Welcome Barack Obama – A New Bay For Us


(The Barack Obama Presidential Election Campaign Website – Partial Screenshot)

This morning, it’s hard to sleep. I, like millions of others all over this country – and all over the world, for that matter – are thinking of and celebrating our New Day of Change. Even in our little corner of the world, our eyes are twinkling with thoughts of a New Day in Sheepshead Bay.

We enjoy this moment and think of the future when our twinkling eyes will need to blink from its fixed gaze upon ‘our Obama’ and the hard work will begin. Whether you chose to go (literally, “to go”) with McCain or whether you chose Obama, our new  President will be sworn in come the New Year.

Now that Senator Barack Obama has been chosen as the one to lead us, no one can afford to forget what he has asked us to do with him. Obama is intelligent and skilled. He and his supporters ran a great campaign and we are all eagerly waiting to see who will make up his cabinet. They will work hard to come up with new plans and ideas to make the United States of America into a better, more unified nation. But, even with all the intelligence and know-how, and even with a stellar administration, it will be up to us to put those plans into action at the community level.

Learn more about our responsibilities after the jump.

Obama ran on ideas that seemed to resonate in the hearts of Americans everywhere. What about here in Sheepshead Bay? I’m not talking about votes and political support. I’m not referring to the beautiful, poetic words that sound so lovely coming into the anonymous,  American ear. Were our Sheepshead Bay ears open to this same message?

Hmm. Let’s see. Was Obama talking to us when he mentioned on his website that he and his Vice President elect, Joseph Biden, “will increase the supply of affordable housing”? I hope he was. I guess all those astronomically priced condos in Sheepshead Bay that no one can afford to buy or rent, will miraculously be reduced in price. I have my boxes packed and ready – just need to call the movers. Wait, I need to go check the flyer hanging on the electrical poles outside.

Maybe, within a while, some of the lofty landlords around our humble neighborhood will open up to some Section 8 tenants – not because they have been compelled to do so by law (not that we should be afraid to use its strong arm), but because of a shared effort to “support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities.”

Soon, because of the promised doubling of funds to the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) (did anyone here know this thing even existed and, if so, does it apply to us?), less of our low-income residents will have to make that commute to Manhattan and be able to find jobs right around here.

Don’t anyone try to ignore that fact that we have lower income residents in Sheepshead Bay. It does get tiring to constantly hear that Sheepshead Bay is an affluent-only place. The cold, dark ugly truth is: yes, poverty does exist in Sheepshead Bay. While I don’t have the numbers to substantiate this, we all know we have our small families surviving on minimum wage or even less. If you don’t know any poor people, I can definitely introduce you to a few. If it’s you, take heart, Barack Obama has promised that his administration “will increase benefits for working parents, raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011” while providing tax relief to lower and middle-income workers.

Even our Sheepshead-Nostrand public housing complex might benefit, since our new administration promises to restore cuts to public housing operating subsidies bringing them back to their “original purpose”. Now, that’s a chunk of “change” we’ll all be glad to see.

Sheepshead Bay, has its fair share of senior citizens, housed in our many major nursing homes and assisted living centers (Menorah Home & Hospital, Sheepshead Nursing Home, and Sunrise Assisted Living, just to name a few), as well as those living independently in their homes. Our esteemed citizens are promised a little more respect with the elimination of income taxes for all seniors making less than $50,000, which means that 7 million seniors won’t be burdened with doing tax returns. That’s a few extra hours our grandma can spend baking a couple more batches of our favorite holiday cookies – and who can be against that?

Even if you were on the side against Obama, you can certainly join the other side in the effort to get Obama to make good on all of these promises, however idealistic. Hurry up and take a look at all of these promised policy change mentioned in Barack Obama’s website, before the new president settles in and the website changes. You can pay special attention to the issues, urban policy, and poverty sections.

I think these are positive things we can all agree on. Whether its in our inner cities, our outer cities, here in Brooklyn, rural areas, Alaska, or just our own little Sheepshead — we have a new day, and hopefully, a new Bay ahead.

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