Continuing our new series of political “Snapshots,” the Bronx Times sat down with each of the Bronx’s recently elected officials for a discussion on their 2022 legislative agendas and issues of importance to their districts.
Neighborhood: The Valley
Political ideology: Democrat, declined to specify
Fun Fact: Riley has boxed for almost two years.
City Councilman Kevin Riley won a special election in December 2020 to replace controversial Councilman Andy King, who was expelled from the council. Riley began representing District 12 — which includes Wakefield, Olinville, Edenwald, Eastchester, Williamsbridge, Baychester and Co-op City — for the last year of King’s four-year term, in January 2021.
Riley’s focuses have been on quality of life, public safety and the intersection of transportation and environmental protection, he told the Bronx Times.
Riley worked with the city Department of Sanitation to secure funding to install cameras in dumping hot spots, where garbage, appliances and old furniture are thrown near the Gun Hill Bus Depot and near the New England Thruway. The cameras have not been installed yet and Riley did not have a timeframe.
His office also supported Wildcat, a non-profit organization in cleaning initiatives in the district, and he organized clean-ups for the community to work together.
“We know that the cleanups aren’t going to address the problem, but we are trying to start this initiative in our community where we’re taking care of our communities ourselves,” he said.
His daughter, a six-year-old Girl Scout, has helped with the efforts.
“You wouldn’t want to throw garbage and have a young kid picking up after you,” he said of people who may notice the effort.
As for public safety, Riley said he is trying to create safe havens in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments.
Another initiative he sees as connected to public safety is partnering with individuals who live in the developments. Riley said he has met individuals with great ideas but no experience with government, so he works to help them create their own non-profit organizations and become more politically engaged, getting a seat at the table.
“We want to make sure that we’re not doing too much outsourcing in our community to address issues within our community,” he said.
Riley helped one non-profit, Granada Built to Win Inc., secure funding and another group, Life Over Violence Every Day (LOVED) establish themselves as a 501c3, he said.
For transportation and environmental issues, Riley said he has helped educate the community about the e-scooter pilot program and serves as a liaison for their concerns.
As he enters a new term, having won an uncontested election earlier this month, he plans to continue with the efforts from his first year on the council, along with focusing on marijuana legalization, ensuring the rollout and the distribution of its tax dollars is equitable for communities of color.
Reach Aliya Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.