based Organizations


September is National Preparedness Month � a nationwide effort co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross to encourage individuals to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, and schools.

In New York City, OEM, in partnership with many corporate and community partners, will host a number of events to promote the Ready New York preparedness message around the city.

From a kick-off event at Grand Central Terminal to a corporate fair in downtown Brooklyn, OEM and its partners will encourage New Yorkers to develop a disaster plan, assemble an emergency supply kit, put together a Go Bag, and learn more about local hazards throughout September. Being prepared for any emergency � whether a house fire, power outage, hurricane, or terrorist attack � is as easy as planning ahead.

Take the time this September to learn more about ways you can prepare for emergencies. Consider participating in a preparedness event near you, or review the Ready New York guide (in PDF). Organizations can support National Preparedness Month by hosting an event or reprinting copies of the Ready New York guide for members and employees. To request a Ready New York speaker for your event, contact us.

To kick off Preparedness Month in New York City, OEM will host a Ready New York event at Grand Central Terminal on September 1. OEM staff, as well as members of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and Citizen Corps, will be available to offer additional tips and answer questions. Look for the Ready New York table near Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall.

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RE- KATRINA, New Orleans area

LSU Health Sciences Center needs medical personnel

11:50 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 30, 2005

LSU Health Sciences Center is asking for doctors, residents and medical students who would like to help provide medical support.

Those interested should call (225) 763-5762 or email

Emergency medicine, internal medicine and surgeons are most needed right now but all specialities could be needed at some point.

[ please forward this message to friends - - ]


Date: 8/31/2005 5:22:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time
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"HPD Press Releases"


HPD & CUNY Partner to Teach Key Business Skills

The Contractors Training Program, an innovative partnership between the Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) and City University of New York (CUNY) colleges, is expanding its capacity to serve New Yorkers at campuses in three boroughs. With the addition of City College to the program, more contractors will be able to take advantage of the training offered. The program, now in its nineteenth year, is dedicated to helping local self-employed workers in the construction industry learn the business skills necessary to run a successful company. Many of the participants have recently started a small construction firm or are thinking of starting a firm.

The Contractors Training Program educates participants on topics such as blueprint reading, estimating, accounting, and contract law. Training is also provided to promote compliance with the City's Lead Paint Hazard Reduction Law. Information on public contract and local business assistance opportunities is also a part of the program. It runs for 10 weeks and participants meet one evening per week.

Information and enrollment forms for the fall semester are available at the participating CUNY colleges: Hostos Community College in the Bronx, Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, and City College in Manhattan.

Information and an application for future notifications are available online at

Shaun Donovan, HPD Commissioner said, "HPD is delighted to work with CUNY to develop the skills small businesses need to be competitive in the construction industry. The Contractors Training Program is a cornerstone of HPD's strategy to increase contracting opportunities for small, minority and women owned businesses in the agency's procurement process."

The Contractor Training Program enhances the skills of local business owners, who, in turn, create local job and business opportunities. A 1999 survey found that more than 85% of firms owned by program graduates were minority and/or women owned; 87% of the firms were based in New York City.

The survey found that 81 firms owned by program graduates had obtained almost 400 contracts totaling over $36 million and 431 subcontracts with an aggregate award amount of over $78 million. The report offered powerful proof of the success of the Contractor Training Program as an economic development vehicle.
# # #

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CB9M Public Service Message: Electricity Emergency Situation

CB9M Public Service Message
31 August 2005 11:35am

Electricity Emergency Situation

CB9M has been advised by ConEdison that due to the high temperatures and high humidity currently existing in District 9-Manhattan, the electrical grid is capable of being overburdened.

These condityions make the possibility of a blackout or brownout in our District very real and conservation measures during the day will be highly appreciated.

We suggest thermostats for air conditioners be set at 78 F.

Disconnect any appliance not in use and set your refrigerator at warmest setting pssoble for the stored foods. It is also a good idea to disconnect computers and preripherals, (even if you have power-surge protection), in case of a brownout there could be a power-surge upon the recovery.

When Not in Use...Turn off the juice!!!

Please pass the word to all your friends and neighbors.



Jordi (George) Reyes-Montblanc, Chair
Community Board 9 Manhattan
565 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027-2301
Tel: (212) 864-6200
Fax: 212-662-7396

Chair's Blog: Click here: CB9M Chair's Blog


AOL Group: Click here: Main Page Congrats WestSide Heights - CB9M

CB9M Web Calendar: CB9M - Community Board 9 ManhattanCommunity Calendar

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Rethinking 125th St.

August 30, 2005 in Living uptown Permalink Comments (0)

Source: The Real Deal

Rethinking 125th Street
A two-year study tackling the future of Harlem's central artery will recommend a new look
By Matthew Strozier

A rendering of Harlem Park
on 125th Street.

Harlem's 125th Street can be a Challenge � to drive on, walk down, shop along and even to go to work. Neighborhood leaders, city planners and developers would like to change that.

In December 2003, the city began a major planning study of the thoroughfare, Harlem's main street and one of the city's major east-west corridors. With developers interested in the street, also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the time seemed right to plan for the future.

The study, which is near completion, covers an area stretching from river to river. It revolves around one question: What should 125th Street become?

"It's obviously in need of change," said City Council member Bill Perkins, whose district includes parts of 125th Street. "There is a lot of congestion. It's about time that we started to look at it."

Interest from developers also has some worried that the street will become a canyon of towers. Already, the planned 29-story Harlem Park, which includes a Marriott Courtyard and more than 660,000 square feet, has sparked opposition.

Perkins called it a "monstrosity" that is "totally out of context and should not be used as the standard for what is coming next." The Planning Commission, he said, should not have approved it. "They sort of jumped the gun on the process."

Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, during the groundbreaking in February, hailed the $236 million project as proof that "Harlem's renaissance is moving forward at full-speed." The building is being developed by 1800 Park Avenue LLC, led by developer Michael Caridi. It is hoping to announce a deal with Brand Jordan, a division of Nike, to open its flagship store, which would anchor 62,000 square feet of new retail space, the New York Times reported in April.

Ground-floor retail rents have surged dramatically along the avenue during the past year, according to the Real Estate Board of New York. Average rents on the corridor shot up 38 percent to $90 a square foot, among the highest retail strip increases in Manhattan. It was the largest increase since the board started tracking the corridor.

The office market remains small but expensive compared to other parts of Manhattan. Suzanne Sunshine, vice president at CB Richard Ellis, said that tenants are lucky to find raw space for $26 a square foot in Harlem. In Midtown South or Downtown that rent could get built-out space, possibly with some months of free rent, Sunshine said. This forces many nonprofits to move downtown instead of Harlem, which is their first choice, she said.

Topics covered by the ongoing study have been extensive, including outdated zoning, congestion and obstructed sidewalks. Suggestions are varied, from replacing roll-down gates to a designated bus lane.

Members of the study's advisory committee claim existing zoning stifles development. The street has large sections with low-density areas, but patches of high-density development mixed in, creating an uneven character and limited redevelopment options. There are relatively few housing units compared to similar streets in Manhattan, and vacant upper floors.

There has been no recent residential construction along 125th Street, and it's unclear how much residential demand exists for the busy street, though development throughout the rest of Harlem is booming. Harlem Park's plans include 100 condominiums. The study points out that the street currently lacks enough housing to lure restaurants and other nighttime uses.

One member of Community Board 9 said it will be difficult to reach a consensus on a vision for 125th Street, though it will likely be a mix of office towers, housing, entertainment and small business.

"There is going to be some changes," said Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, chairman of Community Board 9, adding he hopes the street's small businesses remain.

The next advisory committee meeting, on zoning issues, will be held in the fall. A final report is expected in January.


August 28, 2005 in Living uptown Permalink Comments (2)

Harlem - not so affordable anymore
Source: NY Post
By Katherine Dykstra

August 6, 2005 -- Finding an affordable rental in Harlem is just about as easy as, well, finding an affordable rental on the Upper West Side, in the Village or in Hell's Kitchen. Read: It ain't that easy.

