I’m madder than a bald eagle with hair plugs over all these people who complain about everything, but don’t take the time to actually do anything about it — no matter what “it” is!
Look, you know the people I’m talking about, because you are reading this, which means you are engaged in your community — by default! And I’m not afraid to write about these whiners — or afraid to offend them — because they’re too lazy to read it, in print or on the Interweb!
Nope, all they do is moan about things, then say “Well, you can’t fight City Hall!”
Well I’ll tell you this: you can! And I’m living proof that if you have the gall, the nerve, and the audacity to get off the couch and head out to one of the many civic meetings we have in our communities across this great former city, you can speak out, and you can make this world a better place.
Look, I’m as guilty as the next guy who would rather sit home on his rump and watch the idiot box after a trying day on the job and a lousy commute, but I never let it get the best of me. Instead, I head out and speak my mind.
And I’ve got a number of victories that prove my point — some wins coming within the past six months.
I don’t need to tell you that the Bensonhurst West End Community Council religiously holds its meetings on the fourth Tuesday of the month, unless there is some holiday in the way, or it’s the summer when some of us vacation in New Jersey.
At one of those meetings, parents that care demanded the city consider putting some form of traffic light at a school crossing nearby. Now, I’m no fool and I’m not going to lie to you and say we made a call and got exactly what the parents wanted. But I’ll tell you this: we kept calling the Department of Transportation until it finally promised to look into it. See!
Over at the corner of Harway Avenue and Bay 50t Street, there was a bad catch basin that made the corner become Lake Harway every time it rained — for years! So, for years, the Council kept calling DEP, Community Board 13, and even 311!
Then came Hurricane Irene — there was so much rain, the Post Office had to remove the mailbox on the corner out of fear that the postal worker who collected the mail there might drown!
After we had our members continually call 311, the city finally drained Lake Harway. Ha! You should have seen the faces of the parents from PS 212 when they saw the workers getting rid of the water. I sat there, atop Tornado, with the sun at my back, casting a shadow on everyone within a two-block radius (some of whom thought there had been an eclipse), beaming with pride. It was priceless.
Now’s the point in my column where I mention Assemblyman William Colton because I work for him.
Look, Bill always makes the meetings when he’s not in session in Albany; and many of our other esteemed elected officials make it a point to have their representatives there. The assemblyman always brings everyone up to date on current battles he’s fighting for, such as the PS 101 and PS 216 pre-K situation. Assemblyman Colton put the controversy into the chancellors hand, and it is still pending toward the satisfaction of all concerned.
And you know something else? At our meetings we even bring up national issues! F’instance, at the last meeting, I had brought up a bill in Congress called H.R. 4646 that I heard about that would tax every bank transaction you make to help bring down the national debt. Of course everybody was upset about this, because we don’t want the government taxing us every time we hold up the line by writing a check to pay for groceries at Waldbaum’s (You whippersnappers with your fancy credit cards can wait! Patience is a virtue!). So, at the meeting, some interweb-saavy guy from the Buildings Department checked it out on the Google and found out the bill has been in committee for two years with no sponsors, and apparently was going no where fast. Everyone was relieved. Talk about instant gratification!
Now’s the point in the column where I sum everything up in one long, run-on sentence: the point of this column is that you should attend community meetings whether they are held by the Precinct Community Council, the PTA, the Community Education Council, the Kiwanis Club, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Pythias or whomever because when you go you can learn from your friends, neighbors, local elected officials or their representatives what needs to be done to make things better for your community, so it’s best that you get involved, get active, and become a concerned citizen rather than someone who just sits around watching the network news at 6 pm when it should be on into eternity because that’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it should always be etc. etc. ad infinitum.
Shameless plug of the week: The Federation of Italian American Organizations of Brooklyn will again hold free ballroom dance classes for youngsters and seniors on Wednesday nights starting Oct. 12, running through late June. The best part is yours truly is the master dance instructor, and I’ve been doing it for 56 years, so you know you’ll be getting your free money’s worth! The Beacon Dance Program is held at the Beacon Community Center at Seth Low Intermediate School, 99 Ave. P between W. 11th and W. 12th streets. The three-hour classes begin at 6 pm. Partners are not necessary, but encouraged.
Screech at you next week!