Sie sind auf Seite 1von 40

JUN( 2000 $2.

9~

A
-0
a
....
a
-0
~
~
o-
a
I'-
~
~
I'-
a
Playing Politics
With Children
f
orgive me, patient reader; for asking you to spend any more of your life thinking
about a certain Cuban boy. But Mayor Giuliani has no right to the last word on
what's right for a child.
The mayor's piquant speech condemning the federal raid to retrieve Elian Gonzalez
was not a surprise. It was a dress rehearsal for the job he surely wants more than New
York's Senate seat: Janet Reno's. In typical form, he played up the local angle. "New
York City safely removes 12,000 children each year without a single gun drawn,"
Giuliani pronounced. "We don't use machine guns; we don't use people dressed up in
war armament."
And the cops don't make scary monster faces when they take the kids, either. The
mayor deliberately avoids the real issue: A large proportion of the children the city
removes from their parents and puts infoster care should never have been taken in the
first place.
Abused children are in immediate danger; and police inteiference is essential to
keeping them safe. But as I note this month in "Mommy Nearest," only one in nine chil-
dren in foster care are there for abuse. The rest have been taken because their parents
allegedly neglected their children. That means they are charged with failing to provide
adequate housing, food, adult attention, or medical care, get them to school, keep the
children or their home clean, or otherwise provide basic amenities.
Unchecked neglect can be devastating to children. But just as destructive is remov-
ing them from their parents in cases where the problem is not deliberate mistreatment
but poverty. Mayor Giuliani should not be bragging about the city's prowess in taking
kids away. When a child is taken for neglect, it often marks the failure of the city to help
find resources or workable alternatives, or to understand parenting styles that don't
pass Dr. Spock's muster.
What the city leaves behind is a legacy of scarred children, who will wonder for the
rest of their lives what their parents have done wrong and why they have abandoned
them.
To its credit, the Administration for Children's Services has begun to see its first
responsibility as protecting children before anything happens. It remains to be seen how
effectively that bureaucracy can make that work on the front lines. But until New York
has a mayor who will brag about how few, not how many, children his administration
takes away from their homes, the city will have its Elians-not one, but thousands.
Cover photo by Joshua Zuckerman
Alyssa Katz
Editor
City Limits relies on the generous support of its readers and advertisers, as well as the following funders: The Adco
Foundation. The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. The Hite Foundation, The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter
Rock. The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. The Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation. The Scherman Foundation. The North Star
Fund, J.P. Morgan & Co. Incorporated. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Booth Ferris Foundation. The New York Community
Trust. The New York Foundation. The Taconic Foundation, Deutsche Bank, M& T Bank, Citibank, and Chase Manhattan Bank.
(ity Limits
Volume XXV Number 6
City Limits is published ten times per year. monthly except
bi-monthly issues in July/August and September/October. by
the City Limits Community Information Service. Inc .. a non-
profit organization devoted to disseminating information
concerning neighborhood revitali zation.
Publisher: Kim Nauer
Associate Publ isher: Anita Gutierrez
Editor: Alyssa Katz
Senior Editors: Sajan P. Kuriakos. Kathleen McGowan
Associ ate Editor: Annia Ciezadlo
Contributing Editors: James Bradley. Wendy Davis.
Michael Hirsch
Intern: Naush Boghossian
Design Direction: Hope Forstenzer
Proofreader: Sandy Socolar
Photographers: Mireya Acierto. Gregory P. Mango.
Spencer Platt. Joshua Zuckerman
Center for an Urban Future:
Director: Neil Kleiman
Research Director: Jonathan Bowles
Family Desk Director: Shalini Ahuja
Board of Directors':
Beverly Cheuvront, New York City Coalition Against Hunger
Ken Emerson
Mark Winston Griffith, Central Brooklyn Partnership
Amber Hewins, Granta
Celia Irvine. Manhattan Borough President's Office
Francine Justa. Neighborhood Housing Services
Andrew Reicher. UHAB
Tom Robbins, Journalist
Makani Themba-Nixon. GRIPP
Pete Williams, National Urban League
'Affiliations for identification only.
Sponsors:
Pratt Institute Center for Community
and Environmental Development
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
Subscription rates are: for individuals and community
groups, $25/ 0ne Year. $39/Two Years; for businesses.
foundations, banks, government agencies and libraries,
$35/0ne Year, $50/Two Years. Low income. unemployed,
$1 O/ One Year.
City Limits welcomes comments and article contributions.
Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for return
manuscripts. Material in City Limits does not necessarily
reflect the opinion of the sponsoring organizations. Send
correspondence to: City Limits, 120 Wall Street, 20th Fl..
New York. NY 10005. Postmaster: Send address changes to
City Limits, 120 Wall Street. 20th Fl.. New York, NY 10005.
Subscriber complaints call: 1-800-783-4903
Periodical postage paid
New York. NY 10001
City Limits (lSSN 0199-03301
(2121479-3344
FAX (2121344-6457
e-mail : CL@citylimits.org
On the Web: www.citylimits.org
Copyright 2000. All Rights Reserved. No
portion or portions of this journal may be reprinted with-
out the express perrnission of the publishers.
City Limits is indexed in the Alternative Press
Index and the Avery Index to Architectural
Periodicals and is available on microfilm from University
Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.
JUNE 2000
FEATURES
Liu's Ends
John Liu is poised to become New York's first Asian
City Councilmember. Now all he has to do convince
fractured Flushing he's the one and only man for the job. By Sajan P. Kuriakos
Mommy Nearest
The city is launching a visionary plan to house foster kids in the
same neighborhoods they've been taken from. But for it to succeed,
foster parents will have to get more than grief for their trouble. By Alyssa Katz
After the Factory
Swingline was more than a neon sign over Queens. For the workers
who made staplers and staples there, it offered everything they
needed to get a foothold in New York. A year after it closed, many
are still struggling to find a job to call their own. By Daphne Evio.tar
PROFILE
Cops and Collars
After the Diallo verdict and Dorismond killing, a group of religious
leaders kept the peace among furious Bronx residents. Now they want
something in return: real community policing. By Jill Priluck
PIPELINES
The Last Place They'll Go ~
Unemployed and unable to work while caring for a sick husband,
Ellen Sorokina should be at the front of the line for housing assistance.
She's not. New rules say that working people get help first. By Zak Mucha
The Marshall Plan
An advocate for the elderly and mentally ill says she's doing clients a
favor by moving them to supervised homes. There's just one problem:
she's supposed to be preventing their eviction. By Elise Labott
Cityview
Deadly Silence
Book Review
Union City
Spare Change
BoEhoo!
Editorial
Letters
Briefs
COMMENTARY
DEPARTMENTS
2
Job Ads
4
Professional
5 Directory
129
By Jill Nelson
130
By Keith Meatto
138
32
35
-
'.
NANCY
HARDY
Insurance
Broker
Specializing in
Community
Development
Groups,
HDFCs and
Nonprofits.
Low ... Cost
Insurance and
Quality Service.
Over 20 Years
of Experience.
270 North
Avenue, New
Rochelle, NY
10801
(914) 395 ... 0871
Need a Lawyer Who
Understands Nonprofits?
For 30 years, nonprofits have been choosing
Lawyers Alliance for legal help with contracts,
incorporation, tax, real estate and many other
critical issues. We're the number one provider of
free and low-cost business and transactional legal
services to community-based nonprofits in housing,
child care, economic development, education and
other areas vital to the quality oflife in New York's
neighborhoods.
Get the experienced legal help you need for your
nonprofit from Lawyers Alliance for N ew York.
For information, call 212 219-1800 x223 or visit
our website at www.lany.org.
330 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
212219-1800
www.lany.org
Lawyers Alliance
for New York
Building a Better New York
CITY LIMITS
Retirement
When llarry's Met City BaD
T
he many segments of mahogany paneling
that used to line the enormous restaurant
now lean against the stripped walls. A sea
of little round tables, reminiscent of those
in 1950s nightclubs, are clustered togeth-
er, plain and unappealing without the pristine white
tablecloths that once covered them. The floor is cov-
ered with white powdery plaster. And, surrounding
the entrance door, are the barely discernible imprints
of the gold-plated letters that once announced that
you had anived at Harry's Restaurant.
Actually, for a certain segment of New York
City's political deal-makers, lunch at Harry's in
the Woolworth Building simply announced that
you had anived.
Once the undisputed lunchtime and happy hour
spot for local politicos, lobbyists and businessmen,
Harry's has become one of the casualties of devel-
oper Steve Witkoff's grand plans for the Wool-
worth building, which he purchased in 1998. The
new owner reportedly has his eye on technology
companies to fill the vacant offices and has designs
JUNE 2000
to replace Harry's with a "world-class" restaurant.
But gourmands' gain is New York City govern-
ment's loss. Harry's thrived in the 1990s, serving
400 customers each day in the 1O,OOO-square-foot
dining area. "Harry's was a healthy extension of
City Hall," remembers Council Speaker Peter Val-
lone. "When I think of Harry's I think of all the
wonderful Council holiday celebrations we held
there and the lunches I hosted." "Anybody who is
anybody in that part of town ate there," agrees
Joyce Matz, a longtime player in city politics since
her days repping unions and Congressmen.
Mario Cascone, Harry's owner for the past
decade, was convinced he would make a fortune
with the restaurant. But when the Woolworth Cor-
pomtion unloaded the building in 1995 after filing
for bankruptcy, his business fell off. Disheartening
meetings with Witkoff prompted Cascone to offer
the developer the option to buy the restaurant. He
refused. Cascone claims after that point Witkoff
used scare tactics to push him out-for instance,
sending him $200-an-hour bills for air conditioning.
Finally, Cascone was handed an eviction notice
when his lease expired in December 1999. He fought
the eviction and was able to stay on a few more
months, until he closed his restaurant on March 3.
"I'm so angry, I can't wait to get out of here," he says,
his heavy Italian accent laced with frustmtion.
The unceremonious eviction has left a bitter
taste in 66-year-old Cascone's mouth, coming at
the twilight of a long and prosperous career in
restaurants. Even when business was at its lowest
point at Harry's, profits still exceeded $1 million.
''I'm angry with the situation, but I'm happy
with what I was able to achieve in this country, and
with the opportunity this country gave to me," says
Cascone, who moved to the u.S. in 1974. ''This
sour note does not nullify the good memories," he
adds. ''The people are beautiful, and I have a very
loyal and dear clientele." Cascone had planned to
pass Harry's on to his daughter Angelica, but
instead he is now helping her open her own restau-
rant downtown before he retires.
Veteran city councilmember and majority
leader Archie Spigner laments the closing of the
restaurant, which was his top choice for business
lunches. ''This is the last City Hall restaurant of
any longevity," says Spigner. '1t is, in fact, the end
of an era. The City Hall area is diminished by its
closing." -Naush Boghossian
w
Briem .......... --------........ --------------
s
Loisaida
Kulturkam
I
nside the Clemente
Soto Velez Cultural
Center, the muses
duke it out: two non-
profit culture groups
have been fighting for
control of this neo-
Gothic building at 107
Suffolk St. since May.
The Artist's Alliance,
made up of visual
artists who rent studios,
has gone on rent strike
against CSV, the
umbrella group of the-
ater companies that's in
charge of the building.
So far it's painters I,
theater 0: Last month
the novelist Ed Vega
stepped down as presi-
dent of CSv. Creative
differences aside, both
sides agree they don't
want to end up like
another nearby Latino-
run cultural center:
Charas/El Bohio, now
fighting off its new
owners.
Alliances
Working
Group
F
or Bronx job trainer Andy Van Kleunen,
success means helping an unemployed
person get the skills to start a promis-
ing, decently paid career, like being a
nurse's aide or construction worker.
Unfortunately for professionals like Van Kle-
unen, politicians now seem to think that success
merely means getting the unemployed into a
job-any job.
Fearful that new federal programs are pushing
the unemployed into poorly paid, unstable
McJobs, a coalition of job trainers has founded
the Workforce Alliance, a nationwide umbrella
group that will advocate for programs that provide
poor people with intensive skills training.
"We want to counter the sense that you find in
Congress that job training doesn't work," says
Van Kleunen of the Paraprofessional Healthcare

Institute, a health care and employment advocacy
group. "Many legislators have the idea that poor
people just need a swift kick in the pants, and then
they'll go get a job."
Van Kleunen, who helped found the new
alliance, says that employment professionals are
most concerned about the ongoing implementation
of the Workforce Investment Act, a 1998 federal law
that seeks to streamline and reform tangled job-
training money streams.
''The legislation was mostly shaped by politi-
cians, academics and business interests," says
Luke Weisberg of the Chicago Jobs Council,
another alliance founder. ''There was almost no
input from the professionals and organizations
who actually work on the ground with poor folks.
It took us by surprise." The Workforce Alliance is
hoping to make up for that, by influencing how
the act is put into effect on the local level.
The coalition's founders also fear that the
new law may cripple or even close small com-
munity-based job training organizations, which
will no longer receive steady federal contracts
but instead depend on an unpredictable voucher
system.
-Matt Pacenza
Bureaucracy
Deadly Delay
B
arrett Harrington, nicknamed "Sui-
cide" on Rikers Island, got out of
jail in May 1999. Although he suf-
fered from mood disorders, Harring-
ton, like other newly released prison-
ers, was given only a three-day supply of medica-
tion. Without health insurance or a job, he could-
n't get the drugs and psychiatric treatment he
needed.
Two months later, he finally accomplished
what he tried to do repeatedly since he got out
of jail-he hanged himself in his mother's
apartment.
Paradoxically, his mother points out, he may
have been better off if he'd stayed in jail, where
he could at least get psychiatric care. "The only
time he got treated seriously for a mental illness
was at Rikers," says his mother Susan Harring-
ton.
Instead, Harrington fell through the cracks in
New York State's social services law. By those
rules, anyone released from jail must wait at least
45 to 90 days before getting approved for Medic-
aid. While they wait, most ex-prisoners must rely
on community agencies to provide medication and
services.
Medicaid picks up the bill later on, but ex-pris-
oners must be diligent and persistent to get what
they need from these crowded clinics. "It's hard
enough for someone who is well," says Susan
Harrington.
The delay allows officials to make sure that the
applicant fits income guidelines, but for fragile
patients like Barrett Harrington the wait can be
deadly. His mother didn't get the letter approving
him for Medicaid benefits until five days after he
killed himself.
Mental health advocates explain that the cur-
rent policy allows the state to cut costs on medical
care. ''They derive savings by delaying the process
of getting ex -prisoners access to medications,"
says Joseph Glazer, president of the advocacy
group Mental Health Association in New York
State. The policy hasn't been updated since the
mid 1960s, adds Glazer: ''The problem is that
society has changed, but the system that governs it
has not."
Now, a group of mentally il1 people's fami-
lies and advocates are pushing the governor to
support a proposed new program that would
allow people with mental illness to have auto-
matic access to Medicaid as soon as they get out
of jail.
So far, the Senate and governor remain
adamantly opposed to the plan, and it has not been
included in next year's state budget.
-Naush Boghossian
CITVLlMITS
...... ----------.. -----------------Briem
IF I PICK UP THAT
BtAC.K GUY I'LL HAVE TO
GO TO BROOKLYN OR
THE BRONX OR WORSE-
HE'LLMU6 ME.!!
Toxic Clean-up
BigGreen
Brownout
I
f you clean it, they will build. The idea
behind the new state brownfields bill is that
well-written new rules for these contami-
nated plots of land will actually encourage
developers to clean up and build on former
industrial sites, especially those in poor urban
neighborhoods.
This bill was laboriously crafted by an unlikely
coalition of militant environmental justice activists,
developers, large foundations and banks. After two
years of what one environmentalist called "extreme-
ly painful, sometimes round-the-clock negotia-
tions," the compromises were hammered out, so that
looser clean-up standards could be applied to some
contaminated sites as long as they are being rede-
veloped for less sensitive projects like factories or
parking lots. Finally, in late March, Brooklyn
Assemblymember Vito Lopez introduced the com-
promise bill in the New York State Assembly.
There, it got torpedoed by the big greens. As
the bill began making the rounds, the Sierra Club,
the Citizens' Environmental Coalition and
NYPIRG fired off a salvo of letters to assembly
members, asking them not to sign on.
JUNE 2000

~
IF I DONT GET A CAB
SOON. SOME STUPID COP
IS GOING 1'0 THiNK I'M
A DRUC, DEALER
WORKING THlS CORNER!
IF I DON'T MAKE THIS
ARREST, I MIGHT MISS
MY aUOTAAND THEN
I'LL HAVE TO MOONLIGHT
AS A CABBIE. AGAlN!!
~
=
The Sierra Club's main complaint with the bill
is that it would weaken state Superfund regula-
tions by allowing new, more flexible standards for
contaminated plots of lands to be applied to some
of the dirtiest sites. John Stouffer, legislative
director of the Sierra Club's Atlantic Chapter, also
charged that the bill's monitoring provisions are
inadequate: "It's a toothless tiger-there's no real
threat behind the enforcement program."
. The move came as a shock to the bill's backers,
who had worked closely with some of the organiza-
tions that were now attacking it "Almost before it
was a bill, people were asking to sign on-and
meanwhile, the Sierra Club was going around trying
to get people not to!" fumes Lopez, who says the big
greens never contacted him with their objections.
Statistics
Bill supporters counter that its restrictions will keep
developers from abusing the looser standards.
According to environmental lawyer Michael
B. Gerrard, author of a two-volume survey of
brownfields laws nationwide, if looser standards
mean more sites get cleaned up the compromise is
worth it
"Is the question, does brownfields legislation
mean that sites will be cleaned up to lower stan-
dards than they would otherwise?" he asks. "Or
does it mean that sites that wouldn't get cleaned
otherwise will be cleaned up? I believe that the lat-
ter is the real issue. All things being equal, clean-
er is usually better. Inaction and continuing ignor-
ing the problem is the real curse."
-Annia Ciezadlo
What's the most useful job skill that welfare clients are
now learning? How to struggle with bureaucracy.
WELFARE TO
WRASSLE
According to stats recently released by the Independent
Budget Office, only 29 percent ofthe people on welfare in the
city were working or doing work assignments as of December 1999.
Instead, almost as many clients-a full 22 percent-were in the midst oftighting with the wel-
fare administration to get their benefits restored. Other city data shows that of the disputes that
go to hearing, only 18 percent get decided in favor of the welfare department.
Welfare rec:ipients usually get their benefits cut when they fail to show up for ajob or workfare,
but many complain that the welfare agency often cuts people oft' arbitrarily.
-Kathleen McGowan

PROFILE
Rev. Hillary
Gaston and
pastor Charles
Kavanagh of the
Bronx Clergy
Task Force are
using t hei r clout
with the NYPD
to ask for some
changes.
:M
Cops and Collars
Clergy keeping the peace in the Bronx want a reward: the return of community policing.
By Jill Priluck
B
ronx borough command had given
the nod several weeks beforehand.
Deputy Police Chief Thomas V.
Dale would appear that Tuesday morning
in early April at a youth forum at Samuel
Gompers Vocational & Technical High
School in the South Bronx. Students would
ask questions, Dale would answer, and
hopefully a rare dialogue would emerge
between the police and Bronx teens.
But moments before heading onto the
auditorium stage, Dale peeked into the
room, then ducked out, snubbing some 200
students. The forum went forward anyway,
with teens putting questions like "Why are
we judged by what we wear?" to three
other panelists and Dale's empty chair.
The kids weren' t the only ones who got
jilted that day. Dr. Hillary Gaston, a high
school history teacher at Gompers who is
also pastor of Parkchester Baptist Church,
had to explain to the disappointed 'audi-
ence that Dale had been spooked by the
assembled television cameras.
For Gaston, who had arranged the
forum, the deputy chief's no-show was
more than just a disappointment. It was a
testament to how stubbornly difficult it is to
try to mediate between police and civilians
at a time when tensions are at a snapping
point.
Healing that fractured relationship
between cops and communities is an
increasingly critical mission for Gaston
and about 70 other religious leaders in the
borough, who came together, just days
after the police killed Arnadou Diallo last
year, to form the Bronx Clergy Task
Force. When the four cops who shot Dial-
10 were acquitted in February, task force
members went out onto the street that
night and literally put themselves between
police and angry demonstrators. In the
weeks that followed, the task force
became famous-and parishioners told
pastors stories of racial profiling, like that
of one teen, thrown against a wall and
arrested by an officer for no offense other
than walking to a girlfriend's house while
wearing a Walkrnan, beeper and hooded
sweatshirt.