With building after building being razed or renovated, real estate in Harlem is as frenzied as anywhere else on the island. So what's a renter to do?

Try some unconventional search tactics, of course. That's what our reporter did, and she found the perfect apartment - in her price range! - in two days. Here's her story:

Day 1:

I began my search at City College of New York (138th Street and Convent Avenue). Rumor had it there were student bulletin boards covered with rental postings. (Columbia University, Barnard College and Bank Street College are other places to try.)

The rumor proved correct, but the only people with access to the North Academic Center, where CCNY's largest bulletin board is located on the second floor, are students with valid IDs.

Still, I was able to talk a security guard into letting me in sans ID. And by "talk her into," I mean, I asked her, and she said yes.

If you don't have negotiating skills like mine, you'll find postings on nearby poles and trees. Just expect these to be weathered and picked through, to say the least.

Once inside, I found a sea of postings for shares. I also found an ad for a one-bedroom for $1,100 - $100 more than I wanted, but close enough to give it a look-see.

Located at St. Nicholas Avenue and 151st Street, the apartment turned out to be not really a one-bedroom with a living room, as it was advertised, but more of a small two-bedroom without a living area.

The broker wanted $1,300 a month ($200 more than the posting), first and last month's rent, and a broker's fee equal to one month's rent. So I said goodbye.

While down by City College, I had picked up a copy of The Amsterdam News, a community newspaper (the Harlem Community News, The New York Carib News and The New York Beacon are others). The listings were spare, but I found some that seemed to jibe with my ideal living situation.

I left seven different phone messages and waited to hear back.

Day 2:

Having heard back from not one of the people I'd called the day before, I searched This yielded a ton of results; about 90 percent of them were brokers concealing their identities. They fessed up to tell me I needed to pay $150 just to see a place. No thanks.

I did find one ad, however, posted by a woman who was moving to the West Coast and needed a replacement tenant.

The apartment, on East 117th Street, was a one-bedroom, as advertised, except that it was so small that the $1,000 rent seemed excessive. The bathroom, for example, barely had space for one person to stand.

I then tried bulletin boards in churches and community centers. I started at Church of the Living Hope on 104th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenue. There was no board there, but they sent me across the street to Hope Community. They sent me back across the street to a nail salon, which had the scoop on apartments above their establishment.

I called the number I was given and have yet to hear back, but the lesson is, talking to people can lead you places.

While on my wild goose chase, someone I'd found through The Amsterdam News e-mailed me back. Turns out there was an open house for a two-bedroom on 133rd Street near Seventh Avenue. The apartment was listed at $1,095 a month.

Expecting a dump, I took the C train to 135th. The super let me into one of the most spacious $1,095-a-month, two-bedroom apartments I'd ever seen.

The whole space had been newly renovated, was two blocks from St. Nicholas Park and had no broker fee. Hallelujah, they do exist.


"HPD Press Releases" and "Residential Building Owner Information"


Building owner John A. Kosman pled guilty to criminal contempt for failing to repair scores of violations of the Housing Maintenance Code, including immediately hazardous conditions in his tenants' apartments. Mr. Kosman will serve a jail term on or before September 12, 2005, and pay $60,000 in civil penalties. He has also agreed to hire a managing agent and to correct all the Housing Maintenance Code violations at his building, 117 West 142nd Street in Harlem. There are currently 241 outstanding Housing Maintenance Code violations.

"Landlords who violate the law will be held accountable," said Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan. "Landlords have a legal obligation to provide safe and decent apartments to their tenants. HPD will sue landlords who flout the law and seek maximum penalties. An owner like John Kosman deserves jail time for letting his tenants suffer through conditions unfit for human habitation."

For several years, HPD had sought to compel Mr. Kosman to correct hundreds of violations at 117 West 142nd Street, a 24-unit apartment building he owns. In December 2004, HPD filed papers seeking a finding of contempt against Mr. Kosman, as well as civil penalties. At that time the conditions included peeling lead-based paint, mice and rats, plumbing problems, exposed electrical wiring, broken plaster, loose and defective windows, broken floors, holes in the walls of apartments, accumulation of rubbish in the courtyard and a sporadic lack of adequate hot water.

To read the complete press release, visit the HPD website. (see it below)

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HPD Press Releases

Residential Building Owner Information

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Release # 14-05
August 23, 2005
Press contact: Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176


Building owner John A. Kosman pled guilty to criminal contempt for failing to repair scores of violations of the Housing Maintenance Code, including immediately hazardous conditions in his tenants' apartments. Mr. Kosman will serve a jail term on or before September 12, 2005 and pay $60,000 in civil penalties. He has also agreed to hire a managing agent and to correct all the Housing Maintenance Code violations at his building, 117 West 142nd Street in Harlem. There are currently 241 outstanding Housing Maintenance Code violations.

"Landlords who violate the law will be held accountable," said Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan. "Landlords have a legal obligation to provide safe and decent apartments to their tenants. HPD will sue landlords who flout the law and seek maximum penalties. An owner like John Kosman deserves jail time for letting his tenants suffer through conditions unfit for human habitation."

For several years, HPD had sought to compel Mr. Kosman to correct hundreds of violations at 117 West 142nd Street, a 24-unit apartment building he owns. In December 2004, HPD filed papers seeking a finding of contempt against Mr. Kosman, as well as civil penalties. At that time the conditions included peeling lead-based paint, mice and rats, plumbing problems, exposed electrical wiring, broken plaster, loose and defective windows, broken floors, holes in the walls of apartments, accumulation of rubbish in the courtyard and a sporadic lack of adequate hot water.

While the case was taken to Housing Court, HPD made emergency repairs that the landlord refused to make including repairs to the fire escape, public staircase, and an entire kitchen and bathroom ceiling after they had collapsed. HPD attempted to treat lead-based paint, but was refused access by Mr. Kosman. More than $27,000 in emergency repair costs incurred by HPD have been billed to the owner and will become a tax lien on the property if the owner does not pay.

HPD's Housing Litigation Division, which handles more than 13,000 cases per year to enforce the City's Housing Maintenance Code, prosecuted the case. At a trial prosecuted by Peggy Collen of HPD's Housing Litigation Division before Manhattan Housing Court Judge Gerald Lebovits, HPD sought a finding of contempt against Mr. Kosman for violating a December 2003 Court Order to comply with his legal obligations as a landlord. HPD asked the Court to compel Mr. Kosman to make the required repairs and pay monetary penalties. Trial commenced on HPD's motion in March 2005. Mid-trial on August 19, Mr. Kosman pled guilty to criminal contempt and agreed to serve three days in jail. In addition, he agreed to hire a managing agent for the building and was ordered to pay $60,000 in civil penalties and to correct all violations at the building by November 27.

HPD will conduct an inspection after November 27th to determine whether Mr. Kosman has complied with the agreement and Court Order. If HPD finds that he has not complied, the agency will ask the Court for a further finding of contempt against Mr. Kosman and for a more substantial jail term.

The last time that a building owner or managing agent received jail time in New York City was on December 23, 2004 when litigators for HPD succeeded in getting jail time for Peter Golia, the managing agent of 2649 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Manhattan as a result of building conditions that were unfit for human habitation. On October 28, 2003 another landlord, Norman Beckford, was arrested for contempt after he violated a Court Order by failing to repair hazardous conditions in his tenants' apartments at 109-63 134th Street, Queens.

HPD is the nation's largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. A major responsibility of the agency is to encourage preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs, and enforcement of housing quality standards.

# # #

Last Updated: August 23, 2005

Legislation To Improve Landmark Designation Process

Subject: Legislation To Improve Landmark Designation Process
Date: 8/29/2005 9:59:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Sent from the Internet (Details)


The "Landmarks Hearing" bill (Intro. 705), first introduced by Council Member Bill Perkins on August 17, has earned the co-sponsorship of 12 council members to date.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out to their local council representative to support this bill to improve the Landmarks Preservation Commission's process for scheduling public designation hearings on individual buildings and historic districts.

Your hard work has paid off! If your council member is not included on the list below, please call him or her today.

