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September 18, 2013- By Steven E. Greer
We ran across an astonishing video of a recent CB3 meeting, whereby an organized group of residents called the LES Dwellers opposed a liquor license application. Then, a CB3 member angrily charged the crowd after a woman insinuated he had a conflict of interest for selling a bar to the group requesting a liquor license before his CB3.
Briefly looking into the LES Dwellers a bit more, it seems that they have created a powerful force in their community. Battery Park City might learn a thing or two from them.
The Lower East Side is jam-packed with sleazy bars. As the area gentrifies, educated citizens are saying “enough is enough” with all the new liquor license applications and are opposing the CB3, which has as members powerful bar owners and real estate professionals. (This conflict of interest is common amongst New York City Community Board members who are appointed by elected officials who take campaign donations from the business owners.)
A Lower East Side blog reported on the recent success that the LES Dwellers had in blocking all of the liquor licenses they opposed. “…at last night’s SLA subcommittee meeting, the real story was the LES Dwellers showcasing their strengthening muscle on the nightlife landscape. Everything they opposed was denied by the CB3 panel.”
Battery Park City is unique in New York City in that it not only has the appointed members of the CB1 to contend with, but also has the appointed members of the Battery Park City Authority board. The BPCA makes the important decision for the neighborhood, but almost no one in the community attends the board meetings or is aware of their decisions. As a result, one scandal after the other has developed leading to reduced quality of life for BPC residents.
Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake each year in the BPCA budget (derived from taxes on BPC residents), and important issues such as maintenance of the parks or school overcrowding at stake, no successful BPC residents association has sprung up. The CB1 and BPCA decisions go mostly unopposed despite examples of incompetence and conflicts of interest. Factors for this are the wealth of the BPC demographic, the adequate but not ideal quality of life, and high percentage of renters not owners.
The barbarians remain subdued and are not pounding the gates of the BPCA, so to speak, despite the BPCA being a “taxation without representation” scenario. How long will this last?
Please post your comments below.
Update September 25, 2013- CB3 longtime member McWater “resigned” from the board.