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BAGHDAD IS NOT the only city under siege from
Washington. And I'm not even talking about
President Bush's disgusting refusal to provide
more than minimal aid to New York City as it
recovers from its own attacks. (Hey-why not
pay Bechtel to repair our infrastructure?)
Under cover of war, the Bush administration
and Congress are now poised to shut down
vital resources that have played a critical role in
keeping low-income communities alive.
Drastic cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and
other poverty programs are just part of the
stoty. Now Washington wants the private sec-
tor out of the business of helping the poor. As
I write this, major corporations are lobbying
hard to make sure a balky Congress approves
President Bush's elimination of the tax on cor-
porate dividends. If approved, it will effective-
ly shut down major tax credit programs that
encourage private businesses to invest in
affordable housing and the economies of low-
income communities. The affordable housing
tax credit, created by President Reagan, is the
Corer photo by Joshua Zuckerman.
Centel for an
nation's only affordable housing construction
program, and it has leveraged billions of dollars
in private additional investment. Meanwhile,
President Clinton's long-awaited New Markets
Tax Credit finally saw the light of day this
March, with $2.5 billion distributed nation-
wide, aiming to drive a wave of investment
into poor neighborhoods.
Collateral damage from Bush's tax cut cru-
sade? If only it were so. This winter, the White
House and congressional leaders simply refused
to consider recommendations from financial
institutions of alternative ways to keep the tax
credit programs going (or, God forbid, commit
to other ways of funding affordable housing). It
is increasingly clear that this is no accident, but
deliberate policy: the administration believes it
is not the place of government to provide even
a spark to get the private sector to direct
resources to poor people.
At the same time, our national leaders
keep on cooking up costly incentives that
benefit the middle class on up (and the busi-
nesses that want their money), from SUV
subsidies to the big kahuna of them all, the
home mortgage break on personal income
taxes. How to explain the distinction? There's
politics, of course. But behind the double
standard is also a nefarious statement about
how this government wields its power on
behalf of its people. It's a reductio ad absur-
dum of the credo of welfare reform hardlin-
ers-the imperative of stamping out depen-
dency. We have the only (nominally) noncor-
rupt government on the globe that seeks to
keep resources-both public and private-
away from the poor at all costs.
* * *
Amid global misery, some good news here
at City Limits. Senior Editor Annia Ciezadlo is
a finalist for the World Hunger Year media
awards for her December 2002 story "Coney
Island High." And Contributing Editor Nora
McCarthy has won a second place nod from
the Education Writers Association for her June
2002 article "Social Promotion." Congratula-
tions to you both.
-Alyssa Katz
The Center for an Urban Future
the sister organization of City Limits
u ure
Combining City Limits' zest for investigative reporting with thorough policy
analYSiS, the Center for an Urban Future is regularly influencing New York's
decision makers with fact-driven studies about policy issues that are important to
all five boroughs and to New Yorkers of all socio-economic levels.
Go to our website or contact us to obtain any of our recent studies:
01 Labor Gains: How Union-Affiliated Training is Transforming New York's Workforce Landscape (March 2003)
01 Epidemic Neglect How Weak Infrastructure and Lax Planning Hinder New York's Response to AIDS (February 2003)
01 The Creative Engine: How Arts and Culture are Fueling Growth in NYC's Neighborhoods (November 2002)
01 Bumpy Skies: JFK, laGuardia Fared Worse than most U.S. Airports after 9/11 and still Face Structural
Threats to Future Competitiveness (October 2002)
01 Uninvited Guests: Teens in New York City Foster Care (October 2002)
To obtain a report, get on our mailing list or sign up for our free e-mail policy updates,
contact Research Director Jonathan Bowles at or (212) 479-3347.
City Limits and the Center for an Urban Future rely on the generous support of their readers and advertisers, as well as the following funders: The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, The Child
Welfare Fund, The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, Open Society Institute, The Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, The Scherman Foundaton, JPMorganChase, The Annie E. Casey
Foundation, The Booth Ferris Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The Taconic Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Ira W. OeCamp
Foundation, LiSe, Deutsche Bank, M& T Bank, The Citigroup Foundation, New York Foundation.
- - - - - - ~ c 0 N TEN T S
With no explanation, American Express has been canceling
the credit cards of Pakistani immigrants. A community under siege
wonders whether its financial freedom will be next to go.
By Hilary Russ
Meet the people who put the "affordable" in affordable housing:
freelance construction workers, working for low
wages and no benefits-and sometimes for nonprofit
groups officially committed to fighting poverty.
By Annia Ciezadlo
Two Christian congregations that embrace gays and
lesbians provide safe places of worship. As AIDS
tears through communities of color, they are also a
model for where the black church must go next.
By Malcolm Venable
Big law firms are donating their legal expertise to help
the less fortunate-the City of New York, that is,
as it fights high-stakes civil rights lawsuits.
By Ruth Ford
Advocates for better schools need to stop worrying about
racial integration-and focus more on dollars.
By Hakim Hasan
The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making
Ends Meet, edited by Mickey Z. Reviewed by
Bill Roundy. Memoir of a Visionary, by Antonia
Pantoja. Reviewed by Andrea Batista Schlesinger
Meet New York City's newest principals:
the best and the brightest-and the least experienced.
By Alexander Russo
Overhauling the city's mass transit system
may cost big dollars, but the cost of not doing it is even higher.
By Albert F. Appleton
MAY 2003
Regarding "Up in Arms" [April 2003)' your
article on Blacks and Latinos in the military:
The armed forces may be willing to accept and
enlist our brothers and sisters, but I do chal-
lenge the notion that the military is progres-
sive, or at least more progressive than other
institutions. I felt that in some ways your arti-
cle urges "taking the easy way out" for our
young people. I teach and work at a high
school on the Lower East Side and I am at a
loss to understand why we (Mcican-Americans
and Latinos) don't seem to value education,
which once was one of the most viable ways
out of a deplorable situation.
I fully believe that if more of these students
made a serious effort in the classroom, they
would have options beyond the military. It
would be interescing to do a survey and query
our soldiers on their grades and test scores.
I have a younger brother and several friends
who spent time in the Marines. To a man, they
told me they would not have enlisted if given
the opportuniry to do it over.
With the exception of Colin Powell, I don't
see the "progressive" -ness of the military on dis-
play. I think the statistic you cited-that 11
percent of the officers corps is minority-is
slightly misleading. Think "Crew Chief" at a
fast food restauran t.
However, I appreciate you drawing atten-
tion to the fact that the military offers some an
alternative. Your and Mr. Randolph's prag-
matism then-and now-are completely
Eric Williams
East Harlem
The article, "Sick Treatment-When
Addiction Counselors Attack" [February 2003]
is, unfortunately, true too much of the time all
across the country. I have been involved with
alcohol and drug problems for 45 years-22
years as an active addict and 23 years clean and
sober. I was in four different treatment pro-
grams on my way to clean and sober. The first
one decided I had a big "denial problem" and
an ego that had to be "beaten down to size" and
that a little "tough love" was in order. I did not
gain humility, I felt humiliated and angry and
went out and drank some more.
After a few deaths and lawsuits, that practice
had just about come to its just demise. I have been
an addiction treatment professional for 20 years
and have had the opportunity to work in a num-
ber of different treatment centers. I refused to par-
ticipate in any program's "break the ego" idiocy.
I certainly don't know everything there is to
know about addiction, but I do know the dif-
ference between ethical, empathetic and caring
treatment and unethical counselor behavior.
Aggressive and humiliating behavior, directed
at a client/patient is, as I see it, unethical. I
think this sort of thing should be reported to
whatever credentialing body should be holding
the counselor responsible. But too few states
have any licensing statute that regulates the
addiction-counseling profession.
I would not dare to say that the sort of treat-
ment described in your article was not being
practiced in the state of Missouri, because I
know different. All of this may be slowly com-
ing to a halt across the country. Higher quality
treatment-based on evidence of what
works-must be demanded.
DanR. Gray
Founding Director, New Concept and Associates
In the April 2003 story "Off the Water-
front," urban planner Laura Wolf-Powers was
incorrectly identifted as a staffer of the Pratt
Institute Center for Community and Environ-
mental Development. She is an assistant pro-
fessor at the Graduate Center for Planning and
the Environment in the Pratt Institute School
of Architecture.
Volume XXVIII Number 5
City Limits is published ten times per year, monthly except bi-
monthly issues in July/August and September/October, by City Um-
its Community Information Service, Inc., a nonprofit organization
devoted to disseminating information concerning nei ghborhood
Publisher: Kim Nauer
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Editor: Alyssa Katz
Managing Editor: Tracie McMillan
Senior Editor: Annia Ciezadlo
Senior Editor: Jill Grossman
Senior Editor: Kai Wright
Associate Editor: Matt Pacenza
Contributing Editors: Neil F. Carlson, Wendy Davis,
Kemba Johnson, Nora McCarthy,
Robert Neuwirth, Hilary Russ
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Photographers: Margaret Keady, Gregory P. Mango, Sune Woods
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Tom Robbins, Journalist
Ira Rubenstein, Center for Economic and Environmental
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Subway riders may fall prey to ads for
"fast cash," above, without reading the fine
print-unaffordably high interest rates.
Tania Savayan
Payday of Reck

WHEN THE UNIVERSITY Kim Saunders used to work for started paying her
monthly instead of weekly, she knew she needed help with her car loans.
So she called Advance America, which had filled mailboxes across Saun-
ders' North Carolina neighborhood with its promotional literature offer-
ing short-term cash loans-fast.
The deal: The company would loan her $295 for a fee of just $50,
provided she paid it all back in two weeks. Well, two weeks later, Saun-
ders says, she was no richer and couldn't pay back the loan. So she
delayed repayment, and Advance charged her an additional $50 fee, as
promised in its contract.
Nearly a year later, she has paid the company $1,000 in interest. ''I'm
still locked in, but to protect my credit I have to keep paying interest, "
says Saunders.
On March 14, Saunders joined a few handfuls of New York and
North Carolina residents to rally outside the downtown offices of the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) demanding stronger
safeguards against "payday lenders," as they are called. While North Car-
olina and New York laws prohibit in-state companies from making these
kinds of high-interest loans-in New York, annual interest rates cannot
exceed 25 percent--companies affiliated with banks that are chartered in
states with less stringent laws can do business here.
Over the last year, for example, County Bank of Rehoboth Beach,
Delaware, where there are no loan restrictions, has plastered city subway
cars and bus shelters and filled radio airwaves with ads promising loans
MAY 2003
of up to $500 to anyone who earns at least $1,000 a month in salary or
$800 in public assistance. (The fine print on its contracts says the annual
percentage rate can total more than 768 percent.)
In an attempt to put an end ro these loans before they proliferate in
New York, the Payday Lending Task Force of the Neighborhood Eco-
nomic Development Advocacy Project, whose members range from local
credit unions to the American Association of Retired Persons, submitted
recommendations to the FDIC asking that the agency require all finan-
cial institutions to abide by the laws of the state in which they do busi-
ness. "Why should some company, because of a technicality, be able to
get around our laws?" asks Sarah Ludwig, executive director of NEDAP.
The letter, which was signed by close to 50 consumer advocates and
elected officials, including City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, also
recommends creating strong incentives for banks to make short-term
loans and making it illegal for payday loan agreements to prohibit class
action lawsuits.
The FDIC did not return calls for comment.
While their authority over the activities of out-of-state lenders is very
limited, some City Council members have taken up the issue. They're
calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to prohibit or
limit the ads in subways and buses, or, at the very least, print a legible
warning on each of the ads. Says Joshua Rivera, who works for Coun-
cilmember Leroy Comrie, "People should know that this could be detri-
mental to your financial health. " -Jill Grossman
AIDS SRO tenants'
radical demand:
a lease.
By Geoffrey Gray
EVERY 28 DAYS, Stanley moves. From the Lin-
coln Hotel in Brooklyn, to the Davidson in the
Bronx, to the Marion on the Upper West Side,
the 53-year-old has dragged his clothing, his
TV and his medicine (he has AIDS) from one
city homeless hotel to another.
For clients in the city's emergency housing
system, it's protocol to move as often as evety full
moon. After 30 days in one place, they are
deemed permanent tenants with legal rights, so
the city or hotel owner makes sure to get them
out before that time is up.
Stanley's been shuffiing at that pace for the
last 10 years, and after about 130 moves, he's
had enough. "The system ain't fair," Stanley
says. "Just as we're about to get settled, find a
job or apartment, we got to move. We've
become subhuman-and we're taking a stand!"
Stanley's Last Stand
He and two of his neighbors at the Royal
York hotel have signed on to an effort that could
buy emergency housing residents a little more
time to fmd a permanent place to live. The cam-
paign also aims to get the city to change its
AIDS housing policies by attempting to ham-
string the entire emergency housing system.
In short, they've requested leases for their
one-room apartments.
In the next few months, Jennifer Flynn,
director of the New York AIDS Housing Net-
work, and Alex Shafran, organizer for the West
Side SRO Law Project, will go door to
door inside many of the single-room occu-
pancy (SRO) hotels that house homeless New
Yorkers with AIDS, encouraging clients to
sign leases.
The mission-called the Lease Request
Action-is a mass attempt to organize home-
less clients. "One of our initial goals is to stop
all the crazy moving," says Flynn.
It's also an effort to get the city's HNIAIDS
Services Administration (HASA) to change the
way it houses its clients. "We're trying to show
the city how foolish it is to spend so much on
emergency housing, when permanent housing
is much cheaper," says Flynn.
Under the city's Rent Stabilization Act,
those who stay at least one night in an SRO
hotel have the right to request leases, which are
good for at least six months. They can't be
turned down-the request itself serves as a
lease, and the landlord must go to court to
challenge it. The tenants then receive legal pro-
tection from unwarranted evictions and other
forms of harassment.
The rent for their room also drops dramat-
ically, which is where Flynn and others say the
savings can come in. Up to now, HASA has
been paying the owner of the Royal York about
$2,400 a month for Stanley's room. However,
under the city's rent laws, SRO owners must
charge tenants the legal rent for rooms with
leases, at a rate determined by the state Divi-
sion of Housing and Community Renewal.
For Stanley's room, that price is $325, he says.
His room isn't even worth that, says Flynn.
For $2,400 a month, Stanley could have the
keys to a white-glove luxury high-rise just
down the street from the Royal York, with
cherry oak floors, a full terrace, state-of-the-art
kitchen, in-house gym and heated pool,
according to one apartment listing.
Instead, for the same price at the Royal
York, Stanley must suffer the cost of more
than 140 pending code violations the city
housing agency has on record for the building,
including failure to provide hot water, rat
infestation, lack of gas for cooking stoves and
a busted elevator.
"It's not only stupid-it's unjust," says
Shafran. "It's one thing for the city to waste
money, but to waste money in order to support
the suffering of sick people is where we draw
the line. "
Shafran and other backers of the lease cam-
paign-including Housing Works, the Coali-
tion for the Homeless and the Partnership for
the Homeless-hope their efforts will push the
city to use those resources better by creating
more permanent housing.
"This puts the pressure on," says Patrick
Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless.
"Finally, this will force HASA to wake up. "
Well, maybe. Peter Avitable, head of commu-
nity affairs at HASA and one of the agency's top
administrators, seemed unsure if the activists'
lease campaign would bring the intended results.
Once a client requests a lease from a landlord, he
points out, that client is no longer considered an
emergency placement, so HASA would no longer
cover that client's rent with emergency housing
dollars. Following that logic, the action wouldn't
compel the city ro change the amount it spends to house
clients--it would only spend the money on someone else.
Avitable said another hitch could be a possible "dearth"
of emergency housing slots; if all clients signed six-month
leases, the system could backlog. Besides, he adds, "Who
would want ro live in the SROs? That's really not an
acceptable or appropriate form of permanent housing."
Otherwise, the city doesn't seem roo concerned. "It's
really a matter to be determined berween the client and
the landlord," says HASA spokesperson Carl Strange.
Of course, getting a lease isn't easy. Since the rent sta-
bilization codes were written in the early 1960s, landlords
have done everything to avoid granting leases while SRO
residents have pulled out all the stops to get them.
In January, as one of the action's first participants,
Stanley hand-delivered his lease-request (with his wife as
witness) to the hotel manager at the Royal York, a seven-
story nondescript building on West 97th Street. On the
28th day of his stay, he says, the knock came on his door.
"Tune's up, gotta go," he remembers the manager
there saying.
To secure his new digs, Stanley phoned the 24th
Precinct. When the officers showed up at the door of his
room, he says, he showed them a copy of his lease
request. The officers then informed the Royal York man-
ager that Housing Court was the only hope for bidding
his tenant farewell .
Zugzwang! Stanley, for the moment, has gotten him-
self out of the emergency system. "We're trying to show
the city we need to be rreated seriously," he says. "We're
not animals, you know. "
As of press time, Stanley's been living at the Royal
York for the last four months.
Still, landlords could increase their efforts to keep
leases out of their residents' hands. After all, if the lease
campaign succeeds, SRO owners face the prospect of los-
ing millions of dollars in rent, along with acquiring hun-
dreds of new rent-stabilized tenants, many of whom suf-
fer mental illness and drug addiction. Calls to several
SRO owners were not returned.
"This action will srrike terror in the hearts of land-
lords," says tenant advocate James Muessig. "Imagine you
go to bed knowing you've got 100 percent occupancy at
$85 a night, then wake up to discover 60 percent of your
building is rent stabilized, for $15 a night! This action
could desrroy a dysfunctional system in weeks."
Other experts aren't so convinced. "It keeps the system
honest, but it won't establish much with policy-makers,"
says Marcin Krongold, a housing consultant who's been
doing business with the city for nearly a decade. "This
seems like another siruation when the advocates scream
in public and lose in court."
To Flynn, the point of the action isn't ro tease a legal
battle or verify the validity of the leases. The point is to
get better service, at better cost, from the city. "The best-
case scenario is that clients get housed quicker, " she says.
"The worst case scenario is always the status quo. "
Geoffrey Gray is a Manhattan-based freek-mee writer.
MAY 2003
his way, thousands of stu-
dents in New York's public uni-
versity system could see their
tuition bills rise by 37 percent
next year. But they're not tak-
ing the hit sitting down. More
than 1,000 students of the city
and state universities recently
trudged to Albany as part
of a 14-day, "No Tuition
Hike" protest.
But only Cail Casserly
walked the entire southern
spoke of the hike-245 miles from Stony Brook, Long Island, arriving at the capitol on March 11
in time for the final rally. The 19-year-old Hunter College sophomore with tough feet transferred
from Harvard University last semester, and she hasn't looked back since. Harvard just didn't suit
her, she says. The activist life she has now-and her Brooklyn apartment-is a better fit.
"Besides," Casserly adds, "I knew that Hunter is a really good school. "
The daughter of Amityville's deputy mayor, Casserly says she can't remember a time when
politics wasn't an important part of her life. "We were the weird kids in town," Casserly says, not-
ing that they were only allowed to watch PBS.
So when Pataki's proposal to increase CUNY's annual tuition from $3,200 to $4,400 threat-
ened to yank many of her newfound friends at Hunter out of their classrooms, she knew she had
to do something.
Though the state touts the fact that CUNY and SUNY tuition hasn't increased since 1995,
the New York Public Interest Research Group and other education advocates say students have
borne a 128 percent increase in school fees for student groups, health care and computer use
from an average of $435 in 1995 to $990 in 2002. Those fees, in addition to a one-third cut in
Tuition Assistance Program grants, has led many students and families to worry "if they'll be
able to come back next year," Casserly says.
Casserly walked to send a message to Albany that students are not apathetic-and not eas-
ily silenced. A supply van followed each day's walkers-sometimes that meant Casserly alone-
providing a place for a quick warm-up from icy winds. Thanks to press conferences at the end of
each day's walking, Casserly soon found herself in the spotlight, and as her journey progressed,
students she met along the way went from merely supporting her to telling her how much she
inspired them.
When she returned to Brooklyn from the hike, the first thing Casserly did was ask a friend to shave
her head. That inspired her newest activist project, called "Shave Your Head for Peace," a call for
young people to shave their heads in support of pacifism and in protest of the war against Iraq.
"Cail is an activist in her heart," says NYPIRG higher education coordinator Miriam Kramer.
"She's just starting off in the world, and she's already on her way to a bright future."
-Priya Khatkhate
Rent laws could
be Mitchell-
Lama's last hope.
By Matt Pacenza and
Priya Khatkhate
York's rent laws took a step forward on March
12, when Republican state senators introduced a
bill that would extend rent regulations through
2008 and eliminate vacancy decontrol, a con-
tentious provision that allows landlords to dereg-
ulate apartments once the rents reach $2,000.
"Repeal of vacancy decontrol is necessary sim-
ply to preserve the rent regulation system," Sena-
tor Frank Padavan of Queens, the bill's sponsor,
wrote prefacing the legislation. Noting that a
recent study found that more than 100,000 apart-
ments have been deregulated over the last few
years, Padavan concluded: "High-rent vacancy

Legislat Ing Stability
decontrol has become de facto full vacancy decon-
trol. " Republicans Olga Mendez, Guy Velella and
Nick Spano are also sponsoring the bill.
In February, the Democrat-led state Assembly
passed an identical bill. In addition to undoing
vacancy decontrol, both bills also reverse or scale
back other landlord-friendly provisions the state
legislature introduced when it last renewed the
rent laws in 1997, including one allowing own-
ers to claim apartments for their own family's use.
But in addition to rolling back the clock, the
bills also call for a significant new expansion of
tenant rights: They attempt to protect residents
of Mitchell-Lama buildings by requiring that all
these properties become rent stabilized once an
owner buys out of the state-subsidized program.
That measure could be a lifeline for nearly
105,000 Mitchell-Lama tenants statewide who
are running out of options for holding on to
their low-cost apartments. Under a 1955 state
law, private building owners and developers
who agreed to seek approval for all rent
increases, and limit their profits to 6 percent,
received tax breaks and low-interest loans. But
after 20 years, landlords reserved the right to
pay off their mortgages-and convert their
buildings into market-rate housing.
So far, owners of Mitchell-Lama buildings
have not been throwing residents out on the
street when they buyout of the program;
largely, they are agreeing to raise rents slowly
for at least several years. For low- and moder-
ate-income tenants, the city has made federal
housing vouchers available to pay the differ-
ence between what the tenants can afford and
what the landlord is now charging.
But once they become vacant, those apart-
ments go for market rents. And soon, federal
housing vouchers may be sharply limited, if
Congress gets its way. That's why tenant advo-
cates are now looking to the state's rent laws for
salvation. To make their case, they'll have to
look no further than West Side Manor.
A 245-unit apartment complex on West
95th Street, West Side Manor is a Mitchell-
Lama that will be protected by rent stabilization
after its buyout-a legal status shared only by
buildings constructed before 1974. In October
2000, residents received word: After 30 years in
Mitchell-Lama, the building's owner, the Lefrak
Organization, was filing a federal lawsuit to get
out of the program. More ominously, that suit
also sought to pull the buildings out of rent sta-
bilization-letting the landlord push rents as
high as the market would bear.
West Side Manor tenants didn't just rely on
the blessing that their complex was built in
1969. They mobilized. Word spread quickly
that if Lefrak prevailed in their lawsuit-which
argued that the Mitchell-Lama program was
unconstitutional-rents could at least double
overnight. "We have many tenants who would
simply be forced out, " says David Kotelchuck,
co-chair of the tenant association.
So they went door-to-door, seeking money
for "the best attorney we could afford, " says
Kotelchuck-Stuart Saft, a top housing lawyer.
Their investment paid off. In June 2001, a
judge dismissed Lefrak's suit.
West Side Manor tenants know they're
lucky. At worst, their rents will go up by an
average of just 2 to 5 percent a year. But will
Albany now protect other Mitchell-Lamas?
There's room for optimism. The proposal to
extend rent stabilization to the whole program
has passed the Assembly for each of the past 15
years, but it has never even been introduced in
the Senate. And Padavan and Veil ella are close
allies of Republican leader Joe Bruno-one of
the three men with the power to decide what
happens to New York's rent laws .
Code Enforcement,
Hollywood Style
THE TYPICAL Lower East Side tenement of the
1930s was a fuetrap, with broken fire escapes,
cockroach and vermin infestation, overcrowded
apartments and trash-strewn hallways. The
city's Tenement House Department had only
224 inspectors to deal with 105,000 tenement
buildings, inspection requests were backed up
for three years, and the courts often let land-
lords off the hook.
Many things have changed in 70 years. For
one thing, the city Department of Housing
Preservation and Development has increased
the number of inspectors from a record low of
200 in 1995 to 300 today. But as budgets
tighten, housing organizers at the Association
for Neighborhood and Housing Development
(ANHD) are finding inspiration in the 1939
classihc filfilmm OnellThthird of a Nattfon. J
Tete s e story 0 Mary Rogers, =
whose Lower East Side apartment building ~
catches fire after a neighbor flicks his cigarette j
into a pile of garbage under the front stoop. ~
With a dilapidated fire escape as the only way ~
out, some parents resort to throwing their
young children out of apartment windows to
their deaths, while other reSidents-including
Mary's brother-suffer serious injury from
climbing down the shoddy escape.
