RIOC folds, finally inviting residents to the FDR Hope Memorial opening, but you must sit on the grass

RIOC folds, finally inviting residents to the FDR Hope Memorial opening, but you must sit on the grass

After days of public shaming, RIOC folds, telling residents a little about the event, but demanding that they sit on the grass.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

RIOC Folds After Days of Public Shaming

“As always, a failure to understand & articulate how folks with disabilities and other special needs should be accommodated,” wrote one resident. “…able to utilize grass areas…?  

“Shame as always on them.”

From inception, RIOC’s alleged Communications Team planned an elitist event, although few, if any, of the speakers knew their intent.

On Monday, the state agency issued a press release nationwide but skipped locals.

And it wasn’t just RIOC’s hostility to local media. It was everyone because not even an advisory appeared in local email inboxes.

“This is wrong, in any case, not in Jim Bates’s spirit at all,” another resident complained.

The late Jim Bates, as longtime Disabled Association president, first championed the FDR Hope Memorial, but passed away before raising enough funds.

Tone deaf to taxpayers…

According to its annual report, RIOC plunked down more than half-a-million into the memorial in the last fiscal year. The majority of that came from RIOC taxes collected from residents.

But the state initially shut out residents anyway.

I gave a quote but was never advised that she put something together and sent it out. What a mess this is. Why would they exclude the island news?

Anonymous upon request

RIOC folds but without grace

“Nice of them, after public shaming, to invite the rest of us… And, It’s really too bad they couldn’t use the picture of the actual sculpture…”

Bizarrely, the RIOC invite features a strong and healthy photo of FDR without the slightest hint of disability, defying the entire theme.

But here’s the reality.

“Attendees able to utilize grass areas surrounding the memorial will be asked to do so,” RIOC said. “Special accommodations can be made upon request for those who require them.”

But no details describing the “Special accommodations,” nor how anyone might request them. Physically challenged individuals must make a guess or rely on optimism because, in truth, RIOC never made plans for them.

What else is missing…?

In invitations earlier sent to guests RIOC actually wanted at the ribbon-cutting, attendees would be escorted to assigned seating. Otherwise, SRO on the grass.

RIOC folded, but they left out certain details. Like, who will be speaking?

They still fail, not recognizing Roosevelt Islanders’ crucial financial contributions.

And Susan Rosenthal, the former RIOC president and CEO? She’s not on the speaker list, although she’s the leader who committed essential resources for getting it done.

And the agenda was missing, too. Here it is.

The keynote speaker is Shelton Haynes, RIOC’s president and CEO, whose new office is not ADA compliant.

There’s weird lack of symmetry here. Tone deaf and hypocritical, RIOC taps it’s own leader, not the Disabled Association, as opening speaker.

But as previously reported, his new office, on the second floor of Blackwell House, is not ADA compliant.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, were he alive, could not meet with Shelton J. Haynes there.

Withhold your applause.

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