Chelsea Community News continues its grand tradition of greeting the passing of the baton with the posing of some questions–in this case, posed to the recently installed president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA). Sally Greenspan is the first new face in CCBA’s top leadership position in over three decades, having taken over the reigns from the much-respected Bill Borock. The immediate goals she’s set have their roots in the success story of… well, we’ll let her tell the story.
Scott Stiffler, for Chelsea Community News (CCNews): Congratulations on your new role as president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA). How did that come about, and why did accept the mantle, from Bill Borock?
Sally Greenspan (Greenspan): As you know, Bill served as CCBA President for more years than anyone had a right to expect. He also recently moved to Florida so it was simply time for a new CCBA president.
My leadership and advocacy for a new city park on West 20th Street was the beginning of my understanding of how locally focused activism could make a difference. The creation of Chelsea Green (a decade-plus process) convinced me that we all have the power to make positive change when our cause is just and we work together with others who are committed to the same goals. Around that time, Bill Borock encouraged me to create some new block associations in the 100 blocks of the more eastern reaches of Chelsea. I followed his prodding and my BA, the 100 W 19th/20th Street BA, soon became a member of CCBA.
I am proud of the work CCBA has done on behalf of the community and I am ready to do my best to continue that advocacy and good work. Several members of the CCBA community encouraged and implored me to take a leadership role. I was nominated to be President and elected.
CCNews: What do you hope to accomplish, and what are the priorities?
Greenspan: I plan to continue on the path that CCBA founders set in 1959 and Bill successfully built on during his term as President. These are unusually trying times for our city and our Chelsea Community. I would like CCBA to work aggressively in concert with our local officials to address the quality of-life issues that challenge Chelsea residents every day. Not in any particular order of priority. All issues are important, but we need to focus on the areas where we can be successful. Sanitation, rats (mounds of garbage on our streets); protection and enforcement of zoning laws to control inappropriate development; empty storefronts; unregulated open street restaurants; noise; crime; bikes on sidewalks, bikes going the wrong way in our streets; affordable housing and the homeless crises; ensure that more trees get planted and our parks continue to thrive and we keep our voice loud on the effects of climate change, storm water runoff, and how we can best be proactive in protecting ourselves and our community from the forces of nature.
We are in the process of developing a website for CCBA as a pilot effort. The hope and purpose is to get our message out about the work CCBA is doing and make it easier for the community to reach us. I want to continue to grow our membership: The more blocks, the more people, the louder our voice and the bigger the opportunity to effect issues and change.
CCNews: The CCBA recently joined the ranks of those who host candidate forums during the election process. Did your group learn anything new about a candidate, or receive assurances unique to your concerns? If so, have they come to fruition?
Greenspan: The pandemic had a huge impact on elections. Candidates were unable to connect with voters in a meaningful way—shaking hands, holding rallies, simply being with the people to deliver their messages. It occurred to me that the Zoom platform that was available to CCBA, and all of us, could serve our community by introducing the candidates via a question/answer forum. It was good for the candidates and filled an enormous gap for the voters who tuned in.
Since our questions were all issue-focused and delivered live to the candidates, the answers were informative. There were those candidates who gave informed answers and those who gave canned answers, or no answers. Not much different than we witness on national or local TV.
CCNews: Will you continue to use the Zoom format to highlight issues important to the group?
Greenspan: It’s a good tool. I see no reason not to use it when we are in a position to inform and educate.
CCNews: Thanks for your time. Feel free to mention anything of note not covered above.
Greenspan: Thank you for the platform and all that CCNews does for our community.
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