The NYPD has turned to the clergy too.
Thanks in part to Gaston's 10 years on the
Baltimore police force, the department
sees the task force as cop-friendly. Chief of
Department Joe Dunn, now the NYPD's
highest ranking uniformed officer, calls
c1ergypersons "major conduits" to com-
munity goodwill.
With tensions high and dialogue
nonexistent, the clergy have taken it as
their mission to bridge the police and the
people, and call for the NYPD to playa
more positive role in neighborhoods. It's
not just because someone needs to keep
the peace. Deeply trusted by residents, and
respected by police leadership as emis-
saries of the only authority mightier than
themselves, they are probably the only
people in New York who can do it.
T
hough it was born of a politically
charged moment, the Bronx Clergy
Task Force hardly came out of
nowhere, It's part of a long tradition of
faith-based community organizing and
mediation. "Look, whenever there's any
problem you go to the church. The civil
rights organizations were always looking
to the church for guidance," says Karen
Washington of the Northwest Bronx Cler-
gy and Community Coalition. "When
things were going haywire, it was the
church you looked to for healing."
So, as Bronx residents rally against
police tactics, church leaders have taken up
the cry. Their success keeping the peace in
front of Diallo's Wheeler Avenue building
earned them a meeting with Police Com-
missioner Howard Saflf, and the Task
Force made the most of it, announcing that
it wanted a return to community policing
program in the Bronx.
If it happens, it would mark the return
of a style of law enforcement that cut crime
without alienating neighborhoods in
dozens of cities, from Boston to San Diego.
Though the term has been distorted to
include quality-of-life crackdowns and
militaristic maneuvers, at its heart commu-
nity policing emphasizes neighborhood
involvement in crime prevention. Ideally, it
relies on coalitions of citizens, business
owners, block associations, clergy and of
course cops working together to keep
crime down.
The marriage of cops and collars isn't as
unlikely as it seems. During an epidemic of
youth violence that culminated in a stab-
bing during the church funeral of a gang
member, some 40 Boston churches came
CITY LIMITS
together in 1992 as the Ten Point Coalition.
The group convened community meetings
to find out why the stabbing took place and
how it could have been prevented.
"We realized what could happen if mem-
bers of the community could build relation-
ships with kids on the streets, fust of all, and
with police as a result of their experiences
on the street," says Reverend Jeffrey Brown,
who cofounded the Boston coalition.
Working in the coalition's favor was
the Boston police department's commit-
ment to community crime-fighting, intro-
duced there by former NYPD Commis-
sioner William Bratton. Brown says he and
other clergy would run into gang unit offi-
cers who clearly knew that their job was to
preempt violence and strengthen neighbor-
hoods. Clergy, social workers, and police
and probation officers would meet at
churches to talk about whether a particular
kid needed a job, some spiritual guidance,
or a little time in jail.
In a change law enforcement experts
attribute in part to the city's strong com-
munity policing, Boston saw a 77 percent
drop in homicide rates between 1990 and
1998, from 152 murders to 34-the third
biggest decline in the country.
Not surprisingly, Boston is also not
riven by misunderstandings. "When you
don't have a joint understanding on what's
going on in those very streets, you have
Dorismond or Diallo," Brown explains,
"with these Street Crimes units coming up
on someone because they don't have any
knowledge at all of who the community res-
idents are. You have disaster."
T
he Task Force is highly aware of the
Boston coalition's success. The
Bronx group wants to use similar
techniques here, helping the police do their
jobs without trampling on residents in the
process.
One goal, of course, is to avoid more
Dorismond-style disasters, in which law-
abiding citizens are mistaken for drug deal-
ers. Regular meetings between neighbor-
hood, clergy and police would help steer the
police toward the actual criminals-and
away from those whose only crime is, as
Gaston puts it, being "young people walking
down the street, running off at the mouth
and being teenagers in the year 2000."
Some other demands include redeploy-
ing squad car officers to foot and bicycle
patrols; using church networks to publi-
cize police community council meetings
JUNE 2000
so people can talk to precinct leaders about
what they see on the streets; and getting
special training for officers serving immi-
grant communities. Gaston would also like
to see clergy involved in the NYPD's train-
ing curriculum---especially in diversity
and sensitivity training.
Some of these demands are sure to be
unpopular with Safir's NYPD. To get them
through, clergy are counting on their ace in
the hole: their proven ability to stop a near-
melee in its tracks. Their power to calm
angry community residents is a force even
the police must reckon with.
"They were calling the police murder-
ers," says Raymond Rivera of the Latino
Pastoral Action Center, recalling the scene
on Wheeler Avenue. "We asked the police
to step back and they wouldn't. Finally the
crowd turned around at our advice."
But top NYPD brass are a tougher
crowd. For two hours on March 29, Safir
and five of his commanders met with the
task force. Though the meeting was pro-
ductive, it showed the task force how far
they still have to go. "The commissioner
made a case for the department really try-
ing to diversify," said Pastor Charles
Kavanagh of Castle Hill 's St. Raymond's
church. The sticking point came when
police downplayed civilian concerns,
emphasizing the low number of police
shootings last year. 'That was the tension,"
he says.
For now, the task force is tallying incre-
mental changes. Bronx NYPD chiefs have
consented to allow clergy to attend roll call
before officers go on patrol. The same day
he was stood up by 'Dale at the youth
forum, says Gaston, he was very well
received at Soundview's 43rd precinct.
Boston's Reverend Brown has advice
for the New Yorkers. "You have to be com-
mitted for the long haul. That's why faith-
based groups are the most prepared for this
job," he says. 'There's a deep and abiding
spiritual commitment there that causes
them to see this thing through from start to
finish."
Jill Priluck is a Brooklyn-based freelance
writer.
LOOKING FOR ACTIVE NEW YORKERS
Want to become pan of the solution in New York City? Leadership New York seeks
mid-career executives from the private, public, and non-profit sectors who are committed to
strengthening New York City.
You will gain hands-on experience learning about the City's most pressing issues: eco-
nomic development, education, race relations, public safety and more. Meet with leaders,
develop new skills, work with groups of diverse individuals and become part of a network that
is making change happen!
The program, which is in its twelfth year, C
involves one full day and one evening a month, plus II 0 r 0
two weekend retreats. For applications and informa-
tion, call Coro at 212-248-2935, ext. 232 or see a foundation far leadership
www.leadershipnewyork.org. The deadline is June 5, 42 Broadway, 18th Floor
2000 for the program beginning in September 2000. New York, New York 10004
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH
But there is free legal assistance
Not-far-profits, community groups and organizations are eligible for free legal assistance
on a wUk variety of legal issues including:
Establishing your group as a not-far-profit
Lease negotiations and other real estate matters
Representing your organization in litigation matters
Establishing a long-term relationship with one of our member law firms
Contact Bryan Pu-Folkes at (212) 244-4664 or email at
bpufolkes@nylpi.org to see if you qualify.
NYLPI, 151 West 30th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001-4007



The Last Place They'll Co
New rules put the poorest at the end of the line for public housing.
PIPELINE i By Zak Mucha
__ ...... w...J'
I.M
E
llen Sorokina's last application for
public housing was denied, and she
desperately wants to know why.
Her husband is disabled, her family sur-
vives mainly on his $530-a-month SSI
check, and they are now facing a sixth
eviction notice from their $700 studio
apartment.
"How I understand the U.S. ," Soroki-
na, a Russian immigrant, explains, "is that
no one else is responsible for you. But I've
tried to work and be responsible. And I
can't because I have to care for my hus-
band. Such a person as he has a right to
assistance."
Under the old public housing system,
Sorokina would have been right-and she
and her family would have been first on
the list for publicly subsidized housing. In
the past few years, though, a shift in prior-
ities has left some of the city's neediest
families out in the cold.
Thanks to a serious budget shortfall
and loosened federal rules, the New York
City Housing Authority instituted a
"working families" preference in 1998
that gave employed people priority in pub-
lic housing. Families that have at least one
working member can vault to the front of
the eight-year, 109,OOO-family waiting list
for public housing.
That change has stranded families like
Sorokina's. They don't make enough
money, nor do they fit the standards of the
Working Family Preference guidelines.
Instead, they're stuck with an apartment
they can't afford and few options.
In 1989, Sorokina and her husband,
Oleg Jaisini, emigrated from the USSR
with their four-year-old daughter, Alisa.
"It was cozy," Sorokina says of their old
home in Odessa. "It was easy, but, politi-
cally, we had to leave." They both came
from a long line of dissidents and were
concerned that they would lose everything
under a political system in flux.
After living in Dallas, they moved to
New York, where they became U.S. citi-
zens in 1995. But Jaisini's health, marred
by epileptic fits and depression, continued
to deteriorate.
Both Sorokina, 39, and Jaisini, 41, have
master's degrees in art. Until recently,
Sorokina was a working ceramic artist.
Eventually, though, Sorokina was forced to
quit her job. "I have to be with him all the
time," she says. "He tries to do something
around the house and he hurts himself."
Jaisini's health problems have made
him unemployable. As for Sorokina, she's
too busy taking care of him. "My profes-
sion has changed," she says. "Now I am a
nurse for one person."
One doctor recently assessed her hus-
band's situation this way: "Mr. Jaisini is
oblivious to his environment. He is unable
to concentrate on any given task .. .is psy-
chotic, depressed, and cognitively
impaired." A second doctor concluded
that only surgery may lessen his epilepsy.
The family now lives in a studio in
Jamaica, Queens, but it's a precarious situa-
tion. The Jewish Board of Family and Chil-
"How I understand
the U.S.," Russian-
born Ellen Sorokina
explains, "is that no
one else is responsible
for you. But I've tried
to work and be
responsible. And I
can't because I have
to care for my
husband."
dren's Services has helped them pay back
rent, but Sorokina says she doesn't see how
long she can continue without assistance.
For three years she's been trying to get
the family into public housing, where they
would pay only one-third of their income
in rent. NYCHA has been no help. In an
April 5 letter, the housing authority turned
down her most recent application: "Cur-
rently, priority is given to working fami-
lies under the Working Family Preference
guidelines. Your application has an F4 pri-
ority. This means that you do not qualify
for the Working Family Preference, how-
ever you do qualify for housing under the
substandard and the rent hardship condi-
tions under which you live."
The Housing Authority's new tenant
selection policies could have been target-
ed toward the poorest New Yorkers: the
1998 federal law's only requires that at
least 40 percent of new tenants be taken
from the poorest pool, those who make
less than $14,400 for a family of three.
"I would have to say," assesses
Dushaw Hockett, chair of the Public
Housing Residents' Coalition, "that the
Working Family Preference effectively is
locking out the very poor. What we're
going to see over the next few years is the
Housing Authority giving more prefer-
ence to higher-income families."
Hockett explains that although
NYCHA is bound by federal laws to use
its admissions policies to mix poor and
wealthier tenants, the Housing Authority
could have used that mandate to benefit
poorer tenants like Ellen Sorokina, by giv-
ing them special preference to move into
projects with higher-than-average
incomes. Instead, explains Hockett,
"NYCHA decided to deconcentrate by
bringing the high-income families into
low-income housing."
Adds Scott Rosenberg, director of liti-
gation in the Civil Department of the
Legal Aid Society, "This is one of the
cases that finds a crack [in the system] ."
The problem, he says, "is that she is not
disabled. If they were both on SSI, rather
than just the husband," Rosenberg trans-
lates after carefully reading the Housing
Association's tenant selection and assign-
ment plan, they would be eligible for spe-
cial preferences, rather than stuck at the
back of the list.
In the meantime, Sorokina has been
writing letters, searching for help. "For
the sake of a disabled man and an under-
aged child I ask you to involve in my situ-
ation in any way that you possibly could
to resolve the housing problem," she
writes. "Uncover the injustice in the
awarding the government-subsidized
housing to those who the NYC Housing
Authority prefers, and not to those like us
who need it the most."
Zak Mucha, a Brooklyn-based freelance
writer, is author of the novel The Beggars'
Shore.
CITY LIMITS
The Marshall Plan
A Housing Court renegade says evictions can help troubled tenants.
Their lawyers say she must be stopped.
By Elise Labott
W
hen Willie Gilyard's Harlem
building was sold to a new
owner last May, he didn't think
anything of it. He'd lived there for 27
years, and he'd been a good tenant, paying
the $200 rent on his one-room apartment
on time.
It wasn't long, however, before the new
owner made it clear that he wanted Gilyard
out. Weeks later, as the owner began to
renovate the building, Gilyard, 69, got a
call from Protective Services for Adults,
the city agency charged with protecting
people who can't look out for themselves.
It sounded great. Because Gilyard was
a senior citizen, the city was providing
him with a legal guardian to help him
fight his eviction in court. That guardian,
Betty Marshall, assured him it would all
be worked out.
But over the next few months, Gilyard
started receiving mysterious calls from
nursing homes, suggesting he sign himself
in. Then, one February morning, he got a
nasty shock: a notice that he had 72 hours
. to clear out. Frantic, his daughter, Ivory
Sampson, went to Housing Court to chal-
lenge the eviction. What she learned, she
says, was "like out of a bad movie." Mar-
shall, the very person entrusted with keep-
ing Willie Gilyard in his home, had signed
a legal document on his behalf about six
months earlier that promised he would
leave the apartment.
That wasn't the only surprise. In Hous-
ing Court, Sampson learned from a tenant
advocate that her father's apartment was
rent-regulated-that is, he had every legal
right to remain U\ere.
Yet that's not what Marshall said dur-
ing the hearing. "She basically argued to
the judge that the building was not rent-
regulated and that my father had to leave
the apartment," Sampson remembers.
Even worse, she claims, Marshall refused
to tell her about the details of the case, say-
ing only that it was best to send her father
to a nursing home or a shelter.
"It waS amazing," says Adam Weinstein,
the attorney from the Westside SRO Law
Project who took on Willie Gilyard's case
that day. "Here I am trying to get the case
dismissed, and she is arguing for the land-
lord's rights." Weinstein quickly proved that
JUNE 2000
Gilyard's apartment was rent-regulated, and
the judge stopped the eviction.
Marshall admits she made a mistake
signing the agreement for Gilyard to
leave-she thought Gilyard lived in a pri-
vate house, where he would have had few
legal protections. She also acknowledges
that she never investigated the landlord's
claims.
For her, signing the agreement was a
way to tum an unfortunate situation into an
opportunity. "He was living by himself in a
room, totally isolated ... he spends his time
talking to the television set," explains Mar-
shall, a semi-retired lawyer and teacher
who has taken on more than 250 court
guardianships since 1992. "According to
his psychological report, he has an impair-
ment and could use support services. So I
said, 'Lets put him in an adult home tem-
porarily while waiting for supportive hous-
ing"'-a place with on-site social services.
It wasn't the first time that Marshall
attempted to use an eviction proceeding to
move someone from their apartment to an
institution. It also wasn' t the first time that
she ran afoul of tenant lawyers-and, they
contend, tenant rights-in the process. In
March, attorneys from the Westside SRO
Law Project and Northern Manhattan
Improvement Corporation met with Mar-
shall and asked her to resign. She refused.
The case of Willie Gilyard has shed a
harsh light on the role of court-appointed
guardians, who are entrusted to speak for
tenants who can' t speak for themselves. In
the process, it's also raised the vexing
question of what to do when those elderly,
mentally disabled or mentally ill tenants
are living in solitude, squalor or danger-
and don' t want to leave.
Marshall's priority is to protect the
vulnerable by finding them professional-
ly supervised homes. "Why was her

PIPELINE ,
Legal guardians
are supposed to
protect tenants
who live in
dangerous
squalor-but
opinions diverge
on tactics.
-,
,

F-
father rotting in that room when he was
eligible for senior housing 10 years
ago?" she asks.
To which Weinstein responds: "I don't
care if he wasn't 'all there.' I care whether
he had a defense to keep him in his apart-
ment, and he did." To the tenant lawyers,
the answer to Marshall 's question is obvi-
ous: Gilyard had every right to stay there.
A
n activist guardian like Marshall is
an anomaly. More commonly,
legal guardians are little more than
a fragile lifeline for vulnerable tenants on
the brink of eviction. In Housing Court,
proceedings move at a dizzying pace.
Landlords usually have experienced
lawyers; tenants are usually alone and con-
fused. For the mentally ill, mentally dis-
abled and elderly, it can be a disaster.
"It is a million times worse than a reg-
ular Housing Court proceeding," says
Teresa Dafanzo, an attorney who has rep-
resented numerous mentally ill tenants.
'They caD lose their apartment without
knowing what happened. It is very over-
whelming."
To protect such tenants, Housing Court
judges may appoint a "guardian ad litem"
at the request of a family or of representa-
tives from Protective Services for Adults, a
division of the city's welfare agency.
Legally, the guardian's actions are equal to
a tenant's, and any agreements a guardian
signs are final.
"It is a serious decision," says Acting
Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische of
In one case, a
woman lived in an
apartment packed
with cats, both alive
and dead. When
Marshall came to
visit, one of the
corpses had decayed
to the bone.
Manhattan. "You are taking away this per-
son's liberties, so you don't take it lightly.
But if they don' t know what is going on, it
is essential to protect their rights."
In general, Housing Court judges are
supposed to rule only on a tenant's right to
occupy an apartment; it's not their job to
consider what's in the tenant's best inter-
est. Yet there are also cases where tenants
clearly cannot take care of themselves.
"People should always be able to exer-
cise self-dependence. But in some cases,
that's not possible," says Judge Marc Fin-
klestein, who has produced a pamphlet on
the do's and don'ts of the guardian system.
'The fact that there is a technical defense
the guardian could use to keep the tenant
there doesn' t always mean it is in their best
interest to stay."
Besides accompanying clients to court,
guardians are also supposed to arrange ser-
vices through PSA, including psychiatric
and medical care, financial management,
and housecleaning. The agency's official
policy is to strengthen tenants' ability to be
"self-directing" and keep them in their
homes. For their work, city-appointed
guardians get about $400 per case.
But according to tenant lawyers, many
of the guardians that PSA appoints from its
informal candidate list are less than vigi-
lant. 'They figure $400 is a ruce fee for
about 10 minutes' work," says Diane
Luttwak, an attorney with the Brooklyn
Office for the Aging.
"My client's guardian couldn' t have
cared less," agrees Jodi Horowitz, execu-
tive director of the Citywide Task Force on
Housing Court. As a tenant lawyer, she
represented a mentally and physically dis-
abled man who was being evicted after
falling behind on his rent. According to
Horowitz, the PSA guardian never
Bad
Housekeeping
Fitzgerald had known Clark for years as an alcoholic who
roamed the streets, eating out of garbage cans and panhandling
for beer. Two and a half years ago, Fitzgerald asked PSA for
help. After waiting more than a year, Fitzgerald was told that
Clark's case had been inadvertently closed. Last June, a court
appointed the New York Foundation of Senior Citizens as her
guardian, which managed to arrange for a new kitchen sink and
an apartment cleanup.
Zealous guardians are the exception. Protective Services for
Adults is usually under fire for doing too little to protect clients.
Mary Clark says she'd rather live in a mental institution than at
home, and it's hard to disagree, judging from the condition of her
Bronx apartment. Her bathroom has no runlling water. Every room
is littered with cigarette butts and empty beer cans. The odor of
human waste permeates it all.
Clark (not her real name) lives under the supervision of PSA,
the city agency that provides assistance to elderly and mentally
ill adults. Yet the 63-year-old continues to live in squalor.
Her foul apartment testifies to the fact that PSA frequently
fails to fulfill its responsibility to keep clients' homes safe and
sallitary. "I could probably give you half a dozen cases like this,"
says Eileen Resnick of Project Save Our Seruors, a support orga-
nization. "People stay like this for months and sometimes years."
'The system has failed," agrees Sister Lauria Fitzgerald of
Highbridge Commuruty Life Center. 'This didn't have to hap-
pen. PSA belongs in the hall of shame."
Clark's case is a tough one, though. She speaks happily of her
stay in a mental hospital years ago-"It was my second heaven,"
she says. But she's often disoriented and confused, and she
resists attempts to move her into an institution. More recently she
agreed to go into detox-{)nly to go into hiding on the day she
was supposed to be picked up.
Spokeswoman Debra Sproles says Protective Services has
lirllited options in such cases. "PSA can offer services to the
extent possible under the limits of the law. PSA cannot just
come over and take over someone's life."
