Why CB1Queens.org?

"A blah blah site, probably written by a girl." -- A Queens Community Board 1 member talking about CB1Queens.org during a meeting.

Most Queens Community Board 1 members still have little to do with the community. See the membership section for more about those who serve on the board (and who they give money to).

Community boards should represent the community. Because we couldn't work with Queens Community Board 1, we decided to simply try and hold the members accountable for their actions. We created CB1Queens.org as a parady of what they do.

Initially, this site was meant to be purely informative. CB1Queens.org wanted to help people in the neighborhood -- especially those not in the loop, like newcomers to New York and immigrants who may not speak English -- learn about the community board. So CB1Queens.org set out to provide real information about Queens Community Board 1. The more we learned, the more we couldn't believe.

In 2012, we went to find information about the commuinty board online and discovered that Queens Community Board 1 didn't even have a website. But then, why would they? A website involves both knoweldge of modern technology and a desire to be transparant.

But we do think things are looking up. Since the 2013 election, a new city council representative and a new borough president have appointed actual community members to the board! So here's to you, Costa! Please continue to appoint people who actually care about and represent the majority of residents who voted for you!

These were our initial goals. A few have been accomplished.

  • Goal: Queens Community Board 1 should be open to new members.
    Status: Partially accomplished! Though still a small fraction of the total, there are some new members who break the mold!

  • Goal: Board members of Queens Community Board 1 should better reflect the demographic composition of the community in terms of age, ethnicity, wealth, housing status, transportation status, and religion.
    Status: Getting better, but still a very long way to go.

  • Goal: Board members of Queens Community Board 1 should have to live in the area. Many do not.
    Status: Still too many board members who have no residential or quality-of-life interest in the area.

  • Goal: Board members should be selected in some democratic or representative manner.
    Status: The selection prococess is still arbitrary and opaque, with board members appointed by the boro president.

  • Goal: Board members of Queens Community Board 1 should be required to attend meetings.
    Status: Attendance still hovers around an unacceptable 50 percent.

  • Goal: Attendance and voting records of all community board members should be available to the public and recorded in the board's monthly meeting minutes.
    Status: No progress.

  • Goal: There should be turn limits. Queens Community Board 1 members should not serve for decades.
    Status: No progress.

  • Goal: There should be a voluntary retirement age. We have nothing against the wisdom of the elderly, but we think the community would be better served by more representation from the under 80 demographic set.
    Status: No progress.

  • Goal: Politicians serving the area should have an opinion about Queens Community Board 1.
    Status: No progress.

  • Goal: There should be less appearance of financial conflict of interest between Community Board Members, City Council Members, property developers, and business interests. Serving on the board should not have the appearance of being a patronage appointment.
    Status: Mild improvement. Certainly some of the recent appointments by Costa seem like a sincere effort to broaden representation on the community board.

  • Goal: Queens Community Board 1 should occasionally push back against the interests of property developers and fight for the creation of landmarks and historic districts.
    Status: There has been some pushback with regards to Astoria Cove. Whether this amounts to anything remains to be seen. Nothing has been landmarked.

  • Goal: Queens Community Board 1 should advocate for the transit needs of the majority of households who do not own a car.
    Status: No progress.

  • Goal: Queens Community Board 1 should appreciate, help, and support independent businesses owned by and patronized by local residents.
    Status: None that we know of.

  • Goal: Queens Community Board 1 should have a close vote on anything. Just once.
    Status: Accomplished in April 2013! (But maybe we were setting our sights too low by asking for just one.)

  • Goal: Queens Community Board 1 should stand behind and be proud of their accomplishments rather than threaten lawsuits against those who parody them.
    Status: Well, we haven't heard from the city's lawyers in a while. So that's good news. (But then they never really did have a case beyond legal intimidation.)