May monthly meeting minutes

CRNA Monthly Meeting – Minutes

May 14, 2009

 Attending—Board:  Marilyn Barbera, Pax Bobrow,  Betty DiMarco, Rudolf Garrison, Tilman Hardy, Marshall Hevron, Gary Smith, Jerry Speir, and Betsy Weymann

Absent Board Members:  Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Julianna Padgett, Amanda Smithson, Llewelyn Soniat, and Jim Stratton                                   

Residents/Guests:  Brian Adams, Buddy Adams, Jeff Baker, Cara Beal, Larel Brashears, Joseph Cerise, Kevin Delaney, Lee Downs, Ralph Driscoll, Mary DeWitt Dukes, Rick Fifield, Amberly Fox, Kristy Gonzales, Kawann Harris, Cecilia Holzenthal, Danny Keiffer, Joseph Kane, Amelia Leonardi, Jacques Leonardi, Danny Martin, Phil McLeod, Cindy Morse, Marilyn Neumann, Stephen Novak, Charlene Quinlan, Tommy Quinlan, Kevin Rung, Flo Snow, Jill Stephens, Joseph Voltz, Charlene Walvoord, Katie Winters, Patrick Winters

 

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The majority of the meeting was taken up with a consideration of a proposed wine bar at the corner of Oak and Dante, in the space most recently occupied by the White Pillars Emporium.  

The developer, Katie Winters, her partner and architect, attended to answer questions. 

Jerry Speir explained that the meeting was prompted by the existence of a moratorium on new alcohol licenses in Carrollton, which was passed by the City Council at the urging of neighborhood associations—led by the Maple Area Residents, Inc (MARI) organization.  CRNA supported the moratorium.  The political/legal consequence of the moratorium is that an applicant for a new license must appeal the moratorium, which requires action by the City Council—and our present Councilwoman seeks the input of the neighborhood association on these issues.  The moratorium has a term of one year, with the possibility of extension for a second year at the Council’s discretion. 

Because she is still in the phase of negotiating the purchase of the property, Ms. Winters has not gotten to the point of creating drawings for the property or of negotiating with the city about parking details and the like.  But she offered the following information: 

The building, as is, occupies 12,000 square feet of space.  Some of that is in a shed at the rear of the building that she expects to tear down, because it does not conform to building codes.  Some of the space is in essentially un-useable, low-ceilinged upstairs areas.  Some would be rented out to a tenant.  (As you face the building, there are three sections; the right-hand, upriver third would be partitioned off and rented.  The yoga studio already on Oak has expressed interest because their present space is too small.)  Some of the building, in the area of the attached warehouse/garage would be converted to off-street parking—the precise number of spaces and the traffic flow in-and-out to be determined. 

That would leave a projected 1800-2000 square feet for the wine bar and amenities, plus an outdoor patio on Oak that she expects to be about 1000 square feet. 

She seeks to attract an upscale clientele, anticipates opening at 4 p.m., and contemplates closing at 2 a.m., at least on weekends. The establishment would have a limited food menu—which she described as “girly food”—tapas, salads, cheeses, etc.  She would like to have music, of a piano bar sort, and expressed a willingness to limit the hours of such entertainment.  

She believes that she can provide sufficient parking on-site so that the project will not need a parking variance from the city.  

She expects to comply with historic restoration guidelines, re: the façade of the building, sufficient to qualify for state tax credits. 

Questions raised included: 

–Given the size of the property, how can we be sure the bar won’t expand over time?

–If the business does not succeed, what might the property become under a future owner?

–How will garbage be handled?

–How will deliveries be handled?

–Would she consider opening another type of business in the space?

–Would she expect to put tables on the sidewalk?

–What experience does she have running such a business?  What evidence does she have that it will succeed?

–Who will operate/manage the business? 

She expressed a willingness to sign an agreement with CRNA, similar to those that we have signed with Saltwater Grill and the Jazmine Café (which would be filed in the public conveyance records and give CRNA a right to sue for enforcement) that could address limitations on such things as space devoted to the bar, garbage, deliveries, and sidewalk tables—in addition to such issues as noise, parking, hours of operation, video poker (which she does not seek), signage, and the like.  The agreement would also state that the alcohol license and exemption from the current moratorium on liquor licenses would not transfer with the property, should she decide to sell it. 

She has no interest in pursuing a different type of business at the location.  She believes that the business will succeed based on the success of similar establishments (the Delachaise on St. Charles and Cure on Freret were mentioned)—and based on the fact that she and her partners expect to be able to start up the business without a substantial debt load.  She would be the managing partner, though an on-site manager would be hired.  She noted that, though she has not operated a business of this sort, she has managed several real estate renovations—houses and a commercial building in the French Quarter—and she directed attendees to New Orleans Magazine for a feature on one of her houses as an example of the quality she expects to put into the building.  She is also a successful attorney with a major local law firm. 

