To the editor:
(re: “Cohen heads to bench, council race heats up,” Aug. 13)
There’s a wide open race to replace Andrew Cohen, whom I personally believe shares admirable traits with my Assemblyman, Jeffrey Dinowitz, and state senator, Alessandra Biaggi: Politics is local, and responding to constituents’ concerns is at the top of their agenda.
In that spirit, I urge all candidates running to pay attention.
Above and beyond the needs of our impacted neighbors by COVID-19 — no small matter — there are long-term issues that the advent of the pandemic has thrust upon our city, state and country, not to mention our little corner of the world. Our city council person can be at the forefront of these changes, or just be a useless tagalong.
Here are some issues, beyond the appearance of their skin deepness:
• Reasonable housing at reasonable cost for all members of our community. Do we want our local uniformed services working in the neighborhood, and wouldn’t they be better off living here? But can they afford it?
• Wouldn’t school teachers, nurses, home health aides, and other providers of high-growth service jobs be better off living nearby, in our community? But how can they afford it?
• Are we going to NIMBY ourselves to oblivion? There are already group homes for the developmentally challenged scattered throughout our neighborhood — often well integrated. Most of us live near them, and many of us consider the residents to be more than good neighbors.
• Don’t the ever-present homeless — especially families with children — deserve a decent place to live? Won’t our community welcome the diversity of their presence, which they so unknowingly contribute? Or will we get a political football response to the loudest screamers?
And aren’t we all sick of that for the past 3.5 years anyway?
• Day care — how about making it as official for children as RSS-Riverdale Senior Services is and are for adults?
• How about traffic enforcement so as to better enable all of us to adequately share the limited road space, resources available to us?
• How about working with or making it clear to local commercial landlords like Friedlander that our community isn’t just about their bottom line: We need a decent quality supermarket, one which employs people at fair wages. One that is clean and responsive, and is a welcome neighbor.
Does anyone truly believe we have such a place already? It is long overdue, especially with the closing of Fairway/Harlem.
• What are you planning to propose to replace Skyview Shopping Center, and how are you planning to go about it? That piece of property is run down, decrepit, woefully under-utilized, and an eyesore. How do you plan to attract local merchants, and not just chains?
Are you planning to work with the residents and owners of the Skyview co-op to possibly coordinate an effort? If not, why not?
We have a fabulous slice of the city here in 10463/10471 — diverse, somewhat affordable, with a lot to be thankful for. We can and should aim to do better.
Let’s hear it, candidates: What do you each say to these issues? What do you propose that you can actually help to achieve these quality of life concerns? How are you planning to help all of us?
Before anyone asks me who I plan to support, I want to hear what the candidates say to address these and other valid issues. I want answers. Then I’ll give you the answer on whom I support.
Or do I need to run for this office to wake the local pols up?