Even better, add your organization's name to the growing coalition "Citizens for a Responsive Landmarks Law" and make sure your council member receives the attached one-pager describing the bill and listing the groups working to make sure the "Landmarks Hearing" bill becomes law before the end of 2005. (Groups that have already joined the "Citizens" coalition are also listed at the end of this email.)

Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information (212-496-8110, We look forward to hearing from you.

Intro. 705 Council Member Co-Sponsors: Charles Barron, Gale A. Brewer, Yvette D. Clarke, James F. Gennaro, Vincent J. Gentile, Letitia James, John C. Liu, Eva S. Moskowitz, Bill Perkins, Philip Reed, James Sanders, Jr., Larry B. Seabrook

August 29, 2005


We urge you to support the �Landmarks Hearing� bill (Intro. 705), which was introduced by Council Member Bill Perkins on August 17, 2005. A copy of the bill is attached.

The �Landmarks Hearing� bill will improve the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) process for scheduling public designation hearings on the individual buildings and historic districts that matter most to New Yorkers.

This bill is a direct outgrowth of extensive testimony provided to the City Council by preservationists at three oversight hearings on the administrative procedures of the LPC, which took place on October 20 and November 29, 2004, and May 16, 2005.

These hearings were held in response to widespread concerns that, as our city commemorates forty years of strong landmarks activism since the passage of the historic 1965 Landmarks Law, in recent years the LPC has fallen behind in its mission to protect the buildings and neighborhoods that matter most to New Yorkers.

This bill will empower communities to obtain public landmark designation hearings and enhance the transparency of the LPC�s decision-making process in the following ways:

Enable the City Council to vote in favor of a public designation hearing for a proposed landmark or historic district and require the LPC to calendar and hold a hearing within 60 days; and
Require the LPC to calendar buildings that have been determined eligible for the State Register of Historic Places.
Importantly, this bill would not require the LPC to designate properties. Rather,
the bill would ensure that these sites receive fair, open, democratic hearings by the
11-member body of experts appointed by the Mayor to protect our city�s most precious historical, architectural and cultural heritage, the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

We urge you to support the �Landmarks Hearing� bill and a more responsive landmark hearing process.

Intro. No. 705

By Council Member Perkins

A Local Law

To amend the administrative code of the city of New York to allow the council to direct the landmarks preservation commission to hold a public designation hearing.

Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

Section 1. Declaration of legislative findings and intent. The Council of the City of New York recognize the City is known throughout the world for its landmarks. As the largest city in the nation, and as one the oldest, the City�s landscape is characterized by a wealth of buildings and other structures that evoke an indelible sense of time and place, and that retain the aesthetic and cultural values of the society that created them.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is the city agency responsible for identifying and designating properties within the five boroughs whose preservation will benefit present and future generations of New Yorkers. Since its creation in 1965 the LPC has designated 1,119 individual landmarks, 83 historic districts, and 11 district extensions, totaling approximately 23,000 buildings.

The Council recognizes the LPC�s achievements. Nevertheless there is mounting criticism by stakeholders throughout the community, including property owners, preservation groups, public officials, and others, that the landmarks identification and designation procedures are not sufficiently transparent. The Council has consistently found that transparency in government is one of the cornerstones of democracy. Accordingly, this local law is designed to enhance the transparency of the LPC�s decision-making process.

�2. Subdivision g of section 25-303 of the administrative code of the city of New York as amended by Local Law number 71 for the year 1991 is amended by adding new subsections 3 and 4, to read as follows:

(3) The council may, by a majority vote, direct the commission to hold a public hearing regarding a proposed landmark designation pursuant to subdivisions a and b of this section within sixty (60) days of such a vote.

(4) The commission shall, upon receiving written notice that the New York State Historic Preservation Office has found that a property that is the subject of a proposed landmark designation is eligible to be listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places, calendar a public hearing regarding such proposed designation.

� 3. This local law shall take effect immediately.

LS# 3353


Art Deco Society of New York
The Bridge � Stage of the Arts
Four Boroughs Neighborhood Preservation Alliance

Senator Street Historic District

Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side
The Drive to Protect the Ladies� Mile District
Gramercy Neighborhood Associates
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance
Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association
Turtle Bay Association

Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association
Jackson Heights
Garden City Society
Richmond Hill
Historical Society
Staten Island
Preservation League of Staten Island

list in formation

Monday, August 29, 2005


"Request for Proposals"

City Properties to be Designated for Creation of Affordable Housing in all Five Boroughs

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) invites developers to submit the following proposals.

Cornerstone Program (Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan) Developers may now present proposals to HPD to build apartments on 21 clusters of vacant City-owned lots, including eight clusters in East and Central Harlem, nine in Brooklyn, and four in the Bronx. A minimum of 20% of the apartments built must be for low-income New Yorkers.

New Foundations Program (Bronx and Brooklyn) HPD is seeking proposals to build one-to-four family homes and cooperative/condominium apartments on 99 sites in 37 clusters of City-owned vacant land in Brooklyn and the Bronx. At least one third of the units developed must be for low-income purchasers.

Arverne East (Far Rockaway in Queens) HPD is accepting proposals to build Arverne East, an 81-acre site bounded by Beach 56th Place to Beach 32nd Street between Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Freeway, Seagirt Boulevard and the Boardwalk in Far Rockaway, Queens. The development will include about 1,500 mixed-income homes and cooperative/condominium units as well as approximately 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space to be built on a 47-acre development site between Beach 44th Street and Beach 32nd Street.

Markham Gardens (Staten Island) On the north shore of Staten Island, HPD, in collaboration with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), seeks proposals to redevelop existing NYCHA housing at Markham Gardens. The housing currently on the site is obsolete, consisting of older, undersized units. At least 370 new units of housing will be built, and about 200 current and former residents will have the right to return to the new development. The new development will include rental apartments for low-income senior citizens; rental apartments for existing low-income tenants who would receive Section 8 housing vouchers; and mixed-income rental units. In the new Markham Gardens, there will also be homeownership opportunities in 25 or more owner-occupied two-family houses.

To download these Requests for Proposals, visit the HPD website at

Printed copies of the Requests for Proposals are available at the HPD Offices at 100 Gold Street in Lower Manhattan. To get to us by subway, take the 4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall; the 2/3 to Fulton Street; the A/C to the Broadway/Nassau Street station; the N/R to City Hall station and walk east across City Hall Park; the J/Z/M to Chambers Street. Buses that stop nearby include the M1, M6, M9, M10, M15, M22, M101, and M102. HPD is located directly east of Pace University, at the intersection of Gold and Frankfort Streets. If you are driving, take the East River Drive to the Brooklyn Bridge/Civic Center exit.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Department of Buildings and Department of Environmental Protection Announce the Merger of Boiler Filings

Subject: New Procedures for Boiler Renewal/Annual Filings
Date: 8/26/2005 11:32:56 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

"Consumer Updates " and "Environmental News"

August 26, 2005

New Procedures for Boiler Renewal/Annual Filings

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Buildings (DOB) are working together on a cooperative project that will allow boiler owners to submit their required DEP triennial renewal requests and DOB annual inspection reports together on one form (BO-9) and at one location (Department of Buildings). More information about this new streamlined process, which will be available September 6, 2005, can be found on the DOB website:

New form and instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

Press Release



August 17, 2005

CONTACT: Charles Sturcken (DEP) (718/595-6600)
Ilyse Fink/Jennifer Givner (DOB) (212) 566-3473

Department of Buildings and Department of Environmental Protection Announce the Merger of Boiler Filings

Synchronization of Reporting Requirements Expected to Ease Process for Building Owners

Department of Buildings� Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced the merger of their agencies� boiler report filing processes. The new filing procedures will take effect on September 6, 2005. The merger of the two filings will simplify the process for building owners, licensed plumbers, licensed oil burner installers and the insurance industry personnel who perform boiler inspections.

Currently, Buildings requires the submission of annual boiler inspection reports under Local Law 62 of 1991 by December 31st of each year. This law requires owners of boilers that heat six or more residential units, units in commercial areas, and units in mixed-use spaces to file annual inspection reports with the Department.

