UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Local community boards provide everyday New Yorkers an opportunity to get involved in local politics, but attending these meetings is often impractical. Whether it's a work, school or family commitment, plenty can interfere with taking two or three hours to attend a weeknight meeting.
The Upper East Side's two City Council representatives have allocated funds that will make keeping up with the local community board much easier for neighborhood residents. Councilmen Ben Kallos and Keith Powers are each committing $20,000 to have Community Board 8's monthly full board meetings streamed live for the next year, the politicians announced Wednesday.
Public broadcast station WNET will attend the meetings — starting with the board's Oct. 17 meeting — and stream them live from the station's Youtube channel. The station has streamed 86 community board meetings across the city in the past two years.
"As the public media station for the New York metropolitan area, WNET is proud to partner with Council Members Kallos and Powers to provide this public service to the community" Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, said in a statement.
Funding will cover live streams for the community board's next 12 full board meetings. The full board makes the final vote on resolutions that have been passed by community board committees. Resolutions span a wide range of issues such as housing, public safety, business licenses and transportation.
WNET employees will attend the meetings and stream them using professional camera and sound equipment.
Kallos and Powers decided to fund the live streams at Community Board 8's request, a spokesman for Kallos said. The streams will be publicized by Kallos and Powers on social media, the spokesman said.
"Community Boards have so much on their agenda, that residents may not know about, though they may care deeply, having a livestream with a video to watch whenever it is convenient will help keep residents in the know," Kallos said in a statement. "I hope that video of full board meetings will help improve the level of discourse among Community Board 8 members and representation for residents."