Newsletter February 2015, Vol 6, issue 2

The Sixth Sense Newsletter
February 2015, Vol 6, issue 02

Yep, it’s winter. And winter means ice and snow. Some of us remember when neighborhood kids–young entrepreneurs–couldn’t wait for those first flakes to fall so they could grab a shovel, start ringing doorbells and earn a few extra bucks doing the work most adults dread.

When you don’t clear your sidewalk you endanger emergency worker response times, letter carriers, delivery personnel, dog walkers and countless pedestrians. Most of those pedestrians are likely to be your neighbors. Shoveling snow isn’t simply a good idea, it isn’t just a neighborly things to do, it’s also the law!

In case you’re not clear of your responsibilities under the law,  New York City Administrative Code, Section 16-123 outlines property owner’s responsibilities. Effectively, you’re supposed to remove the snow, ice, etc. from your sidewalk within 4 hours after it stops falling (not counting the hours between 9pm and 7am). If it’s too icy, and removal could damage the sidewalk, you are supposed to apply some material–sawdust, ashes, salt, etc.–to make it less slippery until you can remove it. Failure to comply could result in a fine and/or up to 10 days in jail.

We know this could pose a challenge especially for absentee, elderly and physically-challenged property owners. If you’ve got a property on your block that hasn’t been shoveled, call us at (718) 643-3027, ext 204. We can track down property owner information, reach out to them and determine if they need assistance. You can call 311 to report it, but the City’s response may only be to issue a notice of violation to the property owner. And if a property owner is jailed* for failing to remove snow from their sidewalk, then who will shovel the snow?

(*Does anyone know if a property owner has ever been jailed for failure to remove snow? That must be some story.)

Stay warm, stay safe and stay active. 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!

Open Nominations for Youth Awards

Do you know any exceptional young people doing extraordinary things in our community? We want to hear from you! Each year Brooklyn CB6 honors youth who have made a substantial contribution toward improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods through direct action or by serving as a positive role model for others.

We also recognize outstanding adults who work with youth on a voluntary basis, acting as a positive role model and keeping our youth engaged in constructive activities. Eligible adult candidates can be nominated for the Brooklyn CB6 Robert Acito Award for Youth Involvement, named after our former District Manager who served from 1980-1993.

Applications are available for our Youth Acknowledgement Award and Robert Acito Award for Youth Involvement. They can be picked up from the district office during regular business hours, or downloaded from the CB6 website. The Youth Acknowledgement and Robert Acito Awards will be presented at the beginning of the May 13, 2015 general meeting.

Nominations must be postmarked by April 3, 2015.

Apply for Community Board Membership
Now is the time of year to apply for community board membership. Community boards are not self-appointing bodies. Our Board Members are all appointed by the Borough President, half of them at the recommendation of a local City Council Member. They serve voluntary, 2-year staggered terms.Thanks to recent legislative changes, beginning with this cycle of appointments 16- and 17-year-olds may now apply to become a member. Aspiring activists, organizers, political science and urban planning majors can get an early start with real-life experience.
Becoming a member is a serious responsibility that requires a commitment of time, interest and energy. When you’re ready to make that big step and apply for membership you can call the Borough President’s Office at (718) 802-3700, visit their website, or contact your local Council Member.Application deadline is February 15, 2015.

HOPE for the HomelessTHIS EVENT WAS RESCHEDULED FROM JANUARY 26TH DUE TO THE SNOW EVENT.On February 9, 2015, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will conduct the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE). DHS needs thousands of volunteers to canvass parks, subways, and other public spaces to count the number of people living unsheltered in the city. Just one night of your time will assist with the collection of vital information that is used by outreach teams to help homeless people leave the streets for a better life.The information gathered by volunteers during  HOPE 2015 is critical to the City’s ongoing efforts, but they need our help to make it possible. DHS needs more than 3,000 volunteers, who are 18 years-old or older, to give just one night of their time to help count the number of New Yorkers living on city streets. They will provide you with all the training you will need to conduct the survey on the night of HOPE plus a quick, convenient online orientation when you register to give you the basics. Sign up to volunteer for HOPE 2015 today!For more information or to register to volunteer go to  http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/ or call 311.