Because there are no violations on record
for the building, the city clears the landlord of
any responsibility for the fire or for the ten-
ants' injuries. In a tirade worthy of an Oscar,
Mary insists that any landlord should be
"locked up for life" for letting people live in
such a slum.
The film has real appeal for modern day
housing advocates, says Adrian Di Lollo of
ANHD, because it depicts a "disconnect
between tenants and housing authorities. " To
~ = = = = ~ . ~ = = = = ~
Investigations Continue,
Director Resigns
SINCE CITY LIMITS last reported on questionable
expenditures made by directors of Praxis Housing
Initiatives, a nonprofit housing and social services
organization for people with AIDS [April 2003]'
MAY 2003
deal with today's disconnects, his group is pro-
moting a series of bills meant to improve build-
ing code enforcement. The fust would require
inspectors from HPD to report all hazardous
building conditions to the appropriate agency,
whether or not they fall under HPD's jurisdic-
tion, a policy HPD says it already follows.
The second would force the city to comply
with any tenant association's request for a "roof-
to-cellar" inspection, rather than continue to
inspect buildings piecemeal as individual com-
plaints are made. HPD says it does on occasion
use these tenant petitions, to strengthen its case
against properties in litigation.
These proposals, says Di Lollo, would "not
the situation has heated up. First, the office of State
Anomey General Eliot Spitzer upped its probe to
a full-fledged investigation, issuing subpoenas and
calling in former Praxis employees to discuss what
they wimessed while working at the organization.
At the same time, the city Department of
Investigation forwarded its work to the U.S.
Attorney's office, which oversees criminal
inquiries. The case has been assigned to a federal
prosecutor, who will work on it with the attor-
ney general.
only lead to a more effective use of scarce
resources, but would carve out an important
role for tenants and tenant associations. "
Whether ANHD's campaign will have a
Hollywood ending remains to be seen. During
Mary Roger's fight for urban renewal, she dis-
covers her landlord to be kind-hearted. He
cuts a deal with the city and razes Mary's block
to build New York's first public housing devel-
opment, complete with parks, trees and play-
grounds. And he falls in love with Mary.
All that is not enough to win her heart,
though: In the end, she runs off with her
Communist boyfriend.
-Penelope Duda
A spokesperson for Praxis says the group has
retained counsel to conduct its own independ-
ent financial audit, and will not comment on
anything until that is complete. Executive
Director Gordon Duggins did, however, make
an announcement to his staff in mid-March,
according to sources. By late June, he told them,
he plans to step down from the post he has held
since he helped found the group in 1996.
To read Geoffrey Gray's full coverage of the
situation at Praxis, visit
Each House is an Island
IN HIS PLAN to boost the city's housing stock,
Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to the
city's waterfront as a great opportunity
for development.
While residents of many of the city's com-
munities welcome this as the answer to reviving
their unused waterfront, one of the city's for-
mer fishing villages is wary of the idea and is
looking to the Department of City Planning to
protect its shores.
City Islanders, of which there are 4,520,
rarely move and are a rather insular commu-
nity. (Longtime residents call newcomers mus-
sel suckers, and dub themselves clam diggers.)
Homes in this northeast Bronx neighborhood
traditionally pass within families, and when a
house does go on the market, real estate agents
often find a buyer within hours.
While the island's onetime fishing and ship-
ping industries have been dead or dying for
years, a group of residents are making a last
ditch effort to save what little history they have
left-most of it seen in the turn-of-the-cen-
No Hablar in the ER
AN AGREEMENT BY two Brooklyn hospitals to
provide better language assistance services for
their patients has non-English speakers across
the city asking, "What about us?"-and put-
ting their own local medical centers on notice.
In early March, in response to a number of
civil rights complaints from patients at Wood-
hull and Wyckoff Heights medical centers,
New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
brokered an agreement in which hospital offi-
cials said they would beef up interpreter serv-
ices. The hospitals promised to designate staff
to provide face-to-face interpretation, create a
telephone interpreter service, translate key
documents and signs, and collect data on
which languages need translating.
Spitzer's office hopes the agreement will
serve as a blueprint for improvements around
the state, and has circulated the terms of the
deal to other hospitals.
Taking their cue, residents of Washington
Heights, home to one of the city's largest His-
tury homes, seafood restaurants, and quirky
bait shops. They are pushing for a reroning
plan they hope will prevent developers from
building out-of-place apartment complexes on
their island.
"We know we can't prevent housing, but we
would like to make it appropriate for City
Island, " says Barbara Dolensek of the City
Island Civic Association, which is leading the
preservation efforts.
Their work began a couple of years ago,
when the Department of City Planning solicited
residents' input for a maritime heritage preserva-
tion study. The biggest blight in the area,
Dolensek and others told the planners, was a
new row of pastel blue, prefabricated, vinyl-
sided houses.
"They are good from a developer's stand-
point, but bad from an architect's standpoint,"
says Zach Schweter, an architect who lives in a
small 1926 home across the street from the
row houses.
The solution the residents and City Plan-
ning came up with: rerone the area to make
sure any new developments match the area's
character. Since the 1980s, this kind of contex-
tual roning has been used in Chelsea, the East
Village and Park Slope, Brooklyn. In City
panic communities, are considering filing com-
plaints against Columbia Presbyterian Medical
Center, the parent hospital of Wyckoff, if offi-
cials there don't make some changes soon. "We
are trying to negotiate with them in good faith,
even though it doesn't look like they are doing
much, " says Flora Huang, a Washington
Heights resident and member of the Working
Families Parry, which took up this issue a cou-
ple of months ago.
It's not that the hospital is without a sys-
tem: According to Camille Tumolo, who
started Columbia Presbyterian's interpreter
program in 1999, the hospital relies on a vari-
ety of translation services. "We rarely don't fill
a request," Tumolo says. She does admit,
though, that the "never-ending" demand for
interpreters -more than 2,000 a month-has
strained the hospital's resources. Ourside agen-
cies charge at least $150 per translation, she
says (but would not disclose how much the
hospital has budgeted for these services). "It's a
system that works," Tumolo says, "but we
don't get a lot of support. "
Doctors have noticed the limits. One sur-
geon, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
says he got a rude awakening during one of his
Island's case, the new laws, if approved, would
prohibit attached housing, and promote one-
and two-family homes.
"If it's a neighborhood .. . in which 80 per-
cen t of building stock meets that proposed ron-
ing, then we think it's appropriate," says Purn-
ima Kapur, director of the Department of City
Planning's Bronx office.
Kapur expects the reroning proposal to enter
the Urban Land Use Review Process in May,
going before the local community board, the
City Council, the borough president, the City
Planning Commission and the mayor. Its
chances seem to be good: The community
board, Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr.,
and Councilmember Madeleine Provenzano all
support it.
But for local residents, at this point "when" is
more the issue than "if" A set of 18 attached lux-
ury condominiums on the water is now under
CClnstruction, and is quickly filling up. "There
seems to be a demand for it," says Howard
Loewentheil, developer of this property.
Certainly not everyone is complaining. Says
Tim Orton, a new tenant in the row houses a
few blocks away, "This was the last unit that
was affordable. "
-Steven Gnagni
first nights on call. Summoned to the ER to
attend to a teenage Dominican girl suffering
from abdominal pains, he had an interpreter
paged. A few minutes later, he was told that no
interpreters were available. He eventually
grabbed a nurse who spoke some Spanish to
help him attend to the sick teenager. "The
reality is that you can't deal with that system,"
he says.
Patients' way of dealing is to bring their
own interpreters, often a child, says Adam
Gurvitch, of the New York Immigration
Coalition. To change that, the coalition is
backing state legislation requiring that all hos-
pitals provide access to interpreters and report
annually on their services. Sponsored by state
Assemblymember Adriano Espaillat of Wash-
ington Heights, the bill has been introduced
several times in the past without any luck. But
with five co-sponsors and growing support,
says Espaillat aide Richard Polanco, this year
could be different.
"The resources are out there," notes
Gurvitch. "It's really a historical artifact that
this is the first time this has come about. The
hospitals have been in denial. "
City Tries to 86 Local Law 36
When Mayor Bloomberg vetoes a bill, he
means business. In late February, he showed
the members of the City Council that they not
only need enough votes to override his veto,
but they need a lawyer, too.
Three months after the City Council over-
rode a mayoral veto of a law that prohibits the
city from doing business with predatory lenders,
the Bloomberg administration has taken the
council to court. In the administration's lawsuit,
filed in Manhartan Srate Supreme Court on
February 21, the city's artorneys argue that Local
Law 36 would cause "chaos and confusion in the
areas of municipal contracts, bond issues and
deposits of city funds."
Under the law, any banks that want to work
with the city must give the city comptroller a
guarantee in writing that they don't make
unscrupulous mortgage loans to homeown-
ers-and that they don't buy up such predatory
Breezy Point,
Spring 1999
MAY 2003
loans on secondary mortgage markets. The law
defines as "predatory" those loans with interest
rates 6 percent higher than the prime rate, or
with fees totaling more than 4 percent of the
complete loan amount, if they also include
practices like prepayment penalties or balloon
payments. A bank is considered a predatory
lender under the regulation if it makes or buys
10 such loans in any 12-month period.
These mandates, the Bloomberg adminis-
tration's lawsuit contends, will drive banks to
refuse to do business with the city, costing the
city "irreparable harm from the loss of potential
low bidders. " Adds mayoral spokesperson Jor-
dan Barowitz, "It could potentially send the
city's finances into chaos."
That's ridiculous, says the council's genetal
counsel Thomas McMahon, arguing that the law
would add little to bankers' workload. All they
have to do to comply, he says, is examine their
loans for predatory characteristics, just as they
already do to make sure those loans are financially
sound. "With a minimal amount of diligence on
their part, banks could greatly assist in the effort
to protect homeowners," says McMahon.
Gregory P. Mango
The Bloomberg administration also argues
that Local Law 36 is illegal because it is pre-
empted by New York State's new predatory
lending law, which Governor Pataki signed into
law in October. That law gives victims of
predatory lending a legal defense they can use
in court to keep from losing their homes.
The council argues, however, that these laws
serve very different purposes, and are "comple-
mentary," says McMahon. The state is "acting
as a regulator; we act as a market participant."
Local Law 36 was slated to go into effect on
February 18. But once the mayor's administra-
tion filed its lawsuit, the City Council agreed to
put off implementing the law until Manhartan
Supreme Court Judge Marylin Diamond can
hear the case. At press time, a hearing had been
scheduled for April 8.
But that doesn't mean the council is caving
in. "We agreed to postpone it," says spokesper-
son Lupe Todd, "only because we're confident
that the judge will agree that the predatory
lending law we approved is fair and accurate
and can be implemented."
- Matt Pacenza
We are now accepting applications for our
Banking Partnership for
Community Development (BPCD) grant program.
We believe that the continued success of M&T
Bank is directly tied to the neighborhoods that we
serve. So, we are renewing our commitment to
Community Development Corporations (CDCs)
that are committed to making our neighborhoods
better places to live and conduct business.
M&T Bank' s Banking Partnership for
Community Development (BPCD) will support
the neighborhood revitalization efforts of CDCs
in the following metropolitan New York City
counties: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn) Queens, New
York (Manhattan) Nassau and Suffolk counties.
BPCD will provide operating and programmatic
support to help CDCs strengthen their organiza-
tional capacity and institutionalize their economic
role in their communities. BPCD will award
grants of $5,000 - $20,000 to selected CDCs.
Grants will be awarded for a one year term only.
CDCs will be competitively selected for
participation. Proposals will be evaluated based
on their conformance with BPCD program
objectives, the ability of the applicant
organization to meet the criteria outlined in the
RFP and the quality of the proposed work plan.
To obtain an application or for further
information, please send an e-mail or visit one
ofM&T Bank' s retail branches.
All proposals must be received by 4 pm on
April 30, 2003.
Community is our best investment!
M&T Bank! NYC Division Banking Partnerships for community Development Grant Program
350 Park Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Pro Bono Blowup
City Hall asks top law firms to fight for the city-and
against civil rights. By Ruth Ford
With their lawyers (at right) Cynthia Rollings, Vera Scanlon and Jody Fetzer, ex-employees Walter Beach III and Carrie Anderson
(left) are suing the Parks Department for discrimination-and finding mega-law firm Clifford Chance on the other side.
ONE YEAR AFTER Corporation Counsel Michael
Cardozo began lobbying the city's law firms,
asking them to assist the city Law Department
in handling its caseload, more than rwo dozen
private firms-among them the largest and
most successful in New York-have answered
the call. "By helping the Law Department,
these firms are assisting all people in the city,"
Cardozo announced this past December, in a
press release describing the success of his pro
bono initiative. "Our citizens in New York gain
not only from the benefit of the knowledge and
expertise of our external pro bono lawyers but
also from savings in taxes and resources that
we'd normally need to litigate cases."
MAY 2003
But what began as an inspired effort to tap
into the pool of civic generosity in the wake of
September 11 has begun to morph into a
murkier enterprise. It's one thing, say an
increasing number of concerned critics, for the
city Law Department to ask for help filing
death notices or damage claims for lost proper-
ty-as Cardozo's predecessor, Michael Hess,
did. It's also not hard to see why the budget-
strapped city is seeking expert legal assistance to
help minimize its sizeable payments to people
injured tripping on sidewalks.
But now the Bloomberg administration has
begun to use the best legal help money can buy
to defend itself against lawsuits alleging racial
and employment discrimination. And under
Cardozo's pro bono program, it's getting that
help for free.
Late last year, the law firm of Bel dock Levine
and Hoffman, which represents a group of
Parks Department employees who allege they
were verbally abused and systematically discrim-
inated against by former Parks Commissioner
Henry Stern, learned that attorneys from Clif-
ford Chance USA, one of the nation's largest
law firms, were working on Stern's defense.
Cynthia Rollings, a partner with Beldock
who is overseeing the Parks case, contends that
the city, seeking to protect itself from the poten-
tially expensive f.illout of discrimination claims,
doin us dune 18 for Gypsy!
Lawyers Alliance for New York invites you to join us
on Wednesday, June 18, at the Shubert Theatre
for Gypsy. The much-anticipated revival of the
Arthur Laurents-Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim musi-
cal stars Bernadette Peters in the role of Mama Rose.
At 5:30 p.m. before the show, a reception will be held
at Coco Pazzo Teatro Restaurant, 224 W 49th
Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue.
Net proceeds from this benefit will support Lawyers
Alliance's essential business legal services for non-
profit organizations in New York City.
Tickets are available at the following levels:
Benefactor - Premium Orchestra seats at $300
Supporter - Orchestra seats at $200
Friend - Mezzanine seats at $135
For information, please contact Nan Lee at
(212) 219-1800 ext. 230 or bye-mail at
330 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Lawyers Alliance
for New York
Building a Better New York
Insurance Broker
Specializing in Community
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is abusing the institution of pro bono legal work.
"There is a big difference between what's in the
public good and representing someone and not
charging them, " says Rollings. "It flies in the face
of reality to claim that this is pro bono. "
Rollings points out that the Parks discrimi-
nation case is serious enough that the U.S. Jus-
tice Department flied its own suit against Stern
and the city last June. (That suit has since been
combined with the one filed by Beldock and its
co-counsel, Steel Bellman Ritz & Clark.)
Clifford Chance partner Blair Soyster had
no comment. "We've been asked not to talk
about the case, " says Soyster, adding that her
instructions carne from Corporation Counsel
spokeswoman Kate Ahlers.
Ahlers, previously a spokesperson for Clif-
ford Chance, says that the Law Department
has no formal strategy for assigning private
lawyers to litigation; her office simply uses the
The city pays
more than half
a billion dollars
in legal claims
each year.
volunteer attorneys for whatever work comes
up. "I don't think there was anyone specific
process regarding who took what-some took
slip and fall , and some took federal cases, " says
Ahlers. "The 9/11 tragedy brought forth a
desire to do good work. I don't think it reflects
poorly on a firm on having an interest in
defending the city."
At the heart of the critics' complaints, in
Ahlers' view, is self-interest: Trial attorneys
suing the city are going to have a much harder
time winning huge awards in cases where the
city has top attorneys mounting a vigorous
defense. "It's not surprising that trial lawyers
oppose" the pro bono program, observes
Ahlers. "That cuts into the fees they earn. "
AND THE CITY is sued constantly. According to
Corporation Counsel, the city paid out more
than half a billion dollars in tort claims in 2001 .
Of that, about $37.5 million were "slip and fall"
payouts; big dollars also went to plaintiffs in
police brutality and wrongful arrest cases. This
year, the Bloomberg administration has budget-
ed nearly $600 million for claims against the city.
According to Corporation Counsel, more than
14,000 personal injury claims are filed against
New York City each year, and 9,000 cases are ini-
tiated. Right now, the city has approximately
47,000 lawsuits pending against it.
The Law Department declined to provide a
breakdown of the various cases on which attor-
neys in the pro bono program are working. But
comments in Cardow's press release offer a clue.
"We are currently defending four federal court
tort cases on behalf of the city," said Joel B. Har-
ris, chair of the Litigation Practice Group at
Thacher Proffitt & Wood. "These involve sub-
stantial damage claims for alleged violations of
civil rights, such as police brutality, wrongful
arrest, etc .... Not only are we assisting the city in
such difficult times, but our associates are getting
real training, dealing with real-life people in real-
life situations and arguing before federal judges-
all of which will make them much bener litiga-
tors and much more valuable to the firm."
But among Harris' peers at major law firms,
even some staunch defenders of the Law Depart-
ment's pro bono program say they are uncom-
fortable with offering free assistance to help the
city defend itself against class action lawsuits.
Ron Tabak at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher
& Flom runs one of the biggest pro bono pro-
grams in the city: In 2001, the firm donated
45,000 hours in pro bono work in New York City
alone, including political asylum cases and helping
women file claims against their banerers. The law
firm also funds 25 two-year fellowships for anor-
neys working for nonprofit legal organizations.
And Tabak thinks that, overall, the city pro-
gram is a good thing; Last year, an associate at
Skadden donated 300 hours to the city's Law
Department. But when the city asked Skadden,
Arps to help it defend against a class action law-
suit that alleged mistreatment of homeless peo-
ple, the firm said no. If the head of the Law
Department "is trying to send out the overall
positive message that pro bono work is a good
thing," Tabak says, "it gives the appearance of
undercuning his own message when he then
seeks help in defending against an impact home-
less case. I would rather see them deal with
being shorthanded by seeking help in affirma-
tive things such as dealing with violations of the
city's human rights law. "
Tabak's idea is hardly farfetched. More than a
decade ago, the Law Department was given spe-
cific power to investigate and prosecute viola-
MAY 2003
New York Lawyers For The Public Interest 151 W 30 51, New York, NY 10001 2 122444664
Community Planning and Development Mini-Courses
Following up on the Planning into Practice conference, Hunter College Department of Urban
Affairs and Planning and the Municipal Art Society Planning Center invite members of
community based organizations, Community boards, citizen and advocacy groups, graduate
students, city agency managers, professionals and employees to continue the dialogue.
(68'" Street and Lexington Avenue)
Registration and Information:
Call William Beaufort 212-772-5517
Email :
Fees: $25 for each session
For CUNY Credit (entire series)
Graduate $562.85 Undergraduate $526.95
~ T ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Feb. 6 Opening session: Eddie Bautista, NY Lawyers for the Public Interest; Tony Avella,
NYC Council member, Christopher Kui, Executive Director, Asian Americans for Equality
Feb. 13 Engaging the budget process: TBA
Feb. 20 Developing and Implementing 197-a plans: Jocelyn Chait, Planning Consultant
Feb. 27 Developing affordable housing in changing neighborhoods: Brad Lander, Fifth
Avenue Committee
Mar. 13 Safe streets and traffic calming: Lisa Schreibman, Hunter College
Mar. 20 Historic districts as community preservation: Vicki Weiner, Municipal Arts Society
Mar. 27 Planning and zoning for mixed use: Eva Hanhardt, Municipal Art Society Planning
Apr.3 Green buildings and sustainable communities: TBA
Apr. 10 From waste transfer stations to comprehensive waste management: Timothy Logan,
NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
Apr. 24 8rownfields development: Mathy Stanislaus, Environmental Consultant
May 1 Inclusionary Zoning Laura Wolf-Powers, Pratt Institute
Available Now from Soft Skull Press:
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tions of human rights law, such as discrimina-
tion on the basis of race or sexual orientation.
But Craig Gurian, principal author of a Decem-
ber 2001 city Bar Association report on the
enforcement of the law, found that the city "had
never even once since they got this explicit
authority in 1991 commenced a lawsui t based
on the antiruscrimination provisions of the city's
human rights law. They have the authority to
investigate and prosecute pattern and practice
cases, and they haven't done it."
Based on Gurian's report, the Bar Association
called for the creation of a civil rights unit at the
Law Department.
INSTEAD, THE LAW Department appears to be
using all the resources it can command to fight
against civil rights cases. Richard Levy, a partner
in the labor and employment law firm of Levy,
Ratner & Behroozi, will soon be facing off with
lawyers from the top firm Proskauer Rose. Levy
is representing the Latino Officers Association
in its class action lawsuit against the New York
Police Department, where more than 40 police
officers are alleging ruscrimination in job assign-
ments, on-the-job harassment and unfair rusci-
plinary charges.
Attorneys from Proskauer have already
deposed some of his clients, says Levy, who sus-
pects the firm is behind what he calls a "bar-
rage" of motions filed by Corporation Counsel
requesting that a federal judge dismiss the plain-
tiffs' claims without a trial. "Law firms like
mine who are representing minority plaintiffs in
cases like this are working against the City of
New York that has enormous resources, " says
Levy, "and are engaged in long legal fights. This
one is already three years [old], and we are not
at trial. "
Attorneys at nonprofit legal advocacy organi-
zations say there's no question that the city's use
of skilled and highly compensated private legal
teams gives it an enormous advantage in litiga-
tion. "It really throws the balance of power off,"
says Craig Acorn, an attorney with the Urban
Justice Center. "If we are filing a class action law-
suit on behalf of people who have been denied
food stamps, if we were facing Proskauer Rose,
which could bury us in procedural litigation
strategy, it would be very difficult for us to go
on." Urban Justice Center is well familiar with
the assets pro bono attorneys have to offer:
Debevoise & Plimpton-another fi rm that has
offered to donate pro bono services to the city-
was part of the Urban Justice Center legal team
that recently won a landmark settlement in Brad
H v. the City of New York. Thanks to that settle-
ment, mentally ill prisoners will soon be able to

sign up for medical and other public benefits
prior to their release from city jails, to help ensure
a stable transition back into the community.
But outside the limelight of class-action liti-
gation, pro bono help is extremely difficult to
come by. Legal assistance groups report a serious
scarcity of free services for individuals who can't
afford their own attorneys. The Queens Volun-
teer Lawyers Project of the Queens County Bar
Association has a budget of $45,000 and fields
approximately 3,000 calls a year for legal assis-
tance for low-income residents seeking help with
everything from evictions to custody fights to
government benefits.
Of them, says project head Mark Weliky, "we
can help with full representation in a hundred
cases." The rest are referred out. "There is never
enough legal assistance for people. And the concept
of attorneys doing any pro bono hours for anything
Outside the
limelight of
class action
litigation, pro bono
help is extremely
difficult to come by_
other than representing poor people is just the most
horrendous perversion I have ever heard in my life. "
Manuel Vargas, head of the Immigrant Rights
Project of the New York State Defenders Associ-
ation, says he would love to have a champion like
Michael Cardow. "The courts that are inside
state prison facilities, we looked at the figures on
this, over 85 percent of individuals in those
immigration proceedings were unrepresented,"
says Vargas.
Since the mass detentions following September
11, the situation has become even more extreme.
"What few pro bono resources that are available
are nonprofits or the pro bono resources that have
been called upon," says Vargas. "Immigrant access
to counsel and efforts to avoid detention is an area
of huge unmet needs. "
Ruth Ford is a contributing editor to Habitat
MAY 2003
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students in how to apply quantitative methods to a variety of issues in non-profit
organizations, government, business, and social research. The program combines
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leave Home
Credit card companies cancel on Muslim New Yorkers.
BV Hilarv Russ
Sal Ihal IOU are one 01 Ihose fortunate peo-
ple who manage to payoff most of their credit
cards every month. Then imagine your sur-
prise when one of your cards is cancelled for
no apparent reason. You'd be outraged, espe-
cially if you found out this was only happen-
ing to you and your friends.
That's exactly what Farooq Firdous experi-
enced. Last summer, Firdous, a Pakistani who
got his green card in 1997 after 11 years of legal
residence in the U.S., received a phone call from
an American Express representative regarding a
credit card he held. The rep requested that he
send the company a mountain of paperwork:
three years of tax returns, six months of bank
statements and a job verification letter.
His wife, YasnUn Khan, who is Indian,
received a separate phone call that same day for
her own AmEx credit card. In each case, the rep
told them they had 15 days to submit the
paperwork or their cards would be cancelled.
Firdous and Khan called back later-twice-to
ask reps if they could send the request in writ-
ing. They refused.
