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October 1989 $2.

Cit}f L i m i ~ s
Volume XIV Number 8
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City Limits is indexed in the Alternative Press
Index and the Avery Index to Architectural
Louis Fulgoni, 1936 - 1989
Louis Fulgoni, 53, a graphic designer who worked extensively for non-profit
groups and community organizations in New York, died July 26 at NYU
Medical Center in Manhattan. He had been art director of City Limits from 1975
to 1983.
Born and reared on Staten Island, Louis went on to study at Manhattan's
School of Visual Arts. He received a degree with a concentration in painting in
1958. From that point on, he was a prolific artist. In the 1970s, after two decades
of serious work as a painter, he began studying printmaking at the Parsons
School of Design and went on to create a new body of work in that medium. In
recent years, he also produced a series of painted masks constructed from
corrugated cardboard. His entire legacy of paintings, prints, collages and
constructions will be catalogued in preparation for a retrospective exhibition
of his life's work.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Louis worked as a graphic designer for the
National Broadcasting Company, with work regularly featured on the "Today"
and "Tonight" programs. During his tenure at NBC, he became shop steward for
Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 841 (IATSE).
In the mid-1970s, Louis began working as a freelance art director in adver-
tising and publishing. He soon became involved in improving the graphic
quality of books and periodicals published by community-based organiza-
tions-notably, organizations involved in the tenant movement. Through his
company, FulgoniGraphics, he designed and produced promotional and edu-
cational materials for the New York State Tenant and Neighborhood Coalition,
the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, and many other
groups including the Chelsea Gay Association and his local block association.
Louis's involvement in tenant-movement graphics led him to City Limits,
which he designed starting from its second issue in1975. Largely through his
efforts, the City Limits "look" was transformed from that of an in-house
newsletter to the more polished magazine format it retains today.
In 1983, Louis became art director of Allegro, the monthly newspaper of
Local 802, Associated Musicians of Greater New York. The following year, he
became graphic designer for Guild Notes, the journal of the National Lawyers .
Guild. He stayed on with both periodicals until illness compelled him to stop
working early this year. Since 1984, he had been a partner in the Ledwith-
Fulgoni Company, a lower Manhattan publishing firm through which much of
his later graphics work was produced.
Louis is survived by his mother, Mary Fulgoni, and his companion of 15
years, Michael McKee. He leaves a host of friends and colleagues touched by his
aura of high style, sharp wit and creativity. Donations may be sent to the AIDS
Coalition to Unleash Power, 496A Hudson St, G-4, NY, NY 10014, or Gay Men's
Health Crisis, 129 West 20th St., NY, NY 10011. 0 Tim Ledwith
Tim Ledwith, City Limits assistant editor from 1981 to 1983, was Louis
Fulgoni's friend and business partner.
Schools for Scandal 10
The Welfare Reform Act means extra business for
trade schools. The benefit to students is question-
Behind the Balancing Act:
The Making of a City Charter. 16
The Charter Revision Commission' s cut and paste
approach satisfies some while troubling others.
Revisions and Divisions:
Charter Forum 19
A handful of opinions on the charter proposal.
The Powers To Be 24
Church-based groups affiliated with the Industrial
Areas Foundation create change and controversy.
In Memoriam
Louis Fulgoni ............ .. ....... .. .. ............................... 2
Short Term Notes
Fraud Unit ........... .. ................................... ............. 4
Subsidy Safeguard ...... ... .. ... .. ............................ .. .. 4
Takeover ..... .... ................. .. .................................... 5
Burned ....... ............. .. ... .. ................ ................... ..... 5
City Views
Response to Bensonhurst: .
Youth-The Conscience of Our Communities .. . 7
Letters ....... ... .... ..... ..... .... ... .... .. ..... .... ..... ......... .......... . 31
October 1989 3
Conscience/Page 7
Schools/Page 10
- ~ ~ ~
Powers/Page 24
- - ~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
The Federal Home loan
Mortgage Corporation (Fred-
die Mac) has established a
special unit to investigate
mortgage fraud. But the
manager of the new fraud unit
says she is completely un-
aware of ongoing charges of
widespread Fraud involved
with Freddie Mac mortgages in
the Northwest Bronx.
More than six months ago
members of the Northwest
Bronx Community and Clergy
Coalition (NWBCCq met with
three Freddie Mac officials to
discuss charges that Freddie
Mac was buying mortgages
from banks and brokers that
far exceeded what the build-
ings are worth. Because rent
payments cannot meet mort-
gage and maintenance expen-
ses, many owners with Freddie
Mac mortgages are letting
their buildings deteriorate,
according to NWBCCC
leaders (see City Limits, March
Since that meeting, three
area congressmen-Reps.
Elliot Engel, Ted Weiss and
Robert Garcia-have ques-
tioned Freddie Mac's oversight
of conditions in its Northwest
Bronx buildings and a review
is pending with the General
Accounting Office. Articles
about the overfinancing of
Bronx buildings have also
appeared in publications
ranging from The Economist to
the Village Voice. But Joan
Ferenczy, manager of Freddie
Mac's new fraud unit, says, "I
am not familiar with any fraud
in the Bronx" and denies
having heard any such
Tile establishment of the
fraud unit by Freddie Mac, a
congressionally chartered
corporation that buys mort-
gages from banks and brokers
and resells them as securities
on Wall Street, comes on the
heels of the scandal at the
Federal Housing Administra-
tion (FHA), which is part of
the Department of Housing
and Urban Development
(HUD). The FHA scandal also
revolves around overfinancing
of buildings.
At the heart of the FHA
scandal is the DRG Funding
Corporation, according to a
December 1988 report by
HUD's assistant inspector
general. Freddie Mac has pur-
chased at least two mortgages
in the Northwest Bronx from
DRG. Tenants and community
leaders claim both buildings
are beset by problems.
DRG sold the $375,000
mortgage for 2933 Grand
Concourse to Freddie Mac on
the same day it made the loan
to landlord Stanley Wasser-
man in April 1985. Judith
Dannenberg, a 27-year
resident of the building, says
conditions have since deterio-
rated. last Julr 17th the city's
Department 0 Housing
Preservation and Development
inspected nine apartments in
the .42-unit building and found
.43 housing code violations.
"t til H<)J,JSI.,G NOWI
s,,'City umits to <;. groups and organizationsc
I flnal preparatiOns and at least 1 25 buses are
'" a mammoth .petober 7t!J e?<pected to leave from the'
en DC, CIty carry to the
" beIng madfl. ThE!! . CaRltol, according to march
. N ow! march will organizer lorry Wood. A
nd that Seetember 16th
bi}lions ..... IIdrs cut organizing the homeless fa,. ,
from federal the march drew some . .400
x2gtQms' <I+,ril'lgli.e ol1endees: Housing
era. \, coalitions also have been ..' .
organized .in more:than
200 cities and
nationwide. a
Direct Action:
The Union 01 City Tenants protests the POMP program outside
housing commissioner Abraham 8iderman's house.
Says Dannenberg, "You want
to see the makings of a slum?
Come here!" 0 Doug
A district court judge has
ruled that landlords cannot
evict tenants whose federal
rent subsidies have been
suspended because the
owners failed to make housing
repairs. The decision, handed
down in August by Judge John
M. Walker, also prevents
landlords from suing tenants
to recover the unpaid rent
But attorney Scott Rosen-
berg of the legal Aid Society,
which represented tenants in
the class action suit, believes
the decision is only a first step
in a bureaucratic catch-22.
"The tenant is a victim of the
wrongs of both the landlord
and the HA (New York City
Housing Authority)''' says
Nearly .43,000 low income
New Yorkers benefit from Sec-
tion 8 rent subsidies, which
are administered by the city's
housing authority and paid
directly to landlords. Under
the program tenants pay 30
percent of their incomes for
rent and the Section 8 subsidy
covers the rest. The housing
authority makes annual
inspections to ensure landlords
are maintaining the apart-
ments. If a landlord does not
make requested repairs, the
housing authority halts the
rent subsidy.
When the rent subsidies
stop, some landlords have
moved to evict tenants. Over a
l.4-month period the legal
Aid Society estimates 1,039
tenants received notices that
their subsidies were being
suspended because landlords
failed to make repairs.
Brenda Spears, the housing
authority's deputy general
counsel, says that repairs are
made in 90 percent of the
cases. But Rosenberg says that
still leaves some 100 families
in danger of losing their
homes. He says the housing
authority neither helps tenants
get the needed repairs nor
finds them new housing if they
lose their Section 8 SUbsidy .
because of landlord inaction.
He adds that tenants are also
given no opportunity to protest
the cut-off and that letters sent
by the housing authority to
tenants do not explain there is
a six-month period following
the subsidy suspension during '
which landlords cannot begin
eviction proceedings . (Tenants
can be evicted if they have
failed to pay their portion of
the rent.)
Spears argues that the
housing authority "is not a
real estate and is not
required by federal
tions to help tenants find alter-
native housing. "last year we
were willing to do mOdifica-
tions," she says. "Instead the
legal Aid Society sued us.
Anybody can write a better
letter. It does not mean we
have violated the con-
stitution." 0 Marguerite
Several homeless families
and individuals have moved
into West Harlem apartments
owned by Alex Dilorenzo III,
whose Big River Realty has re-
fused to offer the apartments
for rent. Dilorenzo is ware-
housing an estimated 200
apartments in 21 West
Harlem buildings, according
to the Coalition Against Big
The takeaver of the ware-
housed apartments is sup-
parted by a number of com-
munity leaders. lilt's the be-
ginning of a says
Sue Clyde, president of the
668 Riverside Drive Tenants
Association, ';"'hich is helping
organize a campaign to
suppart the activity. ,IIPeaple
are just going to start moving
into these apartments."
Transit worker Phil Ingram
and his three children moved
into a warehoused apartment
.' at 640-644 Riverside Drive
last May. On July 19th, Big
River Realty locked Ingram out
of the apartment and the
apartment's plumbing was
The Riverside-Edgecombe
Neighborhood Association
(RENA) and other community
groups organized a local anti-
warehousing demonstration
and helped Ingram re-enter
the apartment. Two days later
Big River Realty again locked
out the Ingrams, who are now
"We suppart them 100
percent," says Jean Dubnau, a
RENA member, which has ad-
loclced out: Phil Ingram in the wreclced bathroom of the apartment
he was occupying_
vised 30 pearle considering
occupation 0 the warehoused
apartments of their rights.
"This is about taking back
apartments for the community"
Metropolitan Council on
Housing lawyer Ken Schaef-
fer, who represents Ingram,
adds, liThe tenants don't like it
that there are empty apart-
ments next to them. It' s not
safe. Crack dealers move in
all the time. And these
tenants sympathize with other
peoP.le trying to get affordable
In addition to the ware-
,housed apartments, tenant
lawyers charge that Dilor-
enzo has displaced more than
200 residents, most of them
black and latino, through
housing court proceedings.
Direct action, concludes
Schaeffer, "has been a long
time coming. If the City
Council is not going to do
anything," he says, referring
to the anti -warehousing bill
long blocked by the council's
leadership, "people are going
to take things into their own
hands. They're not going to
languish in shelters and on the
streets forever," 0 Laird
In the doldrums of summer,
Governor Mario Cuomo
quietly vetoed a bill that
would have provided state
support for hospitals attempt-
ing to meet new regulations
for their infectious waste
The bi -partisan bill aimed
to make the Environmental Fa-
cilities Corporation respon-
sible for providing assistance
incinerators or conSidering
establishing regional incinera-
tors for hospital waste.
liThe governor believes that
waste disposal management
October 1989 5
rests first with local govern-
ment, not with the state," says
Thomas lyman, a spokesper-
son for Cuomo. ''The need is
being met by the private
sector. II
Bernard Melewski, counsel
to the legislative Commission
on Solid Waste Management,
counters, "Not one of the cur-
rent hospital incinerators in
the state meet the new regula-
tions. We're calling for the
state to have a direct involve-
ment in solving the problem."
Melewski adds that the bill
may be reintroduced in the
next legislative session.
last January the state
passed new regulations for,
hospital incinerators, demand-
ing that by 1992 hospitals
meet stiffer standards for a
variety of toxic emissions.
These regulations require
hospitals across the state to
dramatically upgrade their
incinerators--although some
experts charge that the new
regulations still aren't tough
enou(lh (see City Limits, Au-
gust/September 1989).
Established by the state in
' 1972, the Environmental Fa-
cilities Corporation offers tech-
nical assistance to municipoli-
ties and industries attempting
to meet environmental regu-
lations. It can also issue bonds
to provide low interest loans
for environmental projects.
The state Deportment of
Health and the Department of
Environmental Conservatian
opposed the bill, according to
Melewski. A major recom-
mendation in a recent health
department report was the use
of municipal solid waste incin-
erators to handle infectious
waste from hospitals. "
Meanwhile, members of
Assembly environmental
committee chair Maurice
Hinchey's staff report that the
infectious waste incinerator at
Brooklyn's lutheran Hospital
was closed down last month
because its certificate to oper-
ate was not renewed following
investigations by the National
Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health. 0 Lisa
Can a leopard change spots? A
decade ago the Riverdale real estat.e
firm of Kahan & Kahan lost a SUlt
brought by a black school adminis-
trator who charged that the firm re-
fused to show him apartments.