Newsletter January 2015, vol 6 issue 1

The Sixth Sense Newsletter
January 2015, Vol 6, issue 01

It doesn’t matter when you have big or small things planned for the new year. It doesn’t matter whether you have anything planned at all. The new year is new and that fresh slate newness represents possibilities that we’ve until now only dreamed of or have yet to even imagine. It means that maybe, just maybe, we can make headway in our struggle to evolve as a community of people. People alike and different. People near and far. People all over the globe whose common hopes and aspirations include a desire to see the end of hunger, of sickness, of injustice, of greed and of indifference. An end to sadness. An end to oppression. An end to suffering. An end to war.

We are all responsible for our evolution. It starts with an awareness that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are part of a community and in order to function we have to be able to work together and depend on one another. “One Brooklyn,” as our Borough President Eric Adams reminds us. We are one people, one race–the human race–living on one planet. We must learn to live together. Only then can we evolve in our thoughts and our being. Our future survival depends on it.

We must learn to be good neighbors. It means sometimes loaning a cup of sugar and sometimes borrowing one. There’s always give and take. But what if no one has a cup of sugar to lend? We can desperately fight among ourselves for scraps or we can organize ourselves to produce something for everyone. Look at some of the biggest challenges facing our society now and how we are handling them. So many people have become so entrenched in their views; it’s become harder to distinguish the intolerant left from the intolerant right.

Lots more people are talking but fewer people are listening than ever. Before you send energy into the universe–before you speak, before you hit the send button, before you act on your impulses–please, please please let’s just take an extra second to consider our impact. Stop. Think. Breathe. Smile. Then act.

There is an old African proverb which says if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. We are one community of human beings living on one planet. If we screw it up there will be no one left to blame. We have the newness of the new year to consider a fresh perspective. Right now it seems we need a lot more thoughtfulness than speed in order to evolve. Then and only then will we all be winners in the human race.

One planet. One race. One Brooklyn. One community.

Happy new year!

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!

Meet the New Boss
New BrooklynCB6 Chair Gary G. Reilly while on a tour
of the Gowanus Canal Pumping Station, Spring 2012

A native of Pine Barrens, New Jersey, Gary Reilly moved to Carroll Gardens in 2004 with his now-wife Mia, where he has chosen to raise a family and volunteer within his community. A product of working class, Reagan Republicans, Gary began staking out his own political views while attending college at Rutgers University where he majored in economics. Gary was the first in his family to attend college. Ultimately, he went on to get a law degree from Rutgers. While initially specializing in environmental and land use law, Gary is also experienced in a wide range of corporate matters as well.

 

Gary developed an interest in advocating for traffic and transit issues on matters ranging from much-needed, smart investments in infrastructure to local safety and mobility improvements. As his interests broadened, Gary also became more intensively active in local matters, stepping up to join the Executive Committee of his neighborhood civic group, the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association. He was also appointed to Brooklyn Community Board 6, where he had already been serving as a community member of its Transportation Committee.

 

While on BrooklynCB6, Gary has held the elected office of Treasurer, a position of growing significance given its related responsibilities for the management of the CB’s non-profit organization, Friends of Brooklyn CB6, Inc. He has also chaired the community board’s Finance/Personnel & Law Committee, Environmental Protection Committee and ever-busy Permits & Licenses Committee which, among other things, reviews liquor licenses and sidewalk café permits.

 

On his watch you can be sure that BrooklynCB6 will continue to be a leading force and voice for more livable streets, public transit and traffic improvements, and meaningful civic engagement and empowerment.

 

Please join us in wishing Gary well in his new role as Chairperson of BrooklynCB6.

New E-Waste Law

New Electronic Waste Rules in Effect January 2015

This e-waste disposal technique is not permitted under new rules
Beginning in January, it will be illegal to discard electronics such as computers and their peripherals, televisions, fax machines, VCRs, DVD players, printers/scanners, video game consoles, MP3 players, tablets, and small servers in the trash or at the curb. See the NYC E-Waste website for details.

The Department of Sanitation is sending a mailer to all New Yorkers that explains the electronics disposal ban and lists recycling options.

