Letter to the Editor: Public Meetings Should Provide In-Person, Online Access

November’s 10th Precinct Sector B Build the Block meeting saw its Neighborhood Coordination Officers hold the public meeting at the High School of Fashion Industries’ spacious auditorium–but there was no online option. | Photo by Scott Stiffler

Re: Coming Cornucopia is Cause of Community Council’s Cancellation (news, Nov. 23, 2021)

To the Editor:

Thank you for the recent article in Chelsea Community News on local police Precinct 10 [Community Council] meetings in Chelsea. Unfortunately, as stated in the article, the last two meetings were only in-person. The November meeting (cancelled) also posted as in-person only. As mentioned in the article, the in-person meetings in September and October had very low attendance (September, only 2 participants).

I have advocated for hybrid meetings [presented as an in-person and livestreaming event] to allow for full community participation, especially inclusive of those with varying disabilities or health issues, who cannot attend in-person meetings.

Governor Hochul has issued a regulation to continue online meetings of public events such as community boards and MTA, (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) through January 15, 2022, and there has been strong support and testimony for making it permanent, at a recent public meeting in Albany.

I have contacted [10th Precinct] police officers in Sector B before the November meeting with no reply, but also exchanged emails with Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Robert Gault, who acknowledged the problem and issue—but the November meeting was still posted as in-person only. The venue, a public school [W. 24th St.’s High School of Fashion Industries], surely has the needed technology for hybrid, as last school year, NYC public schools were virtual. There is time to make this next, and future meetings, hybrid and all-inclusive.

There is an uptick of crime in Chelsea with concerns among many residents and businesses. It is important that all the affected community be able to voice their concerns and suggestions.

Thank you,

Miriam Fisher (Chelsea resident)

 

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