Tag Archives: City Limits

Times Gives Some Ink to NYCHA Pummeling …

14 Aug

The New York Times, silent for weeks while the Daily News took aim at the New York City Housing Authority for sitting on top of millions of dollars in federal funds while thousands of deteriorating, mold-infested apartments are left unattended, finally gave the issue some ink on its editorial page today.

As Bronx Matters pointed out in a previous post, a thorough City Limits investigation into the city’s reliance on private consultants — including Boston Consulting Group , the one NYCHA head John Rhea hired for a review of his agency and previously worked for himself — was first to declare that the city paid big bucks for a review of the public housing agency but hadn’t released it to the public.

It’s not too late for the Daily News to tip its hat toward City Limits.

NYCHA’s Information Lockdown, and Giving Credit Where It’s Due

25 May

First things first … The Daily News reported the other day on the New York City Housing Authority’s $10 million contract with the private firm Boston Consulting Group, which NYCHA is keeping under lock and key, and the fact that the agency’s chief used to work for BCG. It’s an important story and great it’s getting more ink, but the paper failed to acknowledge that City Limits broke all aspects of this story back in their November issue along with their excellent wide-ranging investigation into the tremendous spike in private consultants retained by the Bloomberg administration. It’s called: “Beyond City Time: When private firms take on public work, there’s more than money at risk.”

Failure of the dailies and other big news outlets to credit smaller ones that broke stories first is chronic. In my 17 years as Norwood News editor, it was a never-ending (and unsuccessful) battle to get big papers and broadcast outlets like Bronx News 12 to credit us for stories they picked up from us. Instead they regularly used Bronx community papers as a wire service but without credit or compensation. It was nice to see Arthur Brisbane, The New York Times’ public editor, address this in his column last Sunday. He made an excellent case for how unfair it was for The Times to run their investigation of lax prosecution of sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox community without crediting the smaller weeklies like Jewish Week and the Jewish Daily Forward who did dogged, ongoing reporting of the issue long before the Times got to it.  We need to keep up the drumbeat. Like the stonewalling public agencies that all good journalists try to hold accountable, the bigger outlets won’t change their arrogant ways until we all direct some of that sunlight on them.

OK, that said, back to the critical issue at hand: NYCHA forked over $10M of NYC taxpayer cash to BCG to examine the agency’s growing problems but they won’t let the public see it. This is not some abstract wonkish policy endeavor. NYCHA is way behind on repairs of apartments in desperate conditions where residents’ health and well-being are at stake. If there’s any information in that report indicating how that can be reversed, and even if there isn’t, the public has the right to know. We all paid for it after all.

Yesterday, The Daily News (yes, we’ll credit them despite the above lamentations, because it’s the right thing to do) reported on Bronx residents of NYCHA buildings threatening to sue the Bloomberg administration for the backlog in repairs. The Bronx Documentary Center in Melrose also had a stirring, moving photo exhibit a couple of months ago illustrating how conditions at nearby NYCHA buildings are undermining the health of residents young and old in the local projects.

Bottom line: The lockdown of public information (which is something of a theme in Bronx Matters this week) harms the public. We should all do what we can to set it free.

Tom Robbins & Jordan Moss Discuss City Limits ‘Phantom Landlord’ Investigation on BronxTalk

25 Apr

Investigative reporter Tom Robbins and I were on BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank on Monday to discuss the “Phantom Landlord” investigation we did with Tom’s students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in City Limits. Click here to watch.

The show is also re-broadcast throughout the week on Cablevision channel 67 and Verizon FIOS 33 at 9 p.m.

—Jordan Moss

A Headstone for Jashawn Parker

2 Apr

A memorial poster for Jashawn Parker (Photo: Jacqueline Vergara)

Those of you who read “The Phantom Landord” investigation in City Limits know that Jashawn Parker is the boy who died in an electrical fire in his family’s apartment on DeKalb Avenue in Norwood in 2002. As I wrote in one article for the package, Paul Parker, Jashawn’s dad, took a little while to find the gravesite in the cemetery when we drove him up there, because it is not marked with a headstone. The family couldn’t afford it.

The Bronx Jewish Community Council, which helped advocate for tenants early on in their battle at 3569 DeKalb, has graciously agreed to set up a fund to raise the money for a headstone, which will be about $1,200. To donate, you can make a check out to Bronx Jewish Community Council (just write “Jashawn Parker” in the memo line) and mail to: Sally Dunford, Bronx Jewish Community Council, 3176 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467. Donations are tax deductible.

If enough money is raised, a headstone can be put in place by the 10th anniversary of Jashawn’s death on Aug. 6. Thanks for whatever you can do.

Here’s a link to a terrific video interview with Paul Parker about his son. It was produced by Jacqueline Vergara, one of the excellent CUNY Graudate School of Journalism students who were involved in the investigation.

—Jordan Moss

How Can Future Palazzolos Be Stopped? City Limits Investigation Subject of Lehrer Show This Morning

30 Mar

The City Limits investigation into “Phantom Landlord” Frank Palazzolo is the subject of the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC this morning at 10 a.m. (93.9 FM and 820 AM). As I’ve previously written on Bronx Matters, this investigation began in 2002 when 8-year-old Jashawn Parker died in a building fire on DeKalb Avenue in Norwood. While the Norwood News (where I was editor) covered that and many related stories for almost 2 years back then, we only scratched the surface of Palazzolo’s impact on almost 100 buildings throughout the borough, not to mention his stifling of Bronx housing organizing via a lawsuit. I always kept the files on my shelf hoping that we’d have the time and staff to get back to it. Fast forward to last fall when Tom Robbins, his students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and I embarked on the City Limits investigation. Tune in if you can. These are critical issues affecting hundreds of thousands of Bronxites who rent apartments, not to mention the rest of the city. If you have thoughts, questions, or concerns about your own building, please comment here. Thanks.

UPDATE: Here’s the link for the segment.

-Jordan Moss

Teacher Ratings Public, but Not for Cops and Firefighters

28 Feb

This article in City Limits is a year old, but it couldn’t be more relevant now that the NYC public school teacher ratings have been made public. The performance records of cops, correction officers and firefighters cannot be released to the public thanks to the section of a state law that emanates from a 1970s trial in Broome County. The state’s Committee on Open Government (a state agency created by the Freedom of Information Law) has recommended that this law be changed, City Limits reports.