Meet the Candidates: President and Vice President

October 25, 2018

Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, Manhattan Park - PRESIDENT 

 

  • My name is Lynne Strong-Shinozaki. I am running for President of the Roosevelt Island Residents’ Association and I need your vote on November 6th.

  • I have served on RIRA for over 25 years. I am currently the Vice President.

  • I have chaired the Social, Cultural & Education Committee.

  • I have worked with amazing people and initiated some of our annual community activities including the Cherry Blossom Festival, Hands Only CPR, the Egg Hunt, BENHUGS, and Pay it Forward, a community based program to aid economically challenges individuals and families. Some other community activities I have initiated include Skate RI and the RIRA Showcase.

  • I have worked with amazing people to protect our quality of life including efforts to ”Save the Cat Sanctuary”and “Save the Tram.”

  • Most of all I battle “Predatory Equity”…getting housing developers to treat our residents fairly.

  • Roosevelt Island is under enormous development. Our community is expanding; development is bringing lots of people to the Island. I will work hard, as I have always done, to make sure that the safety and welfare of our residents are always protected. 

  • I need your help to keep what we have and to protect us when it comes to even greater increasing development.

  • Street Advisor has ranked Roosevelt Island the 2nd best neighborhood in Manhattan. We will strive to be #1. 

  • Tuesday, Nov. 6th is Election Day. We need your vote to make changes in our government and I need your vote to make changes to protect Roosevelt Island. 

  • You, the residents of Roosevelt Island, are the key element to our success. We need to make sure that our voices are heard. I have and will always continue to work and protect the welfare of our residents.

  • Many people are responsible for our success. I want to continue to expand, foster, and protect the incredible potential of Roosevelt Island.

  • Please vote for me for President of the Roosevelt Island Residents’ Association on Nov. 6.

David Lawson, Westview - VICE PRESIDENT 

 

My name is David Lawson. A father of two, I am a Westview resident and have been living on Roosevelt Island since 1998. I have worked for 20 years at the United Nations on political, social and economic affairs, defending human rights, women’ and girls’ rights and minority rights. I have presided over a UN civil servant organization and worked with various international and United States organizations and associations for civil rights.

I was elected a RIRA Common Council member for the first time in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. RIRA Planning Committee Chair since 2015, I have spearheaded work and significant progress on critical issues for the community, including transportation (ferry, bike use and infrastructure improvement, F-train service improvement, electric vehicles), environment protection (air quality control during Cornell construction, drinking water quality, South Point Park wildlife protection), reflections on the long-term impact of Cornell Tech and growing population dynamics on the island and its infrastructure, and I have established and entertain a constructive dialogue with RIOC President on those issues.  

 

I run again this year because I strongly believe in the power of community and associative work for public interest. RIRA is an essential forum of dialogue between Roosevelt Island residents and RIOC and allows for the voice of the community to be heard. I run for Vice President because, building on my experience with the Common Council governance and as Committee Chair, I want to help foster and further promote the work and outreach of the Council for the greater benefit of Roosevelt Islanders. With the newly elected RIRA President and Common Council members, I hope to contribute to more Roosevelt Islanders participating in RIRA work and include other RI institutions in its proposals, as well as to enhanced visibility of its achievements.

If elected, as Vice-President, I will support the President and Council, increased RIRA communication with the community, sustained membership participation and increased participation in RIRA, fundraising. I will work closely with relevant Committee chairs for more coordination and effectiveness. I will contribute in RIRA Common Council debates, support increased communication with Roosevelt Islanders, and support the on-going work of RIRA on environment protection, transportation, infrastructure, well-being and equitable treatment of our residents of all conditions and all ages, the future development of our Island and protection of our wonderful community.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns you would like to share or discuss, please reach out to me at lawsondd@aol.com.

Against this background, I hope you will entrust me with your confidence and your vote on November 6th. I encourage you to go out and vote and to participate in RIRA Committees as these are open to all Roosevelt Islanders! 

Frank Farance, Island House - VICE PRESIDENT

 

Island resident for 38 years, RIRA Common Council for 22 years and served as: Island House representative, RIRA President, Planning Committee Chair, Communication Committee Chair, RIRA Secretary, Public Safety Committee member, Island Services Committee member, Constitution and By-Laws Committee member, Public Purpose Funds Committee member, Government Relations Committee and Maple Tree Group member.  I'm a parent of 16-year old twins.
 

Efforts I've initiated, led, or helped significantly:

  • Water/Air Quality: I investigated contaminated water (carcinogens) at parks' drinking fountains ― already a half-year project, and still ongoing.  I led RIRA's air quality effort during the Cornell construction, and I was able to bring all the stakeholders to the table: Cornell, RICC, and experts.

  • Emergency Response: Member of RI's CERT team since 2006, staffed Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene shelters, and staffed Hurricane Maria service center (Harlem) and worked at City's warehouse moving donations, supplies, and materiel to Puerto Rico.  This summer, I developed with RIOC a drill and demonstration for flood mitigation for Roosevelt Island: quick-fill dams (8 minutes fill time) that can be deployed around the Island to protect buildings and infrastructure from hurricane flooding.  I participated in the City's Dept. of Planning workshop on flood mitigation (sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer), analyzed updated flood planes for Island's buildings.

  • Affordability and Housing: I've helped preserve affordable housing, including the Island House conversion (a 15-year effort led by a half-dozen people), and advocating strongly for Westview's conversion, which was stalled at RIOC.  I opposed Gristede's withdrawal of the WIC (women, infants, and children) program, got Manhattan Park Pool to end its discriminatory pricing.

  • Finances: I've helped reveal the Island's finances, including getting RIOC to increase their budget look-ahead from 5 years to 15 years (which revealed RIOC financial problems). I've given the community insight on the ground leases - their strengths and weaknesses.  I exposed RIOC's billion dollar debt/liability, which is an issue that all of us need to work on as it will soon affect our housing costs (whether rent or maintenance, whether subsidized or market-rate).

  • Health/Safety: I took "Rat Academy" training (City's Department of Health), reported the severe rat infestation at PS/IS 217 (250-rat colony), and got the City to teach the Rat Academy on the Island for residents and building/merchant staff. Reported multiple health and security problems at the Motorgate "vomitorium".  Reported safety problems with helix reconstruction (immediately fixed). 

  • Public Safety: Worked on many issues over the years, including improper recordkeeping on vertical patrols, building safety, park/promenade safety. I seek to balance the Rights of the Individual (no gratuitous arrests) with the Rights of Society (Quality of Life issues, such as late-night noise).

  • Youth: I have worked with 1000+ youth over the past 15 years, including personally teaching, mentoring, and supporting 200 Island youth. For a decade, I've taught STEM to Island youth in weekly classes (robotics, Minecraft, SAT prep, etc.).

In the 2018-2020 term, my focus is (1) expanding RIRA to include all the Island's residents, such as Coler and Cornell, (2) giving merchants a voice, (3) improving Island's infrastructure, (4) improving RIOC's communication and responsiveness towards community needs. I will continue to stand up for the residents and their concerns, continue to invest time/effort in our community, and (as always) Speak Truth to Power.

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