RIRA Candidates: Island House

Written by Contributor. Posted in Volume 37, Issue 5 - November 5, 2016

On November 8, all Roosevelt Island residents over age 18, whether a U.S. citizen or not, get to vote on resident leadership for the next two years. Voting takes place at P.S. 217 and (for Octagon residents) at The Octagon, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Rossana Ceruzzi

Rossana Ceruzzi
I have been living on Roosevelt Island since 2000. I consider the Island my home and its residents my friends. I am an Italian native speaker and currently teach Italian at the City University of New York (CUNY). Additionally, I have extensive and diverse experience and a background in advertising, translation, interpretation, multilingual communications, global solutions, and music production.
For many, many years, I’ve been advocating to prevent and end all forms of cruelty toward animals, providing care for stray cats who are not adopted or adoptable, engaging in public education activities to enhance compassion for all animals, and endeavoring to establish the importance of conserving wild animal populations in urban areas.
I am grateful for all the support I receive daily from residents and organizations to make our Island a happy and secure place for all of us, humans and animals.
“It is the best foundation for world peace, the equitable use of natural resources, and through concern for future generations, the proper care of the environment.” –The Dalai Lama
My experience with RIRA has been enriching; I have actively participated and continue to cooperate on many projects with many committees: the Youth Initiative Committee; the Island Services Committee; and the Social, Cultural, and Educational Committee, as well as the Hands-Only CPR sub-committee.
I am running again for the RIRA Common Council and, with your support, I plan to continue to give my contribution to keep our Island safe, clean, and most importantly: environmentally friendly!

Frank Farance

Frank Farance
I’ve been a resident since 1980. In the mid-1990s, I started participating in Island House’s tenants’ association, which led me to joining RIRA in 1996, and other Island organizations. My twins, Emilia and David, were born in 2002, the best day of my life. I acquired a new perspective on life and our community. I was RIRA president 2008-2010, but lost my reelection in 2010. With 20-20 hindsight, I stood up for many Right Things.
As RIRA president, I held monthly public “town hall” meetings with the RIOC Board, president, and staff the night before every RIOC Board meeting so the community could walk through the RIOC Board agenda, discuss topics, and the community could provide informed input into the next day’s RIOC Board public session. No RIRA president before/since has accomplished such collaboration with RIOC. Current RIRA president Escobar frames the past as being against RIOC, but that wasn’t true during my RIRA presidency nor as a RIRA Common Council member. A more accurate perspective is: we oppose RIOC when it is in the best interests of the residents (broken Red Bus routes/schedules, Public Safety abuse with Guerra’s leadership), and we support RIOC when it is in the best interests of the residents (Public Purpose Funds, affordability plan for Island House and later Westview).
Well, that makes sense, but we have “tribal” culture here: once you disagree with someone (including supporting/opposing RIOC), you’re out of the tribe. RIRA has been stubbornly closed/secretive since 2011. RIRA president Matt Katz initiated the rule: in RIRA we are prohibited from sharing with you neighbors(!) RIRA committee documents and minutes (grounds for expulsion in RIRA!), and meetings aren’t publicly announced so residents can attend. As the subject of a failed attempt to expel a RIRA Common Council member because he publicly disagreed with RIRA, I believe I have an excellent insight into what works/fails within RIRA.
Regardless, I keep on doing good work, and have a good working relationship with RIOC and elected officials. I advocate within RIRA, such as:
• initiated focus on Gristede’s abandoning Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food benefit (resulted in a unanimous RIRA resolution in support of WIC)
• advocated for seniors/disabled, extending the summer cooling center hours (RIOC and Urban American responded)
• advocated for non-discriminatory fees for the Manhattan Park pool (MP changed policy)
• advocated for Island’s air quality and collaboration with Cornell (got RICC and Cornell to meet with City’s AQ expert, result: most of our pollution comes from Queensboro Bridge traffic, power plants, and Upper East Side oil-burning boilers; Cornell is supportive of AQ efforts)
• advocated/researched bicycle/vehicle traffic and safety issues on the Motorgate Helix
• advocated (and CERT team member) for Island’s evacuation planning
• advocated/researched Public Safety and vertical patrols (results: more patrols)
• advocated for improved Motorgate (sadly, it’s still the Motorgate vomitorium with all the bird poop, but I’m still trying)
In the next term, I hope to continue these efforts, and I hope you elect me as Island House representative.

Andrew Giacalone

Andrew Giacalone
I am asking for your vote to represent Island House in the Roosevelt Island Residents Association.
My family and I moved to Roosevelt Island in 1989 for the same reasons that many of you moved here: the Island was an affordable and green oasis in an increasingly crowded city and offered a tangible sense of community.
Now, nearly 30 years later, and with a family of my own, I’d like to help ensure that the very same spirit of tranquility and inclusiveness that greeted us when we arrived continues to live on amid the Island’s uptick in development and the influx of new residents.
The idea of “inclusiveness” is not one that I take lightly and, if elected, I would like to make sure that all residents have equal and unobstructed access to the wealth of Roosevelt Island’s resources and recreational facilities. Communities are built, maintained, and enriched in the Commons. It will be the mission of my mandate to ensure that access to the Commons – from the Sportspark to the Octagon and beyond – remains open to the community as a whole.