Apparently the firm's been at it again.
This summer Morey Kahan agreed to
pay a $10,000 fine to the city's
Commission on Human Rights after
they claimed that his office steered
blacks away from apartments that
were shown to whites.
Save the infrastructure: The Pub-
lic Development Corporation is
spending $i9.2 in city funds to reno-
vate shopping areas in Cypress Hills
and East Flatbush. The money will
pay for the reconstruction of road-
ways, curbs, sidewalks, water mains
and sewers. About time.
To commemorate Harlem week,
the city released a list of every Har-
lem building set for rehabilitation
within the 10-year plan. According
to the city, there are 20 buildings
already completed and another 193
still being worked on, as well as
scores of others "in development."
The majority of the buildings being
fixed up are tagged for the Vacant
Buildings program, which mostly
offers apartments to Jamilies earning
$19,000 to $32,000.
What's the context? Last month
the Board of Estimate gave the thumbs
up signal to rezoning that would limit
development in Bayside, Bellerose,
Elmhurst, Corona and West Astoria.
The vote was the _ first to be made
under new guidelines, known as
conte"Xtual zoning, which aim to
protect low-density areas from large-
scale development. Sounds good,
right? Maybe. Some, like a branch of
the NAACP, think contextual zoning
is a cover for limiting new construc-
tion in some communities to keep
minority families out.
Staten Island
Make way for cars: Homeless
people living in the old Coast Guard
base in St. George were recently
moved out by the city's Public De-
velopment Corporation to way
for "commercial, recreation and
parking facilities." D
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Ask for: Bala Ramanathan
October 1989 7
A Response to Bensonhurst:
Youth-The Conscience of Communities
the city and have for some time: one
in the South Bronx the other in
Oceanhill-Brownsville. We both
have interracial marriages and raised
our children in interracial families.
We've sent our children to public
schools and lived in fear that the
quick-fix magnetism of the street
would overwhelm what our children
were taught at home. Both of us have
been involved in organizing, not-for-
profit community development and
advocacy oflow income housing con-
cerns for close to two decades. What
drew us into the field of community
development was-and still is-the
potential to make a real difference in
the lives of inner-city residents.
Violent local incidents necessar-
ily have an impact on our work. But
when Michael Griffith was murdered
in Howard Beach in 1987, we met
and agreed that this was not a racial
incident at all but rather an unfortu-
nate by-product of turf conscious-
ness. Secure in our evaluation of the
incident, we went about our busi-
ness as usual.
In the wake of the murder ofYusuf
Hawkins, we no longer find comfort
in this convenient rationale. Such
killings are spawned of racism, a
racism that often finds expression
through grou paction. U nfortunatel y,
racism does not begin or end with
youth gangs-be they black or white,
organized or ad hoc. Racism is learned
in the household, from relatives and
friends . And to the extent that a
community is some coherent aggre-
gation of sympathetic households, a
community can indeed be racist.
Racism is often viewed as benign
when there is no immediate harm
City Views is a forum for opinion
and does not necessarily reflect
the views of City Limits.
done to anyone and no outward
expression of racist sentiment. This
does not make it all right. In many
ways this private expression of in-
vidious, deep-seated racism is even
more dangerous than that which is
expressed in public. It infects our
young with a threat born of igno-
rance, fed by insecurity and void
It is necessary to accept this p.ain-
ful reality because unless we do-or
worse yet, if we g l o s ~ over it-race
relations will not improve" We can
target the young for education, sen-
sitivity training and the like, but any
positive effects will be short-lived or
nonexistent if we don' t look deeper
and confront racism where it lives.
Harry DeRienzo and Abdur Rahman Farrakhan:'
We can't place physical development above humand development.
of any legitimate means for address-
ing it . Brash action, risk taking and
mindless expression of untested
emotion are unfettered vehicles in
our youth for acting out internal
feelings. It is only natural that our
youth should address racist fear in a
more public manner than adults
whose urges have been tempered by
familial obligations, work responsi-
bilities, public sanctions and the like.
No Aberration
Far from an aberration, the vio-
lent and racist actiollfil of youth
gangs represent an uninhibited
expression of existing, pervasive
racism. As such, youth are the con-
science of our communities-and
for many communities that con-
science is filled with hatred and
While local violence certainly
affects OUI' work, the violence of
poverty not only impedes our work
but destroys it as well . In the South
Bronx and Oceanhill-Brownsville,
many of our youth view drug dealers
as convenient role models. Children
are paid hundreds of dollars a week
to sit at windows as lookouts for the
police, yelling code words to those
on the street when the cops arrive.
With little incentive to go to school.
we are breeding a generation of non-
productive citizens at best, our fu-
ture drug dealers and other crimi-
nals at worst. This destruction of our
youth is not just figurative. Over the
past two years, Oceanhill-
Brownsville's 73rd precinct was the
scene of more murders than any-
where else in the city. Most of these
murders were drug related and in-
volved youth. If these youth are the
conscience of our communities, then
that conscience is filled with de-
Flip Sides
Those who dttempt to escape these
surroundings risk subjecting them-
selves to the violent expressions of
communities whose conscience is
filled with hatred. But it is precisely
the border that lies between despera-
tion and hatred that must be ad-
dressed. These seemingly divergent
conditions represent flip sides of the
same coin: economic deterioration,
Writing 0 Reports 0 Proposals 0 Newsletters 0 Manuals 0 Program
Description and Justification 0 Procedures 0 Training Materials
Research and Evaluation 0 Needs Assessment 0 Project Monitoring and
Documentation 0 Census/Demogr.aphics 0 Project and Performance
Planning and Development 0 Projects and Organizations 0 Budgets
o Management 0 Procedures and Systems
Call or write Sue Fox
NEW YORK, N.Y. 10025
(212) 222-9946
which with one hand strips the
working class of purchasing power
and with the other regiments an ever-
burgeoning underclass.
Desperation occurs when people
are confronted with the choice of
earning $3.35 an hour or more than
$1,000 a week, one legally the other
illegally; one promising little per-
sonal or family advancement, the
other guaranteeing all the trappings
of American-style material success.
Racially charged hatred occurs when
people see the foundations of their
economic, family, social and com-
munity lives collapsing. When real-
ity is too difficult to face or too con-
fusing to confront, delusion is a
welcome alternative. Scapegoats, in
the form ofracial minorities, become
the drug of choice.
Why are these concerns so impor-
tant to people whose professional
lives have thus far been devoted to
community development? Because
short of an economic miracle, pro-
ductive interaction is the only avail-
able means with which to overcome
the bias that breeds within circum-
With a new charter, a new mayor and shifting priorities in Washington,
find out what's in store for the 1990's.
Special session on charter revision and its impact on
housing policy & development.
Invited speakers include Mayoral candidates
Rudolph Giuliani and David Dinkins
A) Hispanic Hidden Homelessness -- A Crisis Revealed: Why is nothing being done about the growing
prob!em of double':! families in our community?; B) Hispanic Home Ownership -- Building
EqUity: What new Initiatives are under way to increase the rate of hispanic home ownership?: C) Public
Housln,9 -- There A Future?: Does Washington intend to scrap the idea of public housing?:
D) Legislative Outlook -- The 1990 Hispanic Aqenda: E) Housing Discrimination -- Shutting The
Door On Hispanics. .
COMMISSIONER'S LUNCHEON: Hosted by Richard L. Higgins
Commlss:oner . NYS Department of Housing & Community Renewal
(luncheon reservations included for all conference participants)
Chief Executive Officer. State of New York MortgaQe Agency
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Lieutenant Governor Stanley N. Lundine
SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDE: Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer
For registration information, call NYHHC at (212) 460-0951 or write us at
P.O. Box BBO/Stuyvesant Station/New York, NY 10009
stances of racial and ethnic isola-
tion. Our communities are the po-
tential training grounds for racial
and ethnic harmony. Community
development, with all its accom-
panying tensions (a la Tompkins
Square on the Lower East Side, aka
East Village, aka Loisaida), is one ap-
propriate tool for addressing these
issues. Those involved in commu-
nity development must be cognizant
of the tensions that change creates
and in a position to exploit the bene-
fits of such change for all concerned.
In the process local leadership must
be developed and constantly ex-
panded upon.
Community development never
occurs in a vacuum. So it requires
identification of issues of common
concern in all communities. Such
inter-community concerns are then
best addressed collectively through
interaction, communication and
consensus. Once consensus is
achieved, no matter how initially
narrow in scope, collective action
will bring about results. Positive
results help encourage a mutual re-
spect and understanding.
Of course, this is not a free-stand-
ing prescription for racial harmony.
However, we all must recognize our
responsibility for events, whether
occurring in Central Park or Ben-
sonhurst, and we must act within the
means at our disposal. For those in
the field of community development,
it is our responsibility to resist the
temptation of placing physical de-
velopment above human develop-
ment. We must broaden and
strengthen our agendas to address
Princeton Architectural Press
OCMber1989 9
desperation and hatred where they
occur, confront them on their own
terms and offer productive alterna-
tives to violent expression. 0
Abdur Rahman Farrakhan is execu-
tive director of the Oceanhill-
Brownsville Tenant Association;
Harry DeRienzo is vice president of
the Consumer-Farmer Foundation.
Two important and timely studies on the housing crisis.
Vacant Lots
Vacant LoIs presents seventy innovative
projects-each designed to m .. t dty building
cod.. for low incame housing in New York
City. Partidpating architeds indude Tod
Willioms, ~ r e s t and Gandelsonaa, Walter
Chatham, Voorsanger & Mills, Karahanl
Schwarting, Anderaon/Schwarlz, and athers. An
8IIOY by Deborah Gardner dilcU1181 the history
of housing in New York City.
$24.95, p a p e ~ 189 pag., 83 b/willus.
RnlllYing the Urban Fabric
This book approaches infill housing as a way
to encourage community participation and
contextual design. It contains essays by
Ghislaine Hermanuz. Marta Gutman, and
Richard Plunz on various aspecb of infill
housing and allO indudes selected projeds
for a site in Harlem from a competition and
eadlibit sponsored by the New York State
Coundl for the Ar1s.
$24.95, paper, 160 pages, 301 blw iIIus.
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Schools for Scandal
False promises and public funds have made proprietary schools a billion-dollar business-
and the Welfare Reform Act is going to deliver more students to their doors .
P and down Willoughby and
Lawrence streets in downtown
Brooklyn, faded banners bear-
ing such names as the "Ultissima
Beauty Center" and "Berk Trade
Business School" beckon to the poor
and jobless. About 10 trade schools
are conveniently clustered near the
area's unemployment and welfare
offices, offering training in every-
thing from dog grooming to secretar-
ial skills to cosmetology, and their
location is not coincidental. One
dubious sign announces the availa-
bility of financial "aide."
Public assistance recipients have
long been the prime source of stu-
dents for trade schools. With recruit-
ers stalking welfare offices and prom-
ises of federal and state student aid
to foot the bill, trade schools have be-
come a billion dollar industry luring
the poor with hopes of job training
and a brighter future.
The Family Support Act of 1988-
commonly known as welfare re-
form-places a premium on job train-
ing and employment of public assis-
tance recipients. Mothers receiving
Aid to Families with Dependent
Children (AFDC) whose youngest
child is three or older will soon be
required to enter a job placement or
training program in order to main-
tain their benefits. These reforms may
be a goldmine for trade school own-
ers. William Grinker, commissioner
of the Human Resources Admini-
stration, which will implement wel-
fare reform rules in New York City,
predicts an additional 8 ,000 to 10,000
welfare clients will enroll in trade
schools in the first year the rules are
in effect.
There is little evidence students
benefit from the experience. An HRA
study of 169 public assistance re-
cipients enrolled in trade schools
found that nearly one year after
expected completion of the course,
80 percent remained unemployed
and on welfare. Only four percent
left the AFDC rolls because they had
a job.
Fast Buck
All too often the students and the
government are defrauded by schools
intent only on making a fast buck.
Many students don't realize that
much of their aid is really govern-
ment-insured loans. With many
schools failing to deliver on the
promised training, and the high-
paying jobs that are supposed to come
with the new skills never materializ-
ing, a staggering number of trade
school students
are defaulting
on their loans.
.Course after qualifying for govern-
ment grants and loans. With just three
months of her typing, accounting and
secretarial classes completed, Paul
showed up one day and found Royal's
doors chained. Jobless and skilless,
she's now burdened with a $2,650
loan to repay, and the taxpayers are
stuck with the rest. Paul hoped to go
to Queens College, but her outstand-
ing loan makes her ineligible for fi-
nancial aid.
Paul's predicament is one example
of a larger scandal involving pro-
prietary schools-the formal name
of these for-profit trade schools-in
New York City. The State Education
(SED) is re-
sponsible for
There is little
evidence that stu-
dents benefit from
Such pat-
terns cast a
shadow over
the main thrust
of welfare re-
form-the de-
sire to prune the
public ass is-
tancerolls.And many trade schools.
for poor women
like Letty Paul ,
trade schools
regulating the
more than 300
trade schools in
the city (about
412 statewide),
but has only
eight inspec-
tors to monitor
the schools and
follow-up stu-
are yet another
exercise in dashed hopes and a mort-
gaged future.
