Alexis de Tocqueville in 2011

h/t Adam Bermudez for the awesome title!

Last night I popped into my local Community Board meeting (the Transportation Committee of Community Board 8 to be exact).  I did not have high expectations.  I suppose I expected it to be something like those insanely boring City Commission meetings I had to cover for my college radio station; hours upon hours of prattling with nothing much accomplished.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised.  In just over an hour the committee addressed issues ranging from adequate parking to safer crosswalks to noise complaints.  Not life or death issues for the most part, just average citizens trying to improve their quality of life.

There was an 87 year old woman who is awakened at 5am every morning by an idling delivery truck.  A local senior center whose residents are too scared to cross 96th St. because of the lack of an adequate crosswalk.  These are real people with real problems, and the Community Board is there to help.

Community Boards are not government entities.  They cannot enact or enforce laws.  The make recommendations to city agencies and those recommendations are given a lot of weight.

When a group of local residents complained about a company’s delivery trucks idling on the their street, making noise and blocking traffic, the Board resolved to invite company representatives to their next meeting, along with folks from the local police precinct, the DOT and the DEP.  The hope is that they will find a solution that will satisfy everyone involved.

This is what a civilized society looks like.  This is Democracy.  I walked into that meeting last night with low expectations.  I walked out just a little bit prouder to be a New Yorker, and an American.

To find your local Community Board, click HERE.