We recommend that our residents take advantage of our local drop-off site the Gowanus e-Waste Warehouse operated by the Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC), conveniently located at 469 President Street (corner of Nevins Street) in Gowanus. The warehouse is open five days a week including: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 5pm, Wednesdays from 12pm to 7pm and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.

For a modest fee LESEC is also available for special collection events in collaboration with local groups. These events are often sponsored by local civic associations, elected officials and other community-based organizations. If you are interested in organizing an event, please contact LESEC at (718) 858-8777 or reuse@lesecologycenter.org.

HOPE for the Homeless

On January 26, 2015, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will conduct the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE). DHS needs thousands of volunteers to canvass parks, subways, and other public spaces to count the number of people living unsheltered in the city. Just one night of your time will assist with the collection of vital information that is used by outreach teams to help homeless people leave the streets for a better life.

 

The information gathered by volunteers during HOPE 2015 is critical to the City’s ongoing efforts, but they need our help to make it possible. DHS needs more than 3,000 volunteers, who are 18 years-old or older, to give just one night of their time to help count the number of New Yorkers living on city streets. They will provide you with all the training you will need to conduct the survey on the night of HOPE plus a quick, convenient online orientation when you register to give you the basics. Sign up to volunteer for HOPE 2015 today!

For more information or to register to volunteer go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/ or call 311.

 

Newsletter December 2014, Vol 5, issue 10

The Sixth Sense Newsletter
December 2014, Vol 5, issue 010

I love this time of year. The days are short and the nights continue to grow longer. The winter solstice is my favorite time of the year. And it’s not because of the holidays–although I do count the “solstice” among them–it’s simply because of the mystery of the long, dark night. The solstice unites us as a species, all of whom are traveling on the same blue marble circling around the same bright sun.

We are so fortunate to live and work in a district with such a rich diversity of people and ideas. Where some old-fashioned notion of neighborhood still resonates strongly, even as we consider the bright and promising future of our communities. Where there’s room enough for old-timers, newcomers, and folks who are somewhere in-between. After all, really, aren’t we all somewhere in-between?

Our neighborhood civic and merchant groups continue to thrive as newcomers join old-timers to become part of the engine that drives local community engagement. Just look at all of the opportunities to get together as a community to celebrate together–whether it’s at our annual Brooklyn CB6 Holiday Party (please come, or consider making a year-end donation to our non-profit organization), or any of the many other warm and wonderful local events listed below.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is to attend the annual Paul Winter Consort’s Winter Solstice Concert to enjoy hauntingly beautiful world music, heightened by a majestic setting, complete with a warm sense of renewed faith in spirituality and humanity. I’m so grateful for another chance to howl at the moon together. Aroooooooooo!

 Celebrating the solstice there is only one race–the human race. Language, culture, and dogma yield to the forces of humankind striving to evolve as a species. We pause to celebrate the most basic, common Earthly experience. When the moon dominates the sun for time in the sky. When nocturnal creatures celebrate. When the harvest is in and people begin wrapping themselves in layer-upon-layer of clothing and outer garments. When body heat really means something. This is perfect weather for snuggling, cuddling and lounging around with friends and loved ones. The smell of wood burning, the crackle of leaves crunching under foot, and the brisk feeling of cold air hitting the lungs.

Ah, winter! Welcome back again my friend.

Happy Solstice. See you on the other side!

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

Newsletter November 2014, Vol 5, issue 9

The Sixth Sense Newsletter November 2014, Vol 5, issue 9

It’s November. Our time to leave our mark on the community before we hibernate for winter. We’re busy trying to get as much outdoor work done as we can before the weather turns against us. We’re harvesting. We’re gathering up leaves. We’re replanting. We’re nesting, purging and settling in for the season. How will you leave your mark?

November is also the month dedicated to raising awareness about men’s health issues. It’s been renamed  Movember, a portmanteau of “moustache” and “November.” Across the globe men and women are busy raising funds while men let their facial hair grow. So far New Yorkers have raised over $140,000 to help.

It’s our community. Make it beautiful. Keep it safe. Stay involved! 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!

