Sunday, June 07, 2009

Don't like your Association? Start another one!

In the recent discussion over Community Associations, one Friendship Heights activist offered this advice:

...membership in neighborhood associations is voluntary and no such
group has monopolistic powers. If you think an existing neighborhood
organization represents a small out-of-touch group, you can always start another one.

That seems to be a standard operating procedure in upper Northwest, where there is no shortage of Community Associations representing the masses.

There is the Alliance for Rational Development and the Committee to Stop Tenleytown Overdevelopment which have no mention of who it is, who the leadership is, any bylaws or dues, how to join etc.;

The Friendship Neighborhood Association features a little used, closed Yahoo Listserv and no other website or additional information.

There is the Fort Gaines Citizens Association of which there is virtually no information.

The Friendship-Tenley Neighborhood Association which seems to exist, or have existed in the early 2000's. but appears to be moribund now.

Then there is the Tenleytown Historical Society, and the Tenleytown Neighborhood Association whose site hadn't been updated since 2005 and seems to be a dead link anyhow - the TNA is a member of the Federation of Community Associations;

Finally, there is Ward 3 Vision which is a campaign, not a membership organization.

So when activists claim that "six different organizations who passed resolutions" are the voice of the broader community, who are these organizations, how many members do they have, who is their leadership? What is their outreach, and how do they justify speaking on behalf of a community of thousands of residents? Is there outreach or notice given for new membership? Is there notice given that a resolution is to be discussed or acted upon?

Certainly the Tenleytown Historical Society provides programming and education, and has sponsored historic landmark applications to the city, and the Tenleytown Neighborhood Association appears to be a member of the Federation of Citizens Associations.

Perhaps the actions of the CPCA open the door to shed light on other community groups throughout the Ward and the City?

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