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Yes, But Was It Real Assault?

by Pat Arnow

Two teenagers, joking and trash talking each other, get on an elevator at an apartment building at 417 Grand St. Friday evening. A woman, about 30, gets on at the same time and pushes the button for her floor. The kids don't push a button. They get off with her. That's odd, she thinks. No one on her floor has teenage kids these guys might be visiting. She's suddenly wary and doesn't pull out her keys. The teenagers come over to her. Inches from her face, one says, "Do you have any money?"

No, she says. He's taller than she is, and she's tall. "Do you have any money?" he asks her again. Then the other kid asks. She says no. She tells them they need to leave and go back down to security.

They go to the elevator and hit the button. When the doors open, she heads down the stairs, not realizing the kids had not gotten on the elevator. They are behind her on the stairs. She gets out ahead of them and reports the incident to the building's security guard. The kids have disappeared.

After reviewing surveillance video, security find the kids left by the back door. They had stopped at the desk when they first came in. One signed in using the name "James Pond" (which is the name of a computer game). He said he didn't have an I.D. with him, and that he was visiting an apartment that turned out didn't exist.

Saturday, the woman, still shaken, decides to drop by the 7th Precinct to see if she should file a report. She's a native of Detroit, a long-time resident of the Lower East Side and not prone to hysteria about rowdy teenagers. But being backed against the wall in a dark hallway just outside her apartment door worries her in a way that a similar encounter with a couple of teens on the street would not.

An Officer Nicholas is at the front desk of the police station on Delancey and Pitt. The woman describes what happened. The officer wants to know what race the kids were. Black. (She's white.) How old? About 15. Did they demand money? No. Did they touch you? No.

Officer Nicholas says it doesn't sound like a report needed to be filed. "They just politely asked for money," he says.

"It wasn't polite. They were up in my face," the woman objects. Like this. She indicates inches.

It doesn't sound like they committed a crime, says Officer Nicholas. It seems like trespassing would be the only crime they might have committed. Why didn't you call 911 last night?

I didn't think of it then. I was upset, she says. She wonders if the police might be interested in a couple of kids who were looking for trouble. Have there been other incidents? No, he says.

Do you think we should take a report? he asks the sergeant, who has been sitting at the front desk with him the whole time. She says nothing, just gets up and walks away.

You can file one if you want to, Officer Nicholas says.

Couldn't what happened be considered an assault? asks the woman's friend who had accompanied her for moral support (that would be me).

Assault results in injury, the officer explains. Like if I hit you with these, Officer Nicholas says, holding up a pair of handcuffs in his fist. If I punch you in the face, and it swells up, that's assault. If I smack you, or kick you and break your leg, that's assault.

By then, the woman and I are backing up. He's given us enough graphic details of what he could do to us that would constitute a real assault. We leave.

But we learned a couple of things. Verbal intimidation is no crime in New York. And if you don't like it, don't go complaining to the police, or you might just get some more.

Maloney Pushes Bill to Ensure Accuracy of Oil Royalties Collections

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14)

by Joe Soldevere

Last week, the House of Representatives passed landmark legislation that will revamp the system by which oil and gas companies pay royalties for the natural resources extracted from land owned by American taxpayers. As a complement to those changes, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) is touting legislation she recently reintroduced (H.R. 435) that would help ensure that the federal government uses the most accurate methods to collect royalties on natural resources taken by oil and gas companies from taxpayer-owned land (link to bill).

Under this legislation, the National Academy of Engineering would conduct a study analyzing methods that could greatly improve the accuracy of royalty collection on the production of oil, condensate and natural gas under leases of Federal onshore and offshore lands and onshore Indian Tribal lands. With the completion of the study mandated by this new legislation, Congress, the Minerals Management Service, and the Bureau of Land Management would have a better understanding of changes that must be made to make the process more accurate and transparent.