DEP requires triennial boiler filings for air quality monitoring purposes but its submission requirement is on the anniversary date of the original filing, creating double work for those who must file with both agencies. The variations in requirements and processes cause confusion and unnecessary burdens on those owners who must file with both agencies. Furthermore, each agency tracks boilers in its own independent database; consequently, correlating filing status is difficult and time-consuming.

The departments expect the joint project to be performed in multiple phases. The first phase, to be launched in September 2005, addresses the problem from the applicant's point of view. The agencies will provide a single application intake center at the Buildings Department where the two filings will be submitted on one form designed to capture the data required by each agency.

Commissioner Lancaster said: �Through the front-end merger of the boiler filing processes, Buildings and DEP are able to make it easier and faster to file. It is a convoluted customer service issue that has needed resolution for years. I want to thank Commissioner Lloyd and her staff for their cooperation in helping to get this important initiative off the ground.�

Commissioner Lloyd stated: �This is another example of the Bloomberg Administration working to eliminate burdensome regulations for New Yorkers. This move will help streamline the process for thousands of hardworking businesspeople and property owners who need to file vital information with the City.�

The Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) added its support for the merger. RSA President, Joseph Strasburg, said, �RSA represents 25,000 small residential building owners throughout the five boroughs and our members will benefit tremendously by the elimination of the dual filings at both agencies. The streamlined process is further proof that the Bloomberg Administration means business when it comes to making it easier to work with the City of New York.�

The second phase of the project involves extensive analysis and changes to existing procedures, databases, applications, and staffing. Additional proposed changes would include aligning the two filing periods and normalizing the fee structure.


The City of New York
Office of the President
Borough of Manhattan

C. Virginia Fields Borough President

August 25, 2005

Dear Friend of Public Education:

I am writing to request your assistance in identifying candidates for consideration for appointment to the Community Education Council for District Six.

As you are probably aware, each community school district has a Community Education Council (CEC) composed of eleven voting members and one non-voting member. Two of the voting members on each CEC must be appointed by the Borough President of the borough in which the community school district lies.

At this time, I am seeking to fill a vacancy for one of the Borough President appointments on CEC Six. Towards that end, I am asking that you assist me in identifying individuals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will be needed to fully participate in the CEC�s activities.

All individuals who serve on CEC Six must either reside or work in Community School District Six. I have attached a full description of the composition and the duties of the CECs. Individuals who are nominated should have:

Demonstrated commitment to improving public education;
Leadership and organizational skills at the school level (i.e. PTA/PA, School Leadership Team);
Budget and legislative expertise;
Collaborative decision making skills;
Comprehensive knowledge of all major NYC Department of Education policies and procedures; and
Excellent writing and presentation skills

In addition, the individuals may have served on or participated in:

� District level committees as: President�s Council, Title I Parents Advisory Council, District Leadership Team, and community school board;
� The work of community-based organizations; and
� Organizing parents and community members around school improvement

Please note that this appointment to CEC Six is being made in order to fill a seat that was vacated after July 1, 2005. As such, according to the legislation governing CECs, in order to serve on CEC Six, my nominee will have to be confirmed by a majority of the body�s current members. Once appointed, the individual will be expected to serve the remainder of the current term, which expires on June 30, 2007.

Please fax the attached nomination form along with a resume to the attention of Nicole Phillips at (212) 669-4306 no later than Wednesday, September 7, 2005. After a review of all nominations, a select few will be interviewed and final determinations will be made at that time. If you have any questions, please contact Nicole at (212) 669-2206.

Your assistance in getting the best individual for this important position is greatly appreciated.

Very truly yours,

>signature< color="#ff0000" size="4">Please Obtain Actual Forms From Nicole Phillips At the Manhattan Borough President's Office (212) 669-2206

Office of the Manhattan Borough President
1 Centre Street, 19th Floor-South
New York, NY 10007



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Summary of Legislation Establishing
Community District Education Councils

The following is a summary of major provisions of the law replacing Community School Boards with Community District Education Councils. To view the full text go to: and type in bill number, A9113. Near the top of the next page, click "see bill text."

The law creates a system of community councils, whose members serve without compensation (but are re-imbursed for expenses), to replace the Community School Boards. There is a community education council (CEC) for each community school district and city-wide councils on special education (CCSE) and high schools (CCHS).

The CECs are composed of eleven voting members and one non-voting member. Voting members are: 1) nine district parents selected by the �presidents and officers of the parents� association or parent-teachers� association,� serving a two year term, and 2) two community members appointed by the borough president, who are residents of, or own or operate a business in, the district. The latter also serve for a two-year term and may only be reappointed for one additional term. The non-voting member, serving a one-year term, is a high school senior residing in the district appointed by the superintendent �from among the elected student leadership.�

The CCSE is composed of eleven voting members serving two year terms, and one non-voting student member serving a one-year term who is a high school senior residing in the district and is appointed by the administrator designated by the chancellor to supervise city-wide special education programs. Nine voting members must be parents of students who receive special education services, selected by parents of such students �pursuant to a representative process developed by the chancellor�. The other two are appointed by the public advocate of the city of New York. One can not be a member of both the CCSE and a CEC.

The community councils are empowered to make their own by-laws and regulations to conduct their affairs, and are charged to develop a process �consistent with procedures which shall be developed by the chancellor for community input in connection with the annual evaluation of the district superintendent and other instructional supervisors assigned or appointed to the district by the chancellor.� (Sec. 2590-d.2.c)

Significant powers and duties of the CECs:
� Promote achievement of educational standards and objectives relating to the instruction of students;
� Participate in continuing education on an annual basis as defined by the chancellor;
� Prepare an annual school district report card and publicize it with copies of the proposed budget;
� Approve zoning lines, as submitted by the superintendent, consistent with the regulations of the chancellor; � Hold public meetings with the superintendent at least monthly;
� Submit an annual evaluation of the superintendent and of local instructional supervisors to the chancellor;
� Hold a public hearing on the district�s annual capacity plans and submit the approved plan to the chancellor;
� Provide input to the chancellor and the city board on matters of concern to the district;
� Liaison with school leadership teams and assist them.

A City Kid Remembers Growing Up in Inwood.

Subject: An Inwood Childhood
Date: 8/26/2005 12:55:24 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

A City Kid Remembers Growing Up in Inwood.

By Henry J. Stern
August 26, 2005

Every now and then, one's mind turns to recollections of places and events of years ago. We offer these memories to you, and invite you, if so inclined, to share them with us. Although it is utterly presumptuous to initiate a blog history of New York City, there is no harm in collecting stories about our experiences growing up. They are more likely to be preserved in cyberspace than in transitory repositories like our brains. So write if you like, read this if you care to, and let us know what you think: should individuals' memories of the city be collected?

The dog days of summer may be behind us. After several uncomfortably hot and humid weeks, the weather has become more bearable. We hope it stays that way.

This Wednesday, September will arrive, and oysters will be back in season. I remember as a child the Blue Point Fish Market on Dyckman Street in Inwood, which displayed a sign that read "Oysters 'R' in Season." I asked what that meant, and I was told that oysters were safe to eat only in months that had the letter 'r' in their names. I wondered how the oysters knew how the months were spelled, until I looked at the calendar and found that every month from September to April contained an 'r', and that only May, June, July and August did not. As a kid, I thought that maybe oysters spoiled in the heat, or maybe the fishermen didn't go out when it was too hot. Now we see oysters in the summer, so the rule appears to have been relaxed. To find the answer today, we consulted Google, and learned:

"You can only eat them basically in the "r" months," said Clifton {Allen Clifton of Clifton's Seafood}. "The reason for that is because your oysters and clams are on higher plains, so the water only covers them during high tide. During the low tide they are exposed to the sun, so your bacteria count goes up during the summer�Refrigeration has made it possible for people to eat oysters year round. Before refrigeration you really couldn't eat oysters during the hot seasons because of bacteria, but it's no longer true."