 

  Solarize Brooklyn CB6 is a program to help residents and small businesses ‘go solar’ and save money. This program will provide education about solar, guidance on the process of installing solar, and group discounts from a competitively selected installer.  Solarize programs use economies of scale so that as more residents and small businesses sign up to go solar, all participants receive a greater discount. Curious about how much solar you could install on your home or business? Visit the NYC Solar Map to find out.   Solarize Brooklyn CB6 is in the process of launching (Fall 2014) and will run through the Spring of 2015. To learn more, please complete this form to be notified of the program launch and volunteer opportunities to help solarize the Brooklyn CB6 community.

 

NYC’s New Speed Limit 25 MPH

  As of November 7, 2014, the new default speed limit for New York City will be reduced from 30 MPH to 25 MPH wherever there are no posted speed limit signs. The existing gateway signs that read “NYC LAW SPEED LIMIT 30 UNLESS OTHERWISE POSTED” will be changed to new signs that reflect the new lowered speed limit.   Some larger streets, such as limited access highways or major arterial streets, have posted speed limits of 30 MPH and above; these will remain in place while the Department of Transportation evaluates these locations. Some smaller streets where traffic calming measures have been implemented, like schools, are signed for speeds less than 25 MPH. All streets that do not have a posted speed limit will have a speed limit of 25 MPH on November 7th.   New York City is reducing its speed limit in order to make the city safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, and help meet the City’s goal of bringing traffic fatalities to zero. Data shows that driving at or below 25 MPH improves drivers’ ability to avoid crashes. Pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 25 MPH are half as likely to die as those struck at 30 MPH.   The penalty for violating the speed limit will not change. The penalty for exceeding the speed limit for most drivers ranges from $150-600 depending on how many miles per hour over the speed limit the motorist was traveling, and how many speeding tickets the driver had previously acquired.   For more information about the City’s efforts to reduce traffic fatalities and improve safety, known as Vision Zero, visit www.nyc.gov/visionzero.

Newsletter October 2014, Vol 5, issue 8

Visually, October is arguably one of the most beautiful months in the City. We get to enjoy nature’s bounty of colors through the fall foliage. As Camus observed, “Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.” We’re also fortunate enough to live in a community well-endowed with spectacular art made by the hands of local residents–amateurs, hobbyists and professionals alike. We’ve also had some important contributions from our government as well, notably, the Department of Cultural Affairs which oversees the City’s Percent for Art program, the Department of Transportation which has several different art programs, and even the MTA’s Art for Transit program.Public art is a wonderful asset for any community. It can transform otherwise dull spaces into exciting places, like the permanent lighting installation on the Hamilton Avenue Bridge control towers. It can spotlight, illustrate and message important local themes, like the “Las Bicicletas” temporary installationaround Manhattan and Brooklyn (including sites in our district at the Bartel-Pritchard Square, Atlantic Avenue & Columbia Street, and at Valentino Park & Pier. Or it can introduce an element of fun and whimsy in an otherwise ordinary circumstance, like “Unparallel Way” on our 4th Avenue medians. Our community is blessed in many ways having an abundance of public art and artists, and people who welcome these expressions which enliven and enrich our community.Every October our Gowanus artists feature a self-guided tour of the many gallery spaces within the corridor. And each year this weekend event seems to grow and grow with more artists participating and more patrons, art-lovers and curious on-lookers who have wondered exactly what was going on inside those interesting spaces. This year is no exception. Check out our listing of “Things to Do”, and make time to take in some of these treasured amenities in our own backyard.P.S. The Department of Transportation just alerted us to another temporary installation that will be installed on October 14th at the Union Street Bridge over the Gowanus called “Bridge of Flowers” by Scott Sturgill. It will only be up for one month. Here’s a rendering to give you some idea of what to expect:

Art is everywhere!

Thank you artists, one and all, for adding your energy, beauty and soul to make our district a better place to live, work and visit.

It’s our community. Make it beautiful. Stay involved!

P.S. To all who celebrate we wish you Eid al-Adha, G’mar Chatima Tova, and Peace. Always.

 Enjoy our newsletter, and please let us know what you would like to see in future editions.
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Solarize Brooklyn CB6

Currently, solar is providing 330 MW of power in New York State, with an additional 94 MW of solar approved or near completion. Of the 5 boroughs in New York City, Brooklyn solar has the highest unit cost to generate. Increasing supply can help drive that price down. That’s where you come in.

