At last Thursday's orientation meeting for potential candidates considering running for the Roosevelt Island Resident's Association nomination to the RIOC Board of Directors, two current resident RIOC Board members spoke of their experiences on the Board and answered questions from those in attendance. At this meeting it was pointed out that there has been no significant decision made by the RIOC Board in recent years, (perhaps ever) that was contrary to the wishes of RIOC's Chairperson and management. (If anyone has any information that this statement is not accurate, please let me know.)
The consensus at the end of this meeting was that the primary political governance problem facing Roosevelt Island is the practice of the appointed RIOC Board to automatically approve or rubber stamp the wishes of the RIOC Chairperson and President. The advocates for elective nominees to the RIOC Board believe that any future elected RIOC Board member, by virtue of participation in a democratic elective process, will be more likely to act in an independent, supervisory role over the conduct of RIOC operations rather than the RIOC Board's current practice of subservience to the decisions made by RIOC management. The result of such an independent Board will be a more efficiently managed RIOC attuned to the needs of the Roosevelt Island community. This may or may not be true. There is just no way of knowing until elected nominees are finally placed on the RIOC Board and a reasonable amount of time has elapsed in order to properly compare their conduct with the current appointed RIOC Board.
However, in the past there have been other alternatives suggested for governing Roosevelt Island. For instance, returning control of Roosevelt Island from the State of New York to the City of New York. This may not be as far fetched as it first appears. Politicians rarely give up power to others but remember that Mayor Bloomberg was able to gain control of the City's school system when most observers thought that it would be impossible. Perhaps the Mayor can accomplish the same thing for Roosevelt Island that he did for the NYC Public school system - return it to the control of the City of New York where it belongs!
As reported in the Main Street WIRE, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani took some baby steps toward the liberation of Roosevelt Island in 1999 during a Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting when he proclaimed:
"I'm very much in favor of the City controlling our own destiny... Ultimately, you'll be better off when you can touch it, scream at it, deal with it. The Commissioners are accessible... You're much better off moving more of this back to the City. We'll try."According to the same article this comment from a Roosevelt Island Resident:
"What we're looking for here is democracy," and an escape from the "bureaucratic quagmire" that is RIOC.drew this response from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani
"I would be very happy to work with you to liberate Roosevelt Island."Will Mayor Bloomberg take on this challenge.
Image is from Main Street WIRE.