Paul knew the phone call she re-
cei ved last summer from the Royal
Business School in Queens was too
good to be true, when on the spot a
stranger was offering her a word proc-
essing job. "He said, 'Come down for
an interview,'" she recalls. The un-
employed mother with two young
children couldn' t refuse. "I told him
I didn't know word processing and
he said, 'Don't worry, we' ll train you
while you're working.'" The prom-
ise also included a $50 a week sti-
pend for car fare and lunch: But the
job never materialized. "They just
said to go to McDonald's for a job,"
says Paul.
Meanwhile, Paul wound up en-
rolling in Royal's $6,500 secretarial
dent com-
though they
plan to increase the number. Many
critics charge that state rules are lax,
fines rarel y enforced and trade school
lobbyists exert considerable pressure
on Albany legislators to deflect at-
tempts at stricter regulation.
Not one trade school license has
ever been revoked in the state, al-
though last July one license was
suspended for six months. But Jo-
seph Frey, bureau chief of SED's
Bureau of Proprietary Schools, says,
"We forced schools to close by tak-
ing action aganinst them."
Cost of Doing Business
The $10,000 to $20,000 fines oc-
casionally levied are simply too small
to make the schools feel the sting. "A
lot of schools see their penalties as
just another cost of doing business,"
says Neela Banerjee, who aUfhored a
scathing report on proprietary
schools for Interface, a public-policy
research group. Beginning to feel the
sting of public pressure, SED recently
took its most sweeping action-clos-
ing down the Robert Fiance chain of
schools and imposing its largest fine
ever, $250,000.
When schools do feel the pinch of
financial or disciplinary action, many
simply file for bankruptcy and close
down. But while the bankruptcy
shield protects owners from liabili-
ties , students must still pay back the
Equally problematic is the resur-
facing of owners of bankrupt schools
as heads of new schools. Even though
the Adelphi business school was
forced shut in Connecticut, SED
granted the owners-one of whom
had a letter of recommendation form
then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuli-
ani-a license to open branches in
New York, despite a conviction for
stealing money from a New Jersey
job-training program. Adelphi's
abuses continued in New York until
Brooklyn Legal Services attorney
Elizabeth Imholz sued the school in
response to a barrage of student
Schools can also hide past prob-
lems behind simple name changes.
Last January, state Comptroller
Edward Regan, a long-time critic of
the trade school system, refused to
approve $575,000 in state grants to
the United Business Institute (UBI)
because of improper operating prac-
tices. Two years ago Regan had disal-
lowed more than $5 million to the
school. Although a sign outside its
Brooklyn office still identifies the
school as UBI, a receptionist calls
the school the United Career Insti-
The trade school industry was not
always rife with fraud and abuse.
Proprietary schools filled a legiti-
mate need, offering blue collar and
business skills mainly to unskilled
poor students. The older schools in
particular continue to carry untar-
nished reputations. Diana Nieves, a
recent graduate of the Printing Trade
School in Manhattan, says the train-
ing she received "was one of the best
things for me. " Shortly into the term,
her teacher recommended Nieves for
a job at the Irish Echo newspaper,
where Nieves quickly worked her
way up to chief typesetter and to "a
very healthy salary" while she con-
tinued her classes. "I wasn't led to
October 1989 11
believe everything was
rosy pink," says Nieves.
"There are a lot of
schools that are not rip-
offs. It's like everything
else, you've got some
bad seeds and some
good seeds."
Financial Aid
The bad seeds began
sprouting when the fed-
eral and state govern-
ments opened their fi-
nancial aid programs to
proprietary schools. In
1973, schools gained
eligibility for the fed-
eral Pell grant and by
1974 business schools
could receive funds
through New York's
Tuition Assistance Pro-
gram (TAP). Prior to
~ 1974, the trade school
::::J sector was small and
students generally cov-
ered their own tuition.
__ ~ _ ~ v But suddenly the poor
became a ripe market
for unscrupulous owners and an
explosion in the number of schools
These trade schools could have
provided much needed educational
services to the poor. But while drain-
ing public funding, the programs of-
fered little in the way of instruction
and job development. Students dis-
covered overcrowded classes, bro-
ken equipment and classrooms with
unlicensed teachers-or no teachers
at all. One trade school instructor,
requesting anon ymi ty, admits teach-
ing "whatever subjects they need
teachers for. I teach computers, ac-
counting, math, record and book-
keeping, whatever." Fights broke out
in the classroom over seats and work-
ing equipment at the Metropolitan
Training Institute (MTI) in Brooklyn.
At the Hausman Computer School,
one student who speaks no English
was forced to drop out after several
weeks because her classes never
provided the promised translator. At
the Robert Fiance Hair Design Insti-
tute, students in a Saturday class
went without any teacher at all for
three months. "I don't understand
it," says student Renita Johnson. "If
we pay all kinds of money we should
have teachers. "
Hard Sell
And the students do pay a lot,
with tuitions comparable to an Ivy
League college. Indeed, one admis-
sions counselor at MTI repeatedly
compared the $13,988 secretarial
who defaulted when the Hausman
Computer School shut down after
his first month of
Cornelius Foley, president of the
Higher Education Services Corpora-
tion, which oversees the state's fi-
program to Har-
vard and Prince-
ton universities.
"What you're
doing is invest-
ing in your fu-
ture'" the coun-
selor commen-
ted, preparing a
reporter, posing
as a student, for
the five-figure
bill. Though the
reporter re-
quested to learn
only word proc-
essing, the coun-
selor spent his
time convincing
her to opt for the
costly secretarial
course. He then
shuttled her off
to apply for a
package of Pell
and TAP grants
and two student
Diana Nieves, graduate 01 the Printing Trade School:
"1 wasn't led to believe everything was rosy pink."
loans that totaled $14,936. Only af-
ter the financial aid counselor deter-
mined that the reporter was ineli-
gible for Pell and TAP grants did the
admissions counselor recommend
the $6,188 word processing course.
He then handed the reporter applica-
tions for loans that would cover the
entire cost.
Despite the pricey tuition rates,
Diane Cohen, yresident of Irene
Cohen Personne , one of New York' s
largest employment agencies, says
that a business school certificate does
not send a signal that an applicant is
qualified. For students hoping to
break the cycle of unemployment
and poverty, only after graduation
do they realize the limitations of
their training and job potential.
But most students never get that
far. The majority-two-thirds-even-
tually drop out and both they and the
unemployed graduates often default
on their loans. According to the In-
terface report on proprietary schools,
one-third of all trade school students
default-a default rate three times
higher than colleges. "I don't think I
should pay," says Daniel Zayers ,
nancial aid programs, sees a pattern
that leads poor students from bad to
worse. He told a state education
committee last spring, "You can't get
along in this world with bad credit.
You can't get a credit card, you can't
get a car loan." Additionally, a stu-
dent can't get another loan for a dif-
ferent college or training program.
Public Funds, Private Profit
Some state legislators are quick to
point out that taxpayers are also
victimized by trade school fraud.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who
chairs the Assembly'S investigation
committee, notes that tax dollars
support nearly the entire for-profit
trade school ind ustry. Last year, more
than $500 million of financial aid
went to trade schools, while a mere
22 percent of the students found work
in the field they trained for, accord-
ing to Interface.
Even if a student drops out after
just a few weeks, schools can keep as
much as 75 percent of the aid, so
there's little incentive to try and keep
students enrolled. "If a girl can't stay
but I can keep half her TAP and GSL
(guaranteed student loan), then I'd
be glad to be rid of her," beauty
school owner Vincent A. Triano
admits frankly.
"We're dumping $250 million a
year down the drain," charges As-
Brodsky, noting
that tax dollars
essentially sup-
port the entire
school system.
MTI, which re-
cently closed
down although
its owners still
operate the Ad-
vanced Career
Training school
in Manhattan,
derived almost
all of its income
from government
grants and loans,
according to a
lawsuit filed by
Critics argue
-';' __ that education
falls last on the
priority lists of
trade schools that
open their doors primarily to reap
financial aid benefits. Most trade
school owners don't deny there is a
hefty profit to be made-and defend
their right to make it. "It is not im-
moral to make money in the educa-
tion system," says Joseph Giaimo, an
attorney who represents beauty
Trade school owners also acknowl-
edge targeting welfare recipients, but
claim that unlike private colleges,
which close their doors to drop-outs,
trade schools offer the poor a way
out of the welfare cycle. "We impact
people who would otherwise have to
spend the rest of their lives on wel-
fare," says Triano.
Trade school reform legislation has
been introduced by assemblymen
Brodsky and Edward Sullivan. The
bill calls for linking the schools' eli-
gibility for the TAP program to their
student completion rates and creat-
ing a tuition recovery fund-financed
by the trade schools-to repay stu-
dents when schools suddenly shut
their doors. The schools also would
have to institute a refund formula for
students who drop out early in the
program. Additionally, the legisla-
tion would require independent test-
ing and assement of students' abili-
ties before enrollment so someone
with a third grade reading level
doesn't unknowingly end up in a
program requiring a much higher
But trade school lobbies resist the
proposals and say they are being
scapegoated for broader societal
problems. "Our students drop out
because they have two-and-a-half
children and because they can't
handle the simple little problems of
life," says Triano. Giaimo adds that
the state should look to blame itself
for the high drop-out rates. "You
want us to correct a system that the
public system has failed," he says,
Learning from Within:
The Community-Based Alternative
Laurence Wilson dropped out of
high school two years ago but is
now enrolled at the School to Em-
ployment Project at the Henry Street
Settlement, where he's taking
classes in interview techniques,
studying for his GED and working
as a messenger for Linotone Ty-
pographics and as a maintainence
worker at Props for Today.
''I'm amazed you can find a place
where you can get free job training
and an education," says the 17 year
old. "There's a lot of young adults
that need a place like this. It's
really a jungle out there if you don't
know what you're doing."
ated to increase private sector in-
volvement in job training, and origi-
nally focussed on youths who read
at or above the eighth grade level.
Tom Desserau, a spokesman for the
Department of Employment, says
October 1989 13
noting that more than half of all trade
school students lack a high school
Moving Ahead
Trade school proponents may play
a significant role in shaping New
York's welfare reform procedures.
The federal welfare reform act leaves
(continued on page 15.)
"The sense is that the JTP A sys-
tem was established at a time of
high unemployment, and it was a
job-training system that could hire
a lot of people very quickly. Now
we' re trying to change the system.
Instead of vast training and quick
hiring, we're looking to improve
the quality of training and to focus
on the people who need it the most,"
says Desserau.
Wilson is one of about 5,000 city
youths who are enrolled in voca-
tional training programs run by
community-based organizations
and funded by the government, and
there are many other teenagers
enrolled in local job-training efforts
that are independently funded.
5eH Help:
T_nagers in the Youth Action Program doing gut rehabilitation.
Programs that receive money
from the city's Department of Em-
ployment are part of either the
federally based Job Training Part-
nership Act UTPA) system or the
local CityWorks Program. The $13.5
million CityWorks program serves
the hardest hit among the city's
teens , providing job training,
schooling and counseling, with a
minimum wage provided for work
time. Twenty-one community-
based organizations are part of the
CityWorks network, offering train-
ing for about 1,300 young people
each year, according to Persis Myers,
an assistant commissioner for
Established in 1972, the Job
Training Partnership Act was cre-
the program is being altered to
reach the needs of more disadvan-
taged youth.
In the last two years, the city's al-
location of federal JTPA funds was
cut by 25 percent, from $60 million
in 1987 to a current figure of $41
million. At the same time, Depart-
ment of Employment Commissioner
Lilliam Barrios Paoli decided to
reshape the way the city distributes
the funds. As a result, the number
of comm uni ty-based JTP A programs
was cut from 72 to 55 this year;
those that are receiving funding
must now provide extra services to
youths who have a number of dis-
advantages that prevent them from
becoming employed.
Whether programs receive fund-
ing from the city, foundations,
churches or private sources, experts
say the key to success is a compre-
hensive approach providing day
care, counseling and training in
skills like resume writing as well as
traditional job training in fields'such
as construction, computer skills,
health care and electronics.
"The organizations that are doing
very well are serving the commu-
nity on a multi-service level," says
Martha Bright, a community rela-
tions officer at the Center for Law
and Social Justice of Medgar Evers
College, who also serves on the
(continued on page 15.)
(continued from page 13.)
Vocational Education Information
Here's a closer look at three
community-based programs:
Youth Action Program
A national model of community-
based job training, the Youth Ac-
tion Program (YAP) in East Harlem
was created a decade ago when a
team of local youths were inspired
by the sweat-equity work of the
Harlem Renegades and started re-
habilitating an abandoned build-
ing on East 119th Street.
After five years of hard labor, the
building was completed and an in-
tensive lobbying effort led the city
to provide funding to institutional-
ize the program's structure of alter-
nating construction training with
GED classes and the chance to ac-
quire a full-time job.
In fact, it was the advocacy work
ofthe Youth Action Program mem-
bers, as well as an affiliated group,
the Coalition for $20 Million, that
led to the establishment of the
CityWorks program, which repli-
cates the YAP model in commu-
nity-based organizations across the
"We treat young people as agents
for change, we take them seriousl y,"
says David Calvert, a Youth Action
Program board member who has
been in vol ved with the project since
its inception.