"The House passed a vitally important part of royalty reform and this bill represents another vital component of it," said Maloney. "We will never know if American taxpayers are actually receiving their fair share if we don't know that royalties are being collected accurately. There may be piles of money owed to taxpayers and Indian Tribes left on the table because we don't accurately collect royalties."

Co-sponsors of the bill include: Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and John Conyers (D-MI).

Joe Soldevere is Press Secretary to Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14)

Velazquez's Fight to Preserve Affordable Housing

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY)

by Melissa D. DeRosa

Legislation Restores Affordability Requirements to HUD Building Appraisals

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez (D-N.Y.) introduced the first in a series of legislation aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing in New York City. H.R. 655, “The Pathway to Preservation Act” will make it easier for local governments to purchase HUD-owned buildings that are slated for foreclosure, preserving affordable housing opportunities for low income families in the City, and across the nation.

“Far too many of our residents are finding it virtually impossible to access affordable housing here in New York City,” Congresswoman Velazquez said. “Yet, time and time again the Bush administration hinders preservation efforts, in this case by making it more difficult for local governments to purchase HUD properties. That is why this legislation is critical today – it is a step towards restoring the power of local governments in ensuring our families and residents are able to access affordable housing.”

The number of apartments affordable to households earning about $32,000 a year, or 80 percent of the median household income in the city, has dropped by 205,000 in just three years. This legislation, developed in conjunction with local housing organizations, would clarify housing law to ensure that properties are more accurately appraised, requiring HUD to take into account the cost of repairs and current affordability requirements. Failing to do so dramatically hinders the ability of local governments’ and subsequent housing preservation developers’ ability to maintain their city’s stock of affordable housing.

H.R. 655 takes steps that increase affordable housing structures to local governments and, in turn, to their residents. With existing housing exceedingly expensive and limited in New York, it is critical that affordable structures are not allowed to simply slip away. The Pathway to Preservation Act would ensure local governments have the resources available to safeguard residents living in reasonably priced apartments, providing tenants with a sense of security that they will be able to stay put with their families.

“In order to ensure our City’s residents have access to affordable housing, it is critical that local governments have every opportunity to preserve those properties that are already affordable,” Congresswoman Velazquez said. “This is the first of many steps I will take in the 110th Congress to combat our City’s growing housing crisis.”

Melissa D. DeRosa is Deputy Press Secretary to Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-12)

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What Are They Selling?

by Tibi Z. Singer

It used to be an Orthodox synagogue, on Allen Street near East Broadway. Now it's a temple, not sure if Buddhist. Also not sure what is it, exactly, that they're selling for 99 cents?

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Absolute Clarity

Cara Francis as Clare, a "white raven" and rebellious young artist, who searches for love and absolution. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

by Jonathan Slaff

"Absolute Clarity" By Sophia Romma, Directed By Yuri Joffe. A play based on a tragicomedy by Russian playwright Edvard Radzinski.

January 31 to February 25, 2007
Preview performances Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at 7:30 pm. Opens 7:30 pm Feb. 2.
Players Theater, 115 MacDougal Street, Manhattan
Presented by ArtVoice and Cinema Anastasia Productions
Wed-Sun at 7:30 PM, Sat and Sun at 2:00 PM.
Tickets $45; Theater Mania 212-352-3101, 866-811-4111, www.theatermania.com
Show's website: www.absoluteclarityplay.com

"Absolute Clarity" by Sophia Romma, directed by Yuri Joffe--a noted, Stanislavski prize-winning director from Moscow's Mayakovsky Academic Theater--will be presented by ArtVoice and Cinema Anastasia as an Off-Broadway production at the Players Theater, 115 MacDougal Street, January 31 to February 25. The play is loosely based on "She, in the Absence of Love and Death" by the famous Russian author Edvard Radzinski (1977). Radzinski's tragicomedy, originally set in a Soviet cityscape of the 1970s, has been re-imagined in the present-day Lower East Side, where its teenage heroine, a "white raven" and rebellious young artist, searches for love and absolution. The company of ten features a live onstage jazz band.

