An open letter to Community Board 3 from LES Dwellers

BY Diem BoyD  |  It is our view that Manhattan’s Community Board 3 and all block associations and community groups should be working together to solve the very real problems of our neighborhoods. For the LES Dwellers, this means improving the quality-of-life problems resulting from some of the worst liquor saturation in the United States.

A pattern of evolving block association regulations never voted on by the full board has challenged the organizing ability of residents, hindering the democratic process that C.B. 3 is mandated to uphold. Certain members of C.B. 3 leadership have taken action to quiet the very voices they are responsible to hear from among the community. The shifting “rules” culminated in the questionable “suspension” of the LES Dwellers in October. The representatives justified the three-month “suspension” with claims that the Dwellers have overstepped our role as a community group by contacting license applicants and the New York State Liquor Authority directly, and not adhering to the confusing criteria C.B. 3 leadership has instituted as to block associations’ geographic representation.

As Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer expressed in a thoughtful letter (available on our Web site along with other “suspension”  information, at http://lesdwellersupension.tumblr.com), even if a community board had the legal authority to put in place such a “suspension,” the lack of a transparent, “deliberative process” here would be worrisome. Moreover, the S.L.A. — in a meeting with the Dwellers and C.B. 3 leadership last week — has confirmed the rights of community groups to contact the S.L.A. and license applicants directly.  This very meeting netted tangible solutions to strengthen the democratic process and to create a more transparent and open format. We look forward to these recommendations being shared with all members of C.B. 3 and swiftly adopted.

It is clear that the way forward here is through greater transparency and a more democratic process. With that in mind, we would like to invite all members of C.B. 3 to do the following:

1.) Attend our next public meeting — and any future meeting — in order to better understand our mission, our membership and our methods. Our meeting schedule is posted on our Web site,  http://www.lesdwellers.org/Calendar.

2.) Contact us directly with any questions or concerns by e-mail at info@lesdwellers.org.

3.) Visit our Web site, http://www.lesdwellers.org, where you can learn more about our organization.

We remain confident that once C.B. 3 members know more about what we hope to achieve, and what we believe is our shared goal of neighborhood improvement, we can move beyond this impasse toward a productive future.

Ultimately, our goal and commitment is one and the same, a better tomorrow for the communities where we live.

Boyd is founder, LES Dwellers

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8 Responses to An open letter to Community Board 3 from LES Dwellers

  1. The correct link to the http://www.lesdwellerssuspension.tumblr.com/ which will bring you to all “suspension” information, including the SLA meeting info.

  2. It's time for everyone to take the upper hand and work together to regain some quality of life in the LES. I compliment Diem Boyd for her attempt to reach out to CB3.
    Since the LES Dwellers were disbanded by CB3, I have felt very disenfranchised. The Dwellers were/are a ready source of information on applicants, rules, etc. and their emails, conference calls, Facebook posts and meetings kept me informed and for the first time, connected with my other neighbors.
    During the past few weeks since the LES Dwellers suspension I see bar applications on my block listed for consideration at the CB3 SLA meeting. Suddenly there seemed to be no information about them, or communication among the neighbors that live on my block. Are bar applicants no longer required to outreach to the community?
    I asked CB3 for help with getting information about the applicants and arranging meetings with them and neighbors, they say they have too much work to do to help with arranging meetings, but will try to get the bar's lawyers to call me about meeting with neighbors. Putting the lawyers for the bars in charge of outreach to the community does not seem ideal.
    Thankfully it appears the LES Dwellers have not given up and will continue to spearhead this effort to regain some quality of life and seek economic diversity in our neighborhood.
    The leadership of the LES Dwellers has been amazing and enabled many neighbors to participate in decisions related to their community. It's time for CB3 to find a way to work with the Dwellers.

  3. The LES Dwellers were far too kind here (although that says something quite positive about them, doesn't it?). The truth is that CB3 is out of control and the Chair, Gigi Li, should be forced to resign. Li has no respect for the community, for the Manhattan Bororugh President, for the Constitution or for the limits of her own power. I was at the board meeting last week and, as one member pointed out, there is nothing in the by-laws that permits Li to suspend anyone EXCEPT board committee chairs (look it up – I did – it's on the CB3 website!). The idea that if the by-laws do not say Li cannot do something, that she is empowered to do it is wrong, unreasonable and not practical. That is why the by-laws GRANT specific powers to the officers. Li has shown she does not have the ability to properly chair the board – she should step aside (or be removed) so someone else can have a a try. They couldn't do any worse!

  4. http://lesdwellerssuspension.tumblr.com/
    (scroll down to second part)

    Describes the recent meeting with NYS Liquor Authority Commissioner, LES Dwellers and CB3. Many of the things CB3 objected to (Dwellers contacting SLA directly, use of electronic media, and Dwellers contacting applicants directly) the SLA approved and condoned.
    Since these were the reasons for the CB3 suspension ("acting as a shadow community board") the suspension should be removed ASAP so the LES Dwellers can get back to work on the important stuff..

  5. If CB3 ever had a positive brand, it is surely in the crapper now. Like any govt entity, the only way to turn this around is for some folks at the top to step down. It's beyond time for leadership to take responsibility for their actions.

  6. Gigi needs to be replaced effective immediately. Brewer, Mendez, and Chin should be looking for Stetzer's replacement.. and Palitz, Berg, Hewitt and the rest of the old guard should not be renewed. These two links say it all for me! They show how completely corrupt, manipulative (Stetzer flat out lies on the tape) and self-serving Li and Stetzer are:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/19AYLCrrqLXm81

    Thanks Emily for the SLA section in this blog http://www.lesdwellerssuspension.tumblr.com/. Very telling!

    Time to elect new leadership from the ranks. It is time for CB3 members who have long been silenced, left out of the loop to stand up to Li, Stetzer and the rest of the pathetic lot. Time for CB3 to stop being an embarrassment. And Stringer should be so offended by these antics. I bet he will remember them, rest assured.

  7. Those calling for a leadership change at CB 3 are spot on! Li is using the community board to advance her own career interests, aided and abetted by her cronies like stetzer, crane, and berg–and her new buddies that she has maneuvered into power so that she can control them. When Brewer starts, she should clean house and appoint folks who are working on behalf of the community, rather than on behalf of their own selfish interests.

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