No entry: Press barred from Gerritsen Beach meeting

Via Courier Life

The Gerritsen Beach Property Owner’s Association closed its normally public monthly meeting to the press and non-members last week, making good on a promise it made in the wake of a local blogger’s unflattering coverage of the neighborhood.

At last month’s meeting, outraged parents demanded the meetings be closed after local blogger Dan Cavanagh reported on their children’s Halloween rampage on Gerritsen Avenue, where a city bus, several cars, and passersby were ambushed by egg and potatoes.

“Cavanagh’s unscrewing the community,” said Renee Cullen at the meeting. “He makes the community look like garbage. He has all of us arguing with each other, and he just sits behind a computer screen and laughs at us.”

It was that attitude that led to this months lock out.

But the move didn’t sit well with association president George Broadhead, who said he couldn’t attend the meeting because he had a previous engagement, but who nonetheless was against the restriction.

“I’m all for transparency,” Broadhead told this paper. “But there is an executive board and it was their decision to close the meeting to members only. They’re within their rights.”

On paper, perhaps: because the group, which dates back to 1922, has never received public funding, it can legally close their meetings to the public. In fact at one time residents had to show membership cards before being allowed entry.

But meetings have been open to the public for at least the last decade — ever since the group began asking elected officials and the NYPD to attend so they can discuss issues of concern in the community.

Last week, the Association took a draconian approach to their invite list: the executive board wanted to lock out everyone who wasn’t consider an ‘A’ member, or a homeowner. The Association considers Gerritsen Beach residents who rent ‘B’ members.

Yet according to Gerritsenbeach.net — the blog who’s posts about the neighborhood prompted the Association to circle their wagons — the board ultimately opened the meeting to all members.

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Gerritsenbeach.net was not allowed inside, noted Cavanagh, even though he’s a resident.

“Groups like this should do their business in public unless there is a compelling reason not to,” Cavanagh wrote in his post. “And an inability to be open when people are watching is no such reason.”

Speaking anonymously, a person claiming to be a member of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owner’s Association member said he expects the meetings will be open to the public in the near future.

“Many of the residents want to keep things to themselves, but they have to realize that with all the information that’s on the Internet, it’s impossible to do that.”

Besides, a meeting just isn’t a meeting without a visit from Councilman Lew Fidler!

“I don’t know if [keeping the meetings closed to the public] is a permanent policy change … at least I hope its not,” Fidler (D-Marine Park) said. “When you close your meeting room and say you don’t want videotaping inside, it means you say one thing in public and another in private.”

48 comments to No entry: Press barred from Gerritsen Beach meeting

  • Clay

    I forgot how Renee passed the blame onto Dan. Dan doesn’t make GB look bad, Renee does (especially with the video), her kid does, etc.

  • Anonymous

    “Cavanagh’s unscrewing the community,” give me a break, so you’re saying then it’s okay for you or I mean some to screw the community. As far as I see he didn’t, lie, hurt or cause any pain to anyone

  • Eileen

    Putting your head in the sand, pretending to live in a community where there are no problems, solves nothing. I can’t think of a neighborhood, or family for that matter, that doesn’t have teens who tend to get out of hand at one time or another, especially on Halloween….it’s the nature of the beast. I feel the residents of Gerritsen Beach have been hurt more by the fact that they would have us believe their kids can do no wrong, than having it out in the open and maybe doing something about it, like explaining to the neighborhood children the dangers in some of their pranks. Like it or not, Gerritsen Beach residents are part of the Brooklyn family and they could show other communities how it’s done. This can only be done if “A” and “B” residents join together for the good of the neighborhood they both love.

  • Anonymous

    If they close the door to the press then they have to close the doors to the politicians and local department heads. In other words folks, we just lost our collective voice to our elected officals and City agencies.

    • Anonymous

      This at a time when raw sewage is being dumped in our waterways.

      • Arthur Borko

        There is room to cover all news. The internet is not running out of room.

        • JP Zenger

          It is a shame that Gerritsen Beach is so paranoid about people knowing the truth about the Beach. The only people who don’t know the truth are those who censor information about the beach. Gerritsen Beach has a reputation that is known far and wide. You can’t stop the truth with the existence of the Internet. And, if there weren’t the Blogger, there is the paper and ink paper, the Bay News. Our News, with Doreen Greenwood trying to sell real estate has a basic conflict of interest and doesn’t have the nerve to cover the news, whether balanced or one sided. She doesn’t even cover news outside the Beach.

