The next Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association meeting will be closed to the public and only open to A members.
Because the group, which dates back to 1922, has never received public funding and is not a non-profit, it can legally close their meetings. However, actions speak louder than words. The group acts and intends to be a local civic organization and this is a dangerous slippery slope they are headed down. They intend to have the community come to them with issues that can be voiced and hashed out in public. If the meeting is closed the public will not be able to voice their concerns and be heard. Similar election meetings have occurred previously without closing the meeting.
Since Halloween subsequent meetings in the community are critical. There are other important issues that need to be addressed or discussed such as the traffic light, marine park having a possible high school, all of the homes currently under construction.
There is no reason for anyone to be less than candid just because the public is watching.
OK, rant over. Forgive me a little righteous indignation. I believe that the Property Owners is retaliating against the community and reporters because of a video that surfaced of last meeting. Despite promises of transparency and a member vote, they are closing the meeting. Groups like this should do their business in public unless there is a compelling reason not to. And an inability to be open when people are watching is no such reason.
Update: (12/2/2010 – After Meeting) Sticking to their guns the Property Owners half closed the meeting. They actually uninvited elected officials and the local precinct from the meeting. They have gone on the record saying that if elected and police were in attendance it is a public meeting. However they did not follow through as any one who wanted to was also to attend the meeting. Non-members as well as A and B members were in attendance in the meeting no one was asked to leave. It was discussed that GerritsenBeach.net – specifically – cannot record meetings anymore.
One interesting item was discussed but it’s like a tree falling in the woods. If no one is around to hear it – did it make a sound?