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“Dear Dwellers:” Community Board 3’s Letter to Suspended Neighborhood Group

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There’s a lot of interest in CB 3’s decision to suspend the LES Dwellers neighborhood group for three months. Here’s the full text of the letter sent by Chairperson Gigi Li to the Dwellers on October 1. 


On behalf of Community Board 3, I am writing to inform you that the Board has decided to suspend the LES Dwellers of block association status for three months effective October 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. CB 3 has been working with LES Dwellers to best represent the interests of our community. But, we find that the Dwellers have not been working with CB 3. It appears that the group has been working as its own entity – contacting and communicating with applicants, attempting to impact the CB agenda without communicating with the CB, investigating and submitting materials to the SLA without informing the CB (or cc’ing the CB) so that we have best information possible in a timely manner to represent the community.

The CB must be perceived as fair and trustworthy by all. In order to be effective, the CB must also work within the parameters of ABC law to best advocate for the community. The CB has developed strategies and methods of participating in the SLA process that have been proven over time to best help our community. The LES Dweller’s main reason for not working with the CB seems to be that they do not believe the office is effective in dealing with complaints. The office is certainly overburdened and not perfect, but we must find a way to work together and communicate. If you could not do this and did not feel the office was adequate, the proper response should have been to report the situation to the Board Chair, not become a “shadow community board.”

The CB is the agency that makes recommendations to the SLA and must do so in the manner it believes is the most effective. CB 3 holds all block associations to the same standard of transparency. The CB Guidelines were developed precisely to prevent the reoccurrence of the situation with 106 Rivington where another Block Association came to the CB without opportunity for input from people who lived on the impacted block, specifically you and your neighbors. Over the past several months, we have become concerned about the manner in which the LES Dwellers interacts with applicants, the community board, and the State Liquor Authority.

To give some examples of concerns: (1) Sending two strongly worded resolutions to applicants to withdraw from the community board agenda without consulting with and notifying the community board; (2) Individual members meeting with applicants or decision-making with Dwellers on behalf of neighborhood residents in lieu of public meetings; (3) Negotiating with applicants outside of the LES Dweller self-identified area; (4) Abandoning agreed upon strategy on 500 foot hearing with community board staff.

During the next three months, LES Dweller members can continue to be involved in SLA-issues as concerned residents. We value the work that you do, but feel very strongly that all block associations should be held to the same standard and rules.

Note: the formatting of this letter has been changed but all of the text from the original document has been retained.

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  1. Li’s letter makes note of “CB Guidelines” but offers no specifics as to what those rules are. CB3 should publish those “Guidelines” so everyone can see what’s going on and how those in charge at CB3 operate.

  2. Susan stetzer you created this monster now you have to deal with the consequences!!! This bullsh** a** group was created for the sol purpose to deny the license of the real dwellers of the L.E.S the (106 Rivingtonst) applicant Jose Orlando Rodriguez . Diem, kim, sarah, and the old guy that always talks about his $2800 windows that he installed lol! Your time has come. Once everyone realizes that 97% of your group are not from this neighborhood you would be the laughing stock of the neighborhood. You bunch of clowns!!!

  3. Item 2 on that CB3 rule list states:

    “Block associations must have a publically posted meeting for every SLA application considered.”

    Are the applicants appearing before CB3 required to post similar announcements around the community for what they are trying to achieve? And is the CB required to post announcements throughout the neighborhood of all SLA and other CB hearings?

    If there are no such requirements for the Board then the requirements that are placed on concerned citizens are out of balance.

    Standard procedure within NYC CBs is that postings by the CB and applicants are NOT required (but sometimes done by the CB as a “courtesy” to the community).

    CBs should get their own operations in line before telling those in the community how to operate.

  4. These “rules” concocted by the CB3 management and chair are completely arbitrary and capricious. A cursory look at other CBs throughout the borough shows no other board has such strict and absurd requirements.

    CB3 demands a block association post flyers of their meetings?

    Stetzer and Li know full well that even the CBs are not required to do this posting, and Stetzer is paid well with nice benefits. Yet CB3 requires volunteer to do something they themselves are not obligated to do.

    There was a bill introduced a while back, requiring bar owners to post notices of their upcoming license applications. It went nowhere.

    So, liquor license applicants, with their expensive lawyers and consultants and funding, are not required to post, but CB3 expects community residents to jump through hoops that well-endowed applicants and CB3 are not required to do?

    It is no coincidence that CB3 issued these ludicrous requirements only one week after the LES’s most notorious bully, David McWater, was forced to resign, due to his false statements of residence.

    – Do Stetzer and Li expect ANYONE to believe they did not know McWater lived in NJ in clear violation of CB citywide CB guidelines?
    – Do Stetzer and Li expect ANYONE to believe they are not involved in a coverup?
    – Do Stetzer and Li expect ANYONE to believe this whole “suspension” of LES Dwellers is not being orchestrated behind the scene by McWater in an attempt to furtively still control the Board and wreck vengeance on his antagonists, those who want some of the peace and quiet on their block that McWater enjoys in his quiet NJ township?

  5. CB3 has not been helpful in regards to my interests as a resident of Ludlow St. between Stanton and Rivington. CB3 has continued to allow bars and liquor licenses to be given out freely in an already over run area. The LES Dwellers have been helpful to my building and our tenants association because they heard our concerns about our block and helped us to advocate for our needs when it was clear that CB3 as a whole was not going to help us. CB3 appears to be upset that someone (LES Dwellers) is doing the community board’s job better. The message I always heard from CB3 was that we needed to advocate for our rights as residents of the neighborhood, but clearly CB3 has changed their minds about that.

  6. I agree,Me.LES Dwellers has been very helpful in advocating on behalf of those neighbors who are living with noisy bars and clubs.On numerous occasions,their input at SLA meetings has led to some of these venues withdrawing their liquor license applications. So thankful for their assistance in speaking up on our behalf.

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