As to the scenario of the business failing and a different bar (or other operation) succeeding it, it was noted that the agreements that CRNA has with Saltwater Grill and Jazmine Café are significantly different.  Those agreements are about trying to ensure that restaurants do not become bars and, because of the different zoning in the Riverbend, there is a “conditional use” at issue in those locations, which provides additional leverage for the neighborhood association.

 But it was also noted that, once the moratorium on new alcohol licenses expires, the neighborhood association will have no input at all on the alcohol license issue or on what sort of other business might occupy the space (unless there is a parking variance issue). Some observed that, in the present instance, we at least have a developer who is cooperative. 

Ms. Winters promised to get back to us with further details as soon as her arrangements for acquiring the property are finalized. 

In other matters:  Cindy Morse announced that Johnson Elementary School is planning a Water Quality Exhibit Day involving 4thgraders.  Time, place and details to follow. 

Frat House bar—Several neighbors who live in proximity to the Frat House bar at Willow and Dublin expressed serious concerns about numerous incidents involving noise, vandalism and other inappropriate late-night behavior in the vicinity of the bar.  It was recommended that a group of neighbors meet with the bar owner to discuss the issues, and such a meeting is being organized.

March 12 board meeting minutes

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes

March 12, 2009

 Attending—Board:  Pax Bobrow,  Gordon Cagnolatti, Betty DiMarco, Rudolf Garrison, Marshall Hevron, Llewelyn Soniat, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, and Betsy Weymann

 Absent Board Members:  Marilyn Barbera , Kevin Brown, Rodney Dionisio, Tilman Hardy, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Julianna Padgett, Gary Smith, Amanda Smithson,                                      

Residents/Guests:  Mary DeWitt Dukes, Camilla Franklin, Celia Griffin, Cindy Morse, and Robbie Roberson

  

LEONIDAS HOUSE

Jerry circulated copies of renderings of a possible renovation of the Leonidas House property.  Volunteer work days on the property, at Leonidas and Willow, have made progress on internal clean-up. More will be organized soon.

Anyone interested in helping with the project should contact Tilman Hardy at tilmanhardy@kw.com 

 

CRIME/SAFETY

Mary reported on activities of the Crime Committee and the Carrollton Area Network (CAN) Crime Collaborative.

            –Mary is working on developing a handbook and/or guidelines for use by area leaders within the neighborhood (something like “block captains” but for areas larger than blocks)

–There is a consensus within the groups that the crime data we get from NOPD is less than complete and less timely than it might be.  Mary and Alice-Anne are scheduling a meeting with Major Little (2d District Commander) to discuss ways that this might be improved.

–An individual in the French Quarter has developed a system for prompt text-messaging of crimes as they occur to persons who opt into the system.  State Rep. Walker Hines has recently been talking about introducing a bill for state funding of a pilot program city-wide that would model that program.

–The group will continue to arrange “porch parties” on the last Saturday of each month.  The next one will be in 900 block of Joliet on March 28.

–Central Carrollton Assoc. is hosting a “Neighborhood Safety” forum on Thursday, March 19, featuring Major Little and DA Leon Cannizarro, at St. Matthew United Church of Christ, 1333 S. Carrollton, corner of Willow.  Refreshments will be served at 6:00, with the program running from 6:30-8:00.

–Questions were raised about crime cameras in the neighborhood.  To our knowledge, no publically-funded cameras are functioning within the neighborhood.  Private cameras can be installed fairly cheaply, and the Oak Street Association has several functioning on Oak Street.  Betsy noted that some cities have systems allowing citizens to send photos of crimes-in-progress, suspicious persons and the like via their cell phones directly to the police.

 

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Betty reported on attendance at a recent mayoral forum where Rob Couhig was the featured guest.  He focused on three things he said were needed to make the city work:  (1) making the city livable (safer, less blight, etc.), (2) making the city affordable (no new property taxes, helping to reduce insurance and utility rates), and (3) developing economic opportunities (concentrating on higher education, health care, construction, natural resources and the port).

                                                                                                                   

NEIGHBORHOOD CENSUS

Pax reported on a meeting with folks from the Delgado Service Learning Program.  They are interested in the possibilities of helping with a neighborhood census/needs assessment, and are applying for a federal grant that might assist such an effort.  But they say they are interested whether they get the grant or not.  Pax will continue to follow up with them.

                                            

ORGANIZATION BUILDING

The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing ways to make our organization more effective, to involve more people, etc. Among the suggestions:

 

–Attendance by the City Councilperson would attract more people to meetings.  (She has come when invited.)  But major speakers can also detract from doing the business of the organization.