Fitzgerald isn't buying it; she is still trying to get PSA to
commit Clark to detox or a mental hospital. "It appears to me
that they don't care," says Fitzgerald. "We should all be up in
arms. This could be your own family member."
-Susan Jacobs
CITVLlMITS
appeared before the judge, read the evaluation or
even met the client. "He assumed I'd do every-
thing, and 1 did," she says. "But had 1 not handled
it, who knew what he would have done?"
M
arshall, on the other hand, has infuriated
tenant lawyers by doing too much.
She's proud of her efforts to find struc-
tured environments for deranged and impaired
clients. "I have placed people who were kicking and
screaming, and they are happy where they are now,"
Marshall insists. In one case, a woman lived in an
apartment packed with dozens of stray cats, both
alive and dead. When Marshall came to visit, one of
the corpses was decayed to the bone. The woman
was being evicted because her neighbors couldn't
stand the stench; now, she lives at an adult home in
Brooklyn.
Marshall says she's deeply hurt by lawyers'
efforts to throw her out of Housing Court. "The
meeting they had was like the Spanish Inquisition,"
she says. "They are trying to destroy me at some-
thing I'm very good at. I've helped people."
Weinstein and the other attorneys say they don't
mind that Marshall plays social worker for clients
who have no other options. Their objection is that
she refuses to take even basic steps to keep tenants
in their apartments.
Attorney Bill Whalen met Marshall last year
when a mentally ill client of his was about to be
thrown out of his Washington Heights apartment.
The man had fallen behind on rent after his room-
mate of eight years moved out. Marshall, as his
guardian, declared him unable to live independently
and suggested he move to a group home.
Whalen saw things differently. "He fell behind
in his rent, just as anyone might without a room-
mate," says Whalen, who works for Northern Man-
hattan Improvement Corporation. "But he demon-
strated an ability to live independently for years."
More to the point, the man did not want to leave his
apartment.
Whalen worked out an agreement with the
landlord and found the tenant an emergency grant
for the rest of the back rent. According to
Whalen, Marshall refused to go along with the
new plan. Outraged, he convinced the judge to
dismiss her. "A guardian shouldn't compromise
the tenant's rights willy-nilly," he says. "Her job
was to protect the tenant in Housing Court. So by
surrendering the apartment, how are you doing
your job?"
Marshall's response is that caseworkers at the
tenant's social service agency told her "they felt
he'd be better off in a supervised setting." She
agreed with them. "I don't see anything wonder-
ful about being demented, alone, tripping over
things."
(continued on page 31 )
JUNE 2000
s
Homesteaders Federal
Credit Union
120 Wall Street, 20th Floor, New York, NY
(212) 479-3340
A financial cooperative promoting home
ownership and economic opportunity since :1.987.
No-fee Personal and Business
Checking Accounts
Savings, CD's, Holiday Club and Individual
Development Accounts
Personal, Small Business, Home Equity,
Mortgage and Co-op Loans
As a equal housing lender, we do business in accordance with the Federal
Fair Housing Law and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Your savings are
insured up to $100,000 by the National Credit Union Administration.
SMALL GRANTS AND TECHNICAL
ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
The Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC)
administers the small grants program in the Northeast for the
Charles Stewart Matt Foundation.
Proposals are now being accepted for community .. based
groups that are:
led by low, income residents
neighborhood, or constituency,based
striving for systemic change through organizing or advo,
cacy rather than focusing exclusively on direct services
5 years old or less
operating with a budget of under $100,000
multi, issue focus
Awards of up to $15,000 and technical assistance are
available . Awards will be made pending commitment of
funds from the Mott Foundation.
Call CTAC at (617) 423-1444 to receive an application.
Deadline for submission: June 9.
&Ia&
Me
In order
to win
Flushing's
loyalty, John
Liu (center)
must seem
neither too
American
nor too
Taiwanese.
CM
. ,
~ l U S ~ n
~ S
THE MAN WHO WANTS TO BE THE FIRST AsIAN IN CITY COUNCIL
POLITICS OF QUEENS- AND MUST FIRST MASTER THE NEW RACE
PLACATE TWO OCTOGENARIAN POWER BROKERS. BY SAJAN P KURlAKOS
I
n the muted precincts of PricewaterhouseCoopers, City
Council hopeful John Liu holds his listener with a steady
gaze, the rehearsed earnest look politicians get when they are
trying to be convincing.
"This is the fourth year of a five-year campaign," Liu says with
a smile. "2001 is when it's going to happen."
Liu, a compactly built, articulate and photogenic 33, has posi-
tioned himself to be the first Asian-American in New York's his-
tory to be elected to the City Council. The seat he wants is from
Flushing, Queens. It's not just any of the dozens of seats that will
open up when term limits hit the council next year. Flushing is
currently represented by the famously cantankerous Julia Harri-
son, a Democrat who has been a political force in the neighbor-
hood for nearly 50 years. Liu has been trying to win it for the past
three, tirelessly courting Democratic party support. He is now pre-
pared to spend up to $400,000 to ensure his victory.
Liu has his work cut out for him like a juggling act with flam-
ing torches. Flushing's strongest voting bloc is white middle-class
homeowners, Illany of them senior citizens who look with suspi-
cion at the profusion of Chinese and Korean signs in downtown
Flushing. Born in Taiwan and raised in Flushing since he was five,
Liu will have to convince them to look beyond his ethnicity, and
at the same time persuade Flushing's identity-conscious Koreans,
Taiwanese, mainland Chinese and South Asians that he is the one
and only Asian capable of representing them in the Council.
Liu recognizes his precarious situation. "I am going to have to
build bridges over intra-Asian groups," he says at one point, lean-
ing back in his chair. "People of the older [Asian] generation are
more closely identified to their ethnicity." But moments later, he
changes course: "I never say I am Asian or Chinese. I am a kid
who grew up in Flushing."
As Harrison prepares to leave office, she has yet to anoint a
successor, someone who could count on her white working-class
loyalists to deliver their votes. This is Liu's opportunity, and one
CITVLlMITS
he intends not to waste. He is carefully nuturing an image as an
"Asian-American." It's a nebulous identity that means little to
Flushing's partisans but usefully points out what Liu is not: not
foreign, and not white. In Flushing, where the tensions between
Taiwanese and Chinese are nearly as fierce as they are in the Far
East, appearing to be neither is his safest bet.
Less visibly, Liu is breaking Flushing's other political barrier, the
rules that require young politicians to pay their dues in the Queens
machine. In the past, Flushing's elected officials rose through the
ranks of the Democratic Party. They were foot soldiers first. Liu is
something entirely new, and therefore threatening to people like Har-
rison. He intends to win with money and political savvy-and by
tearing through the intricate web of promises, understandings and
favors that make up politics as Flushing knows it.
F
lushing is a town divided. Rather than a melting pot, it
might more accurately be described as an assortment of
disparate ingredients, loosely held together by the civiliz-
ing effect of tolerance.
The lines of demarcation are clear. The center of town, six long
blocks on Main Street, is split down the middle into Taiwanese and
mainland Chinese spheres of influence. Here, decades-long geopo-
litical tensions are as much part of everyday life as the pungent
smells of spices, rotting fish and stale cooking oil. Nowhere has it
been more apparent than Flushing's annual Chinese New Year
parade, where for years the two groups refused to march alongside
each other. This year, for the first time, Taiwanese and mainlanders
agreed to come together, and the results were comic: Onlookers
watched as delegates from both countries jostled desperately to get
ahead of one another during the Main Street parade.
North and east of Main Street is the Korean enclave. Relative
newcomers to Flushing, Koreans only began arriving in strength
in the mid to late 1980s. Their population in 1996 was only about
3,300, about half that of the Chinese.
South of Main Street is a cluster of Indian stores. Apartment build-
ings nearby house a majority of the some 4,000 South Asians who
have come to Flushing in the last decade. Further south are the white
middle-class homeowners who are Harrison's stalwart supporters.
By and large these groups don't mix, and they don' t support
each others' businesses. To see a white face in one of the Chinese
shops on Main Street is unusual. Likewise, the Koreans stick to their
own stores along Northern Boulevard.
All this has caused the white population considerable heart-
burn. Old-time residents feel they' re being excluded from a com-
munity that was once all theirs. Shortly after a civic association
meeting in Flushing last year, an elderly white woman, upset at
another Korean sign going up near her home, exclaimed, ''Every
time I step outside my house I feel like I am in a foreign country."
Now the politics are as inescapable as the signs; next year, the
field of Council candidates will be packed with Asian candidates.
As it stands now, Liu's Asian competition is less than intimidat-
ing. Only two candidates have declared so far: Ethel Chen, 54, a
retired librarian born in China and raised in Taiwan, and 41-year-
old Terence Park, a Korean-born New York City Housing Author-
ity employee. In two previous sallies, Chen has been unable to get
the minimum number of nominating signatures to appear on the
Democratic primary ballot. Park is a political neophyte whose last
race was an unsuccessful run for the local school board in 1996.
Even so, Liu must navigate an ethnic minefield, currying favor
JUNE 2000
without offending rival groups. To shore up his credentials with the
mainland Chinese, Liu has joined forces with Pauline Chu, who ran
for City Council on both the Democratic and Conservative lines in
1997 and won the majority of the Asian vote. Chu, like Chen, was
born on mainland China and moved to Taiwan in the late 1940s. In
theory, Chu will be able to deliver her Asian votes to Liu, and his
crossover white votes will put him over the top in a crowded field.
"First you have to get your group to support you," Chu says.
"If your own group does not support you, you are finished."
L
iu would also be wise to win the support of Flushing's
most influential Chinese activist. Known reverentially
in Flushing as "Auntie Wu," the 80-year-old Susan Wu
Rathbone may look sweet and frail, but her eyes are
sharp and often calculating. There is power behind the gaze: as a
figure who can reliably help both Taiwanese and mainland Chi-
nese navigate New York's immigration, social services and other
bureacracies, she is equally capable of delivering their votes.
Rathbone, who married an American soldier and settled in
Queens shortly after World War IT, is the founder of the Chinese
TENSIONS BETWEEN TAIWANESE
AND CHINESE ARE NEARLY
AS FIERCE AS THEY ARE IN
THE FAR EAST. HI NEVER SAY
I AM AsIAN OR CHINESE,"
SAYS LIU. HI AM A KID WHO
GREW UP IN FLUSHING."
American Women's Association and a vocal supporter of battered
women. She wields particularly strong influence among Chinese
senior citizens, who constitute a large bloc of registered voters.
And she's something of a local celebrity: When she walks into the
restaurant across from her Main Street office, waiters stand up to
pay their respects.
Rathbone's group of voters would be a great help to Liu.
"Johnny has called me," Rathbone acknowledges. She is playing
her cards close. "For now, I don't know what I'll do," she says.
But according to Flushing's gossips, it's all but certain that Rath-
bone will not back Chen, Liu's most obvious Taiwanese rival.
Simply getti ng an Asian in office is not necessarily Rathbone's
first priority anyway. Councilwoman Harrison always made sure
that Rathbone's programs, which benefit battered women and
elderly Chinese immigrants, were well-funded. Will Liu, or Chen,
look out for her work the way Harrison did? And if a Chinese can-
didate does win the seat, will the politics ofTaiwan and mainland
China influence how the district's money is portioned out?
In fact, the Harrison era may have been better for her. At lunch
recently, Auntie Wu is filled with a sense of foreboding. "I fear I
am at the end of my rainbow," Rathbone says, her chopsticks ner-
vously picking at spicy chicken with tofu. Regardless of who
-
Flushing's main
strip is
Chinese and
Taiwanese;
Koreans and
Indians have
their own
enclaves
nearby.
wins, she feels her programs will never be as well funded as they
have been during Harrison's reign.
F
lushing has never been an easy place to build a power
base. In recent years, this increasingly divided neighbor-
hood has been held together politically through sheer
force of will-Julia Harrison's will.
City Councilwoman Harrison, who at 80 has a handshake that
would give a Marine some pause, carne up the ranks of the Demo-
cratic Party as a trade unionist, housing co-op leader and member
of community organizations. After being elected to the State
Assembly in 1983, she took over as Flushing's councilwoman in
1986, a seat she has kept ever since.
Her style has little to do with coalition-building or alliances. Most-
ly, she wins elections because she is ornery, powerful and smart. Har-
rison's uncensored manner of speech has endeared her to the conser-
vative, tell-it-like-it-is white majority, and it has made her more than
a few enemies. But she is a wily politician who knows how to con-
solidate power, and she does not forget what her supporters want from
her. Her vigilance has helped her survive several frontal attacks on her
seat, and outwit powerful Democmts in the process.
In 1985, the Flushing City Council seat was up for grabs. The
late Democratic State Senator Leonard Stavisky was Flushing's
senior representative in Albany, and his wife, Toby, was angling
for the empty Council seat. When the senator marshaled his forces
to help his wife, Harrison smelled trouble: She and the Staviskys
have been political enemies for decades. .
"I realized that with Leonard in the Senate and Toby in the
Council, I would be squeezed from both sides, the state and the
city," Harrison now says. As a preemptive strike, she informed
Donald Manes, the late Queens Democratic boss, that she wanted
to come back to New York to care for her sick husband, who was
suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's.
'That was ostensibly my reason to come back to New York;
that's what I told everyone," Harrison says. "But I knew if I did
not come back I would be finished politically."
After weeks of political maneuvering, Harrison won Manes'
nod. At the polls, she then trounced Toby Stavisky with some 80
percent of the votes.
These are the kinds of strategies that Harrison has effectively
used to keep Flushing united. With a deeply loyal core consituen-
cy, she hasn't needed to worry much about the changing demo-
graphics of her district-until March 31, 1996.
On the front page of The New York Times that day, Harrison
was quoted referring to the Asians in Flushing as "invaders" and
"colonizers." Queens exploded in controversy. The powerful
Queens Democratic Party machine, backed by former Congress-
man Thomas Manton, State Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin and
Sen. Stavisky, derided her and called for her resignation. From the
sidelines it seemed certain that Harrison's political life had just
come to an end.
But just as quickly, Harrison's white constitutents rallied behind
her; after all, she had only echoed their sentiments. Ultimately,
other Queens politicians fell back in line. Mclaughlin, facing
reelection in 1996 and realizing that Harrison's supporters were
hanging up on his campaign callers, made his peace with the coun-
cilwoman.In the 1997 race for council, Harrison routed the field.
While the racial controversy raged, Harrison never lost Susan
CITY LIMITS
Wu Rathbone's support. The chair of the council's Committee on
Aging, Harrison has long been a supporter of Rathbone's social
programs and has sent "Susie Wu," as she calls Rathbone, more
than a few thousand dollars of the district's discretionary funds.
1
ohn Liu's perfect diction is not something the press or even
his own campaign staff likes to directly address. The
euphemistic phrase used is that "Liu is a better communica-
tor." What is left unsaid is that Liu's English is perfectly
American, as opposed to his Asian opponents who speak frac-
tured or accented English. Unlike the competition, Liu can stand
in front of the voters he needs most-white English-speakers-
and not sound like a foreigner.
Liu has been careful to cultivate this crossover appeal, espe-
cially since he's still something of a newcomer in Flushing poli-
tics. Unlike most of his current competition, white or Asian, he
has spent the last few years forging closer ties with the Queens
Democratic machine, whose support, or at least noninterference,
he will need to win. He was recently appointed an officer of the
New Century Democratic Association, the club founded by Flush-
ing Assemblymember Mclaughlin, who heads the city's 1.5 mil-
lion-member Central Labor Council. Perhaps coincidentally, Liu
has also contributed $2,000 to the Committee to Elect Brian
Mclaughlin. Liu is also a vice-president of the Queens Civic
Congress, an association of some 100 Queens civic associations.
But the real power Liu is counting on is the Park Side Group,
the political consultants he has hired to manage his campaign.
Consisting of Evan Stavisky, the state senator's thirtysomething
son; Bill Driscoll, the former chief of staff to the Queens Democ-
JUNE 2000
ratic Party leader; and Harry Giannoulis, a former Cuomo aide,
the trio is poised to help Liu with the white vote.
They want it known that their man is out to cultivate Flushing's
grassroots. "John has the opportunity to make history by being the
first Asian-American candidate in New York City to win office,"
says Stavisky. "But he won't win because he is Asian American-
it's not as if people will wake up and say it's time to elect an Asian
American. John will have to build coalitions."
But not everyone's buying Liu's line. Liu already faces oppo-
sition from within the Asian population; at least one prominent
Asian with deep pockets has declared Liu to be unfit for City
Council. In a community that prizes wisdom and maturity, it
appears that his youth is a liability. And some of Liu's local con-
nections may hurt him when the Council race heats up. His
father, bank president Joseph Liu, was indicted on fraud charges
last November, along with three other officers at Flushing's Great
Eastern Bank. John Liu says the scandal has already been played
up in the Chinese press.
One person who certainly won't be helping him is Harrison.
She's not interested in someone who intends to vault his way into
office with the help of consultants and cash. Of course, she puts it
more colorfully. Harrison calls Liu a "candidate for the Asian bank-
ing interests in Flushing" and makes no searet of her disdain for his
lack of experience.
She says she will not tell her voter base who to choose, but
Harrison has other ways of sending messages. When asked
whether 2001 may see Flushing represented by an Asian in the
City Council, she levels her gaze and shakes her head.
"I don't think it's time."
Susan
Rathbone,
Flushing's
"Auntie Wu,"
could dehver
Liu a key
bloc of
votes-if she
chooses to.
wt
Harlem
sends
thousands
of kids into
foster
care-to
everywhere
but Harlem.
-
Q
neinten.
That's the proportion of children in central Harlem who
have been put in foster care, living in someone else's home
because the courts have decided that their own parents are unfit to
care for them. In 1997, it amounted to more than 3,000 children in
that one neighborhood alone.
It's an appalling statistic, but not an isolated one. In other parts
of the city-all of them poor, and overwhelmingly African-Amer-
ican and Latino--a sizeable number of children have been
removed from their homes by the city's Administration for Chil-
dren's Services. In Morrisania, it's one in 12. In Mott Haven and
Hunts Point, Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, about 6 percent of all the
neighborhood's kids have been uprooted and sent to a new home,
which could be anywhere in the city or even outside of it. Just 12
percent of children citywide are in foster care in the neighborhood
they came from.
These children have literally been taken away, not just removed
from their parents but ripped out of a neighborhood, an entire
world. What they get is a new routine that often requires weekly
visits to a foster care agency's headquarters, an alien place that
CITY LIMITS
may be downtown, in another borough or outside city lines. Doc-
tors and therapists, usually part of this new regime, call for other
trips to other strange places. When foster children do see their par-
ents again, it's for short supervised visits in an office-turned-play-
room at the child welfare agency.
That's all about to change. Starting in June, New York's 33,000
foster children are supposed to be able to leave their families with-
out leaving home. In this ambitious overhaul of the child welfare
system, ACS has asked about 60 private, nonprofit child welfare
agencies to transform themselves from centralized bureaucracies
into institutions that are a deep and integral part of neighborhood
life, as much a part of the local fabric as schools, firehouses and
police precincts.
Under the new system, distressed families will be able to turn
to child welfare centers within walking or bus distance from their
homes, where they will get help coping, through counseling,
classes and a place for the kids to go when their parents need a
break:. If ACS decides children must be put in foster care for their
own safety, those same centers become their one-stop shops for
counseling, medical care and visits with their parents. Parents,
too, will have local access to services like drug treatment and par-
enting classes that they must attend in order to get their kids back,
making it more likely they'll actually go.
And in the vision of ACS Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta,
the glue holding everything together is the neighborhood itself:
the neighbors, teachers, clergy and shopkeepers who know a fam-
ily, are familiar with its problems and can help ACS cook up a
remedy. No longer will protecting children be a mere government
service; now, it's a community's obligation to itself.
This radical plan is that rare thing in the child welfare world:
something almost everyone, from parents' rights advocates to
Mayor Giuliani, agrees is a good idea. Its principles were devised
not by bureacrats but child welfare experts from the Annie E.
Casey Foundation. Los Angeles, Cleveland and other cities have
already made these ideas work.
But for child welfare to succeed as a neighborhood business in
New York, children are going to have to find foster homes nearby.
As ACS officials are fond of saying, kids from Mott Haven will no
longer end up in Woodhaven. That also means that child welfare
workers in Mott Haven will have to find many new foster parents
willing and able to do the job.
