Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6

March 2014, Vol 5, issue 3 

Welcome to The Sixth Sense - the monthly newsletter of Brooklyn Community Board 6, serving the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens/South Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Columbia Street Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope and Red Hook.  



Last November I was invited to give a talk in Toronto about the Community Board model in New York City, especially the community's role in planning. Toronto is experiencing growth and change, and the stakeholders want to come up with a fair, constructive way of engaging one another. It was tremendously exciting to address a hungry crowd of activists, officials, agency reps and special interests who all wanted to be part of a formal process of working together within a commonly-accepted framework. It's something we sometimes take for granted here in Gotham.


A couple of weeks ago I found myself again in the role of preaching to a choir of activists, officials, agency reps and special interests about Community Boards and neighborhood planning. The conversation took a surprisingly similar tone - in Toronto where a system does not yet exist, and in New York City where it does. Similar themes keep resurfacing (highlighted below). Perhaps because our system was devised over a generation ago and it has not been revised since. We can and must do better.


De-emphasize the product and reemphasize the process. Unless the plan has built-in flexibility to respond to changing economic, social and political climates - which most do not - once the ink dries on plans they stagnate. When people with varied perspectives, interests and agendas begin working together plans become dynamic and representative. Negotiation becomes the primary planning tool with consensus becoming the goal. When groups stop working together missed communication leads to miscommunication, which leads to mistrust and missed opportunities for everyone. The power of planning lies not in the product, but in the process.


Planning is not a short, linear process so why is the planning review process? Most of the real action takes place upstream, well before the review process, where there's still time to influence the thinking that goes into the planning. By the time a plan is presented for review, it's often too late to influence plans other than marginally. And after a plan has been reviewed by a community at the local level, there's no formal role for the community to play when changes are negotiated downstream by decision-makers. That train has left the station. Communities need to be a part of the conversation when plans are still conceptual; they should also have a permanent seat at the table to help sort out the final details. Disengagement leads to dis-ease.


Planning cannot be a democratic process; if there are winners and losers, everyone loses. The traditional didactic in planning world compares top-down versus bottom-up planning models. Many disenfranchised bottom-up advocates would like nothing more than to subjugate, a hypocritical outcome if ever there were one. There is another way. Planning should be more co-active. Communities should have a chance to minimize undue impacts while optimizing benefits. Developers should be encouraged to invest in communities and have an opportunity to earn profit. Agencies must be able to factor in area-wide and regional impacts. Government must also ensure that the planning process remain a fair, engaged, level playing field.


Everyone's values matter. Values are communicated in every planning conversation. Neutralizing judgment would significantly advance planning discussions. Like the Scorpion and the Frog - planners, developers, community and government stakeholders will inevitably be true to their nature, even if it may mean that everyone will suffer from their action. The key to moving beyond these irrational outcomes starts with an acceptance that stakeholders' true natures will not be in harmonious alignment and that pious conversion is unrealistic and divisive. With ongoing communication and respect, values can be modulated and mutual goals achieved.


They say if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. I, for one, am very excited to keep this conversation going. So who else is going to kick this can down the road? C'mon, don't be shy.



Stay active and engaged. It's our community! 


Enjoy our newsletter and please let us know what you would like to see in future editions.

P.S. If you like what you see here, please use the "Forward email to a friend" link at the bottom of the page to pass this email along to a friend or two.  There are over 104,000 residents and thousands of businesses in our district.  We'd love it if they would all sign up !
Participatory Budgeting in the District

All three of Brooklyn CB6's City Council Members - Hon. Stephen Levin (33rd C.D.), Hon. Carlos Menchaca (38th C.D.) and Hon. Brad Lander (39th C.D.) are giving their constituents an opportunity to determine how to spend $1 million in Capital funds.

If you are a resident of our district you live in one of these three council districts and are eligible to vote, even if you are not a U.S. citizen.

If you are unsure who your Council Member is, use this online address translator to find out, or call 311.  


To learn more about Participatory Budgeting, click here.


All three Council Members are hosting PB Project Expos where the public can learn more about the proposed projects:


Hon. Stephen Levin, 33rd Council District:

When: Wednesday, March 19th, 5-9pm

Where: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street


Hon. Carlos Menchaca, 38th Council District:

When: Saturday, March 15th, 12-3pm

Where: Sunset Park Rec Center, 7th Avenue & 43rd Street 


Hon. Brad Lander, 39th Council District:

When: Wednesday, March 19th, 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Camp Friendship, 339 8th Street 


Voting will take place late March through early April.
Things to do in the District 

Punderdome 3000 


Tuesday, March 4th, 7:30pm  PUNDERDOME´┐Ż, Littlefield's wild and crazy monthly pun competition. Pun-masters are determined by the "human clap-o-meter" who "accurately and scientifically" assesses levels of audience applause. Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street. Doors open at 7:30pm, competition starts around 8pm. Admission is $7 at the door and $6 in advance. 