Solarize Brooklyn CB6 is a program to help residents and small businesses ‘go solar’ and save money. This program will provide education about solar, guidance on the process of installing solar, and group discounts from a competitively selected installer.

Solarize programs use economies of scale so that as more residents and small businesses sign up to go solar, all participants receive a greater discount. Curious about how much solar you could install on your home or business? Visit the NYC Solar Map to find out.

Solarize Brooklyn CB6 is in the process of launching (Fall 2014) and will run through the Spring of 2015. To learn more, please complete this form to be notified of the program launch and volunteer opportunities to help solarize the Brooklyn CB6

Newsletter September 2014, Vol 5, issue 7

September is a time of transition from the doldrums of Summer to the energetic Fall – we prepare for the harvest, notice the loss of sunlight, and the long nights that lie ahead. This typically means getting ready for school, reactivating ourselves in our schools, houses of worship, civic groups and other volunteer-driven organizations, exercising democracy at the polls, and generally reconnecting to our homes and our community. Time to settle in for the Winter’s hibernation. Put away those air conditioners (make sure to clean your filters), barbeques, outdoor furniture, and replace your Ron Jon’s with long johns.

Here at Brooklyn CB6 we’re welcoming back our members from their summer hiatus, and looking forward to them all getting up-to-speed in their new committee assignments. We’ll be considering and reviewing budget priorities and submitting our requests next month. And we’ll soon begin planning our annual holiday party – which has become a fundraiser for our non-profit organization, Friends of Brooklyn CB6, Inc. Our Friends group has grown steadily over the last few years as the Community Board’s fundraising arm, enabling us to provide you with enhanced outreach (like this newsletter!), research, planning and advocacy resources.

In short, we always have a lot to do and not enough time to do it all. That’s where you come in. Have you considered volunteering for your community? We can use people with special skills* and talents who are willing to lend a hand. We’re always looking for programmers, app developers, graphic artists, writers, researchers, administrators, fundraisers, planners – all sorts of people who have time, energy and enthusiasm to spare.

Give us a call. Send us an email. Drop in and visit. We’ll do our best to match your interest with our need. Together, we’ll continue to accomplish great things for the community we love!

It’s our community! Get involved. Stay active!

*We are thinking about upgrading email servers and have been weighing the pros and cons of Gmail, Microsoft 365, and our current provider, SmarterMail. If anyone has any real experience assessing organizational needs and would be willing to help us think this through, we’d appreciate it if you’d be open to talking to us. We’ll even buy you a cup of coffee! Please email or call Sarah at (718) 643-3027, ext 200.

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!

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We Want Your Budget Suggestions!

CB6’s Community Budget Suggestions is an online tool that gives citizens a stronger voice in budget decisions that affect their lives and community.

CB6’s Budget Committee will meet in October to discuss and adopt its budget priorities for the City’s fiscal year 2016.  The full Community Board will vote on these priorities at their October board meeting.  Budget requests will be submitted by the end of the month to the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget for further consideration.

Submit your ideas using the budget map between now and the end of September for them to be considered at our October budget committee meeting. Please comment on your neighbors’ suggestions too.

For those of you who are curious about what we submitted last year, you can see our list of FY2015 budget priorities and read the agencies responses on our Budget Committee’s homepage.

The map is available at www.BKcb6budget.org.

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Real Energy Conservation: LED Bulbs

by Thomas Diana

As an engineer, I am frustrated to read how poorly energy savings products are marketed and how misguided cost saving plans are implemented. LED bulbs are a prime example. A 40-watt equivalent LED light bulb costs around $16 (60-watt LED bulbs are around $20), and will last 30 to 50 times longer than a standard 40-watt incandescent bulb and 5 to 6 times longer than an equivalent compact fluorescent (CF). Avoiding the physical effort and waste of changing and disposing 30 to 50 incandescent or 6 CF bulbs should be worth the expense of the LED bulb. Yet, as consumers we think only of saving money in the next two minutes at the register.

The marketing people at the bulb companies think it is a great idea to tell you that the bulb will last 47 years at 3 hours a day, where you would save $87 over the life of the bulb based upon 11 cents a kilowatt hour, the national average cost of electricity. Most people are not looking 47 years into the future, so this marking plan simply backfires.