      • Anonymous

        This is horse shit. Everyday with this horse shit! Boy – was Joe right!

    • Anonymous

      We had a voice and used it long before the meetings were opened to elected officials and city agencies. It’s how the streets were paved and sewers were installed. It’s how the schools and parks were built in the 50′s. It’s how lots of things got done. And these same officials can be heard or spoken to at the community board meetings. It’s been nice having them coming here, and it was even nice to be able to view the highlights of meetings on this website for people who can’t make meetings, for whatever reason. BUT, it meant it was also open to non-members, and people from outside the neighborhood, people who just want to bash us, call us white trash and comment on things that they assume and don’t really have all the facts on. What good is this doing us? GBPOA is a private organization, for members only. Let’s keep it that way.

      • Anonymous

        What other private club or organization, one that you have to fit certain criteria to join and pay dues to, puts their entire meeting on the internet for all to see? None. And it is ridiculous that people from outside the neighborhood, with no stake in anything that happens here are demanding that these meetings be aired for the entire world.

        • Anonymous

          A quick search of youtube I found a ton of private orginazations, civcs, towns, villages etc that put their entire meeting on the “internet” for all to see.

          “an inability to be open when people are watching is no such reason”

        • sorry for you all

          I cannot beleive that all of this crap is starting over again..If GBPOA makes a choice to close its meetings to people who either don’t live here, or have no stake in what happens here . Then so be it…To all of the outsiders like the Seabees from California, or ding-bats from Indiana or the Leftists from Sheepshead Bites who are still annoying us like summer bugs…We managed for over 80 years to run our own affairs in GB.. It is true, we got our streets paved,sewers installed and many other projects done all without GB.Net. ,Sheepshead Bites, or YouTube.. We will always have the Politicians coming around anyhow, public meetings or not..Because that is what they do best,come around for your vote
          Another comment, even our own U.S. Congress and Senate hold their meetings in secret and behind closed doors Why are they not subject to the same annoying comments that I see on a regular basis posted here about GBPOA ? If closed meetings for members only is good enough for our elected officials. It is good enough for me.

          • Trainman

            To sorry for you all:
            I can’t believe you’re going back over 80 years to illustrate what we could do here in the Beach. We barely had the radio back then, so how can you compare it with today’s technology? Would you prefer we keep our heads buried in the sand?

            We deserved the bad publicity we received because of the Halloween debacle. You say outsiders have no right to criticize the people in GB? We are not an all inclusive community and what we do here does affect the outside community. When three buses were taken out of service on that day, do you think it only affected the people in GB? Everyone from the point to E. 16th St. and Kings Highway and back were inconvenienced.

            Don’t shoot the messenger applies here more than ever. I was at the meeting on November 3, and it wasn’t only some parents who objected to GB.net, it was also two or three members of the board and a few in the audience. They acted as if GB.net vanished, all the problems we have would disappear. You and I know that’s not going to be the case, hasn’t been in the past, and never will in the future.

            As I stated on a number of occasions previously, we have rights in this country that literally hundreds of thousands of Americans sacrificed their lives to preserve and one of them is Freedom of Speech ( Freedom of the press, if you will) and I’m not about to sacrifice any them because of a few unruly children and some shortsighted adults.

          • sorry for you all

            Trainman: I agree with you on many points…Yes we did deserve the publicity on the Halloween debacle. And I do agree 3 buses were taken out of service, and that should not have happened.. What I am saying is that there was some pretty vicious personal attacks on other community members some that are still going on. Some by community members and some by people who just enjoy piling on Over 1000 comments from around the world is a little out there… Dan is not a journalist or a reporter of news… He has an agenda to attend meetings and record them. And he dose not like it when he is told “NO”.. Dan’s rights are no more important than mine are and I don’t care to be recorded…. Even with all of the new found talk about our rights.. They also come with responseability…

          • Trainman

            Sorry for you all:
            Thanks for agreeing with me about what happened here on Halloween. I also understand there have been many vicious attacks toward both sides in this controversy.
            However, what I don’t understand is what that has to do with free speech. If you believe in free speech then you must support GB.net. You just can’t support it when you agree with the argument being made. I think most of the problems we’re having with GB.net are in response to what happened here on Halloween and the way GB.net recorded it on this site. As far as I know, the remarks posted on Facebook were copied and pasted along with the photos he took of the children acting badly. Where is the slander? Where is his agenda other than reporting what actually happend here in the Beach?

