Runaround on Randall's?
February 13th, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, some East Harlem residents and public school parents were applauding a decision by a state Supreme Court judge that voided a deal to give private school kids preferred access to purportedly public playing fields on Randall’s Island – at the expense of public school students. Judge Shirley Kornreich’s ruling essentially meant that the Bloomberg administration “must essentially start from scratch” and put the deal through the Uniform Land Use Review Process. That would require review by the community board and the borough president and then OK’s from the City Planning Commission and the City Council, the Times explained earlier this month.
Calling the decision “a great victory for public school children,” Eugenia Simmons-Taylor, former president of the District 4 the lead plaintiff, said, “Now the community and our elected representatives will have a chance to have their say.”
Not so fast.
Juan Gonzalez, who did much of the reporting to reveal the deal, writes in today’s News that the Bloomberg administration is continuing construction on the playing fields – despite the judge’s decision. “The court ruling addressed the use of the fields once they are built, not the construction of the fields themselves,” said Lawrence Kahn, the Law Department’s chief litigation assistant.
Norman Siegel, the attorney who represented the East Harlem parents, disagrees. The city is not following at least the spirit of the judge’s decision,” he said.
Both sides are due back in court next week.By Gail Robinson on February 13, 2008, 6:46 pm
In category: Gotham City,Law,Parks | 4 Comments »