I went to my first community board meeting recently. I’ve gone to civic assocation meetings, town hall meetings, interviewed local politicians but this was something I never had the chance to do.
I found the whole process so distasteful, that it took me a few days just to find the words to exapl int. I felt the CB had a fair amount of disrespect and contempt for the community they are supposed to represent, and almost felt like crying — they were that out of touch, sarcastic, and cruel.
Letters by community members were read aloud as members of the board mocked ‘they should get a job and stop writing letters’, and when one board member asked that other members visit sites that request special permits for additional building (there were only FOUR on the agenda), they sneered that they were too busy and wouldn’t even look at the photos he took of the sites.
They applauded themselves, after martyring themselves — pity them, they volunteer for this oh so difficult position. Many of them did not want everyone from the civic association to speak, they requested that one woman speak for all but when the room cried out they let them all speak. And then they wanted to limit them to a minute and a half each, but it was pointed out (by the chairman) that they were allowed three. They haughtily slapped down the timer and stood watch to make sure not one resident dare speak too long.
It’s enough to make one turn to nihilism — seriously, if the process is so rotten at this simple, basic level, what hope is there for the rest of the borough, the city, the state, the country?
The sad thing is when I wrote about this on another board, someone IMMEDIATELY knew which community board I was talking about. What does that tell you?