It won't be easy. In that South Bronx neighborhood, the major-
ity of families live on public assistance, and more than a third are
in crowded public housing.
"They're struggling as it is," says Elizabeth Garcia, who is in
charge of finding new foster homes for the St. Christopher's
agency in Harlem and the South Bronx. "How are you going to
ask people to be foster parents who are struggling themselves?"
It's no trivial question. Being a foster parent is an enormous
responsibility, one that demands resources many adults in poor
neighborhoods don't have: spare time and space, and money to
fall back on. Children in foster care have often been through har-
rowing experiences that translate into distrust, tantrums and
worse. For their trouble, foster parents get about $17 a day for
each child, which is supposed to cover all expenses.
"We get less than babysitters!" marvels Julia Boyd, a Crown
Heights grandmother who has been a foster parent to 18 children
over the last 15 or so years; she has adopted three of them. "For that,
you've got to wash, cook, clean after them. It's a 26-hour-a-day job."
JUNE 2000
Long hours and terrible pay are not the only reasons good fos-
ter parents are hard to find. In neighborhoods like Mott Haven,
many residents see ACS as the arbitrary authority that snatches
children from struggling mothers, not a helping hand that saves
families and repairs communities. ''There are a lot of people who
are afraid of having their children taken, who think, 'There but for
the grace of God go I," observes Woody Henderson, chair of the
ACS committee of Rev. AI Sharpton's National Action Network.
Not coincidentally, Mott Haven now has only about half as many
foster care slots as it does children who will need them.
Taking care of other people's troubled children is a job that
most of us wouldn't want under any circumstances-and one that
some desperate people are prepared to take for the money. ACS is
in the middle of revolutionizing foster care. But to make it work,
it will have to convince thousands of qualified new conscripts to
volunteer for the cause, in neighborhoods where child welfare
authorities are about as popular these days as the NYPD.
Where the Boys and Girls Are
Neighborhoods that send the
most children into foster care
are already home to the most
foster parents. But even so, the
numbers come up short. The
Sout h Bronx, for example, has
twice as many children as foster
homes. That now must change,
as the city requires foster
children to live in homes
in their ow!" neighborhoods.
..
Each dot represents a foster home retained
by one of eight private agencies,
a sample of the city's total.
M
any children in foster care are escaping abuse or truly
appalling conditions. But many others are there for rea-
sons that have more to do with poverty than malice. ACS
commonly removes children because of decrepit housing, inade-
quate medical care and other unintended threats to their well-
being. For every child in the foster care as a result of abuse, nine
are there because of neglect-and city investigators too often fail
to distinguish between symptoms of neglect and those of poverty,
say lawyers who represent parents in Family Court.
-
For Julia
g, Boyd, foster
~ parenting
~ is her duty
~ to black
'"
children-
including
4-year-old
Smooch.
As a result, there's a close correlation between a neighbor-
hood's poverty rate and the proportion of children who go into
foster care. In East New York, where 30 percent of people live in
poverty, 3 percent of kids are in foster care. Nearby Canarsie,
where 9 percent live under the poverty line, sends less than one
percent of its kids into the child welfare system.
But there's also a close correlation between poverty and the
absence of the very resources foster children need-most glaringly,
places for them to live. Far from having suitable bedrooms to spare,
many residents in these neighborhoods live in overcrowded or
decrepit apartments. In the Bronx's University Heights, where there
are hundreds more foster children than foster homes, about 30 per-
cent of households are already overcrowded, according to U.S. Cen-
sus. The figures may even underestimate the scope of the problem.
In Harlem, more than 75 percent of apartments are in fair to
poor condition-and there, children outnumber foster homes by
about three to one. Throughout the South Bronx, there are twice
as many children sent to foster care as there are homes that take
in foster children.
By contrast, eastern Queens, with many single-family houses
and a large population of retired civil servants living on pensions,
has historically been something of a foster care dormitory, hosting
about twice as many foster kids as it produces.
"Given the history, it's very understandable where the families
are," says Jan F1orie, director of services for the Children's Aid
Society. Her agency works in Harlem, Morrisania and East
Tremont, among other neighborhoods. 'The reality in New York
City is that you find the space you need is in the outer boroughs,
where there's more room, and the housing stock is in better shape."
Children's Aid is looking into ways of fixing up housing con-
ditions to make more Bronx and Harlem homes suitable, but it's
not simple. "If we're considering an apartment and a toilet is
backed up, that's bad for kids," says F1orie. Landlords are fre-
quently unresponsive to pleas for repairs, and tenants are often
unwilling to antagonize their landlords, for fear of losing their
apartments.
Meanwhile, public housing has been a wash, because the city
housing authority will not let people interested in becoming foster
parents move to bigger apartments. In Cleveland, where F10rie used
to work, child welfare officials struck a deal with the local housing
authority to move prospective foster parents into larger
apartments. No such luck in New York (though ACS has
reportedly discussed the idea internally). "You have to auto-
matically not consider a lot of people in public housing who
could be excellent foster parents," laments F1orie. "It's
chicken and egg-you can't be licensed before you get
housing and can't get housing without a license."
If the poorest residents of these neighborhoods don't
have the space, those with more resources don't always
have the time. This April, ACS finally restored guaranteed
child care funding for foster parents, a move that will hope-
fully make it easier for 9-to-5ers to sign up. But state-spon-
sored babysitting money, once a lifeline, was eliminated in
1995. Agencies now require foster parents to sign up their
own friends and family as their backups.
A
s serious as the physical obstacles are to finding
new foster parents, the psychic ones may be more
stubborn. Qualified and caring foster parents aren't
scarce. Ones who aren't already frustrated with the child
welfare system are becoming harder to find-and in
neighborhoods, word gets around fast.
In East New York, a lot of people know Greta Day, and
have heard her story. In her nearly nine years as a foster
parent, she cared for 32 children in the large house she
shared with her husband. At the height of the crack epi-
demic, when hundreds of babies languished in the hospi-
tals, a foster care agency wouid' send her infants straight
from the maternity ward, born with crack addiction, my,
syphilis. One day, a van arrived with three newborns
strapped in. 'They just kept bringing them," Day recalls
wryly.
Besides the basics of parenting, Day was reponsible
for getting all of them to medical appointments and regular vis-
its with their mothers in downtown Brooklyn. An informal
neighborhood network, through which she exchanged babysit-
ting, support and advice with other foster parents, helped her
cope with the craziness.
Like a lot of foster parents, Day is matter-of-fact about why
she took on such a saintly obligation. "I have a big love for kids,"
she shrugs, "especially those who are not so fortunate to have a
mommy."
Her main concern was bringing structure and emotional sup-
port to children who had been through hell. "Some will bounce
back and be a child. Some are so hurt they don't want to talk, and
CITY LIMITS
they lash out at you," Day says. "You can't get mad or angry. You
just have to take it one step at a time. You leave them alone or
change the subject-you say, 'Let's make some fudge!'"
But one day in 1989, her older children-seven foster children
and three kids she had already adopted-didn't come back from
school. That afternoon, an agency caseworker who showed up at
her house told her why: They had been pulled out of school
because one of them reported that Day had hit her. The worker
then took her three infant foster children as well.
Day denies that she ever hit the girl who reported her. She
insists that the child was looking for revenge after Day forbade her
from sleeping over at a friend's. (False claims are not uncommon;
a record 1,912 reports of abuse or neglect were made against fos-
ter parents last year, only 14 percent of which were found to have
possible basis.) A Family Court judge eventually cleared her of
wrongdoing and returned her three adopted children to her. Then
she became a foster parent again ... briefly.
This time, a troubled boy repeatedly attempted to set the house
on fire, and Day couldn't bring herself to give him prescribed
medication to calm him down. "It mummified him, a six-year-old
kid. You don't drug kids like that," she says. Again, her children
were removed, this time for medical neglect. At this point, Day
decided there was no way she'd take on any new foster kids.
By the time she won her adopted children back, they were
rebellious teenagers, accustomed from living in a group home to
staying out late and doing as they pleased. She was unable to han-
dle them and, overwhelmed and heartbroken, put them back into
foster care.
Though technically she had won all her cases, Day felt like her
years of work had been declared worthless. "I was chopped liver,"
says Day. "When the system sees nothing about you as a parent,
you feel tainted."
N
Ot many foster parents go through the extremes Day did,
but her feelings of alienation are common. Few people
who've met a foster parent have illusions of what it takes,
even under the best of circumstances. A national survey found that
40 percent of all foster parents quit in their first year, most of them
complaining of lousy pay and bad treatment.
Besides the joys and trials of parenthood, foster parents must
bring children to a battery of regular appointments, including
weekly visits with their birth parents; attend numerous training
sessions; provide their own cribs and supplies (diapers are paid
for); maintain their homes impeccably under the watch of inquis-
itive caseworkers; and, now, serve as mentors for their foster chil-
dren's birth families. Under a new state law, they are also finger-
pri nted, and everyone in their household must undergo a criminal
background check. For all that, the basic stipend is about $500 a
month. Kids with more complicated problems, like HIV or men-
tal retardation, bring up to $1,200 a month.
Taking care of neighborhood kids isn't the only change that's
hit foster parents lately. In 1995, Governor George Pataki slashed
the budget for child welfare services, and foster parents took a 10
percent pay cut. In addition to babysitting reimbursements, sum-
mer vacations for veteran foster parents have been eliminated. So,
too, has cash for beds, strollers and other pricey but essential items.
The other problem, foster parents say, is making sure they get
paid their full paycheck. The state has a fair hearing system in place
for pay disputes; last year, of the 978 parents that went to hearing,
JUNE 2000
853 won outright or by default. Even so, many still don't get results.
In November 1999, the state and city settled a federal class-action
suit brought by Legal Aid and the Welfare Law Center, which
charged that even after winning fair hearings, foster parents often
didn't get their due. The city and state must now pay up, plowing
through a backlog that amounts to at least a thousand claims.
It's not surprising, then, that finding foster parents is harder
than it used to be. "Traditionally, you could count on referrals
from other foster parents," says Michael Schild, whose company
Marketing Dynamics runs a foster parent recruitment hotline.
"But what you see in New York City, the economy is so good, peo-
ple have full-time jobs. The pool of good foster parents has dra-
maticall y declined."
Schild's most reliable recruits, he says, are people on public
Sweating the Small Stuff
Rearranging the infrastructure of New York's entire child wel-
fare system is like turning the Titanic around in a bathtub. So
instead of launching neighborhood-based services everywhere at
once, the Administration for Children's Services started with one
borough, the Bronx, to help work out logistical problems before
the new plan was put in place citywide. Agencies assigned to pro-
vide foster care and preventive services in the Bronx started work-
ing in its neighborhoods last year. The rest of the city follows this
month.
So far, the Bronx agencies say, things are moving forward. ACS
has been reasonable about allowing large groups of siblings to be
placed outside their neighborhoods if a suitable home can't be
found; the same goes for children going to live with relatives. But
starting now, these foster care agencies will have to meet quotas
for foster care placements in each neighborhood, and they worry
that to do it, they will have to compromise kids' care.
Working in community districts is a great thing, says Eliza-
beth Garcia, who's in charge of finding new foster homes for St.
Christopher's, Inc. "But are they realistic? Can we get enough peo-
ple who don't have criminal records, who have the space, who are
qualified to be foster parents?" -AK
assistance. Though no one collects hard figures, agency foster care
directors estimate that only about a third of their foster parents
have jobs. Many of the rest are on welfare, SSI and other kinds of
public aid.
That's one reason why some conservatives slam the child wel-
fare system as another form of welfare. In purely economic terms,
it is: to a household living on less than $13,000 a year, a foster
care stipend can be a big help. Though the agencies that place fos-
ter children don't like to talk about it, caseworkers, attorneys and
foster parents themselves report that the money is absolutely a
motivating factor for many.
But foster parents say the assumption that they're just in it
-
- - -------------------------------------------
for the money leads caseworkers to devalue their hard work.
Even worse, it makes the parents seem expendable. Two years
ago, Veronica Jacobs went through an experience something
like Day's: With little warning, a caseworker took two of her
foster children away.
Jacobs had cared for them for two years, shuttling them from
F1atbush up to the agency's Westchester office for visits with their
mother. And while she was having a hard time dealing with her
preschool boy Robert's extreme tantrums, she hoped her agency
would come through with its promise for child care vouchers so
she could keep sending him to therapeutic day care-she was tired
of paying $90 a week out of her own pocket.
Instead, she got a letter saying that she was not certified to take
care of children with heavy emotional needs. Her caseworker said
they were moving the children to a home where the foster parent
Family Union
Tired of being taken for granted, Veronica Jacobs, Julia Boyd
and two dozen other current and former foster parents are now
leading an effort to launch New York's first foster parent union.
Working with the community organizing group ACORN, they ulti-
mately plan to push for better pay, more resources, and more
respect from foster care agencies.
The new union also looks to change how foster parents them-
selves see their work--encouraging them to start thinking like
employees, with needs and entitlements of their own. "Foster
parents have no rights," asserts ACORN organizer Bertha Lewis,
who has been coordinating the effort. "It's, 'Here's your checks-
shut up.'"
The union wants to train volunteer advocates for foster par-
ents. Potential plans include demanding that private agencies
make sure caseworkers respond to foster parent complaints, or
get them to schedule more convenient meetings between birth
parents and children. The union is also prepared to single out an
agency for public rebuke, letting other prospective foster par-
ents know that they'd be better off elsewhere. -AK
-
was interested in adopting them. A few months later, Jacobs
reports, she saw the siblings on Maury Povich, presented as kids
who needed to be adopted.
It was a crushing experience. "I feel the plight of [birth] moth-
ers who have their kids taken away," says Jacobs. As for ACS and
the private agencies, "They treat me and other foster mothers with
scorn. They just use us."
I
f the job is so terrible, why bother? Julia Boyd has some stan-
dard reasons. She loves kids, and she obviously loves being
appreciated-she says she'd feel lonely without them. But her
commitment is bigger than that. Boyd says it's nothing less than
trying to keep her community intact, and helping make sure
another generation of black children is not lost.
An estimated 73 percent of the children in the system are
African-American. Fewer than 3 percent are white. "These are
black kids, taken from their mothers. Half of them shouldn't even
have been taken away. These are our kids," Boyd says, with
emphasis on the "our." "I'm in this for one thing: to take poor
black children that other people didn't want."
Other foster parents say the same thing, says Bertha Lewis of
ACORN, which is organizing a union of foster parents [see side-
bar]. "People of color believe it's their duty to take care of our
children," she says. "People say, I just have to do it."
It's a paradox that the new neighborhood-based plan will only
amplify. These parents provide a priceless service to kids, but to
do it, they must work for the very institution that so often appears
to single out poor black and Latino families as deviant.
''The system was devised by and for people in middle-class
communities," contends the National Action Network's Henderson.
"But it's affecting people in poor and working-class communities,
because they have different ways. Middle-class people can pay a
baby-sitter. If people in poor communities have an emergency, they
sometimes have to leave their kids alone. ACS calls that neglect."
In a big shift, top child welfare officials have started to pub-
licly admit that the agency has a bad reputation in minority neigh-
borhoods and recognize that they must make peace with some of
their harshest critics for the new neighborhood plan to succeed.
''There is a lack of trust with this agency, but we have to find a
way to work together," is what ACS Assistant Commissioner Anne
Williams-Isom recently told a group in the basement of Corner-
stone Baptist Church. "Everyone has to be part of the crusade of
keeping children safe."
ACS is looking to churches to provide that link between
bureaucracy and neighborhood, and to smooth over the history of
mutual distrust, which is why Williams-Isom, ACS Deputy Com-
missioner William Bell and other agency officials were at that
Bedford-Stuyvesant church. Under the neighborhood plan, the
city has some serious expectations of religious institutions. It
wants clergy to provide informal counseling, and to be literally
sitting at the table when ACS talks with a family about how to get
children back home.
And, to be sure, the department wants churches to help recruit
foster parents and volunteer babysitters. "It offers a pool of possi-
ble foster homes--congregations can be very large," says William
Henry, training director for Lakeside Family Services. ''These are
people who already have a sense of helping those around them."
The project, called One Church, One Child, was modeled on a
program in Chicago of the same name. But a more direct inspira-
tion is right here in Bed-Stuy. During the 1980s foster home short-
age, black families were in particularly short supply. The city
turned to a day care center run out of the basement of Free Will
Church of God and Christ. The result was Miracle Makers, a new
neighborhood-based agency that could recruit hundreds of new
parents by forging connections that white-run agencies downtown
could not.
Child welfare officials are hoping that the miracle that got the
city through one foster care crunch will now get it through anoth-
er. Churches routinely accomplish something government isn't
wired to do: they forge human connections that shape and sustain
a community. For the new plan to work, churches will have to get
as involved in protecting children as they already have in feeding
the hungry. In a sense, it's a move back to child welfare's roots as
a religious charity.
CITY LIMITS
But the social contract is different today. As with soup kitchens
and food pantries, the relationship between state and church is
forged on an uneasy understanding: that it is appropriate to ask the
faithful to do something for God that neither government nor the
private sector will do for the common good. It's up to churches to
absolve the sins of the powerful-and to answer their prayers in
times of need.
The church leaders themselves are able to live with these con-
tradictions because they, like Julia Boyd, believe that black
churches need to stand by black children. "They're children of
color-we need to take care of our own," says Eddie Lacewell,
vice-president of Miracle Makers. His agency has done the seem-
ingly impossible: it has turned race from something that divides a
black neighborhood from the child welfare system to a force that
unites Bed-Stuy residents around protecting their children.
Deputy Commissioner Bell got his start at Miracle Makers,
and he knows that churches, and black churches in particular, will
be a powerful ally. Government, he told the Bed-Stuy church lead-
ers, cannot do the job of protecting children on its own.
"Those who you love, you chasten," exhorted Bell. "We need
to stop conducting business as usual and assume collective
responsibility for our children."
And then, as he did many times during his talk, Bell brought
Christ to his aid. "I was hungry and you did not feed me .. .! was a
stranger and you did not welcome me ... as much as you withhold
from the least of these, you withhold from me," he murmured in
hushed reverence. "We are confronted with a crisis when we can-
not protect our children. It is also a crisis in the ability of our com-
munity to provide."
N
o longer can foster parents limit their responsibilities to
their own homes-they, too, are now part of the neighbor-
hood support structure for farnilies in the system. They're
supposed to put their own complex emotions aside and act as
mentors for birth parents, sitting in on child-parent visits instead
of taking a long walk around the block. Birth and foster parents
are asked to get to know one another, as partners whose common
goal is the children's well-being. Ideally, they're even supposed to
set up meetings at home, rather than the neutral ground of the
local office.
If it works, the initiative ACS calls "Family to Family" will
be a momentous leap, helping transform foster care from a
punitive institution into a nurturing one. It could also be the
toughest change of all. You don't have to go to Miami to find
adversarial relationships between birth and foster parents. Agi-
tated biological parents frequently blame foster parents for
holding their children hostage; hearing your own kids call
someone else "mommy" can be devastating. For their part, fos-
ter parents understandably blame birth parents for the children's
suffering.
Too many caseworkers reinforce the belief that troubled birth
mothers are unredeemable, say child welfare experts. ''The sys-
tem seems to thrive on keeping foster and birth parents at odds
with each other," contends John Courtney, research associate for
the Center for the Study of Family Policy at Hunter College and
a former executive of Little Flower Children's Services. "The
image of the drug-abusing parent is perpetuated. And foster par-
ents buy into that, unfortunately." Kids, of course, are caught in
the middle.
JUNE 2000
Some foster parents wonder why ACS took so long to bring
foster and birth parents together. Surreptitiously, they've been
trying to connect all along. ACORN's Veronica Jacobs started an
organization called Within Reach to bring foster and birth par-
ents together. Julia Boyd recalls defying her caseworker, who
strictly forbid her from talking to her foster children's parents. "I
have a relationship with all my mothers-I talk to them, tell
them the real deal: 'I want you to straighten them out,'" .she says.
"I have a beautiful relationship with them; they visit me, and
they call me."
Those ties endure even after the children have left ACS's
sights. On a recent afternoon, 4-year-old Smooch scampers
around Boyd's Crown Heights apartment, playing with Boyd's
adopted daughter Audrey. Smooch used to be one of Boyd's fos-
ter children; now that he's back home, his mother frequently
leaves him with Boyd when she needs a break on weekends. "I
never desert a child," declares Boyd.