Firdous and Khan were confused, to say the
least, because they always paid off their AmEx
cards on time. After conferring with his wife,
Firdous called the company back again. "I told
them strictly, 'You're probably discriminating
against minorities with Muslim names,'" he
recalls. He and his wife refused to submit the
documentation, which on at least three differ-
ent occasions company reps said they needed
for "security reasons."
A few weeks later, each received a letter say-
ing his or her credit card was cancelled: "You
did not provide the banking information,
financial statements, income tax return, and/or
identification documents requested." The let-
ters also stated that the reasons for cancelling
the account included "information received
from a consumer reporting agency," hinting
that credit problems might be to blame.
But Firdous' credit is excellent, according to
the credit report he subsequently obtained.
(Indeed, after his AmEx card was cancelled, he
immediately applied for and received a
Citibank Mastercard.) The status of his closed
AmEx account reads "Paid/Never late. "
The governmenl S POSI-9111 infringements on
civil liberties have been well documented and
debated. But what happens when private com-
panies take the fight against terrorism into their
own hands? If you're Pakistani, or Muslim, or
both, you might just find your credit cards can-
celled, despite the good credit you've worked
hard to build.
City Limits has found 12 cases in which
Muslims, nearly all Pakistani-Americans, with
good credit, all of whom claim they made no
unusual or exorbitant charges or late payments,
had their American Express credit cards can-
celled. We found no cases of non-Muslims'
credit cards being cancelled outright, or even
non-Muslims who were asked to send in paper-
work for existing accounts.
For Pakistanis in particular, losing access to
financial services is neither simply the misfor-
tune of discrimination, nor minor fallout from
the u.s. war on terrorism. Allover New York
City, Pakistanis are proprietors of small busi-
nesses: medical practices, bodegas, restaurants
and, in Firdous' case, a computer store in
Sheepshead Bay. For them, maintaining access
to credit and other financial services is a matter
of survival.
So Firdous was alarmed when he soon began
hearing more stories like his. He had considered
the AmEx matter a freak event-until he
brought it up at a dinner party a couple of
months later on Long Island. That's when he
and his wife realized they weren't alone.
Two other guests at the table, Dr. Iqbal Sid-
diqui and his wife, Dr. Faizah Zuberi, who live in
a stately home in New Jersey, had gone through
almost exactly the same baffiing series of events:
Same request, same documents, same cancella-
tion. And the same, immediate suspicion of dis-
crimination. "They asked for too much stuff. I
said, 'Why are you asking all this? We have very
good credit. There's no need to do this,'" says
Siddiqui. "We are sympathetic Americans; we
like America. They gave me bullshit on the
phone." Siddiqui and Zuberi recall reps telling
them that they had been selected at random. The
couple had used their AmEx almost exclusively
to buy groceries at the local Costco.
After the dinner party, Firdous conducted
his own informal survey. He discovered that
American Express reps had contacted at least
five more of his friends and acquaintances,
requesting information for their existing Amer-
ican Express accounts. All of the friends' cards
were then cancelled, whether they sent in the
paperwork or not. All are Muslim, while none
of his Jewish or Chinese friends, he says, have
received the dreaded call. "He was pretty angry
about it," recalls one American-born Chinese
friend who did not want to be named.
Zuberi noticed the same trend, and even
asked the AmEx representative, '''How come I
ask a lot of family members and friends and
they say it all happened to them, but when I
ask my American colleagues it hasn't happened
to them?'" she recalls. "They say, 'We have a lot
ofJoneses and Smiths on the list, too.'" Zuberi
wasn't convinced.
American Express Vice President of Public
Relations Tony Mitchell claims that company
policy prohibits him from going into detail on
Firdous' or Khan's specific cases, even though
City Limits obtained their permission to do so.
"We routinely monitor all of our card
accounts," Mitchell says. "As part of that, we
may ask a card member for additional financial
information to gain a fuller picture of the
account and to assess the current credit and
financial condition of the cardholder."
Financial inslilutions have alwa,s had to be
diligent about checking customers' identities.
After September 11, notes American Bankers
Association spokesperson John Hall, the fed-
eral government has increasingly scrutinized all
financial institutions, especially their ability to
identify customers. "There's a need to go
beyond just checking ID and actually verifY
who they are, " says Hall.
The banking industry has been actively assist-
ing the government in post-9Ill efforts [Q fmd
and block money directed to terrorists, using the
MAY 2003
same tools they've employed for years in the war
on drugs. Financial institutions work with the
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or Fin-
CEN, part of the Department of Treasury. Com-
panies and banks check names against the 80-
page-long list of names maintained by OFAC,
the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. It
includes approximately 5,000 "Specially Desig-
nated Nationals and Blocked Persons"-people
and organizations with whom Americans are not
supposed to do business, including terrorists,
narcotics traffickers and money-launderers.
Banks have used this list for about a decade, but
"September 11 served as a stark reminder to
everyone involved that they should really be rig-
orous in looking at these names," says OFAC
spokesperson Tony Frano.
When new names are added, financial insti-
tutions check them against their own customer
lists. The repercussions of noncompliance with
reporting requirements are very serious: insti-
tutions can be held liable if they even inadver-
tently do business with one of the Treasury
Department's banned customers-up to $10
million in fines and 30 years in prison.
Farooq Firdous takes American
Express at his computer store, but
he can't have a card himself- the
company cancelled his account
for "security reasons. "
None of the full names of people men-
tioned in this story appear on OFAC's master
list. But other lists of alleged terrorism sup-
porters are now proliferating. Just after Sep-
tember 11, the FBI drew up a list of names of
people it wanted to question, giving the dossier
out to private businesses, such as hotels and air-
lines, here and abroad, as a new experiment in
information-sharing called Project Lookout.
But the FBI soon lost control of the Project
Lookout list, and bootleg copies with added
names and even typos were passed around the
private sector. As many as 50 different versions
may now exist. "This thing took on a life of its
own," says FBI spokesperson Bill Carter, who
says that from the very beginning, companies
may have misinterpreted it as a list of people not
to do business with. "It's a defunct list that
shouldn't be used for that purpose."
And it's not the only one. Among the other
watchlists businesses or local governments can
refer to (and which sometimes overlap) are the
"Denied Persons List" and an "Entities List,"
both issued by the Commerce Department. The
"Debarred Parties" list comes from the Office of
Defense Trade Controls in the State Depart-
ment. There's a "World Bank Debarred Parties"
list, a "Blocked Officials File," a "Bank Secrecy
Act," the FBI's "Violent Gang and Terrorist
List," and, of course, the USA PATRIOT Act's
"Terrorist Exclusion List."
Joshua Salaam of the civil rights depart-
ment of the Council for American-Islamic
Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based non-
profit that conducts public education and
advocacy about Islam, says the lists "are pow-
erful, infiltrating Muslims' daily lives, affecting
them more than they know and more than the
general public knows."
A Brooklyn man named Muhammad found
that out for himself when he tried to wire $80
to Connecticut via Western Union. His transac-
tion at the Western Union office completed-
or so he thought-Muhammad went home,
only to later receive a call from the company
requesting that he come back in to show photo
ID and reveal his country of birth. If he didn't,
the rep informed him, Western Union would
neither send nor release his $80. Muhammad's
full name, it turns out, is on the OFAC list.
Among Muslims, the likelihood that many
people will have the same or very similar names
is huge. "Muhammad is the most common
name in the world," says Susan Attar of the
Muslim Public Affairs Council. "The majority
of Muslims probably have at least one person in
their family with that name." That's a lot of
Muhammads: There are upwards of 4 million
Muslims in the U.S.
Lists aren't the only measures making finan-
cial institutions exceedingly cautious about
whom they do business with. The PATRIOT
Act, which stipulates strict new reporting
requirements on currency transfers and suspi-
cious financial activities, is now prompting fur-
The lists, says Joshua
Salaam, are powerful,
infiltrating Muslims
daily lives, aHecting
them more than
they know and more
than the general
public knows.
ther vigilance. Western Union has already been
fined for violating the reporting rules, paying
$3 million in March 2003 (without admitting
any wrongdoing) .
"There are all kinds of things going on here,"
says Kevin Jackson, assistant professor of business
ethics at Fordham University and a scholar of
corporate liability. "Corporations are trying to
protect themselves, and then either acting appro-
priately or inappropriately to deal with enhanced
Shut here for a holiday, Coney Island
Avenue's Pakistani heart is seeing
many businesses close for good.
liability." The question for financial institutions ,
and private companies then becomes how to
fight corruption, credit card fraud and money
laundering without inculpating innocent con-
sumers and violating procedural norms.
"It's a delicate balancing act, " says the
Bankers Association's Hall, noting that law
enforcement agencies must subpoena a bank to
receive client records. "We want to do our part
in the war on terrorism, but at the same time
we need to protect our customers' privacy.
That's the bottom line."
Aner genlng hll bv punilive credit card can-
cellations, the owners of small businesses are
wondering what's left for them in the city they
have called home for decades.
The bright red profile of New Kantacky
Halal Fried Chicken anchors its corner of
Coney Island Avenue, which cuts an industrial-
ized swath through a neighborhood of charm-
ing two-story homes. Kantacky co-owner
Ahsin Choudhry, a gold chain tucked into his
elegant cream-colored hod sweater, has had no
credit problems, yet he's received more than his
fair share of credit card cancellations.
Last year, he says, American Express closed
his personal account right after he paid it off; he
didn't even get the initial request for documents
that other cardholders received. For a new busi-
ness account he had recently opened, an AmEx
rep called and asked him to send in W-2 forms.
He told the rep that since they had already can-
celled his personal account outright, he didn't
want to bother sending in paperwork for the
business card they had issued to him. He acti-
vated the business card, and within an hour, he
says, it was void.
For Choudhry, it wasn't just AmEx. In order
to get his business up and running two and a
half years ago, he charged about $10,000 worth
of kitchen equipment on his Discover card. His
wife, Zubaida Choudhry, charged $15,000 on
her own Discover card for the business and
home mortgages. After both the accounts were
paid in full last year, Discover representatives
called and asked the Choudhrys for tax returns
for both accounts for "security purposes, " he
says. They sent them in. Their cards were sum-
marily cancelled anyway. "We never missed a
payment or anything," he says calmly but with
obvious frustration.
Just down the block, the owner of a Halal
continued on page 44
Meet the muscle
New York's
new wave of
housing. With
low pay, no
benefits and
no respect,
workers are
paying for our
arlos Ramos builds the city's new affordable housing, but he can't
live in it. He doesn't make enough to pay the rent.
When Ramos saw a new apartment building going up, he did what
he usually does: shaped up, hung around, talked to the foreman. The
next day, he showed up with his tools, and started work.
At first, things went well . They paid him $80 for an eight-hour day,
sometimes in cash, off the books, sometimes with a company check.
They even raised him to $85 when he showed his chops. But some days
at three, when the guys were supposed to knock off, the foreman would
come looking for Ramos. Because he speaks Spanish, they would ask
MAY 2003
"What about my overtime hours?" hardhat Carlos Ramos asked
his boss on payday. The response: "We' ll get you next time."
him to translate for the South and Central Americans on the job:
There's a delivery corning, we all gotta stick around for another couple
of hours.
Ramos would have to tell his coworkers that if they didn't stick
around, they were risking their jobs. "It made me a little uncomfortable,
'cause a few things were said not proper, and I had to say exactly how
he said it," he says. For example, if a man said he had to go pick up his
children from school, Ramos would have to translate the reply: "' Well,
that's not my problem. Go get the materials-and if you don't do it, it
will cost you your job.'" It was usually another couple of hours before
"The workers get paid cash.
There's no kind of
benefit package. If
somebody gets hurt, or
somebody gets ill,
there's no workmen's
comp. It's like the
Dodge City section
of construction."
Ramos and the others could go home.
Ramos says they did substantial amounts of overtime for which they
never got paid. "Every Friday, when they would get the pay-and it wasn't
even a check, it was cash, they used to bring it to us in a little envelope-I
complained: 'Listen, what about my overtime hours, and what about the
last time, and the week before?'" he recalls. ''And they would say, 'Oh, we'U
get you next time.' And I would say, 'Look, I asked you at least 15 times out
of the week, and you said that last week.' And it never happened."
amos is part of the underground workforce that builds New York
City's affordable housing. You'U find them gathering at dawn on the
sidewalk outside a construction site-they call it "shaping the job"-on
the off chance that somebody will hire them. Some are highly skilled; oth-
ers are demolition men who earn minimum wage or less. Quite a few are
highly qualified union members, minorities who can't get work on regu-
lar union jobs. Many are immigrants-Latin, Caribbean, some Mrican,
though there are still some Mrican-Americans and a smattering of whites.
They have one thing in common: Their cheap, sometimes off-the-books
labor is what puts the "affordable" in affordable housing. Most of them are
working for subcontractors, or even sub-subcontractors, at the bottom of a
contracting chain. At or near the top of this chain are nonprofit commu-
nity development groups, organizations that exist to make life better for
poor people. But for the poor people at the bottom of this chain, their pay
and treatment are the dirry little secret of the housing world.
"It's exploitative in many ways, " says Susan Friedland, director of
housing development for the Fifth Avenue Committee, a nonprofit that
builds affordable housing in Park Slope and Red Hook. "I think a lot of
contractors, subcontractors, see that there's a high-skilled labor pool,
that there's high unemployment-it's cheaper to hire someone and not
pay them properly, or pay them, take their wages out and do it all under
the table."
Lavon Chambers, who used to be a construction worker on afford-
able housing projects in Harlem, says conditions on these jobs are
some of the worst he's ever seen. "I would challenge anyone of these
officials who work for these affordable housing agencies to walk with
me on most of these sites, " says Chambers, who as a community affairs
officer for the Mason Tenders District Council of the Laborers Union
is now one of a handful of union leaders tackling that market. "The
conditions are this: The workers get paid cash. There's no taxes taken
out. There's no real record that the workers ever worked there. And if
somebody gets hurt, there's no kind of benefit package. If somebody
gets hurt, or somebody gets ill, there's no workmen's compo It's like the
Dodge City section of construction. "
Most of the nonprofit communiry development organizations spon- J
so ring these construction projects suspect that they're generating dead-
end jobs. Privately, they will admit it. But when they go into housing
development, they get caught in a Faustian bargain: In New York's hous-
ing crisis, the pressure to build as much affordable housing as possible,
quickly and cheaply, supersedes everything else. Nonprofits are put in the
impossible position of exploiting the very same people they exist to serve.
"You want to do good, right?" says Yolanda Garcia, executive director
of the Bronx community development group Nos Quedamos. "But we
don't control 100 percent of everything that can happen. And the bot-
tom line is, we have to house people."
When Polo Campos figured out his pay, it came to $8 an hour.
The problem is rhat men and women who are indirectly working for
nonprofits get treated little better rhan day laborers. Paid as little as
rhey'll take, onen stiffed on overtime, rhey pay wirh lost wages---or rheir
healrh-when rheir bosses screw up. When rhey complain, rheyare told
it's too bad.
When rhey get injured, it's rare to call an ambulance. Instead, rhey're
onen taken in a van, dropped off at rhe hospital and told to show up for
work rhe next day. That's what happened to Keirh Patrick, an Ocean Hill-
Brownsville resident originally from Grenada. Patrick was on rhe ground
level of a work site when a wooden beam fell and hit him on rhe head,
knocking him out. Instead of calling an ambulance, rhe subcontractor
Patrick worked for packed him into his sport utility vehicle, drove him to
St. Mary's Hospital and dropped him off. Before driving away, says Patrick,
his boss told him to try to come back to work rhe next day. "I guess rhe
job was more important rhan me," says Patrick, wirh an
angry shrug.
The job was Prospect Heights Homes, a joint pro-
ject of Leewood Real Estate Group and rhe Brooklyn
Neighborhood Improvement Association (BNIA). It's
not clear if BNIA even knows about rhe accident-rhe
group did not return phone calls-and developer
Randy Lee of Leewood says he knew nothing about it.
But Lee adds that it's unusual to call an ambulance
when a worker is injuted. "I rhink rhat construction
guys are pretty durable-rhey take a handkerchief out,
wrap rhemselves up and go," says Lee. "I've seen guys
pick rhemselves up, put rheir finger in rheir shirt
pocket, and get in rhe car and drive to rhe hospital. "
dent ofMonadnock Construction, a general contractor rhat has been build-
ing affordable housing for over 20 years. "Which is extraordinary-I've
never heard anyrhing like that."
All of which creates a tremendous incentive to keep payrolls low. There
are several ways to do rhat. One is to pay workers in cash. The orher is by
paying rhem not as employees, but as independent contractors.
Apolonio "Polo" Campos was paid in rhis way, and he has 1099
forms to prove it. A 48-year old carpenter's helper from Puebla, Mexico,
Campos worked for one subcontractor for at least a year, doing jobs all
over rhe city. One day, it could be rhe Bronx, rhe next day, Far Rockaway.
"Where rhe hell is Far Rockaway?" jokes Campos, speaking through a
translator. "Turns out it's fWO hours away! Far Rockaway-it's too far!"
In one case, it was Perseverance-a six-story building for very low-
income people on rhe Lower East Side, built by rhe nonprofit Lower
Patrick was lucky: Because he was covered by workers
compensation insurance, he was able to flle a workers
comp claim, which his employer did not dispute. But of
rhe dozens of workers rhat City Limits talked to, on a
number of different construction sites, many believe rhat
rhey have no such recourse. Especially if rhey're gercing
paid off rhe books-and sometimes even if rhey're on rhe
books-many feel rhey have no right to object to poor
treatment. When rhey get hurt or get stiffed on rheir
wages, rhey simply quit rhat particular job, go out and
start shaping, and do it all over again.
"They know rhat it's dangerous," says Chambers.
Byron Schuler (left) of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters is one of a
handful of union organizers tackling affordable housing.
"They know rhat rhe guy rhey worked next to last week
got hurt, and can't go to a hospital. They know rhat,
but what can rhey do? Right now, eight bucks an hour beats norhing."
t some construction sites, workers call it rhe "jambulance"-rhe jit-
ney ambulance, usually a supervisor's car, rhat ferries injured work-
ers to rhe hospital. There are different views as to why-Patrick's boss says
he rhought it would be quicker rhan waiting for an ambulance-but
workers agree rhat it's rare for employers to call a real ambulance when
rhey get hurt.
When contractors do call an ambulance, rhey face a variety of problems.
For one rhing, rhere's a record of an accident at rhe work site. That could
lead to OSHA inspections, lawsuits, higher workers compensation rates
and higher insurance costs. All rhat insurance really adds up, especially
when it's based on payroll, and New York State's skyrocketing liability rates
are hircing construction contractors hard. "A roofer recently told me his
[insurance] premium was 50 percent of payroll," says Nick Lembo, presi-
MAY 2003
East Side People's Mutual Housing Association.
Campos clearly was an employee, as defined by rhe Internal Revenue
Service: He reported to a foreman every day, and at rhe end of rhe day,
rhey would tell him where to show up rhe next day. Yet he was paid as
an independent contractor, responsible for paying his own taxes out of
rhe $8 an hour he was getting. It's not uncommon: Patrick's employer,
too, says he pays all his workers on rhe books, but admits rhat he some-
times used to pay rhem as independent contractors (a practice he says he
has now discontinued).
But rhere's an even simpler way to bring rhe payroll down, one rhat
doesn't leave an incriminating paper trail. Contractors can rely on mid-
dlemen like E' uen Potter.
According to Potter, a man nom a subcontracting company offered
him a deal: Ifhe could find 20 or 30 orher guys-preferably union labor-
ers willing to do nonunion work on rhe side, like himself-he could pay
"Construction guys are
pretty durable," says one
housing developer.
"I've seen guys pick
themselves up, put
their finger in their
shirt pocket, and get
in the car and drive to
the hospita1."
them $280 a room, in cash, and keep the difference, tax free, off the
books. Potter would be like a foreman-a subconuactor of sorts.
The practice of paying workers by the room instead of by the hour,
called "lumping," is common, for several reasons: It's very hard for work-
ers to calculate how much they're getting paid per hour. Lumping also
allows contractors to get more work out of guys, by stringing them along
from job to job.
Which is exactly what happened to Potter and his men. Checks
would come sporadically, sometimes in his name, sometimes in other
people's names, but usually late, and seldom what Potter thought they
would be. Potter would take the company's checks to a check-cashing
place that took them without asking questions. Then he'd pay his guys-
most of them West Indians like himself, with a scattering of Latinos and
black Americans and the occasional African-in cash. In the end, the
company did put all of that money on the books-making him appear,
on paper, a perfectly legitimate, highly paid employee.
General contractors are skeptical that these kinds of things happen.
"I can't imagine somebody not getting paid," says Michael Rooney of
Novalex Contracting. "If somebody wants to get paid, you can find
somebody." But when workers get stiffed like this, they usually just
complain to their supervisor--especially if they're working off the
books. Most of the time, workers like Campos don't even know who the
general contractor is.
"We often will bring a lawsuit against as many as seven or eight
alleged employers on one project site because the employees simply
don't know who they worked for," says Lloyd Ambinder, a labor lawyer
who represents consuuction workers. "It's not uncommon for a worker
to come to us and show us nothing more than a couple of business cards
and a couple of delivery tickets from supplies that were dropped off at
the site, with the name of a contractor on it, and they think that's who
their employer is or was." Of the workers City Limits talked to, the idea
that they might be working for a nonprofit community group, albeit
indirectly, never even crossed their mind.
ne of the projects Carlos Ramos worked on was called La Puerta de
Vitalidad-the Doorway to Life, at 3103 Third Avenue in the
Bronx. A 61-unit residence for formerly homeless and other low-income
people, La Puerta was built by two nonprofits, Phipps Houses and the
neighborhood-based group Nos Quedamos.
If any community housing group is dedicated to a broad view of social
justice, it's Nos Quedamos. Its very name-"We 5tay"-is a defiant pledge
to preserve and rebuild the Bronx neighborhood of Melrose Commons for
its residents. Nos Quedamos' philosophy is that neighborhood residents
should be an integral part of the neighborhood's urban renewal-and that
means making sure that whatever building goes on in Melrose Commons
benefits those who live there. One of the ways to do that, and one of the
group's founding principles, is "to link consuuction activity in Melrose
Commons with job uaining and employment opportunities."
With La Puerta, Nos Quedamos was in an especially good position to
do that. Since 1995, the organization had had a minority apprenticeship
program with the New York City Disuict Council of Carpenters. So when
La Puerra came along, it seemed like a good opportunity to demand good
jobs for those apprentices--especially because La Puerta was a "prevailing
wage" job. Prevailing wage laws require that contractors who are working
for the government, or getting government money, must pay the going
rate in that locality. They originated in the Great Depression, when New
Deal legislators saw public works as a way to rebuild the nation's infra-
suucrure and workers' pocketbooks at the same time.
These days, however, the prevailing wage is anything but. Very little
affordable housing is done at prevailing wage, which in New York City is
pegged to union scale-anywhere from $35 to $68 an hour depending on
the trade. Contractors and developers know that paying union scale will
add about 10 percent to the cost of their bid. On a $5 million affordable
housing project, that can make the difference between getting the job and
not. And since most of these affordable housing projects are now built
using dollars generated through corporate tax credits instead of direct gov-
ernment subsidy, paying prevailing wages is rarely legally mandated.
The fewer prevailing wage projects go on in the city, the more those
jobs are prized. So when La Puerta came along, Garcia wanted to make
it a union site, with her neighborhood apprentices getting the highly
paid jobs, and hopefully union cards, too.
But after lengthy negotiations, the plan fell apart. After a competitive
bidding process, the city's Department of Housing Preservation and
Development (HPD) chose a contractor that was nonunion, but was
supposed to pay prevailing wage. Instead of the union jobs Garcia had
hoped for, Nos Quedamos settled for a "local hiring" requirement,
meaning that the contractor would have to commit to hiring a certain
number of neighborhood residents and pay them at the prevailing wage.
Presumably, Ramos was one of those local hires.
In theory, the nonprofit that is "building" a project like La Puerra has
the power to oversee the contractor to make sure they're paying the proper
wages. But that almost never happens. "It's extremely rare for a nonprofit
to act as a check or balance on a contractor," says Brad Lander, executive
director of the Fifth Avenue Committee. "I just don't think we have the
knowledge or power-we don't ask for or receive any information at all
about how the contractors pay their workers. To the extent that there's any
reporting at all on prevailing wage jobs, it's all to the city or to the state."
On a prevailing wage job, the subcontractors all submit individual
payroll records to the general contractor, who then reports them to the
city or state agency overseeing construction. But the nonprofit has no
ability to monitor that. "There's always griping," says Garcia. "And I can
only go back and ask for accountability. If the accountability with num-
bers are there, that's as far as I can go. I cannot say, you're a liar, you're a
liar. You follow what I mean?"
One day, while going to get coffee, Carlos Ramos met a union orga-
nizer. The organizer told Ramos what the prevailing wage was for the work
he was doing: more than quadruple what he was getting. Then, like a
movie detective, the organizer handed Ramos a business card and told
Ramos to give him a call if he ever wanted to talk.
