Archive for the ‘Governor Andrew Cuomo’ Tag

So Much Secrecy in the Bridge Project’s Cache

View from the EarthCam® construction camera in Tarrytown Dec. 16, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.

This is getting old.

Thruway Authority Records Access Officer Jill B. Warner repeated her sing-song reply to me years after the batch plant accident, when no one wanted the truth known that the second mobile concrete mini-factory was doomed to malfunction so it, too, was immediately shut down.

Sources told me the governor’s office reviewed each project-related FOIL request with a fine-tooth comb.

I’d asked for information about the oh-so-many-months-ago call for proposals from artists to create a mural and bicycle racks for the bridge that was to have opened five years and two months after the project began. Path’s still not open.

“The Thruway Authority acknowledges your correspondence dated January 13, 2020 which, pursuant to FOIL, requested,” Warner’s email said.

What is the agency hiding? It mocks the FOIL request by saying it is “performing a diligent search for records” about projects it initiated and “will notify (me) of (its) progress by February 19, 2020.”

When I got too close for comfort last time, one of its lawyers called me to try and silence me: going to any length to hide the truth. Small consolation knowing other reporters and contractors working on the bridge project were also stalled by the agency.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2020

Status of Art Proposals for Bridge Landings is ?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

Sources told me Governor Cuomo’s office reviews each project-related FOIL request with a fine-tooth comb. Yesterday I received an email saying the executive chamber doesn’t maintain records for other state agencies and isn’t the custodian of records I recently requested through the Freedom of Information Law.

Fair enough: I started at the top by mistake.

The letter containing this information was addressed Dear Janie Rosan. REALLY. How difficult is it to correctly retype a six-letter last name spelled out in front of you at the bottom of said request or to highlight and copy the name?

* * * * *

Six silent months passed since ArtsWestchester and the Thruway Authority called for proposals for a permanent mural for an underpass on Rockland County landing of the new bridge’s shared use path and bike racks for the Rockland and Westchester landings.

I want to know why and resubmitted my requests. The email receipt said they were forwarded to the agencies I selected, and the Records Access Officer for each will contact me directly for further processing within up to five business days.

Due to my previous experience sending a FOIL request to the Thruway Authority (one of those I contacted), I’m curious about its response.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2020

On My Mind: New Year, Unanswered Questions

Socks, sneakers and wheels indicate a sign of the path to come/NYS Thruway Authority

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2020!

I’ve been asking about artwork on the new bridge since silence enveloped the projects after a Request For Proposal (RFP) last summer. Deadlines for submitting those proposals, and the deadline for installing one of them, were months ago. The next installation deadline comes in the spring.

Patricia Gallagher Newberry, Society of Professional Journalists national president, said, “Censorship has stalked a horrific path through history. This is another instance. It is heartening to find another way to fight this trend toward silencing public employees, which SPJ has identified as a grave risk to public welfare.”

This situation reminded me of a call I received five years ago during my quest for information about a failed silo on one of the two floating concrete batch plants that had arrived months earlier. Why did the contractor also shut down the batch plant that didn’t mechanically fail unless it, too, would experience the same issue at a later time?

An attorney responded, and then I received a call from one of the governor’s then-special advisor not long after about “tidying up” matters. Someone wanted me to stop asking, I’m sure. It took nearly a full year for someone to tell me “the Thruway Authority doesn’t have that kind of information in its records.”

I’d sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the New York State Thruway Authority, whose public information officer stalled me. One year later I learned my hunch was correct. Back then I asked: Would it have been a matter of time before that same malfunction occurred in the second batch plant although both were prepped, inspected and tested identically?

A project source told me: yes, the second plant would have malfunctioned, which I suspect was why the agency stalled, then refused to provide the documents I sought in the request.

One year after that accident, Governor Cuomo ruled on Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). His office reviewed each project-related FOIL request with a fine-tooth comb, sources told me as the FOIL request hit snags that were more like stone walls.

Never stop asking questions.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2020

Low Turnout at Toll Advisory Panel Meetings

Thinking I’d be unable to drive due to the ace bandage on my right wrist and hand I emailed my comments to the Toll Advisory Panel instead of going to the meeting in Tarrytown last night.

The hand surgery didn’t happen by quirk and by fate so I spent the past week meeting staff and getting to know residents at the nursing home where mom is temporarily staying. Things worked out well in that respect.

Surgery was rescheduled. About the toll meetings . . .

Why did the panel hear comments only one night in each county? Why wasn’t there a public comment period open for one month or three months or six months? It’s mid-July and sweltering outside; that plus a horrific rainstorm may have contributed to the low turnout last night and (although it didn’t rain as heavily) tonight.

Less than 100 people addressed the panel; how many others submitted written comments? Will those comments be made public? The governor’s task force and his comments nearly five years ago never came to fruition; let’s see what happens next.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Advisory Panel to hear Residents’ Input and Suggestions for Toll Relief on New Bridge

A new, four-person panel will take the first step toward toll relief solutions for Westchester and Rockland residents who cross the new Cuomo Bridge via two public sessions next week from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, will be at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, and Thursday, July 18, will be at The Time Nyack Hotel, 400 High Ave.

Listening without responding to each person, who has two minutes to speak, will be Robert Megna – Co-Chair, Joan McDonald, Heather Briccetti and Mario Cilento. Those who want to speak must sign up for a two-minute chance to address the panel, which will only listen and will not take questions.

The public can also submit comments to TollAdvisoryPanel@thruway.ny.gov.

Let’s hope the group of four does more than the mass transit task force, which said we need bus rapid transit and left it to others to implement the decision.

“Who will take the initiative to make sure the recommendations will move forward?” State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (88th District) asked at the final transit meeting in February 2014. Then-state DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald replied, “Our charge was to make recommendations. It’s up to the governor and the Thruway Authority to see what are the next steps.”

Tolls on the Cuomo Bridge are $5 through the end of December 2020.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

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