            A few months back I was attending a Property Owners meeting where GB.net was being discussed and some board members openly opposed its presence at the meeting. The Board then decided that when they were discussing internal business GB.net would not report the process but when the meeting was open to the public, reporting was allowed. When the public portion of the meeting started, I observed one board member get up in disgust and proceed to leave the meeting. I felt that was unfortunate, but it was her right. I also feel if I’m allowed to attend that meeting, and if you truly believe in free speech, then you MUST allow GB.net in.

          • sorry for you all

            I do agree with the Right of Free Speech and the right of the Press to use the 1st. Amendment to its fullest extent…But as you know it is not all inclusive.. When the Press starts to draw its own conclusions on an issue and writes from its own perspective.. It ceases to be an objective force for the publics right to know…I do support GB.Net in its efforts to report on anything it wishes to report on…But there have always been restrictions placed on reporting.. Some examples would be, at the scene of a crime, or an arson fire. The Press are not allowed to come in and do thier own investigation , draw its own conclusions,and publish this information as fact…Another good example was Geraldo Rivera drawing lines in the sand to indicate troop movements in Afganistan, you would think that under his Right of Free Speech he did nothing wrong..Well the Military did not agree and sent him home…There are many examples of Constitutional Rights being abridged for the greater public good..Use of drugs in the persuit of happiness, possession of guns, are all some examples of your curtailed rights…Dan has got to understand that GBPOA is a Private Organization and that everyone wishes to be photographed,recorded and posted on his site…And That Is Their RIGHT…

          • Clay

            US Congress/Senate not having meetings publicly available? Ah, 1) C-SPAN and others, 2) The Congressional Record, a (currently) printed document of every word spoken, also available online [ABC found the largely unused paper version costs taxpayers $26 mil/yr and is largely discarded since the online version allows for easier use, such as searching for keywords, etc.], and likely other venues of easy access. I can accept the fact that there are likely meetings that are blacked out due to the nature of the topic (e.g. national security), but the majority is commonly available.

        • dawn

          Haven’t you ever head of the 1st amendment? I am sure you read and take interest in stories from all over the globe. The press has a constitutional right and an obligation to the public to cover stories whether or not they have a stake in it. In fact, the press is supposed to be objective, and that makes for good journalism. I gather you would have no qualms if you needed us to cover a story where it benefited you and the GB community.
          Dawn Zamanis, journalist

          • Not True

            This website is not objective. It posts info without researching and stirs all up to get hits to make money. It deletes comments, removes stories and only does so at the favor of the owner. This is not a News organization, it is a little kid who grew up, probably got beat up too much and does nothing but get into everyones business. Then twists it all around to make money. Many of these stories have 15 different angels and connections to them and all recent comments only focus on the video that was recorded. Most of the ranting by the individuals had nothing too do with the halloween fiasco, but rather about the fact that time and time again this blog creates an atmosphere to get neighbors fighting with each other. It is just wrong and not healthy.

          • Clay

            And neighbors don’t bicker with each other anyway?

          • Anonymous

            Dan IS a journalist and a damned good one, Bravo
            Danny!

          • sorry for you all

            Dawn : While the 1st Amendment is wonderful. And I agree that the press should be objective. I do think that when a great journalist, like yourself, takes a perspective view on an issue. Such as if our meetings should be private or open You are no longer objective but subjective..I don’t really care what you cover, it will still only be your opinion that you are putting out on community affairs.. Also while I do support all of our Constitutional Rights sometimes even the press, and a superior journalist like yourself and Dan can over reach… And that is called slander /liable And to not speak out against slander and liable would be a disgrace, to your vast journalist background…

          • anonymous

            Dawn : While you might consider yourself a journalist, and seem to proudly tout yourself as such.. I could find nothing on Google of great note that you have written as a journalist.. I did find that you are a freelance columist, writing on womens issues, and run your own blog for Divorced Women with Children..I hardly see where writing on one subject , the trials and tribulations of Dawn and her 5 sons…Qualifys you as an objective journalist.. To add I don”t see any indication of an “us” in your work that would qualify you to cover a GB community story let alone a global event.. Unless you are talking about your organization DIVAS or you and Dan doing an article on GB…. Or is your comment just a “shill ” comment for Dan and constitutional rights ?