Taking a break from construc-
tion work, Michael Hargrove, a 17
year old who dropped out of high
school two years ago, says, "Before
I came here I used to think of life as
real dull. I'd justgo out with friends
and get drunk and get high. When
I got here I saw that everyone had
problems. I just stopped drinking
and doing those other things.
"This place isn't like school," he
continues. "They're not always put-
ting you down. They give you a
chance, they open themselves up to
you, they give you all their atten-
Calvert says that each YAP train-
ing cycle includes about 45 young
people and about 60 percent end up
in permanent jobs, most of them
making between $7 and $9 an hour.
The program has a full-time job
developer, who has placed a stream
of YAP graduates with companies
such as Paragon Cable and Con
The first building rehabiltated
by YAP now serves as the residence
for formerly homeless mothers and
a recent YAP offshoot is the Youth
Action Construction Company, a
for-profit enterprise created by
graduates of the 1988 training cycle.
Skills and Fathers' Project
Charnette Franscheschini sits in
front of her desk and proudly dis-
plays a computer print out she has
just created. "I still get excited that
I can do this, " she says, smiling
Now working in her first job,
Franscheschini dropped out ofhigh
school when she was 14 to spend
time with her boyfriend and shortly
afterwards became pregnant. After
her daughter was born, she real-
ized that her young family could
hardly survive on her boyfriend's
minimal wage, so she enrolled at
Skills Get Jobs, a lengthy training
course offered by the YWCA in
downtown Brooklyn.
For Charnette, the top incentive
was the free, on-site day care in-
cluded within the program. "The
thing that drove me to the program
was that they had day care. Where
else could I have left my daughter?"
she asks,
Now in its sixth year, the Skills
Get Jobs program has trained more
than 100 young mothers and with
the help of full-time job developer,
about two-thirds of them are now
working, according to director De-
borah Sauldsberry.
The program provides training
in computer and clerical skills as
well as offering GED classes, inten-
sive counseling, parenting and nu-
trition advice for low income moth-
ers who read above a seventh grade
level. A similar effort, the Fathers'
Employment Project, was estab-
lished in September at St. Luke's
Church on Washington Avenue in
Brookl yn to meet the needs of males.
It offers electronic skills, cooking
classes, family counseling and
computer classes to men between
the ages of 17 and 30.
"Our program has a holistic
approach which addresses, educa-
tion and employment needs as well
as providing intensive counseling,"
says Nancy Whitehead, the pro-
ject's executive director.
Henry Street Settlement
Inside the roomy basement of a
public housing project on the Lower
East Side is the youth employment
office of the Henry Street Settle-
ment. A large bulletin board filled
with index cards with stapled pho-
tos of employed youths is a testa-
ment to the success of the training
programs based at the site.
The Job Shop effort provides on-
the-job training for young people
between the ages of 17 and 21 and
free day care is provided nearby
within the Henry Street facilities.
Participants also enroll in GED
classes and take home a $30 per
week stipend.
The School to Employment pro-
gram (STEP) offers part time work
while preparing youths between
16 and 21 for the GED.
Matthew Spence, a 1987 gradu-
ate of a Henry Street job-training
program, is now working as a mail-
room supervior for Engineering In-
formation publications. "All I
needed was that extra push and
that's what I got there. Now I go to
interviews and I know how to
handle myself. I'm not afraid to
express myself because I've lost
my shyness."
Henry Street is currently run-
ning two demonstration projects
for the Department of Employment,
offering education and job-train-
ing to 71 young people who are
living in group homes or foster
care, as well as a number of home-
less families.
"We're dealing with kids that
have been spit out from the sys-
tem," says Evelyn Caleano, a re-
cruiter for the Henry Street pro-
gram. "This is the ultimate last
stop for many of these young
people-they' ve dropped out of
school, had drug problems, family
problems, sometimes a criminal
history. We try and work on build-
ing self esteem. We don't handle
them as statistics but as real hu-
man beings." 0 Lisa Glazer
(continued from
page 15.)
many public
assistance re-
much of the cipients into
law's implem- less produc-
entation and tive job-train-
guidelines to ing programs.
the states and Under the
localities. AI- BEGIN plan,
though Albany HRA case
has not yet managers will
passed state- have to ap-
wide implem- prove clients'
entation legis- choices of job
lation, New training. In
York City is other words, if
already mov- someone with
ing ahead with a seventh
its program grade educa-
known as BE- tion decides to
GIN. The pro- Brooklyn "egol Services Attorney Elizobeth Imholz: enroll in a
gram, which Borrogeclbystuclentcomplointsobouttrocleschools. trade school
will be run by yrogram that
the city's Human Resources Admini- demands a high schoo diploma, the
stration, will channel welfare clients case manager will determine that the
who's case managers determine they choice doesn't satisfy the clien t' s job-
are not ready for employment into training requirement, explains Gor-
job training and education classes. don Berlin, HRA's executive deputy
Many clients will opt for attend- administrator for management,
ing trade schools rather than the free budget and policy. But if the student
programs run by the city and state. has already enrolled, dropping out
Under current HRA rules, many could saddle the public assistant re-
public assistance recipients must cipient with thousands of dollars in
already attend training programs, al- loans.
though not nearly as many as will be Aware of the ongoing problems,
mandated under welfare reform. Berlin says HRA plans to monitor
According to the Interface report, the trade schools. "Over time we'll
1,600 welfare recipients attended free build up more information on schools
job-training classes while more than and which ones are doing a good
3,700 enrolled in trade schools in the job," he says. Ultimately, HRA may
period between July to October 1988.
Trade schools already use high-
pressure recruitment tactics as well
as promises of well-paying jobs, free
trips and other inducements. Some
believe the more unscrupulous trade
school recruiters , stationed outside
income maintenance centers, will
simply scare recipients into enroll-
ing in classes by telling them their
welfare benefits are at risk if they fail
to sign up. Public programs, many of
which are funded under the federal
Job Training Partnership Act , have
little money for recruiting and don't
promise prospective students a
golden future (see sidebar).
Agency Approval
Public officials like Garrett
Murphy, who heads the State Educa-
tion Department's welfare reform
implementation planning, acknowl-
edge that trade schools may siphon
<\08 Jay Street. Brooklyn. NY. 11201
October 1989 15
use the information to prevent stu-
dents from choosing schools with
poor track records. HRA has already
decided that beauty schools, which
have notoriously poor records for
students finding employment after
completing classes, will not satisfy
job-training requirements.
The number of public assistance
recipients that choose to go to trade
schools will also depend on how
good a job HRA case managers do
explaining the different options open
to their clients. Welfare advocates
like Cathy Bern, executive director
of the New York City Coalition
Against Hunger, take a dim view of
this prospect. "We know workers
don't inform people of benefits al-
ready on the books," she says.
Advocates like Bern are wary
enough of welfare reform, seeing it
primarily as a means to prune the
welfare rolls rather than an attempt
to give the poor better opportunities.
When Congress passed the Family
Support Act of 1988, it
little money for job training. That
leaves the door wide open for the
proprietary schools to step in and fill
the void. But as the New York State
legislature moves to pass its own
legislation for welfare reform, it can
simultaneousl y strengthen regulation
ofthe trade schools and give the poor
a better chance for a decent future.D
Eve Heyn is Q frequent contributor to
City Limits.
Cre.tlve Solution. for tod.,.'.
Hou.lng .nd I ue.
Comprehen.lve Arehlteetur.1 .nd
Engineering Service. from the
eoneeptu.1 through,..
Behind the Balancing Act:
The Making of A City Charter
n the last feverish night, as the
Charter Revision Commission
staff finalized its proposals,
representatives of several dif-
ferent interest groups, including the
populist Citizens for Charter Change,
huddled in the commission's office
around the corner from City Hall. It
was a measure of the charter
commission's willingness to listen,
as the clock ticked closer to to the
deadline for submitting the propos-
als for review by the u.s. Justice
Department, that the doors remained
open for last ditch lobbying efforts.
But access does not equal influ-
ence, and many participants in the
process remain dissatisfied with
the proposals-even some of those
whom the commission credits with
shaping parts of the final charter
revision. Bronx Borough President
Fernando Ferrer is not alone in his
belief that the commission began with
a set agenda and much of the public
deliberation was window dressing.
This dissatisfaction extends to
several commissioners as well. Four
of the 15 commissioners voted em-
phatically against the proposals.
After literally hundreds of hours of
public hearings, open meetings and
private consultations with experts
and advocates, charter revision
commissioner Therese Molloy, a
former Citibank vice president, says
the charter panel missed the point of
much of the testimony. People
pleaded for a more open and decen-
tralized city government and the
commission nodded its collective
head, says Molloy. "We kept talking
about representation, about giving
power. But when I looked (at the
proposals) there was none there."
Still, the reworking of the charter
has the potential to radically alter
the balance of power in New York
and it's worth examining the process
behind the 276 words that will ap-
pear on the ballot in November.
Because the charter revision has
been sporadic, leg\ilistic and ex-
tremely intricate, it has hardly gen-
erated a ground swell of grassroots
interest. In fact, for most people
charter revision has been the snoozer
issue of the year, and even those
closely involved with the proceed-
ings sometimes looked glassy-eyed
and eager for lunch.
But the commission tried to make
the process perestroika on the
Hudson. They sent out a barrage of
information to organizations and
produced catchy advertisements to
spark citizen interest. Yet the very
nature of the debate meant that most
of the "citizen input" came from the
paid staff members of a small core of
influential organizations and politi-
cal leaders, most of them with their
own agendas to promote.
Perhaps no issue reveals more
about how charter revision happened
than the debate over land use in the
city. The commission's circuitous
and sometimes conflicting delibera-
tions over the roles of the planning
commission and an enlarged 51-
member council offer an example of
a cut and _paste approach that has
satisfied some while troubling oth-
The commission faced a barrage
of competing opinions and demands
from borough presidents, council
members, neighborhood activists and
community board members, city
agency heads, real estate interests
and good government groups. They
had to listen closely to these de-
mands because as well as meeting
the court's requirements for increased
minority participation, the panel
needed to frame revisions that would
muster enough support to be ap-
proved in next month's referendum
(pending, as City Limits goes to press,
Justice Department approval).
This is really a second go-around
for the Charter Revision Commis-
sion. Much of its work was put on
hold when the Supreme Court de-
cided to hear the city's challenge to a
lower court ruling that the Board of
Estimate violates the one person, one
vote rule. Following the court's deci-
sion last Spring, the Charter Revi-
sion Commission went back to work
with Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., a
former city corporation counsel and
board member of the NAACP Legal
Defense and Education Fund, replac-
ing Richard Ravitch as chairman. All
the commissioners are selected by
the mayor-and many of them have
strong ties to the administration.
Schwarz continued much where
Ravitch left off, proposing the aboli-
tion of both the Board of Estimate
and the City Planning Commission,
which was to be replaced by a new
Land Use Commission. The most
obvious route for the commission,
once it decided to abolish the Board
of Estimate, was to simply transfer
the board's powers to the City Coun-
cil. Instead, Schwarz set out to re-
vamp the entire governmental struc-
ture, aiming to increase minority
participation as well as streamline
and decentralize the city government.
But some critics of the proposals say
the revamping will do the exact
Schwarz's initial land use propos-
als, announced last April , met with
almost universal howls of disap-
proval. Virtually all land use deci-
sions would be made by an 11-
member commission, except for
zoning, which would be passed on to
the council for approval. The
council's vote could be vetoed by the
mayor, who could be overridden by
a two-thirds or three-quarters vote,
depending upon the issue. Four of
the commissioners were to be ap-
pointed by the mayor, one by each
borough president and two by a city-
wide elected official. Many objected
because so much power was being
vested in an appointed body; others
complained that this entity, like the
current planning commission,
should be dominated by mayoral
In May, the charter commission
released new proposals, which both
back-tracked and asked for help in
determining the proper role of the
City Council. The Land Use Com-
mission was dead, rep,laced by an
11-member City
Planning Com-
mission, but
October 1989 17
planning commission as a profes-
sional one that would represent city-
wide interests. (That the current
planning commission, comprised en-
tirely of mayoral appointees, exhib-
its little independence in its actions
didn't dissuade the commission from
this perception.) Now the trick was
to develop a balance between the
two and decide which land use is-
sues necessitated City Council re-
Lane credits Richard Rivera of the
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and
Education Fund and Marla Simpson
of New York Lawyers for the Public
Interest for convincing him and
Schwarz that the disposition of city-
owned property was truly a legisla-
tive function. In neighborhoods like
East Harlem, where city-owned
buildings abound, the use of these
properties would dictate the
community's future. Such decisions,
they reasoned, rightfully belonged
in the hands of officials most ac-
countable to voters.
Real estate and development rep-
resentatives never argued against a
City Council role in land use deci-
sions. The Real Estate Board of New
York (REBNY) flexed its muscle ar-
guing for
quicker certifi-
cation of proj-
still with only
four mayoral
Borough presi-
dents, clamor-
ing for more
power-and the
bargaining for
their support-
were granted a
The commission
tried to make the
ects by tht::
planning de-
partment and
tighter land-
use review
They even ac-
cepted the
proposal that
process perestroika
on the Hudson.
role in the land
use review
process as well
as the right to
initiate zoning changes.
