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Update December 1, 2015- At the CB1 meeting tonight, Anthony Notary made no attempt to go into “executive session” or other violations of New York Open Meeting Law. Also, the person who appoints the CB1 members, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, is looking into the matter (see letter below).
November 6, 2015- by Steven E. Greer
The New York Open Meeting Law requires entities, such as the BPCA, CB1, City Council, etc., to allow the public to view the meetings and ask questions. However, City Council and the BPCA have pushed the envelope and have begun to use “executive session” to conduct their business in secret. They are also now simply ejecting members of the public from meetings.
Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn ejected approximately 100 members of the audience when they were protesting her vote allowing NYU to expand its campus. State Assemblyperson Deborah Glick filed a lawsuit against City Council, claiming that they broke the law.
In Glick v Harvey, the New York Supreme Court ruled that City Council did not violate the law, because the crowd ignored commands to stop yelling and were disruptive, and the meeting was also streamed online. However, federal court judges, who hold the First Amendment in high regard and are appointed, not elected by the corrupt New York political process, have not yet adjudicated the matter.
Working for Speaker Quinn at the time, as the senior in-house lawyer for City Council, was Alix Pustilnik. She was removed when Speaker Quinn left office and managed to get the lucrative job as BPCA’s in-house counsel. Dipping into her bag of dirty tricks, Ms. Pustilnik has now begun to evict people from the BPCA open meetings, using the justification that they are live streamed. The BPCA also abuses the “executive session” clause of the Open Meeting law to keep secret much of what they do.
Now, it seems that the CB1 is following the lead of the BPCA and City Council. For the first time, the CB1 employed the “executive session” tactic at the November 2nd meeting. Anthony Notaro also threatened to “remove” BatteryPark.TV from the meeting for simply asking questions when we were called upon.
CB1 official Noah Pfefferblit refused to reply to our questions about why Notaro used executive session, and what justified him doing so.
To know your full rights at any New York governmental meeting, simply read the law for yourself. You can print it off and take it with you to the meetings and recite the rules.
Stay tuned. The federal courts will rule on the legality of all of this.