Monday, November 10, 2014

Report From Roosevelt Island Residents Association President Jeff Escobar - Proposes Upcoming RIRA Initiatives And Seeks An End To Past Internal Dissension

 Image Of 2014-16 RIRA Common Council (RIRA President Jeff Escobar Kneeling Wearing Suit)

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar sends the following Report To The Community:
At the time of this publication, and with your vote this past Tuesday, November 4th, a new board of officers and councilmembers comprising of over 30 of our Island neighbors, residents, family and friends will have been seated to the Common Council. Answering the call to serve the Island and its residents, this new Common Council will be tasked with not only being your voice and your representatives to RIOC, the City and to the State, but with both finding solutions to issues that will have and continue to affect our community, as well as strengthening the community bonds that binds us together. A congratulations is in order not only for those who had put themselves
out there and ran in some highly contentious races, but also to those who had served previously on the past Common Council, those who stepped up to fill seats that would otherwise go unfilled, and to those who helped run and facilitate this term’s election process ensuring that RIRA and its Common Council would continue. It was a privilege to serve with the past Common Council members, and I welcome all who are both returning and new.

With the elections past, now is the time for the Common Council to roll up its sleeves and to get back to the work that it should have been doing for the last two years. The energy and resources that past Common Councilmembers spent on meaningless process, internal scrutiny, targeted conflicts and aggravating internal politics should be redirected to what the Island Community has asked RIRA to do: finding solutions to community issues, making Roosevelt Island a better place to work, play and live, and to be a unified voice for the community.

I will be calling on the Common Council to focus its energies on the following initial initiatives this term which I believe currently affect the community:
  1. working with both Manhattan’s Community Board 8, the Department of Transportation, RIOC, and the City Planning Commission, to conduct a study and find transportation and transportation safety solutions for the Island and the Island roadways for the next five (5) years, including a visioning statement as to the use of alternative means of transportation, improvements to existing means of transportation and how transportation related injuries and deaths can be avoided; 
  2. preparation of what is believed to be the environmental, infrastructure, and socio-economic impacts that the development of the three remaining towers being built at Southtown will have on the Island, culminating in a number of RIRA led meetings between Island Residents, RIOC, RIRA and the project’s stakeholders seeking to address and find solutions to these impacts and a community agreement; 
  3. the completion of a study and the creation of a Roosevelt Island action plan regarding, the environmental and health impacts to Island residents due to the reinstatement and use of the East 92nd Street Marine Transfer Station; 
  4. preparation of an advisory statement on the current state of Motorgate, its services to the Island, and what the residents believe must be done for Motorgate to better serve both those who use the facility as well as those who pass through it; 
  5. the repair, mediation and repair of the existing Island infrastructure and early identification of infrastructure problems that pose high community risk; and 
  6. safety and patrol initiatives for the North of the Island. 
The preceding is hopefully a fraction of work that the Common Council must and will accomplish this year; others on the Common Council will similarly have their own initiatives which they will wish the Common Council to undertake.

Do you have initiatives that you believe the Common Council and RIRA should focus its sights on? Do you believe you have talents and experience to bring to the table that will accomplish these goals and initiatives? Consider joining a committee during this term or even possibly filling a seat on the Council that remains unfilled. Reach out to myself, as RIRA President, at any time at

The age of infighting and internal strife and politics for RIRA and the Common Council is over. It’s time for all of us, Common Council members, community members, residents, stakeholders and partners alike, to come to the table and once again work for the betterment of the Island and its residents. I look forward to this new age and working with you all as your RIRA President.
UPDATE 7 PM - RIRA President Jeff Escobar presented his first President's Report to the new RIRA Common Council on November 5. Mr. Escobar discussed the responsibilities of RIRA members including serving on Committees and sought members to serve on the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition which monitors the activities of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island.

Here's what he had to say.