Oysters remind me of penguins, and, if you haven't seen it, I want to recommend a very good movie, "March of the Penguins". This movie is much better than you might imagine. From the title, I thought "who would want to see penguins march for an hour and a half", but in the film they do more than march. There is another movie out, "The Oyster Farmer", which is set in Australia. I haven't seen it, but EK said: "Good acting, modest plot, worth seeing."

Looking back at the oyster sign reminds me of the old neighborhood, and how it has changed over the years. The apartment buildings look the same on the outside, although many have been rehabbed by the city. There are still taxpayers on the business streets, which contain stores, and sometime living quarters for the merchants over the store. That custom is definitely pass�. In this context, 'taxpayers' are not people who pay taxes, as one might normally assume. Taxpayers are one or two story buildings, erected to earn enough income to pay the real estate taxes on the property, and easy to demolish for an apartment house or other large structure. Brooklyn and Queens have many taxpayers of this sort, some in areas that are unlikely to be developed..

What has changed in Inwood is the language spoken, now mostly Spanish rather than English, and the ethnicity of the people, now largely Dominican and previously Irish and Jewish. The Loew's Inwood and Alpine theaters are both gone, the Alpine with its unique L shape replaced by a McDonald's.

When I was a lad, children paid 14 cents to see a movie, ("Gone With the Wind" was more expensive.) We sat in a rear section of the theater, closely watched by an elderly matron. Now the children's price is $7, a 4900% increase. That will get you one movie rather than the two we used to see, and the newsreels have been replaced by commercials. We observe the way our quality of life has deteriorated over the years, as well as the many ways it has improved.

We should never forget how much better off we are in some important ways. In my childhood, we lost several classmates. Janet Lawson caught pneumonia and, in the absence of antibiotics, died at the age of 10. Fred Rein, the only kid I knew with a 200 IQ, died at 14, a few weeks after he entered Bronx Science. He was stricken with bulbar polio, eight years before the Salk vaccine became available. Some causes of tragedy continue, like automobile accidents (Walter Vogl, 17) and suicide (Melvin Goldenberg, 14). Others have arisen, like drugs. Dylan Thomas, (1914-53) wrote about the subject. The inescapable line we recall is: "after the first death, there is no other."

Another constant in the neighborhood is its large parks. The most northerly community in Manhattan (except for Marble Hill, which was surgically removed from Manhattan Island by the construction of the Harlem Ship Canal in 1895) was named for the ample parks that surround it. On the Harlem River, there is the 118-acre Highbridge Park, reaching west to the Dyckman Street station of the MTA (formerly the IRT) and stretching south to 155th Street. On the Hudson River, we have Fort Tryon Park, home of the Cloisters and the Heather Garden, west of Broadway and south of Riverside Drive. Inwood Hill Park has 198 acres and is largely wilderness, studded with open spaces where 19th century buildings had been demolished by Moses, who also clipped off some of the west side of the park to run the Henry Hudson Parkway north to its eponymous bridge. The 1936 steel arch gateway to Riverdale then cost a dime to cross, but now the toll is $2. (That's up 1900%)

The War impacted the neighborhood in many ways. Young men and older boys went off to fight. We in P.S. 152 brought old newspapers to school on wagons, to be used for the war effort. Tin cans were saved as well, a forerunner of today's ecological recycling. We sold books in which were pasted war stamps, which came in 10, 25 and 50 cent denominations. The book was filled when $18.75 worth of stamps were purchased, and it was exchangeable for a War Bond, which could be redeemed for $25 in ten years.

To discourage early redemption of these war loans, the interest was back-loaded, so if you turned in the bond during its first year, you would get something like six cents interest. The bonds helped fight inflation by encouraging saving rather than spending. They also made excellent gifts for birthdays or bar mitzvahs, in part because the face amount of the bond was 33% more than its actual cost to you, and also because there was a place on it for the donor's name, which the donee could read when, years later, it was taken out of the desk drawer to be redeemed, most likely at the Harlem Savings Bank on Broadway.

We also had what was called a Victory Garden, a sizable plot, in the northeast corner of the school playground. We planted radishes among other vegetables so we would not have to buy them in stores. By doing that, we were supposed to be helping the war effort by adding to the nation's food supply, which also helped to fight price inflation. For most of us city boys and girls, it was our first experience in planting things in the ground and seeing them grow.

Compared with recent wars in which the United States has been involved, the country had much better national spirit than we have enjoyed in recent conflict, and the public was much more involved, what with rationing of sugar, meat and gasoline, price controls. Apart from the merits of the wars, no one not in the military is compelled to make any sacrifice (Cf. SUV).

Everybody respected President Roosevelt, although the Jews were more enthusiastic about him than the Irish. When he died, on April 12, 1945, we were listening to Captain Midnight on the radio. The program was interrupted by a somber announcer, who told us the news. My grandmother, who had come over from Germany in 1938, started to cry softly. My brother and I knew that something very sad had happened. The radio played nothing but funeral music for three days. There was a great sense of loss, in our home and outside on the street. When we went to school, the teachers talked about the President. People wondered what President Truman would be like.

I feel very fortunate to have been born, grown up and educated in New York City. Not only that, but the City employed me, except when I was periodically thrown out. I hope that those of you who have stayed with us this far will let us know what you think, and share your own urban experiences with the rest of our readers.

a248 8.26.05 1546w

Henry J. Stern
New York Civic
520 Eighth Avenue
22nd Floor
New York, NY 10018
(212) 564-4441
(212) 564-5588 (fax)

Department of Buildings and Department of Environmental Protection Announce the Merger of Boiler Filings

Subject: New Procedures for Boiler Renewal/Annual Filings
Date: 8/26/2005 11:32:56 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

"Consumer Updates " and "Environmental News"
August 26, 2005

New Procedures for Boiler Renewal/Annual Filings

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Buildings (DOB) are working together on a cooperative project that will allow boiler owners to submit their required DEP triennial renewal requests and DOB annual inspection reports together on one form (BO-9) and at one location (Department of Buildings). More information about this new streamlined process, which will be available September 6, 2005, can be found on the DOB website:

New form and instructions
Frequently Asked Questions
Press Release



August 17, 2005

CONTACT: Charles Sturcken (DEP) (718/595-6600)
Ilyse Fink/Jennifer Givner (DOB) (212) 566-3473

Department of Buildings and Department of Environmental Protection Announce the Merger of Boiler Filings

Synchronization of Reporting Requirements Expected to Ease Process for Building Owners

Department of Buildings� Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced the merger of their agencies� boiler report filing processes. The new filing procedures will take%

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

NYC Small Business Update - August 2005

Subject: NYC Small Business Update - August 2005
Date: 8/24/2005 4:49:13 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details) newsletter:
Small Business Update
August 2005

Welcome to NYC Business Solutions - your source for free, quick and reliable answers to a broad range of business questions. If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, visit our website to learn more about how we can help you.


Loans and Other �Business Solutions� in Lower Manhattan

NYC Business Solutions is now open for business at its Lower Manhattan Center at 79 John Street between William and Gold Streets. Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Small Business Services created NYC Business Solutions to make New York City a better place for small businesses. Since its launch in September 2004, NYC Business Solutions staff have already provided free, professional help to over 13,000 entrepreneurs on key business issues, from starting a business and hiring and training employees to finding financing and navigating government regulations. There are eight centers located throughout the five boroughs. Learn more.


Save Money and Time on Parking Fines

If your firm utilizes commercial vehicles to provide quick deliveries or service calls, you may be eligible to reduce certain parking fines with NYC Delivery Solutions. Best of all, participating in the program is FREE. Learn more.

Lower Energy Costs This Summer

Are your energy costs rising as much as the temperature this summer? Fortunately, there are several programs that can help your business lower energy costs and become more energy efficient. Learn more.


Restaurant Management Bootcamp
Mon , August 29, 2� 4PM
110 William St, 7th floor Board Room
Join the Lower Manhattan Business Solutions Center for this free workshop for restaurant owners and managers.

Learn how to avoid large fines by knowing the laws regarding minimum wage, overtime pay, uniforms, worker's compensation, and other issues.

Learn how to get financing and other business assistance for your restaurant.