She wakes up at six every morning, because she must spend an
hour getting Audrey, who is mentally retarded, washed (she wets
her bed), fed, dressed and out the door for her school bus.
Why has Boyd put in all this effort, for so little? ''I'm an advo-
cate, a fighter," she says almost automatically. But there are hum-
bler reasons, too. "All day we fuss, we argue-then as soon as
they're away for an hour, I'm actually lonely. Ifl send them to stay
with my daughter for a night, I'm afraid all night. They're my
inspiration-they're my joy."
Veronica
Jacobs
opened her f
heart and ~
home to ~
strangers'
children,
only to
have them
taken away.
""
-
--
The Swingline plant in Long Island Cny was
many things to ns workers: a livelihood, a
social scene, a home. Since n closed, they've
learned the hard way that New York has lnue
use for old factory hands.
By Daphne [viatar
T
he first thing you notice in Sixto Castro's apartment are the
pictures: smiling men and women in union T-shirts and hats,
lounging on folding chairs at a Labor Day picnic, marching
to protest NAFfA, or congregating around politicians. Their
faces fill poster-size frames that line the walls of his narrow
hallway. Three more frames are crammed with yellowing news-
paper articles, with headlines like "Jobs to Mexico" and "Protest
at Swingline." Inside, the cramped living room is covered with
more of the same.
Castro, a compact 39-year-old whose curly hair is beginning to
gray, shrugs when asked about the pictures. Taking pictures was a
hobby, something he used to do on his days off from his job work-
ing the machines at the Swingline stapler factory in Long Island
City. An active member of the Teamsters' local that represented
workers there, he fell into the role of unofficial union photogra-
pher, memorializing their celebrations, their demollstrations and,
unwittingly, their demise.
Last spring, after 10 years as a machinist at Swingline-the first
job he found after arriving in the U.S. from Ecuador in 1 9 8 ~
tro was laid off. Swingline was moving its factory and more than 450
jobs to Nogales, Mexico, a small border town just south of Arizona.
Castro no longer has time to take pictures. He now works as a
janitor at Manhattan's Stuyvesant Town and, because he makes
half the salary he did at Swingline, spends his days off doing odd
jobs like painting and window-washing. It is not work that Castro
much enjoys. But it does cover the rent on the small Jackson
Heights apartment he shares with his cousin, and, just barely, the
mortgage on the home he bought for his family when he worked
at Swingline. His estranged wife still lives there with their 15-
year-old son, receiving child support payments from Castro. She
left him last summer, not long after Swingline closed; their rela-
tionship could not withstand the turmoil.
Castro, and the people he worked with and photographed, lost
more than just a familiar landmark when the huge neon stapler
came down off the rooftop of the red brick factory that had housed
Swingline for 50 years. For the many who labored there 20, 30,
even 40 years, the departure of Swingline meant the end of an era.
Mostly immigrants, Swingline's workers had found jobs at the
factory when they came to New York from Central and South
America, Eastern Europe, China, and the West Indies. They stayed
on, while they married, raised children, and settled comfortably
into middle age. When relatives arrived in the city, there was often
a place for them at Swingline. Brothers, sisters, cousins, husbands
and wives worked side by side.
Though no one got rich doing factory work, even the least
skilled workers-the ones who pieced together or packaged the
staplers--earned around $10 an hour, plus overtime, after a few
years. Tool and die makers and machinists could earn close to $20
an hour. Accompanied by health and pension benefits they all
received through their union contract, the money was enough to
eventually land them middle-class accoutrements like a home, a
car and the debts that came with them.
When it closed, the Swingline stapler factory, which at its
height employed over 1,200 people, left 487 jobless workers in its
wake. For most, the options have been few, the frustrations many.
Some, like Castro, have found new jobs cleaning buildings or
making deliveries. Many more remain adrift, taking training
courses in office work and English and trying to make sense of a
CITY LIMITS
strange new world of resumes, word processors and business cor-
respondence. There are government job-training programs for
workers like these. But the courses' minimal offerings only go so
far for workers who have limited English and education.
There are still manufacturers out there, of course. One has
even moved into Swingline's former space. Kruysman, a compa-
ny that makes accordion-style envelopes, has moved its operations
and 250 nonunion employees from lower Manhattan onto one of
the building's three floors. With funding from the city and state, it
has used the latest technology to streamline operations and boost
productivity without having to hire any more workers. Those there
earn about $8 an hour after eight years.
As far as anyone knows, no ex-Swingline employees work
there now. Many say they wouldn't even consider it. They have
JUNE 2000 '
their dignity, and they are not going to return to the building
where they toiled for 20 years for a job that starts at minimum
wage. Some suspect the company wouldn't even hire former
employees of Swingline-"because they'll bring in the union,"
says Nancy DeWendt, a former Swingline factory worker.
They've been burned once. Who's to say this new company won't
pack up for Mexico six months from now? When one's working
world suddenly disappears, trust is just the first thing to fall apart.
S
Wingline,S decision to leave should have come as no sur-
prise to the people who w.orked there. Indeed, many had
been regulars at union protests against the North American
Free Trade Agreement, the treaty that ultimately convinced
the company to move. Negotiated in 1994, NAFTA reduced
Until its neon stapler
came down in 1999,
Swingline defined the
long Island City
skyline-and
hundreds of
workers' lives.
...
--
tariffs and made it easier for factories to leave the U.S. for Mexi-
co or Canada. It delivered as promised. Between 1994 and 1998,
more than 440,000 U.S. factory jobs were lost, mostly from com-
panies lured by NAFfA's promise of lower wages and higher
profits. In New York City, 70-year-old Swingline was the largest
and most visible casualty.
The move was part of a drive toward corporate efficiency, says
Anne Bannister, Marketing Director for ACCO, the company that
took over Swingline in 1990. "The reality is, manufacturing in the
United States can't compete." Although Swingline has long dom-
inated the U.S. stapler and staples market, with $100 million in
sales in 1997, the company's competitors manufactured in the Far
East, where wages are far lower than in New York. Swingline fig-
ured it could cut close to $12 million of its $14 million payroll
simply by moving. "The company had to move in order to stay
competitive and not lose market share," says Bannister.
For the people who labored there most of their adult lives, main-
taining market share seemed cruel justification for destroying what
had become their second home. On three daily shifts they kept the
factory going 24 hours a day, spitting out staplers at the main build-
ing and rows of tiny steel wire staples at a second, smaller one. Many
spent more time with their coworkers than with their own families.
The job was more than a reliable paycheck. The crew worked
surrounded by friends, and on days off they congregated with their
families for picnics, football or baseball. Despite the grueling
monotony of factory work, the clanking of machines and smells of
solvents and molten metals, former employees describe an almost
joyful atmosphere at Swingline. "I feel happy there," recalls Mag-
dalena Bubanj, who came from Croatia and inspected staplers for
more than 27 years. "We talk, we m'!ke fun."
Sal Melendez, a gregarious 48-year-old who met his wife in
the company cafeteria 21 years ago, echoes the sentiment. "We
didn' t make a lot of money there, but we were happy. I don't know
why, but we were." DeWendt, who rose from piecing together sta-
plers on the assembly line to become a production leader, shares
the fond memories: "Basically, it was a sweet place to work for."
Swingline became an even better place to work in 1981, after the
workers replaced their ineffectual union. Their new union, Team-
sters Local 808, led them in a three-week strike that won a much-
improved contract. Workers won 50 percent pay increases over
three years, a plush benefits package that included medical, dental,
optical and life insurance, and an enhanced pension.
So while workers weren' t getting wealthy, most felt fairly
rewarded. The result was a loyal workforce dominated by long-
term employees. They knew the company, knew their jobs, knew
their coworkers, and thought they knew that they could stay at
Swingline until they retired.
In 1997, Swingline announced it would move to Mexico,
breaking that unspoken pact. Outraged workers demonstrated in
front of City Hall. Local 808 beseeched politicians to offer
inducements to the company to keep it in New York-after all, the
city has offered other companies more than $2 billion worth of tax
incentives since 1994 to stay.
But Mayor Giuliani insisted that Swingline's departure would
be no great loss. "The City of New York can't keep businesses that
want to take advantage of wages that are way below what people
should be paid," the Mayor said after the company announced its
plan to move. Swingline's workers, he added, would easily find
better jobs in the city's thriving economy.
Those workers now recall his statements with bitterness. "Giu-
liani said, 'Let them go,'" recalls DeWendt, who was a shop stew-
ard. ''But the majority of people didn't have an education, no
diploma. Can he get them the same wages, the sar,le medical?"
E
ver since she arrived in New York City from South Carolina
in 1978, Nancy DeWendt worked Swingline's assembly
lines. A large woman with a powerful presence, she wel-
comes visitors into the tidy Jamaica, Queens apartment that
she shares with her 11-year-old son. No longer working, she
spends hours vividly recalling the bitter breakdown of a place she
calls "a big family thing."
As a shop steward, De Wendt had sat at the table at contract
negotiations in October 1996, where union officials and manage-
ment discussed workers' wages and benefits. Management never
even mentioned ilie possibility of Swingline shutting down. In
recent years, the company had mechanized the staple making, sta-
CITY LIMITS
{;Au
r
pier assembly and packing parts of the plant,
laying off increasing numbers of workers.
DeWendt and the union officials thought
those concessions to productivity would
protect their jobs. They were not prepared
when, the following May, managers in each
division rounded up their employees and
broke the news.
{iME RICAtJ
The immediate reaction was a stunned
silence. Then came tears. "I cried," says
DeWendt, reclining on her living-room
. couch. "Everyone was crying." Layoffs-
t--\A f
about 20 people at a time-began in October 1997 and continued
until the last workers closed the shop in March 1999. From an
atmosphere of camaraderie, the scene soured. Coworkers who'd
counted on keeping their jobs began to cast suspicious eyes at one
another, wondering who would be next. Some people were laid off,
then called back to fill in temporarily when the company realized
it couldn't complete production with a skeletal workforce. Many
workers complained to the shop stewards and union officials, won-
dering why the Teamsters couldn't do anything to halt the process.
Cynthia Rivera, who handles Local 808's benefit plans at its
Long Island City office, remembers the scene after the announce-
ment. "I don't think I've ever witnessed anything that was as sad,"
she recalls. "They were so angry. Some of them would come here
and say, 'I don't have anything to do.'" Pedro Cardi, the Teamsters
business agent who represented Swingline workers, remembers
how difficult it was to face them, particularly when a husband and
wife were both laid off. "People came up to me in tears-What am
I going to do? Who's going to pay my bills?"
Cardi soon suffered his own trauma. He was laid off by the
union because, with Swingline gone, it had lost hundreds of dues-
paying members and couldn't afford to keep him. He lost his
apartment, his marriage broke up and he was briefly homeless,
sleeping on a park bench on the Grand Concourse. Cardi finally
found a place to live by working as a superintendent at a building
in the South Bronx; eventually, he found a new job with a Team-
sters local in New Jersey.
The Long Island City chapter did manage to find new jobs for
some Swingline workers, mostly janitorial work at large apart-
ment buildings where Local 808 has contracts. But that took care
of only about 20 of the strongest and ablest of workers.
Many others couldn't even look for work. Years of repetitive
assembly-line work had left them with carpal tunnel syndrome, or
bad backs and permanent neck injuries from the heavy lifting,
made worse by the escalating pressure to step up production in the
factory's final years. Some had never complained or filed for
workers' compensation-they wanted to keep their jobs.
DeWendt went on disability leave in November 1996, shortly
before the company announced it was closing. She had injured her
back lifting a heavy box of staplers. "I knew I shouldn't have done
Iliat," she told me recently as we sat in her cramped living room.
DeWendt's back injury has creeped into her legs, swelling her
ankles and lll2king it difficult to walk. Steps are almost impossible to
navigate now, so she stays home most days. Between a weekly check
of$14O in workers' compensation and survival benefits from her hus-
band's death in 1995, she gets by, although she's racked up credit card
debt spending money on her son because she feels guilty she can't
take him places.
JUNE 2000
Scenes from a lost
Swingline workers protest the
trade treaty that cost them
their livelihoods.
Being stuck at home all day
has been difficult. Now 49, she'd
like eventually to work again,
maybe as an x-ray technician, if
she can get back on her feet. In
the meantime, she tries to keep
cheerful. "I've got Jerry Springer, Divorce Court,
Williams, Judge Judy," she says with a wry smile.
Montel
J
ust a few blocks from the Skillman Avenue factory stands
laGuardia Community College, a large modem complex of
buildings. In room C-145, Jerry Stoermer sits, waiting.
Originally from Hamburg, Germany, the tool and die
maker carne to Queens with his family in 1970. Soon after,
he got a job at Swingline. "As soon as we came, we had a better
life," Stoermer says. His blond hair now graying, he describes
how he spent 30 years making the machines that mold the differ-
ent components of a stapler, working his way up the union salary
scale, until he lost his job at the factory last year.
Stoermer found another job for a few months doing the same
kind of work in Brooklyn, but it didn't work out. "The guy want-
ed me to be the tool and die maker and the engineer and every-
thing else, for the same money I made at Swingline. I told him I
couldn't do it."
Stoermer's English as a Second Language class is about to
begin. While others joke in Spanish, he sits quietly on the side.
He's been speaking English a long time, and indeed, you might
guess he was a native speaker. "I don' t need to be here," he says,
shrugging his shoulders. "It's just for the benefits."
The classes, and long-term unemployment benefits, come
courtesy of the NAFTA Trade Adjustment Assistance Program,
the one concession Congress made to workers whose jobs move
to Mexico or Canada. Besides job training, the program also
offers unemployment checks-about half of former wages-for
up to two years.
Most former Swingline employees applied for the classes, and
-
"We didn't make a lot of money
tIIere, but 18 181'8 happy,"
says IIaacy DeW,
worked at the plant far aearIy
20 years. "I don't ka why,
but 18 181'8."

I I
. ,
many landed at laGuardia, which offers a mixture of ESL, office skills
and basic computer training for laid-off workers. Stoermer says he'd
like to learn to use a computer, but the only program available required
that he also spend two of the four days a week in an ESL class.
Stoermer is the exception; learning English is a serious chal-
lenge for most of these workers. Roslyn Orgel, director of the
school's adult literacy program, says the average student's age in
these classes is 50, and many have had little more than a second-
or third-grade education. "It's a long way to go," she admits, par-
ticularly since they spend just 12 hours a week at laGuardia. Many
end up dropping the ESL and computer courses midway through
to take jobs as cashiers or grocery baggers, because they cannot
afford to live on unemployment benefits or because their benefits
are about to expire. Says Orgel, ''They take what they can get."
On this bright February morning, Geesa Johnston is teaching an
advanced ESL class to about 20 students who range in age from
late twenties to mid.sixties. All but four worked at Swingline.
One of her main goals, and a critical part of the Computers,
Office Skills, and Job Training Intensive Program, is to teach them
office skills, like how to answer phones, write a memo or draft a
business letter. Johnston uses an overhead projector to display an
office memo on a blank wall. "What do you notice about this
memo?" she asks, then walks them through the concepts of inden-
tation and alignment.
Shifting to dictation, Johnston rattles off sentences extracted
from mythical office memos, on matters as alien to most of the
students as stapler assemblies would be to a secretary. It's clear
they're still struggling to grasp the material.
"We do not know whether the committee's decision will go
into effect this calendar year," she reads from the page projected
on the wall. "What did she say?" asks a woman in the back, and
students repeat the words for one another.
A
t first, most workers were skeptical about the training pro-
gram; they enrolled for the extra unemployment checks.
''The main thing was the money," admits Luis Valencia, a
small, dark-haired man sitting near the front of the class.
"That's why we came here." But after a few weeks, many
were surprised to discover they were actually learning.
Alba Jimenez, in her third semester of ESL,
appreciates the opportunity. "I learn to speak a tit-
tle more English here. I leam computer." Jimenez
wants to begin working towards a GED this
spring, and then find a job. "I would like to work
in an office," she says.
Jimenez and her fellow students won't get
much help from their school, though. Started
four years ago in response to the flight of manu-
facturing from Long Island City, the laGuardia
skills training program does not provide job
placement or counseling services; the labor
department funding doesn't cover them. Pro-
gram directors also acknowledge that they do not
make an effort to coordinate the training with the
jobs that are actually available. Admits Orgel,
''The number of people who actually go out and
get a clerical position is prob.ably low."
Johnston seems earnest in her desire to
help her students, and cares about where they
go next. Bilt she is also uncertain about what skills they actu-
ally need at this stage of their lives. Most of all , she's puzzled
by what looks to her like the workers' lack of ambition. John-
ston recalls how her own parents, from Brazil, were intent on
blending in and moving up socially and economically. She says
she can' t understand why many of her students have not assim-
ilated, even after 20 or 30 years in the U.S. "Why are some
more motivated to move beyond, and others will settle for
less?" she asks.
For those who spent most of their working lives at Swingline,
the answer is fairly obvious. Mostly from poor countries-this
class hails from Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Bangladesh, and
China-they carne here not to get rich, but to survive.
Luis Valencia was one of them. An immigrant from Colom-
bia who worked his way up Swingline's ladder over 23 years
from minimum wage-then $2.40 an hour-to $10 an hour,
Valencia pieced together and packaged the staplers, ran the
machines and, finally, moved up to product inspector. Then he
was laid off.
"I knew almost every job in the factory, and I knew the people.
I knew what I had to do," he says. At Swingline, he was among
friends and family who knew his language and his culture. "We
didn' t care too much about money, because we felt comfortable
over there." Most of those now studying English worked for
decades alongside others who spoke their native language, and
they lived in tight-knit immigrant communities where English was
neither necessary nor easy to learn.
But the factory is gone now, and their experience on the assem-
bly line simply does not translate to the workplace today. "I didn't
learn a single thing over there. None of us did," says Valencia,
shaking his head bitterly. "Unless Swingline comes back, I can't
use any of it."
T
oday,s economy is a far cry from the one Valencia and his
contemporaries found when they arrived in New York.
Despite record employment rates nationwide, New York
City faces the worst jobs gap for low-skill workers in the
nation, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The
(continued on page 37)
CITVLlMITS
Jill Nelson, a
former reporter
for The
Washington
Post and City
Limits, is the
editor of
"Police
Brutality: An
Anthology,"
published by
WW Norton.
JUNE 2000
Deadly
Silence
By Jill Nelson
T
he morning of the funeral for Patrick Dorismond, the
man who was shot by an undercover police officer for
saying no to drugs, I went swimming at the Harlem
YMCA. I swim nearly every morning, as much to dis-
sipate my anger and frustration as to order my
thoughts as for exercise. Somehow, the cool water
and the repetition of strokes hones and focuses my
passions, especially intense at this moment, living
in a city where the police have shot and killed
four unarmed black men in just over a year.
That Saturday morning, as always, swim-
ming did its magic. Getting dressed I felt
calmer, cooled out, ready to deal with another
day. I was wearing a "Stop Police Brutality"
button, and the sisters in the locker room
asked for one. So I handed them round to
all, including a silent white woman who
was there, too. She looked at the button,
looked at me, and asked, ''What's police
brutality?"
My first reaction was to slap her
upside her head, give her a taste of the brutality that
stalks people like me every day. I could not believe that here she
was in the center of Harlem-where white people are moving
by the thousands-still draped in the white privilege that allows
her to not know what police brutality is, even as she stands in a
community victimized by it.
Of course, someone who purports not to know what police
brutality is probably hasn't heard the term "white privilege."
But back in the day, white privilege was what young recruits to
the civil rights movement tried (and usually failed) to shed: the
advantages that accrue simply based on being white; the free-
dom to go about your business without worrying about your
race, whether dealing with shopkeepers, schoolteachers,
employers or police officers.
In today's winner-take-all, post-affirmative action society,
apparently privilege of every kind is to be grabbed, not shed,
and it seems most whites have lost consciousness of the privi-
lege their skin color represents. That's always galling to me, but
in this period of crisis, it's dangerous. In the wake of the
Amadou Diallo and Dorismond killings I've found myself ask-
ing desperately: Where are the white voices of outrage?