These proposals set the stage for
the tensions that would play out over
the ensuing months. As Eric Lane,
the commission's executive director
and counsel, explains, "Just because
the Board of Estimate has something
doesn' t mean we want to drop it
willy-nilly in the council." The Board
of Estimate functions as both a legis-
lative- and executive body. But the
commission viewed the council as
essentially a legislative body and the
boards be
brought into
the review
process before
final planning department certifica-
Mayor Edward Koch played a cru-
cial, if unusually quiet, role in the
deliberations of his hand-picked
commission. Koch spoke mainly
through public statements and pri-
vate meetings with current and for-
mer administration officials, who
pushed for mayoral control of the
planning commission. The behind-
the-scenes influence of the mayor
was pointedly revealed to Fernando
Ferrer when, after presenting an idea
for decentralizing service deli very,
Schwarz suggested the borough presi-
dent next confer with Deputy Mayor
Stanley Brezenoff.
As the Charter Revision Commis-
sion expanded the council's involve-
ment in land use, it simultaneously
increased mayoral representation on
the new planning commission. The
new planning commission was gi ven
what amounts to a policymaking
function-a more powerful role than
it currently plays with the Board of
Estimate. The council would only
get to vote on plans approved by the
planning commission or when an
issue provokes substantial public
Controversy would be measured
by what's known as the triple no.
Suppose a local community board
and borough president declare op-
position to a plan before it is re-
viewed by the planning commission.
If the commission approves the plan,
the borough president can again
declare opposition-assuming no
modifications were made to assuage
the borough president' s and local
board's complaints-and trigger City
Council review.
With the clock running down for
submitting the proposals to the Jus-
tice Department, the charter com-
mission continued to face criticism
from diverse quarters. A public state-
ment issued in the name of six for-
mer planning commissioners and
current commission head Sylvia
Deutsch pressed for mayoral domi-
nance of that body as well as review
of any modifications to plans ap-
proved by the council. Citizens for
Charter Change and other groups
lobbied for further expansion of the
council's role in land use and pre-
venting mayoral dominance of the
planning commission.
Two days after a New York Times
editorial declared the need for the
mayor to have the most appointees
on the commission, Schwarz pre-
sented a proposal that would create
a 13-member commission with seven
mayoral representatives. To satisfy
the demands of housing and envi-
ronmental activists that an elected
body issue final approvals, the pro-
posal added a number of items to the
list that would automatically go to
the council for review. The charter
commission also gave the council
the power to call-up virtually any
land use matter-with a 50 percent
vote by its members-passed by the
planning commission.
Bait and Switch?
Eric Lane describes the final pro-
posal as a more democratic process
constructing a balance between pro-
fessional and political decision-
making, local concerns and citywide
needs. But Leslie Lowe, an attorney
and member of Manhattan's Com-
munity Board 2, characterizes the
process as a misleading "bait and
switch," because real power was
placed in a mayorally dominated
planning commission under the guise
of giving more power to the City
Lowe and other critics argue that
unlike the current structure where
the Board of Estimate's decision is
final and the mayor has just two of
11 votes, the new City Council's
decisions can be vetoed by the mayor
and requires a two-thirds vote of the
council members to override the
mayoral veto. If, as many assume,
the mayor's appointees will vote as a
block, the council is really power-
less unless two-thirds of its mem-
bers support overriding the mayor.
This two-thirds may prove difficult
to muster.
Despite his participation in the
process, Richard Rivera is disen-
chanted with the proposals and is
part of a coalition that has filed papers
with the Justice Department charg-
ing that the new charter will actually
reduce minority power. He argues
that at the same time the commission
sought to increase minority partici-
pation on the council it was turned
into a weaker body than the one it
was replacing-resulting in a net loss
of power for minorities. What's more,
Rivera believes gaping holes exist in
the final proposals, such as the one
that allows city-owned property to
be sold to non profits for low income
housing without council approval.
This rule was passed on the last
day of the commission' s land use
deliberations under recommendation
from commission member Nathan
Leventhal, a former city housing boss,
who characterized most sales of
buildings to non profits as a routine
transfer to tenants through programs
such as Tenant Interim Lease. But
Rivera sees this as opening the flood-
gates for REB NY and the New York
City Partnership, whose projects,
despite requiring incomes well-
above the city's own definition of
low income, qualify as such under a
recent state court decision.
Ironically, REBNY head Steven
Spinola is equally dissatisfied with
the proposals. Pointing to the seem-
ingly contradictory notion of allow-
ing the council to review a plan with
a 50 percent vote of its members but
then require a two-thirds vote to
override the mayor (whose commis-
sion has already approved the plan),
Spinola believes an illogical patch-
work of accommodations has been
But his concern is in marked con-
trast to that of other charter proposal
critics. Spinola believes that virtu-
ally every land use issue will wind-
up in the council and delay what he
perceives as an already prolonged
review process. Yet commissioner
Aida Alvarez argues the exact oppo-
site point: "Who has the power to
muster 50 percent of the council
members? Special interests and
developers! "
The council has long been some-
thing of a paper tiger, a poor step-
child to the Board of Estimate and
dominated by a majority leader who
could block popular legislative ac-
tion like the anti-warehousing bill
from coming to a vote. Edward Cos-
tikyan, the lawyer who defended the
Board of Estimate in the Supreme
Court, warned in a letter to Schwarz
that the commission's proposals were
placing an enormous amount of
power in the mayor and council
majority leader. Even Lane acknowl-
edges that for the proposed system to
work the council will need to push
itself to rise to the occasion.
After more than two years and
some $7 million spent on develop-
ing and promoting the Charter Revi-
sion Commission's proposals, there's
remarkably little consensus on what
the changes will mean. Citizens for
Charter Change believes the com-
mission has paved the way for a
more open and responsive govern-
ment, but other public interest groups
argue that a blueprint for a shadow
government run by mayoral fiat has
been drafted. Only one thing seems
clear: nobody wants to see charter
revision ultimately fall to the Justice
Department. 0
October 1989 19
Charter Forum
City limits asked five people actively involved in charter revision to
write about what they liked most or least about the proposal that will appear
on the ballot Nov. 7. Here are their extremely diverse responses:
Boondoggles Galore
ess democracy, more corruption, more off-budget
quasi-public authorities diverting money from tight
budgets; more environmentally damaging boon-
doggles like incinerators and Westway-type waterfront
schemes foisted on resisting communities-these are the
likel y outcomes if the Charter-
Revision Commission's pack-
age is approved.
A few examples from scores
of bad proposals buried in over
300 pages of charter changes:
The Board of Estimate's
(BOE) power to lease and sell
city-owned property will be
transferred to the mayor. The
City Council cannot overrule
the mayor's decisions except
in limited cases. Even then
the council will be forbidden
to consider how much money
the city would get. If and when
the council is allowed to vote
at all, their review-unlike the
BOE's now-will be limited
to land use impacts.
Marcy Benstock
Executive director,
Clean Air Campaign, a
nonprofit citizens group
concentrating on water-
front and charter
revision issues.
Inalienable waterfront and park property may not
now be leased or have new uses approved without a
three-fourths vote by the BOE (except wharf property
leased at public auction) . Charter revision will let the
mayor and mayoral appointees alone grant permission
to use this public property for private gain. The council
will not be able to vote in many cases.
New provisions allow the mayor and quasi-public
entities like the Public Development Corporation (PDC)
to decide on their own which developers and corpora-
tions should get hidden public subsidies; tax breaks; site
preparation (including costly infrastructure) paid for by
city taxpayers; below-market purchase prices or lease
payments for city-owned or state-condemned land; low
interest loans, etc.
New charter provisions would shield many of these
subsidies from disclosure, so that neither the council
nor the new Independent Budget Office could even find
out what they are, much less redirect them.
Transferring BOE control over contracts exclusively
to the mayor will end legislative control over unaccount-
able entities like PDC, which gets its $130 million
budget through a contract with the city. Mayoral agen-
cies will be free to keep controversial projects under
wraps until the contracts to build them are handed out.
The comptroller will not be permitted to stop pay-
ment on a contract even if s/he finds evidence of corrup-
New provisions undermine environmental require-
ments by allowing mayoral appointees to decide no
Environmental Impact Statement is needed, and that
alternatives to environmentally damaging incinerators
or megadevelopments should be tried first.
Many charter revision "wins" are cosmetic and/or
halfway measures that are undermined by other provi-
(continued on page 22.)
Fatal Deficiencies
he 1989 New York City Charter Revision Commis-
sion proposals are dangerous to community-based
organizations (CBOs) and to the neighborhoods they
represent. Although the charter commission has trum-
peted its proposals as favorable to minorities and con-
taining checks and balances
to protect the public interest,
a close look at the proposals
reveals fatal deficiencies. For
Land use accountability is
diminished. An expanded
planning commission ap-
pointed by seven separate of-
ficials is a costly recipe for
obscuring responsibility. The
mayor will exercise hidden
control through his appoint-
ees (a majority of the
commission's 13 members, in-
cluding its chair), and through
the chair, the commission's
staff. Council land use review
would not insure accountabil-
ity: The council can avoid
voting on most land use ap-
Alvin Berk
Chairman, Alliance for
a BeHer Charter, a city-
wide coalition of civic
aSSOCiations, com-
munity boards and
individuals. Berk also
chairs Brooklyn's Com-
munity Board 14 in
A CBO lacking a council member's support for a
local initiative could no longer turn to an alternative leg-
islator. Overlapping legislative districts need the Board
of Estimate or a new bicameral legislature.
Neighborhood groups would lose the ability to use
independent community boards to express views disfa-
vored by council members. Without powerful borough
presidents capable of supporting board iniatives, coun-
cil members would be able to withhold support to
control boards or render them impotent. Boards would
forfeit whatever independence and clout they currently
derive from balanced sponsorship by powerful borough
presidents and local council members.
CBOs probably would lose access to strong profes-
sional district managers to resolve service delivery
problems. Council members would be tempted to influ-
ence the selection of weak managers who would pose
them no re-election threat. No longer could we "shop
the competition" to keep community boards and council
members responsive. Service delivery would suffer.
Without powerful borough presidents and profes-
sional district managers, individual council members
would be unable to keep mayoral commissioners on
their toes. Service delivery would suffer.
The proposed naming of "borough commissioners"
is meaningless without real incentives for agencies to
respond to borough and local needs. Needed service de-
centralization cannot occur as long as citywide officials
such as the mayor and the so-called council "speaker"
dominate agency appointment and budget decisions.
Mayoral appointees would completely control con-
tractor selection. Community groups denied contracts
would no longer be able to get help from Board of
Estimate members.
The proposed City Council expansion to 51 seats,
proffered as improving chances for minority representa-
tion, actually would hurt democratic representation in
subtle ways. The charter proposals' codification of an
existing rule requiring the council to elect committee
chairs would not diminish the majority leader's ability
to control chair selection. The leader would continue to
control all committee appointments and budgets, and all
staff decisions. The council's expanded size and scope
would provide the majority leader with new opportuni-
ties to establish committees, chairmanships, "Lulus"
and staffs. This patronage windfall would increase his or
her control.
Finally, even with its new responsibilities, the actual
power of the new "minority accessible" council would
be less than that of the old Board of Estimate. This means
that, at best, minorities would have more, but smaller
and less tasty, pieces of a second-class pie, while the
mayor, who could control service delivery, walks away
with the prize. .
New York's overcentralized bureaucracy already is
unresponsive to neighborhood needs. The proposed
charter would increase mayoral control, hurt minorities,
complicate procedures, increase costs and provide the
appearance of decentralization without its reality. We
must reject the 1989 charter proposals so that a better
charter, with meaningful changes, can be drafted imme-
A Fair Share
and use has increasingly become one of the most
contentious functions of the Board of Estimate. From
zoning changes to special permits, many decisions
have exacerbatea the growing, unhealthy tensions be-
tween citywide needs and community desires. In the
commission's land use pro-
posal, the hope is to strike a
balance between these com-
peting tensions by fostering
thoughtful planning and poli-
cymaking, greater access to
information and accountabil-
ity from our elected officials.
The best way to highlight our
objectives is by using the most ..
controversial example: un de- ' - - - ' - ~
sired city facilities commonly Frederick A. O.
known as NIMBY projects. Schwartz, Jr.
If the city today wanted to
Chairman, Charter Revi-
sion Commission. Part-
ner, Cravath, Swain and
Moore. Serves on
boards of numerous
nonprofit agencies.
build a transitional shelter for
homeless men, the project
would be subject to an advi-
sory review process by the
affected community board and
City Planning Commission
(CPC). The shelter plan would
finally go before the Board of
Estimate (BOE) for a final vote, often with an after
midnight compromise meted out behind closed doors.
If the charter is approved, this is what would happen.
Each year the central administration would produce a
document outlining each city agency's land use needs
for the upcoming two years by borough and, if possible,
community district. These sites must be selected ac-
cording to criteria established for fair distribution of the
benefits (parks) and burdens (shelters) of city projects.
