July board meeting minutes

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes

July 10, 2008


Attending–Board:  Pax Bobrow, Rudolf Garrison, Tilman Hardy, Todd Leavitt, Julianna Padgett, Amanda Smithson, Jerry Speir,


Absent Board Members:  Marilyn Barbera, Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Betty DiMarco, Rodney Dionisio, Alice-Anne Krishnan, Marshall Hevron, Judith Miranti, Gary Smith, Llewelyn Soniat, Jim Stratton, Betsy Weymann, Evan Wolf


Residents/Guests: Annette Bak, Anne Nicolay, Charlene Walvoord



Education Committee—Annette reported on the Committee’s recent meeting.  Several cooperative efforts are in the works with Johnson School:  plans to help with training a library assistant, plans for a mentoring program with Big Brother/Big Sister, some joint gardening work around the school, and working on a grant from Target to benefit the school library (Annette, Pax and Cindy Morse are working on the latter.)  Also, the social work intern from Tulane will be back at Johnson this fall.

            Priestley has found a physical home for the coming school year at the N. O. Center for Health Careers on Palmyra. 


Zoning—Jerry  reported on the recent Zoning and Land Use committee meeting.  He noted that the former Eckerd’s drug store in the Carrollton strip mall at Carrollton and Maple has reportedly been leased to Sherwin Williams for a paint store that should be operational within the next few months. 

            It was also reported that the City Charter amendments pertaining to giving the City’s future Master Plan “the force of law” was passed by the city council and will be on the November ballot—along with a provision stating that the City “shall” create a formal Citizen Participation Plan.  Provisions that would have taken “conditional uses” out of the City Council’s purview and that would have provided for a more transparent process for nominating members of the Planning Commission and BZA were dropped from the measure.


Crime—Pax reported on extensive recent activity of the Crime Committee and concerned neighbors, on behalf of Chair Alice-Anne Krishnan, who was unable to attend but who provided extensive Minutes of the committee’s July 9 meeting.

            Neighbors in the Hickory/Cohn area report some success in getting NOPD attention to drug dealing in the are.

            Neighbors in the Joliet/Freret/Cambronne area held a well-attended meeting recently with Major Glasser, the new 2d District NOPD commander, to discuss a high volume of recent break-ins and related problems.  The Major promised increased efforts to address the problem.  The neighbors have created a web presence for tracking progress on the issue.  It can be viewed at http://groups.google.com/group/joliet-freret-cambronne?hl=en

            Neighbors in the 2200 block of Cambronne complained of inappropriate police responses (and lack of response) to reports of problems in the neighborhood.  The committee is proposing a “porch party” in that block and an effort to improve the relationship with NOPD.

            Positive report on NOPD.  After many complaints about loitering (and other inappropriate activity) at the corner of Dante and Willow, on Monday evening, July 7, around 8 p.m, an NOPD patrol car used its speaker system to announce:  “Loitering on this corner will get you a free ride to lock up.  Thank you and have a nice day.”  The loitering problem there has improved in recent days. 

            The committee discussed a need to develop a better system within the neighborhood association to get the word out about important matters before the state legislature. 

            The committee is also trying to start a “Citizen Crime Incident Log” as an online tool for community use. 

            Gordon Cagnolatti noted that the annual Night Out Against Crime event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 15 at 7 pm.  He’s in need of volunteers.  gcagnolatti@gmail.com

            The “Orleans Parish Info Sharing Integrated System” (OPISIS) is a City pilot project to make all crime data electronic and centralized.  We hope to see it functioning soon.


The Crime reports, generated more discussion along the following themes:

  1. It is apparent that a significant part of the crime in the neighborhood is committed by young people.
  2. We need to be more involved in encouraging recreational activities for young people, in matters like the renovation of Harrell Park/Stadium/Playground (at Claiborne and Leonidas.)  Tilman reported a brief conversation with Councilman Fielkow on the issue of the neighborhood being in the design phase of Harrell’s renovation.  [Julianna did a bit of checking after the meeting and reported:  “The City is very close to signing an A&E contract, after which a schedule will be established for each phase of the work including public meetings for input into the design.  The A&E contractors will immediately do a month of scoping (damage evaluation and cost estimates).  It’s a complicated project which will mostly be coordinated by MWH. Land owned by S&W Board.  So things are beginning to move on it. And I’ll be glad to pass on the schedule as soon as it comes out.”]
  3. We also need to re-commit to pushing the renovation of the Priestley School building on Leonidas—which would be a recreational center, as well as an educational center, and possibly a community center.  Annette agreed to help generate re-newed contact with the Priestley board as to how we might be most helpful.  Julianna observed that the School Board is due to release a Facility Master Plan soon that could have a major impact on the property’s future.  Tilman observed that, the school (meaning the students and teachers) may find a permanent home elsewhere if the building’s future is not clarified soon—and that could mean the loss of the building.
  4. A re-commitment to building a Block Captain system could also be useful –both in dealing with crime issues and in many other ways.


Events—Amanda reported plans for a general meeting/picnic in late August or early September.  August 30 and September 13 were mentioned as possible dates.  She is working on a site and happy to have input from other members.  She’s also proposing an early-morning trash pick-up the day after that meeting.  You can contact her at amandafsmithson@gmail.com


Trees–  Todd noted his continuing willingness to coordinate tree plantings along the public rights-of-way (between sidewalks and streets) in the neighborhood.  Anyone with a need for a tree or interested in helping out should contact him at tsleavitt@gmail.com


Bar issue—Jerry reported a request from MARI (Maple Area Residents, Inc.) for support of their opposition to the expansion of bars on Maple Street.  (The former Vera Cruz restaurant has a new owner who is expanding the bar and talking about competing with Bruno’s—if he “has to stay open til 6 o’clock in the morning.”)  Amanda moved, seconded by Pax, that CRNA support MARI in its opposition to the expansion of bars on Maple St.  Passed unanimously.


NPN—Jerry reported an invitation to join the Neighborhood Partnership Network (NPN) and suggested that forum should be useful for supporting the developing Citizen Participation Process and, generally, for improving communication and cooperation among neighborhood associations across the city.  Cost of membership is $100.  Amanda moved, seconded by Juliana, that CRNA should join NPN.  Passed unanimously.


Newsletter—Pax is beginning work on another issue of the newsletter.  She would be happy to have input and/or assistance from anyone interested.  Contact her at paxbobrow@yahoo.com


Board openings—Jerry reported on two recent resignations from the board.  Evan Wolf has moved.  Alice-Anne Krishnan will continue to coordinate the Crime Committee but has asked to step down as a board member, because of a new job and other responsibilities. 




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