Since Diallo's murder and the acquit-
tal of the four officers who fired at him
CITYVIEW
41 times, the tension in this city is so
thick you could grab a handful and put it in your pocket. Of
course, this tension has historic roots. Law enforcement histor-
ically was not charged with protecting black rights-we didn't
have any-but white property, including black slaves. Today,
many people of color still see the police as protectors of the
racial and economic status quo. It's also clear that many whites
in New York" voted for Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and remain silent
about his excesses, because of their fear of black and Latino
people, particularly the young. And they've been willing to let
Giuliani curtail these people's civil rights in exchange for feel-
ing more comfortable and safe.
The woman at the YMCA might have been an aberrant
extreme, but she is nevertheless indicative of an insensitivity, or
maybe it's helplessness, that manifests itself among white New
Yorkers as silence about police brutality at a time when white
understanding and activism is crucial.
So far the only significant and sustained response has been
from young white students, several hundred of whom walked
out of schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan and marched across
the Brooklyn Bridge on March 3, a week after the verdict in the
Diallo shooting. Wednesday, forty-one days after the verdict,
nearly a thousand junior high, high school and college students
participated in a walk-out, rally and march to City Hall protest-
ing police violence. Eighteen students were arrested after they
blocked rush-hour traffic on the bridge.
To this day, most of New York's white elected officials,
along with religious leaders, heads of community-based non-
profits, and both of New York's Democratic senators, Charles
Schumer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, have been silent about
the brutality crisis within the NYPD. Surely their voices would
be raised if their constituents, average New Yorkers, demanded
that they speak out.
It's crucial that they do. Giuliani and his minions have made
it clear that they don't care what black and Latino people expe-
rience, perceive or think about police misconduct. He knows
that we did not vote for him for mayor and will not send him to
the Senate, and he has long since written us off. What he does
care about are white residents, whose votes elected him mayor
and whose votes, or silence in the face of the current crisis, will
help him reach the Senate as the man who saved New York
from crime.
The Southern civil rights movement was in full swing before
white citizens, often radicalized by televised images of black
people being assaulted by police dogs, members of the Ku Klux
Klan, Southern sheriffs and water cannons, raised their voices
and put their bodies on the line for African-Americans' struggle
for equal justice and against white privilege.
I'd like to think that these highly publicized police murders,
not only in New York but all over the country, might have the
same effect and spark a movement against police brutality and
for social justice for all Americans.
It is time for white New Yorkers to cross over. If they don't,
the tension will escalate, the killing of unarmed men will con-
tinue and this city will be destroyed, all of us burned in the fire
next time .
...... ---"'"' .. -... -
REVIEW
-
Union City
By Keith Meatto
"Working Class New York: Life and Labor
since World War II," by Joshua B. Freeman,
The New Press, $35, 432 pages.
A
t mid-century, New York City was blue-collar paradise.
Mere weeks after World War II ended, 250,000 employ-
ees stayed borne from work to support an elevator oper-
ators' walkout. Later that year, a tugboat workers' strike so crip-
pled the city that President Truman stepped in for damage con-
trol. Thrust into the spotlight for valor on the battlefield and in
wartime manufacturing, the working man bad won the ear of
America's power brokers. Along the way, he influenced public
policy and popular culture from affordable bousing to civil
rights, from The Honeymooners to All in the Family.
Enter Joshua B. Freeman, an urban scholar at New York
University. Freeman picks up his narrative history at the apex of
labor's power in Gotham and traces its decline, the roots of
which lay in labor's own misguided strategies. He argues that
by pursuing narrow short -term gains, crossing powerful foes
and championing social mobility, Big Labor went from a major
political player to an armchair quarterback.
The tragedy does have its triumphant moments. Labor's
housing program, for example, created the "greatest and least
known achievement of working-class New York." Spurred by a
postwar apartment shortage, unions banded together with the
government to build 40,000 units of cooperative housing over
three decades. Yet they were built on an unstable foundation, as
local and federal slum clearance policies and the whims of mas-
ter builder Robert Moses punisbed the city's most abject.
Such noble causes gone south dominate Freeman's tale.
Consider labor's complicity in shaping health maintenance orga-
nizations, arguably the worst compromise since the Louisiana
Purchase. Initially, New York's high concentration of left-lean-
ing doctors helped labor build a beachhead of union health cen-
ters. Organizers lost the medical establishment's support, how-
ever, when they pushed to unionize hospitals and nursing homes.
In Freeman's words: "Labor had pointed the way to the future,
but had lost control of the throttle before the train of history
arrived."
Freeman's narrative train makes dutiful stops at convention-
al stations, winding his way through the Cold War, the
tumultuous 1960s and the fiscally tight 1970s. Each episode
frames labor struggles in the context of larger political trends.
The result is a valuable primer on New York union struggles and
a handy refresher course on postwar urban society.
The McCarthy era poisoned
New York's unions: Municipal
workers were forced to take loy-
alty oaths, and Cardinal
Spellman organized cemetery
workers under the banner of
anti-communism. The
Vietnam War pitted "long-
hairs" against "hardhats"
and further distanced
Labor from its progres-
sive roots. When a thousand stu-
dents rallied on Wall Street to protest the war, a
band of construction workers stepped in to break heads.
But the watershed in the Fall of Labor was the fiscal crisis of
the 1970s. Prompted by government fathers, a cabal of
financiers clamped down on the ailing municipality. When that
failed, the city turned to the federal government. But the New
Deal was over. President Gerald Ford shrugged off the appeal,
condemning the city's profligate social spending as the root
cause of its fiscal woes.
Desperate not to be blamed for the city's bankruptcy, munic-
ipal union leaders agreed to invest the bulk of their pension fund
assets-some $2.5 billion-in the city's high-risk bonds. But
while labor helped bailout the city, it lost its footing. Some
25,000 employees were laid off in the first three years of the cri-
sis. Later the city shed 63,000 jobs-a quarter of the municipal
workforce-between 1975 and 1980.
Labor also failed to anticipate the future. In Freeman's
analysis, unions interpreted the postwar economy in Luddite
terms. As heavy industry left New York and "automation hyste-
ria" swept the nation, the city's unions panicked. While some
envisioned a reduced work week, most feared that machines
would snatch jobs from people. The latter proved prescient, and
anxious labor leaders traded future jobs for present security.
Unfortunately, Freeman examines labor from the distant
heights of academia. At the book's outset he rails against
Gotham's literati-from E.B. White to Willie Morris-for excis-
ing the working man from their sketches of postwar New York.
Freeman's textbook prose is no better. The reader can't see the
sweat on the laborer's brow, or grasp the cruelty of his working
conditions. And references to popular culture-presumably
intended to spice up this bland dish-are stilted. Freeman on
Seinfeld reads like Alan Greenspan on Puff Daddy.
Above all, Freeman's tale follows organizations, not individ-
uals. Charismatic characters occasionally emerge, including the
pugnacious Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., who cut his teeth organizing
hospital workers, and Abraham Kazan, who launched new hous-
ing projects. But rank-and-file workers remain statistics.
Working Class New York is an eulogy for a bygone social
movement. Freeman retains some hope for the working class, a
stubborn group "balking at leaving history'S stage." But just as
telling is the fact that the popularity of the West Indian parade
in Brooklyn, held annually on Labor Day, has prompted unions
to reschedule their own march .
Keith Meatto is a writer for Mother Jones magazine.
CITY LI MITS
The Marshall Plan
(continued from page 13)
O
ne thing that both sides agree on is that PSA
itself is a big part of the problem. In anoth-
er contentious case, Marshall arranged for
an alcoholic 65-year-old Manhattanite to move to an
adult residence in the Bronx. "He had a pacemaker
hanging out of his chest, with the wire sticking out
several inches," she recalls. "He was totally filthy,
charcoal gray." The man had no steady source of
income to pay the huge sums of back rent he owed.
At the adult home, Marshall figured, his rent would
be paid for by Social Security, and someone would
look after him.
SRO Law Project attorneys intervened, saying
he had every right to stay in his own apartment,
where he preferred to live. They negotiated a settle-
ment that would keep the man in the building. It was
too late-he lost the room he lived in-but they
have since found him a new room on the East Side.
The attorneys say she didn't even bother to
look for grants to help him, but Marshall points a
finger to PSA. ''There was an agreement with the
landlord for him to come back if PSA paid, but
PSA wouldn't pay," she says.
Indeed, the agency is notoriously underfunded.
The entire PSA budget, serving nearly 3,500
clients, has been whittled down to $23.5 million.
Not only do PSA guardians have limited resources
Commitment is
JUNE 2000
at their disposal; they receive no training in how to
use them. In fact, they receive no training at all.
Beach

Also, no one evalutes the performance of these
guardians-it's up to tenant lawyers to make a
stink when there's a problem. "It has to be brought
to the judge's attention," says Judge Gische.
"There is no oversight in the courts."
Tenant lawyers say that must change. "Having
a roof over your head and whether you agree to
give it up or not is a fundamental right," says
Brooklyn attorney Luttwak. "Given the power
these guardians have, it should be taken more
seriously."
20,000
readers
in the
nonprofit
Willie Gilyard and his daughter are taking it
very seriously. This summer, Sampson plans to
submit Gilyard's hearing transcripts and legal
documents to the court in an effort to get Betty
MarShall disbarred. Attorneys call it a long shot,
but Sampson is determined to avenge her father.
''To find out a court could put his life in the
hands of someone who doesn' t know him and
does not care about him, and allow them to
decide their life without consulting the person or
their family is completely cruel," says Sampson.
"She could have done so much damage ... every-
thing he had worked for all his life could have
been gone."
Elise Labott is a Manhattan-based freelance
writer.
Advertise In
Call Kim Nauer at
(212) 479-3352
Tomorro\N starts today
leading to results TM
Deutsche Bank's commitment to
global corporate citizenship recognizes a
responsibility to improve and enrich the
communities throughout the world in
which we conduct business.
With a focused strategy of support for
community development, the arts and the
environment, Deutsche Bank partners with
local organizations to build a brighter future.
Our commitment to a better tomorrow
starts today.
Deutsche Bank IZI
-
laRAds

ADVERTISE IN CITY LIMITS!
TO place a classified ad in City Limits, e-mail your ad to advertise@citylimits.org or fax your ad to 212-
344-6457. The ad will run in the City Limits Weekly, City Limits magazine and on the ()ity Limits web
site. Rates are $1.46 per word, minimum 40 words. Special event and professional directory advertising
rates are also avaHable. For more information, check out the Jobs section of www.cityJimits.org or call
Associate Publisher Anita Gutierrez at 212-479-3345.
Women' s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDCO), an
award-winning mid-size economic development agency in the South Bronx,
seeks the following positions: TEACHERS and ASSISTAHIS for after school pro-
gram. Part-time. Fax resume/cover letter to Davon Russell at 718-839-1172.
CASE MANAGER for Casaworks for Families, part of a national demonstration
project, to manage a case load and perform a range of counseling, advocacy,
group facilitation and resource and referral services for mothers with a sub-
stance abuse problem. While the position focuses on case management and
employment readiness, and does not include substance abuse
counseling, knowledge of substance abuse is recommended. Qualifications:
MSW/related degree, minimum 3-4 years experience preferably in employ-
ment readiness with substance abuse population. Computer literate, Windows
95. WHEDCO offers a very competitive salary and excellent benefits package.
Fax resume/cover letter to Beryl Jacobs at 718-839-1172.
FOIA provides transitional services to youth coming out of Rikers Island and
Juvenile Justice Detention Centers. The Link Program provides case manage-
ment, services to youth with mental health and forensic involvement, ages 13-
17 and their families. The following positions are available: PROGRAM DIRECTOR:
Program and network development, contract management and budgeting,
administrative oversight. Req: MSW, experience with MH and forensics. Salary:
low-mid $40s. CUNICALSUPERVlSOR: Supervise 3 BA-Ievel case managers, carry
a small caseload. Req: CSW with 3 years adol. MH experience. Low-mid $40s.
CASE MANAGER: Assessment, referrals and monitoring youth with MH needs
ages 13-17 and their families; computer literate; Spanish-speaker and own car
a plus. Salary low-mid $30s. The Women's Initiative provides services for young
ex-offender females, and is in its second year. SOCIAl. WORKER for young
women's initiative: case management, individual and group work with female ex-
offenders. Req: MSW. Knowledge of parenting, ACS/homeless issues, benefits,
experience working with young women. Spanish a plus. Salary: mid-$30s. For all
positions fax resume, cover letter to 212-76OD766, Attn: Nina.
DATA ENTRY POSIT1ON. Part-time data entry position with unique non-profit agency
serving pregnant and parenting teens. Seeking an indivdual with a BA or mas-
ter's. in one of the social sciences fields, excellent computer skills and experi-
ence in data entry. Knowledge of MSWord, Excel, and Access a plus. Hours are
flexible and can range from 10 to 19 hours per week. Pay is $12.00 per hour.
Please mail or fax resume and cover letter to: Inwood House, 320 East 82nd
Street, New York, NY 10028. Attn: Toni Loggin, Personnel. Fax: 212-535-3775.
New York City Organizing Support Center: We are a new, dynamic and growing
non-profit organization providing technical support, training and other forums for
grassroots community organizers and leaders throughout New York City to build
their skills and strengthen their strategies and alliances. Currently they are seek-
ing to hire for the following positions: PROJECT COORDINIOOR: Coordinate and
provide logistical support for programs. Meet with groups around the city to
assess needs and identify contacts. Facilitate planning meetings and other ses-
sions. At least 2 years experience as an organizer or grassroots leader. Part-
time to start, possible by early fall. Salary: low $30s scale)
depending on experience. Good benefits. PROGRAM CONSUI]'ANT: Plan and
itate trainings, forums, technical support and other programs with curriculum as
well as design additional curriculum and educational events around clear goals
and objectives, take initiative, work collaboratively with our staff and with diverse
groups, and travel throughout New York City. Must have at least five years expe-
rience as an organizer and as a trainer, preferably more. People of color encour-
aged to apply. Spanish a plus (not required). Hourly rate depends on experience.
For both positions, mail or fax resume, cover letter, 3 references, ASAP. New
York City Organizing Support Center, 180 Varick Street, 12th Roor, New York, NY
10014, Fax # 212-627-0178.
LEGtslATWE DIRECTOR (LOBBYIST) New York Civil Liberties Union. The New York
-
Civil Liberties Union, the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union,
invites applications for the pOSition of legislative director. This is a part-time
position. The legislative director monitors the state and county legislatures and
represents the NYCLU position on pending bills to legislators, the govemor's
staff, and the media. Strong writing, editing, and interpersonal skills are imper-
ative. A law degree and legislative experience are preferred, but not required.
Compensation is based on qualifications and experience. Specific
ities: Monitoring the NY state and county legislatures to identify bills which
would impact New Yorkers' constitutionally-protected civil liberties. Drafting
memoranda on pending legislation. Lobbying members of the state legislature
and the govemor's staff. Testifying at public hearings. Rling bi-rnonthly financial
disclosure reports with the New York Temporary State Commission on
Lobbying. The NYCLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and
encourages people of color, women, persons with disabilities, and lesbians and
gay men to apply. Please send a letter of interest, resume, and writing sample
to: Norman Siegel, Executive Director, New York Civil Liberties Union, 125
Broad Street, 17th Roor, . New York, New York 10004
SOCIAL WORKER/CUNICAL CASEMANAGER, CASES, a non-profit alternative-to-
incarceration (ATI) agency, seeks a social worker for an innovative new ATI
program for seriously mentally ill felony offenders. Responsibilities include
assessment and discharge planning of clients in custody, clinical manage-
ment of a caseload, field visits and escort. Applicants should have direct
experience working with mental health consumers, and be familiar with NYC
mental health services, MSW pref. or BSW with 3 years of experience.
Salary to mid-$30s DOE. Excellent benefits. Submit resume and cover let-
ter to: Director of Personnel, CASES, 346 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
or fax to 212-553-6379.
A Better Bronx for Youth Consortium, a non-profit organization, is seeking an
EXEClITlVE DIRECTOR, an OUTREACH WORKER and a high functioning ADMIN!5-
TRATWE ASSISTANT. Fax your resume to 718-665-2464, Attention: Search
Committee.
OFFICE MANAGER: Energetic, take-charge person to manage office of growing
children' S service agency. Handle payroll, light bookkeeping, personnel
records. Oversee computer systems. Supervise receptionist, maintain and
purchase office supplies, work with Board of Directors and public. Send cover
letter and resume to Partnership with Children, Inc. 220 E. 23rd Street, Suite
500, NY, NY 10010 or Fax 212-689-9568. No phone calls please.
The Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment, a statewide group of
environmental, affordable housing and public policy organizations, is seeking its
first EXEClIT1VE DIRECTOR to lead the organization in implementing an
ambitious statewide agenda, including: affecting state policy on issues of impor-
tance to the membership and their constituencies; raising the profile of the coali-
tion; activating the membership around grassroots and statewide issues; and
providing a strategiC direction to the Coalition. Requirements: extensive experi-
ence (including supervisory) with community-based and/or public policy organi-
zations; strategic planning experience; strong written and verbal communication
skills; commitment to grassroots organizing and community empowerment;
experience in public/ media relations, legislative process, and fundraising. For a
complete job deSCription, contact 609-278-5656 or pchrystie@worldnet.att.net
with fax number, e-mail or US mail address.
Pratt Area Community Council (PACC), a growing not-for-profit community-
based organization serving the neighborhoods of Ft. Greene, Clinton Hill,
and Bedford Stuyvesant , is seeking a SUPPORT SERVICES COORDINATOR to
work with tenants in affordable housing developments. SSC will create and
coordinate educational programs and workshops on family and individual
empowerment issues and organize individuals to become involved in neigh-
CITY LIMITS
borhood activities and tenant associations. Candidate will be a community-
minded, high-energy, self-starter. Community organizing & supervisory expe-
rience helpful. PACC also seeks a creative self-starter for the position
DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZING. The Director of Organizing is responsible for
directing day-tcrday operation of community organizing and tenant support
services unit, supervising staff, and overseeing departmental budget;
investigating, strategizing and directing organizing campaigns; initiating
building-wide actions in Housing Court; coordinating trainings, workshops,
clinics, and developing and publishing corresponding marketing materials;
and researching and writing funding proposals for department. Substantial
organizing experience required. Salary up to $45,000. Fax resume and
cover letter to: PACC 718-522-2604.
DEVElOPMENT COORDINATOR. This position is responsible for supporting the
Manager of Board Relations by managing the logistics of govemance meet-
ings. The Coordinator will also support the Manager of Development Systems
by maintaining the department's fund-raising software and providing regular
updates to the organization's donor files. The coordinator will work on spe-
cial projects including, but not limited to, designing PowerPoint presentations.
The ideal candidate must be well-organized, attentive to detail and able to
manage several projects at once. Must possess excellent verbal, written and
interpersonal skills. Experience in communicating with high-level executives.
Must be able to work independently and under pressure in a fast-paced envi-
ronment. Must be fluent in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and have data-
base experience. BA degree and 2-3 years of working experience required. To
apply, mail or fax cover letter and resume to Vice President, Human
Resources, One Battery Park Plaza, NY, NY 10004 or 212-493-7542.
JOB DEVElOPER. This position is available at CUCS' Vocational Services and
Job Training Program serving tenants of supportive housing. Resp: developing
outreach and marketing materials for prospective employers; establishing and
maintaining relationships with employers willing to train and hire participants;
developing clustered and individual job placement opportunities and develop-
ing training curricula to match potential job placements. 'Reqs: BA, 3 years
experience in a business or entrepreneurial setting, related exp with low-
income people or individuals with special needs; understanding of NYC
employment market; excellent written and verbal communication skills and
ability to take initiative and exercise independent judgment. Preferences: MA;
exp in marketing or public relations; understanding of mental health issues
and their impact on employment; training and public presentation expo Salary:
mid-high $30s + comp benefits. Resumes to Amy Landesman, CUCS/The
Times Square, 255 W. 43rd Street, NY, NY 10036. CUCS is committed to
workforce diversity. EEO.
DIRECTOR. Progressive non-profit organization seeks DIRECTOR to oversee city-
wide affordable housing operation of over 700 units and to develop new hous-
ing opportunities. Fax resume to: I. Speliotis NYAHC 718-246-7939.
LOAN COUNSELORICOMMUNrTY ACTMST. Progressive non-profit organization
seeks highly motivated, take-charge individuals to help low and moderate
income people become first-time home buyers. Must have excellent verbal
and writing communication skills and be well organized. Bi-lingual Spanish a
plus. Fax resume to: I. Speliotis NYAHC 718-246-7939.
