Comment Policy

All comments to posts have to await approval. Please be aware that, depending on when I'm logged onto the internet, it may take me hours, even longer, to moderate comments, so if they don't turn up in a speedy fashion, they are still in the queue. Comments that cross a line I'm not comfortable with will not get approved. NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Town & Village Writes a Press Release for CWCapital



There's no other way to look at it. This week's TOWN & VILLAGE (March 27, 2014) contains what can only be considered a press release for the new Public Safety office. Titled "New Command Center Offers Better Access to Public Safety," the lengthy article, which begins on the newspaper's front page and ends on the last, contains none of the objections that tenants have had about the new office and, furthermore, extends its scope to quality of life issues, implying that they are being dealt with efficiently by Public Safety. The numerous problems tenants have had with these quality of life issues, still viable to this day, are ignored by the lack of any challenge to the statements made by Public Safety Chief Bill McCellan, who is the main source of the quotes and information contained in the article, written by longtime TOWN & VILLAGE staffer and principal writer, Sabina Mollot. The fault is not McCellan's, who is just doing his PR job well, but the paper's, which should be handling the interview and the article with journalistic curiosity and integrity, and, perhaps, more extensive research. Just reading the TA Facebook, this blog and even PCVST's own Facebook, should alert anyone that there's trouble in the paradise that is presented in the article. It's rare for the newspaper (or anyone, in fact) to bring "truth to power" directly with the people who run this complex (CWCapital's spokesman Brian Moriarty and its Asset Manager Andrew Cain were also present at the interview), so the golden opportunity to do so was completely lost when it was determined by the paper and/or its writer to craft a press release for CWCapital, and nothing else.

The title of the article "New Command Center Offers Better Access to Public Safety" is itself a positive promotion of the new structure, as if somehow the previous location, just around the Oval island, was not access enough or that somehow, down through the decades, access to Public Safety (or Security, as it was once called) was a real problem that tenants were concerned about.  Gee, I never remember tenants pleading for more access to Public Safety. Tenants were satisfied and felt secure with the Oval security booth that has had a presence, in various forms, once being a brick structure by the fountain. The only pleas I have heard or read about was for Public Safety to have "boots on the ground," officers walking the beat of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, an issue I will get to soon.

The article starts off with by detailing the inside of the new Public Safety building and noting that "new HD monitors allow officers to see everything that the 1,200 surveillance cameras located throughout the complex see in high-definition quality."  Kinda interesting that with all this HD surveillance, Public Safety still has problems stopping banned dog breeds being walked right in front of the Oval security booth.

McClellan informs his interviewer that, quoting the article, "residents have been giving overwhelmingly positive feedback about the department's more central location and the access to the officers." How many residents? Well, since the statement is so general, it could be two or three or maybe six. No mention of the residents who on the TA Facebook page and this blog have been decrying the new location as marring the Oval, as being unsightly and too intrusive in what once was a green, tranquil oasis. No mention of the distress and suffering the construction of the office caused to the residents who live around the new structure and their possible future distress as they live nearby an active large office ("open 24/7") sided by huge generators.

Then we arrive at the Quality of Life issues in the article. This is where blood started shooting out of my eyeballs and my mouth started to foam: "... while preventing and stopping crime is the top priority for the officers, mainly it is quality of life issues that they're responding to on a regular basis, such as loud parties and unregistered dogs." The dog issue is apparently mitigated because the blue registration tags are clearly visible, "eliminating the need to stop all dog owners as they walk through the grounds." Well, practically every time I'm out around the grounds I see unregistered dogs, so something is wrong. Perhaps "boots on the ground," particularly at points around the perimeters of PCVST where non-residents enter with their dogs to use the grounds as a toilet would be prudent. This advice has been given repeatedly, but never acted upon. I've no idea why.

Tenants who have to suffer from noisy neighbors and late-night partying may find great comfort that "McClellan himself will sometimes show up to the offending apartment with a member of the property's legal team when a noise issue is particularly serious and persisting." In other cases, I suppose, you are out of luck. (BTW, has anyone seen McClellan turn up in noise situations? I would assume this would be a very rare occurrence.)

The article continues to proclaim the advantages of all the security cameras about the complex (for which every resident is paying a MCI), but doesn't address one crucial question: Have these security cameras and their monitoring ever stopped a crime in progress?  The answer seems to be, yes, maybe, perhaps, but maybe not, depends on the crime. I'd like to see the real figures, which one day should be asked of McClellan. My hunch is that the cameras around this complex have stopped very few crimes in progress. It's only after the fact, as evidence, that they can be important. (Which is why there is need of--boots on the ground.)

Probably the only good thing about the security monitoring system changing location and being so out in the open to passersby view is that now, unlike previously, the officers who staff the monitors won't be tempted to zero in on hot-babe sunbathers on the Oval or check out Craig's List.

In other places the article stresses that the welcome mat is open to residents to visit the new office and talk to the officers. I like this a lot. I wouldn't mind sharing some tea and biscuits with Chief Bill McClellan, who, as I learned in the article, was once commanding officer of the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights, an area that happens to be my old neighborhood. In between sips of Lipton Tea, I'd ask him, once again, why some banned dog breeds I see are actually registered PCVST dogs. I have a feeling I'd get the same non-answer as I did when I first asked him that question.