This criteria requirement is a new feature. A base line
map would be drawn showing existing city projects, the
proposed facilities and their proposed sites.
This "fair share" document would go to the City
Council and the affected borough president and commu-
nity board. After reviewing, the legislature may (as it
may now), for example, pass a law prohibiting transi-
tional homeless shelters or otherwise affecting the city's
policies for dealing with homelessness.
In essence, this document would provide vital infor-
mation concerning land use, early in the decision-mak-
ing process and, hopefully, encourage legislators to take
a more active role in sculpting policy.
If the legislature does not pre-empt this process, the
affected borough president, within 90 days, may pro-
pose a site for the shelter. Once submitted, the relevant
city agency may decide to reject the borough president's
suggestion and go with another location. If done, the
city agency must apply for approval with a newly config-
ured CPC, composed of seven mayoral appointees (as
now) and six others appointed one each by the borough
presidents and city council president. With the applica-
tion, the mayor must state the reason for rejecting the
borough president's site. In addition, this proposed
shelter would have to receive a supermajority vote of
nine on the CPC in order to proceed through the Uniform
Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), creating a high
hurdle for the central administration to leap.
Another innovative tool for a borough and commu-
nity perspective is the power of appeal shared between
community boards, borough presidents and the City
Council. If the community board rejects the shelter and
the CPC achieves a supermajority vote affirming the
project, a five-day period is inserted in ULURP where
the borough president may opt to have the council
review the CPC's decision. In the event that the commu-
nity board and borough president do not object, the
council by majority vote may itself take jurisdiction.
Constructive tension is thus created to increase the
incentive for the central administration to negotiate.
The fair share plan and the power of appeal hold great
hope. By requiring city agencies to plan ahead for
facilities, conflicts between communities and the cen-
tral administration can be reduced and the legislature
can take the lead in promoting city policy. 0
Significant Improvement
roposals from the New York City Charter Revision
Commission strengthen the council, give signifi-
cant new powers to the borough presidents and
make key changes in the operation of the executive
branch of government.
I am convinced that the
charter recommendations,
while not perfect, will increase
public access to information,
improve government ac-
countability, and, most impor-
tantly, open the door to greater
representation of this city's
diverse population.
Here's how:
- An expanded and
Ruth W. Messinger
Founding member and
co-chair, CItizens for
Charter Change, a coa-
lition of labor, govern-
ment and community
leaders. Messinger Is a
council member and
candidate for Manhat-
tan Borough President.
strengthened City Council-
under the new charter the
council will be enlarged from
35 to 51 members and have
full authority to enact the
budget and power to review
all major land use decisions.
New district lines will be
drawn based on the 1990 cen-
sus data by a more representa-
tive districting commission in
time for a 1991 election, two years earlier than usual.
-Smaller council districts (140,000 as opposed to
212,000 people) should improve access and accounta-
bility and increase the potential for successful chal-
lenges by insurgent candidates.
- Borough presidents will have an expanded role
within their own borough-they will develop capital
and expense budgets for their boroughs, negotiate on
critical land use issues including the siting of essential
October 1989 21
city facilities and reallocate service personnel and re-
sources within the borough. Additionally, borough
presidents will introduce legislation, propose zoning
changes, direct a borough planning office, monitor' and
appeal contracts and appoint a member of the city
planning commission, a member of the Board of Educa-
tion and all community board members in their borough.
(continued on page 22.)
Race for Time
he Charter Revision Commission's final proposals
are the result of an exclusionary and truncated
process that did not meet the commission's stated
goals of providing better minority representation. Just
two weeks for review and two weeks for public comment
on the proposed revisions was
totally insufficient for ade-
quate public participation
given the complexity of the
proposals and the size of New
York City.
The entire charter revision
process encompassed just 18
weeks, denying minority
groups protected under the
Voting Rights Act an opportu-
nity to be educated and par-
ticipate in the charter process
and has limited the choice and
preference of racial minorities
on the proposals to be placed
on the November ballot.
Since the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled in Morris vs. Board
of Estimate, the charter com-
mission has held 13 public
meetings and two sets of hear-
ings over an 18-week period.
The structure of this process
has created severe hardship
on those who were interested
in responding. More impor-
tant is that the structure has
prevented input, information
and education that has ulti-
Peter Williams
Founding member,
Coa IItion of African
Americans, Asian
Americans and Latinos
for a Just City Govern-
ment, a coalition
Including the Commu-
nity Service SOCiety,
Asian Americans for
Equality, the Institute
for Puerto Rican Policy
and others. Williams Is
project associate for the
Center for Law and
Social Justice, which Is
also part of the
mately denied Asian Americans, African
and Latinos an opportunity to discuss their preferences
and put severe limits on choices. .
Even though the commission granted an extra set of
hearings, these hearings were scheduled so rapidly that
the problems of information, education and the ability to
prepare a proper response within the time frame were
not addressed. The inadequate response time remained
an issue because the commission had made changes
between the first set and second set of hearings, placing
groups in the same situation of trying to understand the
nature of the proposals so that they could prepare a
In essence, the extra month did not alleviate the rapid
pace or increase the opportunities for minority partici-
WilliamS(continued from page 21.)
pation in the process. Instead it reconfirmed the serious
flaws in a process that inhibited community participa-
tion in general and minority participation in particular.
The commission held 13 public meetings with the
purpose of discussing the substantive issues that are
integral to various proposals. During these meetings the
commission voted on the proposed revisions to the
charter. These public meetings were held at locations or
times that were not convenient to racial minorities.
The Charter Revision Commission held only one
public meeting at a location or time convenient for racial
minorities. The location and especially the time-9 a.m.
to 5 p.m.-these other meetings were held became a
barrier to meaningful minority participation.
Denying racial and language minorities an opportu-
nity to participate in charter revision is synonymous to
denying one an opportunity to elect representatives of
one's own choice. The referendum takes the place of an
individual contesting for a public office.
The timetable has been a device that has impeded the
choice of both racial and language minorities. For these
reasons it is the Coalition of African Americans, Asian
Americans and Latinos for a Just City Government's
position that the process should be extended an extra
year until November 1990. 0
BenstoCk(continued from page 19.)
sions. Most improvements over unacceptable and ear-
lier charter commission drafts are also not really
"wins" at all, but losses compared to the current
Inapt comparisons blur the stunning shift in power
being proposed. For example, proponents often note
that the mayor now 'appoints all planning commission
members, but will appoint "only" seven out of 13 mem-
bers in the future. But the new City Planning Commis-
sion (CPC) will be able to block any land use proposal
and will have final say on most of them, whereas the BOE
can overrule CPC now, The mayor's say on final deci-
sions will jump from two out of 11 votes on the BOE to
a majority of the CPC appointments, including its chair,
who serves at the mayor's pleasure.
Simply enlarging the council will not make the city
more democratic, because part-time council members
will be "second-class citizens," as Aida Alvarez, one o ~
four dissenting charter commissioners, said. The coun-
cil majority leader could still easily control votes, and
if the council fails to vote, the decisions of the mayor's
appointees will be final.
Democracy is founded on the notion that multiple
inputs, independent of one another, are better than one.
This charter would concentrate enormous power in one
person, the mayor, and does not provide adequate checks
on that power. 0
Messinger(continued from page 21.)
For the first time the charter will include a pay
equity provision, which directs that wages must be set
with no bias towards any group. In a related effort the
charter establishes an Office of Economic and Financial
Opportunity to enhance the ability of minority and
women-owned businesses to compete for city contracts
and an Office of Labor Services to ensure that city
contractors comply with equal employment guidelines.
Additional improvements include: An independent
budget office to enhance the effectiveness of public
officials and advocates in budget negotiations by serving
as an independent source of information and analysis; a
Commission on Public Information and Communication
empowered to increase public access to information,
promote live television coverage of government bodies
and issue a directory of accessible computer data bases
kept by the city; a substantial prohibition on dual public
and party office holding; mandatory funding, in perpe-
tuity, for public campaign financing.
As founder and co-chair of Citizens for Charter Change
(CCC) I have fought for progressive changes in the city
charter for ~ l o s e to three years. While CCC did not win
on every issue, at last count we had won 70 percent of
our original demands. In New York City politics, this is
a landslide. 0
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October 1989 23
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The Powers To Be
Church-based groups backed by the Industrial Areas Foundation
are acquiring clout-and creating controversy-in city neighborhoods.
t is an unseasonably warm April
afternoon and a rubble-strewn lot
in the South Bronx is overflow-
ing with more than 5,000 people from
across the city. Members of South
Bronx Churches, East Brooklyn Con-
gregations and the Queens Citizens
Organization are gathering on the
site to support the construction of
the nationally acclaimed Nehemiah
row houses.
The rally picks up momentum as
the crowd chants "Where is Freddy?"
holding Borough President Fernando
Ferrer accountable for his absence.
Mayoral hopeful Rudy Giuliani stops
by briefly to pay his respects, and
-church leaders on a podium direct
pointed jabs at the New York City
Partnership, the nonprofit network
of business bigwigs named as the de-
veloper of the plot. Finally, at the
urging of a priest, the people in the
crowd lean over, pick up pieces of
rubble, then raise their fists in the
air, thundering, "We will rebuild!"
The moment distills into a strik-
ing visual image: Five thousand
people in the South Bronx literally
flexing their muscles, with a legion
of politicians, TV cameras and print
journalists serving as witnesses to
their strength.
In the last decade, South Bronx
Churches (SBO), Queens Citizens Or-
ganization (QCO) and East Brooklyn
Congregations (EBC) have involved
tens of thousands of New Yorkers in
grassroots community action in some
ofthe city's most desolate neighbor-
hoods. With a base of 145 churches
and one synagogue, as well as an
affiliated group in New Jersey and an
organization still forming in Harlem,
these groups are showing strength in
the heavyweight arena ofpolicymak-
ing in New York.
While each of these groups has its
own unique character, the unifying
force behind them is the Industrial
Areas Foundation (IAF), which es-
pouses the organizing strategy of
rabble rouser Saul Alinsky. Although
elements of the confrontational Al-
inskyite style have become standard
operating procedure fOJ; a broad spec-
trum of community groups, the IAF
organizations in New York remain
controversial. Depending on who
you talk to, they're arrogant, isola-
tionist, a tool for local people to use
for their own purposes or the sole
source of salvation for New York's
neighborhoods. Amid the cacoph-
ony of cheerleaders and dart throw-
ers, there' s one point of consensus:
the IAF groups in New Y orkget things
The most visible sign oftheir suc-
cess ( and the source of their greatest
renown) is the community of more
than 1,000 row houses named after
the prophet Nehemiah and laid out
like a tidy suburban village in be-
tween sprawling housing projects
and crumbling tenement buildings
in East Brooklyn. There is also a
score of lesser-known campaigns,
including organizing in public hous-
ing, introdur. ing charter revision
proposals , lobbying for improve-
ments at ailing city hospitals and
creating job training and education
"They've made a considerable
impact ," says Ron Shiffman, execu-
tive director of the Pratt Institute for
Community and Environmental De-
velopment. "I have some reserva-
tions about some of their solutions,
but the Nehemiah project has had a
profound effect on how housing is
built in New York. "
David Jones, head of the Commu-
nity Service Society, adds , ''I've been
very impressed by the way they're
willing to shake up city government
and get their projects underway.
These are power issues. Their basic
assumption that the city won't re-
spond unless you're organized is an
accurate one. "
Strategy Session
And organize they do. By 7 p.m.
on a Wednesday evening about 75
people from a variety of churches
and public housing projects have
turned up for a weekly prayer vigil
and strategy session in the basement
of the St. Peter and Paul Church in
the South Bronx. Jim Drake, a former
coordinator for Cesar Chavez' farm
workers union, now serves as lead
organizer for South Bronx Churches.
He' s in charge of efforts to draw 400
people for yet another rally, this time
in front of the offices of James Robin-
son, the American Express execu-
tive who chairs the New York City
Addressing the mostly black and
Latino people assembled in front of
him, Drake blasts the Partnership as
part of the permanent government of
New York, "the ones who make the
big deals and pull the strings." Then
he asks , "You' re here because you' re
leaders in your churches. When you
stand up on Sunday, what are you
going to say to get folks out for the
"It's for housing ," replies amiddle-
aged man. "It's so we canshowpeople
we want Nehemiah."
Drake shakes his head dis-
provingly. "It' s about more than
housing," Drake says. "It's about self-
respect. This is about our Bronx.
We're talking about coming out to
express the hopes of our families.
This action is demonstrating that the
people who are normally forgotten
aren't going to be forgotten. People
are going to come out for that more
than they'll come out for housing. "
A murmur of assent fills the room,
then the crowd breaks up into groups
to prepare pulpit statements. "You
need three weeks ," reminds Drake.
"One week to tell people about the
action, another week to sign them
up, and a final week to remind them.
If you want to bring 25 people, I'd
say enlisting 75 wouldn' t be far off."
October 1989 25
and much of their membership comes
directly from the congregates of af-
filiated churches. Yet in the last few
years, the groups reached out for
new support in the city's ' public
housing, holding thousands of
meetings, known as one-on-ones,
between individual organizers and
residents, and drawing in people like
Beverly Joyce.
