Monday, September 8, 2014

Vote Tuesday September 9 For Roosevelt Island/UES Democratic Party NY State 76 Assembly District Candidate, Christensen, Menegon, Seawright Or Hartzog - Governor And Lt. Governor Too

September 9 is primary election day for New York State. On Roosevelt Island, the polling location for all residents is at PS/IS 217 (645 Main Street) except for the Octagon building. Octagon resident vote at Coler Hospital (900 Main Street). Voting takes place from 6 AM - 9 PM.

A sample ballot for the Roosevelt Island Democratic Party Primary is here.

Democratic Party candidates for Governor are:
Zephyr Teachout
Andrew Cuomo and
Randy Credico

Lieutenant Governor:
Kathy Hochul and
Timothy Hu

76 Assembly District:
Gus Christensen,
David Menegon,
Rebecca Seawright and
Ed Hartzog.

According to the NYC Board of Elections, there is no contested Republican Party primary on Roosevelt Island.

Below are statements from the 76 Assembly District Democratic Party primary candidates

 to Roosevelt Island residents in order of their placement on the ballot.

Gus Christensen:
Dear Residents of Roosevelt Island,

My name is Gus Christensen and I would be honored to represent you in Albany. I am a proud progressive with a concrete vision for making New York into a city where middle class families and seniors can live comfortably and securely. I will fight for affordable housing, for good jobs, and for investment in our local public schools and in our mass transit systems. I will also fight to insure that Roosevelt Island gets the representation and respect that it deserves from Albany. I hope that you and your fellow voters will choose me on September 9th.

I am a lifelong New Yorker and a passionate advocate for our community. I serve as President of the Lenox Hill Democratic Club and as a director on several non-profit boards, including the New York Landmarks Conservancy, which has been integrally involved in the preservation of historic structures on Roosevelt Island such as the Chapel of the Good Shepherd.

I have spent two decades working in finance, helping businesses grow and create jobs. I want to put my real world budget and finance experience to work for middle class families and seniors. As an accounting and budgeting expert, I will increase affordable housing and strengthen rent regulations, get our schools their fair share and protect senior services. I will stand up for Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side and make sure our communities receive the services they need. I am 100% pro-choice and a strong supporter of a woman's right to choose. I will vote to pass Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act that protects a woman's right to choose and make her own reproductive health care decisions.

The residents of Roosevelt Island deserve a greater say in their governance. RIOC should not be operating with a board whose terms have expired while the community stands ready to provide democratically elected directors. The island’s elected officials need to work closely with the Governor’s office to make sure that fair-minded, diligent, community-focused and representative members are appointed to full terms on the RIOC Board. Furthermore, if I were elected to represent the island, I would do everything that I could to calm the waters at RIRA, because all islanders are being hurt by the discord there, not just the Common Council members who have to endure it personally.

We need to fight to keep Roosevelt Island an affordable bastion for the middle class. Albany needs to get more actively and productively involved in dealing with the exodus of island buildings from the Mitchell-Lama program, focusing on the interests of residents as well as the preservation of as much affordable housing as possible. Given the island’s small size and limited commercial business community, RIOC needs to be more financially supportive of local community activities, such as the arts and athletics. Roosevelt Island needs better transportation links, such as ferry service and improved bus links with Queens. And we need to work closely with Cornell-Technion to manage the growth of their new campus to benefit the entire community.

I believe my background and my abilities uniquely prepare me to overcome the hurdles we face. Together, we can achieve better jobs for working New Yorkers, we can preserve and create more affordable housing, and we can build a better New York, where seniors, working families and the middle class can all live with dignity, and where all of our children have the same opportunity to succeed.

I hope to have your vote this fall and to earn the honor of representing you in Albany.
Mr. Christensen was endorsed by the NY Times and Daily News. He was also announced as the preferred candidate by the Citizens Union of NYC.

Mr. Christensen intends to vote for Andrew Cuomo as NY State Governor and Kathy Hochul at Lieutenant Governor.

David Menegon
Governance of Roosevelt Island:

The legislation that would address direct election of members of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation has stalled repeatedly in the State Legislature. There is no issue more important to Roosevelt Island residents than having a RIOC board that is responsive to the voters in the community who elected them. The fact that several governors have allowed terms to lapse without appointment and re-appointment is unconscionable; this situation hampers the effective work of the RIOC Board, whose members are unsure when they might be replaced at the whim of the Governor or Mayor. I will do everything in my power to work with my colleague in the State Senate to ensure this legislation is revised, consistent with the input of those Roosevelt Island residents who have fought this battle for so many years, and passed by both chambers of the State legislature and signed by the governor.
Mr. Menegon has been endorsed by the Sierra Club and former NY City Council Member Sal Albanese. Mr. Menegon intends to vote for Andrew Cuomo as Governor and Kathy Hochul at Lieutenant Governor.

 Rebecca Seawright
My name is Rebecca Seawright and I would be proud to represent Roosevelt Island in the New York State Legislature. I am a lifelong Democratic activist and member of Community Board 8. For over two decades, I have lived just across the river on East 81st Street, where my children attended public school.

I believe that the residents of Roosevelt Island must be empowered through home rule to have a greater say over the quality of their lives and the lives of their families. This starts with an elected Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board (RIOC) that is appropriately empowered to retain professional management responsive to the needs of the community.

RIOC should be held accountable to fulfill their obligations to be subject to the State’s Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Laws to ensure full transparency and public accountability under a new structure. A residency requirement should be implemented for ALL members of the RIOC Board of Directors. Our nation was founded on the principle, "no taxation without representation.” This reform must be put squarely before the Governor and the New York State Legislature, building on the great work of the dedicated activists that have vigorously fought for needed changes for many years.