The piece is a cinematic, tragicomic coming-of-age story. Its central character, Clare, is a lonely lover, an irreverent dreamer, a rebellious daughter, and the obsession of jazz musicians. She evokes a number of Dostoyevskian themes as she lives in a world of melodies and double meanings: love is still love, even if it's imagined; death is still death, even if it's an accident. Clare struggles to actualize herself as an artist, fights for independence against her mother, briefly joins a pickpocket-filled jazz band, and revisits the lawyer and judge of her childhood custody trial, triggering disastrous consequences. Her world is populated by women who, like herself, grasp for kernels of happiness, and by men that they love and betray; who also abuse them mercilessly.

Radzinski's original play investigated the universal theme of a complex and troubled soul falling in love. It was one part of a trilogy with the collective title "Love's Riddle," including also "Don Juan's Adventures Continue" and "Once Again on the Topic of Love." "She, in the Absence of Love and Death" is set in a Communist world rife with single women but nearly lacking single men. The characters, each disillusioned with this sociopolitical situation, experience unique and delightful dreams, though their lives still seem disturbingly similar. The play is set in a 1970s communist cityscape in the Soviet Union, in which organized singles' parties dwelt side by side with the government. In the midst of this world is "She" (the character has no other name), a teenage girl who is a mouthpiece for the author. "She" speaks in the voice of a wise sage, in an extraordinary series of long monologues, all on the subject of love. The play's other characters, both men and women, converse endlessly about love. In a very quirky way, the play explores the difference between reality and imagination, desire and possibility.

Sophia Romma wrote her play in consultation with Radzinski. With his approval, Romma transformed his play's teenage protagonist into a personal creation of her own. "She," renamed Clare, became what in Russian cultures would be called a "white raven"--an artistic nonconformist, like Treplev in Chekhov's "The Seagull." Her dialogue is written rhythmically, to be accompanied by a punk-jazz band filed with pickpockets that she briefly joins and which accompanies her scenes. Subplots were also introduced that "raise the stakes" for Clare's youthful odyssey. She fights doggedly for independence from her mother, a former porno star who is now a lounge dancer. While searching for her birth father, she finds the lawyer who lost his case for custody of her as a small child and seduces him, leading ultimately to a tragic ending. Clare also engages in stunning episodes that are only played out visually, as when she paints her own body inside a "confessional" as an ultimate act of adolescent defiance.

As Radzinski's Moscow apartment setting was transferred to a gathering of apartments on New York's Lower East Side, there was also a nearly complete shift in dramatic style. From a collection of spoken monologues, the play became a musically-accompanied, cinematically-styled collage. "Absolute Clarity" has no simple dramatic line, but a web of interconnections. There are no customary scenes; the action takes place separately and simultaneously in the various apartments. The characters share a common emotional line. If a question is raised, it is often answered in another part of the stage.

The idea for this play was born in Moscow in 2006, when noted Russian director Yuri Joffe observed Sophia Romma in her 2006 poetry book signing at the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow. Joffe had previously directed Radzinski's "Conversations with Socrates" and "Nero and Seneca" and is planning an upcoming production of Radzinski's "To Kill a Man." Joffe saw similarities between Romma's poetry and the character of "She," who speaks of her own life in verse, and imagined that as a promising concept for an English language play. Joffe also knew Romma's playwriting style well, having directed her play, "Shoot Them in the Cornfields!" in New York in 2006.

Joffe had also directed "She, in the absence of love and death" in 2002 with his own interpretation, which set the play among the new generation of Muscovites and was very sinister in comparison to the original. From Joffe's perspective, the essential change from Radzinski's play to Romma's is the shift of the teenage protagonist from a philosophical obsession to a poetic incarnation. Since Clare is an artist, she accepts and sees the world in colors, art and poetry; this idea dictates the style of the play.

