My MEET THE CANDIDATE series continues! Up next we have WRITE-IN candidate Runnie Myles, who was originally part of the alternative LB Democrat slate (read more about that below). I need to give Runnie a little boost because this guy really impressed me and many others at the Civic Forum at Temple Israel last night. Please give this Q&A a read and also check out Runnie at the next forum, which I believe is October 30th. (I’ll post more information on that when I get it.) In the meantime, enjoy this!
Hi Runnie. Tell us about yourself.
I’m a fourth generation Long Beach Resident who has worn multiple hats throughout the community and have always been active in the Long Beach Community. Currently I am a Teaching Assistant and Translator for the Long Beach City School District. Growing up in Long Beach I have been involved in community outreach for many years, mainly in underserved communities. I have been an active member of the Democratic Party and until recently held a committee seat within that organization. As someone who does not deal in party politics as usual, I am now a write in candidate forced off the ballot due to false allegations of fraud and forgery. As the former President of the Long Beach N.A.A.C.P., I helped to maintain a diverse police force by advocating and demonstrating for a Police Department that is more reflective of the City of Long Beach Community at Large. I am a member of the Long Beach Community Advisory Committee as well as the Vice Chair of the North Park Concerned Citizens Civic organization. I am a Minister and Musician in The Evangel Revival Community Church as well as the Coordinator of it’s annual Gospel Explosion here in Long Beach. I have and always will be an advocate for the residents of Long Beach regardless of this election. I have also participated in the Long Beach Interfaith Community amongst so many other fine organizations and events right here on the barrier island. Everyday I feel like I contribute to the Long Beach Community by just being an example that you can maintain your integrity, help your community and thrive in doing what you love.
Why are you running for city council?
I am running because I was unanimously nominated and voted upon at the Democratic Convention of Nassau County to be the candidate for Long Beach City Council. The current candidates were appointed by Jay Jacobs. I am running for the residents of Long Beach and to give voice to their concerns and not the party leader’s dictations. I am running because I feel locals are overlooked, their needs and concerns ignored and because in the current administration, the residents seem to be an afterthought second to tourism and real estate development potential.
All candidates like to present glowing visions of the communities they are running in to have some impact, what is your realistic vision for what you would like to see LB become over the next 5 to 10 years? Please be specific and give voice to the changes you would prioritize most.
I would like to see Long Beach be governed by the residents for the residents to increase the quality of life for us all. I would like to see Long Beach as a participant in Inclusionary Zoning so that the city can remain affordable to the people that built it and make it run day to day while taxes are stabilized. I would like to see more businesses and diversity that adds to the culture of Long Beach without taking from the residents of Long Beach. I would like to see the current infrastructure improved, which may be in the works, and I would also like to see more opportunities for economic development that is smart, green, progressive and inclusive; all while becoming sustainable. Finally I would like to see something or things that generate revenue strictly for the City of Long Beach that has nothing to do with the taxation of it’s resident population.
Related to the last question, What would you say are the most important challenges that our city must address that you feel might be presently being ignored?
Infrastructure, Management and Generation of Revenues are the most important challenges that our city must address. Living in a post Sandy Long Beach, there have been lots of beautiful lamp posts and boardwalks built, but the not so sexy underbelly/underground of infrastructure does not seem to have been dealt with as thoroughly as need be. Not to mention the lack of attention to providing security of our Northern shoreline. One of the primary reasons we sustained so much damage during Super storm Sandy was due to flooding from the bayside and not mitigating the utter absence of a bulk head in North Park.
If the situation presents itself, what are the specific criteria that you will apply in the search for our next City Manager?
The holy trinity for me is Management of Personnel, Management of Finance and Residency before the fact if possible. There are hundreds if not thousands of Long Beach residents with talent that go to work in New York City everyday, and they have the potential to help make Long Beach as great as the Fortune 500 companies many of them work for and with. If we actually recruit Managers instead of hiring the guy or girl who knows our council or party leadership, we place ourselves in a better strategic position. Educationally, I would look for someone with a Bachelors Degree or higher, 5yr resident and domicile in LB, with a provision that after exercising proper recruitment protocol based upon NYS Civil Service Merit and Fitness principles, we may later decrease the residency standard as needed. Definitely look in your backyard first then cast the net out.
Our zoning laws were legislated with specific intentions with respect to overcrowding, maintaining neighborhood character and ensuring quality of life. Yet, we have seen increasing petitions for variances, iStars being just one, that seem to negate the very purpose of the laws and are driven by big money investors with deep pockets and therefore outsized influence. What is your position on the Superblock and Yeshiva development and your specific position on when variances should be granted?
My position on the Superblock and Yeshiva are that we don’t need any such development. I was against the granted variances and the PILOT program. The residents pay taxes and so should the developers. We don’t need variances on height, we have enough density already within the City of Long Beach, we never needed a tax abatement and ALL PILOT programs are to benefit the community in which developers desire to build point blank period. I don’t see how any of these decisions benefit residents. We need some of these neighborhood aesthetics to stay what they are. Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it is bad and outdated in it’s entirety. We need to look at why those rules were decided upon and as a City come together to effectuate a positive change in the Zoning Codes that benefit all the residents in our beautiful city by the sea.
If elected, would you serve your full term?
I most definitely will serve at the pleasure of the Long Beach Community until my term is complete. I have no desire to be a politician, just to serve my community to the best of my ability.
Any additional comments you might like to add.
Thank you for the opportunity to present my candidacy. Voters have a right to be informed and make a choice on ALL possible options afforded to them. I know that a write-in campaign is unorthodox, but if we don’t stand up for our own constitutional rights, who will? Thank you again for this platform.