3 thoughts on “Amidst Protests and Questions about Process, East Harlem Board Takes Vote on Rezoning

  1. What the Chairperson of CB11 and the Chairperson of the Land Use Committee and the Chairperson of the Rezoning Task Force did last night was contrary to Roberts Rules of Order in the way these three prevented a “Substitute Motion” of a straight “NO” vote (“with no considerations”) which the CB11 leadership effectively prevented to be discussed and voted on to circumvent the debacle of a “NO vote with consideration” which was designed by the CB11 leadership to basically appease the downtown real estate interest as a watered down “yes” vote. The confusion created with the “No, with consideration” was unacceptable to voting members of CB11 and the General Public. That could have been handled better by following proper procedures for dialogue with an allowance for a “Substitute Motion” and rolling the dice with a procedural vote on the issue to settle the matter fair and square. But No, the CB11 Leadership stated that the Substitute Motion can only be discussed as “New Business” after the “No with consideration” motion was voted on. Which is incorrect. This is absolutely unfair for the CB11 Leadership to do and the enraged public demanded a redress which of course Mrs. Diane Collier, Candy Vives and LeShawn Henry prevented with their capricious improper leadership. Let’s visit the legality of their actions, and open the radio waves for community comment. Robert’s Rules of Order – A Quick Guide to Motions and Voting Motions are statements that describe a proposed action or decision. Although the formality of Robert’s Rules can seem cumbersome, the process of making motions ensures that no decision is accepted without the opportunity for discussion and a vote. Typically the motion making process progresses as follows: A member of the group proposes a motion: “I move that…” • Motions require that a second member of the group agrees to consider the proposal to ensure that the proposal is meaningful to more than one person. A member of the group chooses to second: “I second” or “I second for discussion” if you want to be clear that you are not in support but want to entertain a conversation about the proposal. • Without a second the motion will die. Once the group has had a chance to speak in favor or against the motion, the Chairman will lead a vote. Types of Motions Main motion – A motion must be made and seconded to initiate discussion on an issue (a limited amount of discussion may be allowed at the discretion of the Chairman prior to a motion being made). Motions are projected onto a screen for all to see before being voted on. Substitute motion – Used to propose an alternative action to the main motion. Up to one main and two substitute motions may be on the floor at one time. If a substitute motion passes, it does away with the prior motions. If it fails, the previous motion comes back up for consideration. In other deliberative assemblies, using Robert’s Rules of Order, a substitute amendment is a form of the motion to amend. It could be debated, modified, and voted on like other amendments. A substitute can be a sentence, paragraph, section, or article within a motion or resolution, or it can be the entire motion or resolution. It could be used to improve a poorly worded motion or resolution which helps to pass it. Procedure When a substitute is proposed, both the substitute and the wording of the motion that is being substituted for are considered.[5] In this case, the substitute could be amended and the original motion could be amended. Then a vote is taken on whether to put the substitute (with any modifications) in place of the original motion (with any modifications). This makes it fair for the proponents of the original motion (if only the substitute could be considered and passed, then the proponents of the original motion wouldn’t get a chance to advocate and possibly improve their motion if that was the case). If the substitute amendment passed, the main motion as amended would still need to be voted on. Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5.

  2. It is quite common for leadership on community boards to circumvent the law, when a vote is not in favor of a political position that is being pushed. Community Boards are allowed to violate these laws, because their votes are viewed a advisory only, but these votes do have a political impact!

    There is a major difference in a No and a No with Conditions! The Boards chairs knows this that is why they push for the second. The second vote gives the rest of the agencies that must review this process wiggle room to make some minor changes and then push it forward for a vote, stating that they did make the conditions.

    This scenario is now being played out all over NYC in community boards of color. For example, in Crown Heights, the Bedford Union Armory, which is almost an entire City Block is being sold for $1. The Land use committee voted a straight no and really did nothing to look deeply into this proposal to even consider alternative “conditions”. But now the Chairperson of the Board is trying to get the entire board to vote No with Conditions!

    As far as the law is concern, the courts who are elected and pushed by the local political structure allows Community Boards to violate the law, to ensure that what the political structure wants they get!

    With the Borough President being the sole person who can appoint and reappoint board members, this practice ensures that these members especially the leadership does whatever they want as long as they follow the script of the politicians when serious votes are done.

    Often times the leadership actually benefits in a host of other ways, thus enforcing their behavior to not represent the interest of the community, but their own interest, which at times is political and financial.

    There needs to be a serious revamping of community boards to not only empower them but to make them accountable to the people!

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