Staten Island’s next borough president has loads of issues to address


Yasmeen Collins | The Ticker

Jason Galak

Walk up to any person in the city and ask them, “What do you think of Staten Island?” and eight out of 10 times it will most likely result in a derogatory remark about the borough. Those two pleasant responses would probably come from Staten Islanders themselves.

Now it’s time for the forgotten borough of Staten Island to pick a new borough president. Although the borough president position serves as somewhat of a cheerleader for their borough, the current borough president of Staten Island, James Oddo, got stuff done.

Participating in the Staten Island bus study, which completely reorganized the express bus service from Staten Island to the city, was much needed. Oddo managed to address one of Staten Island’s largest issues.

In addition, Oddo shut down the attempt to convert Staten Island’s St. George into a city-like atmosphere. This restructuring would have defeated the whole purpose Staten Island’s suburban like nature.

Now we must continue to address Staten Island’s largest issues by picking a borough president that will make sure to prioritize them.

Firstly, speed cameras.

Last year, Staten Island has seen a monstrous increase in speed cameras by 578%. Luckily enough, Staten Island has an assemblyman by the name of Michael Reilly who is willing to fight against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio administration’s extortion tactics to make additional money.

Staten Island needs a borough president that is willing to stand up to the establishment and fight against the consistent increase of speeding cameras.

Perhaps a better way to slow down Staten Islanders is speed bumps rather than cameras in almost every part of Staten Island.

Next up is the issue of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll. In February, the MTA unanimously voted to approve higher toll rates and the elimination of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Carpool Discount — as if crossing the bridge wasn’t expensive enough. The city is looking for different ways to increase their budgets by taking hard-earned money away from Staten Islanders.

Staten Island and Brooklyn Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis has already introduced the Resident Toll Commuter Relief Act, which aims to require agencies like the MTA to use the additional revenue generated through split tolling to aid residents by providing them lower tolls or fund rebates.

With the help of a new borough president that is willing to concentrate on this issue, it is possible to put more money back into Staten Islanders’ pockets.

It is also time to unite the North Shore and the South Shore. Staten Island needs a candidate who is willing to put aside the South shore’s Republican ideals and the North Shore’s Democratic ways to make Staten Island a greater place to live overall.

The next borough president needs to ensure the city’s safety and at the same time address the racial division between the North Shore and the South Shore.

Staten Island may be the forgotten borough, but it is the only borough where almost anyone can walk anywhere, even right out of their houses, and spot someone.

The borough needs a leader who can lead Staten Islanders to better lives; someone who is willing to tackle the issues regarding the bridge tolls, excessive cameras, COVID-19, the opioid crisis, transportation and, most of all, the division between the boroughs.