COMMUNrTY ORGANIZER. Carroll Gardens Association, Inc., a community-based
organization in Brooklyn seeks a Community Organizer to advocate and inter-
act with tenants, block, and neighborhood associations by attending, orga-
nizing, and mobilizing meetings. Organizer would support the association' s
existing initiatives, including after school programs, street festivals, commu-
nity gardens, and other community enhancements. Necessary skills include
leadership, writing, and computer literacy. Bilingual Spanish/English pre-
ferred. Salary negotiable. Health benefits package. Call 718-243-9301 x15,
fax resume to 718-243-9304.
BEACON DIRECTOR. East Brooklyn CBO seeks BEACON DIRECTOR to manage
based community center. Director will be responsible for the supervi-
sion, training and evaluation of a large and diverse staff. Experience in program
development and management, overseeing mulitple contracts and strong writ-
ten and oral skills needed. Master's degree plus 4 yrs nonprofit management
experience required. Salary $40K Fax resumes to 718-647-2805.
CO-4P HANDY PERSONIPORTIR. Directly responsible to Property Manager.
Duties and responsibilities: Perform routine & preventive maintenance, ser-
vice requests. Refinish vacant units and maintain appeal. Salary: $18,000
+ benefits. Qualifications: Working knowledge of plumbing, locksmithing,
drywall , carpentry, electricity and painting. 1 year experience in mainte-
JUNE 2000
nance field. Send resume to: Ivan Roman, St. Nicholas NPC, 11 Catherine
Street, 3rd Floor. Brooklyn, NY 11211. Phone: 718-388-5454
x109, Fax: 718-486-5982.
PROPERTY MANAGER. Directly responsible to Director of Property
Management. Duties/Responsibilities: Manage each Development to ensure
accomplishment of the owner's goals and objectives. Ensure units are rented
and occupied. Ensures rent is collected timely. Ensures expenses are con-
trolled and in line with budget. Ensures properties are maintained properly.
Coordinates relocation process. Salary: $27,000 + benefits. Qualifications:
High School diploma or equivalent-2 years experience in the field.
Certification in Property Management. Send resume to: Ivan Roman, St.
Nicholas NPC, 11 Catherine Street, 3rd Aoor, Brooklyn, NY 11211. Phone:
718-388-5454 x109, fax: 718-486-5982.
WORKING SUPERINTENDENT. Reports directly to Property Manager. Duties and
responsibilities: operates an effective maintenance program, including routine
and preventative maintenance; maintains curb appeal ; refurbishes vacancies;
handles resident request, plumbing, painting, basic knowledge of air-condi-
tioning, heating, electrical ; ability to work with people. Salary: We offer salary,
apartment and fringe benefits. Qualifications: Certificate of Competency or 15
hours of course completion in basic skills. Certificate of Fitness required for
High School diploma or equivalent. Send resume to: Ivan Roman, St. Nicholas
NPC, 11 Catherine Street, 3rd Roor, Brooklyn, NY 11211. Phone: 718-388-
5454 x109, fax: 718-486-5982.
FULL nME PORTER. Reports directly to Superintendent. Duties and respon-
sibilities: Cleaning, maintenance, making minor repairs, removing garbage
and recycling, removing snow, ice and dirt from sidewalk and gutters, and
courtyards. Qualifications: Certification in Janitorial Services: or 15 hours
Janitorial Course approved by Dept. of Bldgs. Salary: $15,000. Send
resume to: Ivan Roman, St. Nicholas NPC, Property Management Division,
11 Catherine Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211. Phone: 718-388-5454 x109, fax:
718-486-5982.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CAREER PLANNING. NYC public interest law school
seeks individual to serve as Associate Director of Career Planning. Those
w/JD or graduate degree & public interest experience highly preferred. Salary
range: $32,703-$57,049 w/excellent benefits. Send letter, resume, list of 3
references to: Patricia Tynan, Office of Career Planning, CUNY School of Law,
65-21 Main Street, Rushing, NY 11367. EOE.
EMPlOYMENT SPECIALIST. Nonprofit job training collaboration for domestic
violence survivors seeks seasoned job developer experienced in working with.
hard-to-serve populations. Individual must be able to develop a variety of job
situations including internships, part time and full time jobs. Must also be
able to create an employer advisory board, teach job readiness classes and
do job placement follow-up with students and employers. Qualifications: BA
preferred and a minimum of 2 years related experience required. Good com-
munication, computer and organizational skills a must. Salary commensu-
rate with experience. Send resume to: Bonnie Potter, Nontraditional
Employment for Women, 243 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011. Or fax:
212-255-8021.
Community-based adult literacy program seeks ASSISTANT DIRECTOR to help
administer program with 250+ students. Prepare grant proposals and statis-
tical reports. Teach GED Tuesday and Thursday nights. Recruit, train and
supervise volunteer math tutors for Wednesday night program. Supervise fam-
ily literacy staff. Qualifications: Three years experience teaching ABE, GED,
ESOL or family literacy. Strong writing and communication skills. Ability to work
collaboratively. Interest in working in a multi-service agency. Program admin-
istration experience preferred. Master's degree. COMMUNrTY RESOURCE COUN-
snOR duties include information and referral, case management, advocacy,
community work, crisis counseling and support groups. FuHime including
three evenings per week. Spanish-speaking preferred. BA or BSW. Fax or e-
mail cover letter and resume to: Charlotte Marchant, Isaacs Center, (212)
410-5735, cmarchant@isaacscenter.org
NYC Jewish social justice organization, seeks two new staff members: COM-
MUNrTY ORGANIZER to build new public schools organizing campaign, and coor-
dinate outreach and membership. Ideal candidate will have two years orga-
nizing experience and school issue background. $28-$32K+bene-
fits. OFFICE MANAGER to handle records, supplies and communications.
Computer skills req'd. Permanent part-time + full benefits. Fax to (212) 647-
7124 or email : jfrej@igc.org.
(continued on page 34)
(continued f rom page 33)
COMMUNnY ORGANIZERS. The Training Institute for Careers in Organizing seeks
people eager to fight for social justice on issues such as affordable housing,
living wage jobs, environmental justice and public education. Paid, 12-week
apprenticeship providing field and classroom experience, followed by perma-
nent positions at end of program. Training and recruitment weekend April 2S-
30 for all apprenticeship candidates. Apprenticeship starts in June. Fax cover
letter and resume immediately to: 718-733-6922 or email it to: tico@igc.org.
Libraries for the Future (LFF), a New York-based national non-profit organization
working to improve information access for underserved Americans, wishes to fill
a PART 11ME POSIT1ON in our Youth ACCESS after-school program. The person
selected will work with children in grades 4 to 8 as they leam to use the Intemet
for joumalism and design projects. Candidates should have experience with and
commitment to working with children; experience with working with community-
based organizations or youth development agencies; excellent communications
skills, and experience and familiarity with the Intemet, computers and other new
media. The work will take place at the Harlem Partnership Center, 142nd and
Lenox. Questions may be directed to Adam Skaggs at 212-352-2333;askag-
gs@lff.org, or applicants may mail a resume and cover letter to Libraries for the
Future, 121 West 27th Street, Ste. 1102, New York, NY 10001.
ASSISTANT PROGRAM MANAGER. Day-to-day management of federal, state & city
grant programs & special privately funded initiatives; program reporting, includ-
ing preparing narrative & statistical reports; assist in responding to govt.
requests for proposals & private program proposals. Will be supervised by the
Program Manager, a key member of Civil Division management team. Excellent
written & oral communications skills. Prefer experience in program reporting &
grant proposal writing. Excellent benefits. Resume & cover letter to: Helaine
Barnett, Attorney-in-Charge, Civil Division, LEGAL AID SOCIETY, 90 Church St,
New York, NY 10007. Fax: 212/577-7954. Wornen, people of color, gays and
lesbians, and people with disabilities especially encouraged to apply.
The CUCS Housing Resource Center is seeking a HOUSING CONSULTANT to pro-
vide inforrnation about supportive housing options and technical assistance on
the housing application process to homeless people with mental illness and
their advocates. Other responsibilities include training staff from agencies
throughout NYC, conducting site visits to supportive housing programs,
resource development and advocacy. Applicants should have knowledge of and
experience in the mental health and homeless service systems; supportive
housing experience preferred. Excellent verbal and written communication
skills required. Masters degree required, MSW preferred. Send cover letter and
resume to Peggy Shorr, CUCS, 120 Wall Street, 25th Roor, New York, NY
10005. Fax: 212-635-2191. CUCS is committed to workforce diversity. EEO.
SUPERVISOR, HOUSING PlACEMENT. Supervise housing placement for homeless
people with mental illness/MICA on Upper West Side and help develop new
aspects of the program. Supervise one staff, some case management, admin-
istrative responsibility and program development. Expedite housing placement
& guide client through process. Relevant MA or equivalent experience preferred,
bilingual a plus. Salary lowmid $30s, excellent benefits. Letter/resume: Daniel
Gerwin, Project Reachout/GRCC, 593 Columbus Ave., NY, NY 10024.
OUTREACH WORKER. Work on the Upper West Side providing outreach and
case management to homeless people with mental illness/ MICA. Be part of
a creative, dynamic team to engage people living outdoors with untreated
mental illness and help them achieve psychiatric and medical stability, sobri-
ety and housing. Able to drive preferred. Experience in mental health/addic-
tion is a plus, but not required. Bflingual Spanish also a plus. Salary mid
$20s, excellent benefits. Fax letter and resume to Daniel Gerwin at 212-721-
7389, or mail to Daniel Gerwin at Project Outreach/ Goddard Riverside
Community Center, 593 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024.
CASES, a major non-profit agency dedicated to assuring better futures for court
involved defendants, seeks applicants for the following positions: SOCIAL W0RK-
ER. Responsibilities include: providing short-term individual and family therapy
to clients and their families: developing, implementing and facilitating client
workshops; providing training and consultation services to case management
staff; maintaining relationships with community-based mental health service
providers; and providing mental health services to our Harlem and Central sites.
MSW required, CSW preferred; 3 years postgraduate degree; experience work-
ing with at-risk youth; experience with family and group therapy, and knowledge
of community-based mental health services. SOCIAL WORKERICASE MANAGER:
Responsible for assessment and discharge planning of clients in custody; clin-
ical management of caseload; field visits; and escort. Direct service experience
working with mental health consumers; familiarity with NYC mental health ser-
vices; and MSW preferred or BSW with 3 years of experience. Salary: To mid-
$30s, plus excellent benefits. COURT REPRESENTA11VE: Responsibilities include:
identifying prospective . defendants by charge eligibility and criteria for accep-
tance into the Community Service SentenCing Project; screening prospective
participants by reviewing their case folders and interviewing them; speaking to
ADA and/ or the Defense Attorney; advocating for potential participants to the
judge; accurately describing the community service sentence and explaining
exactly what is expected of participants; verifying their community ties; and
must meet monthly intake quota. College degree or equivalent experience; crim-
inal j ustice background preferred; excellent writing and communication skills;
familiarity with offender population; resourceful; able to work independently as
well as with a team; and Spanish speaking a plus. Salary $26,000 plus e x c e ~
lent benefits. Send cover letter and resume to: Director of Personnel, CASES,
346 Broadway, 3rd Roor, New York, NY 10013.
TENANT RElJ010NS SPECIALIST. Project sponsor: The Cooper Square Mutual
Housing Association was formed to facilitate the rehabilitation and management
of some low-income apartments. As a project of the Cooper Square Committee,
the Cooper Square MHA is committed to preserve affordable, racially and ethni-
cally integrated housing in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Specific responsibili-
ties: Work with tenants to identify and resolve issues and problems relating to
the management and renovation of their buildings including, but not limited to:
maintenance, repairs, rent, tenant or other building problems. Must go up and
down stairs daily ins"pecting buildings, identifying problems, talking to tenants,
etc. Responsible for helping tenants through the rehabilitation process including
discussing layout options and other construction concems, as well as coordina-
tion of temporary relocation during the rehabilitation of buildings. Assist in d e v e ~
oping the mutual housing association by working with tenants to develop active
building associations. Attendance at meetings is a requirement of this position.
Qualifications: Bilingual ability, both written and spoken of English/ Spanish a
plus. Familiarity with computers WOuld be helpful. High school diploma or GED
and at least 2-3 years organizing or housing management work experience
required. Starting salary: low to mid-twenties based on experience and qualifica-
tions. Contact: Karen Y. Williams, Director of Operations, 5%1 East 4th Street,
3rd Roor, New York, NY 10003-8904, phone: 212-477-5340, fax: 212-564-9328
or email: COOPERSQUARE@IGC.ORG.
OfFICE MANAGER - for upper West side senior service agency. Must have BA
degree, experience, excellent computer skills, able to manage multiple tasks.
-Maintain and trouble-shoot computer NT network, knowledge of Access data-
base. Salary $30s. Fax cover letter and resume to One Stop, 212-662-4578.
CUCS' West Harlem Transitional Services, a highly successful program that
helps mentally ill homeless people prepare for and access housing housing
through its outreach services, drop-in center, and transitional residence has
the following available positions. SENIOR SOCIAL WORK CUNICIANS (Evening
3pm-11pm/Full-time and Weekends/Per Diem). The position provides clini-
cal oversight including supervision of evening, overnight and weekend staff,
crisis intervention, coordination of services rendered and program devel-
opment. Reqs: MSW + 2 years related post-master' s experience with pop-
ulation served; 2 yrs. of related pre-master' s experience may substitute 1
year post-master's. Bilingual Spanish/English encouraged to apply. Salary:
$39K + comp benefits including $65 in monthly transit checks (Full-time
position); $21.50/hour (Per Diem position). Send cover letter and resume
(indicate position) to Lolita Jefferson, CUCS-WHTS, 312-314 West 127th
Street, NY, NY 10027. CUCS is committed to workforce diversity. EEO.
Growing non-profit social service agency serving homeless people seeks:
SOCIAL WORKERS (3) to work with mentally ill individuals and families at 3
shelter sites in the Bronx. SOCIAL WORKER to work with HIV+ individuals and
families at shelter sites in the Bronx. MSW required. Experience with HIV,
homelessness and mental health. Ability to work with interdisciplinary team
to do field work. Excellent benefits. New MSW graduates welcome to apply.
Positions available 7/ 1/ 2000. EOE/ minorities encouraged to apply. Send
resumes to: Care for the Homeless, 12 West 21st Street, 8th Roor, New
York, NY 10010.
The Osborne Association, a non-profit criminal justice organization, seeks a
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT to provide administrative support for the develop-
ment team. Assist in the organization of proposals according to funding
requirements, perform research and compose correspondence. Requires
BS/BA with strong research, writing and organizational skills. Proficiency with
Microsoft Word, Excel and the Internet. Send/ fax resumes with a writing sam-
ple to The Osborne Association, Human Resources, 135 East 15th St, New
York, NY 10003 Fax: 212-97S-7652. EOE
(continued on page 36)
CITY LIMITS
PROFES
CONSULTANT SERVICES
Proposals/Grant Writing
HUD Grants/Govt. RFPs
MI(HA(L 6. BU((I
HoosingIPrognm Developmmt
Real Estate Sales/Rentals
Technical Assistance
Employment Program.s
Capacity Building
Community Relations
CONSULTANT
HOUSING, DEVELOPMENT & FUNDRAISING
212-765-7123
212-397-6238
mgbuccl@aol.com
451 WEST 48th STREET, SUITE 2E
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10036-1298
OFFICE SPACE PROBLEMS?
IL.WId
Expert Real Estate Services - once
available only to major corporations and
institutions -
Now offered to NY non-profits ...
at no out-of-pocket cost,
CS1
or at specially reduced rates.
CSI CONSULTANTS INC.
(914) 6776941
Visit our web site: www.npspace.com
Call for a free, no-obligation consultation.
www.npspace.com
SPECIALIZING IN REAL ESTATE
J-51 Tax Abatement/Exemption. 421A and 421B
Applications. 501 (c) (3) Federal Tax Exemptions. All forms
of government-assisted housing, including LISC/Enterprise,
Section 202, State Turnkey and NYC Partnership Homes
KOURAKOS & KOURAKOS
Attorneys at Law
Eastchester, N. Y.
Phone: (914) 395-0871
Bronx, N.Y.
(718) 585-3187
THE ANALYSIS AND SOLUTIONS COMPANY
\ Daniel Convissor, President
.. Website & Database Design. Public Policy Research.
Management & Transportation Consulting.
40157 Av #4WA, Brooklyn NY 11232
v: 718-854-0335 f: 718-854-0409
danielc@AnalysisAndSolutions.com
www.AnalysisAndSolutions.com
Excellent rate for nonprofit organizations.
Committed to the development of affordable housing
GEORGE C. DELLAPA, ATTORNEY AT LAW
15 Maiden Lane, Suite 1800
New York, NY 10038
212-732-2700 FAX: 212-732-2773
Low-income housing tax credit syndication. Public and private
financing. HDFCs and not-far-profit corporations. Condos and co-ops.
I-51 Tax abatement/exemptions. Lending for historic properties.
JUNE 2000
ECTORV
DEBRA BECHTEL - Attorney
Concentrating in Real Estate & Nonprofit Law
Title and loan closings 0 All city housing programs
Mutual housing associations 0 Cooperative conversions
Advice to low income co-op boards of directors
313 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201,
(718) 780-7994 (718) 624-6850
GET A BREAK ON POSTAGE
WHILE GIVING SOMEONE A BREAK
Let us Zip+4 and Bar Code Your Mailings for Maximum Postal
Discounts and Faster Delivery
We also offer hand inserting, live stamp affixing, bulk mail,
folding, collating, labeling, wafer sealing and more.
Henry Street Settlement Mailing Services is a work readiness program
offering participants on-the-job and life-skills training
For information contact Bob Modica
(212) 505-7307 Fax: (212) 533-4004
NesoH Associates
management solutions for non-profits
Providing a full range of management support services for
non-profit organizations
management development & strategic planning
board and staff development & training
program design, implementation & evaluation
proposal and report writing
Box 130 75A Lake Road' Congers, NY 1092()O teVfax (914) 268-6315
COMPUTER SERVICES
Hardware Sales:
IBM Compatible Computers
Okidata Printers
Lantastic Networks
Software Sales:
NetworkslDatabase
Accounting
Suites! Applications
Services: NetworkIHardware/Software Installation,
Training, Custom Software, Hand Holding
Morris Kornbluth 718-857-9157
LAWRENCEH.McGAUGHEY
Attorney at Law
Meeting the challenges of affordable housing for 20 years.
Providing legal services in the areas of General Real Estate,
Business, Trust & Estates, and Elder Law.
217 Broadway, Suite 610
New York, NY 10007
(212) 513-0981
-
(continued from page 34)
MANAGER OF INFORMATION TECHNOlOGY AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS.
Manhattan-based not-for-profit children's organization seeks Manager of
Information Technology and Information Systems. Duties include administering
LlNEX.lJased local area network and related functions, including email server,
managing web site, designing and developing databases and client tracking sys-
tems for various programs, including day care, homeless family residence, fos-
ter care, providing training and technical assistance to staff, increasing, improv-
ing, and managing the network and communications capacity, liaisoning with IT
and IS subcontractors, overseeing computer equipment and related peripherals,
including acquisition, trouble-shooting, and upgrading, and making IS and IT-
related recommendations to the Executive Staff. Salary commensurate with
experience, including the development of short-term and long-term technology
plans. Send resume to Eri Noguchi, ABC419 E. 86th Street, NY, NY 10028.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. Citywide parent organization seeks individual to over-
see day-to-day operations and supervise small staff. Responsible for imple-
mentation of project to inform and train parent members of decision-mak-
ing teams in NYC public schools. Knowledge of school system and nonprofit
management required. Resume and cover letter to Ernest Clayton, UPA,
470 7th Avenue, 3rd Floor, NYC 10018 or Fax: 212-564-7152. No phone
calls, please. EOE-women and people of color encouraged to apply.