Learn best practices from other restaurant owners on ways to limit staff turnover & increase your income.

RSVP required. Space is limited. Contact Ms. Chris Roberts, 212-618-8862 or

View the calendar for all of this month�s classes and register now!


$2.35 Million SBA Loan Awarded to Miron & Sons Linen Service

With the help of the NYC Business Solutions Center in the Bronx, Miron & Sons Linen Service (a.k.a. B&M Linen Corporation), an industrial laundry business operated by Miron Markus and his two sons Boris and Michael Markus, recently secured two SBA 504 loans totaling $2.35 million. Learn more.

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Comment on this news service


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Where Are The Black Cindy Sheehans?

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Columnist

The moving sight of aggrieved mother Cindy Sheehan camped out in front of President Bush's ranch touched a national nerve. Sheehan is a white mom that lost a son. And who wouldn't be compassionate and sensitive to her loss? But there are plenty of black moms that have lost sons in Iraq, and few have followed Sheehan's example and publicly and dramatically raised their voices in protest.

Though polls show that more blacks than whites oppose the war, and black Congressperson Maxine Waters has hammered Bush on Iraq, there has been no mass move by blacks to publicly join the antiwar chorus. Few blacks showed up at the peace vigils that Sheehan's one-woman protest stirred nationally in August. With the arguable exception of an antiwar march in Harlem on the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the faces of the antiwar protestors have looked like Sheehan's.

That's been the case in the countless protests mounted against America's wars, and that includes the Vietnam War protests. The widely held, but false notion, was that blacks died in much bigger numbers than whites in Vietnam. Though many blacks openly denounced the war as a racist war, in which blacks were used as cannon fodder to kill other colored people, many blacks still flocked to the military in droves. They reviled the antiwar movement as a white movement that had little to do with their fight against job discrimination, failing public schools, and police abuse.

The reasons for that aren't hard to find. In the case of Iraq, blacks have not died disproportionately in the war. They are more likely to be in administrative and support positions than in front line elite combat units such as the Special Forces and the Green Berets.

The much publicized and controversial capture of Shoshana Johnson, an African-American woman who served in a supply unit, in the early days of Iraq combat gave a public face to the dangers that black women in the military. The army, however, stood their peril on its head. It repackaged Johnson's capture and confinement as a heroic act under fire, gave her a heroes welcome on return home, and trotted her around on a well-publicized national tour to tell her tale of courage. That did not stir a rush by blacks to military recruitment centers, in fact, the number of black enlistments have since plunged. But that has less to do with a spike up in black opposition to the military than the legitimate fear blacks have of being killed in battle. Also, more college bound blacks have greater job and career choices than in decades past.

Despite the risks of being killed on the battlefront, the staggering high levels of unemployment for young black males, poor education, and continued fringe job discrimination make the army's relentless "be all you can be" pitch irresistible to many poor, young blacks. They see the army as their one, maybe only, chance to learn skills, get a quality education, receive top medical care, earn a pension, and other benefits. ROTC programs have been dumped from or chased off numerous major university campuses. Yet they have expanded at black colleges. A significant number of army ROTC commissions received by blacks are awarded at nearly two dozen black colleges. Blacks hold more management and executive positions in the army that give them command and decision-making power over whites than in any other government agency, let alone the corporate world. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the vast array of black generals, and thousands of commissioned and NCOs are walking advertisements for the glories of military life.

Then there's the deep and unshakeable rally round the flag patriotism that always stirs many blacks in times of war and crisis. Combat was seen by them as a chance to prove their patriotism and loyalty, and strike a big blow against racism. If they proved their mettle in battle things would get better for them at home.

That sentiment spilled out at a recent panel discussion on the military in Los Angeles featuring current and former black army vets. The panelists fervently hoped that the war would end as quickly as possible. Yet they strongly expressed the belief that when duty called, and in this case that meant the call of the military, they had to answer it. As one panelist said, "I may not agree with Bush, but he's still my commander-in-chief." Americans watched Sheehan brave taunts, insults, and a fierce scramble by Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney to counter the widespread notion that the Iraq war is a no-win folly. That included many black moms who, like her, do not believe in the war or Bush. Yet, few have joined Sheehan in her impassioned protest or are likely to-at least yet.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a columnist for, an author and political analyst.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Elect Me, Then Lobby Me

Subject: Elect Me, Then Lobby Me
Date: 8/22/2005 5:20:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)


By Henry J. Stern
August 22, 2005

This is a major story about an issue which is important, yet relatively unknown to the public.

In today's Sun, p1c1 jumping to p2, Brian McGuire, writing from Albany, explores the situation in which campaign staff who work to elect candidates also collect fees as lobbyists to influence, on behalf of a roster of paying clients, the people whom they have just helped to elect.

The new class of insiders, which include Republicans and Democrats, are paid for their campaign work by the candidates, who often use public matching funds for that purpose. When the candidates are elected or re-elected, the campaign staff sells their access to the public official to their private clients -corporations, unions, nonprofits, Indian tribes - any group that wants the official to do something to help them, or not do anything to hurt their economic interests. Rule 21-O: "One hand washes the other" and Rule 23-B: "Money talks..."

The headline in this morning's Sun: "HOW CANDIDATES BLUR THE LINES WITH LOBBYISTS -- Key Spokesmen May Serve Two Masters."

The lede: "Want to know Senate candidate Jeanine Pirro's position on casino gambling or importing prescription drugs from Canada? You might find yourself talking to one of her two top campaign aides, Kieran Mahoney or Michael McKeon, who are employees of a firm, Mercury Public Affairs, that is registered with the state of New York as a lobbyist for the Shinnecock Nation Gaming Authority and the drug company Pfizer.

"Are you a donor to Senator Clinton who wants to know what her position is on merit pay for teachers or American aid to Turkey? You could ask the Clinton campaign's chief fund-raiser, Patti Solis Doyle, who until recently worked at the Glover Park Group. Or you might be referred to Howard Wolfson, a partner in Glover Park Group - which, according to government filings and press reports, has the United Federation of Teachers and the government of Turkey among its clients."

The practice of campaign consultants, who are often powerful figures to whom candidates feel indebted, also serving as lobbyists is troublesome in a number of ways. First is the question of undue influence, will a candidate be more likely to listen to the person who helped elect him or her, or to a lobbyist without that entree?

Second is the issue of undercharging, will a campaign consultant charge the candidate less for his services, knowing that he will make up the difference in lobbying fees? If that be the case, and we have heard allegations to that effect, how can other campaign consultants compete unless they too are lobbyists?

Third is the problem of what happens when lobbyists skip to other companies, or clients change their lobbyists. Do they take the elected officials with them? Does that enhance their marketability? Who owns the relationship? Who owns - or rents - the public officials?

It seems to us that the incestuous relationships of lobbyists and elected officials are intimate enough without the lobbyist becoming the instrumentality of the official's nomination and election. What if several candidates compete for the services of one campaign consultant? Will he go for the one whose election would give him the greatest opportunity to fatten his client roster?

The conflicts of interests inherent in this practice deserve strict regulation if not total prohibition. However, the manipulating string pullers and influence peddlers are clever enough to outwit any regulatory scheme, if necessary with the assistance of pliant judges. They have had years of experience in passing laws, preventing laws from being passed, and getting around the laws that are passed. The clearest thing to do would probably be to outlaw the combined practice of lobbying for bills and electing people to vote on those bills.

Notwithstanding a strong bill, we will still need to ride herd on the dummy and shell corporations, operated by nominees and straw men, that will be created to circumvent the spirit of the ban. Penalties for violating this law should be sufficiently severe to have a deterrent effect on the cheaters. The Stock Exchange and the SEC, for example, have the power to expel crooks from the exchange or the securities business. Why not do the same to lobbyists who do not conform to the moral standards that should be expected for their occupation.

Let us make it clear: lobbying is a legitimate business and there are honorable professionals who engage in it, some of whom we know as people who are and should be held in high regard. Businesses sometimes need intermediaries to deal with government. Perhaps theoretically they shouldn't, but in the real world, an age of specialized skills, they often do. Corporations and individuals are entitled to a fair hearing in dealing with legislators and procurement officers. Lobbyists may be required to see that they get one. Appropriate lobbying is acceptable.

