Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bloomberg Beaten by East Harlem PTA Presidents and Community Activists in Randalls Island Lawsuit

In a rare legal defeat for Mike Bloomberg's administration, State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich voided his brazen attempt to hand over the Randalls Island playing fields to a consortium of 20 private schools via an invitation-only long term contract. The judge ruled the city will have to follow the land use review process required by the city charter.

See Associated Press coverage in Newsday here ,New York Times here and Daily News here. Our prior coverage here.

Statements from plaintiffs and supporters:

Eugenia Simmons-Taylor, former president of the Presidents Council in D4 in East Harlem which was the lead plaintiff: "This is a great victory for public school children as well as the community as a whole. I'm thrilled that we were able to stop this unjust deal before it went through. Now the community and our elected representatives will have a chance to have their say."

Matthew Washington, a member of the Community Board 11 in East Harlem and another plaintiff: "We're happy to have an opportunity to do the right thing for all the children in this city."

David Bloomfield, a member of the Citywide Council on High Schools, also a plaintiff: "The sad lesson of the Randall's Island litigation is that elites have no business making decisions for those with less money or influence. From the first, the city and the Randall's Island Sports Foundation should have included parents, schools, and the community at the negotiating table. Instead, the courts have been forced to ensure these rights and in so doing have made sure that there will be quality recreational facilities for all children."

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, the sole member of the Franchise & Concession Review Commission to oppose the original contract: "I applaud today's decision," Stringer said. "The judge's order will insure that the project gets the full public review and input it needs to become a fair deal for the community, the City and for private and public schoolchildren alike."

Geoffrey Croft, President of NYC Park Advocates, "We are delighted at this outcome, but this deal never should have been allowed to go forward in the first place. I hope the city doesn't appeal the decision. It would be a waste of taxpayer money and would violate the important principle that public parks should be for the public and not for private interests."


David M. Quintana said...

Congratulations to the parents and students of NYC...The Bloomberg administration must realize that the city and it's parks belong to the people and not the rich and elite interests alone...Let's hope this is the start of a new way of thinking in this city...

Way to Go...!

Mark Dorman said...

11 years ....... Jim Crow Laws alive and well on Randalls Island. Court Ruling ignored.

As of June 2019 Private schools with an estimate of 250,000 students citywide are taking 70% of all NYC Park Sports Facilities during the hours of
3 - 6 while our Public Schools with 1.3 million students are given only 30% of NYC park sports facilities. This is true, especially on Randalls Island. What happened to the voices and advocates of Public Parks equity. City Council and the NYCDOE / PSAL quietly advocate for Private schools over their responsibilities to the Public School students they are supposed to serve.
I have witnessed this as a public school coach and athletic director far too long.