Carlos Menchaca should have never had a race for re-election, he’s one of the better council members, at least as I see it.
However, for various reasons, not many having to do with actual governance, he did. Thankfully, to me and many readers of the Red Hook Star-Revue, he won, pretty much going away.
So now that we have four more years, now with a seasoned politician, here is my personal wish list:
1 – Unity in representation.
Hopefully, peace can now be made between our council and assembly representatives. We need them, along with Velmanette Montgomery (who is our representative in the State Senate), plus our Tenant Association Leaders, plus our Civic Association leader, plus the District Manager of Community Board 6, to be all on the same page working in our interests.
Suggestion – A monthly meeting in Red Hook with all the above to discuss important issues – including things that ARE happening around us, and things that COULD happen around us, as well as planning for things we WANT to happen.
For example – don’t we all want to know what is happening at the Revere Sugar Factory strip of land that now has a big pile of dirt? How about the gated up former stores across from Red Hook West on Columbia Street – what about our local farms, why can’t there be a market open seasonally with their stuff. All things that we should know about. I wish I had a whole room of reporters to find this stuff out myself, but I don’t. A little cooperation from those who are paid to govern would be wonderful!
2 – Improvement of Red Hook Houses Tenant Associations.
First of all, why are there two? Each of them together gets barely 30 residents (out of more than 8,000) to show up at the monthly meetings. The presidents never change, they hardly have to campaign, nobody votes in them – the Red Hook Tenant Associations are for the most part irrelevant, a remnant of the way things were done in the past.
Carlos – you don’t have to worry about re-election any more, you don’t have to cozy up to either of the presidents if you don’t want to – lead by example. Hold some meetings with NYCHA and residents to talk about the structure of the tenant organizations, bring some people in who are part of responsive associations, such as in some Manhattan developments, and educate us so we can do better.
Right now the Red Hook Tenant Associations are not democratic. Anyone from the outside who wants to do things in Red Hook now goes to strike deals with Miss Marshall or Miss Brown to get their support, and then go on to claim that over half of Red Hook is on their side. This happened with John Quadrozzi when he wanted the Gowanus Canal mud, it probably happened with IKEA and FAIRWAY (before my time here so I don’t know first hand), it happened with the Oxford Nursing home, and it will happen again.
Yes, people in the Houses work hard and maybe don’t have all that much time to be civically involved. But at least give everyone the opportunity.
3 – Get NYCHA to do something with those gated up stores on Columbia Street. I’m talking about the ones by West 9th Street.
I’m told that in the old days there were butchers and other kinds of stores there. For the seven years I’ve been doing the paper, I’m told that they are unusable because of plumbing issues.
I’m sure that if there was some sort of desire by NYCHA to use those stores – they would figure out how to fix those plumbing issues and make that space of use by the NYCHA community. I’m thinking about things like a vegetable market carrying local produce – incubator stores at very low rent where future entrepreneurs such as Haps can get their start in retail – places for some of the local non profits to showcase what they are actually doing with the donations they get.
So come on Carlos – get on the stick with this and push some buttons!
4 – Hire someone like Karen Broughton to represent you in Red Hook.
Most of the goodwill that Felix Ortiz has in this neighborhood comes from the hard work that Karen brings to her position. You have never found someone like her. Please find someone like her!
5 – More uses for the Atlantic Basin.
Formula E was great – why not a big music festival like Woodstock or Jazzfest!
6 – A monthly column in your local newspaper (the Red Hook Star-Revue). We have made that offer privately in the past – now it’s public. How better than to reach your constituents. We print 8,000 newspapers a month, most of them distributed in the district.
7 – Money for soundproofing the Miccio Center – it is our one real community facility, and you can never hear anything. Same with PS 15. We held our debate at Pioneer Works, not because we don’t like the front, but because of the sound.
OK – that’s it for now. Congratulations and best wishes for an even better second term!