Ramos did talk to the organizer about ways he might be able to recoup
the wages he was owed. But in the meantime, he isn't waiting around: As
a mostly off-the-books employee, he's usually ineligible for unemploy-
ment. "When you get paid under the books, you can't really count on
nothing-no benefits, no coverage. Nothing to fall on," he explains.
Ramos only works, by his estimate, six or seven months
out of the year, putting him well below the poverty line.
The rest of his time he spends looking for work, prowling
the streets of his neighborhood, shaping up with the guys,
"trying to stay off my money, trying not to spend a lot," he
sighs. He economizes by buying weekly Metrocards and
trying to keep his expenses under $50 a week.
Ramos does have one advantage: He lives in public
housing, just up the street from La Puerta de Vitalidad.
Last year, because of how little money he made, the
Housing Authority knocked his rent down from $435
to $180 a month. A friend of his, another construction
worker, wasn't so lucky-he had to sell his belongings
and go into a city shelter.
ntil recently, the ciry's building trades unions
regarded affordable housing as beneath them.
Some even described it as "cockroach work"----<iirty,
dangerous rehab jobs too small to be worth the trouble.
sees a group of workers shaping up, he stops to talk. A persuasive pitch-
man-he sells Amway products on the side-he often convinces them
to enter the Carpenters' excellent apprenticeship program, especially if
they're unemployed.
Bur while everybody wants a union card, convincing workers already
on a job to unionize is another matter entirely. It's risky, for one thing:
Workers frequently get fired for talking to an organizer. But the real
problem is that the unions, particularly the carpenters union, have lost a
lot of credibility in minority neighborhoods.
Not long ago, many of the city's larger building trades unions were
openly in bed with organized crime. Corruption and favoritism ran ram-
pant; shop stewards would take a few bucks to look the other way while
crooked contractors paid immigrant laborers far below union rates and
still billed the developer at union scale. Though favoritism and unfair
A couple of years ago, however, they realized that
affotdable housing was becoming a big business. The ciry
Department of Housing Preservation and Development
and private parmers had embarked on major mixed-use
redevelopment programs. Suddenly, developers could get
affordable housing dollars to do big, well-capitalized
retail developments with condominiums-and a lot of it
was being done with nonunion labor.
Shams uddin Riza, right, has won hundreds of construction jobs for
Harlemites-and now no longer through force.
But it was too late. The unions had priced them-
selves way, way out of the affordable housing market.
For the Carpenters, union scale is $37.36 an hour plus $24.91 in ben-
efits-eight times what Campos was getting. Now Chambers and his
counterparts in other building trades unions are going from job to job,
worker to worker, trying to recapture the market. "They've gone from
little nickel-and-dime rehabs to major, major, major apartment build-
ings," says Byron Schuler, of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters,
tooling around Harlem in the union's silver Durango. ''And what you
see is just the subjugation of the community,- complete and total-
where you empower the buildings, but you don't empower the com-
A foster child from Pittsburgh who grew up on welfare, Schuler
went on to attend Columbia University. Equally likely to quote from
the Bible or Marvin Gaye, he keeps tapes of Malcolm X speeches and
"The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" inside his car. Whenever he
MAY 2003
hiring practices have been a constant complaint from reformers of all
colors, many minority workers believe that it falls most heavily on them.
In the 1990s, a series of high-profile racketeering cases forced the
unions to start cleaning up their act. This is when Schuler and Chambers,
part of a new generation of minority rank-and-filers, got hired. "Some of
these unions, eight years ago, were anywhere from 90 to 92, 93 percent
Irish and Italian, " says Chambers. "But if you look at them now-for
example, the Laborers-it's approximately two thirds nonwhite. "
The Carpenters have gone through a similar transformation. But they
still have their problems: The union's executive secretary treasurer was
indicted in 2000 for allegedly taking bribes to allow nonunion labor (the
indictment was still pending as this article went to press) .
Even with the passage of time, many of the rank-and-file members
won't really trust the union until it changes its hiring practices. Today,
"You know how
many black guys are
outta work right
now?" says one union
carpenter. "And if
you go on the job
and look, tell me
what shade you see."
the union has two kinds of members: "company men" and "local men"
(they're not all men, but the phrase is still used-to the chagrin of the
200-plus "Sisters in the Brotherhood"). If you're a company man, you'll
have work for as long as a particular employer hires you. The roster of
company men remains disproportionately white.
Local men get hired either by shaping jobs or from a massive list of
unemployed workers. For every company man a contractor hires, it's
supposed to hire one person from the out-of-work list. The process is
monitored by the federal authorities, and union officials say the moni-
toring has been effective. But it's a common belief among minority
members that the hiring is not happening.
Knowing this, nonunion workers fear that if they vote to unionize
their workplace, they will end up on the out-of-work list, and their jobs
will go to white members. "When the job turns union, there isn't any-
thing in it for us, and that's a fact, " says Steve Roy, a union carpenter for
six years. 'Md I can get 10 guys to verify this, and even more. You know
how many black guys are outta work right now? And if you go on the
job and look, tell me what shade you see. I ain't trying to be racist, but
what I'm saying, the truth speaks for itself."
n 148th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, construction
workers come and go inside hollow buildings, surrounded by scaf-
folding and dust. On each corner, just feet from where they are hauling
in drywall and lumber, other men stand glowering with sandwich boards
that declare "this company does not hire union carpenters." Here in the
Bradhurst Urban Renewal Area, where an entire block and a half is going
through gut rehab, Byron Schuler and Shams uddin Riza are struggling
for the soul of Harlem.
"You up to your old business?" asks Riza with a broad grin, walking
up slowly, several men following behind him, when Schuler pulls up in
his Suv. Last summer, Schuler tried to unionize the workers on the
148th Street project, where Riza is a subcontractor.
"No, we're using new tactics now," replies Schuler.
"Listen, I want you to come up to the house-neutral ground," says
Riza, still trying to be genial, inviting Schuler up to his family home in
Albany. "It's caucus time, so I know you'll be up there," he adds heartily,
referring to the state legislature's Black and Hispanic Caucus.
"You'll see me up there, " says Schuler grimly.
"Don't say you're gonna come up and not come up, now," Riza says,
his veneer of friendly joshing beginning to wear thin. "Don't start some-
thing, now. " Moving closer, he tries to peer inside the car.
"You'll see me," repeats Schuler. "When you don't see me, that's when
you should worry." And he drives away.
As a major Harlem subcontractor, Shamsuddin Riza is a construc-
tion industry success story. Riza comes out of New York's tradition of
construction coalitions, roving groups of men, half community orga-
nizing group and half gang, that pressured local developers to hire them.
Some, like Harlem Fight Back-where Lavon Chambers started out-
use nonviolent methods, like pickets and sit-ins. Others use more
threatening methods.
At one time, that's how Riza operated: In the mid-1990s, he served
five years in a federal penitentiary for shaking down contractors on
Harlem construction sites. Riza was trying to get money, but he also
wanted jobs; according to Riza's 1992 indictment, he and three other
men extorted contractors, with threats, assaults and even gunshots fired
at their feet, to hire local workers.
After serving his time, Riza decided to become a legitimate subcon-
tractor. Riza is now spoken of highly by developers, community members
and even some union organizers. Recently, he completed a rehab job for
Artimus Construction, a developer of affordable housing in Harlem and
Washington Heights. "He handled the entire job, not just the hard demo,"
says Artimus principal Robert Ezrapour with pride. "First time a locally
based organization, a contractor in this case, was able to do soup to nuts. "
Since 1987, the city has poured more than a billion development dol-
lars into Harlem, producing 40,000 units of housing. Subcontractors
like Riza have been enormously successful in getting Harlem residents
hired to rebuild their own neighborhood. But hiring local minority sub-
contractors is not necessarily a guarantee of good jobs.
In the mid-1990s, Harlem Congregations for Community Improve-
ment (HCCI) , a consortium of religious institutions involved in com-
munity development, tried to do its own housing construction. The
group formed a subsidiary, Consortium for Central Harlem Develop-
ment, that would develop affordable housing, and in the process incu-
bate small, neighborhood-based minority contractors, teaching them
how to run a business, giving them office space and helping them get
loans. But the arrangement fell apart, and now HCCI is in the uncom-
fortable position of seeing a lot of those same local subcontractors work-
ing on somebody else's job, often for very low wages.
"The pay scale is just not adequate at the entry level positions for
many of the jobs that are not union, " says Greg Watson, HCCI's vice
president for real estate. "It's very low, and the work is very hard. There
are varying opinions as to why those wages are low. Subcontractors will
maintain that they're forced to pay wages that are low because they are
forced to enter into contracts that do not support a higher salary."
Andrell Padgett learned that the hard way last year. Padgett helped
rehab a six-floor apartment building at 218 West 148th Street. The rehab
was a joint project between HCCI and L&M Equity Participants, a pri-
vate developer that is doing a lot of work in Harlem. The subcontractor,
Simone Peele, bid $36,000 to do everything: from framing to Sheetrock-
ing and installing doors and kitchen cabinets on all six floors.
Though there are multiple accounts of what happened next, there's
no question the job went wrong. According to Peele, on November 14,
with four and a half out of the six floors finished, L&M paid her about
continued on page 45
Two black churches preach in praise of gay members. In communities
gripped by AIDS, will other congregations follow their path?
By Malcolm Venable
Photographs by Sune Woods
n many ways, this is what you think of when
you think "black church. " This is the kind of
place where folk get to testifying or shouting,
or allowing their bodies to shake in rhythmic,
transcendental fits commonly referred to as "the
holy ghost. " In that respect, the Unity Fellow-
MAY 2003
ship Church-an interdenominational congre-
gation in Brooklyn-is very old school. A gifted
teen taps a drum sec. The Wurlitzer-sryle organ
hums with a soggy sound similar to sobs. Famil-
iar hymns, tambourines, identically dressed
ushers-there's nothing unusual here.
On the other hand, this is probably not
your typical black church, what with the tod-
dler on one cherry pew crawling back and forth
between the bosoms of her two moms, and the
transgender woman on another bench thumb-
ing through her Bible. This is undoubtedly one
of few black churches where some female wor-
shippers don't conceal but embrace their facial
hair-and opt to enhance its symbolism, even,
with pinstriped suits and ties; where two men
on a date can sit proudly next to one another
and snuggle innocently if they choose.
A minister reads off some announcements,
alerting the churchgoers to an upcoming potluck
event. "And you've got to feed at least 200 people,
so don't be bringing no frying pan full of meat-
balls," he says, his demeanor fey and familial. Gig-
gles erupt. "You bettah tell it!" a guy replies. "I
know that's right, honey!" retorts another.
Clearly, these gentlemen are at home, as only
a person familiar with the cadence, lingo and
usage of the gay black American dialect would
recognize. This is high camp mixed with Holy
Communion, a bunch of flaming phoenixes
asserting their existence and spirituality through
good old-time religion. This is an example of a
largely unobserved cross-section of New York's
churchgoing mass, just one of a few clus-
ters of individuals refuting messages
from traditional black churches that
condemn or even ignore homosexuals.
"You are a member of the human
race," the church's minister, Zachary
Jones, says to his flock later in his ser-
mon. "That is your first ethnicity. You
have rights within you that you are built
to protect. Stop letting people put you
into a little box. Stop putting yourself
into a little box. No one can deny you
the right to worship the Lord thy God!"
"Yes, tell it!" and "Mmm hmm,"
can be heard from the congregants in
the pews, all 20 of them nearly filled
to capacity.
This is high camp mixed with Holy Communion, a
their existence and spirituality through good old-time
revelation-no one asks, and they don't tell.
In this liberal city, there are few ministers
bold enough to stand in a pulpit and spew
homophobic rhetoric. But many black gay and
lesbian New Yorkers-particularly those over
30 who moved to the city as adults-easily
recall remarks and incidents that caused them
enough pain to seek alternatives to a tradition
One gay man, whom we'll call Ernest Hill,
claims to have had an afF.llr with a young associ-
ate minister from a Baptist church in East Brook-
lyn. The liaison cost him the relationship that
manered most: the one with the church. "We
were madly in love," says the 42-year-old HN
survivor. The minister was married with a child,
and Hill was a high-ranking deacon in the
church, mostly comprised of working
class families. Hill says the closeted
minister caught flak about Hill's sexu-
ality, and the minister eventually outed
him to the head pastor: "He told me to
be discreet, but I said that I had
brought no sexual scandal to the
church." Hill was soon informally
relieved of his duties.
"God spared your life for a pur-
pose," continues Jones, dressed in an
elaborate robe that shimmers with gold
inlays. "It's not that you were any
smarter or better than the people who
died from the virus. God kept you here
to retain the meaning of 'Am I my
brother's keeper.'
"Yes, I am!"
Taunts, fights and rumors chased Apostle Kenton
Rogers out of his Harlem Baptist church.
Discrimination in churches once
simply inflicted social and emotional
damage. Now, with AIDS dangerously
entrenched in communities of color,
the prejudice is also deadly. Of the esti-
mated 40,000 people in the U.S.
infected with HN each year, more
than half are African American.
Among AIDS activists, there's an
increasing conviction that religious
institutions should respond more
aggressively to the crisis. But if
churches are to succeed in that mission,
they will first have to come to terms
with the intricacies of their flock's secu-
lar lives-including their sexual selves.
cross New York and America, black
churches are sacred gathering places,
where God-fearing parents bring their
children to raise them right, professionals net-
work, political movements emerge, and people
make way for the elderly, marry, and bless the
recently dead. The black church-the Baptist
tradition in particular-is the symbolic rock
upon which both ordinary and upper crust black
people alike lean, where they come to praise and
sing, lay down their burdens and apologize for
their sins. For many African-Americans, inclu-
sion in the black church is synonymous with
being an active part of the community.
For many gays, though, the church is also a
place where they feel they must censor their
personal lives. Gays avoid discussion or public
burning with hellfire and brimstone.
Mark Tuggle of Harlem, a former counselor
at the outreach program Gay Men of African
Descent, says many men he used to counsel
admined to such experiences. Tuggle himself
endured it. "When I was 9 years old," says Tug-
gle, now 42, "the preacher shouted that homo-
sexuals were not allowed in here. And that really
pierced my heart. I felt I wasn't welcome. I was
angry and confused. I continued to go for my
mother's sake, but I was uncomfortable. I just
didn't understand, and I was afraid to tell any-
body what I was thinking. " Quickly, Tuggle
says, "it became apparent to me that the church
would not be a safe place for me to explore my
feelings." He no longer seeks out any kind of
organized religious activity.
"T here's no doubt that the
black church is homopho-
bic," says Harlem minister
Kenton Rogers. He ought to know. When he
became the youngest pastor in the history of
Lagree Baptist Church on 125th Street in 1993,
he saw issues of sexuality-particularly his
own-fester quietly beneath the surface and
then come to a volatile, ugly head. Rogers, then
25, had been dubbed "the hip hop reverend"
because of his off-duty affinity for baggy jeans,
bandanas and a hip ethos. He soon met with
opposition from elders in the church over issues,
including finances and his own career as a gospel
singer. The fact that Rogers wore a hoop earring,
and a younger, more "street" crowd was begin-
ning to wander into the congregation, didn't
help. Older members and clergy recognized a
bunch of flaming phoenixes asserting
changing of the guard, he says, that they weren't
going to accept without a fight. Literally.
A "squad" of police officers, as the Amsterdam
News recounted in 1994, had to be called to the
church one June day "to bring back the spirit of
the Lord" after fisticuffs erupted on an otherwise
peaceful Sunday. A deacon rushed the pulpit,
grabbed the microphone and shouted that Rogers
had been installed as pastor "illegally," and that
the deacon board had
voted him out. Writer
Yusef Salaam quotes an
unnamed worshipper
concerned about Rogers'
lack of a wife and, yes, his
suspected homosexuality.
He writes: "Rogers, a
bachelor, brushed off
rumors about his sexual
orienration. 'One minute
they're saying that I'm
sleeping with all of the
women in the church,
then the next minute
they're saying I'm a
homosexual. '"
tered International Church.) Services attract
people from all walks of life-gay couples, par-
ents and their gay kids, married (straight) cou-
ples and so on-all united by a love of Christ
and a disdain for any place of worship that
refuses to accept them completely.
On a recent February Sunday, Rogers stands
before his congregation, today a small group of
about 30 people, mostly women. Prior to the
black church," says Bishop Jones, a native of Los
Angeles who speaks with a sultry, raspy voice.
"I'm a product of the black church, so it was vety
painful. But in my respect for the institution, I
decided to fmd solace somewhere else."
The rift had been mounting since adoles-
cence. "The more I became aware of my own
physical desires, I heard messages.... ' God
didn't make homosexuals.' They were 'wrong'
or 'demonic,'" he says.
By the time he was 23, Jones says he
remembers thinking, "I just can't do it. I can't
win it, I can't beat it," although he worked to
"cure" himself "I fasted. There was laying on of
hands. I spent years trying
to get there. I was never
much of a quitter, but. .. "
Ultimately, it was a
chance date that led him
to Unity Fellowship, a
daring new church
founded in L.A. by Arch-
bishop Carl Bean shortly
after he was ordained in
1982. His liberation the-
ology doctrine frowns
upon a male-dominated
hierarchy, and gears its
message toward people of
color and diverse sexuality.
Public relations-savvy
though Rogers was, he
couldn't prolong the
inevirable, and months
later he was gone. "I felt
so helpless, " says Rogers,
a light-skinned fellow
with a close haircut and a
club-bouncer's build.
At center: Imani Reliford, 4, is one of Unity Fellowship's "children of
love"-unconditional and universal.
Jones chuckles. "I had
just decided, 'No more
church,' but I felt like in
order for me to get next to
this guy, I had to go." In
time, he says, "I found
myself going back again
and again. So many things
the Rev. Bean was saying I
agreed with-that the
Though he does not identifY with the label
"gay," he acknowledges being a same-
gender-loving man. "I could feel the brunt as a
pastor, but then I imagined all the people that
felt helpless and I began to have sensitivity for all
helpless people. That's when the rurning point
came for me. I knew if I could feel that helpless,
then there could be others."
And so in August 1994, Rogers, fed up with
the sexual shame he says the church required of
him, broke from the black Baptist tradition and
formed an "open and affirming" church in
which all people could celebrate God and
simultaneously affum their unique sexual orien-
tations. He began a small service in a brown-
stone on 131st Street and called it the Oasis of
Love. (He recently renamed it the Christ Cen-
MAY 2003
sermon, they sing gospel a cappella, keeping
time with the help of rambourine thwacks and
foot stomps.
"I want the kind of love that Christ has," he
says to the assembled. "He doesn't mind laying
down his repuration to help somebody! He
didn't allow the way he was shaped or molded
or ostracized to faze him! So when we've been
looked at as an outcast, you do not allow the
way you've been treated to mold your personal-
ity." Claps and shoms from the folding-chair
pews echo agreement.
hile Rogers was making his bold
break from the Baptist church,
Zachary Jones was starting a quiet
revolution across the East River. "I had left the
quality oflife counts more than length. That to
love thy neighbor is the greatest command-
ment. It was so freeing, and touching me in
dry places. I found myself not getting enough."
Jones, who was already ordained as a minis-
ter, saw that the church was struggling, and
began assisting however he could. "It was the
early '80s. I had just lost my lover. AIDS was
hitting hard. I could not ignore my training. "
So Jones started helping him visit the hospital-
bound; in a few years he had begun teaching a
Sunday school class. "We grew as a body. The
word spread about the work we were doing."
New York took notice, and after visiting the
city in 1992 and meeting with other concerned
community members who had also left black
churches, Jones volunteered to leave Unity LA.
to start a branch in New York. "I saw the
hunger, and the appetite was so pervasive. I
agreed to come here on my faith and convic-
tion." Services began at the Lesbian and Gay
Communiry Services Center on West 13th
Street. "It just mushroomed," he says. By 1994,
the church rented out its own space, St. Mary's
Chapel in Clinton Hill. Now Uniry has hun-
dreds of members who vary across educational,
economic and-increasingly-ethnic back-
grounds. It's operating with a million-dollar
budget, offering a range of services. And Uniry
just recently converted a commercial space into
a sparkling new 12,000-square-foot temple in
East New York.
"We just keep build-
ing," says Jones. "The
more we build, the more
people just keep coming."
istorians note
that the world's
most famous
"The black church has always been the leader in the
expand AIDS prevention. "But the church is not being a
Later, in 1998, black churches in Florida cir-
culated fliers trying to roll back an amendment
to Miami-Dade Counry's human rights ordi-
nance granting protection for gays and lesbians.
The fliers said Dr. King would be "outraged" to
discover that people were equating the civil
rights movement with the gay rights movement.
Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, has
actually been a powerful counterforce to homo-
have caused the most debate, but Bailey, who is
heterosexual, explains that they are often misap-
propriated. In his view, laws forbidding two
men ftom having intercourse essentially boil
down to a patriarchal effort to repopulate
Israel-passages were simply written to discour-
age activiry that would lead to "wasted sperm."
The Bible, Bailey notes, also contains one of
the world's oldest tales of homosexual romance.
"It's pretty explicit," he
says of the books of
Samuel, "that Jonathan is
in love with David and
David is not resisting. "
He says that for Bible
experts hellbent on dis-
missing King David's gay
romance, the "love" dis-
cussed is about political
loyalry. But Bailey avers
that the passage is "all
about male sexual behav-
ior," and even though
David couples with a few
divorced women, "he
never says he loves
them---{)nly Jonathan. "
black minister, Martin
Luther King Jr. , kept
close quarters with an
openly gay man, Bayard
Rustin. An influential
member of King's cabi-
net, Rustin was subse-
quently a key figure in the
March on Washington.
But his sexualiry was an
issue for many in the
movement, and although
King resisted others'
efforts to sideline Rustin,
politics ended up pushing
him to the background
anyway. "He was under
such extraordinary pres-
At Unit y, New York's outpost of a national black gay church movement,
Bishop Zachary Jones preaches: "You are a member of the human race:'
As part of his work at
the Interdenominational
Theology Center, a school
of Morehouse College,
Bailey spends much of his
time training the young
theologians who graduate
to become America's
prominent black minis-
sure about his own sex life," Rustin said in a
1987 interview before his death the same year.
"There were very real efforts to entrap him. My
being gay was not a problem for Dr. King but a
problem for the movement."
In more recent years, though, some black
religious leaders have opposed efforts to secure
civil rights for gay Americans. After the
NAACP supported activists during the 1993
march on Washington for gay rights, the Rev.
Dennis Kuby and others tried to discredit par-
allels between gay rights and black civil rights,
saying in a letter to the Washington Times,
"Gays are not subject to water hoses or police
dogs, denied access to lunch counters or pre-
vented from voting."
phobia; she has publicly supported same-sex
rights initiatives since as far back as 1986.
When it comes to the black church, though,
Mrs. King and others are up against a legacy of
prejudice within the institution. Just as many
white clergy do, black Baptist ministers use the
Bible to justify persecuting gay sex and identiry.
"If one wants to be oppressive to people
who find themselves same-sex oriented, then
the Bible will give them that," says Randall Bai-
ley, a minister and biblical scholar at the Inter-
denominational Theology Center in Atlanta,
who has spent more than 20 years examining
issues of sexualiry and the Bible, particularly
the controversial "Sodomite" scriptures.
Passages in Leviticus, Genesis and Samuel
ters. He also preaches in select churches around
the country, but not often. "When I raise a cri-
tique of heterosexism in my sermons, I get a
mixed reaction," he says, adding that his uncom-
promised message of liberation and cross-sexual
uniry has prevented him ftom heading his own
church in Atlanta. "It's not well received," he
says wryly.
But the church cannot be blamed for all
black homophobia. Many sociologists specu-
late that some of it has to be attributed to
ingrained cultural values. "So much of black
culture is about denying mythology," says
Keith Boykin, an author and activist who co-
wrote President Clinton's statement to the
1993 gay march on Washington. He says this
community;' says Denise Williams, who is working to
leader on this:'
may be partly because black people have long
made upward mobility a primary concern. So
to shed stereotypes, Boykin says, many blacks
work individually to "contradict to whatever
negative images" society holds of them.
Homosexuality, already stigmatized, takes on
an added taboo for black men expected to rep-
resent strength and masculinity, and black
women expected to be child-bearers and carri-
ers of the race.
y now, most black Americans
are aware that AIDS is rav-
aging their own communi-
ties. Although blacks make up only
about 12 percent of the population,
they accounted for half of the new
HN cases in 2001, according to the
Centers for Disease Control-
21,000 new cases a year. Black
Americans are infected at twice the
rate of Hispanics and eight times
the rate of whites. AIDS is now the
leading cause of death among black
women ages 25 to 34 and black
men 35 to 44.
an infrastructure to prevent and treat
HNIAIDS in communities of color. "But the
p r o b l ~ ~ is that the church is not being a leader
on this.
