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Gentile in blogosphere - Councilman debuts new blog; seeks better communication

With the number of blogs increasing by the day, it’s no surprise that one enterprising elected official has gotten into the act.

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile – who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton, Bath Beach and portions of Bensonhurst – debuted his blog, vincentgentile., in the middle of August, inviting residents of his district to comment on issues in the neighborhoods he represents.

A couple of weeks after the blog took its bow, it offered area residents Gentile’s perspective on a number of current topics.

The lead post, as of August 29th, was an update on the status of the Green Church (see article in this week’s paper). Other subjects covered on the blog, as this paper went to press, included the issue of whether term limits should be repealed, the status of food vendors along 86th Street, and the councilmember’s position on a charter school being evaluated for Bay Ridge.

Gentile may be the first elected official in the area to create his own blog. “I didn’t realize that we were that much of a pioneer,” he remarked during a phone interview, “but I guess we are.

“I’m taking the approach that more communication is better than less,” Gentile stressed, noting that he and his staff – including new Communications Director Dena Libner – are always on the lookout for “ways to reach out that don’t put a burden on constituents.

“This is a very easy; and direct way to communicate with me and with people in my office,” Gentile went on, “and you can do it at 2 a.m.”

While his council website also provides constituents with updates on what’s going on in the district and the city, “A blog is something where you can actually comment on issues in the community or the city,” Gentile stressed.

Looking ahead, Gentile said that he was investigating the possibility of doing a virtual town hall on his blog. “I would be available at a given date and time,” he explained, noting, “It might be an interesting way to reach people who might not otherwise come to a town hall at a physical site.”

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