Sunday, March 9th, 4pm The Brooklyn Youth Music Project presents a concert that will feature three 1st place winners of the 2013 Brooklyn String Competition. Each of these performers will be playing a solo with a reduced version of our orchestra. Thanks in advance for your support: the suggested donation and your generous contributions make all of this possible! St. Paul's Church, 199 Carroll Street. Suggested donation $10.


Wednesday, March 19th 7-9pm, Brooklyn Historical Society Course: A History of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal. The smells, the pollution, the local mafia lore...Joseph Alexiou will give you the history behind the truths and the myths. After this course, you'll never stroll across Carroll Street Bridge the same way again! Lecture at Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street. $8/$5 for BHS Members  


Saturday, March 22 11am-3pm. Clean & Green and Tree Giveaway. Join Gowanus Canal Conservancy at the Salt Lot for their first Clean & Green of the year! GCC will be conducting a 'Spring Cleaning' of the lot to prepare for the rest of the year. NY Restoration Project will also be giving out some trees to plant at home or locally. Stay tuned for online preregistration to reserve a tree. Location: Salt Lot, 2 Second Ave, between 5th Street and the Gowanus Canal.

Sunday, March 23 11am-3pm. ´┐ŻComposting Gowanus! March Windrow Build. Gowanus Canal Conservancy will be stewarding the Degraw Street gardens and building a new compost windrow with up to 10,000 pounds of food scraps from GrowNYC. Location: Salt Lot, 2 Second Ave, between 5th Street and the Gowanus Canal.


Wednesday, March 26, 10:30am-1:30pm New York Methodist Hospital sponsors American Diabetes Alert Day. This event is free and open to the public. Free screenings will be offered, and healthcare professionals will be available to answer questions. Carrington Atrium lobby, 506 6th Street. For more information please call (718) 780-5367.  


Thursday, March 27, 7-8:30pm
The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club will host their annual meeting at Whole Foods' "The Roof" cafe with an open invitation to stop by to discuss how the organization may improve its service or to propose ideas to initiate. At this meeting, each Activity Committee will report on the 2013 season programs and announce plans for the upcoming 2014 season.

Saturday, March 29, evening Red Hook Criterium. This annual unsanctioned bicycle race series features a field of world class road racers, track specialists, bike messengers, and urban athletes competing over multiple laps around a technical circuit. Fixed gear track bikes are mandatory requiring riders to possess both street tuned handling skills and high levels of fitness. Red Hook's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
March Madness Contests!
 2014 DSNY Golden Apple Awards: The Department of Sanitation presents their annual Golden Apple Awards which consists of three TrashMasters! contests for schools in New York City (both public and private), grades K-12, recognizing exemplary school-based recycling programs, waste reduction programs, and cleanup, beautification and reclamation projects. Applications must be submitted online by May 1st.


We are still accepting nominations for our Youth Acknowledgement Awards, and the  Robert Acito Award for Youth Involvement. Nomination forms which are due by April 5th can be downloaded or obtained from our district office.

Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6, Inc. was established in 2003 to support the work of Brooklyn Community Board 6 in improving the quality of life in the district.  Friends seeks to provide planning, advocacy, research and administrative resources to supplement the limited capacities and budget of the Community Board, thus enabling it to properly carry out its City Charter mandated tasks of evaluating the needs of the district and advocating on behalf of its communities.
Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (Federal EIN 04-3780020).

Donations are welcome and are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
In This Issue
* Particpatory Budgeting Project Expos
* Things to Do
* March Madness Contests!
* For the next meeting
* Good & Welfare
* Quick Clicks
Next General Board Meeting
photo by Bryan Bruchman
6:30pm, March 12
Cobble Hill Health Center,  
Recreation Room
380 Henry Street 
(btw Warren/Congress Sts)  
Brooklyn, NY 11201 
(Board members are encouraged to supply corrections to minutes.)  

All posted Community Board meetings (general, committee, informational, etc.) are open to the public; however, participation may be limited.