It is also worth noting that two of Radzinski's supporting characters are significantly changed: a soft-spoken intellectual in Radzinski's play becomes, in Romma's version, the attorney who opposed Clare's mother in the custody case. A doctor in the original play becomes the treacherous judge who ruled for the Mother, who was his mistress at the time, and who now has seduced the attorney's wife. The jazz band of pickpockets and its charismatic, seductive bandleader are entirely Romma's creation. Clare's mother, Patricia (a porn star turned lounge dancer), and her friend Labelle a (lounge singer), are Americanized adaptations of Soviet era characters.

The cast features Cara Francis as Clare, Victoria Guthrie as her mother, Mark Light-Orr as the attorney, Alexandra Bosquet as the lounge singer, Inbal Samuel as the attorney's wife, Steve Greenstein as the judge and Patrick Knighton as the prince of the pickpocket band. The musicians are played by Alexander Elisa, Jason Yachanin and Brianne Berkson.

Sound Design is by Zachary Williamson. Set Design is by Anastasia Glebova. Costume Design is by Anastasia Glebova. Lighting Design is by Russel Drapkin. Scenic Design is by Gregg Bellon. Costume realization, makeup and hair are by Robert Eggers. Stage manager is Sergio Cruz. Producer is Barbara Okishoff

Edvard Radzinski is a world-famous playwright, whose dramas are out-produced in Russia only by Chekhov's. However to-date, his plays have only been produced in New York by Jean Cocteau Repertory, which presented "An Old Actress in the Role of Dostoyevsky's Wife," "Socrates, Theater of Life" and "Theater in the Time of Nero and Seneca" in the '80s and early '90s. In the last 15 years, Radzinski has left playwriting behind to fashion controversial, hugely successful biographies of historical figures, including "Stalin," "The Last Tsar: the Life and Death of Nikolai the Second" and "Rasputin, the Last Word." He is famous throughout Russia, especially in Moscow, for hosting the television program "Mysteries of History." Currently, Radzinski is working on opening a new cultural center in Moscow, where diverse theatrical directors will be invited to participate in a theatrical laboratory whose output will be filmed and broadcast on television. Mr. Radzinski believes that theater can broaden its horizons if it has the opportunity to be examined by the scrupulous eyes of television.

Director Yuri Joffe has been a director of the Mayakovsky Academic Theater since 1976, where he has overseen the production of over thirty stage plays. He earned his Doctoral Degree in directing from the prestigious Gitis Academy of Theater Arts and has directed plays by world-renowned authors including Babel, Ostrovski, and Mrozeck. In 1994, President Boris Yeltsin personally awarded Mr. Joffe with the highest honorable medal for outstanding direction in Marina Tsvetayeva's "Theater". In 2003, he received the Stanislavski Award for his co-direction of Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" with the celebrated Head Director of the Mayakovsky Academic Theater, Sergei Arzibashev. He frequently collaborated with one of Russia's most famous theatrical Master Directors, Andrei Goncharov. Mr. Joffe has been a Professor for more than fifteen years at the Gitis Academy of Theater Arts where he runs a Master Class in the Art of Acting and Directing.

Playwright Sophia Romma (who also writes under the name Sophia Murashkovsky) emigrated with her parents from Russia 27 years ago. She received her MFA at NYU. She is author of the film "Poor Liza," directed by Slava Tsukerman ("Liquid Sky") starring Ben Gazzara, Lee Grant and Barbara Babulova. The film adapts a classic Russian story by Nikolai Karamzin about a beautiful peasant girl who is seduced and forsaken by a young nobleman. "Poor Liza" won the Grand Prix Garnet Bracelet for best screenplay at the Gatchena Literature and Film Festival in St. Petersburg. She has had three productions at La MaMa E.T.C.: "Love, in the Eyes of Hope, Dies Last" (1997), a journey through contemporary Jewish/Russian immigration in a series of eight playlets, "Coyote, Take Me There!" (1999), a surrealistic work on the ordeal of immigration and the corruption of the American dream, and "Defenses Of Prague" (2004), a story of revenge set among the gypsies in 1968, on the brink of the Soviet invasion of Prague.