But any business where the stock in trade consists of human relationships is subject to abuse and over-reaching. The relatively new practice of campaigners doubling as lobbyists makes oversight more difficult, and creates additional opportunities for improper behavior. The campaign-lobbyist complex should not be allowed to tighten its grip on the legislature and state agencies.

But the question remains, as expressed briefly by Rule 17-C: "Who will bell the cat?"

(Explication of any obscurities in the text is available by e-mail or telephone. We are aware that a good article is self-explanatory, but there may be nooks, crannies or case histories that some of you may wish to explore.)

246 - 8.22.05

Henry J. Stern
New York Civic
520 Eighth Avenue
22nd Floor
New York, NY 10018
(212) 564-4441
(212) 564-5588 (fax)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Toxins (Dusted Off)

Dusted Off

Claim: Adolescents huffing from cans of Dust-Off brand compressed air have died.

Status: True.

Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2005]

First IM going to tell you a little about me and my family. My name is Jeff. I am a Police Officer for a city which is known nationwide for its crime rate. We have a lot of gangs and drugs. At one point we were # 2 in the nation in homicides per capita. I also have a police K-9 named Thor. He was certified in drugs and general duty. He retired at 3 years old because he was shot in the line of duty. He lives with us now and I still train with him because he likes it. I always liked the fact that there was no way to bring drugs into my house. Thor wouldn't allow it. He would tell on you. The reason I say this is so you understand that I know about drugs. I have taught in schools about drugs. My wife asks all our kids at least once a week if they used any drugs. Makes them promise they wont.

I like building computers occasionally and started building a new one in February 2005. I also was working on some of my older computers. They were full of dust so on one of my trips to the computer store I bought a 3 pack of DUST OFF. Dust Off is a can of compressed air to blow dust off a computer. A few weeks later when I went to use them they were all used. I talked to my kids and my 2 sons both said they had used them on their computer and messing around with them. I yelled at them for wasting the 10 dollars I paid for them. On February 28 I went back to the computer store. They didn't have the 3 pack which I had bought on sale so I bought a single jumbo can of Dust Off. I went home and set it down beside my computer.

On March 1st I left for work at 10 PM. At 11 PM my wife went down and kissed Kyle goodnight. At 530 am the next morning Kathy went downstairs to wake Kyle up for school, before she left for work. He was sitting up in bed with his legs crossed and his head leaning over. She called to him a few times to get up. He didn't move. He would sometimes tease her like this and pretend he fell back asleep. He was never easy to get up. She went in and shook his arm. He fell over. He was pale white and had the straw from the Dust Off can coming out of his mouth. He had the new can of Dust Off in his hands. Kyle was dead.

I am a police officer and I had never heard of this. My wife is a nurse and she had never heard of this. We later found out from the coroner, after the autopsy, that only the propellant from the can of Dust off was in his system. No other drugs. Kyle had died between midnight and 1 Am.

I found out that using Dust Off is being done mostly by kids ages 9 through 15. They even have a name for it. It's called dusting. A take off from the Dust Off name. It gives them a slight high for about 10 seconds. It makes them dizzy. A boy who lives down the street from us showed Kyle how to do this about a month before. Kyle showed his best friend. Told him it was cool and it couldn't hurt you. Its just compressed air. It cant hurt you. His best friend said no.

Kyle's death

Kyle was wrong. It's not just compressed air. It also contains a propellant. I think its R2. Its a refrigerant like what is used in your refrigerator. It is a heavy gas. Heavier than air. When you inhale it, it fills your lungs and keeps the good air, with oxygen, out. That's why you feel dizzy, buzzed. It decreases the oxygen to your brain, to your heart. Kyle was right. It cant hurt you. IT KILLS YOU. The horrible part about this is there is no warning. There is no level that kills you. It's not cumulative or an overdose; it can just go randomly, terribly wrong. Roll the dice and if your number comes up you die. ITS NOT AN OVERDOSE. Its Russian roulette. You don't die later. Or not feel good and say I've had too much. You usually die as your breathing it in. If not you die within 2 seconds of finishing "the hit." That's why the straw was still in Kyle's mouth when he died. Why his eye's were still open.

The experts want to call this huffing. The kids don't believe its huffing. As adults we tend to lump many things together. But it doesn't fit here. And that's why its more accepted. There is no chemical reaction. no strong odor. It doesn't follow the huffing signals. Kyle complained a few days before he died of his tongue hurting. It probably did. The propellant causes frostbite. If I had only known.

Its easy to say hay, its my life and I'll do what I want. But it isn't. Others are always effected. This has forever changed our family's life. I have a hole in my heart and soul that can never be fixed. The pain is so immense I cant describe it. There's nowhere to run from it. I cry all the time and I don't ever cry. I do what I'm supposed to do but I don't really care. My kids are messed up. One wont talk about it. The other will only sleep in our room at night. And my wife, I cant even describe how bad she is taking this. I thought we were safe because of Thor. I thought we were safe because we knew about drugs and talked to our kids about them.

After Kyle died another story came out. A Probation Officer went to the school system next to ours to speak with a student. While there he found a student using Dust Off in the bathroom. This student told him about another student who also had some in his locker. This is a rather affluent school system. They will tell you they don't have a drug problem there. They don't even have a dare or plus program there. So rather than tell everyone about this "new" way of getting high they found, they hid it. The probation officer told the media after Kyle's death and they, the school, then admitted to it. I know that if they would have told the media and I had heard, it wouldn't have been in my house.

We need to get this out of our homes and school computer labs.

Using Dust Off isn't new and some "professionals" do know about. It just isn't talked about much, except by the kids. They know about it.

April 2nd was 1 month since Kyle died. April 5th would have been his 15th birthday. And every weekday I catch myself sitting on the living room couch at 2:30 in the afternoon and waiting to see him get off the bus. I know Kyle is in heaven but I cant help but wonder If I died and went to Hell.


Origins: While many of the Internet-circulated tales of tragedy prove either to be baseless scaremongering or vastly overblown accounts that contain only a small shred of truth, this one, unfortunately, checks out in every respect. On 2 March 2005, 14-year-old Kyle Williams was found dead in his bedroom at his family's Cleveland-area home. At 5:45 that morning, his mother, Kathy Williams (a nurse by profession), had attempted to wake him before she left for work. She initially thought Kyle was joking when he failed to get up, but she then pulled back the covers and found her son lying motionless, a can of Dust-Off, a common computer cleaner, next to his face. She immediately called the Lake County Sheriff�s Office.

The boy's father and the author of the e-mail, Jeff Williams, is an East Cleveland police officer. He was on duty when his son's body was discovered and arrived home to find Lake County Sheriff�s Office personnel already on the scene. According to the coroner, the boy died sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. His mother had kissed him goodnight at a quarter to

Jeff Williams does indeed have a German Shepherd named Thor who had been a police dog with the East Cleveland Police Department until he was shot in the line of duty in March 2001. Thor's injuries necessitated his retirement from the force, so he became the Williams' family pet.

Mr. Williams' letter began as a post to an online message board he visited for support in the wake of his son's death. It prompted a teacher who found it there to ask if she could read it to her class, which in turn prompted him to write for her a more detailed version that gave a better sense of who his son had been. He also posted this expanded account to a couple of message boards where he was discussing his grief. It is this version that now circulates.

This sad e-mail about a teen's demise reached us in the first week of April 2005. By mid-May 2005, versions in circulation had picked up the following attribution, causing many to conclude the death had taken place in Calgary, Alberta, rather than in Cleveland, Ohio:

Tracey Lowey, B.A., M.S.
Crime Analyst
Targeted Enforcement Unit #583
Calgary Police Service
Office: 206-8360

Dust-Off, the product that proved to be Kyle Williams' undoing, has been implicated in a number of deaths:

* The September 2001 death of 19-year-old Austin Purser in Valdez, Alaska, was attributed to Dust-Off. According to the young man's roommates, the decedent had come home about 4 a.m. and had huffed from an aerosol can of Dust-Off.

