Every Staten Island Elected Official Joins Borough President Oddo in Signing onto Letter to Governor and Mayor saying: “Thank you; We Need More Help” on Opioid Epidemic
“Thank you; we need more help,” is the message of a short letter drafted by Borough President James S. Oddo and signed by every other elected official on Staten Island to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.
The letter, dated January 10, 2017 and addressed to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio reads in total as follows:
“We sincerely thank you for all you have done to help us fight the opioid epidemic plaguing Staten Island.
“We desperately need more help.
“We are hopeful we can all get in the same room in the near future to figure out how we can do even more.”
Ironically, within hours of sending the letter, the Governor sent out a press release announcing a slew of new proposals in his State of the State to combat this epidemic state wide.
“I certainly welcome the Governor’s new proposals, and look forward to learning more about them,” said Borough President Oddo. “In fact, they are an indication of how important it is to get in the same room to discuss all our efforts and discuss what more can be done. At our December 2, 2016 meeting I hosted at Borough Hall, my colleagues and I agreed that the crisis is so pervasive and serious that we must be working with the highest reaches of the state and city government to solve it. This letter appealing to the Governor and Mayor for their direct engagement with us asks just for that. Does the request reflect a bit of chutzpah on our part? Perhaps. But the cause is that important and the consequences of inaction too serious.”
Besides Borough President Oddo, the bipartisan group of elected officials signing onto the letter was: District Attorney Michael McMahon, Congressman Dan Donovan, State Senators Andrew Lanza and Diane Savino, Assembly Members Michael Cusick, Matthew Titone, Nicole Malliotakis, and Ron Castorina, and Council Members Steven Matteo, Joe Borelli, and Debi Rose.
On Saturday, August 20th, BP Oddo hosted hometown legends Vito Picone and the Elegants at “Home Sweet Home,” a concert at Midland Beach. The group performed their hit song “Little Star” as well as other famous doo-wop tunes. Local performers Lina Fiscardi and the Expressions were the opening acts.
Over 1,000 people attended the free concert, which was followed by fireworks.
“We’re always thrilled to welcome Vito and the band back to the beach,” noted BP Oddo.
The event was sponsored by BP Oddo and Council Members Borelli, Matteo and Rose.
On November 19, the Parks Department held a formal grand opening for the long-anticipated Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex on Father Capodanno Blvd. The event felt like Christmas morning for runners, Borough President James Oddo said.
The two-story facility cost $93 million to complete and already has 70 meets booked on the calendar.
With 700 Staten Islanders already signed up for the reasonably priced membership to the facility, it’s off and – literally - running.
“If you’re involved in track now, this center will make you want to be,” noted Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver who emceed the opening festivities from the center of the hydraulic track.
"Wow… This is truly an exciting day Staten Island. Not only will this facility put Staten Island on the map within the track and field community by allowing us to play host to important sporting events, but it will it will also fill a real year-round need for Staten Islanders who are interested in improving their health and wellness at an affordable price in a convenient location," said Borough President Oddo.
The athletic complex is 135,000 square feet and has seating for 2,500, important during track and field events.
Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora spoke to the facility’s storm resiliency, a piece of the project that was looked at again post-Sandy.
In addition, the Indoor Athletics Facility has certified the complex, making it the only world-class facility on the East Coast.
The 200 meter Mondo track has eight lanes, has a sensored heating and cooling system, an anti-glare system and an Olympic-style lifting platform.
After the program, Commissioners Silver and Pena-Mora led a group of adults and children alike (including Assemblyman Michael Cusick) for the very first lap around the new track.
Staten Island to see its normal allotment of 240 lane miles paved over the next two years PLUS AN ADDITIONAL 125, bringing the total to 365 over the next two years
At a meeting of the Staten Island Transportation and Traffic Task Force at Borough Hall on June 9, Department of Transportation (DOT) officials informed Borough President James Oddo and Council Members Steve Matteo and Debi Rose that 25% of the additional lane miles to be resurfaced under the Mayor’s recently announced plan to resurface 500 more lane miles citywide (200 additional miles in FY 2016 and 300 in FY 2017) would be paved in Staten Island. This means that 125 extra lane miles will be resurfaced on Staten Island in the next two fiscal years.
In a typical year when the city paves 1,000 lane miles, Staten Island, which consists of 12% of the total lane miles in the city, receives approximately 12% of the resurfacing (or 120 lane miles). As a result of the Mayor’s unprecedented commitment to resurfacing an additional 500 lane miles in the next two years, in FY 2016, which begins July 1, 2015, Staten Island will have 160 lane miles resurfaced, forty more lane miles than in a typical year. In FY 2017, Staten Island will have 205 lane miles resurfaced, eighty five more miles than in a typical year. Taken together, this equals an additional 125 lane miles resurfaced in FY 16 and 17 (in addition to the 240 already slated to be resurfaced) and 25% of the total new lane miles to be resurfaced.
