Kayde’s Spark 4.22.12

Throughout our readings we have seen numerous benefits of Civic Associations and the various ways in which they benefit the communities that they serve. In this week’s reading by Sanjek, we see groups such as the KAAMQ (Korean American Association of Mid-Queens) and the CCQ (Ciudadanos Conscientes de Queens) emerging to create a different service to the community, that is the unification of minority groups. Sanjek discusses how members of KAAMQ worked to involve itself in the political process in order to address the police brutality (mainly against Koreans) in the community.

Lucy Schilero describes the diversity that evolved in Elmhurst and stated that “we have to live with one another or we won’t survive.” I feel that in this respect, the Civic Associations truly worked to the improvement of the community. They allowed individuals from various ethnic backgrounds to work together to improve their common experiences in the neighborhood. Sanjek also describes the youth groups that arose in the community in effort to get the kids off the streets and the suggestions of setting a curfew to minimize drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers.

I have no doubt that Civic Associations benefited the communities that housed them in a myriad of ways. However, when reading the Gregory selection, I found myself frustrated with the individuals living near in the LaGuardia airport vicinity. I understand their plight with the noise and the “not in my backyard” sentiment, but I found myself frustrated that they were so reluctant to the extension of the airport runway. The foundation of the Port Authority’s request for an extension was based on safety regulations that the airport was currently NOT meeting. Under the Federal Aviation Administration, runway safety overruns were required to be at least 1000 feet, with the LaGuardia airport having overruns only 100 feet long.

Why did the community not see the importance of having the overrun extended? As I said, I understand the idea of not in my backyard, but would the community prefer to put future flights at risk just so they don’t have to see the overrun filled in? I would think that after the Continental jetliner crashed into Flushing Bay, it would be a wake up call. Certainly Mayor Giuliani saw the importance of the issue as he pushed it as a priority. And yet members of the Civic Association were still reluctant to the overrun extension. Because of this, I find myself agreeing with attorney Blaha who was quoted by Sanjek saying that members of community boards are “prejudiced against development” (p 269).

What do you think? Should their be certain issues that are not the community board/civic association’s issues to worry about? Or should the board’s concerns about quality of life issues be viewed as a priority in all circumstances?

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