In reality, most bulbs for the hallways, kitchens or outside lights are on for 9 to 15 hours a day, so now the bulbs will last “only” 9 to 15 years, which actually means that you will emjoy the projected savings over 9 to 15 years instead of 47 years.

The marketers use 11 cents as the electric rate, because it is the national average, while here in New York it is actually 25 cents a kilowatt hour. This means the manufacturers $87 savings calculations shown on the package is actually 227% more (i.e., $198 over the 9 to 15 year life of the bulb). The bulb pays for itself in just one year so you can actually enjoy the next decade of not changing the bulb plus the associated energy savings.

Utility assistance programs rely on sending seniors and low income households cash money or rebates to help with their electric bills. The checks are cashed or applied directly to the electric bill in the short term. Both parties would be better served if the recipients were directly mailed the monetary equivalent of actual LED bulbs. These LED bulbs would continuously save the senior or low income household over the next decade.

Do you want to save your friends some money when they buy their first house or rent their first apartment? Instead of shopping from their house-warming or wedding registry, as a present you can buy them a complete set of LED bulbs for their new place. Their bewilderment should turn to joy when they realize their savings over the next decade.

Editor’s Note: The Solarize BrooklynCB6 campaign, our effort to help residential and business property owners in our district convert to solar energy, is in the process of setting up presentations at local civic and merchant group meetings. Please come and learn more about how you can lower your bills and reduce your impact on the environment too!

Newsletter June 2014, Vol 5, issue 6

The Sixth Sense Newsletter
June 2014, Vol 5, issue 06

Unofficially, summer’s here.

Schools are winding down, vacations are on the horizon, and many of our interests migrate outdoors with the changing weather. Before long we’ll be in the “dog days” wondering how long until the fall.Meanwhile it is a good time visit our local parks and waterfront and rediscover the great outdoors. Please be smart about it. Now’s the time to load up on the sun screen, maybe add a brimmed cap to your collection, and treat yourself to a new water bottle too. A little sun is good to boost those Vitamin D levels but be careful not to overdo it.

In an urban environment it is easy to overlook our connection to the natural world. Aside from the recreational benefits that accompany the change of seasons, the sun can also help us save money and live smarter. To that end, we’ve just partnered with the City’s Economic Development Corporation and City University of New York to embark on a Solarize Brooklyn CB6 campaign.

In the coming weeks we’ll be enlisting the assistance of our civic and merchant organizations to help develop and evaluate a request for proposals to select solar energy installers to work in our district. We will be assisting with the outreach to our property owners to market the service and help enroll them for installations.

Through our involvement in this campaign we have the potential to accomplish some important gains for our district. First, we want our property owners to be able to take advantage of their group purchasing power for cleaner, solar energy which can be as good for the pocketbook as it is for the environment. Second, to demonstrate our support for this rapidly growing market across New York State and attract the solar industry here as an economic development opportunity. Third, to develop more familiarity with the application of the technology, help raise awareness and educate ourselves more on viable cleaner and greener options for energy generation. Additionally, to use this growing awareness to push for the more rapid deployment of redundant solar systems as a resiliency measure, especially in Red Hook and Gowanus.

Want to learn more about solar? Some helpful links:
Solarize New York campaign
CUNY’s Solar Map (estimate your property’s solar potential)
EDC’s Breaking Solar Barriers in NYC
Filing for a Permit for Solar Installations
NYC °CoolRoofs

With solar on the horizon, the sky’s the limit.

Stay active and remember to hydrate often. It’s our community!

Newsletter May 2014, Vol 5, issue 5

The Sixth Sense Newsletter
May 2014, Vol 5, issue 05

What motivates someone to get involved? An awareness that they are in a position to help? A desire to build, support, or protect something that’s dear to them? A belief that their contribution can make a difference? Maybe a combination of all of the above?

Every couple-few years, CB6 has partnered with some of our greatly motivated officials and institutions to help put together a Volunteer Fair where organizations who rely on volunteers will set up a table, and members of the community who are looking to volunteer can “window shop” for opportunities. It started with a small group, Assembly Members Brennan and Millman, New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn CB6, the Park Slope Civic Council, and Congregation Beth Elohim. And from there, it grew.

