Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Meeting marks a step toward a broad-based Brooklyn civic organization, with AY activists playing a role

In my New York Times Complaint Box essay last month, Powerless in Brooklyn, I wrote, "We lack meaningful local government, as well as broad-based media and civic organizations."

In a comment, Raul Rothblatt of the Four Borough Preservation Alliance (and an Atlantic Yards activist), wrote, "We are currently working on facilitating cooperation between groups in Brooklyn..."

Indeed, a meeting was upcoming, as I had been told. (I learned of it after I'd written my essay and had it approved.)

First meeting

Now the Courier-Life reports on the first meeting, in New group would 'take back borough' Brooklyn-wide civic group sought:
Leaders of civic organizations form across Brooklyn say they want to take back the borough from bureaucrats and bad developers — and they’re going to start a new group to do it.

“Nobody is going to give us power. We are going to have to give it to ourselves,” said Raul Rothblatt, the executive director of the Four Borough Preservation Alliance, which organized a meeting at which civic groups from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay and Bay Ridge to Canarsie were represented.

Worried that the voice of Brooklyn residents can’t be heard in a city where they are treated like second-class citizens to those in Manhattan, organizers say the new group, which has not been named yet, can be a bullhorn for the borough. A Brooklyn Bullhorn, if you will.

“We share information, then we start screaming,” said Jim Vogel, of the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, a similar group representing 40 organizations formed in response to the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Fort Greene.

Philip dePaolo, the president of the New York Community Council, agreed.

“We need to take the bull by the horns here in Brooklyn, because we’re voiceless here,” he said.
Can it work? The agendas of civic groups vary--it's not all land use--but, at the very least, talking might lead to a platform of priorities.

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