Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Tajiddin Handprint - the Julius Tajiddin Chronology

A Native New Yorker (born in the South Bronx), Julius Tajiddin has been a resident of New York City for over 31 years,  making Harlem his home since 2001. An active and influential civic leader, Tajiddin is not only a voice that is needed but also a voice that is listened to. Tajiddin has been instrumental if not outright responsible for what some would consider praise worthy achievements. Some of the things that bear the Tajiddin handprint are:  
2003 - [Shabazz Family] vs. Ebay and James Calhoun - In 2002 James Calhoun gets a hold of a rare cache of letters, speeches, photographs and journals belonging to Malcolm X by purchasing such contents in a blind public auction after one of Malcolm’s daughters (Malikah Shabazz) - who had put the items in a storage locker - fell behind on her rental payments. Tajiddin devises the Shabazz Family's strategy to get the items returned.

2003 (October 4th) - African Burial Ground Re-interment Project - The Final Journey - The remains of enslaved Africans that had been discovered in 1991 at the Federal office building at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan are finally re-interred to rest. The ceremony is attended by over 5,000 people. Most of them are Black and cannot enter the gated burial ground. In a Herculean maneuver Tajiddin negotiates with federal authorities to allow over 2,000 people to partake in a procession line that passes in front of the African Ancestor's graves for a final farewell.

2003 (December) - Tajiddin Takes on the Department of Education, et al, in Court. - Tajiddin takes the New York City Department of Education, its Chancellor, Joel Klein, and several other school district administrators to court after his daughter’s principal demotes her back to the 3rd grade in retaliation against him for being an outspoken parent. Tajiddin also challenges the constitutionality of certain parts of the School Governance Reform Act of 2002, which gives Mayoral Control over public schools to the mayor.

2004 (Spring) - The Tajiddin Approach on Crime - After a series of robberies around Morningside Park Tajiddin begins to take his runs in the park during dusk hours. Tajiddin is hoping to make would be robbers think he is an undercover cop. A couple of robbery attempts are thwarted off. As joggers see Tajiddin in the park more and more people begin to utilize the park during early evening hours. The crime rate in that area starts to reduce.

2005 - Introduction to Community Boards - Councilmember Inez Dickens encourages Tajiddin to get active in Community Board 10 affairs so he can learn what goes on politically in Harlem. She also encourages him to pay close attention to land use issues.

2006 - Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans Wins Re-election - Tajiddin meets some displaced residents of New Orleans’ 9th Ward in Harlem after Hurricane Katrina. He is convinced that New Orleans would be better off if Mayor Ray Nagin gets re-elected. Tajiddin creates a re-election strategy for the incumbent. It is this strategy that causes Nagin to win re-election. He wins by 4%.

2006 - Forming the Harlem Platform Committee - Tajiddin and some other Harlem activists create a community grassroots organization known as the Harlem Platform Committee, whose mission is to preserve Harlem‘s legacy. The HPC becomes an important watchdog group and tackles some of Harlem’s most controversial issues.

2006 - Tajiddin Starts Building Alliances - Tajiddin begins to align himself more and more with Community Board 10 members. Tajiddin is asked to join the Education Libraries Committee. He accepts. Tajiddin also starts building other alliances. These alliances are with Blood gang members. Tajiddin will begin building a slow and respected relationship with Blood and Crip gang members in search of finding a solution to the ongoing gang violence in Harlem.

2006 - The Creation of Income Targeted Housing - Tajiddin is now working closely with Community Board 10’s Land Use and Housing Committees. An active physician in the Harlem community by the name of Dr. Kathy Samuels, the Housing Committee Chair, Diane Richards, and Tajiddin are working to create a mechanism to create affordable housing that Harlem residents can afford. Together they create the phrase Income Targeted Housing (the development of housing that targets the income of families within the relevant community).

2006 - Addressing the Real Motive of Charter Schools in Harlem - Tajiddin is the first to address how Charter Schools will be used to help gentrify Harlem and a law that seems to let landlords opt out of an obligation to tenants of charging them less than the legal rent for the life of the tenancy (Preferential Rents) despite anything to the contrary. On October 16, 2006 Tajiddin holds his first town hall meeting addressing these and many other issues. Tajiddin becomes the frontrunner on slowing down the charter school surge in Harlem. Tajiddin will be sought after over the next few years for his assistance in keeping public school buildings from being taken over by charter schools.

2007 (Summer) - Columbia Expansion Plan - Columbia University's Expansion Plan gets certified. Columbia desires to expand its university across 17 acres of land located in Manhattanville, a section in West Harlem.. Tajiddin is asked to join Community Board 9’s Community Benefits Agreement Steering Committee. Tajiddin will become an effective force in the community fight for a meaningful Community Benefits Agreement, lower building heights than what’s desired in the plan, a non-gated campus, no eminent domain and no underground bio tech laboratories.