Because she worked full-time
until recently, Joyce had little time
for community activity beyond help-
ing out in the schools her children
attended. South Bronx Churches
roused her interest because she heard
that Nehemiah housing might be
coming to the Bronx.
"I went out to Brooklyn and saw
the Nehemiah houses that were built
Freshly mowed lawns and cars parked in Iront:
Nehemiah homes in East Brooklyn.
One of the leaders promising to
sign up people for the rally is 54-
year-old Beverly Joyce, who lives in
public housing and has been active
in South Bronx Churches for almost
a year-ever since she heard about
the organization from her neighbor's
"This is something that from the
first meeting I've really enjoyed,"
says the longtime Bronx resident.
"It ' s a people's organization, bring-
ing the different races together. It
can really make a change. "
The IAF groups are often described
as "organizations of organizations"
there. Well , I was thoroughly amazed.
I thought the whole area was beauti-
ful. It's a helluva lot better than
burned out or unoccupied buildings."
Relentless Organizing
Take the number 3 train out to
New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn and
take a look at the view: In the middle
of classic urban blight are hundreds
of row houses , most with freshly
mowed lawns and cars parked in the
The story behind the creation of
these homes is one of relentless or-
ganizing. In 1978, a handful ofreli-
gious leaders in East Brooklyn began
meeting to discuss the problems in
their area and called in Ed Cham-
bers, the head of the Industrial Areas
Foundation, for advice.
Chambers told the church leaders
to put their money where their
mouths were: They had to convince
their higher-ups to grant more than
$200,000 to enable them to enter into
a "sponsoring committee" relation-
ship with IAF over a period of two
The money paid for congregates
as well as respected church leaders
like Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood to
attend intensive IAF training ses-
sions to focus on strategy building to
improve their neighborhoods. At the
same time, hundreds of one-on-one
meetings were held to find issues the
community was concerned about.
The first efforts focussed on provid-
ing street signs and pushing for
improved quality of produce at local
food stores. These initial struggles
were easily won and built a solid
foundation of support among the
community. Boosting their credibil-
ity, the EBC leaders also resigned
from their posts on community
boards, publicly disassociating them-
selves from the borough's tainted
Democratic machine.
Once the group was established
and churches paid their institutional
dues (approximately $10 for each
congregate of the church) they were
ready to try and find ways to build
housing, one of the most pressing
community needs. Ed Chambers
noticed I.D. Robbins' column in the
Daily News, publicizing his opinion
that low-cost, owner-occupied hous-
ing could be built in the city for less
than $45,000, and passed the infor-
mation on to the Brooklyn pastors.
Despite Robbins ' maverick repu-
tation (his tirades against red tape
were infamous) EBC decided to work
with him. But even with a developer
and the ability to pull together a $12
million capital pool for no-interest
construction, the Brooklyn leaders
weren't able to meet with Mayor
Edward Koch to discuss the plan.
Extensive political maneuvering
and the influence of Brooklyn's for-
mer Roman Catholic bishop, Francis
Mugavero, led to a face-to-face
meeting with the mayor, where the
project was finally given the go-
Seven years after the first ground-
breaking ceremony, there are 1,150
homes on a site in Brownsville, and
350 in East New York; new construc-
tion continues in the area towards a
goal of 2,000 homes. Although EBC
is still fighting for more land (pro-
posals to build more Nehemiah
housing in Bushwick and Spring
Creek have been spurned by the city
administration) their focus is broader
than housing.
Elda Peralta, a petite 33 year old,
is the force behind Nehemiah II, the
EBC job training and educational
improvement program in local high
schools-including her own alma
mater. Peralta became active in EBC
more than a decade ago, working
within the original Nehemiah strat-
egy team while she was still in her
early 20s. She went on to graduate
from Brooklyn Law School and
worked briefly as a lawyer for a un-
ion, but was drawn back to the
community to work full-time for EBC.
In a statement that echoes her own
path, she says, "As an organizer, the
payoff is not immediate, but you're
developing leaders over time. That's
very rewarding. "
The Alinsky Method
Home-grown leaders like Elda
Peralta represent the future of IAF
affiliates-and despite her quiet voice
and calm demeanor Peralta says she's
following directly in the footsteps of
the organization's notorious founder,
Saul Alinsky. The author of the or-
ganizing classic, "Rules for Radicals,"
Alinsky transferred the tactics of the
trade union movement to commu-
nity organizing and achieved national
renown for his hardball style and his
organizing of the Back-of-the-Yards
campaign in neighborhoods of meat-
packing workers in Chicago.
Alinsky set up IAF in 1940 to in-
stitutionalize his unique style of
acting tough in public, while pri-
vately encouraging reflection, analy-
sis, strategy and compromise. After
his death in 1972, control passed to
Ed Chambers , a former seminarian
who started his organizing career
fighting urban renewal schemes in
Harlem. These days Chambers offers
a boot-camp style of support to 25
IAF affiliates across the country, and
is helping establish new bases in
Engl and and within the black
churches of South Africa.
All these groups use the pragmatic
Alinsky organizing principles: Come
in at the invitation of local people.
Work from within the community, .
creating a base in "pockets of power,"
usually the churches. Employ or-
ganizers who are professionally
trained and well paid (starting salary
is $22-30,000; lead organizers make
$35-45,000). Hold thousands of
meetings with a cross section of
community members to determine
which issues to focus on. Make the
churches who belong pay dues for
each member so the organization is
accountable to its constituents-
and not beholden to government
These broad ideas are put into
practice through a strict hierarchy of
leaders and followers, with leaders
accountable to people above and be-
low them for their actions. Cham-
bers and four other professional or-
ganizers form a cabinet and super-
vise the 25 affiliates across the coun-
try. There is also a national team of
15 religious and lay leaders, who
strategize and set regional agendas.
Unlike social movements, which
form around a specific ideology or
issues, the Industrial Areas Founda-
tion leaders pride themselves on
having broad goals. "We don't have
a utopian ideology. We're not left,
we're not right," says Chambers.
This lack of political focus has a
problematic history. The neighbor-
hoods Saul Alinsky empowered
through the Back-of-the-Yards cam-
paign in the late 1930s used their
skills a generation later to fight inte-
gration, according to neighborhood
activists from Chicago.
Mike Gecan, the IAF field repre-
sentative in New York, says the Chi-
cago experience is one of the reasons
IAF is based in churches and not in
civic associations. He insists that
even though IAF doesn't have an
ideological agenda, the church base
offers a vision that includes toler-
ance and respect. "We're trying to
carve out a non partisan political
sphere where people can have dig-
nity and get results, where we can
translate rlligious or democratic
val ues into constructive action."
V ariety of Criticisms
The New York community groups
affiliated with IAF have managed
impressive turnouts at rallies and
tangible victories in housing, but
they've never won full approval from
a majority of the city's activists. From
these quarters come a variety of
criticisms: the IAF groups are isola-
tionist, disrespectful
and lacking concern
abou t the neediest of the
city's population.
"They are ex-
ceedingly influential,
but on some level they
believe they have the
real truth, that they're
the only people worth
working with, " com-
ments Jay Small, execu-
tive director of the
Flatbush East Commu-
nity Development Cor-
poration, which oper-
ates on the same turf as
East Brooklyn Congre-
gations. He adds, "They
do not work in coali-
tions at all."
four other men, three of them white,
one Latino. But, he adds, we're all
working-class boys-two Protestants,
two Roman Catholics and a Jew.
Still, in the midst of a housing
crisis, other criticisms remain. Many
Angel Garcia, the for-
mer director of South
Bronx People for
Change, which co-exists
uneasily with South
Developing leadership:
fldo Perolfo, Milee Geeon ond Rev. Johnny Roy Youngblood.
Bronx Churches, observes, "They're
trying to be a player in the pitbull
fight of New York politics, so they
have to be the toughest pit bull of
all. "
Chambers gives these viewpoints
short shrift. "It's probably our suc-
cess that bothers these people, espe-
cially if they're a bunch of liberals,"
he barks. "They don't want to fight!
They think you can have change
without getting your hands dirty!"
And Chambers acknowledges his
skepticism towards coalition build-
ing: "Coalitions are to power what
community boards are to politics,
just a way to side step and slow
people down. Our leaders get de-
energized at these things. They go
Another question that IAF critics
often raise is whether IAF is white
dominated. When the point is raised,
Chambers' face hardens with anger:
"We're about developing local tal-
ent," he shouts. "Of our 35 organiz-
ers, six are black, seven or eight are
women, we've got Jews and a Mos-
lem. We're as diverse as you get! "
In a later conversation, he says,
slightly defensively, that the IAF
cabinet is comprised of himself and
of the IAF nay-sayers also argue that
$45,000 single-family homes are a
waste of space and hardly affordable
to the poorest of the city's popula-
tion. .
"I think it's bad city planning and
it does not help the people who need
it most," comments Peter Marcuse, a
professor of urban planning at Co-
lumbia University.
"Their approach to building hous-
ing is left over from the 1950s, " adds
Pratt's Shiffman. Noting that the
construction of the Nehemiah houses
in Brooklyn necessitated the destruc-
tion of buildings and the relocation
of tenants, he says, "It's the slash and
burn approach. They're not always
interested in fitting in with the exist-
ing fabric of the neighborhood."
Chambers argues that a critical
mass of single-family homes in one
location serves as a key stabilizer in
poor communities, and that many of
the residents come from public
housing, creating a "trickle up" ef-
fect that frees apartments for poor
and homeless people.
At the root of the dispute are con-
flicting visions: many neighborhood
housing groups evol ved in the 1960s
and retain a comm unal approach that
October 1989 27
fa vors the slow, finel y crafted task of
rehabilitating multi-story buildings
to become tenant or community man-
aged for the poorest of the city's
population. The IAF groups, on the
other hand, emphasize the traditional
values offamily, church
membership and home
owners hi p for their con-
Yet even while the
backyards and barbe-
cues rhetoric continues,
a policy shift within the
organization is occur-
ring. South Bronx
Churches' plan for hous-
inghas 1,500 Nehemiah
homes as its center-
piece, but it also calls
for 750 rehabilitated
rental units within city-
owned buildings and
approximately 600 two-
story homes.
"I was part of the
Nehemiah plan in East
Brooklyn," says Rev.
John Heinemeier. "To
me, one of its shortcom-
ings was that it did not
relate to the economic level below
. $18,000-theworkingpoor. Wewere
determined here in the South Bronx
to correct that."
But Ed Chambers says the entire
discussion avoids the central point.
"We're not talking about housing
philosophy. This is a question of
power," he asserts.
In their push to acquire power,
the IAF leaders freely admit to mak-
ing compromises-sometimes
known as deals-to achieve success.
After an extensive period ofnegotia-
tion with the city and the New York
City Partnership, South Bronx
Churches is nearing an agreement to
build on a three-and-a-half acre plot
at 163rd Street and Prospect Ave-
nue, as well as a number of other
parcels of land bequeathed by the
city. They've also shifted their stance
towards the New York City Partner-
ship, which has reduced the cost of
the middle income housing they plan
to build on the site the two groups
battled for.
Tony Aguilar, an organizer for
South Bronx Churches, says, "The
situation now is one of respect.
They're going to be around for a while,
we're going to be around for a while,
we've planted the seeds for a rela-
Kathryn Wylde, the Partnership's
executive director, adds, "After all
the sturm and drung, the New York
City Partnership and South Bronx
Churches w.ould have no difficulty
working together on mutually com-
patible developments. "
On the Spot
On a sweltering evening in Queens,
the temperature soars inside the First
Presbyterian Church in Far Rocka-
way, where the local police precinct
captain is being grilled like prime
barbecue by members of the Queens
Citizens Organization.
"Have you or have you not closed
down any of the 10 drug-selling spots
we located? Just answer yes or no, "
demands Father John Amann of St.
Gertrude's Church, one of nearly a
dozen leaders from the Rockaway
community who are surrounding
Captain Bernard Leibowitz at a large
table at the front of the room.
"None of the sites have been
closed," responds the police captain.
Talk is
1-( 0
He starts to explain why, but is cut
offinmid-sentence by another priest
who announces the group's demands:
police cars outside four of the sites
day and night to curtail further drug
About 60 p e o p l e ~ a mixture of
blacks and whites, elderly folks ,
young couples, even teenagers-are
packed into a tiny room on the sec-
ond floor of the church. Members of
the crowd shoot up from their chairs
to confront the chief, questioning his
justifications and demanding im-
proved service.
After 45 finger-pointing, heckling-
filled minutes, the chief agrees to
consider the group's demand and
report back at a future meeting. He
exits rapidly, flanked by his depu-
ties and an officer from the Tactical
Narcotics Team, and the door slams
The room stirs as Wade Goodwyn,
QCO's lead organizer, strides to the
front of the room and starts firing off
questions: How do you feel? Could
we have done better? Should we have
demanded a more definite answer
You get enough chirping and twittering from the mass media-Dan Rather,
Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, John McLaughlin ....
What you don't get is insights- about who really runs America,
and about the activists who are trying to make this world a better place.
That's why you'll want to read Tiu Progrusi"e.
Plus June Jordan's powerful essays and Molly Ivins' s irrepressible humor.
Here' s what Ivins had to say about Reagan and Bush: "It was such
a fun administration-half of it was under average, and the other
half was under indictment." .
