Board meeting minutes, Feb 21

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes
February 21, 2008

Attending–Board: Annette Bak, Marilyn Barbera, Betty DiMarco, Cindy Morse, Julianna Padgett, Amanda Smithson, Llewelyn Soniat, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Evan Wolf

Absent Board Members: Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolph Garrison, Earl Hamilton, Marshall Hevron, Todd Leavitt, John Schackai

Residents: Jeff Baker, Meggan Cote, Chris Day, Tilman Hardy, Daniel & Dielesy Keiffer, Alice-Anne Krishnan, Mary Perkins, Robbie Robertson, Stephen Schmitt, Laura Sherwood, Gary Smith

Guests: H.V. Nagendra, Nancy Turner
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Treasurer Cindy Morse reported an account balance of roughly the same as last month, about $1500. She also reported that Pax Bobrow had sold sufficient ads to roughly cover the cost of the upcoming newsletter. Volunteers will needed to distribute the newsletters and a sign-up sheet was circulated.

Education: The Education Committee continues to work with both the Priestley and Johnson schools. At Priestley, it is unclear whether OPSB will allow Priestley to utilize another larger facility to accommodate 3 grades next year. Priestley students are presently studying for i-Leap test mid-March. Volunteers are needed to read testing material to the students; if interested, volunteers are required to attend a training session on Feb 29. Contact the school directly, or you can contact Annette Bak at Annette.Bak@chevron.com. Capital / operating expense fundraising continues. For more info on Priestley, go to http://priestleycharterschool.com/


Shelving for Johnson School has been donated by Lowe’s, through the efforts of Pax Bobrow. We hope to have a work day on April 12 (date to be coordinated with the school) to install the shelving and to perform other helpful tasks around the school.


The Education Committee is also planning a “vision meeting” for March 10 at 6:00 p.m. to determine how CRNA may collaborate with the schools more closely. Place: to be announced. If you are interested in participating, contact Betty DiMarco at dimarco_bl@bellsouth.net

Zoning: Several members from the 8600 block of Zimpel (and the immediate vicinity) attended the meeting to update the Board on their concerns about the request for variances to build over-sized doubles on small lots in that block. The Board voted to support the neighbors in their concerns at the last meeting. The two matters came before the Board of Zoning Adjustments recently and were deferred—until March 10. The neighbors in that block made an appeal for individual letters to be mailed directly to: Mr. Andrew Neff, Board of Zoning Adjustments, Room 9W03, City Hall, 1300 Perdido St., New Orleans, LA 70112. Letters should arrive before March 5.The letters should reference Docket Numbers 01-08 and 02-08 and express opposition to the requested waivers. You would also be welcome at the BZA hearing on the 10th. For additional information, contact Meggan Cote at 301-801-5464 (meggan.cote@dhs.gov) or Cindy Morse at 504-866-2410 (cmorse7@cox.net) .

Jerry Speir reported that the property at Carrollton and Cohn, formerly proposed as a coffee shop, is still in limbo. There has been mention of a school uniform business as a possible occupant, but no work has happened on the building in some time. Neighbors are pursuing the argument that the building has lost is “legal non-conforming use” status as a consequence of its extended vacancy.

Crime/Safety: Jerry reported on the recent NONPACC meeting between the Commander of the NOPD Second District, Major Kirk Bouyelas, his senior staff, and residents. He called attention to two particular topics discussed by the Commander:

1. The two hottest spots for criminal activity in the entire Second District are the 4700 block of Liberty Street (several residents of that area attended the meeting) and part of our neighborhood in the Pension Town/Leonidas corridor area. As to the activity in our area, he noted that it is largely the work of two rival groups, people who do not live in the neighborhood but who grew up here (and now live in Kenner). They apparently return here to deal drugs and guns and to feud. On the weekend of February 15-17, in addition to all the other police activity in our neighborhood previously reported, the Second District put on a “show of force” in the area in an effort to persuade these groups that they “are not welcome.”

2. The Commander also suggested that neighborhood associations should “adopt” criminals who are arrested within our boundaries, in the sense of tracking them through the detention system on the Criminal Sheriff’s “Master Docket” website and of participating in Court Watch to impress on the courts and DAs that we are paying attention.

Betty DiMarco argued, from her experience in observing the courts, that the problem with cases that result in suspects being released is often a product of shoddy police reporting rather than prosecutorial or judicial incompetence.

Evan Wolf, Crime/Safety Committee Co-chair, advised that he is working on a report cataloging trouble spots in the neighborhood, and that the Committee is working toward a meeting with Commander Bouyelas to improve communication between the Second District and our association.

Alice-Anne Krishnan, Co-Chair of the Crime/Safety Committee, reported on an effort to re-vamp the police “Hot Sheets” to allow for greater anonymity of those reporting crimes in the neighborhood. She also reported that she, Tilman Hardy, and Jerry Speir attended a Department of Health “Environmental Code Enforcement” hearing on Feb. 20, concerning problems at 8321 Green St. The hearing resulted in a $500 fine against the property and its possible posting as “uninhabitable.” The primary problems there are abandoned cars and falling-down sheds that serve as places for criminals in the area to store drugs and guns. Anyone wishing to know more about the process should contact Alice-Anne at tarpsnola@yahoo.com

Events— Amanda Smithson, Events Committee Chair, reported on efforts to plan a General Meeting with the new City Inspector General, Mr. Cerasoli, as guest speaker. (Following the meeting, she reported that Mr. Cerasoli has agreed to speak on Thursday, March 27. Other details of that meeting to be announced.)
Jerry Speir noted the need to have an election of board members at that General Meeting. He suggested the following process for creating a slate of nominees: The Board will be polled for those who have an interest in stepping down. The Executive Committee will meet and “draw lots” to determine which other members will be standing for re-election this year. (The bylaws require that half the board members be elected—or re-elected each year.) The general membership will be asked to submit nominations (including self-nominations) for the board. The Executive Committee will consider all that information and recommend a slate of board nominees for the March 27 General Meeting. The goal is to provide for an open process but to avoid the chaos of nominations from the floor during the General Meeting. No objection was expressed to that process.

Newsletter— Our new newsletter is “at the press”—thanks to the production and editorial efforts of Pax Bobrow. We will be needing help to distribute it soon.

Citizen Participation—Julianna Padgett reported on the continuing efforts to develop a formalized Citizen Participation Process for the city. This could be very important in building better cooperation across the city on neighborhood issues AND in giving neighborhoods a greater voice in city decisions, especially in zoning and land-use matters. A series of forums on this topic are planned across the city in coming weeks. Details to follow.

Gary Smith reported that he has created a new “blog” for CRNA at http://carrolltonriverbend.blogspot.com/ This is a supplement to our website at https://crra.wordpress.com

Security District – Tilman Hardy made a presentation on the possible creation of a “Security District” (or “Improvement District”) in our neighborhood, and considerable discussion followed.
A “Security District” is a legislatively created special taxing district that allows the collected monies to be dedicated to additional security/patrols in the neighborhood, under the control of a neighborhood board. (“Improvement Districts” allow for monies to spent on other “improvements,” in addition to security.) To get the proposal on the Fall ballot, several steps must be taken immediately, including advertising the proposal by February 28 and holding a public meeting on the subject. After much discussion, the board decided to support the idea of a Security District with the same boundaries as our association. The vote was 9-1, with the dissent expressing a concern for whether these are appropriate boundaries. There will be a meeting on this topic on Monday, February 25, at 5:30 in the gym/cafeteria of the Joan of Arc School (entrance on Cambronne, between Freret and Burthe.

NEXT MEETING: To be determined/announced.

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