CB1 Seaport/Civic Center Cmte meeting – (not so) quick recap

May 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

Attended CB1’s  Seaport/Civic Center Committee meeting on Tuesday night (May 17). Saw most of the SOS steering committee there, too. We had all heard the Seaport Museum was on the agenda, but the discussion was more of a discussion to discuss it. The Committee didn’t know any more than we did from the recent news articles about the Museum’s current plans and negotiations with the City. Apparently, the Committee had invited Mary Pelzer to attend the meeting, but she sent a letter in her place, which, consistent with the Museum’s other public statements, doesn’t really say anything at all. (Letter copied below.)

Interestingly, one of the Committee’s members (the man in the penguin suit in the center of the photo below), Howard, is also a member of the Museum’s board, so he found himself on the receiving end of everybody’s questions. All he could say, and kept saying, was, There is no news, so there is nothing to discuss. Period. Um, okay…. Turns out he is probably under some obligation not to discuss the negotiations, which is fair, but then why not just say that? Did your conflict of interest get in the way?

Committee seated around the table; Howard, also on the Museum board, in center; SOS folks sitting at left and right (off camera). By coincidence, a representative from the Howard Hughes Corp, man in the black jacket in foreground, happened to be there for another issue.

The good news is that people, both on the Committee and in the audience (SOS), got a chance to state their concerns — that crucial first bureaucratic step. The majority of the Committee was sympathetic and is taking issue with the fact that the Museum (/ City) is making plans without any consultation or communication with the community — which includes groups like us and SOS — so it is on their agenda to follow up on this. They are going to try to find out more from the Museum and again ask Mary or someone from the Museum to attend the next meeting in June. Everyone was really focused on getting people to come in June.

But what about the ships, Bowne, and other assets while we’re waiting for the June meeting to roll around? The Committee said they would send out letters asking the Museum not to dispose of any assets during their negotiations.

In general, the Committee seemed really excited that so many of us citizens had bothered to attend their meeting; participation actually does seem to make a difference. It was kind of sweet. So, the third Tuesday of June — mark it, Dude!

For my part, I gave Michael Levine (the Committee’s coordinator?) all of the Friends of Bowne literature (broadside, Statement of Purpose, sample letter, blank petition page, next steps), to let them know that we exist and are taking other action (letters, petition). The Committee is also on our list of agencies that will be receiving said petition. I just hope they don’t faint from the excitement of hearing from so many of us!





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