Is Robert Reaching?

Posted on October 10, 2009 |

Robert Jackson of District 7

Robert Jackson of District 7

Council Member of District 7, Robert Jackson, has subjected himself to a similar plight of Mayor Bloomberg for this year’s electoral run. In attempting his newly-found eligibility for a third term, he has come to face much scrutiny, developing a characteristic of “arrogance” and “self-absorbance” according to some. Those behind him continue to have faith in what he has the ability to do, while others express him as being “formerly an effective community activist, who proved ineffective as a legislator.”.

Jackson contributed over 20 years in assisting over 55,000 union workers with the assurance that their rights and benefits as an employer were being protected.  More than a decade prior to Jackson’s electoral win, he became more involved, becoming an active member of the Parents’ Association. Soon to follow, he was elected to Community School Board 6 in 1986. But Jackson made the most buzz in 1991, when he, then President of CSB6, and Michael Rebell, (then Attorney of CSB6), founded CFE, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.  Robert took the stand as lead plaintiff alongside CFE, suing the State of New York for their negligence to properly fund public schools of New York City.

In 1995, the court ruled in the favor of Jackson and CFE, stating that the requirements of the New York State Constitution demand that all children of the state must be offered a “sound basic education,” including the institutions of a high school education that competitively challenges and prepares students for employment and civic participation.  The ruling remained in 2003, after the New York State of Appeals ruled in its original favor.

In 2001, Robert Jackson was elected for his first term (2001-2004) as Council Member of New York City’s 7th District including parts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. In the Council, he prides himself on his work for the “safety and well-being of his constituents.”  He sits as the Chair of the Education Committee, and Co-Chair of the Council’s Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.  He serves as a member of several committees, including Contracts; Housing & Buildings; Rules, Privileges & Elections; and Standards & Ethics Committees.

With all of the great contributions Jackson proposes for the future, it cannot go unsaid that while he is campaigning for a third term, he doesn’t have too much to show for it.  One of his most damaging criticisms surrounds the hike in prices, and reduction in time-efficiency of the MTA, of which he was supposed to be influential in preventing.   “When people complain there are not enough trains and buses, you can point to all the state Assembly members,” said Councilman Robert Jackson according to Newsday. “It was right at their doorstep and they did not stand up for New York City.”

Though Councilman Jackson made the initiative through statement, disappointingly enough, he did not make enough of a stand for the public through action, such as backing the  Ravitch MTA Rescue Plan proposed in late 2008.  In fact, the only proposal he single-handedly introduced himself is his much publicized Small Business Preservation Act in February 2009, which has yet to pass.  It’s critical to the survival of bodegas and independent businesses, giving commercial tenants leverage in negotiations with their landlords, and just as critical to Jackson’s credibility for many.

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