TIle Progressi,e. The rest is for the bints.
from Leibowitz? Strong feelings are
vented ("I feel angry. It's the same
damn thing every time.") and then
there is a lengthy evaluation of the
tactics used to try and pin the chief
down. Goodwyn congratulates the
QCO members for their excellent
turnout and praises the leadership
team for pushing the police chief
hard. The meeting closes with a burst
of applause.
It's a classic IAF action: harsh talk,
reflection, analysis and affirmation.
Yet walking back to his car, Goodwyn
is approached by a youth who re-
fuses to buy into the feelgood round-
up and starts to complain bitterly.
"It's all talk. Nothing ever changes,"
he says.
Goodwyn turns on his heel and
confronts the young man, tongue
lashing him with a list of questions:
"What's your problem? What's wrong
with what we're doing? Why don't
you like it?" Then he delivers the
clincher: "What .can you do that's
better?" 0
Pm tired of cheap talk.
Send me a free trial
Issue and reserve a
one-year subscription
to The Prolresslve
for only $16..7.
G ........ t_a If The Progressive isn't for you.
write "cancer' on the in voiee and return it
within two weeks of receiving your free issue.
You' ve spent nothing. You owe nothing. And
the sampl e issue is yours to keep. Fr_t
P.O. Box 5461 5. Boulder. CO 8032 146 15
Unity Call
To the Editor:
Presently I am presiding on a
Housing Now! subcommitee. As a
subcommittee our function is to
educate ourselves and others in the
world of lobbying for housing.
I found the article, "Congress
Debates Major Housing Legislation"
by Christina Rossomando (City Lim-
its, May 1989) very useful.
. And I agree with her fully on the
lack of concern for low income home-
less people. One of my responsibili-
ties in my volunteer work for Hous-
ing Now! is to see to it that those in
most need receive assistance.
There is a need for New York
housing organizations to come to an
agreement on a package deal of legis-
lation that would help the entire body
of organizations that have felt the
lack of housing.
Recently I have proposed a need
. for a conference to the subcommit-
tee. The proposal is to call together
'all lobbyists to iron out differences
and propose one package of legisla-
tion. I was told by two members that
(in not so many words) if! wanted to
launch a conference of such nature I
would have to put it together myself.
At the present time I am homeless
and have been for the last two years.
The chances of me affording such a
conference are slim. However, I still
strongly feel that the diversification
of interests among housing organiza-
tions will end up hurting those most
in need of housing.
Daniel Carichi
To the Editor:
Good news. After a bargain dis-
count investment of only $22 bil-
lion, a B-2 Stealth Bomber has just
flown for two hours at an altitude of
10,000 feet.
The Stealth Bomber technology
can now be applied to construction
of B-2 Stealth Shelters to help make
homeless persons and squatters in-
stantly invisible and to raise real
estate values. Every park would have
its very own B-2 Stealth Shelter. .
Invisible homeless and invisible
squatters inside an invisible shelter!
Only the homeless advocates would
remain visible.
What a benediction for local po-
lice, park rangers and local real es-
tate developers!
Sidney Simon
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Office use, left over, unaccounted, spoiled after printing 100 (100); return from news
agents: 0 (0). Total: 4000 (3900).
I certify that the statements made by me above are correct and complete:
Doug Turetsky, Editor.
Since 1980 HEAT has provided low cost home heating oil. burner and boiler repair services.
and energy management and conservation services to largely minority low and middle income
neighborhoods in the Bronx. Brooklyn. Manhattan and Queens.
As a proponent of economic empowerment for revitalization of the city's communities. HEAT is
committed to aSSisting newly emerging managers ano owners of buildings with the reduction of
energy costs (long recognized as the single most expensive area of building management).
HEAT has presented tangible opportunities for tenant associations. housing coops. churches.
community organizations. homeowners and small businesses to gain substantial saving!! and
lower the costs of building operations.
Working collaboratively with other community service organizations with similar goals. and
working to establish its viability as a business entity. HEAT has committed its revenue gener-
ating capacity and potential to providing services that work for. and lead to. stable. productive
. Throush the primary service of providl ... _ cost home hutinc 01, vlll"ious heIItinc
plant services and enero ...-cement services, HEAT members have coIIedively
saved over $5.1
853 BROADWAY. SUITE 414. NEW YORK. N.Y. 10003 505-0286
If you .. interested In....,... more about HEAT,
01" H you .... lnterested In becom .... a HEAT .......... ,
c:.tI 01" write the HEAT office.
, ~
Ie 0 I,' I: S S 1 0 , \ I. It 1 Ie I: (. 'I' 0 Ie \ .
ROBE RT H. REACH - Architect
Estate Development Services
planning, urban design, zoning
Providing consultant services specializing in
grams, proposals to RFPs & planning housing pro
350 Broadway, Suite 300
10013 New York, NY
(212) 966-4322
(212) 941-8119 Fax
Concentrati ng in Real Estate & Non-Profit Law
Title and loan closings 0 All city housing programs
9 associations 0 Coopertive conversions
ow income co-op boards of directors
Mutual housin
Advice to 1
100 Remsen 5tr eet, Brooklyn, NY 11201, (718) 624-6850
Real Estate Attorneys & Development Consultants
Real Estate and Not-For-Profit Law
nium and Cooperative Offerings Condomi
Residentia I and Commercial Tax Abatement
150 Nassau S treet, Suite 1630, New York, NY 10038
2121732-270 o 2121732-2773 FAX
Chip Cliffe
oduction design & pr
176 West Ho uston Street
Y 10014 New York, N
30 (212) 691-97
annual reports
Building Management/Consultants
Specializing in management & development
services to low income housing cooperatives,
community organizations and co-op
boards of directors
329 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
Mr. John Touhey
Specializing in representing tenants only in
landlord/tenant proceedings, cooperative
conversions, loft proceedings. We represent
sellers/buyers in house, condo and co-op closings.
15 Maiden Lane, Suite 1800
New York, NY 10038
Attorney at Law
Real Estate, Subsidized Housing, WiJls,
Trust & Estates,Business and Not-for-Profit
Corporations, Ecclesiastical Law
21 7 Broadway, Suite 61 0
New York, NY 1 0007
212/51 3-0981
Lofts 0 Real Estate
Domestic Relations 0 Artistic Representation
Personal Injury 0 Discrimination
401 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10013
(212) 219-2114
(212) 966-2162 FAX
Consultants To Non-Profits in
Recreational, Cultural, Art & Tour Programs
Culture for community economic development
Culture as a fundraising tool
Mr. H. Margulies
67-35 Yellowstone Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 261-8476/ 522-5620
Abeles Phillips Preiss & Shapiro, Inc.
Land Use
Planning and Development Consultants
Real Estate Feasibility
Economic Development
Market Studies
434 Sixth Ave., New York NY 10011
307 N. Main St. , Highstown NJ 08520
, .
DIRECTOR. Opptny to lead Lower East Side neighborhood pres-
ervation organization in transition. Tenant/community organizing
bkgrnd. Work with neighborhood groups/coalition. Knowledge of
housing laws/court procedures, fundraising, contract manage-
ment. Legal background a +. Salary negotiable, benefits. Avail-
able immed. TENANT COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS (2) Organize
tenants, counsel on legal rights, negotiate with landlords, agents,
attorneys. Some court work. Good oral & written skills reqd.
Paralegal training provided. Some night meetings. Spanish/
English desirable. Benefits. Salary: $17-$18,000 . . Minorities
encouraged to apply to both positions. Resumes: Good Old Lower
East Side, Inc. Interview Committee, c/o 406 E. 9th Street #5, NYC
10009. 212-982-6965.
Work with SRO tenant groups & groups throughout city; advocate
before govt agencies; represent clients at administrative hearings.
Act as paralegal. Survey conditions in various SROs & report
organizing efforts. Requirements: able to advocate for clients,
negotiate strategies, work with diverse groups & agencies. Hous-
ing/tenant/community organizing helpful. Knowledge of Spanish
pref. Salary: $22,500. Resume: Saralee E. Evans, Goddard-
Riverside Community Center, 647 Columbus Avenue, NYC 10025.
For national info service. Expand databases on housing & human
services; deliver tech assistance on programs & policy; prepare
publications. Requirements: 5 years exp; BNMA in related field.
Must have exc writing, communication & organizational skills.
Salary based on expo Minorities encouraged to apply. Resumes:
Homelessness Information Exchange, 1830 Connecticut Avenue
NW, 4th Floor, Washington DC 20009. Atl: Dir Qf Information.
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT. To assist director w.ith special
projects, provide information & referrals, coordinate production of
regular reports and perform genl office duties, including record-
keeping. Requirements: Self starter with good typing & phone
skills, exc verbal & written communication skills, ability to work well
with others. Spanish/English desirable. Salary: To $10/hr. PIT
available. COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. Provide counseling &
organizational assistance to tenants/tenant groups. Assist with
MCI challenges, landlord/tenant actions & other admin procedures.
Some court work. Good communication skills req'd, oral & written.
Paralegal training provided. Some night meetings. Bilingual
Spanish/English desirable. Requirements: exp in organizing,
community relations, tenant/landlord counseling. Knowledge of
housing issues. Salary: $18-$20,000, depending on expo Exc
benefits. Resumes: Gregory Watson, Executive Director, Tenant
Takeover Team, Inc. 22710 Broadway, NYC 10025.
HOUSING SUPPORT. National housing, community revitalization
corp sks professional expd in nonprofit housing, organizational de-
velopment, real estate & community organizing. Exc communica-
tion & interpefsonal skills. Position located in New Rochelle, N.Y.
Salary: hi $30s Pf3pending on expo Exc Bntts. EOE. R e s u m ~ s :
District Director, Neighborhood Reinvestment, 20 Cedar St., SUite
105, New Rochelle, NY 10801
HOUSING DEVELOPER. PIT. Work with re-entry program resi-
dents (homeless mothers & children, single adults) . Responsible
for developing linkages with gov't sponsored housing programs
(HPD, NYC Housing Authority etc.) and landlords and realtors.
Work directly with residents in locating housing. Salary:$14,200,
flexible hours. Resumes: Maureen Laborde, Odyssey House of
NY, Inc. 666 Broadway, NYC 10012.
October 1989 31
home improvement/construction industry or architectural degree.
Able to monitor contractors, develop specifications, oversee acqui-
sition, rehab & sale of vacant 1-2 family homes. Committment to
affordable housing and community revitalization necessary. Mid-
high $20s. Resumes: C. Mickens. Neighborhood Housing Serv-
ices of Jamaica, 160-16 121 st Ave., Jamaica, NY 11434.
TENANT ORGANIZER. Extensive field work, advise tenants of
their rights, assist them in housing court & before city and state
agencies, help to develop tenant associations, conduct training
ses'sions on SRO issues. Should be assertive, exp'd in tenant or
community organizing, have good communication skills, able to
deal effectively with variety of people & knowledgeable about
housing laws, regs, housing court procedures. Salary pursuant to
collective bargaining agreement. Resume: Karen Stamm, Manag-
ing Attorney, East Side SRO Legal Services Project, MFY Legal
Services, Inc. 223 Grand Street, NYC 10013. (212) 966-7410.
The Garment Industry Development Corporation (GIDC), a
non-profit corporation providing training and busi-
ness and technology assistance to strengthen New
York's garment industry, is seeking applicants for
two full-time positions. These are excellent oppor-
tunities for individuals seeking a creative, flexible
work environment and work that contributes to the
well-being of the city.
The Training Assistant will be responsible for the
day-to-day operations of one or two training pro-
grams. This includes working with unions and
management associations to publicize the programs,
recruit and screen applicants, maintaining training
records and preparing program evaluations. Job
development and counseling the graduates is a sig-
nificant component of the responsibilities and in-
cludes building an industry network, identifying
employment opportunities, and matching graduates
to appropriate firms . Knowledge of Spanish is help-
ful. Salary is in the low $20's.
Reporting directly to the President, the Project/
Office Manager will have both administrative and
programmatic responsibilities. Administrative re-
sponsibilities include maintaining financial records,
preparing checks and vouchers to various funding
sources, and maintaining corporate records. In
addition, the Project Manager will assist the Presi-
dent in completing a variety of projects which GIDC
plans to undertake in the coming year including
assessing the day care needs ofthe industry, manag-
ing a study of changes in production technologies,
and preparing newsletters. Knowledge of Cantonese
or Spanish helpful. Salary is $25,000 to $30,000.
Send resumes to: Garment Industry Development
Corporation, 225 West 34th Street, Suite 1306, New
York, NY 10001.
Cast Your Vote
Fun&Fundraising Party
Friday, Oetober 27th, 6 p.ln.
40 Prince Street, NewYork, NY
$5 cover (212) 925-9820
r - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ,
o Reserve _ tickets to the party
at $5 each.
oI want to be a Patron of the event.
Enclosed is my tax deductible contribution
of: 0$50 0$100 0$200 0$_other.
o ChildCare Provided
Name Phone __
o Food &CashBar
Address _
City State _ Zip __
o Tickets inAdvance
&at the Door
Make checks payable to:
City Limits, 40Prince Street, New York, NY 10012
L ~