Candidates: Don’t take Staten Island lightly

Candidates: Don’t take Staten Island lightly

With just about six months to go before Election Day 2013 in New York City, and without an incumbent mayor on the ballot, potential candidates for that position are popping up all over on Staten Island, jockeying for position.

That’s fine with us. By all means, include Staten Island in your list of primary campaign stops. We know we deserve your attention. All we ask is that this borough’s major concerns not be taken lightly.

There are some serious situations in place on Staten Island that are wreaking havoc on the local economy and that require more than platitudes. And now is the time for these candidates to study those situations and speak with clarity and specificity on the ways they will address them.

Most recently, a bevy of mayoral candidates sat on a panel at the annual Business Conference hosted by the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. Pardon our skepticism, but we were prepared to be underwhelmed. Generally speaking, those running for office are notorious for saying what they think the crowd wants to hear, without making any firm commitments or detailing any plans. And for the most part, that’s what happened.

However, to our surprise, a few statements were made that caused us to perk up. For example, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stated, flat out, that a large portion, if not all, of a major city agency needs to be located on Staten Island. And Joe Lhota said that the full force of mayoral power should be exerted toward wresting control of the New York City bridges under its control away from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and putting it in the hands of the city itself. These are interesting and concrete ideas that could have enormous positive impact on our local economy.

Let’s not get drawn in by party politics, or blinded by empty rhetoric. As the Staten Island business community, we can be a powerful voting bloc. Let’s make sure all candidates know that we will be holding their feet to the fire on the issues that matter to this community. Let’s make sure they know that we expect nothing less than detailed answers BEFORE Election Day on how they plan to address them.