Mike’s Say: Fall Previews, by Michael Racioppo

VelmanetteIf you pay close attention to my Twitter feed(@mike_racc), it is clear that I watch a lot of “Law and Order” and, it’s over the top, “ripped from the headlines” style. While
I’m writing a column and not producing a prime time tv show, I’d like to take my shot at “riffing” the headlines I’d like to see this fall.

While it will have to wait until November there can be no bigger blockbuster and more compelling prime time headline than “Hillary Clinton becomes our First Woman President in an Historic Landslide Victory over Trump”.

However, prior to that headline in September we will see featured “ Senator Montgomery wins Democratic Primary “. Star Revue readers if you live in Red Hook she’s your senator and the primary election is Tuesday September 13th. She deserves re-election as she, and her staff (full disclosure one of her staff members is an IND friend) work very hard on constituent concerns supplementing her life long dedication to helping at risk youth.

Yet another, though relatively obscure, but certainly important, if below the fold, headline will be “Connie Melendez Elected Countywide as Civil Court Judge.” I’ve been impressed when I’ve heard her speak and colleagues who are in the legal profession confirm my opinion.

The last, headline I’d like to see is “ Councilman Lander’s Bridging Gowanus Seen As Model for Community Participation in Addressing Housing Crisis” . While that may be a long headline it is also, as far as city’s issues go, the most pressing . For those unfamiliar with this effort, it can be most succinctly described as Councilman Lander’s efforts to give voice to the Gowanus community in an experiment in direct democracy as we engage with City Planning in determining the contours of a realistic future. Making this process work is most important because if we don’t figure out how to calm the natural skepticism toward change we still get change but it is then unregulated change in response to Nimbyism. We have a shared city with shared problems. We are going to create clusters and enclaves of parochial towns while those who can least afford to shoulder the brunt will be pushed out of their homes and neighborhoods.

In case I lost you put simply – I’m saying that if we don’t create more housing supply (especially affordable apartments) demand will force the most vulnerable among us out of their neighborhoods.

Balancing the needs of a city at large while also dealing with the concerns of local and immediate interests is a tough task with multiple valid viewpoints. To confront this it takes an elected official with guts and I give serious credit to Councilman Lander as he perseveres in the face of criticism, with some expressing very loud reluctance to reach consensus on issues surrounding the canal and potential rezoning and development. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns – whatever your positions I recommend getting involved. Please check out and find out how to participate.

While we’re at it let’s throw in “MTA Expands F Train Service” and more in the realm of wishful thinking “Giants Ready to Win another Superbowl”.

P.S. feel free to contact me with any questions comments or concerns at or as mentioned above follow me on Twitter at @mike_racc

Mike Racioppo is the Executive Director of the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation and the Vice Chairman of Community Board 6

One Comment

  1. excellent article…