Non-profit mentoring agency seeks PT CASE MANAGER for volunteer recruit-
ment, assessment and supervision of one-to-one matches, PM and weekends,
and home visits. BA+2 years, or MSW/MA. Resume to Program Director, CBB,
45 East 20th Street, 9th R., New York, NY 10003. Fax (212)477-2739.
CASES, a major non-profit agency dedicated to assuring better Mures for court
involved defendants, seeks a UNIT ASSISTANT and a CASE MANAGER. The UNIT
ASSISTANT is: Responsible for providing clerical/secretarial assistance to the
Directors; handling routine requests and general office work; typing, word pro-
cessing and data entry as required; and other duties that are requested by the
Director. High school diploma or GED; prior office experience; excellent orga-
nizational skills; excellent verbal and written communications skills; and good
working knowledge of word processing and spread sheet programs. Salary
$21,000 plus excellent benefits. The CASE MANAGER is: Responsible for man-
aging a caseload of participants. Must have the ability to motivate participants
and provide effective short-term counseling; the ability to develop and imple-
ment treatment plans with participant involvement; the ability to provide close
supervision, holding partiCipants accountable for compliance with program
requirements; and responding to nOrH:ompliance in an appropriate and timely
manner. College degree or equivalent experience; two years of counseling
experience with youth in human services and/or criminal justice field; good ver-
bal and written skills; and computer literacy preferred. Salary: $26,000, plus
excellent benefits. For both positions, send resume and cover letter to: Director
of Personnel, CASES, 346 Broadway, 3rd Roor West, New York, NY 10013.
ADMINISTRATlVE ASSISTANT. Work in Brooklyn district office of NYS Senator.
Duties include scheduling and office management. Good typing skills. WP
essential. Salary in high 20s. Please fax your resume to: 718491-2347.
PROJECT DIRECTOR, NYC Hospital Pollution Prevention Project: Seek director for
NYC Health Care Without Harm campaign to educate/assist hospitals.
Experience in health care, pollution prevention or safety & health. Excellent
organizational, leadership, writing, verbal and research skills. Health benefits.
Salary: low/mid $40s based on experience. EOE. Citizens' Environmental
Coalition, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12210, cecanne@igc.org.
COMMUNICATIONS CENTER DIRECTOR, New York State Council- SEIU, NYC For
Center w/call center, print & mail facilities, to develop steady business incl.
service to labor unions and community orgs.; hire & manage staff, opera-
tions. Requires: min. 5 years of outbound call center mgmt, successful b u s ~
ness development, expo working on political campaigns. Respond to: Erin
DeCurtis, Isaacson, Miller, fax: (617) 262-6509 edecurtis@imsearch.com
Brooklyn CDC seeks VICE-PRESIDENT OF 0PRA110NS for Asset Management
Division, to assist with the strategiC direction of the division, to manage prop-
erty management team, to establish effective operating procedures, develop
projects/strategies within managed properties to carry out housing develop-
ment goals. Must have 5-7 years experience in managing urban, residential,
low-income properties, overseeing multiple contracts, strong communication,
computer and organizational skills required. Must have demonstrated ability to
build and mange staff and must be knowledgeable with budgets. Salary com-
mensurate with experience. Fax cover letter and resume to J. Anglin, 718857-
5984 or mail to J. Anglin, BSRC, 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216.
Brooklyn based corporation seeks PUBlIC Rl.ATIONS MANAGER to assist with
,til
planning and implementation of the organization's public relations policies
and procedures. Individual will assist with the preparation of news releases,
feature articles, speeches and drafting articles for the publication. Will assist
with design and preparation of art work and mechanicals for poster, flyers,
brochures, newsletters and advertisements. Acts as liaison between printers,
photographers, typesetters and corporation. Advises on the preparation and
presentation of corporate products, displays and exhibits. Qualifications:
BA/BS in Communication Art/Fine Arts, three to five years experience in pub-
lic relations, media or related field. Superior management, supervisory, lead-
erShip, and public speaking skills necessary. Fax cover letter and resume
immediately to J. Anglin, BSRC, 718857-5984.
SENIOR ACCOUNTANT. Senior Accountant in charge of commercial activities
to prepare monthly management reports, quarterly external financial state-
ments of commercial subsidiaries, and prepare quarterly estimated tax and
annual returns. Also responsible for analysis of monthly expenses and rev-
enues, monthly closing entries, bank reconciliations; review of cash
receipts, and disbursement entries affecting commercial subsidiaries.
Qualifications: BA/BBA in Accounting. Minimum five years experience in
public accounting or 5 years in medium to large for-profit organization. Must
have working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and American Fundware.
Excellent benefits. Salary commensurate with experience. Fax cover letters
and resume immediately to: BSRC, c/o J. Anglin, 718857-5984.
Established nonprofit, BUILDING REHAB SPECIAUST. Provide education, refer-
rals, loans for affordable home repairs; facilitate development of vacant
apartments above stores. Understand construction, finance, property man-
agement, marketing; be outgoing, perSistent, creative. Spanish/Chinese
speaker A+. NHN, 5313 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11220.
Citizens Union seeks PUBLICATIONS EDITOR to shape and edit its publications,
principally Searchlight on the City Council and GothamGazette.com. S/he will
work closely with Executive Director and manage in-house staff, interns and
freelancers; coordinate design and content; and draft and edit text. Start early
June. CV, resume & writing samples to Publications Editor Search, Citizens
Union Foundation, 198 Broadway NY, NY 10038; Fax: 212- 227-0345.
The Transitional Living Community at 350 Lafayette, a mental health and hous-
ing placement position program serving women with severe and perSistent
mental illness has the following positions available. HOUSING SPCIAUST.
Resp: case management for 8-10 clients with primary emphasis on housing
placement, crisis intervention, group services, and assisting in achieving con-
tracted placement goals. This position will also provide administrative and
technical support of the Housing Team by tracking vacancies, assessing hous-
ing providers through site visits, maintaining current information on provider
screen processes, and organizing weekly housing tours. Reqs: BA and 2 years
relevant experience providing direct services to the population served by the
program; or AA and 5 years experience; or HS diploma and 7 years experience.
Applicants should possess knowledge of housing services for mentally ill
homeless and have good verbal and written communication skills. Salary:
$30K + comp benefits. CASE MANAGER-HOUSING TEAM. Resp: case manage-
ment; individual and group services; crisis intervention. Reqs: HS diploma or
equivalent and one year direct experience in mental health or housing place-
ment. BA pref. Applicants should possess knowledge of housing services for
mentally ill homeless and have good verbal and written communication skills.
Salary: $25K + comp benefits. Send cover letter and resume (indicate posi-
tion) by 5/ 1/00 to Julie Lorenzo, CUC5-TLC, 350 Lafayette Street, NY, NY
10012. CUCS is committed to workforce diversity. EEO.
TENANT SUPPORT COORDINATOR. Citywide not-for-profit housing organization
seeks energetiC, motivated individual to work three days/ week with tenants
in three Bedford Stuyvesant buildings. Responsibilities: identify and cultivate
resident leaders, help organize and support two tenant associations, work
with partner organization to design and organize training workshops, develop
inventory of neighborhood-based resources, provide direct tenant assistance
where appropriate. Qualifications: MSW or social work graduate student with
community organizing focus preferred. Excellent communication and interper-
sonal skills, ability to work independently a must. Salary commensurate with
experience. Benefits available. Mail/Fax resume and cover letter to Michelle
Greenburg, New Destiny Housing Corporation, 2 Lafayette Street, 3rd Roor,
New York, NY 10007. Fax: 212-577-7759.
SOCIAl.. WORKER, to assist in recruiting and assessing families to offer foster
family services in a neighborhood based family program in the Sunset Park
community of Brooklyn. Requirements: Bachelor's degree and experience in
work with parents and children; bilingual in English-Spanish preferred. Fax
resume to 718-788-2275.
(continued on page 39)
CITY LIMITS
After the Factory
(continued from page 28)
Conference predicts the city will generate
33,870 low-skill jobs between 1998 and 2002
but that the number of people looking for those
jobs will jump by more than 217,000. Already,
unemployment for the city's unskilled workers
is almost 13 percent---close to three times the
national rate.
Not only are jobs less plentiful, but unskilled
workers who do find a job often make pitiful
money. A 1996 Russell Sage Foundation study
found that 30 percent of working New Yorkers
made poverty-level wages. Over the past decade,
many manufacturing jobs have been replaced by
lower-paying service work, leading to a corre-
sponding decline in the city's median wage-more
than 11 percent.
"Our society isn' t as forgiving as it was 30 or
40 years ago," says Chris Silvera, secretary-trea-
surer of Local 808, who tried to find Swingline
workers jobs after they were laid off. While
industries like printing are thriving, they are
increasingly computerized and demand complex
skills. Silvera is skeptical that these industries
will serve his former members. "To take some-
one who's worked on an assembly line for 20
years, and tum them into a computerized graph-
ic artist is a stretch."
In 1998, Congress responded to just such
skepticism with the Workforce Investment Act, or
WlA. The law is supposed to help anyone unem-
ployed, from welfare recipients to laid-off factory
laborers, find work. WlA establishes "One-Stop
Centers" to provide job counseling, information
and the opportunity to enroll in training pro-
grams.
The potential for WlA to fund meaningful job
training in the city is vast: New York State will
receive $81.5 million annually in WlA funding for
adult training, and $142 million to help dislocated
workers. But even though the program is supposed
to start up in July, the city Human Resources
Administration has yet to reveal most details
about how it will work.
The evidence, however, suggests that HRA
will be turning to the "work-first" initiatives it has
already relied on to shrink its welfare rolls. Job
trainers expect that the city will use WlA funding
the same way: to set up programs that emphasize
job placement over training, and require job-seek-
ers to first look for work with whatever skills they
have before they can qualify for training.
Critics say the city should instead be trying
to help businesses develop stable, well-paying
jobs and create a skilled workforce to fill them.
"They need to take a more strategic and com-
prehensive approach," says James Parrott, chief
economist and director of the Fiscal Policy
Institute, a budget watchdog group. "They need
to have a good sense of what the needs of indus-
tries are."
JUNE 2000
T
he gap between jobs and job training has
already been troublesome for the Swingline
workers. Although unemployed ex-factory
workers qualified for free training under
NAFfA-TAA, many have found their new
skills unmarketable.
Originally from Barbados, 39-year-old Oswyn
.Boxill worked the night shift at Swingline, run-
ning a packaging machine for seven years; he was
earning almost $14 an hour when he was laid off
in November 1998. Lacking a high school degree
Maria Duque is
caught in a
training trap.
She has to learn
to use a computer.
And before she
can do that,
she needs to
learn' English,
because computer
training is all
in English. But the
beginner's English
class she's taking just
teaches how to
apply for a job.
and eager to improve his prospects, he enrolled in
a seven-month intensive program to learn air con-
ditioning and refrigeration maintenance and
repair.
But the work is seasonal, and despite diligent-
ly searching the papers and calling the phone
number from every refrigeration repair van he
saw, he couldn' t find a job in his new field. So he
earns around minimum wage making deliveries to
help support his wife and two children. "It's
okay," he says tentatively, trying to be optimistic.
''But it's not really what I was at school for."
Other workers find it just as hard to play
catch-up. Maria Duque worked for 20 years as a
machine operator at Swingline, where she met
her husband, Angel , a toolmaker. Angel used to
make $18 an hour, but his eyes aren' t good
enough any more for toolmaking, so he got a
commercial driving license last year. Despite con-
stantly checking the newspapers, he can' t find a
driving job. "They all want minimum one year
experience," he says.
Maria would like to do office work, but she's
caught in a training trap. First, she has to learn to
use a computer. And before she can do that, she
needs to learn English, because computer training
is all in English. But the beginner's English class
she's taking at laGuardia is focused on teaching
students how to apply for ajob. "I can't learn if the
English class is mostly to learn to fill out applica-
tions," she says, exasperated.
Moving beyond such vicious circles takes super-
human ambition. Sixto Castro might seem to have it.
Employed and determined, he is theoretically a
Swingline success story. But the year since he left
Swingline has been grueling.
He originally hoped to enroll in a NAFfA pro-
gram to improve his English and learn a new skill .
But a labor department official told him that
because he already had a job, he would have to
pay almost half the tuition. Castro couldn' t afford
it. ''The government is not going to help me," he
says now. ''They spit in our faces."
Castro's resolve led him to work two full-
time jobs-one at Swingline and the other at
Stuyvesant Town-during his last few months at
the factory. It was the only way he could secure
his current position as a janitor. But that experi-
ence, and his need to continue working side jobs
on top of his regular hours, have taken their toll.
His voice falters as he explains how his marriage
crumbled. Now, he struggles to keep in contact
with his teenage son. "I can' t handle the situa-
tion," he says, his gaze shifting toward the floor
as he leans against the doorway of his small
kitchen.
At Stuyvesant Town, Castro occasionally runs
into other former Swingline workers who, like
him, got cleaning jobs there through the union.
But Castro doesn' t intend to remain a janitor for-
ever. He has a plan, hoping to piece together the
odd jobs he does on his days off into a business
of his own: scraping, sanding and refinishing
floors.
Though it won't provide him the community he
had at Swingline, and he won't be attending union
rallies anymore, he will have more control over his
own destiny. "I think that's better for me," he says,
somewhat uncertainly, as he pauses briefly between
his day and night jobs to contemplate the future. "I
need to work for myself."
Daphne Eviatar is a Brooklyn-based freelance
writer.
Wi


\'
CITY LIMITS
(continued/rom page 36)
GRANTS COORDINATOR sought by well-regarded, growing homeless services
non-profit. Opportunity to learn all aspects of securing and maintaining gov-
ernment funding. Need BA or BS, 2-4 years experience in non-profit or gov-
ernment setting, excellent writing, administrative and organizational skills,
attention to details/ deadlines, cooperative spirit, commitment to poor peo-
ple. Competitive salary, benefits. Resume with letter stating salary expecta-
tions to Care for the Homeless, 12 West 21st Street, 8th Roor, NYC 10010.
EOE. Women, minorities encouraged to apply.
CUNICAl. SOCIAL WORKER, to provide individual , group and family treatment
services; Brooklyn family support center with strong reputation for dual focus
on families and Sunset Park neighborhood. Requirements: MSW degree, bilin-
gual in English-Spanish, and experience in working with parents and children.
Phone: 718-788-3500 or fax resume to 718-788-2275.
SENIOR MEDIA ASSOCIATE. WE INTERRUPT THIS MESSAGE, a national non-prof-
it PR firm and media training center challenging racism and poverty, seeks a
senior media associate for its San Francisco office. Responsibilities: pitching
news stories, media training for community organizations, and conducting
media watchdog projects. Several years experience with media, training or
community organizing helpful. Salary commensurate with experience. People
of color and Spanish speakers strongly encouraged to apply. Resumes to:
Search Committee, We Interrupt This Message, 965 Mission Street, #220,
San Francisco, CA 94103 or call 415-537-9437 for full job description.
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT. Girls Incorporated of New York City - a nonprof-
it organization whose mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and
bold - seeks experienced administrative assistant. Must have 2 - 3 years
experience, be proficient in Microsoft Word/ Excel and database applications.
Fax or mail resumes to: Girls Incorporated of New York City, 5 West 73rd
Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10023. Fax: 212-712-0017. Or e-mail resume
to esimpson.nyc@girls-inc-org.
Catholic Charities has the following positions available: CITIZEN PROORAM
COORDINATOR - Coordinate activities of Citizen Program which include com-
pletion of quarterly programs, financial and statistical reports. Track and mon-
itor program budget and outcomes. Develop parish outreach programs and
materials to promote citizenship services. Supervise program activities of
ESL/ Civics Coordinator and Citizen Program Associate. Bachelor's degree
required in related field, Master' s preferred. Excellent communication and
organizational skills. Ability to travel to outreach sites and parishes through-
out the Archdiocese. Ability to work evenings and weekend hours. Knowledge
of immigration procedures and requirements. Bilingual Cantonese, Mandarin
or Spanish preferred. ESLICMCS COORDINATOR - Coordinate and organize
ESL/ Civics classes throughout Archdiocese. Conduct area needs assess-
ment and research on ESL, Civics and literacy programs throughout the
Archdiocese. Assist Citizenship Coordinator with citizenship workshops/ pre-
sentations and development and coordination of parish outreach programs.
Bachelor's degree required in related field. Previous experience providing ESL
and citizenship instruction. Experience with geriatric and disabled individuals.
Ability to travel to outreach sites and parishes. Ability to work evenings and
weekends. Bilingual Cantonese, Mandarin or Spanish preferred. SOCIAL JUS-
T1CE OUTREACH STAFF - Staff person will work with the parishes of the
Archdiocese to coordinate, establish and maintain social justice activities.
Will also be responsible for encouraging education, organization and action
for justice. B.A. degree, experience with parish life, knowledge of community
organizing methods desirable. Familiarity with Catholic Social Teaching.
Excellent oral and written communication skills. Bi-lingual Spanish-English
preferred. Excellent computer skills. Excellent benefits. 19 holidays. Send
resume, salary requirements and include job title in your response to:
Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York, Attention: Personnel
Department, 1011 Rrst Avenue, Room 1113, New York, NY 10022.
Pleasant office of small non-profit cultural exchange organization seeks ADMIN-
IS1RAT1VE ASSISTANT for temporary position. Do e-mail , computer and manual
record keeping, phone, other as needed. $15/ Hour. Fax cover letter and resume
to Servas, 212-267-0292. Organization information at www.servas.org.
VISIT SUPERVISOR for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children. Supervise court-ordered visits between parent and child; write
reports for the court; make referrals for services. BA or BSW. Prefer social
work experience with families, children and legal system. Excellent writing and
communication. $75 per day. Saturday 9:30 - 3: 30. Fax resume to Beth
Zetlin, Fax: 212-791-5227; Tel: 212-233-5500 x202.
M.S.W. w/ S.I.F.1. eligibility and excellent writing skills sought to join innovative
public defender office in th'e Bronx. Will work w/ attorneys representing clients
charged with crimes via case management, counseling, crisis intervention and
referrals for clients with addiction, MH, DV and homeless ness issues. Written
and oral advocacy in the Courts as well as community outreach a major part
of the work. 2-4 years experience and bilingual skills preferred. Salary starting
mid-$30,000 range. Excellent benefits. Fax cover letter and resume to Elspeth
Slayter, MSW. 718-537-4455. Call 80(}'597-7980 x7833 for more info. .
OFFICE SPACE: 5th Ave/ 26th St. 10x12, Window on 5th, Fax/
Conference/ Reception, $700. 212-89-6009. Suite with 2 attorneys and a
nonprofit.
SPACE AVAILABLE: City Project seeks small nonprofit organization to share
office space. One office available in suite. Fax, copier, and postage meter
available. Good company, close to City Hall . $500 a month. Available June
1st. Call Lynne Wei kart or Glenn Pasanen, 212-965-1967
LET US DO A FREE EVALUATION
OF YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS
MAY 2000
We have been providing low-cost insurance programs and
qualify service for HDFCs, TENANTS, COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
and other NONPROFIT organizations for over 15 years.
We Offer:
SPECIAL BUILDING PACKAGES
FIRE LIABILITY BONDS
DIRECTOR'S & OFFICERS' LlABILTY
GROUP LIFE & HEALTH
"Tailored Payment Plans"
ASHKAR CORPORATION
146 West 29th Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10001
(212) 279-8300 FAX 714-2161 Ask for : Bola Ramanathan
Chase announces 1%-2%
down payment mortgage program
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GROUP
1 % Down payment from borrower's own funds
2% Gift, unsecured loan or seller concessions
can be used for down payment
Owner occupied properties
30 Year fixed rate
1-2 Family house, Condo, PUD
No minimum loan amount
FNMA maximum loan amounts apply
Expanded ratios 33/38
Purchase transactions only
Also available is Chase's "C.A.S.H." program
C.A.S.H. is an unsecured installment loan that
may be used to cover your down payment
and/or closing costs associated with your first
mortgage with Chase
One payment coupon each month covers both
mortgage payment and installment loan
o CHASE
THE RIG H T R E LA T ION S HIP I S EVE R Y T H I N G ~
1-800-636-6395
All loans are originated by The Chase Manhattan Bank. All loans are subject to credit and property approval. Program terms and conditions are subject to cbange without notice.
Other restrictions and limitations apply. 'For down payments of less than 20%, mortgage insurance (MI) is required and MI charges apply. Not all products are available with 3%
down. Results of mortgage affordability estimates are guidelines. The estimate Is not an application for credit and results do not guarantee loan approval or denial. Mortgage loans
are offered through The Chase Manhattan Bank, Community Development Group, Residential Lending, 2 Chase Manhattan Plaza, NY, NY 10081.
02000 The Chase Manhattan Bank. All rights reserved. Equal Housing Lender A