Each successive time we’ve held this Volunteer Fair, we’ve had more organizers and sponsors, more participating organizations and the number of attendees has mushroomed. What does that say about us as a community? Clearly, we place a high value on helping others. Our community is full of many wonderful people of generous spirit. People who think globally, and act locally. We step up, even before there is a crisis or a need. And when there is a crisis as we have witnessed repeatedly ours is a community that gets involved and stays involved. This is a community that isn’t helpless and won’t wait around to be rescued. This is a community that’s creative, resourceful and empowered. How fortunate are we to be able to live, work and be of service here?

This year’s Volunteer Fair is being organized by Assembly Members Brennan and Millman, Borough President Adams, State Senator Montgomery, Council Members Lander and Menchaca, New York Methodist Hospital, Prospect Park Alliance, Park Slope Civic Council, ThinkBrooklyn, and Brooklyn Community Boards 6, 7, 12, and 14.

Stay active and engaged. It’s our community!

Put Your Money Where Your Map Is!  

Brooklyn Community Board 6 is proud to announce the launch of Community Budget Suggestions: Put Your Money Where Your Map Is, an online tool that gives citizens a stronger voice in budget decisions that affect their communities and lives.

The map is available at www.BKcb6budget.org.

The Community Budget Suggestions map is used to gather ideas from the public for local capital improvements related to buildings, roadways and open space. This map is intended to increase community involvement in the local budget process and ultimately make the City’s budget process more democratic and responsive to local needs.

Input your suggestions for neighborhood improvements on the map, and the ideas generated will be considered by Brooklyn CB6 when it prepares and prioritizes its annual budget requests submitted to the City.

Community Budget Suggestions was created by OpenPlans, a non-profit that builds open source civic infrastructure to create technology for more efficient, responsive, and inclusive government.

Got an idea for a capital improvement? Put it on the map!

For further information or questions please contact Mia Brezin, Community Board Planning Fellow, at budget (at) BrooklynCB6 (dot) org or (718) 643-3027, ext. 203..

Newsletter April 2014, Vol 5, issue 4

The Sixth Sense Newsletter
April 2014, Vol 5, issue 04

April come she will. Which means that Earth Day is just around the corner. I’ve already started my spring cleaning. Lots of old clothes to give away, hangers to return, and dry cleaner bags to give to an artist friend who uses them to protect her drying pottery pieces. Time to clear out the cobwebs, throw the windows open wide, and let in the fresh air. Spring is here, the days are getting longer, and we’ll soon be shedding those extra layers of clothes to give our bodies new sources of that elusive Vitamin D. Yes, Dr. Frankel, my self-proclaimed pasty dermatologist, I’ll wear my hat and SPF 30.

That’s 5 year old Craig Hammerman with his Mom and Dad (on his shoulders) at the first Earth Day in Prospect Park, April 22, 1970.

Something magical happens this time of year when people emerge from their hibernation. They take a fresh look at their surroundings. They notice what’s changed. Lots of potholes out there. The streets are still dirty from the constant black ice and weeks of missed sweeping. The neighborhood could certainly use some polish and elbow grease. Keep in mind what Gandhi said about being the change you want to see in the world. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get ‘er done. Grab a broom. A can of paint. Plant some seeds and bulbs. We can do this!

Remember what happens if you start singing a few bars of “Alice’s Restaurant”? If only one person did it, people might think them a bit odd. If three people did it, they might think it was an organization.  And if fifty people did it, well, folks might think of it as a movement. Let’s start our own movement to put the shine on our neighborhoods. It’s not too far-fetched an idea. You can get anything you want.

Join the Park Slope Civic Council on April 27th for their Spring Civic Sweep, 10am-2pm, at Washington Park, 5th Avenue and 3rd Street to clean, plant and beautify the neighborhood. And bring your e-waste to dispose of. If your civic group doesn’t organize a neighborhood cleaning day, then do it yourself. Pick a date, send an email to friends and neighbors, circulate a flyer, tell everyone you see. We can do this ~ no excuses!

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.

Newsletter March 2014, Vol 5, issue 3

The Sixth Sense Newsletter
March 2014, Vol 5, issue 03

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.