“We asked the Mayor for an unprecedented commitment to road resurfacing to make up for the omissions of the past, and he delivered,” said Borough President Oddo. “Without this commitment, we would have seen about 240 lane miles resurfaced over the next two years; instead, we will see 365 lane miles resurfaced. This means that we will finally start to see progress in our quest for more drivable roads. It’s time to ‘pave, baby, pave.’”
At the meeting, the elected officials also learned that the following major thoroughfares will be resurfaced during nighttime hours in the coming months: Portions of Bay Street, Clove Road, Richmond Road, Victory Blvd, and Hylan Blvd. Bay Street will be the first one done over the summer. These are in addition to previously scheduled and announced nighttime resurfacings of New Dorp Lane, Ocean Terrace, and Arthur Kill Road.
Borough President James S. Oddo has announced the dates and locations for the 2015 Summer Sunset Concert Series. The series is made possible by the Borough President and Council Members Vincent Ignizio, Steven Matteo and Debi Rose. In addition, he announced two other special events – a free Doo Wop concert and the popular Back to the Beach festival.
All Thursday night concerts will begin at 7 pm. The concert schedule is as follows:
July 2nd – Conference House Park
July 9th – Clove Lakes Park
July 16th – Lemon Creek Park
July 23rd – Corporal Thompson Park
July 30th – Historic Richmond Town
August 6th – Bloomingdale Park
August 13th – Snug Harbor Cultural Center
August 20th – Willowbrook Park
August 26th - Historic Richmond Town (make up)
August 27th – Silver Lake Park
September 3rd - Clove Lakes Park
SPECIAL SATURDAY NIGHT SHOW: Freedom Circle: August 15th – An Evening of Doo Wop, featuring Vito Picone and the Elegants and The Expressions
“I am happy to partner with my colleagues from the City Council to present these concerts in various parks around the Island,” said Borough President Oddo. “We are excited to offer this free entertainment to Staten Islanders while giving some of our homegrown talent a chance to show off their musical skills.”
Vito Picone, headliner of the Doo Wop show on August 15th, said, “We’re looking forward to going back again this year; it was an honor last year. Nothing feels quite like going home. The fans had signs welcoming us back. There’s nothing like being part of Staten Island.”
In addition, BP Oddo and Massimo DiDonna, of the Bini Foundation, announced that Back to the Beach would return again this summer, on July 11 and 12.
“We’d like to thank the Borough President for the opportunity to partner on Back to the Beach again. It’s a great festival and it allows us to continue to raise money for the community and be there in times in of need,” DiDonna said.
“Back to the Beach is a uniquely Staten Island venue,” said BP Oddo. “These are all great Staten Island moments, please come out. You will not regret it. We'll have a wonderful summer.”
On April 14, 2015, Borough President Oddo hosted the annual Litter Summit, a meeting that brought together elected officials, city agencies, local business owners, and community groups with the common goal of tackling the Island’s litter problem. Participants devised a plan to remove litter from the community while discouraging Staten Islanders from littering in the future.
Council Members Steven Matteo, Debi Rose and Vincent Ignizio have allocated funds to continue litter cleanups, and the organization Where-To-Turn will provide volunteers to clean. Other community groups have also expressed interest in working with the BP’s office to address the problem. Future initiatives include the Adopt-A-Street program with DOT, the Adopt-A Basket program with the Department of Sanitation, and an educational component in schools.
“Litter begets litter. We will have a dirtier community if we don't do something about it,” said BP Oddo. “While not all Staten Islanders caused this problem, we’re going to need their help to be part of the solution.”
BP Oddo’s Clean Team has already begun cleanups around the borough and has 150 locations on the agenda to clean between now and November. If you know of a location that needs to be cleaned, send the address to Aesposito@StatenIslandUSA.com.
The Borough President has issued his 2015 Litter Report, read it here.
On February 24, Borough President James Oddo welcomed New York City mayor Bill de Blasio to Borough Hall for a frank conversation about Hurricane Sandy relief and the Build it Back Program.
"We’ve tried to pack in many meetings in 6 weeks here at Borough Hall but this was the most critical,” said Oddo. “Much of the 6 weeks has been staff and I dealing with the sins of the ’60s, ‘70s and 80s. I don't want to be a part of any further mistakes. There is an opportunity for us to transform communities. Today was about making sure this administration is here for Staten Islanders.”
Oddo has asked the Mayor to facilitate buying property from owners who lost homes and businesses, noting that the best way to help these people move on is with a check. “Acquisition for redevelopment is the best way to help now. Put a check in their hands,” he said. With the acquired property, redevelopment would need to be done smartly and with infrastructure suitable for the land.
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