The current political climate is making activists out of people who had previously paid very little attention to politics and, frankly, to community building at all. Now, if you really want to get more involved (and heed Michael Moore's advice about getting involved in politics), consider running to be on your local Community Board.
Gothamist alerted us to the fact that applications for Manhattan Community Board seats are due this week. (Note: Though the application states the due date as February 3, we confirmed with Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer's office that the deadline has been extrended to the 10th.) You don't have to actually live in Manhattan to be eligible. Even if you just work or go to school in the borough (assuming you are over 16 years of age), you're eligible to apply, which you can do here.
So what does a community board do? Well, it weighs in on a lot of issues that affect quality of life including, but not limited to, issues of sanitation and street maintenance, bike lanes, and zoning changes. The positions are unpaid and appointed by the borough president, "half based on recommendations from the local City Council member. The other 25 slots are filled through the application process," according to Gothamist. General boards meet monthly (there are 12 districts in Manhattan), but board members also sit on subcommittees that are dedicated to issues like parks, health and human services, transportation, and education, says Gothamist.
According to Brewer, her office is seeking to diversify the borough's boards, in terms of demographics as well as work/life experience. Brewer told Gothamist they're also hoping to find members who are really committed to the work. "We want people who will stick it out," she said.
Now, even if you don't live, work or go to school in Manhattan, there are options: While the Bronx and Queens 2017 deadlines have passed, if you live or work in Brooklyn, you have until February 17th to apply to be on a CB (there are 18 districts in that borough). The Staten Island borough president's office accepts rolling applications throughout the year, though we confirmed that there are no seats open at the moment.
Now, even if you don't want to be on the CB, that doesn't mean you can't (or shouldn't) go to the meetings. You can get a handle on what's coming to your neighborhood, meet local politicians and more. We lay it all out for you here.
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