Her other plays include "Lenin Bound" and "The Language of the Gods." She has produced the short narrative films "Commercial America in the 90s" and "The Frozen Zone." Her book of poetry, "God and My Good," was published by the Gorky Literary Institute and is now up for a literary award for Poetry of the Year. In 2005, Ms. Romma saw the publication of her contemporary art catalogue, "Essence of Art-Essence of Life," presented at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. She recently earned a Ph.D. at the prestigious Gorky Institute of Literature in Moscow. She teaches American Literature at Touro College, runs a playwriting and screenwriting workshop at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center and occasionally instructs screenwriting at McGill University in Montreal. Her last play, "Shoot Them in the Cornfields!" was directed Off-off Broadway by Yuri Joffe in 2006. This winter, she awaits the publication of her anthology of love poems, "Garden of the Avant-garde."

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Clandestino to Celebrate First Birthday

Clandestino owner Laure Travers and her husband, Sean Benson

by Laure Travers

Time flies, or stays still, or plays all kinds of tricks on us! In a week and a half, Clandestino will be 1 year, 12 months, 365 days old!

And what a year it's been !!!!

We have already been named the Number One "Chill" Scene in the city (editorial winner, citysearch) and One Of The Top Ten New Bars in 2006 (citysearch again)!!!! We also are One of the Tony 100 and regularly one of the Village "Voice choices"!!!!

Thank you, our dear "chill" friends and customers !

More importantly, a lot of us have met, become friends, and keep on having a good time at Clandestino.

Please come to celebrate Clandestino's first birthday on Sunday the 28th of January!

Come early:

At 7:30PM, Jp Bowersock's Swing Jazz Quintet will be playing for us again. (for those of you who have never seen the quintet, it is AWESOME, don t miss it!)

Come thirsty:

A special drink (which we are still working on) will be disclosed that night!

Come say hello, come say goodbye:

After 1 year, 12 months, 365 days with us, Steve will be leaving to move to New Orleans, where he plans to volunteer and take pictures. Come say hello and goodbye, it will be his last night at Clandestino, and let's send him off to the best of luck in New Orleans to the sound of JP's band!

Last but not least, thanks for your support! We love you.

35 Canal (between Essex and Ludlow)
Subway: F to East Broadway, B and D to Grand street

Laure Travers owns Clandestino

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Martin Connor Candidate for State Comptroller

State Senator Martin Connor

by Marty Algaze

New York State Senator Martin Connor (D-25 S.D.-Manhattan/Brooklyn) submitted papers today seeking to fill the vacant state Comptroller's position. Connor, the most senior Democrat in the New York State Senate, resigned as assistant counsel to the State Comptroller when he was first elected to the Senate in 1978. For eight years he was Senate Minority Leader and leader of the Democratic conference.

Senator Connor said, "I love being a member of the New York State Senate and the only other job for which I would leave the Senate is to serve the people of New York as their Comptroller. I'm the only person applying for this position who has actually worked in the Comptroller's office. It is where I began my career in government service in 1977. As a Senator and Minority Leader I traveled throughout the state, becoming familiar with every region, city, town, and village of our State.”

Connor said, “The Comptroller has an enormous responsibility. He or she will oversee the $146 billion pension system, manage a staff of 2,400 people, and be responsible for auditing expenditures at every level of State and local government. I have the experience for this position. As Minority Leader, I supervised a professional staff, participated in budget negotiations, and annually put forward revenue forecasts that were proven to be most accurate. For 16 years I was the Ranking Minority Member on the committee dealing with all pension legislation. My four years as Ranking Minority Member on the Local Government Committee enhanced my knowledge of the local entities the Comptroller must monitor and audit.”

Senator Connor said, “I look forward to meeting with the screening panel and my legislative colleagues to discuss my ideas, qualifications, and my plans to make the operation of the Comptroller's office the responsible, fiscal watchdog the people of New York expect and deserve."