The key issues that impact most on Roosevelt Island residents---an accountable public safety program, transportation access and subway improvements, availability of social services, education reforms and increased resource needs, community benefits and employment opportunities to be obtained from the planned Cornell University/ Technion campus, senior and disabled citizen services, infrastructure improvements/innovations and environmental protection needs, expansion of playgrounds for children, new approaches to ferry services and the uses of waterways---will never be fully addressed without a democratic governance structure to enable the 12,000 residents of Roosevelt Island to have a full voice in determining their futures.

As an attorney who serves as Chairperson of the nearby CUNY School of Law in Long Island City---which specializes in public interest law---I will bring a new and fresh perspective to the fight for democratic governance on Roosevelt Island.

As a former Assistant District Attorney, I appreciate the importance of both a safe, secure community and much greater community review and accountability on civilian complaints, which has been an ongoing concern.

Finally, a majority of the residents on Roosevelt Island are women. They and their families are entitled to the protections offered by the highly debated proposed Women's Equality Act. With your help, I could be in Albany, to ensure that legislation such as the Women’s Equality Act passes. Working together, we can achieve a Democratic governance and ensure a higher quality of life for the Roosevelt Island community.

I look forward to working closely with the many elected officials who have endorsed my candidacy, including City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James, Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Dan Garodnick. Additionally, I have been endorsed by New York State Assembly Member Dan Quart who I will work with in the Legislature to win the battle for needed reform for all citizens. Thank you for reading my statement and for your support of my candidacy in this important election.
In addition to the elected officials mentioned in her statement, Ms. Seawright has also been endorsed by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and many others.

Ms. Seawright did not respond to my question regarding who she supports for NY State Governor and Lt. Governor.

Ed Hartzog:
Roosevelt Island like the Upper East Side and Yorkville is experiencing life and City altering change. Whether it is the Second Avenue subway, the potential East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, the northward expansion of institutions and congestion on York Avenue or, the Cornell/Tech project on Roosevelt Island – people in the 76th Assembly District have been expressing a feeling that they are losing their community. It is no wonder, given everything that is happening all around.

One way to address this situation is to think comprehensively and responsibly about these changes. That means stopping the East 91st Marine Transfer Station; making sure there are adequate pre-K seats & after-school programs together with reliable funding; stopping the loss of affordable housing (19% in Manhattan in the past ten years – 3,000 units last year alone) and finding a way to build more. It also means creating more open and green space for a district that has the least in the entire City – that also includes finishing the East River Esplanade from 60th to 125th Streets. Finally, there is reform for Albany – complete public financing of campaigns and, making the legislature a full-time, not part-time position (eliminating outside incomes).

For Islanders, the issues involve: transportation, housing, education, Cornell/Tech, and self-governance.

Transportation is critical moving forward. As Cornell/Tech comes on-line there will be an influx of commuters creating an urgent need for alternatives to the subway and tram, which are already at capacity. One alternative must be the re-introduction of ferry service, along with greater subway and bus service.

As to housing, the conversion of the WIRE buildings and the building of Southtown present the question of whether Roosevelt Island will continue to be a diverse socio-economic community as originally envisioned under the general development plan. It seems clear that the answer must be yes, that means addressing the attendant issues of “privatization” such as submetering. Also, finding a way to have market rate, moderate/middle and low income housing. We cannot lose this sanctuary for low and middle income New Yorkers.

As a member of the Youth & Education committee on Community Board 8 I have seen and many parents have told me that adequate after-school programs and reliable funding are a top priority on the island.

For Cornell/Tech, it means ensuring the promises of transparency & inclusion, air monitoring, barging, snow removal, security and the like are kept. It means keeping an eye on the $55 million given to RIOC by the state before the end of 2018 – constituting the state’s entire lease obligation through 2069.

Finally, Albany reform which on Roosevelt Island means self-governance. It has been made abundantly clear that reform of the current system is needed immediately. At a minimum it means going back to the system under Governor Paterson and Spitzer in terms of appointments to the RIOC board – ideally, having all 7 non-ex-officio directors be Islanders with only 4 year terms. Along the way – between the minimum and ideal – I will work to bring RIRA into the big decision-making process that RIOC has to go through on things.

These are some of the issues and ideas that I have been advocating for as a member of Community Board 8 these past few years. I would be honored to represent you and continue to advocate on your behalf in Albany. I hope that we have a chance to speak between now and Election Day, September 9th, and that I can earn your support and vote. Look forward to seeing you soon.
Mr. Hartzog has been endorsed by former Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz. According to Mr. Katz:
... We need a State Assembly Member who will fight for the rights of Roosevelt Islanders and understands the Byzantine details its politics. I believe Ed Hartzog is that person. Too often the residents of Roosevelt Island are overruled by Albany and we need someone who will change that trend. Ed’s ideas about involving the community more in decisions about development on the island will strengthen and protect our residents. I am happy to support Ed and his candidacy for the 76th District of the New York State Assembly....
Mr. Hartzog intends to vote for Andrew Cuomo as NY State Governor and Kathy Hochul at Lieutenant Governor.

During portion of August 11 Citizens Union debate, the 76 Assembly District candidates discussed the major issues facing Roosevelt Island.

For more discussion on specific Roosevelt Island issues, here's video from the 76 Assembly District Roosevelt Island Town Hall meeting and this debate.

Also on the Roosevelt Island ballot, are candidates for Democratic Party State Committee and Delegates to the 76 Assembly District Judicial Convention.