Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Please join your neighbors ...

You are an influential person in the city of Albany.

You want Albany to be a clean, safe and decent place to live and raise our families. You want Albany to remain economically viable -- for residents and neighborhood businesses. You want Albany to offer a good quality of life, with fewer vacant and abandoned buildings.

These are among the primary missions of our government, our neighborhood associations, our school districts, and other institutions.

Too often, however, these institutions talk about "solving neighborhood problems" -- one at a time.

Neighborhood problems feed on one another. Neighborhood solutions must support one another.

I hope you will join me in establishing a meaningful forum to discuss and address civic concerns -- through a new group that is apolitical, non-partisan, and which seeks common ground within and among our neighborhoods.

One of our first efforts will be to mobilize a large number of citizens to turn out at the June 25 meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals to consider the application of the Fort Orange Club for the demolition of 2 buildings on Washington Avenue, a parking lot expansion, and an expansion of their building.

The Hudson/Park, Center Square and Washington Park neighborhood associations, Common Council member Richard Conti and Historic Albany Foundation have already been involved in efforts to preserve these buildings and maintain the streetscape.

Now, we need to drive home the point that the demolition of viable, historic buildings for the benefit of a few is not healthy for the rest of the city.

Several letters to the editor and a supportive editorial in the Times Union have outlined a number of arguments against demolition, and over the next few days, we will be making additional information available on a new blog, http://www.neoalbany.blogspot.com/ .

NEO -- in a new or different form or manner.

NEO -- Neighbors Empowered Online.

On June 10, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee to write a Declaration of Independence. Won't you join us today in declaring your independence from "the way things have always been done" -- and help us establish NeoAlbany?

Bill Moyers said it best ...

Democracy without information creates the illusion of popular control while actually enhancing the power of the state and the privileged interests protected by it.

Please sign up today to become part of NeoAlbany.

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