Parks Group Charter Alert: Community Boards Threatened

In an essay they call “The Five Cs,” the concerned New Yorkers who head the parks advocacy organization, “250+ Friends of Parks,” remind our readers about the possibility that a charter revision this year could try to eliminate community boards. Our own take is that ultimately, a Bloomberg 2010 charter revision commission will not move to eliminate community boards entirely, but can be expected to propose changes that will limit their scope or effectiveness.

The Five Cs piece is after the break, linked to a City Hall News article by Dan Rivoli about new City Council Government Operations Committee Chair Gale Brewer. As Rivoli notes, Brewer may be in favor of eliminating Council lulus, a change we think could strengthen mayoral power at the expense of the Council.

Charters, Churchill *, Community Boards and the City Council

A few weeks ago, we noted that Charter Revision, with its assumed reduction in the role of Community Boards in ULURP, is a speeding train coming down the tracks headed at y-o-u.

Okay, so it isn’t actually speeding. But as the City Council noted last week, it is coming.

Insufficient as it may be, through its inclusion of the Community Boards, ULURP offers the only opportunity for ordinary New Yorkers to exert any measure of influence over development, including the development of Park land and green spaces.

If Mayor Mike gets his way, and Community Boards are eliminated from the process, there will be no Charter-required avenue for meaningful public involvement.

We are pleased to report that several Manhattan Community Boards are now working with the Manhattan Borough President, a strong supporter of the Community Boards, to oversee the unfolding of Charter Revision and (among other things) how it affects our Boards.

We urge you to urge your Community Board, your Borough President, and your local Civic Organizations to enter this important debate.

To paraphrase that guy selling clothes on TV: “An educated voter is our best voter.”

And sooner is better than later.

* “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried from time to time.”  Ditto Community Boards.

Carol Schachter   Carol Greitzer   Carol Rinzler   Patricia Dolan

Gary Papush     Jo Anne Simon

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