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.
Jeffrey R. Escobar, Octagon
My Roosevelt Island neighbors, family and friends, I stand before you with the hope that I may have the privilege to serve once again as your president of the Common Council of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association during the upcoming 2016-2018 term. For over almost the last two terms, you all have entrusted me with the honor of steering our Common Council back to its original purpose of representing the community and who comprises it, as well as strengthening the social fabric of the bonds that bind us together. Through your and my tireless work and that of our Common Council, we have been able to bring together our community to celebrate throughout the year our shared life together, and serve those who are unable to help themselves in their hours of need, be the voice ofto our Island organizations and community groups when they need to be heard, all while respecting our differences and each other as we grapple with the challenges (and sometimes annoyances) of life on our Island. It has been a slow and challenging process, but, looking back to where we were just three short years ago to where we are now, I am proud of the Common Council and its many successes and triumphs of these last few years.
Despite how far we have come, however, we have so much farther to go. Communication continues to be a problem that plagues RIRA and the Common Council – not just internally but also to and amongst all of you, our constituents, as well as RIOC and our electeds. In a world where technology and the use of social media, email, and the Internet are commonplace, RIRA has been and continues to be achingly behind the times. As our population changes, community apathy seems to creep into our daily lives while the need for greater bonds and community services grows. The voices of our less fortunate, homebound, infirm, and seniors continue to get lost, while our growing Island family and youth population continue to challenge and strain our Island’s educational resources and services. Weakened infrastructure, greater transportation solutions both within and off/on the Island, growing population, continued lack of retail amenities, the drawing down of community spaces, loss of green spaces, the growing amounts of off-Island visitors and use of Island spaces – all are just the tip of the iceberg of problems and concerns that continue to beset our Island and what I hope to guide this next term of the Common Council to find both short and long-term real solutions.
These next two years will be a challenging one for our Island and its way of life. With the opening of the Cornell Tech campus, including the construction of the campus’s hotel and events center; the connecting of our community to Western Queens and beyond through the Citywide Ferry; the opening of new storefronts (with the shuttering of others); the finalization of the exit and privatization of nearly all of the WIRE buildings from Mitchell Lama; and so many other events, we will be challenged to change what it means to live, work, pray, and play on Roosevelt Island. I will help us, together, navigate such changes so that our core values as a community, as a village, as the little ship in the East River, are forever ingrained and safeguarded for both our Island community and our children’s future. I hope you will continue to support me as your RIRA Common Council president.
Vice President Candidate
Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, Manhattan Park
I have served you and our Roosevelt Island community for the last 25 years. My dream for all those years has been to make Roosevelt Island the best neighborhood in America.
If you’re reading this, it means you want answers. You’re taking your time because you care about Roosevelt Island – and you want to make sure I care about it as much as you do.
Roosevelt Island is one of the safest, most beautiful places in all of New York City. Yet what makes it truly beautiful is its incredible diversity, and I have been proud to be a part of this unique place all these years.
My number one goal is to get even more of the incredibly talented people who live in this community involved in the sharing of their talents with the community. What can you bring to our community? We want to champion your ideas and work with you to see positive change happen.
In the last two years as the Chair of the SC&E committee we:
• Hugged each other more (BENHUGS)
• Facilitated a sculpture gift to the Island (Blue Dragon)
• Taught how to save lives (Hands-Only CPR)
• Gave gifts of food (#PayitForward)
• Initiated a leadership program that taught young ladies how to plan and care about our seniors (Make It Count)
• Engaged our children’s talents and ideas by asking them “On Roosevelt Island We....”
• Supported the Garden Club’s efforts to collect scraps for composting
• Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating our community
• Egg Hunt that encourages early reading and good citizenship
• Partnered with as many Island organizations and groups as we could.
I would like to continue on creating collaborative relationships within this community that create winning scenarios. It has been my pleasure to be the catalyst of many of these collaborations.
I would like to thank the hundreds of committee members and volunteers for making so many wonderful things happen in the last two years; every minute was appreciated.
The office of Roosevelt Island Residents Association Vice President should be held by an individual who can actually bring solutions that will change Roosevelt Island for the better while protecting what makes it unique.