Neighborhood associations are a good example of meaningful civic engagement. Done well, and they provide not only a voice to a community, but also a counterweight to moneyed interests.
My neighborhood, Davis Square, has many politically aware and civically engaged citizens. And yet it hasn’t been able to get an association to stick around, partly, in my opinion, because of a resistance to a formal structure, roles and accountability.
Today, I attended a meeting organized by my Alderman, but intended to be the start of a new neighborhood association. Very promising. Unfortunately, the old hands were present, pushing again for a loosey goosey structure. And I couldn’t help influence it, because I had to leave early and wasn’t able to speak before I departed. It’s a shame. But I’ll stay involved because I want it to work.