I have lived in the Rockaways for the last 34 years. It is a great community that gives you all the advantages of living in a small town while having access to many of the resources of New York City. My wife Christine and I have raised our two children, Kevin and Jessie, here. They enjoyed growing up here, and I am sure they will have many lifelong friends from Rockaway.
I am now retired after working for 36 years as an administrator for the Department of Education. During that time while working for the BOE, I received my master’s degree in Urban Planning from NYU and a second master’s degree from Pace University in Educational Administration. My career with the BOE was mostly related to citywide projects. As an urban planner I developed programs of requirements for new schools. As an educator I coordinated the production of regular and experimental curriculum, directed citywide apprenticeship training for unions throughout the city, administrated the roll out of computerized ID systems for high schools, and managed a successful pilot program that led to the use of student metro cards. I was also the Director of Technology for District 23, and retired after serving as Director of Technology for Region 5 for four years.
Were you involved with community or civic affairs before joining the Community Board 14? Are you involved in any other community groups currently?
I have been involved in community activities for many years. I was active in my community in East New York in Brooklyn after college. I worked successfully with local officials in an effort to build a new school for the community. Additionally, I organized a civic association in the community. In Rockaway, I have been involved with the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association for many years and currently serve as its president.
What do you do in your role as president of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association?
As President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association I do my best to enhance the quality of life in Belle Harbor. I listen carefully to the concerns of our residents. Together with members of the association’s executive board, I meet with city agencies and elected officials and express concerns raised by our residents. We keep members current on key issues on our web site, Facebook and email. Hurricane Sandy was a devastating storm impacting everyone living in the Rockaways. Our association’s issues go beyond the physical barriers of the Belle Harbor community. We support a comprehensive plan for all of Rockaway that will protect residents from future hurricanes, a high speed ferry system and direct train link to Manhattan, the development of comprehensive medical facilities to serve the needs of Rockaway, and an enhanced tourist effort by the city. We encourage our residents to shop locally. Lastly, we support an increase in commerce for the community, more jobs and educational opportunities for our students.
What committee of the Community Board, if any, are you on? What does your committee do? How often does it meet?
I co-chair the youth services/education committee and am on the Housing/Land Use. The committees meet as needed and address related issues affecting our community. After school youth programs, test preparation and summer jobs are important issues we try to address.
How long do you see yourself being a part of the community board?
I intend to serve on Board 14 for the next two years.
Do you think members of the community board should have term limits?
I do not think term limits should apply to community board members. I have found that some of the senior members of the board bring a valuable historical perspective to discussions that enhance our ability in making decisions.
What do you think is the most important issue facing Rockaway?
The most important issue facing the Rockaway community is addressing all the issues related to Hurricane Sandy. Protection is the number one issue. Our beaches and bay need to be strengthened to withstand any future storm. In addition, transportation to Manhattan, medical services and support of our local merchants are important issues.
What’s the best part of living in the area?
The best parts of living in Rockaway are all the good people you meet and the sense of community.
What’s your biggest complaint?
As a community of 135,000+ we should have a greater say in the decisions that affect the quality of life in our community. A stronger collaboration with federal, state and city agencies needs to be developed.
What advice do you have for people not on the community board but are interested in helping Rockaway?
It is important that people get more involved, attend community, civic association meetings, and work with elected officials on issues that concern the quality of life. If we are to flourish as a successful community, the rights we all have in a democratic society need to be exercised by all of its citizens!