Gordon: Won’t you be my neighbor?

The council member started neighborhood meetings to reach out to more residents.

Kevin McCahill

Students in Southeast Como have a chance to see more of their council member than ever before.

Ward 2 City Council member Cam Gordon will have office hours at the Southeast Como Improvement Association offices on 15th Avenue Southeast this spring, as well as other locations around the ward.

This new program will allow students and other residents an easier chance to meet with Gordon instead of going to City Hall to discuss issues.

A first for the 2nd Ward, Gordon will have similar hours at Hard Times Café on the West Bank, at the Pratt School in Prospect Park and also in the Seward Tower East Advantage Center on East Franklin Avenue in the Seward neighborhood.

“It’s important to stay in touch with the community,” he said of the new venture.

Gordon described the meetings as an experiment to get in touch with more community members. Gordon said the program may be easier for some who could be intimidated by going downtown to City Hall.

“If people prefer to meet in their world, we can do that,” he said.

People are also allowed to schedule appointments with Gordon during those hours, he said.

Gordon said the meeting house will provide an easier opportunity for students to meet with him and talk. He also wants to spend time on campus to meet with students, he said.

Southeast Como’s first meeting was Feb. 21 and will be every third Tuesday from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

The first Tuesday, Gordon is at Hard Times Café. The second week he will be at the Pratt School and the fourth week he will be in Seward.

Residents of the 2nd Ward are allowed to stop in during office hours, but are encouraged to call Gordon’s office and schedule an appointment during that time.

Maria Noel, part owner of Hard Times, said quite a few people attended the first meeting in March. She said it would be a good idea for more council members to meet with residents on their turf, and could help more people get involved.

Southeast Como Neighborhood Coordinator James De Sota said having Gordon in the neighborhood will be good for residents.

“Having the council members in the community, it’s far less intimidating,” he said.

De Sota said he would have liked to see the time split between mornings and evenings to accommodate more people, but is pleased with the program.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

Residents most likely will be interested in discussing crime and safety issues, De Sota said.

Although Gordon will be closer to students, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will come to him.

Fourth-year African studies and French studies student Craig Taylor said he probably won’t get more involved.

“I just go to class and hang out at the frat,” he said.

Aerospace engineering senior Ben Kempen said that as long as Gordon’s presence near the University is advertised, more students probably will get involved, but said he didn’t think he would.

“I’m just not that publicly involved,” he said.