* In January 2004 in Brooklyn, New York, 18-year-old Kristian Roggio was killed when her vehicle was struck by one driven by Vincent Litto, 20, who had been huffing from a can of Dust-Off when his car went over the double yellow lines and crashed head-on into hers.

* The coroner's report on one of the fatalities in an August 2004 single-vehicle automobile accident in Sacramento, California, revealed the presence of difluoroethane (the propellant in Dust-Off) in the blood of a passenger in a Jeep which was estimated to have been traveling at 90 mph when it jumped a curb, hit a telephone pole, then crashed into a concrete wall. A can of Dust-Off was found in the wrecked vehicle. Of the three teens who died as a result of that crash (Matthew Walas, 15; Jeremiah Cremins, 16; Nicholas Goudberg, 17), only Walas' blood was tested, leaving open the question of whether the driver, Goudberg, was also under the influence. (Walas was killed instantly, whereas Goudberg lived on for a further eight days, and Cremins lasted three weeks past the accident. The coroner's office did not order toxicology tests on the blood of the two youths who lingered because these would have proved useless as the young men had received transfusions, plus they both lived long enough for any chemicals to have dissipated from their bloodstreams.)

Falcon, the maker of Dust-Off, is aware its product is abused in this fashion. It has posted information about inhalant abuse on its web site, and cans of Dust Off bear a label cautioning users against misuse of the product and carry this warning in large red block letters: "Inhalant abuse is illegal and can cause permanent injury or be fatal. Please use our product responsibly."

Yet while it might be tempting to regard this threat as one limited to Dust-Off (and therefore as a danger that can be averted by banning a specific product from the home), the truth is a great number of teens and pre-teens routinely attempt to get high by abusing inhalants and solvents found in common household products. Dust-Off is just one of a thousand or more products that can abruptly end the life of someone foolishly looking for an inhalant high. The list of items that can be turned to this purpose is almost endless and includes such innocuous-looking goods as hair spray and aerosol whipped cream. Depending on how the intoxicant is taken in, the process is referred to as 'bagging' or 'huffing' � bagging requires the substance be contained in a plastic or paper bag which the thrill-seeker then breathes from, while huffing involves either breathing directly from an aerosol or through a cloth soaked in solvent.

Both bagging and huffing can, and have, proved fatal. Sudden death can result on the first try, making one's first time seeking this particular kick also one's last. That first time's being a killer isn't an exaggeration, either: 22% of all inhalant-abuse deaths occur among users who had not previously bagged or huffed. Suffocation, dangerous behavior, and aspiration account for 45% of inhalant abuse fatalities, with "sudden sniffing death" (fatal cardiac arrhythmia) causing the remaining 55%. Suffocation usually takes its toll through the victim's slipping into unconsciousness then dying of a lack of oxygen, but it can also happen through airway obstruction brought about through swelling caused by spraying certain agents into the mouth. Dangerous behavior-related deaths are those in which inhalant abuse cause the deceased to engage in risk-laden activities that bring about his demise: he drowns, jumps or falls from a high place, dies of exposure or hypothermia, is in (or on) a vehicle that he loses control of at high speed, or accidentally sets himself on fire (most inhalants are flammable). Death through aspiration of vomited materials comes about through an unconscious victim's protective airway reflexes being depressed by the chemicals involved. "Sudden sniffing death" is a simple way of saying the hydrocarbons being inhaled provoke irregular heart rhythms in the victim, leading to sudden fatal cardiac arrest. Even young and very healthy hearts fail this way.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the peak age of inhalant abusers is 14 to 15 years, with onset occurring in those as young as 6 to 8 years. Use declines typically by 17 to 19 years of age.

Inhalant abuse is rife among children and teens for a number of reasons beyond the usual factors that inspire young people to experiment with drugs, such as curiousity, thrill seeking, escapism, defiance, and peer pressure. First, the products required to produce inhalant highs are readily available in every home. Even when users have to resort to buying their own, the goods cost little and are easy to purchase, both in terms of availability (almost every store sells at least a few items that can be huffed) and lack of challenge by sales clerks (kids generally need not fear provoking adult disapproval or undue questioning through the act of buying cans of whipped cream). No drug dealers need be sought out, no furtive connections with the underworld made; purchases are easily effected at the corner store, even by the most unsavvy and knock-kneed with terror at the thought of being caught.

Second, because these products are an ordinary part of the household landscape, they take on for many a presumption of safety. Few adults are accustomed to thinking of air freshener as something that can kill, or of Magic Markers as items that can end lives; these are instead viewed as non-dangerous goods, the sort of ordinary household necessities one doesn't so much as look at twice let alone regard with mistrust. Kids can easily take that bland acceptance a step further, adding a presumption of harmlessness to that which is routinely left about for anyone to use.

Third, little other than the act of bagging or huffing itself needs to be concealed from parental eyes. Very few moms and dads will stop to question why their kid has taken to keeping spray deodorant in his backpack or wonder why the family's can of furniture polish keeps turning up in their boy's bedroom, even if these same parents were the sort to be thrown into a panic by the merest glimpse of something that might be a baggie containing dried, crushed plant material. Whereas other intoxicants can't be explained away when found by dear old Dad (a bottle of hooch won't pass for shampoo, nor a bag of pills for candy), inhalants continue to look like what they primarily are: typical household products. Other possible tip-offs to what the sensation seeker has been up to will be dismissed almost as soon as they're noted � strange chemical odors wafting about the child will be brushed off by even the most drug-alert parents as "Somebody must have Scotchguarded something around here" or "That boy has been playing in somebody's garage." Small sores and marks around the youngster's mouth and nose will be attributed to everything under the sun except inhalant abuse (e.g., allergies, colds, scratching, the family dog, or even "Clumsy must have tripped over his big feet again").

It's this triple whammy of factors (readily-obtainable inexpensive high-producing chemicals, intoxicants and tip-offs that are easily concealed from parents, and utter failure on the part of users to appreciate the very real dangers inherent to the practice) that makes inhalant abuse prevalent among drug-curious pre-teens and teens. On their side of the equation, adults rarely pick up on the abuse or its signs unless they actually catch someone red-handed, nor do they grasp how lethal this form of drug use is, concentrating instead on the threat posed by the illegal substances proffered by drug dealers.

Barbara "greater danger lurks in the home than on the playground" Mikkelson

Additional information:
Inhalants and Solvent Abuse
(Martin J. Smilkstein, M.D.)

Inhalants, Bagging, Huffing and Youth
(Mid-Columbia Center for Living)

National Inhalant Prevention Coalition
Last updated: 16 July 2005

The URL for this page is

Urban Legends Reference Pages � 1995-2005
by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
This material may not be reproduced without permission.

Buffa, Denise. "Fume Fury in 'Huff' Smashup."
The New York Post. 26 December 2004 (p. 25).

Committee on Substance Abuse, American Academy of Pediatrics. "Inhalant Abuse."
Pediatrics. March 1996 (97: pp. 420-423).

Kollars, Deb. "At Least One Jesuit High Victim of Fatal Crash Linked to Inhalant."
Sacramento Bee. 18 December 2004 (p. A1).

Sangiacomo, Michael. "Officer Shot on Job Now Pulls Duty as Pet."
[Cleveland] Plain Dealer. 29 December 2001 (p. B1).

Scholz, Karin and Mike Tobin. "A Stitch in Time Saves Wounded Canine."
[Cleveland] Plain Dealer. 8 March 2001 (p. A1).

Schultz, Connie. "A Dire Warning from a Grieving Dad."
[Cleveland] Plain Dealer. 10 March 2005 (p. E1).

Scott, Michael. "Parents Demand School Action After Recent Inhalant Scares."
[Cleveland] Plain Dealer. 16 March 2005 (p. B7).

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1 October 2001 (p. B9).

[Cleveland] Plain Dealer. "Death from a Spray Can."
19 March 2005 (p. B8).

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3 March 2005 (p. B3).