I think we have a good three conversations going on at the moment.
1. Posters who perceive that whenever someone disagrees with MHA, he pretty quickly attributes it to their race.
2. Posters who think CHCA is overstating their accomplishments on their webpage.
3. Posters who wonder about the proper role of a community organization such as CHCA.
I will attempt to only address only #3.
whynot to Jeweler » ...but I do look forward to hearing about whether the leadership is receptive to your membership application.
snowboardqueen » Does a Merchant Assoc. have to accept all legal merchants in their district?
I think we need to be careful not to confuse terms.
In my understanding, NYC has city recognized Business Improvement Districts and these are authorized by the city to charge fees to every business located in their zone for the services that they provide. In this sense, businesses and the BID have no choice, they have to "join" even if that means simply an exchange of $.
CHCA is not a BID. As such, participation by businesses is completely voluntary. I has no official "zone or district"
That said, I'll take a (non-lawyer) crack at answering your question. Although is an essentially a private organization, it could easily be argued that CHCA is in the business of providing a public accommodation.
As such, if the need arose, the organization would need to be ready to prove that it did not deny its services to an entity based on one of NYC's protected criteria (race, gender, religion, etc). The NYC Division of Human Rights investigates such complaints.
Unlike a BID or a community district (such as CD 8), the organization has no formal authority granted to it by the city, and is likely not regulated like such entities.
The organization is simply a group of people who wish to advance the neighborhood. To my knowledge, it is free to define what "advancing the neighborhood" means and work on its own goals. ....I suppose this could take the form of denying membership to a legal organization within the area.
Can CHCA deny a legal business the right to join?
I guess so, but would seem to me like a really short-sighted move, and would undermine my perception that it has tried very hard to include as many people, with as many viewpoints, as possible.
As a result of having no outside funding or regulatory authority, this organization exists largely as a result of people's willingness to support it.
....If they were to deny Jewelry store membership, I would perceive it as being similar to them denying me membership, simply on the basis that I disagree with them regarding whether "protesting all businesses who rent from the landlord" is the best use of their resources.
A healthy democracy is full of conflict.
A healthy democracy contains some people and entities that others perceive as a pain in the ass, even though their only offense is disagreeing with them.
For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.