–What’s the function of the organization?  If we get more people to meetings, what are we telling them or what are we asking them to do?

–To a degree, we function as a “watchdog,” especially on zoning related issues, and our level of activity tends to ebb and flow with the rise and fall of critical issues.

–Many people see us as a connection to “the powers that be,” providing a service, getting our local voices heard.

–We also function as a forum within which individuals’ ideas/talents can be realized (e.g., our newsletter).  We’re not a “make everything happen” organization.  We are individuals and volunteers, working together.

–Our mission is not a focused one, but (somewhat necessarily) nebulous.  We facilitate/support projects that individuals/volunteers are able to take on.

–It would be nice, for example, to have someone to lead an effort to find out all we can about blighted housing in the neighborhood and blighted housing programs in the city, about streets and whether we’re getting our fair share of street repairs, about drainage issues, etc., etc. but any of these ideas require an individual to step forward to lead the effort.  How to attract/encourage them?

–We might attract more participants simply with better signage in coffee shops, stores, churches, etc.  Public “suggestion boxes” might also be an effective outreach tool.  (The latter was Pax’s idea, which she agreed to execute.)

–Organizations like ours only work because people are drawn to them for some (generally) self-interested reason; and they have to be fun.

–Some organizations, in other cities, do things like annual street theatre or “circus” projects to attract attention and “get the word out.”

–Treasurer’s report (from Cindy) shows we have about $3000 in the bank.  We might use that for a general mailing that would reach every household, but the issue would still be what, exactly, are we reporting and/or inviting people to.

–We need to be more connected to the other organizations in our area—Palmer Park, Pension Town, Oak Street.

–We could make better use of the universities.  If we had a list of discrete projects, we could get support from professors and service learning personnel.

 

ANNUAL MEETING

We need to have an annual meeting and to elect new board members.  James Carville was suggested as a possible speaker who would attract attendance.  Betsy agreed to work on contacting him.  Betty, Julianna, and Jerry will continue to serve as Nominating Committee to propose new board members.

NEXT MEETING:  Thursday, April 9.  Place – TBD.

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes Feb. 12, 2009

Attending—Board: Marilyn Barbera, Pax Bobrow, Kevin Brown, Betty DiMarco, Tilman Hardy, Marshall Hevron, Julianna Padgett, Jerry Speir, and Jim Stratton,

Absent Board Members: Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolf Garrison, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Amanda Smithson, Gary Smith, Llewelyn Soniat, and Betsy Weymann

Residents/Guests: Annettte Bak, Camilla Franklin

Crime—Jennifer Jenkins reported a car-jacking in the 8500 block of Freret at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11. [A subsequent e-mail from NOPD reported an arrest in the matter, and the recovery of both the vehicle and the weapon used.] The CRNA Crime Committee will continue to hold “porch parties” as the primary get-togethers within our CRNA boundaries, but is also hosting meetings with representatives of the Crime Committees of other associations within the Carrollton Area Network for the purpose of coordinating our various efforts to combat crime. The focus of the moment is on improving the information that we get from NOPD.

Planning for a General Meeting and Election of Officers—Julianna Padgett, Betty DiMarco and Jerry Speir agreed to serve as a Nominating Committee.

Leonidas House—The “work day” on the previous Saturday drew 20+ people and accomplished quite a bit. A second work day is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 21. The State Historic Preservation Office has provided some very nice renderings of a possible renovation of the building. A Community Advisory Group is being formed. Leonidas House meetings are on the 2d Tuesday of each month at 5:30 at the Keller-Williams offices, 8601 Leake. Persons wishing to be involved should come to the meeting and/or contact Tilman Hardy (tilmanhardy@kw.com) or Annette Bak (annettebak@chevron.com) directly.

Schools—Annette Bak reported that a recent Literacy Fair at Johnson School was very successful. Kevin Brown noted that a clean-up at the school, by AmeriCorps volunteers, in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day was also very successful. Jerry Speir reported on a recent conversation with School Board President Woody Koppel re: the Priestley school building. It was agreed that further conversations should be initiated to bring Mr. Koppel and other school system personnel up to speed on the potential for renovating the existing building, rather than demolishing it. (Annette Bak and Tilman Hardy expressed an interest in such further discussions and suggested that Jean Fischer and Mary Green should be included. There was also discussion of the broader need in the area for a discussion about schools in the Greater Carrollton area and how future plans relate to each.

Citizen Participation Program—There will be a breakfast meeting on Saturday, Feb. 28 [place/time] to discuss the latest developments with the CPP.