In a 1997 survey, the AIDS Institute of the
New York State Department of Health, which
gives grants to 13 groups statewide to do HN
education in partnership with religious institu-
tions, found that just 17 percent of faith
as part of Harlem Congregations for Commu-
nity Improvement (HCCI). Their services
range from providing peer education and hous-
ing for people with HN to setting up informa-
tion tables, distributing literature and, in a few
rare instances, condoms. Getting them involved
"took a lot of hard work and dedication," says
Deborah Levine, who heads HCCI's Health &
Wellness Strategies division. "It was sitting
down with the Harlem clergy. They were the
ones that said they would put aside their theo-
logical beliefs and look at the common prob-
lems." But because churches are, well, churches,
discussions about HNIAIDS must sometimes
be tailored very carefully. "Everybody
has different places," continues Levine.
"We don't all start out being champions.
It depends on the congregation itself
But no congregations have said they
don't want something to do with it."
Convincing churches that AIDS is
their business is not impossible. But
what's proving more difficult, educators
say, is getting religious organizations to
promote effective safe sex education.
HN prevention specialists have con-
sistently found that safe sex education
needs to be explicit in order to have a
significant impact. It has to show sexu-
ally active people how to use condoms;
it needs to talk specifically about
exchanging bodily fluids and degrees of
risky behavior.
In its 2001 report "HNIAIDS
among African Americans: A
Closer Look," the CDC finds that
several factors may contribute to
such alarming rates of infection,
among them poverty, substance
abuse, parmers at risk, and denial
and discrimination. The report
mentions that some black commu-
Keenan, 11, at home in Apostle Rogers' brownstone.
But such essentials of HN preven-
tion education are almost never part of
churches' work. Discussing sex remains
taboo; homosexuality, all the more so.
Anal and oral sex are typically unmen-
tionable, as is intravenous drug use. "It's
like they will take care of you once you've
nities are reluctant to acknowledge
sensitive issues like homosexuality.
For generations, churches have been fiercely
committed to providing vital resources for their
communities-assisting children and mothers,
providing housing for the homeless, feeding the
hungry. In New York, hundreds of black
churches operate food pantries. By contrast, just
a few odd dozen churches have HNIAIDS pre-
vention ministries. Many activists working to
fight the epidemic say that the tepid response
by religious leaders to the massive AIDS crisis in
their own communities is a tragic failure. "The
black church has always been the leader in the
community, " says Denise Williams, deputy
director of the Community Resource Exchange,
which is working with local nonprofits to build
MAY 2003
groups surveyed conducted some form of HN
education. Of those that did not, 41 percent
said that among their reasons for not providing
such services was opposition to homosexuality,
drugs or condom use.
Some groups are working aggressively to get
more churches more involved in AIDS preven-
tion. Balm in Gilead, a national faith-based
HN prevention group, has done essential
groundwork over the last several years, con-
vincing churches that AIDS must be part of
their sermons and educational programs. This
March, it got 10,000 black churches across
America to participate in its Week of Prayer for
the Healing of AIDS.
And in New York, 30 churches are working
got AIDS, but won't tell you what you
need to do not to get it," Williams says sternly.
Comments one AIDS educator, who
requested anonymity, "The most is a pastor say-
ing, 'We're dying from this,' and those are the
really progressive pastors. I mean, how can you
address having gay men be safe when you won't
even talk about gay people? People engage in
sex, N drug use-it's just not a conversation
you're going to have."
Other educators say they've gotten the same
message from churches: They'll only go so far.
"You can't go shaking someone's tree where
you're not invited," says Rev. Ella Eure of the
AIDS group Harlem United, part of the New
York State Department of Health's Faith Com-
continued on page 43
Money: The Great Equalizer
Nearly 50 years after Brown,
we still don't get it:
separate unequal.
By Hakim Hasan
STACEY D. HEYWARD is a black American single
mother of three children who works as a day care
paraprofessional and attends college. She and her
family live in the South Bronx. Hers is a neigh-
borhood beset by crime, poverty and every imag-
inable index of social collapse. The area's best-
performing high school, Jane Addams, boasts a
paltry graduation rate of 58 percent, while at
Morris High Schoo!, on the low end, a mere 27
percent of students graduate.
So Heyward, 30, sends Euqoun, her oldest
son, to St. Aloysius, a Catholic grade school in
Harlem. Kiara, her middle child, is a third-
grader at P.S. 21 in Brooklyn, where she excels
in a program for gifted students. Her youngest,
Keith-Nicquan, is a third-grader, who is also
enrolled in a program for gifted students, at
P.S. 31 in the Bronx.
Dogged involvement in the education of her
children is Heyward's ethos. If she were middle-
class, she'd probably be among the ranks of the
seemingly neurotic parents who compulsively
prepare their 2-year-old children for an Ivy
League education. But as is, she doubts many of
the children in the South Bronx will ever see col-
lege of any sort. "The curriculum within the
community we live," Heyward explains, "sets
the children up for failure." So she ships hers off
to far-flung corners of the city's educational sys-
tem in search of the sort of education she knows
they'll never fmd at home.
One year before the 50th anniversary of the
landmark 1954 Brown v. Board o/Education U.S.
Supreme Court decision, the New York City pub-
lic school system (like most urban school systems)
remains a stark case study in the national failure
to provide poor children of color equal access to a
quality education. Since the Brown decision,
courts, policymakers and education advocates
have largely tried to implement it by focusing on
integration. This integration has always meant
transporting children of color to white neighbor-
hoods. Ironically, it has mainly served to reinforce
the concentration of high-performance schools
and formidable educational resources in the
neighborhoods where white middle-class children
live-leaving Heyward, like other "responsible"
parents who live in failing school districts, to
engage in educational triage.
But two recent legal battles growing out of
New York's schools are vying to become the
new guiding light in America's struggle for edu-
cational equality-and they seek to navigate
decidedly different courses.
Child Left Behind Act. The law requires school
systems to allow a student who attends a failing
school (defined as a school that doesn't meet
newly set accountability standards for rwo con-
secutive years) to transfer to a high-performance
school. This provision is "busing" by another
name, but a group of black parents-Eunice Sta-
ton and Latasha Gibbs, who both have children
at P.S. 30 in Harlem, and Charlene Wilson,
whose child is enrolled in Albany's Arbor Hill Ele-
mentary School-are suing the city and state
education departments for the right to exercise it.
In January, they filed a class action lawsuit in state
court alleging that their school districts did not
notifY them that their children's schools were fail-
ing, thus denying them their transfer rights-a
cornerstone of the new federal law.
The Staton case will establish the nation's
first case law on whether parents can sue school
systems over their right to transfer, and the
plaintiffs' success would thus mark a significant
milestone for the school choice movement. But
while transfers provide poor parents with
immediate educational options for their chil-
dren, they offer only more educational policy-
as-triage. The Bronx has nearly 200 elementary
and middle schools; the state education depart-
ment has designated 80 of them as failing.
How many of these schools' students can real-
istically transfer to high-performance schools?
"The No Child Left Behind Act is not correct-
ing the problem of low-performing schools,"
Heyward complains. "It is simply applying a
Band-Aid to a gunshot wound."
Nevertheless, black and Latino parents are
increasingly embracing this and other versions
of school choice-more out of necessity than
ideology. Courageous parents like Heyward
live in neighborhoods where they must negoti-
ate what sociologist Orlando Patterson calls
"social death": a community where many resi-
dents accept their degraded and socially irrele-
vant status. According to a 2002 Joint Center
for Political and Economic Studies poll, 57.4
percent of black Americans support vouchers.
For Heyward, this is problematic--even if she's
chosen to excercise exactly the sort of right
those parents are seeking. "When a parent
takes a low-performing child that has issues
and places that child into a school that is per-
forming well, " she sighs, "that demeans the
child, the school and those that attend. "
Nonetheless, school choice offers parems an
immediate solution. The Washington, D.C.-
based Black Alliance for Educational Options is
spearheading a campaign to promote a menu of
educational options based in choice. Those
options range from experimemal efforts such as
charter schools to tax-supported scholarships-
vouchers by another, less politically charged,
name. All of these solutions focus, in reality if
not in explicit imem, on imegrating black and
Latino children inro white schools. And that,
argues Dr. Gail Fisher, founder of the Toussaim
Institute, a New York City organization that
educates parems about
to meet applicable state education standards.
The state appealed, and in June 2002 Jus-
tice Alfred D. Lerner, writing for the majority,
reversed DeGrasse's ruling. Breathtakingly,
Lerner declared: "A 'sound basic education'
consists only of those skills necessary to enable
children to 'evemually function productively as
civic participants capable of voting and serving
on a jury,' not to qualify them for advanced
college courses or even attendance at a higher
educational institution." Lerner wem on to
conclude, "Society needs workers in all levels of
jobs, the majority of which may very well be
low level." The state, he
school reform, ignores a
lesson the last 50 years
should have taught us. "One of the
said, was obliged to pro-
vide only an eighth-grade
"One of the lessons
learned from imegtation,"
Dr. Fisher says, "was that
sharing a school building
with white children did
not guarantee access to
quality education." In
fact, Fisher adds, race isn't
that relevant at all. "The
color of the school admin-
istration, or even class-
room teachers, did not
give Mrican-American
communities control over
critical policy decisions
that directly impact the
quality of education their
children receive," she says.
"The power to influence is
at the level of fmancing. "
lessons learned
from integration
was that sharing
a school building
Jonathan Kozol,
whose books Amazing
Grace and Savage
Inequalities have been
touted as among journal-
ism's most insightful
looks at problems in pub-
lic education, summed
up the reaction of CFE
supporters best: "The
recem appeals court rul-
ing seems to speak too
clearly of the low esteem
in which the state now
holds black and Latino
children in the poorest
neighborhoods." The
case has been appealed to
the Court of Appeals, the
highest court in New
York State.
with white
children did not
is the focus of the second
New York legal battle
access to quality
education. " CFE implicitly
vying to defme the future of education reform:
Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York.
In 1991, Robert Jackson, now a City Council
member but then a member of Community
School Board 6, founded the Campaign for Fis-
cal Equity (CFE) along with Michael Rebell, a
Yale-educated anorney for the board. In 1993,
with Jackson acting as the lead plaintiff, CFE
sued the state for inadequately funding New
York City public schools. In a remarkable 2001
ruling, Justice Leland DeGrasse declared the
state's formula for allocating education funds
unconstitutional. He gave the state until Sep-
tember 2001 to come up with a new system to
determine the actual cost of providing a "sound
basic education"--or the amount of money
required to provide every child an opportunity
MAY 2003
addresses the central
shortcoming of post-
Brown education reform efforts: Almost 50
years afrer the fact, Americans are still engaged
in a deeply dishonest discussion about race and
imegration. Rather than accepting the realities
of America's segregated neighborhoods and fig- .
uring out how to equalize the schools in all of
them, advocates and policymakers concerned
about poor children of color have remained
obsessed with imegration. In January,
researchers at the Civil Rights Project of Har-
vard University released a report bemoaning
the retrenchment of segregation in our nation's
public school system. ''A measure of these
trends in school segregation is the exposure of
minority students to whites," the authors
write. "Just over 10 percem of white studems
continued on page 43
New York's affordable housing policies do little
for the city's poorest families, argues this
report. The city has auctioned off more than a
thousand empty lots to the highest bidder, but
two-thirds are still vacant. More importantly,
the study argues that the government's defini-
tion of "affordable" is badly skewed: It includes
Westchester when calculating "average" local
earnings. That means a developer earns subsi-
dies for building housing for $62,800 incomes
even in a neighborhood like East New York.
"Neighborhoods For Sa/e"
New York Acom
www.acom.orgor 718-246-7900
One of the federal government's most suc-
cessful antipoverty programs-for the work-
ing poor, that is-is the Earned Income Tax
Credit. Enacted by that flaming liberal Ronald
Reagan in 1986, the federal credit can be as
much as about $4,000. Of the 17 states that
now offer their own version, New York's is one
of the most generous, this report says, at over
$1,000 a year. But the future looks grim: Col-
orado and Illinois have dropped their credit
because of budget deficits, and the report pre-
dicts that other states will soon follow.
"A Hand Up"
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities or 202-408-1080
Younger and younger kids are being tried as
adults, but this careful study argues that
many teenagers have a shaky grasp of the
basic concepts of criminal justice. It finds that
30 percent of kids under 13, and about 20 per-
cent of 14- and 15-year-olds, have "signifi-
cantly impaired abilities" that are comparable
to adults with mental illness or developmental
disabilities. Those findings, based on inter-
views and testing of over 1,400 young people,
suggest that states should keep a closer eye
on whether young people are competent before
they stand trial.
"The MacArlhur Jweni/e
Adjudicative Competence Study"
MacArlhur Research Network
www.mac-ado/dev-juvjustice.orgor 215-204-0149
How to Be a
Starving Artist
Step one: Stop whining.
By Bill Roundy
The Murdering of My Years:
Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet
Edited by Mickey Z.
Soft Skull Press, 245 pages, $15
DURING MY SENIOR YEAR of college, I told a pro-
fessor that I planned to become a professional
poet. I would go out into the world, full of fire
and verse, win poetry slams, sell my collections,
and survive on my writing.
"And if that doesn't work out?" he asked.
"Then I'll starve."
After graduation, predictably, I starved.
When your passion, whether it be art or
activism, is unlikely to ever generate a profit, how
do you survive and keep creatively fulfilled? How
do you keep working on your own
projects and still handle a career? Or
is there another alternative? The pro-
found allure of New York City jour-
nalist Mickey Z.'s new book, The
Murdering of My Years: Artists and
Activists Making Ends Meet, from the
scrappy purveyors of counterculture
at Soft Skull Press, lies in its poten-
tial to answer such questions. Unfor-
tunately, it pretty much fails on
all counts.
Hoping that readers could learn
from the examples of working artists,
Z. e-mailed a questionnaire to 100
artists and activists (many of whom
live in New York City), asking them
about their struggles with employ-
ment. Instead of usefUl advice or
instructive examples, the book gives us endless
tales of fust jobs, second jobs and current jobs,
bolstered with self-serving accounts of relation-
ship troubles, publicity for projects, and judg-
mental jabs at meat-eaters and "corporate lem-
ming culture." The collection generally shows the
danger of turning artists loose without an editor.
It's an unfortunate failure, because Z. was
on to something. As the city's economy barrels
into an ever-deepening pit, the folks who drive
its renowned creative engine are among those
leading the way-and we'd love some advice on
how to make it through to the other side. No
one has yet offered big-picture research on the
impact the recent hard times have had on the
cultural economy, but snippets of information
are starting to add up. The Cultural Institu-
tions Group recently surveyed its 34 mem-
bers-some of the city's most significant mid-
size to large institutions-and found that all of
them have cut back the hours they're open in
recent months. Some have slashed staff.
"Virtually every group in town is seeing a
decline in all areas of income," says Alliance for
the Arts President Randall Bourscheidt. Alliance
for the Arts is in the early stages of a study that
Bourscheidt expects will "substantiate what we
fear and suspect" about the broader creative
world's condition. He concedes that any study
will have trouble quantifYing the impact on what
the Center for an Urban Future (a think tank
associated with City Limits) estimates to be more
than 150,000 working artists in the city-in part
because it's near impossible to quantifY who is an
artist and what he or she does for a living.
But let me help: Things are bad. I got laid off
from my arts editing job last year due to flagging
ad sales. So I'm in my second bout with trying to
make it on my own in the unforgiving cultural
economy. My first go-round was more voluntary.
As do Z.'s Murdering contributors, I worked a
wide variety of crappy
jobs-washing dishes,
art/activism are not explained-aside from the
occasional vague advice to "live simply." In fact,
Z. best describes the collection's problem while
trying to deny it. In the preface, he states, "This
book is not a collection of stories from whiny,
misunderstood geniuses blaming the world for
their perceived misfortune. " Unfortunately, for
large stretches, that's exactly what we get.
We're looking instead for useful tips like the
ones I've gotten from the small-press cartooning
community online, such as: When printing your
chapbook or zine, go to Kinko's at three in the
morning, make some copies and, when the clerk
wanders into the back, open the machine and
swipe a ream of mid-gloss paper for your home
operation. (You can check your own moral com-
pass for how you feel about ripping off big cor-
porations.) Hit every art gallery opening you can
for free food, free wine, and a chance to net-
work. And, of course, if you're lucky enough to
have been laid off from a steady gig, take advan-
tage of the govern-
ment's one broadly
pushing popcorn,
mopping up vomit-
hoping to leave time
free to create. Over
two years, I wrote
maybe two poems
worth keeping. It's dif-
ficult to wrestle with
an irregular rhyme
scheme when you can't
pay the heating bill;
shivering tends to
Murdering gets
this much right:
distributed subsidy
for artists: unemploy-
ment insurance.
Almost every un-
employed creative
person I know is
using an unemploy-
ment check to subsi-
dize freelance endeav-
ors. (I should point
out here that doing so
Jobs you don't want
are soul-crushing.
make your handwriting all blurry.
So I surrendered, got an office job with a
salary, and discovered that I really liked being
able to eat. Suddenly, I didn't have to choose
between getting extra cheese and paying rent.
And I thought, with my heat and my food, I
would be able to concentrate on my art. I went
home, fired up my computer and... nothing.
Murdering gets this much right: Jobs you don't
want are soul-crushing. They drain you of
energy and imagination, siphoning off the inspi-
ration that could go to your own projects.
The writers in Murdering clearly understand
the miseries of menial jobs, but what's lacking is
a connection between their employment and
their artistic side. Some of them have produced
fine work-the punk zines Clamor and Maxi-
mumrocknroll for instance, or the Disinforma-
tion Sociery's collection Everything You Know is
Wrong, and the projects of the (now-closed)
Vegetarian Center of New York-but only a
handful are surviving based on their passions.
Yet the facts of their finances and their
MAY 2003
is certainly unethical
and possibly illegal. For the benefit of any
members of the Labor Department who may be
reading, I have been diligently looking for full-
time employment, and none of the following
endeavors are likely to lead to any income what-
soever, now or in the future. Thank you.) I've
personally had more energy than I've had in
years. In the last eight months, I've taught
myself HTML and PhotoShop, written two
books, srarted a Web comic and been more
jazzed about writing than I've been since
school-all because my unemployment insur-
ance, for now, pays just enough to cover room
and board.
If you look at Z.'s book not as a source of this
sort of advice, but as an anthropological study of
activists and artists, you'll conclude that con-
sciously deciding to work outside the main-
stream as an artist or activist pretty much sucks:
You should be prepared to be poor and unap-
preciated. Is that really a surprise to anyone?
Bill Roundy is a downsized arts editor in Brooklyn.
of a Visionary
By Antonia
Arte Publico
384 pages
WHENEVER I SET FOOT in a bookstore, I am
reminded that there is no shortage of books by
people testifYing to their own effectiveness-
from Giuliani's Leadership to former CEOs
who make elephants dance. So it was a relief
to read about a woman who came from noth-
ing, went from Barrio Obrero to the White
House, and could remark on her success
with humiliry.
Dr. Antonia Pantoja overcame significant
obstacles, as a Puerto Rican, a woman and a
lesbian, to devote herself to social change. In
Memoir of a Visionary, published one month
arrer her passing a year ago, we learn how Pan-
toja created Boricua College, the National
Puerto Rican Forum and ASPIRA, a national
leadership organization for young Puerto
Ricans. Eventually, she won the Presidential
Medal of Freedom.
Born in 1922 in Puerto Rico, Pantoja grew
up at a time when it was illegal for Puerto
Ricans to fly their nation's flag. She was raised
primarily by her grandmother, a skilled story-
teller who often told Pantoja about the sounds
of the cannons being shot by the Americans
during their invasion of Puerto Rico in the
1800s. Her grandfather, a union organizer at
the American Tobacco Company, was brought
home from work one day with burns, afrer
strikebreakers threw hot lard at him. The
company lefr Puerto Rico during her youth,
leaving most of her family without work.
When she came to the United States in 1944,
her family couldn't afford bus fare, so she
walked to school. A cautionary tale for those
debating CUNY tuition increases: Pantoja
was only able to finish her college degree
because Hunter College was free.
By the 1950s, just a decade arrer her
arrival, Pantoja became involved with other
Puerto Ricans who believed that the govern-
ment was failing to represent their interests.
So they formed alternatives, like the Puerto
It's Hardly Sportin': Stadiums,
Neighborhoods and the New Chicago
By Costas Spirou and Larry Bennett
Northern Illinois University Press: $28.50
The fight launched by residents of Hell's Kitchen to
oppose a new stadium on the West Side certainly
has precedents. In Chicago, the White Sox, Bulls,
Blackhawks and Bears have all won, or rebuilt,
new arenas in the past dozen years. In each case,
local residents raised heck, largely unsuccess-
fully. This book explores those political fights,
offering a readable, if somewhat provincial,
examination of how the forces that shape both
modern sports and politics-corporate influence,
the failure of the press and the power of money-
ran roughshod over Chicago's neighborhoods.
A Disjointed Search for the Will to live
By Shaka N'Zinga, Soft Skull Press: $13
Alternating between lyrical love poems and stri-
dent treatises on African-American anarchist
philosophy-not to mention riffs on childhood
memories-this prison memoir and polemic is
a celebration of disjointedness. Incarcerated in
1989 at age 16 (convicted of rape and murder,
the author says he didn't do it), N'Zinga edu-
cated himself by mastering resistance litera-
ture from Gramsci to Tupac. The resulting col-
lection is a total mess, but somehow com-
pelling: Imagine a cross between William Bur-
roughs and bell hooks.
New York Jews and the Decline of Urban
Ethnicity, 1950-1970
By Eli Lederhendler
Syracuse University Press: $29.95
Jerusalem professor (and Bronx native) Leder-
hendler ably explores the massive changes that
guided the postwar lives of New York's Jews: the
twin movements of secularization and intermar-
riage and the -rapid shift of families from the
city's Jewish neighborhoods to more homogenous
suburbs. Based on a massive range of sources,
from literature to census data, his work is ambi-
tious and far-reaching, if a bit dense. Ultimately,
he concludes that it is the constant change--of
identity, of place and of politics-that makes
New York's Jewish communities unique.
Rican Association for Community Affairs and
ASPlRA. At a time when there wasn't a single
Puerto Rican commissioner, Pantoja sat on
the staff of Mayor Wagner's Commission on
Intergroup Relations. Wanting to refocus the
profession of social work towards social
change, she went on to create graduate pro-
grams for community development in New
York and San Diego.
Her philosophy was simple: Build the insti-
tutions that build the leaders, and they will
create change. Pantoja believed that young
Puerto Ricans, if properly educated, trained
and "socialized," would become advocates for
the next generation. Today, ASPlRA is in six
states reaching 50,000 young people. But
while ASPlRA produced prominent and com-
mitted community members like Aida
Alvarez, Nelson Diaz, Digna Sanchez and
Jimmy Smits, it also produced Giuliani
appointee Ninfa Segarra, whose political
patrons tried to limit access to the very insti-
tutions that produced Antonia Pantoja.
Unfortunately, Pantoja doesn't address this
paradox in her book.
Whether her strategy is the answer to the
immediate challenges of making a just social
and economic policy, I don't know. But the
most compelling proof of her success is the
thousands of Latinos who credit ASPlRA for
changing their idea of what is possible.
-Andrea Batista Schlesinger
Each Monday, CITY LIMITS delivers timely stories about how
New York really works.
Bye-mail, by fax or on the web, you'll find information-packed updates
on housing, politics, development, education, social services-and
breaking news on budget and legal decisions that decide the city's future.
There's more in
Job ads for New York's
non profits.
Events listings telling you where
the latest action is.
Fast Forward
A Chicago program that
propels ambitious newcomers
into the principal's office is
influencing New York's
reform agenda.
By Alexander Russo
KATE GARRISON IS HAVING a great year-even
though she works long hours and eats lunch
when others are already thinking about dinner.
Garrison, 31, is the first-year principal of South
Brooklyn Community High School, a new
alternative school serving about 150 troubled
students. Not bad for someone who just two
years ago was a frustrated English teacher in
Indianapolis, with few formal qualifications to
MAY 2003
run a school and neither the money nor the
patience to go get them.
"I knew what a good school should look like
and I knew how to get kids reading," she says.
"I didn't have time, and, frankly, I couldn't
afford to take on more student loans and go to
grad school for a year and a half." In New York
City, as in most other cities, being a principal
usually requires anywhere from two to five
years of classroom teaching, graduate school
and state certification, and some sort of super-
. .
vlSOry expenence.
Instead, Garrison and 14 other aspiring
principals found and joined an innovative new
principal training program called New Leaders
for New Schools. Started just over two years ago
in Chicago, New Leaders recruits candidates
with or without all the necessary academic qual-
ifications and puts them on a fast track to run-
ning schools. Two years of teaching experience,
recent or long ago, is all you need to qualifY.
Thus far, the program has attracted suc-
cessful candidates from many different walks
of life, including directors of nonprofits, busi-
ness school grads and refugees from the private
sector. Ranging from 26 to 56 years old,
roughly half of the first cohort came to the
program from outside education.
Once they are accepted, New Leaders puts
the recruits through a full-time summer ses-
sion of classes and simulations, followed by a
10-month school-based "residency" where
they are mentored by an experienced principal
and take on real-world leadership activities.
Currently, trainees are working with schools in
Chicago and New York.
