Friday, May 22, 2015

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting Last Night Hosted By Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright With Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, NY State Senator Jose Serrano & Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer - Here's What Happened

A Town Hall Meeting with Roosevelt Island elected officials hosted by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

was held last night at the Good Shepherd Community Center. In addition to Ms. Seawright,

participating in the Roosevelt Island Town Hall was Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose Serrano, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and NYC Council Member Ben Kallos as well as a large crowd of Roosevelt Island residents.
Also available to answer questions from residents was Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato, Cornell Tech's Jane Swanson and Ted Houghton from the NY State Department of Homes & Community Renewal, Sally Minard of FDR Four Freedoms Park and Caroline Kretz of Con Ed.

The Town Hall was moderated by Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Member Joyce Short. Ms. Seawright began the Town Hall by announcing that she received information from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office that Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds will be restored for this year and will be on the agenda for June RIOC Board meeting.

Governor Cuomo's Deputy Director of State Operations for Policy Andrew Kennedy told Ms Seawright:
As discussed, I and staff at RIOC disagreed with the Authorities Budget Office findings with regard to RIOC’s ability to support vital community-based organizations that serve Island residents. We are committed to supporting the work of the organizations on Roosevelt Island as we have done in the past. To that end, RIOC staff will advance of those specific projects for board approval at the next RIOC Board meeting.
Ms Seawright then introduced Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer who discussed and encouraged applications to Community Board 8, which represents Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side. Ms Brewer added that 16 and 17 year olds can serve on the Community Board and one already does.

Next up was NYC Council Member Ben Kallos who talked about:
  • Elected officials with RIOC acting as a team to serve Roosevelt Island,
  • Importance of Media for government transparency,
  • Participatory Budget,
  • Proposed Sutton Place 90 Story Skyscraper which will cast a shadow on Roosevelt Island and Queens ("billionaire should not take light and air from Roosevelt Island"),
  • Ferry Service,
  • Public Library and audio looping,
  • Public Safety NYPD Explorers Program for Youth,
  • Thanked his Roosevelt Island community representative Joe Strong, who is leaving for college, for his service and
  • more.

NY State Senator Jose Serrano spoke about the great diversity and commonality of his 29th district which includes Roosevelt Island, South and West Bronx, Randalls Island, East Harlem, Upper East Side, Central Park and the Upper West Side. Mr. Serrano noted the uniqueness of Roosevelt Island and emphasized his service commitment to Roosevelt Island, affordable housing, clean air, the Arts and community self determination.

Congresswoman Maloney spoke about:
  • Transformation coming to Roosevelt Island from Cornell Tech, 
  • Attending moving ceremonies at FDR Four Freedoms Park, 
  • Obtaining cameras for subway crime,  
  • Funds for Blackwell House renovation
  • Keeping the Post office open
  • Patent Office Opening at Cornell Tech Campus and
  • Space for community groups
Ms. Maloney added that Roosevelt Island is her favorite place to campaign.

Then came questions and answers from the audience on ferry service, new Con Ed gas line,

police protection, RIOC compliance with federal, state and city law, importance of Tram service, RIOC Governance, inviting Governor Cuomo to Roosevelt Island, affordable housing,

and specifically loss of Mitchell Lama housing

at Westview and Island House.