          • Anonymous

            dawn you are an idiot. you are not a real journalist

      • Anonymous

        Keep your little club of select members (you don’t market yourselves to new home owners so don’t pretend you do). If you’d rather side with the idiots that acted as rudely as their kids at that meeting then keep your pathetic organization to yourself because what good is this doing us indeed.

        • Anonymous

          Since it’s a private club / organization I for one will wait and see who they allow to renew their membership next year.

        • Anonymous

          What do you mean ‘market’ themselves? Most communities have civic organizations and if I moved into a new neighborhood and wanted to take part in community affairs, I would ask the real estate agent or a neighbor. The meetings are held the first Wed. of every month in the basement of St. James church. You can join there. Years ago, there were block captains, who went door to door for membership, but I guess there weren’t enough volunteers to keep that up. The way it is now, with most couples both working, it’s harder for people to have time for that. GBPOA also used to have a newsletter, but that is expensive and again, not enough volunteers to write it, print it, and deliver it. Alot of people pay up their membership when they join Kiddy Beach in the spring. Please don’t complain about not being marketed to. If you are proactive, you will find it to be a most welcoming place and they will be glad for a new volunteer. Maybe you would like to join and market the org. to newcomers, since you know what it is like to be one. It would be nice to have a Welcome Wagon type thing where new families get a basket of goodies, the traditional bread, salt and wine and maybe some menus from local business or welcome coupons.

          • Anonymous

            Pardon me but I’m a little confused , if GBPOA doesn’t do a newletter, doesn’t have block captains, and doesn’t do this or that then what do they need volunteers for? It seems their board has everything they want controlled under control. Its the 21st Century no more need for newsletters, there is the net, why aren’t they on the internet.

          • Anonymous

            GBPOA keeps quiet and chooses to not avail themselves of the potential members that use THIS website. If they were interested in new members or the opinions of the larger GB community they could easy open a simple website for resgistered homeowners only. GBcares, and the Vollies send out envelopes once a year requesting donations/membership, where’s the GBPOA mailer? Its probably just a natural fear of losing control but one of these days this community will have to step into the 21st century.

          • Anonymous

            GB used to have a newspaper too, but the owners left the beach 15 years ago because of threats after the man had to shoot a person who attacked him.

  • [...] The homeowners’ association in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, closed its normally open monthly meeting to the press — and the public — in a huff over coverage by the award-winning Gerritsenbeach.net blogger, Dan Cavanaugh. “He makes the community look like garbage,” one member said. “He has all of us arguing with each other, and he just sits behind a computer screen and laughs at us.” [Courier Life via Gerritsenbeach.net] [...]

  • trainman

    As a Gerritsen Beach resident I find the behavior of the Property Owners Association to be shortsighted and sending a dangerous message regarding our rights as American citizens. The extreme behavior by some parents at the November 3, 2010 meeting regarding their children’s Halloween “performance” resulted in all of the bad press we, as a community, received. What I read and viewed on TV was embarrassing for me and my family but it was the price we were paying for the outrageous behavior,
    (Or as their parents called it, “Fun“) those relatively few children exhibited and their parents loud defense of it.

    How does our Property Owners Association want to deal with this?
    By sending us back to the Stone Age?

    It is GerritsenBeach.net who should be applauded for bringing this “tradition” out in the open the way it did. If it was not for Daniel Cavanagh we would not have had the awareness the rest of the community had towards the parents, who not only tolerated but, apparently, in a few cases, encouraged and endorsed their children’s bad behavior.

    To the GBPOA:
    Open up your doors again to Daniel Cavanagh and
    GerritsenBeach.net before you lose the respect and confidence of your fellow residents.

