Editor, Riverdale Press
Bronx, New York 10471
I have never been prouder to represent the people of the 81st assembly district than I am now. While countless people have called to thank me and our other local elected officials for saving our weekend express bus service, we would have never been able to do it without the active participation of hundreds of people throughout our amazing community.
When it was announced that weekend express bus service was going to be discontinued the response by our community was swift. People understood that the express bus is a lifeline for many of our neighbors. The phone calls started coming. Our local elected officials, including Congressman Eliot Engel, Councilman Oliver Koppell, State Senators Eric Schneiderman and Guy Velella, and Borough President Adolfo Carrion, all worked to reverse this decision. We spoke with the Mayor, with DOT officials, with Liberty Lines executives. And we organized a rally.
The rally, which took place at P.S. 24, was the largest such event to take place in Riverdale in memory. Between six hundred and seven hundred people turned out for this event. This showing of strength was key to our victory. Out of this rally came a petition drive (in just a few days, dozens of volunteers collected over 6,000 signatures) and a massive letter-writing, fax and e-mail campaign to let the Mayor know how important the express bus service is to our community. On the night of the rally I said to the hundreds of people in attendance that I believe that political action and grassroots organizing are effective Ė in other words, you can fight City Hall.
This successful effort once again shows that there is much we can achieve when we all pull together as a community, work hard and speak with one voice. That is how we won the battle to create new middle school/high schools, and thatís how we achieved this victory. I am pleased that the Mayor listened to the voices of the people. While there are still details to be negotiated regarding express bus service, I am confident that our communityís victory will be a long-lasting one.
We are indeed a community of activists. That is the reason we are often able to achieve results. Letís remember the next time an important issue comes before us that it is through grassroots activism that we can make things happen.
Member of Assembly