There is little disagreement that a good
principal can make or break a school. Over
the past five years, finding a quality principal
for as many schools as possible has become a
priority for reformers, including Chancellor
Joel Klein, who recently announced his own
principal-training program. Klein hopes to
recruit the best principals from around the
country and train them using corporate-style
leadership methods. He's even offering extra
pay to star principals who are willing to run
Struggling schools. And insiders say that the
chancellor's initiative will include key aspects
of the New Leaders approach when it is rolled
out later this spring.
OFTEN CARICATURED as incompetent and irrel-
evant to school life-wielding keys, a walkie-
talkie or, at worst, a baseball bat-most prin-
cipals are recruited haphazardly from the class-
room, trained inadequately in ed school grad-
uate courses, and then denied the time, auton-
omy and support they need to do what most
acknowledge is a tremendously complex job.
In many places, they can't pick their own staff,
shape their own budgets or, starting next year
in New York City, even choose what teaching
model to adopt.
All too often, the result is frustration and
conflict. Operational and financial issues like
bus schedules and lunch menus eclipse educa-
tional concerns. For the overwhelmed princi-
pal, the emphasis becomes surviving daily
crises rather than long-term change. Burnout is
common and the turnover rate is high; there
are fewer candidates than ever for the available
number of jobs.
All but a quarter of the city's current princi-
pals have tenure. That fact, along with commu-
nity district politics, has made it easier to trans-
fer an ineffective principal to another school
than to remove or retrain one. Since gaining
authority to fire underperforming principals in
1998, the chancellor's office had not dismissed
a single one until Klein took over.
Among the small but growing crop of pro-
grams that try and address these problems,
New Leaders is notable for its year-long resi-
dency and its effort to recruit talent from Out-
side of education. Other programs can take
years of part-time work or cost as much as
$25,000 in tuition. Instead, New Leaders is
full-time and actually pays candidates and their
mentors to participate, charging no tuition.
Candidates receive roughly $45,000, based on
their teaching experience. Mentor principals
get between $3,000 and $5,000 for time spent
training and working with the candidates.
Districts carefully scrutinize the New Lead-
ers' training before agreeing to accept them. No
one is guaranteed a job after finishing. And the
application process is highly selective, with
only one out of 10 candidates accepted for 50
training spots each year. So far, at least, the
program is small but increasingly popular-it
has already more than doubled in size. Next
year, it will train 70 new participants and
expand into Washington, D.C.
Competing against traditional candidates,
all but two of the first year's class of 15 were able
to fmd a school leadership position of some
kind. Seven were selected as principals of new
and charter schools, and two, including Garri-
son, beat out more established candidates to get
the top job at existing neighborhood schools.
DESPITE THESE early successes, New Leaders
also has its opponents, which include New
York City's principals' union. "Fast-track pro-
grams for principals are unproven here in the
city, and we are skeptical of their effectiveness,"
says Jill Levy, president of the 5,500-member
Council of School Supervisors and Administra-
tors. "Why should we think someone would
be an effective principal just because they were
once a student?"
New Leaders represents a challenge to
Levy's members that is similar to the one that
Teach For America and other alternative certi-
fication programs posed to teachers' unions:
The program brings in outside competition,
potentially taking away jobs and calling into
question training programs run by the union.
This at a time when Chancellor Klein
has taken up the theme of accountability for
academic achievement, announcing plans to
fire 50 of the lowest-performing principals in
the city.
Given this environment, New Leaders'
most surprising success may be the trust and
acceptance some of its members have won
from teachers and other administrators at the
schools where they train. "I was truly
amazed," remembers Patrick Bacillieri, who
led a nonprofit that facilitates racial reconcili-
ation programs for students before entering
the program and who now runs an elementary
school in Chicago. "Within a week of my
arrival, I was being asked to co-chair a com-
mittee on racism."
Gaining this sort of acceptance as an out-
sider is a delicate task. Even the most success-
ful New Leaders report that being accepted
and doing well in a challenging new environ-
ment is not easy. "There were tense
moments," remembers Bacillieri, who didn't
always see eye-to-eye with his mentor princi-
pal. Sometimes he had to go slowly to avoid
treading on teachers' toes. "I had to navigate
closely my relationships throughout the whole
year," he adds. To help with this process, New
Leaders trains its candidates in non-threaten-
ing ways to gain "entry" into a new
school environment.
There have been other challenges, to be
sure. Making the residency training model
work well is one. To be effective, the residency
has to include meaningful responsibilities for
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the fellows and acceptance from faculty and
parents. Finding and keeping effective men-
tors is also key. Even though mentors are paid,
roughly half of those from the first year did not
participate in the second year.
Keeping a good mix of schools is yet another
issue. Only three of last year's Chicago fellows
trained in traditional neighborhood schools, and
only one ended up heading a traditional neigh-
borhood school.
And then there's the most fundamental
concern, which it's simply too early to
answer: Do the intensive training and the
unique backgrounds of the New Leaders
make a significant difference in the end? Are
New Leaders any better, any more enlight-
ened or any more likely to stay put than
other would-be reformers?
FOR NOW THE PROGRAM has to make sure that its
graduates are getting jobs, period. Four of the
first batch had to settle for assistant principal
jobs or other types of educational work, at least
in part due to district superintendents' lack of
familiarity with the New Leaders program.
In New York specifically, the program has to sur-
vive the politics of the intensifying school reform
debate. The shift from 32 to 10 districts creates tur-
moil and change in the principal-hiring process. The
ongoing contract negotiations between Klein and
I nsiders say
Klein's initiative
will include
aspects of the
New Leaders'
the principals' union create additional friction. And
the uniform curriculum mandate for all but 209 of
the city's 1,200 schools may make the job seem too
powerless to be appealing.
Still, New Leaders' leader is confident as
Planning for Communities, Cities
and the Environment at Pratt.
Pratt's planning programs prepare students with the theory and skills necessary to respond to the diverse needs of
communities and foster comprehensive social, physical, economic and environmental development. Through courses,
studios and fieldwork, students learn both the principles and the practice of participatory, equityfocused urban planning.
The faculty, which includes practitioners from every arena of planning, introduces students to the reallife challenges
of urban development by engaging them in projects in New York City.
The Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment offers:
Master of Science degree in City and Regional Planning
Master of Science degree in Environmental Planning
Joint degrees combining planning with law or undergraduate architecture
Concentrations include:
Community development with a focus on diversity issues, participatory planning, housing, economic development
Environmental planning with a focus on environmental justice, environmental policy, monitoring, regulatory controls
Preservation planning with a focus on integrating historic preservation with
community development
Physical planning, land use and urban design
Pratt Courses are offered in the evenings at Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses to
Draw it. Build it. Make it. accommodate working professionals. .
MAY 2003
the program expands into its third year.
"When the city needs more than 500 princi-
pals in the next three years, we can't afford to
rely on the status quo," says founder Jon
Schnur. "We need new and effective ways to
fnd and develop talented individuals-wher-
ever they come from. "
The conflicts between Klein and the union
have allowed New Leaders to fly under the radar
for now. Later this spring, a new, even larger crop
of fellows will be announced-almost two our of
three coming from outside education. In the
meantime, philanthropic support continues to
be strong, including money from Vivendi and
Carnegie Corporation, helping the program
fund a $4 billion budget for the coming fall.
Over at South Brooklyn Community High
School, Garrison shares the program's confi-
dence. "It's going really well," she says, eating
lunch and answering questions at roughly 4:30
in the afternoon. "It's a lot of hard work and
there's a new challenge every day, bur the faculty
is great, the students are engaged, we haven't
had a fight yet this year, and we still have every
student but one that we started with."
Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer.
Pratt Institute
Graduate Center for Planni ng and the Environment
200 Willoughby Ave., Brooklyn, NY 1120S
(718) 399-4314 ext. 100 email: gradpl an@pratt. edu
Sick Transit
New York can't afford
not to build a
21st-century public
transportation system.
By Albert F. Appleton
New York, New York, it's a helluva town
The Bronx is up and the Battery's down
The people they ritle in a hole in the ground
-On the Town, 1947
THE ABILITY TO RIDE through holes in the
ground is, in fact, what made New York a hel-
luva metropolis. Between 1900 and 1940, New
York built the world's leading mass transit sys-
tem, its subways and commuter rail lines.
Without them, the city's unique urban density
and energy would be unthinkable.
And then the building stopped. Since 1940,
the sum total of new subway construction has
been the East River Tunnel at 63rd Street. Over
the years the Second and Third Avenue ele-
vated trains have been torn down, leaving the
city with a subway system that is actually
smaller today than it was during World War II.
Since 1940, a few things have changed.
Midtown has become the central business dis-
trict. Population has shifted from the West Side
to the East Side of Manhattan; from Manhat-
tan and central Brooklyn to the outer reaches
of Queens and Staten Island; and from the city
to a now-sub urbanized Long Island, Westch-
ester and northern New Jersey. But our mass
transit system is still laid out to serve
laGuardia's New York.
The result is the overcrowded and strained
subway system that hundreds of thousands
experience every morning-the long and tor-
tuous inter-line transfers, the frustration of
Long Island commuters who can only go to
Penn Station when they want to be on the East
Side, the exasperation of Westchester and Con-
necticut commuters who have no good way to
get to lower Manhattan.
Moving to New Jersey, as one-third of the
employees in New York's high-paying fmancial,
insurance and real-estate sectors have done,
offers no relief. Train commuters who want to
go to the East Side are shunted to Penn Station
just like their Long Island counterparts, and
'.,jl i WII:i,S'
A project of the Center for an Urban Future
every single passage between New York and
New Jersey is saturated: the PATH and New
Jersey Transit commuter trains are standing-
room-only; the ferries hit delays when they con-
nect with New York City buses; and buses back
up bumper-to-bumper coming through the
Lincoln Tunnel, even with a dedicated bus lane.
The same is true of all the region's highways,
as desperate commuters reson to driving in terri-
tory singularly unsuited for commuting by car.
Surveys perennially show that employers
choosing where to locate their businesses are
particularly sensitive to travel time for employ-
ees. The indisputable inability of New York's
mass transit system to meet the needs of this
21st-century metropolis is an enormous eco-
nomic and environmental risk. As the last four
decades have shown, the alternative to invest-
ing in mass transit is suburban sprawl, reloca-
tion of jobs to office parks accessible only by
car, mind-numbing road congestion that not
only plagues drivers and pollutes the environ-
ment, but adds measurably to the cost of bring-
ing freight into the region, and an increasingly
high-cost, low-density landscape that is an
enormous drag on the regional economy.
New York needs a 21st-century mass transit
system. That means it needs to provide the
additional capacity required to meet current
service needs, and it needs to provide direct,
speedy connections between the long list of
population centers and travel destinations that
are currently served poorly or not at all.
This will require construction of three
major additions to the region's mass transit net-
work. The first and most imponant, the key-
stone of all else, is a new four-borough subway
system, the foundation of which would be a
new Second Avenue subway for Manhattan.
As important as a Second Avenue subway
would be for Manhattan, its ultimate travel
payoff would be in its connections to other
boroughs. To serve Brooklyn, the Second
Avenue subway should run under the East
River, through downtown Brooklyn and
Metrotech, to Atlantic Terminal. There, it
should take over the Atlantic Branch of the
LIRR and run express out to Jamaica Terminal,
providing high-speed service for Long Island
commuters to lower Manhattan. The final step
would be to continue some trains down the Air
Train tracks, providing the long-dreamed-of
one-seat ride to JFK.
Imagine for a minute what air travel would
be like for New Yorkers if they could get to JFK
from Grand Central in 25 minutes, from lower
Manhattan in 20 and from downtown Brook-
lyn in 15.
To serve the Bronx, the Second Avenue sub-
way should be continued north and east until
it ultimately reaches Co-op City, the Bronx's
largest population concentration.
To serve Queens, the Second Avenue subway
should be directly connected to one of the
Queens Boulevard lines, providing express service
for Queens residents to Manhattan's East Side,
and eliminating the onerous transfers they must
now make at 63rd, 59th and 53rd streets.
This system, dubbed MetroLink by the
Regional Plan Association (RPA), would pro-
vide hundreds of thousands of new ride spaces
a day, save city and suburban residents millions
of hours weekly in travel time and be a far more
pleasant travel experience.
The second major transit update today's
region needs is East Side Access, the name
given to the proposal to bring the Long Island
Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal. This
would make it possible for Long Island com-
muters to go directly to the East Side instead of
being forced to come into Penn Station. That,
in turn, would allow for the removal of a num-
ber of trains from Penn Station, making room
for another improvement: direct MetroNorth
service from Westchester to Penn Station for
commuters going to the West Side.
Important as East Side Access is, there is one
critical precondition for it to work: The Second
Avenue subway must be built at the same time.
Otherwise, East Side Access will make things
better for Long Island commuters only to make
things worse for commuters from Manhattan
and Westchester by funneling many Long
Islanders onto the already hopelessly jammed
Lexington Avenue line.
Lastly, the region must build a new transit
crossing from New Jersey into Midtown. New
York's economy depends on workers living in
New Jersey. If they can't get here, then employ-
ers won't stay here. It is that simple.
For the New Jersey crossing, the challenge
will be to do it right. So far, planning has been
largely focused on building a new transit tun-
nel from New Jersey to Penn Station. That
would be a significant improvement, but far
from ideal, as it would still leave the majority of
New Jersey commuters far from where they
wish to go in Midtown Manhattan. Creative
design is needed to somehow loop a New Jer-
sey crossing through Midtown in a way that
creates direct connections both to Grand Cen-
tral Terminal and elsewhere in Midtown on the
East Side.
THE PRICE FOR THESE three indispensable addi-
tions to the region's mass-transit net would not
be cheap: A realistic estimate is $30 billion.
And it would take time. Assuming New York
could at least partially overcome the infamous
Commitment is
"New York delay syndrome" and build these
facilities on a schedule that at least partially
approximates international experience, 12
years would be an initial target for construction
There is a tendency when hearing a number
like $30 billion to immediately conclude that the
project is hopelessly expensive. However, spread
over 12 years, $30 billion translates into $2.5 bil-
lion a year. That number would then be reduced
by 25 percent or so, once the federal share of the
cost under current mass transit legislation and
some contribution from the Port Authority (for
the Manhattan part of a new crossing from New
Jersey) were taken into account. That leaves a net
cost of less than $2 billion a year, divided
between New York and New Jersey. That is still a
large number, but a number to be weighed
against an annual regional economic output of
close to a trillion dollars.
Even more importantly, that number must
be weighed against what the region would buy
with the money. It would regain billions of dol-
lars worth of travel time, reduce highway con-
gestion (saving more time and lowering freight
costs) , improve the quality of life for millions
of workers, provide a counter force to sprawl
pressures and open up new areas for smart
growth, transform the logistics of air travel,
improve the environment and provide a major
stimulus for the construction industry.
Though it is commonplace to argue that the
region cannot afford to modernize its transit
systems, there is no economic basis for that
conclusion. For a trillion-dollar economy,
investing less than $2 billion a year in a
resource with all these payoffs is an economic
The financial problem is in the administra-
tion of the public's finances, of governmental
systems that for decades have been unable to
discipline themselves to amass the capital
needed for public investment. No one in the
private sector would imagine trying to make
money without investing money. The same
goes for public resources. This region cannot
hope to have the future it wants unless it once
again invests in it.
In that light, it is worthwhile to reflect a
moment on city and state tax cuts-which,
according to their respective budget bureaus,
total $150 billion since 1995. It is fair to ask
whether or not the region would have been
better off cutting taxes by $120 billion and
Tomorrovv starts today
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MAY 2003 41
1 N TEL L 1 G E N C E
NYC 1 N C.
using the other $30 billion in tax revenue to
modernize the mass-transit network. Would
the latter course have produced a better quality
of life and more economic benefits? Would it
have damaged the credentials of city and state
leaders as tax-cutters? If the region wants to get
back on the path of long-term growth, it must
ask such questions more often.
But what of the many who nevertheless fear
the size of the transportation investments the
region must make, and have proposed giving
priority to this or that smaller project, arguing
that it is more realistic and faster? This argu-
ment has been most recently heard as a ratio-
nale for proposals to bring some version of
commuter rail into Lower Manhattan as part
of the response to 9/11; for extending the N
train to laGuardia Airport; for extending the
No. 7 Flushing Line to Manhattan's far West
Side; and for extending New Jersey Transit's
commuter rail to the outer suburbs of New
Jersey. Whatever specific merits of each of
these proposals, and they vary considerably,
one is reminded of the World War II debate
about "Overlord, " the 1944 war-winning
invasion of France. The British, exhausted and
depleted from bearing the burden of two
world wars, drew away from the demands of
Overlord and kept looking for an easier way to
A $30 billion
investment must be
weighed against
what the region
would be getting for
its money.
defeat Nazi Germany. They offered to attack
this or that part of Europe's "soft underbelly."
But as America's great Army Chief of Staff
George Marshall said of all of them, they were
sideshows. They would not win the war or
gain more strategically than they were likely to
cost in resources.
In transportation terms, proposals to make
single-purpose additions to the existing sub-
way system are sideshows, too. They might
help this or that specific group of riders, they
might even be important for long-term devel-
opment of a particular area, but they will do
nothing to change the fundamental problems
of an undersized and outdated transit system.
Only the threefold program of a four-borough
Second Avenue subway system, East Side
Access and a new transit crossing from New
Jersey will do that.
If New York is to remain a helluva town, it
must build for travel more holes in the ground.
And soon .
Albert F Appleton is a senior fellow at the
Regional Pl4n Association, where he is directing
RPA's Long-term tramportation financing efforts.
He is a former Commissioner of the New York
City Department of Environmental Protection.
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Moving Spirit
continued from page 31
-munities Initiative, which gets religious institu-
tions involved in HIV prevention. "There is
protocol. I tell my gay brothers and sisters Rome
was not built in a day. You approach people
where' they are." She and other activists say they
take a gradual approach: Start getting religious
groups accustomed to talking about the issues
broadly, and then, over time, coax them to reck-
on more and more direcdy with sexuality and
other conuoversial issues.
There's a paradox to the work Williams and
Eure are doing: Even when they succeed, reli-
gious groups have a hard time finding funding
and other resources to take the next steps. Says
HCCI's Levine, "Our phone does not stop
ringing from pastors looking for support. We
hold the black church to task, but haven't pro-
vided the dollars or resources for capacity."
Khali Mootoo, a case manager and social
worker for HCCl, points out that churches
really don't need a lot of government money,
because they can raise funds within their con-
gregations. "A church can do it with lime to
nothing," says Mootoo. His job, he says, is to
step in to provide the literature, videos and ser-
vices congregations request.
One HCCI member church, Second Prov-
idence Baptist on 116th Street, initiated an
HIV/AlDS ministry. For a while, its leaders
had been reluctant to deal with AlDS at all.
But minister Londzo Wilson kept pressing.
Within the church, "there was a lack of
knowledge," he says. "The attitude was, 'I'm
not gay, I'm not white, it doesn't affect me.' I
didn't get to them overnight." But through
gentle pestering he succeeded, and for the
past 18 months, the church has held a week-
ly open forum that regularly attracts 30 to 40
people and where they can talk about health
issues, including AlDS and HN Mosdy the
church lets outsiders do the nuts-and-bolts
work: It hosts workshops and seminars where
doctors, clinicians and social workers can
meet with community residents.
But Williams, like others working to build
faith-based services, says a few churches are not
enough. The black church should be leading
the community away &om prejudice, igno-
rance and disease, she says-not the other way
around. "For those that are out there on the
front lines," says Williams, "they should be
commended. But we don't need soloists. We
need a choir."
MAY 2003
ospel choirs, as it happens, are often the
ftrst place to find closeted gays in
churches, and wherever silence and sex-
ual shame lie AIDS breeds. There's probably no
better example of this than legendary gospel
singer James Cleveland, who was never known
or assumed to be gay (at least publicly) until his
death of AIDS in 1991. Says Keith Boykin, "If
you look behind the pulpit at the choir members
and music directors, you see a different story
than the ftre-and-brirnstone view of homosexu-
ality." In fact, he says, "if you go to any of those
gospel conventions, it's like a circuit party."
One choir, New York's Lavender Light-
the Black and People of All Color Lesbian and
Gay Gospel Choir-was formed in 1985 by
three New Yorkers. Lidell Jackson, Tony Teal
and Charles Bennett Brack (it was Brack who
urged Zachary Jones to start New York's Unity
ministry) broke from the black church to
protest the silence churches required and the
ripple effect that hush had on HIV infection in
the community. Now, its 33 members, relying
on traditional hymns and spirituals, perform at
events across the city and nationwide, but only
in places where they and their message are fully
accepted. "Our message, " says spokesperson
Maria Elena-Grant, "is that it is possible to be
a child of God and be uue to who you are."
They've met some sub de resistance, almost
always &om black churches. "It's not been in
our face; we've found that black churches have
been more passive," says Elena-Grant. "We've
gotten in, and then people take a deep breath
and wait for things to be over."
Inside Unity Fellowship in Brooklyn, deep
breaths serve anomer purpose-they prepare
for joyful, rousing noises made unto the Lord.
It might be because of the hymns mey sing, or
the prayer for which everyone in the church
forms a circle and clasps hands, but the people
at Unity Fellowship-outcasts elsewhere-
seem unmed. They have been affirmed and
upli&ed: armor for the coming week.
"Now let's have all the babies up &ont,"
Jones says as the service comes to a close. Parents
bring their toddlers up the aisle; the grade-
schoolers ftdget and the tweens preen. Jones says
these are "children of love," and that they will
grow to understand unconditional love; as
adults, they'll protect all people's right to love
and work for justice.
"We are here to honor our families," he says,
"and serve them in a way that honors their entire
life, &om the cradle to the grave." The organ
churns gendy. He looks out at the congregation
and declares with resolve: "You have come a long
way. And I am so very proud of you."
Malcolm Venable is a Manhattan-based freelance
writer. This story was produced under the George
Washington Williams Fellowship for Journalists
of Color, a project sponsored by the Independent
Press Association.
Money: The
Great Equalizer
continued fom page 33
attend schools that have a predominantly
minority population. "
But so what? If a black neighborhood has a
superb educational system, does its segrega-
tion matter? And is it reasonable in a pluralis-
tic society to compel Irish, Italian or Jewish
parents to link the educational fate of their
children to their proximity to children of
Even if it were, scholars such as Jean Anyon,
a professor of urban education at the City Uni-
versity of New York Graduate Center, don't
believe racial desegregation would bring any
relief to students in poor neighborhoods. "Inte-
gration should be about mixing poor kids with
more affiuent kids," she says blundy. "Middle-
class and affiuent schools typically do better
than poor schools." But since not every poor
black and Latino child can be bused to more
affiuent, white neighborhoods or transferred to
charter schools, the only option is the one CFE
brings forth: bus the money into poor black and
Latino schools.
FOR NOW, EUQUON HEYWARD travels from the
Bronx to Harlem every day. "I used to worry a
lot about him uaveling, " Stacey Heyward con-
fesses, "but I just say a daily prayer that he will
be safe throughout the day." Her efforts are pay-
ing off: Kiara just received the Honor Society
Heyward's plight is the inadvertent legacy of
the Brown decision. With the CFE case and the
Staton suit, we set down the next path of educa-
tion reform in America-and will ultimately cre-
ate a legacy that Heyward's grandchildren will
have to live with. We all must wait to learn
whether these cases will result in a society where
educational resources are fairly distributed in
poor neighborhoods, or if parents like Heyward
will have to develop still more savvy strategies for
their educational uiage .
Hakim Hasan is the director of the Metropolitan
Institute at Metropolitan College of New York.
leave Home
Without It
continued ftom page 20
bodega, who didn't want to be named, was con-
tacted by American Express for his merchant's
account. Last spring, a representative called to
request that he send in tax returns and three
months of bank statements. He couldn't find
his tax returns, so he just sent in the bank state-
ments. His account was closed, and now he can
no longer take American Express cards from
customers. He claims that the representative
told him that because customers who charged
items at his store with their AmEx cards were
not paying off the charges, the company had to
cancel his merchant's account. An AmEx rep
then requested that he send in paperwork for
his personal account also; since they had nixed
his merchant's account, he didn't want to both-
er, figuring they would do whatever they want-
ed regardless. So they cancelled his personal
card, too. "It's like they put duct tape over his
mouth, plastic on his face," says his best friend,
also Pakistani, who didn't want to be named
either. "It's a shame really. Who's gonna listen?"
Still more Pakistani businesses have been
targeted. Hani Khoury, a lawyer and vice-pres-
ident of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimina-
tion Committee of New Jersey, mentions the
money-wiring business belonging to one of his
clients. The man, he says, has always been
licensed, kept detailed records, played by the
book and even gave customer information to
the FBI. Yet late last year, Citibank and the
Bank of New York called and told him they
were dropping his accounts with them--claim-
ing, according to Khoury, that they were enti-
tled to close accounts at any time without hav-
ing to offer any explanation. "He was consider-
ing hiring a blond, blue-eyed American woman
to deflect suspicion," says Khoury. (The Bank
of New York has since reopened his account.)
