Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Report From Roosevelt Island Residents Association President Jeff Escobar - Looks Back At RI Summer And Forward To Upcoming Elections, Urges Residents To Get Involved And Help Improve Community

 Image of RIRA President Jeff Escobar From CB 8 Speaks Video

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar sends the following Report To The Community:
As the summer draws to a close and we, as a community, squeeze out the last bit of summer fun this Labor Day, I encourage all of us to come together, look ahead and plot a course of action for our community and for RIRA. As I have stated in prior columns, this year is an election year for the RIRA Common Council officers and members, and in the fall we will be effectively setting the community agenda for the next two years. Who chooses to run and who we, as a community, elect to represent our interests and to be our community advocates from that slate of candidates will have a deep impact on where our little ship in the East River is headed.

If you have been tracking Island news these past few months, not only has this summer brought to light a number of issues within our local community operating corporation and its Board that governs the operations and services of our Island, a number of quality of life issues have arisen as well. From the release of the Inspector General’s reports on the past activities of prior RIOC administrations to an increase in petty crime on the Island to the eroding of public services and facilities, it would seem to some that our idyllic island is idyllic no more and that our way of Island life has slowly melted in the summer sun.

Except, the blaze of the summer sun was not as hot as in summers past, new families and new faces continue to move to the Island while we say goodbye to old neighbors, old buildings and new buildings continue the slow march of being torn down and being built, movies in the park were still had (although moved around), concerts at the Good Shepherd Community Center continued, and visitors still continue to flock to the Island tram to take that one picture. In short and despite the naysayers of the few, the rhythm of life continued and continues on the Island, albeit in differing tempos and in differing tones than before.

During the Candidates Night hosted this past summer by RIRA’s Government Relations Committee and its Legislative Subcommittee, what is abundantly clear is that what our Island is seeking are more community advocates willing to understand and to represent the Island both within the Island itself and to the greater City and State. Issues such as infrastructure, crime, public safety, population growth, public services, repair and maintenance of facilities, and security continue to pervade our Island. The commencement of the construction of the Cornell campus and the topping off of the first of the new Related towers represent just a fraction of Island issues that require attention and resolution. Although in the next few months, the RIRA Common Council will attempt to address these issues, it will be you, the next class of Island leadership, officers and Common Council members who will be elected in November who will set the agenda and tone for the pivotal years to come.

Whether you are newbie or a veteran of the Island, young or old, working or retired, the RIRA Common Council needs your fresh and innovative ideas, professional expertise and dedication to preserving our way of life to breathe new life into RIRA. Not sure if it’s really for you? Come to our Fall session this September 10th at 8:00pm at the
Good Shepard Community Center, introduce yourselves, ask questions and become engaged. For the only way we, as a community, have a fighting chance of preserving our way of Island life is if each of us have a hand in its future.

Won’t you run for RIRA Common Council?