The start of a new year has always been a time of optimism. With changes at the national level, many are optimistic that the issues of greatest concern at the local level will finally receive the attention that they deserve — namely working to get the coronavirus pandemic under control and thus the economy moving forward in positive directions. Hopefully we will soon, relatively-speaking, be back to a more normal. The lack of ethics and integrity at the national level has really upset the normalcy that we have been used to for generations and hopefully as we come out of this mess we will emerge even better by making changes to the things that didn’t work and improving on those that did.
We also have changes at the local level. We have a new mayor, Todd Gloria, who knows our area well and has always been supportive. We hope that continues. His representative for the College Area is Stephanie Estrada.
Our new City Council representative Sean Elo-Rivera has pledged to work with the community to move things that are important to us forward. His representatives for the College Area are Maya Rosas and Jefferey Nguyen. Rosas will cover most of the area and Nguyen will cover the northwestern area. Working as a team, along with Brett Weise, who will cover Kensington and Talmadge, they will work to move issues for all these communities forward since they share many common concerns.
We also have a new Assembly member in the northwest section of the College Area, Chris Ward, but have not yet been introduced to his representative. Also, on Jan. 20, we will probably have a new Assembly member representing the bulk of the College Area, when assembly member Shirley Weber takes over as secretary of state.
Several community leaders, myself included, have spoken with our new reps and brought them up to speed on the issues of concern and interest to the greater community and to specific neighborhoods. As an example, both the council office and the mayor’s office know that the very long awaited elimination of parking on Montezuma Road between 55th Street and Campanile Drive and eventual bicycling and pedestrian improvements is and has been a top priority for the College Area for some time. They have promised to check the status of our request with the streets division and push for the swiftest action possible. Please let us know what issues you would like to have the city look into and/or help with.
Since our elected officials look to the College Area Community Council/Planning Board (CACC/PB) as representatives of the community, please get involved. Join meetings, speak with board members within your neighborhood. We have worked hard to make sure that all neighborhoods get representation on the board so there is someone near you.
In March the CACC/PB has its annual elections for board members. We are waiting for guidance from the city regarding how we will hold elections, given the pandemic, but stay tuned and if you’re interested in getting involved — especially right now that we have a community plan update in progress; consider running for the board. The requirements are on our website under “membership.” The website is collegearea.org.
Finally, as the community strives to move back to normal, Hardy Elementary is working hard to prepare for in-person instruction. It will take a lot of effort to make sure that it is done safely. In recent history, the usual resources have never provided enough funds to accomplish certain goals and priorities. That’s where volunteer groups like the PTA and Dad’s Club come in. In order to make sure that there are enough resources available to get kids back to school safely, an eco/electronic waste disposal fundraiser is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 20 and 21. Please support a noble, worthy cause. Once details are firmed up, we will provide them and ask that you help and also spread the word.
Stay safe and stay well!
—Jose Reynoso is chair of the College Area Community Council/Planning Board.