Marty Algaze is Press Officer for Senator Connor

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The Butterfly Within Tonight at Makor

by Tibi Z. Singer

Staged reading Monday, January 22 at 7 PM at Makor, 35 W. 67th Street.

The Butterfly Within is a new play by Thomas M. Kelly. It is a story about the changes that have occurred in the neighborhood and culture of Manhattan's Lower East Side, as seen through the interaction of a young Asian woman and an elderly Jewish man. Secrets are revealed and tolerance and respect develop as these two neighbors form an unlikely friendship.

BIMA-NY is a new Jewish, theatre company; a Company dedicated to Jewish themes, writers and performers, exploring the drama, music and comedy of Jewish life set against and in 21st Century America . Being Shomer Shabbat is at the essence of this company, integral to its very being. BIMA-NY Company seeks to speak with a new Jewish voice, one that is young, hip and Jewish, with the substance of deep theatrical work and knowledge. BIMA-NY will present theatre that delves into the Jewish psyche, opening new areas of understanding. Sabbath observance is a necessary component of this exploration and definition, providing a link to Jewish tradition. Sabbath observance defines us and is at the root of this company providing a place for Torah-observant artists, among others, to perform and create.

For More Information visit www.Bima-ny.org, call 917.826.0080

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The Other Shoe Has Dropped

by Rob Hollander

The Archdiocese announced yesterday that it will close Mary Help of Christians parish. Already facing development at Charas (P.S. 64) and St Brigid's, our neighborhood is now losing an even larger tract to the upscale, high-rise density market. And because our neighborhood is about to be rezoned, we should expect to see developers moving fast to lay their foundations under the current zoning to avoid any restrictions of a new zoning.

The latest zoning proposal from the CB will help prevent out-of-scale development, provided City Planning listens and moves fast. But we have no guarantees as yet from City Planning.

As I hear of actions and campaigns to prevent overdevelopment here, I'll keep you posted. And if you hear of any actions, please let me know.

Here are a couple of news links reporting the closure:

  • Archdiocese to Shut 21 N.Y. Parishes
  • N.Y. Archdiocese Will Close 10 Parishes

    I received this from a local member of the Mary Help of Christians parish. If you have a chance, write a letter to the addresses she provides, copying to your local elected officials, including the borough president and the mayor:

    Hi Rob,

    Thank you for sending this e-mail to the community. We are saddened and shocked by this decision, especially since we feel it is unjust and motivated for the wrong reasons. Since we are continuing to fight, it is more important than ever for people to contact the Archdiocese to help save Mary Help of Christians. Can you help us by writing or calling Cardinal Egan and/or Bishop Sullivan, who is in charge of realignment, and also send an e-mail blast to the community to do the same to support us. The contact information is:

    Most Reverend Edward Cardinal Egan
    1011 First Avenue
    New York, NY 10022-4112
    212-371-1000 (as for Card Egan's office and leave a message with his secretary)
    e-mail: joseph.zwilling@archny.org

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    EPA’s Test-and-Clean Woerthless: NY

    by Jonathan Bennett

    EPA’s Test-and-Clean plan lacks any public health or scientific benefit, states New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

    The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health strongly opposes the EPA’s "final" plan concerning contamination resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center, which opened its registration hotline today.

    According to NYCOSH’s Executive Director, Joel Shufro, "The EPA plan, once again, excludes workplaces in Lower Manhattan, even though there is not a scintilla of evidence that workplaces are any less likely to be contaminated than residences. The approximately 1,500 commercial and institutional buildings in Lower Manhattan, including offices, schools, government buildings, and firehouses, are excluded from the cleanup program. There is no scientific or legal basis for this exclusion."

    Thousands of workers, many of whose unions are NYCOSH members, work in the World Trade Center area. Some of these workplaces are known to have been affected by 9/11 contaminants. Others may have been. Many Lower Manhattan workers, including workers who did not work on the pile at Ground Zero, have been diagnosed with respiratory illness and other adverse health effects. Their medical conditions persist even five years after 9/11.