For Pakistanis without green cards, the
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services'
new special registration program has provided
one more opportunity for prying into financial
records. Sin Yen Ling, staff attorney at the Asian
American Legal Defense and Education Fund,
reports that during the government's special reg-
istration interviews, immigrants are repeatedly
asked for detailed information about their credit
cards. It's "as if being South Asian and Muslim
and using a credit card is a huge crime," she says.
A slow bul Slead, siream of customers flows
into the computer store that Farooq Firdous co-
owns. A trio of young kids with dreadlocks and
knit caps wait for their father to finish his trans-
action with Firdous. The shop's fake pine-pan-
eled walls are bare of decoration but plastered
with cables, cords, software, games, printers,
headphones, and other computer bits and parts.
Business here was good until 2000, when
the stock market sagged, say Firdous and his
business partner. They haven't escaped the
post-9fl1 economic sinkhole, either. But in
Muslim communities, tough economic times
are exacerbated by pervasive fear.
First there were hate crimes: the 481 report-
ed incidents in the U.S. in 2001 against Mus-
lims included 3 murders and 35 arsons. Ordi-
nary Muslim-Americans were subjected to
shouts of "Terrorists, go home!" in random
encounters on the street, which happened to
Khan and her 4-year-old son.
Since then, government intrusion into nearly
every facet of Pakistanis' lives has created a sense
of vulnerability that has slowly soaked through
entire communities. Now there's a fear of depor-
tation, even for green card holders like Firdous.
The FBI has visited Firdous' business three
times and his home rwice. They marched into
the store, looked around and then lefr. He says
he was afraid to ask why they were there.
"When you ask one question, you don't know
what will happen, " he says. "I stayed quiet." At
home, an agent first showed Khan a photo, and
asked her if she knew the man in it. On the sec-
ond occasion, the FBI asked her name and lefr.
"In these neighborhoods, there's a lot of sur-
veillance and movement of law enforcement
agencies, which has created a lot of harassment
and intimidation," says Ahsanullah "Bobby"
Khan, founder of the interfaith Coney Island
Avenue Project, which he set up right afrer Sep-
tember 11 to provide legal, financial and educa-
tional assistance to Muslims. "Those neighbor-
hoods are marked," he says. "Now they don't
think that this is the place for them to live, and
they're leaving voluntarily."
Thousands of Pakistanis, most but not all
undocumented, have tried to flee to Canada.
From this January to March 15, more than
1,600 applied for refugee status afrer crossing
the Canadian border. Many others are return-
ing to Pakistan.
Coney Island Avenue's moniker, "Little Pak-
istan, " may not ring true for much longer. Pro-
prietors of Pakistani establishments are moving
out of Brooklyn, waiting only to see if they can
get a good price for their business, and restaura-
teurs have never before seen so few customers.
"Brooklyn in Midwood, if you go to Brighton
Beach and downtown Brooklyn, if you go in
Queens, Jackson Heights, Astoria, Steinway
Street," says Bobby Khan, "all these shopping
areas were relying on these immigrants."
Their absence in public life is obvious. On
religious holidays, Firdous and his partner go to
a Brighton Beach mosque, a building that was
donated years ago by the father of Firdous' part-
ner. The place is usually packed. But during Eid
ul-Adha this February, it was practically empty.
"Everyone is leaving," sighs Firdous.
Firdous and Khan ofren discuss what they
would do if they and their kids were forced to
leave, even though that's an unlikely scenario.
"We discuss contingency plans," he says. "She's
Indian; I'm from Pakistan. Our position is very
difficult. She doesn't want to go to Pakistan,
and I don't want to go to India. " Their children
only speak English. "We're very confused," he
repeats three times. "They can come and take
me away anytime. What will my family do?"
As Firdous talks about the case, he absent-
mindedly taps a neon orange pen, which blinks
red every time it hits the desk. In his methodi-
cal manner of speech, which is almost a drawl,
he says, "A lot of people are scared to come for-
ward. They said 'Forget it,' like I did."
WANT ONE OF THESE? ---------,
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continued from page 26
half the money and kicked her off the job. Peele concedes her crew
messed up--they forgot to use double Sheetrock in some cases, and
didn't brace the ceiling correctly in another-but points out that her
crew came in and worked overtime to fIx the job.
Padgen says he and four other men ended up working for less than
minimum wage-about a hundred dollars a week, cash. Peele says it was
more like a hundred a day, but admits that she did have to lump out the
job. The problem, she maintains, was that she bid too low, desperate for
work in the post-September 11 economy. "Where did she get off
puning in a crazy bid like that-and where did they get off taking it?"
agrees a contractor who asked not to be named. "They must be nuts."
Before negotiating with L&M, says Peele, her bid was closer to
$50,000. "Your bid can be perfect-where you get enough money to
take care of your guys, and get your workmen's comp," she says. "But
when you get in that room with those people, they always have a way of
talking you down. But you take it, so you can prove yourself, and hope-
fully get more work."
In this case, it backfIred. "If she wanted the job, she was forced to bid
low," says Watson. "And then when they bid low, you have to bring peo-
ple on the site who are not making money, and who maybe don't even
have the skill set to complete the jobs."
Lavon Chambers says Peele's predicament is common for minority
subcontractors. "You get a bunch of hungry people in a room who are
desperate, hungry for scraps, and they end up going lower and lower,"
he says. "By the time the person walks out of there, he or she has noth-
ing to offer the worker. This is affordable housing, right? It's the only
area where there's no low mark. And when the bid comes in, there's
nobody to take the responsibility and say, 'Hey, you know this number
that you put in? Mathematically, it's not possible for this to work.'"
Ron Moelis, a principal of L&M, says Peele's bid was based on nor-
mal unit-pricing standards, and points out that she signed a waiver
agreeing that she had only fInished about half the job. "If you're asking
me if her particular bid for those six units was a good bid or not, I don't
know," he says. "It's capitalism, I guess-and all we can do is give peo-
ple a chance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. ... But I think
that the opportunity is there, and if someone really wants it, they can
make it work. It's not an easy business."
ack to the bottom line. No one knows whether it's even possible to
construct affordable housing and do justice to the men and women
who build it. Are the budgets for affordable housing construction sim-
ply too low? Or would closer oversight of contractors and their practices
help ensure that workers get their fair share?
Several local unions and one community group are now trying to
fInd out. In early February, Brad Lander of Fifth Avenue Comminee
held a meeting with four building trades unions-the Carpenters,
Laborers, Painters and Plumbers. Though the discussions are still pre-
liminary, they are hoping to collaborate on a new affordable housing
project that Fifth Avenue Committee is developing, the $13 million
dollar Red Hook Homes.
FAC has agreed to build the project using union labor. In exchange, the
unions have agreed to hire local members from Park Slope and Red Hook.
The four unions Lander is negotiating with have also agreed to discount-
ed pay rates--up to perhaps 30 percent less than their usual scale.
It's those special pay rates that could make or break the deal. Private-
ly, many building trades officials will admit that offering lower rates is
key to gening a share of the affordable housing market. Some unions
MAY 2003
even call it a "market recapture rate." That they're offering it means they
recognize there's only so much they can do by talking to the workers. Of
the 600-odd contractors that the Carpenters have organized in the past
three years, only about 50 of those have been through "bonom-up orga-
nizing"--convincing workers to risk their jobs by voting to join a union.
To really recapture the market, they still have to try to get employers to
the table.
But while so-called residential rates have been discussed by some
unions, and even offered by others, many still consider them anathema.
When a union offers such a rate, it can expect to come under fIre from all
quarters: from other unions, who will accuse it of lowering the bar for
everybody; from its members, who will see it as a betrayal of the union's
duty to fIght for their wages; and from its employers, the ones who are
still paying the regular rate. "It's a very, very controversial thing to come
out with a residential rate," says Elly Spicer, a fIeld representative for the
Carpenters Labor Management Cooperation Trust Fund. "We've come
up with what we call an 'experimental rate,' and it's for this job and this
job only."
But the project has yet to steer through delicate, multi-party negotia-
tions, any of which could torpedo the deal. In addition to hiring local
union members, Lander also wants the unions to accept new members
from his community. "So in order for this all to work in the way that we're
hoping, these unions have to agree to admit new people to the union, and
let them work on this project," says Lander, "and the general contractor
and subcontractors would have to agree to hire those people."
And of course they'll have to agree to pay workers higher wages than
they're accustomed to. Still in the early stages, Lander says he thinks the
chances are 50-50. "Can it be built for the price we need to build it, with
the rates the unions have offered?" he asks. "That's the more than
$64,000 question. I'm vaguely optimistic."
Research assistance by Priya Khatkhate.
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JAMAICA, QUEENS - 1200 SQ. ft of Profes-
sional Office Space Avail for Lease. Near LlRR,
Subways and Buses. Non-profits and Gov't
Agencies Welcomed. Call 718-781-3653.
OFFICE SPACE - NYS Tenants & Neighbors
has office space available for sublet at 105
Washington Street, in downtown Manhattan
(West side just off Rector St.). Easy access to
most trains. 1700 SQ. feet at a reasonable
rate. For more information contact Joe Heaphy
at 212-608-4320 x311
SPACE AVAILABLE - ManhattanvilieiConvent
Avenue - 3250 SQ. Ft. Raw Space. Could be
used for a Community Health Center for this
neighborhood. Dr./Dental office, Govemment
Agencies, Non-profit Day Care, Youth and Senior
Center badly needed for this area. Near all
transportation. Call 212-932-0220 or 212-
662-9763 or 212-864-3112 or fax information
to 212-665-6040. Someone will get back to
SPACE AVAILABLE - Non-profit agency seeks
partner to sublet excellent office space, Wall
Street area. 3,000 SQ. ft. available, 24n build-
ing with lobby attendant, close to all major
subways and rent very reasonable. Call: 212-
349-6009, ext. 240,243 or Email:
SPACE AVAILABLE - Part-time, Psychothera-
py office with window, 86th Street near CWI,
ground floor, four-office suite, waiting room
and bathroom, doorman building. Available
all day Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Tues-
day evenings. Call 917-441-3935 for details.
The Enterprise Social Investment Corporation
(ESIC) is currently seeking an Asset Manager
for our New York, NY office to oversee a portfo-
lio of tax credit projects through site visits,
financial review and problem resolution as
needed. This position requires a thorough
knowledge of real estate and basic finance.
Bachelor's degree and 5+ years housing and
real estate required. Masters degree with 3+
years experience preferred. Property manage-
ment and financial or accounting experience
will be helpful. Please send resume with salary
requirements to: The Enterprise Social Invest-
ment Corporation, Attn: HR, 10227 Wincopin
Circle, Ste. 800, Columbia, MD 21044. Fax:
410-772-2676; e-mail : We
are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
databases, edits publications, handles mem-
bership inquiries, processes payments, and
provides computer and administrative sup-
port. Must have excellent organizational skills,
strong attention to detail and commitment to
public interest work. Quark, Dreamweaver a
plus. College degree. Send cover letter/ resume
to or fax 212-764-4298,
Attn: Nikki. Starts immediately. Salary depend-
ing on experience.
ASSISTANT ARCHIVIST - Responding to ref-
erence inquiries; arranging core archival
records for retention in New York and trans-
fer to public archives; surveying and
appraising records; drafting retention
schedules; carrying out records disposition
procedures. Graduate degree in history or
library science; one-year experience in
archival practice; familiarity with microcom-
puter applications; ability to work indepen-
dently. Reply to Archivist, ACLU, 125 Broad
Street 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004.
DEVELOPMENT - The Associate for Program
Planning and Development position works
with the Director of Development and the
Deputy Executive Director to create new and
support existing services at CASES. The Asso-
ciate will also help oversee the Unit Assistant
for Development and will assist other planners
at CASES with program development and
fundraising activities. Planning: Conduct
research and analysis of existing criminal jus-
tice services and populations to identify ser-
vice gaps; Conduct internal reviews/investiga-
tions with CASES' staff to identify participant
service needs; Gather and analyze data rele-
vant to program planning; Review and analyze
programs within the criminal justice and
social service arenas to identify best prac-
tices; Develop new program models; Write con-
cept papers and grants to obtain funding for
new program models; Assist in the implemen-
tation of new program models; Work collabora-
tively with management and program staff to
analyze the outcomes and effectiveness of
CASES' services. Development: Identify
prospective government, foundation and cor-
porate funders; Act as a clearinghouse for
fundraising activities across the agency; Write
proposals, reports, thank you letters and other
correspondence with funders; Support staff
and trustee efforts to cultivate individual
donors; Develop a donor/grants tracking
mechanisms. Qualifications: BA degree, excel-
lent writing, communication, analytical and
organizational skills. Compensation: Salary
$30,000-$35,000 with excellent benefits.
Send resume and cover letter to Gladis Gibbs,
Attn: Planning Associate, CASES, 346 Broad-
way, 3rd floor west, New York, NY 10013. No
phone calls please. Only applicants selected
for interviews will be contacted.
Bridge Fund of NYC seeks experienced individ-
ual to work as Associate Program Director for
unique homelessness prevention program.
Good understanding of housing court proceed-
ings and government benefits is required.
Strong writing/computer skills and Bachelor's
degree. Salary commensurate with experience.
Fax cover letter and resume to 212-674-0542.
CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT - Creative consul-
tant needed to work with ED, PR people and
event conSUltants to coordinate a series of
anniversary events culminating in a benefit
party. Create materials, manage deadlines,
and guide committee. 7 to 10 hours per week
for 6 months. $40 per hour. Fax resume and
cover letter to 212-594-2380.
paignlTenant Organizer-Met Council on Hous-
ing, a membership-based tenants' rights
advocacy organization seeks a part-time, tem-
porary organizer to organize forums, meetings
and actions as part of campaign to renew the
rent laws. Evening and weekend hours. Job
through end of August 2003; Applicant might
be considered for permanent position after
June. Organizing experience preferred. Bilin-
gual in Spanish preferred. Women and people
of color are strongly encouraged to apply. Fax
cover letter and resume to 212-979-6997 or
izens Advice Bureau (CAB) is a large, multi-
service non-profit serving the Bronx for more
than 30 years. The agency provides a broad
range of individual and family services,
including walk-in assistance and counseling,
services to special-need populations, such as
immigrants, children, adolescents, seniors,
homeless families and singles, individuals
and families affected by HIV/AIDS. CAB pro-
vides excellent benefits and offers opportuni-
ties for advancement. Resumes and cover let-
ters indicating position may be mailed to 2054
Morris Ave. Bronx, NY 10453, or faxed as
directed. The COBRA Program seeks a Case
Management Technician to work with individ-
uals and families affected by HIV. The position
requires an associate's degree. Bilingual Eng-
IishlSpanish required. Fax credentials to J.
Smith-Houk at (718) 293-9767 or e-mail to CAB is an equal
opportunity /affirmative action employer.
CASE MANAGER - The Citizens Advice
Bureau (CAB) is a large, multi-service non-
profit serving the Bronx for more than 30
years. The agency provides a broad range of
individual and family services, including
walk-in assistance and counseling, services to
special-need populations, such as immi-
grants, children, adolescents, seniors, home-
less families and singles, individuals and fam-
ilies affected by HIVIAIDS. CAB provides excel-
lent benefits and offers opportunities for
advancement. Resumes and cover letters indi-
cating position may be mailed to 2054 Morris
Ave. Bronx, NY 10453, or faxed as directed.
Bronx Works seeks a Case Manager. To provide
employment and social services to NYC Hous-
ing Authority residents. The position requires a
Bachelor's degree or relevant experience, a
strong commitment to serving low-income res-
ident's of the Bronx. Responsibilities include
developing employment, training and educa-
tion plans for clients, and monitoring progress
towards goals and perform outreach to engage
residents In center services. Fax credentials to
M. Fogarty at (718) 993-8089 or e-mail to CAB is an equal opportu-
nity /affirmative action employer.
CASE MANAGER - Convent Avenue Family
Living Center seeks a Case Manager. General
responsibilities: Under supervision, identifies,
develops and implements social services and
social services programs for homeless fami-
lies. Qualifications: Be able to manage, assist
and organize people of all ages and diverse
backgrounds. Knowledge of entitlements,
housing and transitional housing code of con-
duct and regulations; be sensitive to the
needs of others and maintain confidentiality;
strong writing skills mandatory; crisis inter-
vention and stress management skills+, Bi-
lingual+. BA degree and 1 to 3 years experi-
ence working with the homeless population.
Salary: $24,000 - $26,000/annum. Please fax
resume with cover letter to: Convent Avenue
Family Living Center, ATTN: Danielle Cato, 456
West 129th Street, New York, NY 10027, fax:
All applicants must have an MSW degree
preferably a CSW with at least three years
supervisory experience in a SRD residential
setting. Applicants must have at least five
years experience working with the homeless
mentally ill and substance abuse population.
Job responsibilities include program planning
for clients that promotes independence and
self-sufficiency, maintaining chart documen-
tation, conducting suite and tenant meetings
and supervising a staff of five counselors. Bi-
lingual preferred. All resumes with cover let-
ter and salary history are to be sent to: Colum-
ba Kavanagh House, Inc. Marian Wilkinson,
CSW, Fax: 212-426-6315.
Environmental Health Center seeks indepen-
dent contractor to serve as liaison for research
study concerning the health and policy effects
of pollution in the South Bronx. Work 25 - 30
hours/week, under the direction of community
advisory panel and Congressman Jose E. Ser-
rano's office. Must work independently, have
excellent writing, computer, and presentation
skills. Fluency in Spanish preferred. Fax
resume and letter of interest to 212-995-4849.
organizing with families of prisoners with
mental illness to reform criminal justice/men-
tal health systems. Requires two years orga-
nizing experience. Must be self-starter able to
plan/implement project independently. Salary
DOE, good benefits. Mail letter/resume to: H.
Barr, UJC, 666 Broadway, 10th Floor, NY, NY
10012. No calls, faxes, email.
COORDINATOR - (Fro, Comprehensive Teen
Program, to lead year-round, community-
based, educational and recreation program,
evenings & summer, for youth aged 12-18, and
supervise staff. Requirements: 2 years' super-
visory experience in similar setting. Afternoon
& evening hours + 1 Saturday per month).
B.A.; advanced degree preferred. Spanish
bilingual a +. Salary: 32-37K + excellent ben-
efits, incl. 401(K). NewSettlementApartments
& Community Services have a strong track
record in youth development, community build-
ing & organizing. See website of,
under "new settlement apartments" for more
info. To apply: Mail letter, resume and contact
info for 3 professional references to Teen Coor-
dinator Search or ASP Director Search, New
Settlement Apts. , 1512 Townsend Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10452. Fax: 718-294-4085.
provide crisis intervention counseling to indi-
viduals and group sessions. At least 2 years
expo as counselor required. Send resumes to:
53 West 23rd Street, NYC 10010 or Fax to 212-
633-8456 or email to
No calls. EoE.
CSW - for Realization Center Outpatient
Chemical Dependency Treatment Program.
Seasoned clinicians with good assessment
skills, experienced with substance abuse treat-
ment for new Brooklyn site. Nonsmoker, Recov-
ery a+. Fax resume to 212-627-4040. DS.
CSW - for Realization Center Outpatient
Chemical Dependency Treatment Program.
Seasoned clinicians with good assessment
skills, experienced with substance abuse
treatment for intake coordinator position.
Nonsmoker, Recovery a+. Fax resume to
212- 627-4040. DS.
CSW - Needed for Realization Center Outpa-
tient Chemical Dependency Treatment Pro-
gram. Seasoned clinicians with good assess-
ment skills, experienced with substance
abuse treatment and COA's for new Brooklyn
site. Nonsmoker, Recovery a+. Fax resume to
212-627-4040. DS.
profit NYC agency providing legal and clinical
services to domestic violence victims, seeks a
dynamic, conscientious individual for part-
time work on agency fund-raising gala. Assist
MAY 2003
Development staff, Exec. Dir. and high profile
Board of Directors. Job entails processing
contributions, maintaining databases,
preparing financial reports, drafting written
materials and providing admin support for
Development department. Excellent comput-
er, writing and interpersonal skills; ability to
work as team member as well as indepen-
dently. Attention to detail a must. Knowledge
of Raiser's Edge a plus. May grow into full
time position with added substantive respon-
sibilities. 20-30 hours wk. Salary dep. on
experience. Immed. availability. Resume to or fax to 212-349-6810.
Seeking recent graduate with a journalism
degree to develop for a well established not for
profit Housing/Social Service agency. Excellent
writing/oral communication skills required.
Responsibilities include grant writing,
fundraising, Quarterly newsletter, special
events. E-mail resume, salary requirements to
DIRECTOR - (Fro, After-School Program at
PS 64x. Supervise and lead established posi-
tive-youth-development program for 300 chil-
dren (grades 1-5) at neighborhood public
school , operating M-F, 3-6 p., & summer day
camp, integrating literacy skill-building
through arts. Responsibilities include schedul-
ing, curriculum development, parent outreach,
hiring/supervision of staff, record keeping and
report writing, liaison with school administra-
tion and partner organizations. Requirements:
2 years' supervisory experience in relevant set-
ting and MSWIMEd. Spanish bilingual skills.
Teaching experience/credential desirable.
Salary: 40+, with comprehensive benefits.
New Settlement Apartments & Community
Services have a strong track record in youth
development, community building & organiz-
ing. See website of, under "new
settlement apartments" for more info. To
apply: Mail letter, resume and contact info for
3 professional references to Teen Coordinator
Search or ASP Director Search, New Settle-
ment Apts., 1512 Townsend Avenue, Bronx, NY
10452. Fax: 718-294-4085.
Salvation Army. Responsible for management,
administrative oversight, supervision and
coordination of existing and future
shelters/programs for adult populations.
Responsibilities include direct supervision of
program directors; grant writing, fiscal admin-
istration, and community relations. Experience
in program service for the homeless and multi-
site administration necessary. MAIMS degree,
computer literacy and excellent communica-
tion skills a must. Sal $68+ benefits. Fax
212-337-7279 or email resumes to
Neighborhood Housing Services seeks a
fundraiser with 5+ years proven experience in
donor relations (including corporations and
foundations), marketing, events management,
grant writing, government/community commu-
nications. Experienced in banking/community
development a plus. Send cover letter with
salary requirements and resume to Fran Justa,
Executive Director, Fax 212-727-8171/e-mail
Common Ground Community (CGC), the not-
for-profit supportive housing development and
property management organization, seeks an
Executive Assistant for its Founder and Presi-
dent. The Executive Assistant functions as the
principal administrative assistant to the Pres-
ident, the coordinator of information for the
Board of Directors, and the office manager for
the Director of Field Operations, and the Repli-
cation, Pathways, and West Midtown Homeless
Services Providers units. S/he places, answers,
screens, and routes a heavy volume of tele-
phone calls and inquiries; manages the Presi -
dent's daily, weekly and long term schedule;
and arranges for, sets up and/or plans meet-
ings, conference calls, travel and hotel
arrangements. S/he also sets up, organizes
and maintains filing systems; lays out, types
and/or prepares correspondence, reports,
spreadsheets and/or charts; and prepares
mass mailings. As the office manager, the
Assistant maintains and tracks the use of
petty cash, and the inventory and ordering sys-
tem for supplies and office equipment. S/he
also prepares and tracks the status of pur-
chase orders, requisitions and payment vouch-
ers. The Assistant also functions as the liaison
to Prince George building management on
office space facilities matters. S/he may also
assist the President with special projects. Can-
didates must have at least a BAIBS and at
least two (2) years of full-time experience
working in a similar capacity; computer profi-
ciency in Microsoft Word and Excel; and supe-
rior writing and analytical skills. Detail orient-
ed and the ability to interact with all levels of
staff and management. Cover letter with
salary history and resume to CGC Human
Resources/JF, 505 Eighth Avenue, New York,
New York 10018.
HOMELESSNESS - Common Ground Commu-
nity, the not-for-profit supportive housing
development and property management orga-
nization offers a one-year Fellowship Program
in developing the skills to end homeless ness.
The Fellowship achieves this mission by invit-
ing Fellowship applicants to work for Common
Ground and live in the Chelsea Residence,
Common Ground's newest residence, for a
twelve-month period. As residents of this facil-
ity, the Fellows are expected to take an active
role in the community, and act as peer mentors
for young adult residents. In the workplace,
Fellows are assigned innovative projects with
educational value for their respective Depart-
ments. In addition to their work responsibili-
ties, Fellows spend some of their time learning
about other agencies in the community that
deal with different aspects of homeless ness.
Fellows also attend skill-building workshops,
trainings, and conferences related to home-
less ness issues. The Fellowship is a reinforce-
ment of the particular energy we seek to create
around the issue of homeless ness - that it is a
solvable problem that can yield to thoughtful ,
common sense housing- based strategies. The
Common Ground Fellowship Program provides
a unique opportunity for young people to
receive practical knowledge on many levels:
through hands-on work on specific projects
that address Common Ground's mission to
end homeless ness; through exposure to the
overa II issue of homelessness; through exten-
sive experience in a not-for-profit organiza-
tion; and through their experience as tenants
of a large-scale supportive housing program.