2007 - Tajiddin Moves the New York State Supreme Court to Accept His Amicus Curiae Brief Supporting a Group of Parents' Petition, represented by Civil Rights Attorney Norman Seigel, Opposing Mayor Bloomberg's Across the Board Cell Phone Ban in New York City Public Schools - Tajiddin becomes an important voice attacking Mayor Bloomberg's ban on cell phones in the New York City public schools. The ban alleges that under the Chancellor's Regulations students cannot bring cell phones on school property accept in certain circumstances. Only two Amicus Curiae briefs are filed, one being filed by Tajiddin. The Court denies both motions. However, it is Tajiddin's brief that craftily alleges the ban is not equally enforced, rather the ban is only enforced in public schools with a Black and/or Spanish Speaking majority. This allegation is not in the Petition. The court dismisses the petition and upholds the Department of Education's cell phone ban.

However, the Court's finding of facts are different than the DOE's. Amazingly, the Court finds that the Regulations are to be interpreted to mean that each school has the authority to determine its own cell phone restrictions, which could include allowing a student to bring a cell phone to school based on maturity. A whole school year passes before Tajiddin discovers the Court's decision. That discovery comes from a newspaper reporting that the Appellate Division upholds the Supreme Court's decision. Tajiddin decides not to commence an action against the DOE rather spend his time notifying public schools with a Black and/or Spanish Speaking majority of the Appellate Division ruling.

2007 (June) - The Beginning of Harlem 4 Obama - Tajiddin responds to an email being circulated around looking for volunteers to gather contact information for a then Senator Barack Obama in his quest for the presidency. Tajiddin meets another volunteer by the name of Michael Washington who convinces Tajiddin to continue campaigning for Obama on a grassroots level. Washington brings to life a friend’s website simply called Harlem 4 Obama. Tajiddin becomes one of Harlem 4 Obama’s active founding members. H4O will inspire a new thinking in Harlem about Barack. "Maybe he can become president." Harlem 4 Obama's legacy will continue through Harlem 4 under the leadership of Chet Wheye. (when finished click back arrow*)

2007 (September 26) - Barack Comes to Washington Square Park - Tajiddin attends a an electrifying Barack Obama rally that is attended by 30,000 people. Tajiddin is right up on the 1st barricade after the stage. Tajiddin gets a chance to briefly meet the future president. It is this encounter that really gets Tajiddin charged up about Barack’s candidacy. (*)
2007 - Save Harlem Coalition vs. [the Sigfield Group] - After purchasing land parcels located at 2331-2349 Frederick Douglass Blvd., for $30M, the Sigfield Group terminates all of its tenants’ leases and asks them to vacate the premises by a certain date or face eviction proceedings. 5 tenants remain and hire the law firm of Adam Leitman Bailey who agrees to take the case after meeting Tajiddin. With the help of Tajiddin the tenants get an injunction. The case immediately settles for an undisclosed amount ($$$$$$$+). The stalling of the tenants' eviction will prove valuable even after the settlement for the tenants. The housing market will crash and the financing of the project will be pulled. The Sigfield Group will be forced to ask some of the tenants back. One of the tenants will return.

In the proceeding years to follow Tajiddin will come to the aid of many housing and commercial tenants and help them with their landlord problems.

2007 (November 29th) - A Night At The Apollo with Senator Barack Obama - Senator Barack Obama takes time from his Iowa and New Hampshire campaigning to come to the World Famous Apollo Theater. What is not readily known to the public is that this visit is orchestrated by Tajiddin.

2006-2008 The Rezoning of 125th Street (River to River) - Tajiddin is one of Harlem's most active residents against the 125th Street Rezoning as is. Tajiddin is not only the lead investigator for the Harlem United Special Task Force Commission Report, the most comprehensive report addressing the New York City Department of City Planning's Environmental Impact Statement on the 125th Street Rezoning Plan, but a major architect in Community Board 10's resolution disapproving the plan.

2008 - Rezoning Harlem (the documentary) - Some graduate students from Hunter College ask Tajiddin to help them make a documentary on the 125th Street Rezoning. The result is the locally acclaimed documentary - Rezoning Harlem. (*)
2008 (July) - DHCR Changes its Preferential Rent Policy - A preferential rent is a rent that a landlord could charge a tenant in a rent stabilized apartment that’s lower than the legal rent. The DHCR incorrectly maintains that a 2003 law allows a landlord to go back to the legal rent at a renewal lease period if he chooses to despite any agreement to the contrary.

Thousands of Harlem rent stabilized tenants are self evicted after going to the DHCR and getting no support. This is more evident in Harlem. Tajiddin sees an opportunity to get the DHCR to change its position when the Harlem DHCR office gets a new director. Tajiddin is the front runner in a campaign to reverse this practice. Tajiddin convinces the new director that the policy is wrong and violates the Constitution. The new director submits an application to the Commissioner of her agency to have the policy changed. The application is successful. In July of 2008 the DHCR publishes its fact sheet No. 40 to reflect the agency's new policy.

2008 - The Harlem Wide Land Marking Initiative - A key advocate in the quest for Central Harlem or parts thereof becoming a Historic District, Tajiddin is a major facilitator in starting the process of having evaluated the landmark status of 60+ structures and buildings throughout Harlem.