    Nevertheless, neither EPA nor any other governmental agency has ever conducted post-9/11 environmental sampling in Lower Manhattan workplaces or offered employers and workers environmental cleanups where warranted. According to William Henning, the chairman of the NYCOSH Board of Directors and Vice President of CWA, Local 1180, "In 2002, when EPA initiated a test-and-clean program for Lower Manhattan residences, workplaces were excluded. Now, in 2007, as EPA announces another test-and-clean program, workplaces are again excluded."

    According to Henning,"We, along with many labor unions and community representatives told EPA in 2002, and we repeat today, there is no scientific or legal justification for the government’s refusal to conduct environmental sampling and offer cleanup in places of employment, while it does so in residences. Contamination does not discriminate. If 9/11 contaminants entered downtown residences, you can be assured that 9/11 contaminants entered downtown businesses, too."

    The EPA WTC Expert Technical Review Panel recommended that workplaces be included in any sampling and cleanup program. Now EPA has arbitrarily rejected the recommendation of the panel and has again excluded downtown workplaces from sampling and cleanup.

    "If this decision is allowed to stand," Henning added, "workers and employers in the WTC area will never know what exposures they had post-9/11 and will never have had the benefit of a coordinated cleanup, beyond the patchwork of efforts undertaken by some employers and landlords. We are gravely disappointed by EPA’s refusal to carry out its mission ‘to protect human health and the environment’ and by its failure to address the concerns of working people affected by the WTC collapse. We call on EPA to include places of employment in any 9/11 test-and-clean program. Our members, our neighbors, and our city deserve nothing less."

    According to NYCOSH there are a large number of other, equally serious deficiencies, that would render the plan a failure even if workplaces were to be included. For example, the $7 million budget is a tiny fraction of the amount needed to properly test and clean all affected buildings.

    the EPA’s refusal to test and clean supposedly inaccessible spaces will result in workers and others being exposed to WTC contaminants for many decades at the very least, the plan fails to address the obvious contamination north of Canal Street and in areas of Brooklyn and New Jersey.

    According to Shufro, "The shortcomings of this plan are so enormous that its implementation will provide no public health or scientific benefit. Implementation of this plan is a disservice to anyone who lives, works, attends school, or spends any appreciable periods of time in Lower Manhattan or in other areas that may have been affected by WTC contaminants."

    Jonathan Bennett is Public Affairs Director, New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

    116 John Street, Suite 604, New York NY 10038
    Tel: 212-227-6440 ext. 14
    Fax: 212-227-9854

    Please visit our website: http://www.nycosh.org

    NYCOSH is a non-profit provider of occupational safety and health training, advocacy and information (including technical assistance and industrial hygiene consultation) to workers and unions throughout the New York metropolitan area. Our membership consists of more than 250 union organizations and 400 individuals: union members, health and safety activists, injured workers, healthcare workers, attorneys, public health advocates, environmentalists and concerned citizens.

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    Renew and Rebuild at the Stanton

    by Jonathan Shore

    “Renew and Rebuild” is a new program that Makor has embarked on with the Stanton Street Shul. Volunteers will assemble at our shul, 180 Stanton Street, this Sunday, Jan 21. Come meet and participate with the volunteers in fixing up our shul. Join General Contractor and longtime friend of the shul, Marty Radburd on various "renewal" projects around the shul.

    The shul will be open from 11 AM to 3 PM. Drop in, stay as long as you want and choose a project that best suits your interests. Mingle and meet others who care so much about preserving the Stanton Street Shul. Bagels, cream cheese and lox will be served. Board member and tour guide Elissa Sampson will give a brief presentation about the shul’s history.

    Be part of a great new program that will link Jews from all over the metropolitan area helping our shul. I look forward to seeing you there.

    Jonathan Shore is Vice President of the Stanton Street Shul

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