Column: The importance of City Council elections for local communities

New York City Hall

If we want to keep and reap the blessings of our fine quality of life, we must endure the fatigue of supporting it. This maxim strikes a chord that resonates loudly throughout various locales. With 35 of 51 City Council seats up for grabs uncertainty is at the core of our local political climate.

The New York City Council functions as New York City’s congressional body serving as a check in the mayor-council dynamic. The City Council is a powerful, influential body that crafts legislation and can override mayoral veto with a 2/3 majority vote. This government body collectively influences land usage and zoning, property taxes, public safety, health and human services, essential services and other elements related to our quality of life.

Council member policy can swiftly alter communities. In matters of land use and zoning changes, the City Council generally observes the practice of member deference by following preferences of the affected areas’ district council member. When initiated, member deference directly connects politicians to constituents impacted by policy and severs the cord on motivated monetizing developers and lobbyists. Council member deference creates strong ballot box accountabilities especially during shortened two-year council terms; 2021 and 2023 are shortened two-year terms, standard four-year council terms return in 2025.

In upzone and land review situations, indifference to deference by a council member or orchestrated blockade would place low-density communities under blankets of uncertainty. It is our responsibility; civic duties to ensure our communities are not adversely affected by candidate ideologies.

Sentiments among residents in low-density communities strongly suggest quality of life is on a downward spiral. Nuisance issues, once promptly addressed, have become low priority 311 complaints; too frequently placed on the backburner to smolder out. It is abundantly clear, in our current state, low-density communities will not meet the criteria to warrant additional police presence. To offset manpower shortages, perhaps it is time to bring technology into low-density communities. Installations of NYPD crime cameras at strategic locations could benefit low-density areas in their earnest efforts to combat nuisance and criminal behaviors.

Community Footnotes:

Upzoning: If permitted, the Bruckner upzone project will create long-term amusement parks for investor-developers and eventually place low-density communities on life support. Bronx Coalition Against Up-Zoning:  RALLY- Saturday, Oct. 16  at Bufano Park. Come out to support preservation of long fought, highly sought low-density zonings. More information at www.StopUpZoning.com.

It is back!! Department of Sanitation Orchard Beach SAFE Disposal Event – Saturday, Oct. 23 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Properly dispose of electronics, household products, automotive products, etc. Registration is required at www.1.nyc.gov  or call 311 for more information.

Our next meeting is schedule for Wednesday, Oct. 20 at  7:30 p.m., at Knights of Columbus. Please spread the word, voices must be heard. Our community has traditionally exhibited a “We are Family attitude.” Now is the time to let it shine. Communicate; make that phone call, text message or email. Please check on family, friends and neighbors especially the elderly and vulnerable. Any area homeowner or renter interested in the Spencer Estate Civic Association attend a meeting or send an email to spencerestatecivic@gmail.com.

Remember: Community=Common-Unity and Inclusion brings Solutions.

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