UPDATE 3/31: In case anyone wants to comment directly to T & V:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Town-Village/146960575361947

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's absurd that Public Safety has been made responsible for every possible infraction on the premises, and a tenant's report of a problem to management isn't sufficient. In the real world, police officers aren't responsible for giving out parking tickets--it's not the best use of their time and skills. What I would like to see is Public Safety on foot patrol. That way they could look around them, instead of straight ahead when they're driving. They would be moving more slowly so you could flag them down instead of eating their exhaust. They could take note of things that need to be dealt with, such as dark streetlights and derelict bicycles and damaged fences and dog offenders. They could go back to checking inside buildings (whatever happened to the bar code system that was installed?). And what's the plan the next time the power goes out?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sabina....you should be ashamed of your byline on this one.

Anonymous said...

Just in time for the bevy of side-boobs and thongs invasion. On rainy days, there's always Spongebob to look at.

Anonymous said...

Lux would've had a field day with this. I miss his sharp wit and on point caustic criticism.

Anonymous said...

With this press release disguised as a press article CW is trying to convince someone that this new security office is money well spent and a valuable asset. They don't care what the tenants think. So who are they trying to convince with this crafted, calculated piece?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I see another MCI in our future.

Anonymous said...

"I see another MCI in our future."

Bite your tongue!

Anonymous said...

8:37
These guys are not impressive or exceptionally intelligent.
They surely spent a lot of time in meetings coming up with this pr plan.
They are reprehensible and at times blatantly criminal - but not smart criminals.
This half baked pr plan is their best attempt to achieve something - something that isn't going their way and they are trying to change that.

To make it appear there are happy tenants? Or the grounds are safe?

Only 2 reasons for PR spin - to create a false perception or cover up a grave crisis.

Which are they doing?

Anonymous said...

I've heard of more instances where they use the security monitors and equipment to track tenants for evictions rather than to track criminal activity on the grounds.

This 'public safety" organization needs to be monitored by an independent auditor of internal affairs. They are spying on the tenants and leering on the bikini girls.

Not all are bad. There are a few, only a few, honorable officers.

Anonymous said...

The above the fold puff piece was nothing more than a diversion from the upcoming Oval Bar and Grill.

Let's not be blindsided to the real issues here!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>I've heard of more instances where they use the security monitors and equipment to track tenants for evictions rather than to track criminal activity on the grounds.<<

And that would have been an excellent question to ask in the interview.

Tommyboyardee said...

Amazing info-metrical, with operators standing by. It just goes to show you that security themselves don't want anything to do with Avenue C or 14th street. The long standing brick bunkers positioned on the perimeter are a testimony to the forward thinkers that is PS. Now that they lost their driveway, I assume the PS will be horrible neighbors on the Oval.

Anonymous said...

5:59 is so right.

Security checking for carpets and loud music and high heels?

WTF - in our prior residence, if a tenant had a noise issue from above, one called management, they sent letter to tenant regarding complaint and most likely problem solved, carpets purchased. It's not rocket science.
As it is, we are paying for a huge staff of people who do NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

To the 2 above comments
1. it would most certainly be interesting and journalistic to have asked about their use of cameras and tracking key cards to spy on tenants.

2. yes we must stay focused on the improper way cw went about the liquor license. perhaps sabina could write an article comparing the proper procedure against that one CW undertook.

btw i heard barrio is not miami based. they are a husband wife team who live in ny and have several restaurants in the city.

Anonymous said...

So far as I'm concerned, the Public Safety office is just there as a selling point. It's location means nothing. But what's worse is that the whole security group does nothing about the one Q of L issue I case about: the dogs. License tags? I don't think I've seen one. People come in from across 1st Avenue all the time to walk their dogs, go right past the guard houses. I've seen it. The guards do nothing? EnforceWhment of no vicious breeds. Joke. I've see pit bulls, pit bull cross-breeds almost every day. Defecation rules enforced? Ha!

And in terms of public safety in general, if you think that management gives 2 shits whether or not you're exposed to asbestos, you're dreaming. When is the last time you saw an asbestos certificate for the work that goes on here?

Anonymous said...

T & V is a joke. Has been for several years. I don't know what it is, but it's not a newspaper. And Sabina Mollot...she's not editorial or reporting. What she does is much closer to PR and advertising.

Anonymous said...

One observation. Look at how many articles STR is knocking out now, one after the other. It's because so much is happening. Why is so much happening? Has to be because there's a looming sale.

Anonymous said...

Its not about the management giving a shit about exposure to asbestos. Its about management following the law and the rules.
If asbestos rules are not being followed then that needs to be made public so management becomes compliant.
They think only tenants need to be compliant and follow the rules. Not so.

Anonymous said...

The institutionalizing of PCVST has eroded the value of this once world renowned middle class housing. The only reason to study PCVST poster child of the foreclosure crisis now is as a predictor for what will happen across the country to the epidemic of hedge-fund / banker owned rental properties when politicians trade constituent's homes for real estate money.
PCVST is no longer a middle class residential community in a park. It is a butt ugly institution. Every time I drive into the 18th street entrance I am reminded of what was an upscale driveway of brick homes and trees and is now that butt ugly metal-roof poverty housing shanty oval concierge.
I took a peek at the office construction and in place of the trees in the playground is a large institution size generator.
It is gross. The architect deserves shaming for killing the park and building the institution. Anyone know who the architects are?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I don't, but I can check next time I'm at the building site. Perhaps it says somewhere who the architects are.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

In case anyone want to comment directly to T & V:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Town-Village/146960575361947

Anonymous said...

Looks as if the new Town & Village has no feedback in the letters column about their scandalous press release for CW last week. Time to let my subscription lapse.

Anonymous said...

Sure you will. Really, just covering the security booth is enough to make you cancel a free subscription?