The neighborhood of Bayside has a leafy, suburban feel, but it’s not a stereotypical white bread suburb: there are plenty of Democrats as well as Republicans, whites make up just a third of the population, and large numbers of Asians, Hispanics and blacks call this corner of Queens home.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that there are also a wide range of opinions among residents about the direction of New York City and what exactly the next mayor should focus his or her energies on. Some recurring issues include education, jobs and public safety, but even these topics reveal stark contrasts among the residents of Bayside.
Jessica Aviles, who has three children in the city’s public schools, said she hasn’t paid any attention to the mayoral race so far but that the most important issue to her will be education. She said that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been in office too long and that she looked forward to having someone replace him.
“Education is a big part of my issues with Bloomberg,” said Aviles, who works at a nursing non-profit. “Although he makes it seem like he’s doing everything for the better, I don’t really see that, because my kids are in the public school system. I think they feel the brunt of that.”
Aviles, who has children in the second and third grades and one in high school, said she has been unhappy with the mayor’s cuts to after-school programs as well as stricter standards for students. “Not to say that our kids are not capable, but I think they’re rushing through the curriculum, so our kids are not absorbing what they’re supposed to be learning, so it’s not a good foundation,” she said. “And then we wonder why our kids in college cannot perform?”
Continue reading this week’s Five Borough Ballot coverage on the City & State website..