The one-year program begins in August 2003
and those who have received an undergradu-
ate degree since August 2003 are eligible.
More details and an application are available
through the Common Ground website at
DIRECTOR - The Government Access &
Accountability Campaign seeks to make local
government more democratic and all residents
more active participants in civic discourse.
New Immigrant Community Empowerment
(NICE) is a cross-cultural, grassroots organiza-
tion that uses advocacy and public education
to ensure that new immigrants and all disen-
franchised New Yorkers are self- empowered so
that they are informed, active and influential in
civic and governmental affairs. Responsibili-
ties 1. Identify, organize and manage a local
coalition of people, advocates, service
providers, elected officials and stakeholders to
advance the Government Access & Account-
ability Campaign. 2. Maintain regular contact
with elected officials and other opinion-lead-
ers. 3. Regularly report Campaign develop-
ments and activities to all stakeholders. 4.
Work with Executive Director to implement
ongoing evaluation of programs and program
development. 5. Organize and manage rallies,
letter writing and other grassroots campaigns.
Qualifications 1. Self motivated and self-
starter is a must. 2. Strong interest in immi-
grant affairs and New York City politics. 3.
Strong personal presence; with good public
speaking and written communication skills. 4.
Initiative and ability to develop and build con-
sensus both internally and externally for
strategies that advance the interests of the
coalition. 5. Ability to work in a variety of envi-
ronments and with a diverse population. 6.
Conversational skills in Spanish preferred.
Compensation: 25,000/year with 2 weeks
vacation. Start Date: April 2003. If interested,
please send resume to: Citizens Committee for
New York City c/o New Immigrant Community
Empowerment 305 7th Avenue, 15th floor New
York, NY 10001 Fax: 212-989-0983 Email:
GRAPHIC DESIGNER - We are seeking an
experienced, creative graphic designer to pro-
duce a wide variety of campaign and corporate
material, presentations, web sites. Labor or
political campaign experience a plus. Ability to
handle many projects under deadline is a
must. Please respond to
Supported Housing Residence is seeking a
Masters Degreed person with recent experience
serving population with HIV Disease with Sub-
stance Abuse and persistent mental health
issues. This position requires a high level of
energy and commitment with superior com put-
er skills. EnglishlSpanish bi-lingual would be
a major plus. We offer an above average salary
and a compatible package of benefits. Please
forward resume and cover letter which must
state salary required to: Bob Raphael , Clover
Hall , 333 Kosciusko Street, Brooklyn, NY
11221 of by fax to 718-602-9107.
Responsible for assisting clients/residents with
functioning as independently as possible in a
supportive housing and/or congregate housing
environment. This position works closely with
case managers/family case managers and
implements service plans that are related to
client/resident acquisition of independent liv-
ing skills and activities of daily living. Provide
hands-on training, coaching and support, and
opportunities for practicing skills to clientslres-
idents that result in higher housing retention
rates for clients/residents. BA + minimum 4
years experience assisting clients with special
needs or served as health aid, occupational
therapist, etc. Bilingual-Spanish/English.
Excellent communication skills oraVwritten. We
offer competitive salaries, comprehensive ben-
efits package (medical/dental insurance,
life/disability insurance, pension plan, five
weeks vacation). Please submit resume/cover
letter e-mail:, mail: Bailey
House, Inc. 275 Seventh Avenue, NY NY
10001 Attention: Human Resources, or Fax:
212-414-1431. Bailey House, Inc. is an Equal
Opportunity Employer.
form part of the training team, providing job
readiness/attitudinal training during four-week
workshop. Applicant must be mature, have pro-
fessional attitude and appearance, possess
teaching skil ls, be aggressive when necessary,
be eager to learn, work well under pressure and
possess basic office skills. Applicants should
send a cover letter with salary requirements
and a resume to: Rafael Agosto, STRIVE, 240
East 123dr Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY
10035, Phone: 212-360-1100, Fax: 212-360-
5634, email
LEAD ORGANIZER - The New York Unemploy-
ment Project seeks an experienced organizer to
organize the expansion and maintenance of a
dues paying membership base in the suburban
metropolitan New York area (Westchester, Nas-
sau, Suffolk). NYUP seeks an intelligent, hard-
working, and highly motivated individual who
is strongly committed to building a movement
for the poor and unemployed by organizing the
unorganized. Responsibilities: Meet and devel-
op relationships with unemployed and low-
wage New York residents through canvassing
at job training centers, job fairs, CBO's and
check cashing centers. Build and maintain
cohesive local organizing committees of dues-
paying unemployed New York City residents
through constant contact, education and orga-
nizing. Build and maintain politically conscious
base of community-based dues-paying mass
membership body. Educate and inspire unem-
ployed and low-wage New Yorkers to fight back
for jobs and income to survive. Plan actions
that build power for unemployed New Yorkers
and build leadership among the organizing
committee's members. Qualifications: 1-3
years experience in bottom-up community or
labor organizing. Valid New York driver's
license. (Car preferred). Ability to communicate
well , both verbally and in writing; Ability to
establish close relationships with people from
different cultural and economic backgrounds;
Ability to pay thorough attention to details; Will-
ingness to work hard and put in long hours;
Interest and dedication to leadership develop-
ment and member education as a core organiz-
ing strategy. Preferably - ability to speak anoth-
er language (in addition to English), especially
one of the following: Spanish, Cantonese, Man-
darin, Haitian Creole, Russian, Bengali , or Pol-
ish. Salary: DOE. This is a bargaining unit posi-
tion. Excellent union health, life and dental
insurance. Send resume and cover letter to:
Lead Organizer Search New York Unemployment
Project 50 Broadway New York, NY 10004 NYUP
is an equal opportunity, affirmative action
employer. Women, people of color, the disabled,
lesbians and gay men, and people of transgen-
dered experience are encouraged to apply.
Assembly Housing Committee seeks motivated
self-starter to work in busy district office.
Responsibilities include: 1) Assisting con-
stituents and community groups 2) Organizing
community coalitions 3) Representing member
at meetings 4) Performing office related duties
Must have a BA. Spanish not required, but a
plus. MSWs strongly encouraged to apply.
Starting salary $35,000. Fax Resumes to:
(718) 963-6942. No calls.
MSW CASE MANAGER - ACS funded Preven-
tive Services Program seeks MSW Case Worker
to manage children and families in neighbor-
hood based child abuse neglect prevention
program in Harlem. 2 years exp preferable.
37+k Please fax resumes to 212-690-4794 or
email to: or, Attention: Judith Butler-
McPhie, Senior Vice President.
sive, social services agency in NYC serving
immigrant population is seeking experienced
MSW Casework Supervisor. 3 years supervisory
experience. Knowledge of Child Welfare regula-
tions. Excellent English communication skills.
Computer proficiency. Arabic-speaking a plus.
E-mail resumes to: or fax to:
718-643-8167 or mail to: AAFSC 150 Court
Street, Third Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone:
718-643-8000 X 22
MSW PROGRAM DIRECTOR - Preventive ser-
vice program seeks MSW to direct ACS funded
program in Harlem. Successful candidate must
be an effective administrator with 2-3 exp as
supervisor. $55K. Please fax resumes to: 212-
690-4794 or email to or, Attention: Judith Butler-
McPhie, Senior Vice President.
ORGANIZER - NYS Tenants & Neighbors
seeks organizer to work with tenants in at-risk
state and federally subsidized buildings.
Fax/send cover letter to: Andrea Foley, 105
Washington Street, 2nd Floor, NYC 10006. Fax:
212-619-7476. Email:
ORGANIZER - Wanted for innovative labor
organizing project at ACORN (Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now).
Applicants must be willing to work long
hours and have a strong commitment to
social and economic justice. Send resumes
to or call Katie at
718-246-7900 x250.
Army is seeking a Program Accountant to do all
aspects of accounting for a homeless shelter.
2-4 years experience and a BS required. Non-
profit and JD Edwards experience a plus. Fax
resume to Tim Ditmer 212-337-7412.
PROGRAM ANALYST - needed to evaluate
program data, conduct research and write
reports to funders. Minimum BA and one-year
experience, preferably in a nonprofit setting.
Fax cover letter (include job code CLYB36),
resume and salary requirements to 718-707-
3315 or email EOE/AA.
PROGRAM DIRECTOR - The Citizens Advice
Bureau (CAB) is a large, multi-service non-
profit serving the Bronx for more than 30 years.
The agency provides a broad range of individ-
ual and family services, including walk-in
assistance and counseling, services to spe-
cial-need populations, such as immigrants,
children, adolescents, seniors, homeless fami-
lies and singles, individuals and families
affected by HIV/AIDS. CAB provides excellent
benefits and offers opportunities for advance-
ment. Resumes and cover letters indicating
position may be mailed to 2054 Morris Ave.
Bronx, NY 10453, or faxed as directed. Hei ghts
Senior Center seeks a Program Director. The
position requires a master's degree in Social
Work, Gerontology of Human Services field with
at least one year supervisory or administrative
experience preferably with the aged; or a bach-
elor's degree with three years experience in
social services or human services field with
one year supervisory or administrative experi-
ence preferably with the aged. Responsibilities
include overall administration of the center
including planning program activities, fiscal
management, evaluating program goals,
supervising staff, ensuring safety and code
compliance and managing food service
requirements as per the NYC Department for
Aging's performance standards and guide-
lines, and maintaining relationships with the
external community. Fax credentials to V.
Vazquez at (718) 590-5866 or e-mail to CAB is an equal opportu-
nity /affirmative action employer.
PROGRAM DIRECTOR - New Destiny Housing
Corporation, a citywide nonprofit housing
group providing housing and services to
domestic violence survivors, is seeking a
Director for its HousingLink Program. Director
will implement a training program for advo-
cates and shelter residents on permanent
housing options and subsides; identify and
clarify housing policies and procedures by
building relationships within key agencies;
provide technical assistance to domestic vio-
lence survivors and advocates; provide staff
support for the housing agenda of a coalition
of residential service providers; maintain web-
site providing housing resource information.
Qualifications: Masters Degree preferred,
knowledge of Section 8 and NYCHA housing
required, ability to negotiate bureaucracies,
strong advocacy skills, excellent writing and
speaking skills, high level of motivation.
Position available in May 2003. Competitive
salary commensurate with experience, excel -
lent benefits. Email cover letter and resume
to or fax to
PROJECT DIRECTOR - Responsible for man-
aging day-to-day operations of workforce
development program, ensuring coordination
and quality of services, staff supervision, data
management and data analysis, report writ-
ing, fund raising, and maintaining relation-
ships with partners. BA. (MA. preferred), mini-
mum 5+ yrs experience in: workforce develop-
ment; project management; grantwriting, data
management and analysis, and supervising
staff. Must also have excellent problem-
solving and communication (both written and
oral) , organizational and time management,
and computer skills, including Microsoft Excel
and Access. Competitive salary and benefits.
EOE. Submit resume, cover letter and writing
sample to: WomenRising, Inc. , ATTN: JEB, 270
Fairmount Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306 or
fax: 201-333-9305. Only complete applica-
tions considered. No phone calls.
UHAB, a citywide co-op housing nonprofit,
seeks a full time employee to manage a Healthy
Homes Demonstration Project Grant from HUD.
The project will research and develop design
guidelines and construction specifications for
the elimination and/or control of lead,
asbestos, molds, roaches, rats, mice, other
pests and other allergens and toxins associat-
ed with asthma. The specifications and guide-
lines will also incorporate cost effective mea-
sures for "green building" and high perfor-
mance building practices, as well as energy
and water conservation. These specifications
and practices will be used initially in all con-
struction undertaken by UHAB and offered to
other affordable housing developers. location:
UHAB's main office at 120 Wall Street. Qualifi-
cations: The successful candidate must be an
innovative self-starter who is able to demon-
strate that he or she has extensive knowledge
and experience of design and rehabilitation
techniques, excellent technical writing, graphic
and computer skills, and the ability to develop
and sustain networks of expert colleagues in
support of innovative projects. An applicant
should also have familiarity with "healthy
buildings", high performance buildings, build-
ing science, green buildings, energy conserva-
tion and related fields. Salary: $40,000 +
depending upon qualifications and experience.
Application: Send a letter and resume to:
UHAB, 120 Wall Street, 20th Floor, New York,
NYI0005, Fax: 212-344-6457, E-mail: More Info:
Small progressive and fun social issues PR
firm seeks forward thinking, motivated Publi-
cist/ Senior Account Manager with 3-5 years
social issues experience. Must be a hardcore
pitcher and a strong multi-tasker. Salary com-
mensurate with experience. Send resume with
cover letter and salary requirements to Andrea
Trent by fax at 212-245-1889 or by email to
non-profit public interest publisher located
in Soho, seeks a Publicity Assistant. Respon-
sibilities include writing press materials,
coordinating publicity mailings, booking
author interviews, and maintaining publicity
database. We are looking for an energetic,
highly organized and computer-literate col-
lege grad with strong written and oral com-
munication skills. Attention to detail and
ability to meet deadlines, work independent-
ly and handle multiple projects essential.
Candidates of color are strongly encouraged
to apply. EOE. Excellent benefits. Send cover
letter with salary requirements and resume
via email to: Publicity Director, The New
Press: or via
fax t0212.629- 8617. No phone calls, please.
REAL ESTATE ASSDCIATE - Real Estate devel-
oper/builder headquartered in Trenton, NJ
seeking Associate to assist in acquisition and
development. Sites throughout New York and
New Jersey. Must be a self- starter with com-
puter skills. Fax cover letter, resume and salary
requirements to 718-983-7078.
SECRETARY - The Salvation Army seeks a
secretary to assist the Director of Programs
and Director of Finance and Administration
with daily requests. From handwritten drafts
or verbal instructions, types or otherwise pre-
pares a variety of letters, memos, forms, and
reports. Prepares and types Minutes. Must be
fluent in MS Office applications, lotus Notes
and able to handle web-based research.
Update and maintain Department Document
Tracking System for all non Human Resources
Divisional Finance Council requests. Main-
tains the database for all Corps, Corp Officers
and Community Workers. High School Diplo-
ma and three years experience working in an
office environment. Prompt, courteous phone
manner, and flexible. Fax cover letter and
resume to Gopika Desai - Human Resources
Manager 212-337-7279.
SECURITY DFFICERS - Convent Avenue Fam-
ily Living Center seeks four (4) Security Offi-
cers. General responsibilities: Under supervi-
sion of the Security Supervisor and/or Director
will monitor residents, staff and visitors, con-
duct patrols of property and facility to assure
the safe operation of the facility in accordance
with Convent Avenue Family Living Center's
Policies and Procedures. Qualifications: High
School Diploma/GED. One (1) to 2 years prior
security or law enforcement experience. Strong
interpersonal skills. Good Writing skills. Salary
$8.75. Please fax resume with cover letter to:
Convent Avenue Family Living Center, ATTN:
Adrian Check, 456 West 129th Street, New
York, NY 10027, fax 212-865-8471.
Family Living Center seeks two (2) Security
Supervisors. General responsibilities: Under
supervision of the Security Director and/or
Director, will monitor residents, staff and visi-
tors, conduct patrols of property and facility to
assure the safe operation of the facility in
accordance with Convent Avenue Family Living
Center's Policies and Procedures. Qualifica-
tions: High School Diploma/GED. One (1) to 2
years prior security or law enforcement experi-
ence. Strong interpersonal skills. Good writing
skills. Fire Safety Training Certificate +. Salary:
$8.75 - $9.90lhr. Please fax resume with cover
letter to: Convent Avenue Family Living Center,
ATTN: Adrian Check, 456 West 129th Street,
New York, NY 10027, fax: 212-865-8471.
Living Center seeks a Senior Case Manager.
General Responsibilities: Under supervision,
identifies, develops and implements social
services programs for homeless families.
Qualifications: Be able to manage, assist and
organize people of all ages and diverse back-
grounds. Knowledge of entitlements, housing
and transitional housing code of conduct and
regulations; be sensitive to the needs of others
and maintain confidentiality; strong writing
skills mandatory; crisis intervention and stress
management skill+, Bilingual+. BA or AA
degree; High school Diploma/GED with 1 to 3
years experience working with homeless popu-
lation. Please fax resume with cover letter to:
Convent Avenue Family Living Center, Attn:
Danielle Cato, 456 West 129th Street, New
York, NY 10027, Fax 212-865-8471.
Work with communications and development
directors to ensure cohesion in publications,
advertising and web activities; assist in
design of multi-media nationwide communi-
cations initiatives; supervises youth outreach
program coordinator. Bachelor of Arts in rele-
vant field; at least 10 years experience includ-
ing news media; ability to devise effective
communications strategies, strong journalistic
writing and editing skills, print and video pro-
duction skills. Reply to ACLU Human
ResourceslSCS, 125 Broad Street-18th Floor,
New York, NY 10004.
- Westhab, Westchester County's largest
non-profit housing development corporation
seeks a skilled individual to assist the VP in
securing government and/or private financing
for the acquisition and construction of residen-
tial and mixed-use projects serving low/mod-
erate income households. Responsibilities
include the preparation of project development
and operating proformas as well as funding
applications for government programs. MS or
equivalent and experience with emphasis in
government funded housing programs and
real estate finance required. Excellent writ-
ten/verbal/computer skills a must. Send
resume/salary history to Dir. Human
Resources, Westhab, 85 Executive Blvd., Elms-
ford, NY 10523, Fax 914-345-3139. OR.
SDCIAL WDRKER - Brooklyn family social
services center seeks Social Worker to provide
individual, group & family counseling. Bilin-
gual in English-Spanish, MSW and experience
working with families. More at
Email resume - or Fax to
SDCIAL WDRKER MSW - A Union-based inno-
vative legal services program seeks MSW.
Social work staff provides individual & group
services, crisis intervention, SIT counseling,
information & referral, advocacy, indiv/fam
assessment. Some court appearances & home
visits. Req: CSW; exp working w/groups and
welfare advocacy; Bi -lingual, SpanishlEnglish
preferred. Sal: $30,549/ $46,119, depending on
expo Excel fringe benefits. Send resumelietter:
DC 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services,
125 Barclay St, Room 1008. NY 10007. EOE
SPRING INTERN - The Events and Operat-
J-51 Tax Abatement/Exemption 421A and 421B
Applications 501 (c) (3) Federal Tax Exemptions All forms
of government-assisted housing, including LlSC/Enterprise,
Section 202, State Turnkey and NYC Partnership Homes
Attorneys at Law
Eastchester, N.Y.
Phone: (914) ~ 7 1
Social Work Interns are available to help YOU!
Assistech Provides:
Approved supervision for New
York City MSW students
Assistance arranging student
placement at your agency
www.assistech.i nfo
MAY 2003
P.O. Box 57
NYC, NY 10276
Expert Real Estate Services - once
available only to major corporations and
institutions -
(845) 5661267
Now offered to NYC's Non-Profits ...
at no outot-pocket cost,
or at specially reduced rates.
Visit our web site:
Call for a free, no-obligation consultation.
In the summer of 2004,
Republican Convention delegates
from all over America will visit
New York City, many of them for
the first time.
PLAN NQ 2004-R
Given the serious possibility of
ongoing war protests, what can we
do to preserve the peace and make
our guests feel at home at the same
\ \\

120 WALL ST., 20
FLOOR, NY NY 10005
ootcv@ ' its.
tions Department of Bryant Park Restoration
Corporation, the company that manages the
award-winning Bryant Park in Midtown Man-
hattan, is seeking a Spring intern (paid posi-
tion). Valuable experience in urbanism and
arts management will be gained. The quali-
fied candidate, a college student, will be pro-
ficient in Microsoft Office, able to navigate the
Internet, and have an excellent command of
the English language. We seek an intelligent
self-starter with excellent communication
skills. You need to be serious, outgoing and
motivated. Expect unusual hours. Responsi-
bilities of the internship include participating
in the day-to-day management of events in
the park, as well as a variety of office duties
and research in the field. Email your resume
with short cover letter to Jerome Barth at: or fax to the same at
STAFF ASSOCIATE - Program serving higher
education needs of union members seeks
Associate to maintain database, prepare sta-
tistical reports and student portfolios, conduct
orientations, group counseling, application fol -
low-up, and CUNY/ACT test scheduling. Must
have program administration and/or counsel-
ing experience, people skills, MS Office profi-
ciency, BA. Salary $28,943.00- 30,102.00. Fax
cover letter/resume to 718-997-3069.
STAFF ATTORNEY - Non-profit women's legal
org., seeks attorney with 3+ yrs litigation expo
in family/matrimonial law. Attorney responsi-
ble for training and mentoring volunteer attor-
neys. Applicant needs excellent organizational ,
interpersonal and communication skills. Bil in-
gual (SpanishlEnglish) preferred. Sal. DOE.
Excellent benefits. Apply to: Director of Legal
Program, at or
Fax 212-695-9519.
STAFF ATTORNEY - Requires 2-3 years expe-
rience in family law and criminal law. Experi-
ence with domestic violence legal issues nec-
essary. Practice in immigration, housing
and/or public benefits law helpful. Experience
supervising staff /students necessary. Span-
ish a plus. Salary: 50's DOE. Excellent bene-
fits. EOE. Resume & cover letter to or Fax 212-683-0016.
JECT - Primary focus on government's post-
9/11 policies affecting immigrants; responsi-
ble for federal court litigation on behalf of
immigrants and refugees; litigation back-up;
policy advocacy. At least two years litigation
experience; commitment to immigrants' rights;
excellent analytic, writing, and oral skills; will-
ingness to travel. Reply to ACLU Immigrants'
Rights Project, 405 14th Street, Suite 300,
Oakland, CA 94612.
SUPERVISING ATTORNEY - Attorney with five
years demonstrated civil litigation experience in
public benefits, including social security law,
family law or housing. Excellent research and
writing skills. Bilingual English/Spanish help-
ful. Must be admitted to practice in NY State.
Salary commensurate with experience. Resume
writing sample and three references to Shirley
Traylor, Harlem Legal Services, 55 West 125 St.
NY, NY 10027, email fax:
to work transition program for teens 15-21
with mental illness. Remedial Ed, GED prep,
small group instruction. Team approach, pro-
fessional environment. 12-month position
camp sal & benes. Fax resume to: ICD HR 212-
585-6262. EOE.
TEAM LEADER - HELP USA, a homeless hous-
ing provider seeks qualified candidate to lead
an interdisciplinary team. Must have the abili-
ty to coordinate 3 case managers with a case-
load of 63 clients, ensuring support services
and weekly contacts are provided to families.
Provide individual supervision, crisis interven-
tion and support to the team and Case Man-
agers; and ensure that protocols and regula-
tions are adhered to by the counseling staff.
MSW (preferred) or related degree and comput-
er literacy required. Must have min 2 years
supervisory exp; and clinical as well as case
management expo Salary starts mid $30s. For-
ward resume to Tabitha Newkirk-Gaffney,
Director of Social Services at fax 718-485-
5916 or Email EOE. A
drug free workplace.
Income Investment Fund (UIF), a dynamic
non- profit financial organization, seeks a
Vice President for its national programs. This
senior level position reports to the President
and will be responsible for planning, coordi-
nating and managing LlIF's programs and
funds that support these programs. This indi-
vidual will also provide visionary leadership
by developing and implementing new pro-
grams in response to needs within the com-
munities that LlIF serves. He/She will oversee
all aspects of program creation, administra-
tion, budget management and associated
fund raising. The ideal candidate will have
demonstrated skills, knowledge and experi-
ence in strategic planning, community devel-
opment, real estate finance, financial analy-
sis and underwriting. Successful candidate
will possess a masters degree or equivalent
experience in business administration,
finance, real estate, community or economic
development, or related field and at least ten
years of senior management experience in
community development. Strong time man-
agement skills, the ability to direct and moti-
vate others, a talent for coordinating work in
a way that respects deadlines, and a genuine
personal commitment to LlIF's mission are
also essential. Qualified candidates should
send a cover letter including salary require-
ments and resume to: HR, Low Income Invest-
ment Fund, 1330 Broadway, Suite 600, Oak-
land, CA 94612 or via email to
EOE. No calls please.
WRITER - Creative, versatile writer needed
for busy communications department to write
copy for a variety of materials (magazine,
leaflets, brochures) as well as coordinate pro-
duction. Labor or political campaign experi -
ence a plus. Send resume and writing samples
neys/Gramercy Residence is a home to 25 Gay,
Bisexual , Transgender and Questioning Adoles-
cents in the foster care system. We are cur-
rently looking for Youth Counselors on a full
time and per diem basis. Full benefits pack-
ages and salary based on education and expe-
rience. Knowledge of GLBTQ issues, ACS/Foster
Care or Spanish a +. Applicants should fax
their resumes to the attention of Elliot Miley -
Assistant Youth Counselor Director @ (212)
Reach 20,000 readers in the nonprofit sector
Advertise in CITY LIMITS!
MAY 2003
For more information, call Susan Harris at 212-479-3345.
We have been providing low-cost insurance programs and
and other NONPROFIT organizations for over 15 years.
We Offer:
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146 West 29th Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10001
(212) 279-8300 FAX 714-2161 Ask for: Bola Ramanathan
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o I would like 10 make a donation of
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