Editorial: We Are an Island In Transition

Written by Briana Warsing. Posted in Volume 37, Issue 3 - October 8, 2016

At the last RIRA meeting, President Jeff Escobar tasked the incoming Common Council with maintaining what he coined, the “Roosevelt Island way of life.” He defined it as the ability to live equally and respectfully, in our diverse community, a diversity that is as much socio-economic as it is cultural. He also discussed the challenges ahead; the impact of Cornell is an unknown.

At the rececent Americans with Disabilities Act celebration, Judy Berdy said the Island used to be a bubble and now the bubble has burst, regarding our diminishing stock of accessible affordable housing.

This difference in perspective can be explained by the fact that she’s been here for 39 years and has seen changes in our commitment to the Island’s mission as asserted in the General Development Plan, yet as she also said at the meeting, she’s not going anywhere.

Mr. Escobar has lived here since 2006 and did not experience the bubble Ms. Berdy refers to. But that doesn’t mean his experience is any less valid. They have something in common, despite their differences in perspective. They are motivated and and they care about their surroundings and dedicate much of their time to their community.

In other news, we have a new Deputy Director of Public Safety who Public Safety Committee chair, Erin Feely-Nahem, described as someone who “speaks community policing.” Westview voted to accept its affordability plan, ending the Island’s relationship with Mitchell-Lama.

In some ways we are set up for the future. But a lot depends on whether we embrace it. As Mr. Escobar said of the future RIRA, “The new slate is a new slate.” What do we want for our community? What values do we share and want to preserve? What can a strong RIRA do for our community? What can a strong community do for our community? Think about it. Make your ideas a reality. Run for the RIRA Common Council. Give your building a voice. Give your neighbors a voice.

Bring back the bubble!BW

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