Cuomo's Team Makes a Campaign Stop

Why You Should Go To Tonight's Town Hall and Not Expect Much

Updated 1 year ago David Stone
Janet Falk has drawn a bead on Roosevelt Island's critical issue.
Janet Falk has drawn a bead on Roosevelt Island's critical issue.

Elected officials representing Roosevelt Island will hold a Town Hall Meeting tonight at 6:00. All are on Governor Andrew Cuomo's Team. There are good reasons to go and even better ones not to expect much.

Unlike the old days of mobilizing to battle RIOC President Jerry Blue and to chase Keith Guerra's stylized police abuse out, the Roosevelt Island community has come to be seen as patsies, passive-aggressive and unwilling to fight our unelected representative, RIOC, which all should keep in mind represents Cuomo's voice and will here.

Show up and be mad, be mad about something that two of the people participating, State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and State José Serrano, Jr., need to get off their respectable pivots and do something about. Both answer to the Governor, and both need to explain why they've sat idle while their boss in Albany deliberately drained democracy out of Roosevelt Island.

Janet Falk put them on the spont in an email, this morning.

Honorable Jose Serrano and Honorable Rebecca Seawright,

In anticipation of tonight’s Town Hall on Roosevelt Island, I ask you for two dates.

Here is the context:

As you know there are FOUR vacant seats on the Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. A non-resident resigned in 2013; a resident resigned in 2016. Two residents resigned in 2018.

The RIOC Board is operating at well-below capacity and residents feel with four vacant seats they have insufficient representation.

Now the question about two dates:

When was the LAST TIME you communicated with Governor Cuomo, by email, phone or in-person meeting, regarding these vacancies?

When is the NEXT TIME you will communicate with Governor Cuomo, by email, phone or in-person meeting, regarding appointments of RESIDENTS AND ONLY RESIDENTS to these FOUR seats?

Please confine your remarks to the dates of the most recent communication and the next communication.

Resident Board Membership was won in the State legislature in a hard fought battle before Cuomo came into office. It was pitched, largely by the Maple Tree Group, as bringing truer democracy to Roosevelt Island by putting Board control in local hands.

Cuomo hates it.

He's let years pass without appointing anyone to vacant seats. As the resident count dwindled down to three - from seven - his political appointees from elsewhere have gained numerical power that undercuts the intent of enabling legislation and lets them overturn community sentiment in crucial votes.

Seawright, Serrano and especially Cuomo need to hear that this community really does care. None of the others participating have anything to do with it, but they need to know that business as usual will have a price in the next election.

The Westview Factor

The Westview Task Force wants residents to make a protest, but it's badly misguided. Here's what they told Westview tenants this morning regarding their moribund affordability plan...

The time is now for Westview residents to rally and to show support!
Our affordability Plan is so close and we cannot allow this opportunity to be squandered.

We need all Westview residents to show up and attend the Town Hall Meeting tonight 6/28 at 6pm at the Chapel of Good Shepherd Community Center.

The fact that our livelihoods have been caught up in the balance between quarreling parties for almost 2 years is absurd. In context of the the size of this deal their bickering is unacceptable.

We need to demonstrate to our elected representatives and agency representatives that we are frustrated and angry and expect them to follow through on their promises - approve Westview's Affordability Plan now with no changes to any terms affecting tenants.

We need everyone to step up now!

Help us help you.

If you care, be there!

No one at this meeting has any authority to approve Westview's Affordability Plan nor are any of the directly involved in negotiations, although Seawright has helped the Task Force get its act together.

Puzzled looks and platitudes - you know, "We're working day and night to help get this plan through" - is the most you're going to or can get, tonight.

This is RIOC and Cuomo's deal, and they will not be participating, which is why you shouldn't expect much.

But get up tomorrow and redirect your anger, energy and frustration where it belongs - toward 591 Main Street, the Governor's virtual presence on Roosevelt Island.

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