A much more comprehensive piece to follow on last night’s Community Board 2 meeting on the Washington Sq Park Conservancy vote. The overview: The Community Board, after public comment on this issue and others, then proceeded with comment and debate amongst the board members over a resolution from the Parks Committee to approve and endorse the Washington Square Park Conservancy (“with stipulations”). After some discussion, the full board was then presented with a substitute resolution that spoke to waiting and reviewing additional information on the Conservancy (such as bylaws) and readdressing the matter at the September board meeting. This was voted down and then the Community Board voted on the original resolution to support, presented by the Parks Committee, and in favor of endorsing the Conservancy.
This morning I sent a note to Community Board 2 Chair David Gruber and C.B. 2 Parks Committee Chair Rich Caccappolo and I received a response from the Chair! I have posted the back and forth below.
Dear Community Board 2 Chair David Gruber and Community Board 2 Parks Committee Chair Rich Caccappolo:Whatever all the arguments are ‘pro’ and ‘con’ of the Washington Sq Park Conservancy, for Community Board 2’s Parks Committee to vote on this body without seeing the bylaws, for one, and ignoring public comment and concerns, and then for Community Board 2 as a whole to: ignore the letters by two elected officials, public comment, numerous questions and concerns, and then turning it around to — “we can’t turn away civic-minded people, they will just do it with out us” (the horror of that vs. having a proper, reflective, inclusive process), well, I’m really shocked. I feel that you fell down on the job and role as representing the community, and as stewards for the park.
Response from Community Board 2 Chair David Gruber:
You are certainly entitled to your own opinion, just not your own facts. More people spoke for the conservancy than against so the Board can hardly be accused of ignoring public comments. The letters of the elected officials were read, heard and considered by the board. The debate and ensuing votes were done in the most democratic even handed way possible and everybody on the Board had a full, exhaustive and uninterrupted chance to talk pro/con or otherwise.
The fact that you didn’t agree with the final vote should be not cause for you to tell me or anybody else on the board we fell down on the job or that the issue was not dealt with in a “ reflective or inclusive” way >> what are you talking about >
It’s an extremely one sided view of what happened last night and I am sorry that you choose to attack people personally or the Board in general because you didn’t like the outcome. I wonder if you will put my full response in your next blog entry so that you could act in the proper and inclusive manner you accuse CB2 of not doing.
I felt this required a response, as follows:
People came and spoke before the Parks Committee on June 5th and also wrote letters. While I realize it was important to come speak before the full board, I don’t know that people felt that they had to come again or perhaps more would have. However, I believe if substantive issues are presented then those need to be addressed first. Substantive to me would be — the fact that this group did not offer nor did the Community Board insist on seeing their bylaws, and a few others, including the fact that at Madison Square Park, it also started as an innocent “friends” group, two years later that group had full control of that park with commercialization and private influence being large issues. It’s unclear why the park administrator has a “dual role” as “executive director” of the Conservancy if they do not intend to go in that direction. No one knows what the bylaws say about “succession” of future members in the Conservancy. Getting those questions answered first before voting would be what I feel is serving the interests of the community and the park.
I am happy to post your response on my blog and thank you for your prompt response.
More coverage to follow!