Friday, March 10, 2017

Do You Want To Serve On RIOC Board Of Directors? Roosevelt Island Election For Nominees To RIOC Board April 17-18 - RIRA Government Relations Chair Joyce Short Explains Importance Of Election And Asks For Your Help

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be conducting an election to provide nominees for selection of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors.

Image From RIRA

RIRA's Government Relations Committee Chairperson Joyce Short reports:
The RIOC Vote- Why It’s Vital for Our Community

On the surface, Roosevelt Island seems like an idyllic, peaceful community. But a closer look reveals an undemocratic, and probably unconstitutional, under belly that harms our quality of life.

As we look around, we see vacant storefronts and recreational fields where our resident kids can’t play because the fields are rented out to the highest corporate bidder. And while our Public Safety Staff guards the Cornell/Tech Development, on our dime, a mother is attacked by a pot smoker behind our public school.

As if that’s not bad enough, our RIOC President, Susan Rosenthal, says we don’t need more Public Safety Officers, even when confronted by the fact that our Public Safety Chief, Jack McManus, says they lack the manpower to check exterior building doors during his staff’s vertical patrols. Rosenthal also wants to charge off each Island non-profit’s “in-kind use of RIOC space” against our Public Purpose Funds. And she expressed her desire to put out RFPs on all Island services like the Garden Club and the PTA’s market.

What’s wrong with this picture!

Roosevelt Island exemplifies the difference between business and government. Business exists to profit, while government’s role is to govern….. make rules and regulations for a population, and provide for the greater good of the community. The constitution of the United States insures that no resident should ever be governed without representation. That’s what the word “Republic” is about.

Instead, here’s what we have…..

Nowhere in the US Constitution does it make a provision for government by “Public Benefit Corporation.” That mentality died with the Dutch India Company who initially settled New York. In New York such enterprises control and administer the State’s assets. But Roosevelt Island is more than assets, it’s “home” to 14,000 people. And the decisions made by RIOC are more than the management of assets, they are “governance” here. Therefore, every resident should be able to vote for the people who sit on the RIOC board ── but we can’t. Those seats are filled through appointments by the Governor.

Are we holding an election?

Several years ago, the community fought to insure that 5 out of 7 of those RIOC seats go to people who live here in this community. Since then, RIRA has held four votes to create a list for the Governor indicating who the community supports.

(Video of Ms. Short Explaining RIOC Board Election At March 1 RIRA Meeting)

It’s not a perfect system, but it’s our system. Governor Cuomo ignored our last vote. All of the seats have expired and he could fill any one or all of those seats at any time. We need to present him with a new list; one that is open to new people who have arrived, and one that strives to represent the diverse mix of our population.

But will those people be appointed?

If you ask RIOC President Susan Rosenthal, she’ll tell you (in fact she told me,) “This election is ridiculous! I’m not in favor of it. The Governor can select anyone he chooses. He doesn’t need the community’s input. And I work for the Governor!”

(Ms. Short Reporting On Conversation With RIOC President Rosenthal At March 1 RIRA Meeting)

She’s also allegedly told RIOC Board Members that their job is to “rubber stamp” what comes down from Albany. She even convinced the board to look the other way when it came to passing a budget for 2018 which should have, but didn’t, include $23MM the state had promised Roosevelt Island. The board failed to include those funds in spite of both RIRA and the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) asking them not to do so through their resolutions.

We need strong forces on that board. We need to set the record straight about government for the people, of the people and by the people. And we must let Albany know we will not be silenced by hand-picked demagogues. The days of Dutch India are over. Roosevelt Island is not just assets, it’s a community, and we, the people, are entitled to a say in our governance.

How can you help?

You can cast your vote! It’s tremendously important to let Albany know that how we are governed, and our right to a voice, is important to us. Your attendance at Candidate’s night, where each candidate will answer questions and speak about their views, is invaluable.

Please volunteer to help with poling. We need lots of people! Poling will take place on April 17th and 18th. You can reach me to volunteer at

And if you have the time and ability, you can throw your hat in the ring to fight the good fight and serve on the RIOC Board.

Here are the important dates to carve on your calendar:
  • Wednesday, March 15- Candidate information session (Q&A) for potential candidates 6:30 PM, 546 Main St, 12th Floor Community Room
  • Tuesday March 21- Nominations Close at 6 PM (Public Safety Office)
  • Friday, March 31- Candidate Bios and photos due for media publication
  • Tuesday April 11- Candidates Night 6:30 PM, 546 Main St, Sr. Center
  • April 17 & 18- Elections held in building lobbies (watch for signs in your building)