Report: Governance Meeting Number 1

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This is a "work page," not a typical information or resource page. It is intended to guide planners, managers, and operators of establish structure for this wiki and for other elements of the Initiative. That being said, thoughts about this page from general users are most welcomed.
All participants 12-22-2018.jpg

The domain was licensed by the city of New York to Inc., a Jackson Heights based nonprofit, in November 2016. committed to assist with's development and operation and to transfer control of the Initiative to an independent, locally controlled, nonprofit, Inc., by the end of the initial 3 year operating license. This page discusses and presents the report on Governance Meeting Number 1, which focused on that transition.


Creating An Inclusive Governance Architecture For

The Renaissance Charter School (81st Street at 37th Avenue)

Saturday, November 10, 9 AM to Noon

  • 9:00 bagels / juice
  • 9:30 explained (history - current features - potential)
  • 10:00 Why it needs effective governance
    • The city's license requirements
    • Establishing trust and accountability in the neighborhood
  • 10:30 How you can be part of it
  • 11:00 Breakout Groups
  • 11:30 Reports and The Road Forward
  • 12:00 End


Creating An Inclusive Governance Architecture For


All participants 12-22-2018.jpg
The following attended the meeting representing several stakeholder groups.

  • William (Bill) J. Conklin, resident
  • Joe Faillace, Executive Director, QCNI
  • Anthony (Tony) Grillo, enthusiastic supporter and lifelong resident
  • Bill Knight, development activist
  • Carolyn Ristau, development activist
  • Jeffrey Lowenhaupt, educator
  • Patti Lowenhaupt, resident
  • Bill Meehan, member, Community Board 3
  • Cristian Nava, civic activist
  • Carolyn Tran, for City Council Member Danny Dromm
  • Tom Lowenhaupt, Convener

Meeting Discussion[edit]

Following a presentation about's origin, the attendees joined in a wide ranging discussion about its current and future governance. These points, reorganization to add clarity, were made:

Standard Start-up Tasks[edit]

  • City's neighborhood names licensing program requires that domains be run by a locally based non-profit organization.
  • Inc. ( henceforth) is to be a NYS non-profit. Will likely be a 501(c)(3). Carolyn Ristau noted there are many choices, see here.
  • Bylaws must be drafted, see model here..
  • Financial plan - get grants, donation, 3rd level name sales (e.g $35/year), advertising. See here.
  • Choose pro-bono lawyer. Ask Jonathan Askin at Brooklyn Law.
  • NOTE: January 1, 2020 deadline for transition to new neighborhood-controlled entity.

Policy Items[edit]

  • Privacy Policy - see Wikipedia's vs. ours.
  • Biographies of Neighbors and other Living Persons - see how they handle Biography of Living Persons on and Wikipedia).
  • Posting privileges - should we restrict posting/editing/voting to Real Residents - i.e. postcard confirmed?
    • If Posting privileges are limited, we need a border map to determine eligibility. See Boundaries.
    • What of former residents?
  • What type of posts are allowed and not? I.e how to differentiate between an ad or promotions and neighborhood boosting?
  • Create a positive Term of Use agreement. (link to things to avoid)
  • Should be governed using a membership model or have a self-sustaining board?
    • membership model
    • self-sustaining board
  • If either model, who qualifies as a member?
  • As governance body, how complete ought the board be before making significant, long term decisions?
  • Advisory board - what are qualifications and duties?

Comments and Tasks[edit]

  • Convener's comments (Tom):
    • To foster trust in society we need to rebuild internet from neighborhood up.
    • Identifying Real Residents is key to creating trust in the neighborhood.
    • Success depends upon engagement and support by neighborhood civic groups - JHBG, immigrant organizations...
    • We don’t have representation today from all communities we are looking for; thus, ask WHO should be here and is not?
  • Difficult to finalize policy today due with reps. Need bigger group with more reps, e.g. religious groups. See CNC below.
  • Patti - if 12 on board, 10 say NO ads, 2 say Yes...
  • Community Board - Have Community Board make this well-known so as to get business reps and others. Tom is wary of going to Community Board because only applies to some CB members.
  • Bill Knight spoke about ABCD (Assets Based Community Development). He worked on community driven development (since late 1980’s). Showed short animation re ABCD.
  • Tom - We have a DEADLINE – [Jan 1, 2020 to get status for]
  • Bill K - Create a 5 member Board of “Trustees” to set this up, an Executive Board which does nuts and bolts - web page, etc. Trustees are trusted, not necessarily representative. Get odd # on board for voting purposes. Term limited, e.g. 1 year for both groups.
  • Patti - Governance and Board of Directors are not the same; Board makes it work.

Suggested To Do's[edit]

  • January 19? Governance Meeting Number 2 - 1 pm start suggested; Tom says 11 am (9 am = too early for youth).
  • How do we reach out for next meeting? Tom sent out many emails for this meeting, with only moderate success.
  • Outreach – CR Twitter, Facebook, knock on doors, bright posters all over
  • Outreach - BK Religious groups, explain to pastor; churches do NOT know each other; identify individual in each institution to approach and talk to.
  • Bill M - Do drawings of a meeting, then put on YouTube. Perhaps retain Jackson Heights' own, Jonny Goldstein.
  • Themes: “Be A Voice of the Neighborhood” -; don’t use “governance” in announcement. JOIN
  • Use marketing to attract many people, then we will HAVE to get Board created.
  • Carolyn Ristau - send newsletter; anyone who has a connection to someone in newspaper?
  • Gimmick or topic to get people interested: "Rescind tax exempt for churches?"
  • Jeffrey - We need 5-minute video (animation) to explain all; e.g. "I just moved here, my feet hurt-where do I go?" "JH of future". End with: "We need your help; won't happen without you. Start with this at YouTube.
  • Carolyn Tran stated we can use Council Member Danny Dromm's newsletter to announce our events.
  • Tony Grillo said he was very enthusiastic about participating but was unsure how. Explain how people like him can get involved - "paths to participation."

Changes Under Consideration[edit]

The following changes from the original plan are under consideration.

Expanded Council for the Neighborhood Commons[edit]

Residents, civic, education, and business organizations will be encouraged to help establish policy via participation on a Council for the Neighborhood Commons (CNC). The Council will have quarterly face-to-face meetings to review policies and programs that affect the operation of, and to review and suggest ways it might better serve the neighborhood.

Original Members[edit]

The voting membership, as stated in the original license application included the following:

  1. One member representing civic organizations
  2. A member representing the large immigrant populations
  3. One representing resident-owners of neighborhood businesses
  4. One representing business organizations
  5. A member from the cultural realm
  6. The education world
  7. Renters and home ownership representation
  8. Religious groups
  9. Activist organizations
  10. A resident appointed by the Community Board
  11. One from Inc.

Expanded Council Membership[edit]

  • Up to 5 ex-officio members from the Jackson Heights delegation to Community Board #3.
  • 10 members selected by registered online users.

Membership Requirements[edit]

All CNC members must live in the neighborhood.

Next Steps[edit]

  • Publish Report on Governance Meeting Number 1, of November 10, 2018, on establishing a governance structure
  • (Send) notifications of ex-officio seat reservations to the Jackson Heights delegation to Queens Community Board #3
  • Form organizing committee
  • Get pro bono legal help
  • Decide on board form (voting memberships?)
  • Create a NYS not for profit with IRS 501(c)(3) designation - Contact New York Lawyers For The Public Interest with a focus here
  • January 1, 2020 complete transfer

Other "Work" Pages[edit]

External Links[edit]