The RIRA Column

March 5, 2016

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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Did you hear? On March 10, the RIOC Board of Directors quietly appointed three executive officers: Susan G. Rosenthal, as RIOC Acting President; Kimberly Quiones, as RIOC Chief Financial Officer; and Shelton J. Haynes, as RIOC Vice-President for Operations of the Corporation – three pivotal and influential roles in the operations and governance of this ship floating in the East River where we, as Roosevelt Islanders, call home. As Roosevelt Islanders, we should be excited with the prospect of new prospective and leadership. We should be excited with the opportunity that such change brings.

But, as Roosevelt Islanders, it is hard to be exactly excited – much less supportive or welcoming – of these appointments when they come at the 12th hour by edict from the Governor’s office. It is difficult, as leaders of the Island, to support such appointments when no vetting by those whose lives will be affected by these officers – namely us, as Island residents – was involved. The Island and its RIOC Board members were not even given the decency of given a choice of candidates, much less notice that the three top executive offices of RIOC were to be vacated and replaced (much less the reasons why). The Governor’s message to the RIOC Board that its votes and decisions no longer matter without the Governor’s consent was laid clear with these recent appointments: the many years of progress that Islanders have fought not to have Roosevelt Island be ruled by fiat have been rolled back. The only question as Islanders is whether we should choose to accept it.

As your representative body, the RIRA Common Council hopes you will participate in the following upcoming events this Spring intended to bring us together as a community; not silo us as neighbors:

RIRA Annual Egg Hunt

On Saturday, March 26, beginning at 11:00 am at the Manhattan Park Green across the street from Gristedes, you and all of your little ones are invited to put on their spring best and participate in this year’s RIRA Annual Egg Hunt. Hosted by the RIRA Social, Cultural and Educational Services (SC&E) Committee, in conjunction with the generosity of other Island organizations, businesses, and charities invite you and your little ones ages 8 and under to join us as we celebrate the arrival of Spring and the Spring Holidays. Rain or shine, this year promises to be just as fun and exciting as years’ past, with a visit from the Easter Bunny, story time under the tree, children’s book giveaways, egg hunts for each age group, and so much more. With more than 500 children expected to, space will be limited and registration will be required. If you would like to be placed on the pre-registration mailing list, be sure to drop us a line with your preferred email address, name and the names and ages of your child(ren) expected to attend at and/or . As in years past, the requested donation will be $5 per child, capped at $20 per family. Interested in volunteering to help stuff eggs and to assemble gift baskets? Do you or your organization have items to donate for this year’s festivities and giveaways? Want to donate to this year’s event or be a sponsor? If you have the time, talent, or want to support the success of our Island’s beloved tradition, drop us a line at either or , or feel free to reach out to Lynne Shinozaki as Chair of the SC&E Committee at . We will see you there!

Participatory Budgeting

Not only will Saturday, March 26 kick off this year’s Egg Hunt, but it will also kick off the 2016 Participatory Budget (PB) voting process which runs through Sunday, April 3. As many of you who so adamantly supported Roosevelt Island’s projects last year are aware, the Participatory Budget Process gives residents of New York City to vote and decide how to spend $25 million of taxpayer money is spent Citywide. Our City Council Member Ben Kallos once again was able to secure a sizeable amount to support the community project of our district, which includes the Upper East Side, a portion of Midtown East, and Roosevelt Island. Through your support in last year’s Participatory Budget cycle, we were able to secure $500,000 of the $1.5 million needed to bring a 6,750 square-foot green roof and green STEM learning hub to our Island children at PS/IS 217. Because of your support, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer pledge an additional $250,000 towards the $1.5 million needed for PS/IS 217’s green roof. We need your support again, not only to help PS/IS 217 secure the last round of financial support PS/IS 217 needs to make its green roof and STEM learning hub dream a reality, but also to bring 10 Computer Carts to 10 New York City Public Schools, including our very own Roosevelt Island school, of which each school will receive 32 new computers. We need your vote!

To vote you do not need to be a registered voter or U.S. citizen; you only need to be a resident of Roosevelt Island. This year, anyone over the age of 14 can vote, giving more young people a voice and a choice. Voting begins on Saturday, March 26, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm during the RIRA Easter Egg Hunt at Manhattan Park, and continues on the following dates: Tuesday, March 29, from 4:00-7:00 pm at the Island F subway station; Wednesday, March 30 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the Tramway Plaza on the Manhattan side; and Thursday, March 31 from 7:30-10:30 am at PS/IS 217. There’s tough competition, against many others on the Upper East Side, so be sure to get your neighbors, family, friends, and pastor to come out vote in support of the Roosevelt Island initiatives. And be sure to vote and show the elected officials that Roosevelt Island has a strong voice and that we care about our community!

Composting Initiative

We asked that Islanders help make the Composting Initiative a success, and you have overwhelmingly responded! Since the launch of the Composting Initiative late last November, over 188 Island households are registered composters diverting over 5,404 pounds of organic materials which would otherwise clog our landfills to be composted to enrich our City’s parks and gardens. That’s nearly three tons of organic kitchen scraps and materials to be composted. Keep spreading the word. Every household counts! The Roosevelt Island Composting Initiative will continue its cooperation with the NYC Compost Project and BIG-Reuse and will continue to accept organic kitchen scraps at the Roosevelt Island Saturday Markets under the Helix every Saturday from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. So keep bringing every Saturday your food scraps and leftover vegetables, fruit, bread, rice, egg shells, coffee grinds, paper tea bags, flowers and indoor plants that beyond their prime (but leave the meat, oil or dairy at home please) and join your fellow neighbors, RIRA, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club, the PS/IS 217 PTA, iDig2Learn the RI Girl Scouts and 118 other Island households in the movement as we look to reduce, reuse and recycle. Want to find out more about how you can join the movement? Send the Common Council an email at .

Tags: RIRA Column

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