Contact the district office for further clarification.
Quick Links

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Who's Who at Brooklyn CB6
CB6 2014 Officers:
● Daniel M. Kummer,
● Thomas Miskel,
First Vice Chairperson
● Lou Sones,
Second Vice Chairperson
● Gary Reilly,
● Elizabeth Shipley,

CB6 Committee Chairs:
● Richard Bashner,
Waterfront/Community Development
● Paige Bellenbaum,
Human Services, Co-Chair
● Peter Fleming,
Land Use; Elections
● Glenn Kelly,
Parks/Recreation/Cultural Affairs
● Mark Kolman,
Education, Co-Chair
● Ariel Krasnow,
● Daniel M. Kummer,
● Robert Levine,
● Sayar Lonial,
Transportation, Co-Chair
● Rick Luftglass,
Budget;Economic Development
● Thomas Miskel,
Transportation, Co-Chair
● Gary Reilly,
Finance/Personnel & Law; Permits & Licenses
● Mark C. Shames,
Environmental Protection
● Matthew Silverman,
Public Safety
● Benjamin Solotaire,
Human Services, Co-Chair
● Suzanne Turet,
Education, Co-Chair

District Office Staff:
● Craig Hammerman,
District Manager
● LeRoy P. Branch, Jr.
Assistant District Manager 
● Liza Santiago-Sierra,
Community Associate 
● Sarah N. Phillips,
Special Projects Coordinator
● Helena Miskel,
Office Volunteer
● Mia Brezin, 
Planning Fellow
Newsletter Production:    
● Craig Hammerman,
Sarah N. Phillips,
Managing Editor
SAVE THE DATE! 2014 Volunteer Fair will be on May 29, 2014. Stay tuned for more details.

Former Board Member Albert Cabbad passed away on February 18, 2014. Mr. Cabbad was best known as a jovial global ambassador who promoted harmony and unity in Park Slope's then-rapidly gentrifying environment in the 1990's; his was a powerful, reassuring voice of compassion and understanding.  Al Cabbad will be sorely missed. Read  about Al's good work here.  

Mrs. B. Abdool, mother of Brooklyn CB6 Board Member Dolly Williams, recently passed away. Our condolences are extended to Dolly & the Williams-Abdool families.

Brooklyn CB6 Board Member Lance Pinn got a cool article and video in Fast Company about a new Brooklyn Boulders location in Somerville, MA.

Congratulations to Brooklyn CB6 Board Member Mark Shames who was recently elected President of the Independent Neighborhood Democrats!

On March 14, Pi(e) Day, Gowanus' Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe will be opening at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Library branch at the Grand Army Plaza. Books and pie. Yum!

The North Flatbush Business Improvement District and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce recently announced a formal collaboration to staff and operate the BID. Beginning March 21st, James Dean Ellis, the Brooklyn Chamber's Manager of Neighborhood Economic Development Initiatives will host Friday hours 9am-5pm at the BID office, 282 Flatbush Avenue, 2nd floor. Welcome James! 
On Monday, March 3rd, the Summer Youth Employment Program online application process will open for youth and young adults, 14-21 who are in or out of school (except graduating four-year college seniors). Submissions are not guaranteed the offer of a job; selections will be based on lottery.

Keep America Beautiful and the Coca-Cola Foundation are accepting applications for the 2014 Recycling Bin Grant Program, an initiative designed to expand and support recycling in communities across the country. The program offers bins designed for use in various settings. Deadline to apply is March 4th.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is accepting nominations for "Everyday She-ro" candidates, women making enormous strides in our community. Please supply contact information and a brief description of why you believe the nominee deserves recognition before March 5th. Honorees will be selected and confirmed by the Borough President's Office and celebrated at an awards ceremony at 6pm on March 18, 2014 at Borough Hall commemorating "Women's History Month." For more information contact Candice Julien at (718) 802-3981.

Art alert! DOT's Art Program invites artists and designers to submit proposals for the spring 2014 Barrier Beautification open call to beatify barrier sites across the City. Deadline to apply is March 7th.

Should your market-rate apartment be rent stabilized? The first step is to get the rent history of your apartment. You can also get your rent history by taking a copy of your lease to any of DHCR's offices in the five boroughs. Staff members there can answer any initial questions.

Become a School Crossing Guard. The Police Department currently has vacancies to fill. Applicants are expected to understand and be understood in English, must pass a qualifying medical exam and character investigation. Guards work five hours per weekday for a max of 25 hours per week at a starting rate of $9.88 per hour. Completed applications may be dropped off at any police precinct.
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