2008 - The Fight Against NYCHA's Plan to Transition Thousands of Public Housing Apartments Into the Section 8 Program - Upon hearing that HUD (The Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved NYCHA's plan to transition 8400 of its NYCHA units into the Section 8 program, Tajiddin leads a crusade to warn the residents of Harlem who would be affected by such plan not to accept the Section 8 vouchers. Tajiddin believes that the plan will eventually force the tenants entering the program out of public housing. There are several things in the plan that raise alarm: No criminal back ground checks for 6 months; no income verification for 6 months; once you take the voucher you cannot change your mind and give it back; initially NYCHA offered 2 per household. Many of the tenants turn down the offer. (*)

2009 (March 6) - Julius Tajiddin at the One For Jasmina Bone Marrow Drive held on March 6, 2009 in the Village, hoping to be a bone marrow match for little Jasmina, a 6 year old girl dying of Lukemia. Tajiddin intends to bring attention to Jasmina 's situation to Harlemites by featuring her in his Preserving Harlem's Legacy online newsletter (third issue). Tajiddin's plea is well received. Two well attended bone marrow drives in Harlem are launched after the "...Legacy" issue. Jasmina will eventually find a bone marrow match and undergo a successful transplant.

2009 (March) - Tajiddin Thwarts the New York City Department of Transportation's Plans to Narrow Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and Put in Bike Lanes - Tajiddin attends Community Board 10's District Service Cabinet Meeting for the month of March 2009 and learns that its Transportation Committee approved the DOT's plans to narrow Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and remove a traffic lane in each direction, replacing them with buffer zones and Bike lanes from 118th - 153rd Streets. It is the DOT's belief that CB 10 will approve the plan in April at its general board meeting. Work is scheduled to begin June of 2009. Tajiddin believes that the historic character of ACP Blvd will be destroyed and that the Transportation Committee's approval violated due process of law because it failed to notify the public that such a liberty was at stake. Tajiddin leads a successful movement to stop the DOT's plans. At the first Mayoral Debate of 2009 between Mayoral Candidates Tony Avella and Bill Thompson both candidates confirm Tajiddin's position that the DOT Commissioner's tactics of just laying down bike lanes without Public Hearings or community input violates due process of law.

2009 (June 18) - Tajiddin Presents at NYPD’s Diversity Training - Tajiddin addresses the NYPD Graduation Class of 2009 as part of their Diversity Training program at the World Famous Apollo Theater. Inspector Dwayne Montgomery, attached to NYPD’s training department, will receive the 1st Preserving Harlem’s Legacy Awards at the ceremony for his dedication and service in the Harlem community.
2009 (June 23rd) - Tajiddin Begins his Role as a Community Representative with the Agency of Children’s Services - Because of his diverse background in many areas of life, ACS retains Tajiddin as a consultant. On June 23, 2009 he begins his first day as a community representative in ACS conferences that decide whether children should be temporarily removed from their parents pending a court hearing or stay when suspected abuse or neglect is demonstrated. Tajiddin and other consultants are Harlem’s first wave of community reps that will attempt to bridge the gap between ACS and parents.
2009 (July) - Tajiddin Enters the New York City Councilmanic Race to Become a New York City Councilman of District 7 - Tajiddin enters the 2009 City Council race as an independent candidate to unseat incumbant Robert Jackson, who voted to extend term limits to three terms. Tajiddin is adamently against the way term limits were extended, which was by councilmanic vote, undoing the twice referrendum vote of the people desiring term limits of two terms. Tajiddin gets nominated and will be on the ballot in the General Election. He will run on the Freedom, Justice and Equality party line. Tajiddin lives in District 7, which is West Harlem, parts of Morningside Heights, Central Harlem,Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Inwood.
Tajiddin currently sits on the Manhattan Borough President's Historic Preservation Committee. Tajiddin has also served on Community Board 10's Land Use, Housing, Land Mark and Education and Libraries Committees as a public member. He was also drafted to serve on CB 10’s Ad Hoc 125th Street Rezoning Resolution Committee and CB 9’s Steering Committee (Education) addressing the Community Benefits Agreement between the CB9 District and Columbia University. Tajiddin drafted a community benefits agreement for the West Harlem Local Development Corporation (the entity designated to negotiate with Columbia University for a CBA). Some of Tajiddin’s ideas would find its way in the final community benefits agreement, however Tajiddin and many members of Community Board 9 are dissatisfied with the end result.
Tajiddin was awarded a BA from Hunter College, majoring in Film and Theatre Production. He also has an apprenticeship in Welding from the Job Corps. Tajiddin is also a United States Army Veteran.

[New York City's 7th Councilmanic District serves West Harlem, parts of Morningside Heights, Central Harlem, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Inwood. For a map of the 7th District click on link below:]

For updates on The Greet and Meet NYC Council District 7 Tour go to Facebook [Julius Tajiddin]. For Bookings or other information about District 7's leading candidate email