Future Boston Alliance: New group tries to stir young Bostonians

Karmaloop owner Greg Selkoe started the grassroots organization Future Boston Alliance to reduce restrictions on Hub bars, entertainment venues, and cultural organizations.

A video posted recently on YouTube is hoping to stir young Bostonians and takes aim at city leaders for holding down the Hub and causing its “brain drain.”

Greg Selkoe, the CEO of the Boston-based online streetwear retailer Karmaloop, helped to found the group behind the video — the Future Boston Alliance.

The more-than-two-minute video posted Saturday is a mission statement from the group that officially launched about a week ago and says its criticism comes from a love and desire to improve Boston.

“It’s not a zero sum game. We want to be frank and we’re trying to be honest and have a real conversation, which includes criticism,” said Selkoe, 37. “At the end of the day the point is not to draw a line whether you’re with us or against us.”

While the narrator of the video is quick to say that the group loves Boston, the video begins with the narrator saying that “Boston is less than the sum of its parts.”

“We don’t want our city that will be a place that will ban moshing or tell Nike what kind of shirts they can put in their windows,” the narrator explains while a cartoon of Mayor Thomas Menino uses a bullhorn to yell at people and businesses. Menino is then briefly joined by a cartoon of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Selkoe said the group has so far raised about $50,000 in commitments. The hope is to expand the group’s website, hold events that promote a dialogue of ideas and form a network of support for entrepreneurs and self-starters.

Selkoe said his company has more than 200 employees with 85 percent being from outside Massachusetts. He said it has been hard to recruit for his company because of the reputation of Boston as being a racist city with poor public transportation and a lack of late-night options in everything from entertainment to exercise.

“We’re coming from a place where we want to have fun and do it creatively and hopefully have a good time making change,” he said.

Who is Greg Selkoe?

Here’s what we know about Future Boston’s founder:
   
Selkoe was born and raised in Jamaica Plain.
   
The former Boston Redevelopment Authority staff worker started Karamloop in 2000.
  
His company also launched KarmaloopTV, an online video channel that bills itself as the “world leader for youth culture.”
   
Selkoe contributed about a dozen blog posts on Huffington Post dating back to 2010.
   
Selkoe said he has no political ambitions of his own, but supports a candidate besides Menino for mayor.

Mayor responds — kind of

Menino’s office did not return a message seeking comment on the video featuring a cartoon of him.

However, a Menino spokeswoman told the Herald that the video is “divisive.” 


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