2009-10-02 / Top Stories

East End Council Candidate Lays Out Priorities

By Miriam Rosenberg

Scherie Murray is running against City Council incumbent James Sanders Jr. on the slogan, "a new generation of leadership." Murray, a Republican, is in the race to unseat Sanders in the 31st Councilmanic District in the November general election. She sat down with The Wave in August.

"[We have] new ideas that would better, overall improve the quality of life for the residents," said Murray. "As a young person and a new generation I have the energy, I have the time, and I care to be accessible not just being written a letter to - but you can physically call me on the phone [about issues]." Her platform consists of two main issues - an online District Area Network (DAN) and the Mortgage Transplant Package.

"The NYC.gov [website] is overwhelming in getting information, and we would like to scale down a platform for people to go on that can list concerns and be more transparent than calling or writing a letter. On the [DAN] they can see where the issues lie." For those who are not technology inclined, Murray said, "What we have seen on this side of the district is the senior population and the need for a second language facility for training. Within that realm I think we can incorporate basic computer skills training as well as other training. Training that European residents, that are citizens, can utiliize to help them out to feel more comfortable in America."

The Mortgage Transplant Package, for homeowners with mortgage problems, is for those with Freddy Mac or Fanny Mae and will partner with faith-based organizations.

Murray wants to open a state-of-theart community center, but she said her proposal puts the first one in Springfield Gardens, Rosedale or Laurelton.

She also spoke about issues that directly affect the east end of Rockaway.

On transportation she compared where she lives, Rosedale, with the peninsula. "I think that town can closely relate to the Far Rockaway residents, as well," said Murray. "As the district shows, baby boomers in the 1960s are now the elder population. As we look back, that was the highest time for birth, so that generation is our senior generation now. It's going to be quite large within the next few years. I think that solutions can be made to the transportation issues that you guys have right now."

When pressed, she said she recently filled out a questionnaire for the Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that advocates environmentally cleaner ways of travel.

"We did look into issues affecting the surrounding communities and as we get into that area specifically, over time, I think we can offer solutions that would help to eliminate some of the traffic issues that the residents currently have."

According to the Transportation Alternatives website Murray did send in her biography, but she did not answer any of the questions on the survey.

On handling an evacuation or storms on the east end:

"What I would suggest in terms of evacuation methods, I think in the event of a crisis, our District Area Network can serve to be a facilitator in assisting," said Murray. "If residents need shelter, need water, if they need information - I think if they are logged on, or are a part of the District Area Network 31, it will not only keep them informed, but provide them with information that can help them in that immediate time of crisis."

Murray does not believe the answer to combating crime is "as our incumbent wants to do, by installing $2.5 million of surveillance equipment into some of the housing in Far Rockaway."

She added, "What I would like to see, in addition to the installation, take the funds that you are allocating to implement this surveillance technology and pay the people - give it to independent contractors, independent residents that are qualified within your district."

When asked about the requirements

for New York City Housing Authority contracts she answered, "It wouldn't be the absolute stipulation," but it would benefit people "with degrees that make them qualified to do these types of installations." Murray feels 'cash for guns' was successful, but fell silent when asked if she believes in gun control. She eventually passed on the question preferring to answer it at a later time. She did say she would like to motivate young people to stay away from gangs. "Ultimately if we can start now by implementing better practices within our communities, within our schools, within our residential facilities I think that you can deter the youth that are coming up now from even moving in the direction of a gang." The candidate, who is passionate about education, said that while public school is one option, other options such as vouchers should be explored. She added that the transition rate for high school students from the district to college is low. "You have two high schools here - Far Rockaway High School and Springfield Gardens Magnet High School which has no diversity, no programs for the kids," said Murray. "They had a gymnastics program there that is no longer there at Springfield Gardens High School. The classrooms are not smart. Technology has to be implemented into the classroom in order for the kids to complete on a global level. If I'm a high school student and I'm graduating from high school and I go to college and I don't know how to use a computer, that just says something about the high school that I just came from. That's just bad."

Murray, 29, was born in Jamaica, West Indies and came to the U.S. at age 9 with her family. She graduated from Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Heights and New York City College of Technology. She recently received her second degree, in broadcast journalism, from Brooklyn College. She was on her gymnastics teams in junior high and high school and also taught gymnastics at an after-school program at PS 105.

Murray's website is votemurray09. com.

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