Adib Mansour

Adib Mansour A.F.
Hello neighbors and friends. As many of you know, I simply love our Island and always strive to make our lives on Main Street a happy and prosperous one for all of us.
For numerous years, I served as a youth soccer coach on the Island and consistently encouraged my young players to become involved with their community and become the leaders of tomorrow. This is why I joined RIRA and started The Youth Initiative Committee, organizing numerous events for the youth of the Island, including presentations by world-renowned chefs on Italian culture and cuisine and how their passions for culinary art became a worldwide business and established them as cultural messengers.
Other undertakings include the Make It Count Leadership Project that teaches young students how a bank works and exposes them to new job opportunities in the financial field, as well as budgeting and organizing an entertaining event for the seniors, earning them recognition for their leadership engagement.
Several years ago, I became an active member of the RIRA Public Safety Committee that was instrumental in protesting against the brutal policing of the Public Safety Department under Keith Guerra, and eventually forcing him out of his job. Throughout the following years, I worked closely with the new chief, Jack McManus, and his department to coach the youth and help establish a relationship of respect and partnership.
I am looking forward to continuing to represent Island House residents in making our community as vibrant and positive as it could be. I intend to work hard on your behalf during the Cornell transition as well as the changes that are coming (such as the ferry projected to open in 2017, and the continued maintenance of Main Street).
I ask for your support during this election and ask you to look at the new candidates from Island House as well.

Robert Manukyan

Robert Manukyan
I joined the RIRA Common Council in November 2014. As a Roosevelt Island resident of 20 years, I have seen many positive changes to our community, including renovations in infrastructure, addition of fresh businesses, and the formation of new grassroots organizations, to name a few. I intend to make sure these positive developments continue to grow, as well as add other elements to keep the social fabric of our community strong.
As an avid soccer fan who is active in the community of soccer players living on Roosevelt Island, I have sometimes been disappointed in the lack of resources and opportunities available to residents.
A short time ago, I engaged in a project to bring a semi-professional soccer team, made up mostly of homegrown Roosevelt Islanders, here. Facing a series of unexpected obstacles, I was pushed to acquire a position in which I would be able to ensure that Roosevelt Islanders have precedence in forming grassroots organizations, groups, and societies.
I have worked in both the non-profit and education sectors, and am currently employed in a government agency specializing in NYPD oversight. I believe my breadth and diversity of experience would not only allow me to successfully serve the residents of Roosevelt Island, but also assist me in effectively navigating the channels necessary to follow through with my objectives.
Born to immigrant parents and an immigrant myself, I find value in the international dynamic of Roosevelt Island. In a way, it is a scaled-down version of the melting pot that is the greater New York City. One difference, however, is that the tight social fabric and community feeling present on Roosevelt Island creates a more secure and comfortable environment for transitioning newly-moved families. With our population growing, I want to guarantee that this atmosphere, which is so conducive to raising families, remains intact. Another theme I want to focus on is the youth of Roosevelt Island, for whom I hope to create programs and projects full of activities that will benefit and advance them. Furthermore, the creation of new spaces will not only benefit the youth; these spaces will similarly provide areas where all residents can convene and socialize, organically cultivating relationships essential for individuals to collaboratively and healthily live alongside one another.
Roosevelt Island is a unique place. In the middle of a giant, sometimes impersonal metropolitan city, I was lucky to be able to spend my childhood outdoors without ever second-guessing my safety. I was fortunate enough to have public spaces available in which I could develop a craft that has provided me with excellent opportunities throughout my life, while simultaneously building valuable relationships with neighbors who remain lifelong friends. And finally, I’m privileged to consistently interact with individuals working for Roosevelt Island businesses, local community leaders, teachers and neighbors, not to mention acquaintances I happen to pass on the street. My main agenda is to keep the elements that distinguish Roosevelt Island alive and healthy, while attempting to resolve the worries, old and new, that many residents have expressed to me. As a young adult, I hope to bring a fresh and innovative outlook to the RIRA council.

Lydia Tang

Lydia Tang
I have nominated myself to represent Island House at the RIRA Common Council. As an active community member, I have been elected to serve on the previous boards of the Parent Teacher Association of PS/IS 217, the Island House Tenants Association, as well as the current board of the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance. I am currently serving on the Social, Cultural, and Educational Committee of RIRA, as a member of the Hands-Only CPR subcommittee, the PayItForward subcommittee, the Egg Hunt subcommittee, and plan to continue serving as a co-chair for the Cherry Blossom Festival subcommittee as I have for several years. My professional experience includes over a decade in the financial industry and, most recently, over a decade in higher education as a math professor.
I am running for this office because I feel it is important for Island House to be represented by representatives who not only have experience and expertise, but who agree to a respectful code of conduct. If you agree with me, please vote for me and others of like mind.

Tags: Representation & Governance Island House

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