Hapless or Hopeless? RIOC Failing at Protecting Residents from COVID

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Why is RIOC failing at protecting residents as the Delta variant spikes infections and Roosevelt Island lags in vaccinations? Incompetence? Indifference? A lack of leadership? All of that and more?

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

A report from a furious mom lit up emails, today, and it shows how RIOC still fails at taking even the simplest steps in fighting coronavirus conditions.

“We boarded a northbound Red Bus at 1:10 p.m. at the Senior Center stop. We noticed a woman not wearing her mask,” she wrote.

“My minor daughters and I asked her to cover herself. I advised the driver, but he didn’t care. He never said anything

“We had to get off immediately, after one stop, due to this.

“I informed a PSD officer writing tickets outside Westview. He didn’t care either.”

But her concern was not just for herself and her unvaccinated children.

“There was a toddler too young to wear a facemask and a person in a wheelchair who can’t wear a mask.”

Indifference from RIOC personal, after weeks of reporting violations endangering residents, fueled her outrage.

Update:

Yesterday,a post in the Roosevelt Islander blog reports that RIOC, also, is not following the city vaccine mandate in Sportspark. This adds to overwhelming evidence of either casual indifference to COVID-19 threats or swollen incompetence flooding the state agency over the past year.

RIOC Failing Now, But It Wasn’t Always Like This

Not that long ago, in the spring of 2020, RIOC president/CEO Susan Rosenthal followed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s lead, setting an example in mask wearing. And weekly updates from public relations director Terrence McCauley detailed the latest on precautions for fighting COVID.

Susan Rosenthal with coronavirus face mask
Before her unexpected firing, RIOC president/CEO Susan Rosenthal led the charge against the coronavirus.She didn’t just lead by example, she made a fashion statement.

Fast forward to 2021 and, as the Delta variation spikes infections, we see RIOC failing at leading the charge for protecting residents against the surge.

In firing Rosenthal on flimsy, unsubstantiated charges, with cooperation inside RIOC, Cuomo not only overstepped bounds of common decency, he deprived us of badly needed community leadership.

Now, we deal with either the hapless of the hopeless, leadership so weak it hardly exists at all.

Ever seen Shelton Haynes with a face mask? I haven’t. In recent public events, the openings of the Graduate Hotel and the Hope Memorial, he’s mask free. Also when hustling from Blackwell House to his huge gas guzzler across the street.

In the meantime, Roosevelt Island’s coronavirus positive rate jumped past 3%, exceeding most other Manhattan neighborhoods, including all of those closest.

Roosevelt Island also lags nearby neighborhoods in Queens and Manhattan in vaccinations. We’re at 71% first doses while nearby Queens and Manhattan neighborhoods are in the mid to high 80s and some as high as 90%.

But we hear absolutely nothing from RIOC. No rallying, no coaxing, no example setting.

Hell, we can’t even get their drivers or the public safety department to help with mask mandates.

RIOC failing to lead is a hallmark of this administration.

We join the outraged mom in being at a loss for knowing what can be done to wake up this sorry bunch.

And where the hell are our elected officials, anyway? Only a year ago, they promised to fight for us, but that was election season, wasn’t it?

Now?

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