Candidate Statements: Enrique Cruz, Jamie Rogers Compete to Lead CB3

Enrique Cruz (left), Jamie Rogers.
Enrique Cruz (left), Jamie Rogers.
Enrique Cruz (left), Jamie Rogers.

Tomorrow evening, the 50 members of Community Board 3 will be choosing a new chairperson and other executive officers. After four years, Gigi Li is stepping down due to new term limits imposed by the board (she’s a candidate for Sheldon Silver’s former assembly seat).

There are two candidates for chairperson: Enrique Cruz and Jamie Rogers. Anne Johnson was also in the mix, but decided to withdraw her name from consideration. While members from the community at-large don’t get a vote, the outcome of the election will definitely be relevant to the greater Lower East Side. With this in mind, we’re providing space here for statements from the two contenders.

Jamie Rogers:

My name is Jamie Rogers, and I am running for Chair of Community Board 3. I’ve served on the Board for four years and during that time served as Assistant Secretary and on our Economic Development and Transportation Committees.

I joined the Board for the same reason I live in our community: I cherish the diversity and history of the neighborhood and the passion and creativity with which we fight to preserve it. As Community Board members, our principal mission is to take the voices of our neighbors and transform those voices into thoughtful resolutions. Those resolutions influence, guide and motivate our elected officials and agencies to help protect what makes our neighborhood unique.

I am a small business owner of community coffee shops and lawyer. I know firsthand the challenges of building a sustainable business that pays a living wage and meets the demands of ever-escalating commercial rents.

In addition to my time on CB3, I served as a Team Leader for Americorps, where I worked with non-profits and city agencies all around the country. Through that experience, I learned ways in which diverse communities work together to combat inequality.

As Chair, I will ensure that our board is a supportive, welcoming and dynamic body that fights for the community we all love.

I will run board meetings fairly and efficiently, allocating members’ valuable time to hearing community input, understanding the issues we face, respectfully voicing opinions of members and formulating strategy for action.

I will manage board resources and staff professionally, help all community members work with our staff to accomplish the community’s goals and provide constructive feedback to staff so they have the tools they need to do their best work for our board.

I will make leadership opportunities available and accessible to all members, make every leadership appointment a transparent process and support board members at all levels to give them the training, feedback and access to resources they need to succeed.

I will put infrastructure in place to increase our recruitment and outreach efforts in the community to ensure that every member of our community has a clear path for participation and understands board procedures.

Most importantly, I will work with each member to build and sustain a community board we are proud to be a part of and our neighbors are proud to be represented by.

In conclusion, I will work tirelessly to lead and serve the board. I am running for chair because I value the hard work and time we all put into representing this diverse community, and I want to do everything I can to transform our hard work into meaningful community benefits for everyone.

I look forward to working with everyone in the community to building a better board and a stronger resilient home.


Enrique Cruz:

Tomorrow there will be another Full Board meeting of our Community Board 3. Every last Tuesday of the month, Community Board 3 meets to discuss the issues and matters that affect our community. These meetings are open to all of the public and are important ways for the community board to hear from the community.

Community Boards are local representative bodies and there are 59 community boards throughout the city of NY. Each Community Board has up to 50 unsalaried members. The Borough President appoints the members of which half of them are nominated by the community’s Council Members. The Community Board members are mostly selected from community members who have applied and are active and involved in the community.

While Community Boards work in an advisory capacity, they deal with a wide range of issues including, land use and zoning, community’s needs assessment for city budget use, municipal facilities in the community, licensing, permits, and many more issues concerning our community.

My name is Enrique Cruz and I’m a Community Board 3 member and I’m running for the position of Chair. I’m a native of the Lower East Side, having been born here in the early 70s and a part of this community all my life I felt it was important to be a part of my community board as well.

At tomorrow’s Full Board meeting, the members of the Community Board will have an election to vote for all officers of the board. I chose to run for Chair of the Board so that I together with all of the members of the board can work on making our Community Board a better one.

If elected, I will commit to making it a priority that all of the board members are included in setting the board’s agenda. Every board member brings with them their own distinct perspective and experiences which should be utilized to widen and strengthen the board’s view of the issues facing our community. It will be a priority to work with the committee chairs that are appointed to ensure that the committees are open, transparent and inclusive of their members and the community.

Secondly, I will commit to working on creative and efficient ways of accessing the information that our members need to make the most informed decisions possible. If our board is not able to access the proper, relevant and thorough information it needs, it will not be in a position to make an informed decision. I will make it a priority that the board and district office work to gather the best and most relevant information possible so that our board can make more informed decisions.

Lastly, while our board receives issues and items that our thrust at us and we must react to them. I will commit on working to make our board more pro-active as a body. It is one of my priorities that we work on issues that we can see on the horizon and instead of waiting to react we instead deal with them mindfully and holistically.

I’ve witnessed for decades what our community has gone through and continues to experience. Whether it is the systemic displacement of our rent regulated neighbors, the exodus of our small neighborhood businesses that are unable to afford the rising rents, the lack of quality education for our children, the health institutions closing or “downsizing”, the massive developments being erected on numerous sites, the proliferation of nightlife establishments or the lack of services to our aging community; we have a lot of work ahead.

I look forward to facing these challenges together as a community and through the hard work of our Community Board. It is important that our Board continues to strengthen itself through the work of its members and the participation of our community.