  • Anonymous

    these kids need to be punished for what they did. the parents are outraged due to embarassment of their kids being caught. they need to be punished because if one of the rocks or potatoes they had thrown had hit the mothers that had kids or strollers, it could have killed someone. The parents need to be charged for not monitoring their kids and be held accountable for the damages their children caused to the community. The police should have no problem charging them, since the kids actually bragged about their misdeeds on facebook openly. If this goes unpunished, what is to stop these kids from holding someone up at gunpoint? where does the nonsense stop?

  • If The Shoe Fits

    All Dan did was report what he observed. He did not “unscrew” the community. He does not control anyone else’s behavior nor did he “portray” anyone unflatteringly.

    They actually behaved that way all on their own. They didn’t care how they acted then, and they feel their position is justified, they were certainly loud enough, and now they’re upset that people HEARD them? They were the ones with the “message” ( we can and do act any way we choose, but don’t want any repercussions or consequences) and now they’re upset that people didn’t care for it? Perception is everything.

    How does that saying go: “If Joe DiSimone starts cursing at a meeting, spouting nonsense, and it’s not videotaped, does he actually make a sound? ”

    Rather than ask their members to adhere to certain guidelines during meetings (allowing others to speak, taking turns, minute limits, etc.) the property owner’s association would apparently prefer to allow itself to be held hostage by a few unruly, irresponsible members, making the whole neighborhood look ignorant and tolerant of disruptive and violent behavior.

    Interesting way of handling a problem.

  • beach bum

    what happened to the report that the meeting was closed for gbpoa elections?

  • Anonymous

    Fidler made a great point! and called out the GBPOA on their antics.

  • Josie

    If it wasnt for GB.net I would not be aware of events good n bad that go on in my neighborhood GB. So thank you Dan for all the reporting you do. I think most of us want to know whats going on. Merry Christmas to you and your family

  • JT

    How would I become a “member” of the GB Property Owners Association? Seriously. I have owned (well, I guess the bank REALLY owns) for a few years here. Can I just show up with my license or mortgage statement? Can anyone help me out?

  • peggy

    It’s Christmas! Love one another. George your’re the greatest, as is Danny. Your good example will rub off. The great Agnes Kennedy is looking down at you guys. Every generation has had a rough spot with teens, it’s inevitable. Difference now is that we can,t swat them. And, God forbid, a neighbor chastises your kid , It becomes a lawsuit . Have a wonderful Christmas and remember to pass it forward.

  • beach bum

    thank you Peggy. Most of these naysayers and complainers know nothing of the history of the GBPOA, the voluneers that helped improve GB through the years. Nowadays voluteers get cut to pieces on this site.

  • George Broadhead

    “It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings”. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

  • Sharron Clemons

    Dawn : While you might consider yourself a journalist, and seem to proudly tout yourself as such.. I could find nothing on Google of great note that you have written as a journalist.. I did find that you are a freelance columist, writing on womens issues, and run your own blog for Divorced Women with Children..I hardly see where writing on one subject , the trials and tribulations of Dawn and her 5 sons…Qualifys you as an objective journalist.. To add I don”t see any indication of an “us” in your work that would qualify you to cover a GB community story let alone a global event.. Unless you are talking about your organization DIVAS or you and Dan doing an article on GB…. Or is your comment just a “shill ” comment for Dan and constitutional rights ?

  • GBPOA keeps quiet and chooses to not avail themselves of the potential members that use THIS website. If they were interested in new members or the opinions of the larger GB community they could easy open a simple website for resgistered homeowners only. GBcares, and the Vollies send out envelopes once a year requesting donations/membership, where’s the GBPOA mailer? Its probably just a natural fear of losing control but one of these days this community will have to step into the 21st century.

  • Anonymous

    Sharron: I have done research on Dawn as well. She isn’t as wholesome as she makes herself out to be. She uses the media to make people feel bad for her. I have spoken to people that know her personally and the general knowledge is that she is a drug addict that receives money from the state of New York and spends it on booze, pills, and cocaine. Neighbors interviewed confirm multiple visits from police and complaints of loud and shameless sexual trysts with many different men in her home with her children in the next room, as well as minors in her building able to hear her screams of passion. Nice role model supermom. You don’t fool anyone. Get sympathy and pity somewhere else. I don’t feel bad for you. I feel bad for your children

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