Newsletter—Pax Bobrow is willing to put together another edition of the newsletter—IF others will do the initial writing. She will edit, produce and distribute the newsletter, but needs articles. Anyone with anything to contribute should contact Pax directly at paxbobrow@yahoo.com

Oak Street—The actual street work on Oak is scheduled to start on the Monday after Mardi Gras. The work will be done in two-block sections, starting at Carrollton. If all goes according to plan, the work should be completed by November 1.

Carrollton Audubon Renaissance, Inc. (CARI)—Jerry Speir reported that the four public meetings for public input into CARI’s neighborhood planning process have been well-attended and have generated lots of ideas for the planners to sort through as they develop a draft land-use plan for the area. That draft will then be open for further public review before being finalized.
The planning discussion led to reflections on past efforts to establish a local historic district in the area. Jerry Speir volunteered to attempt to sort out the hold-up in that process.
Tilman Hardy suggested that we need our own planning committee to deal with green space issues as they relate to zoning. Pax Bobrow, Jim Stratton, and Camilla Franklin volunteered to help with such an effort.

There was general discussion of the value of having a joint meeting of the boards of all the associations that operate within CRNA boundaries. The idea was generally supported, with the caveat that some work toward planning an agenda should precede such a meeting.

NEXT CRNA Board Meeting: Thursday, March 12 at the Keller-Willliams offices, 7 p.m.

CRNA January Board Meeting – Minutes

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes

January 8, 2008 

Attending—Board:  Pax Bobrow,  Betty DiMarco, Julianna Padgett, Gary Smith,  and Jerry Speir

Absent Board Members:  Marilyn Barbera , Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolf Garrison, Tilman Hardy, Marshall Hevron, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Amanda Smithson, Llewelyn Soniat, Jim Stratton, and Betsy Weymann

 Residents/Guests:  Annettte Bak, Cindy Morse, Robbie Roberson

Annette Bak reported on the recent meeting of the Education Committee.  Each One Save One is working to re-build its mentoring program in local schools (which was much bigger before Katrina).  Mentors are expected to commit one hour per week (preferably the same hour and day each week) to helping a single child with whom they are matched through the program.  Mentors must attend a training class.  The next training class will be Saturday, January 24, at Gentilly Baptist Church, 5143 Franklin Ave. Registration is 8:30-9:00 a.m.  And the class will run from 9 to 3; breakfast and lunch will be provided.  The training will include sessions on conflict resolution, rapport building, cultural awareness and diversity.  Call 504-599-5904 to register.  You can also e-mail the program at Eachsave@aol.com  The program director is Leslie Lange. Executive director is Lavonzell Nicholson.

There was also a brief report on developments with Leonidas House—a project to provide extra-curricular tutoring, training and recreation for at-risk youth in the neighborhood.  Renderings have been promised for a possible renovation of the building at Willow and Leonidas.  Some equipment (benches and desks) has been donated by St. Joan of Arc church.  A board is being formed and is meeting regularly.   Anyone interested in helping should contact Tilman Hardy at tilmanhardy@kw.com 

Harrell Park/Stadium is finally back in business (though still not quite complete—thanks to the efforts of lots of people in the neighborhood. 

Much of the meeting focused on ways to improve our organization and to better serve the neighborhood.  Topics of discussion included: 

–the potential value of a house-by-house, block-by-block “census” of our neighborhood.  Data that would be useful would include personal data, like household needs regarding disaster evacuation, educational assistance for children, and the like, as well as “environmental data” about blighted houses, vacant lots, street conditions, etc.  Jerry pointed to the work of the Central Carrollton Association, available athttp://www.centralcarrolltonassoc.org/documents/CCADeFraites20sep2007.pdf as a possible model for the physical/environmental part of such a census.  This CCA report maps potholes, water leaks, etc.  Julianna agreed to check on what information is presently available from the city on blighted housing and the like.   [After the meeting, Julianna called by attention to   http://www.noraworks.org/search.htm —if you pull down the “neighborhood” menu there and select “Leonidas,” which the city calls much of our neighborhood, you will get a ten-page list of problem properties.  It may not be absolutely up-to-date or comprehensive, but it’s a good start.  J] 

–a suggestion that the board members who were present talk to other board members about whatever problems they may be having attending board meetings, their visions for the organization, and the like.

–the possibility of having a joint board meeting of CRNA, Palmer Park, Pension Town, Oak Street and Riverbend Merchants to discuss common goals and coordination.  It was agreed that some preliminary work toward an agenda for such a meeting would be helpful. 

–a continuing concern about the status of the Priestley school building.  Jerry agreed to engage our newly elected school board member, Woody Koppel, on that issue.

–the value and potential of our newsletter.  Pax suggested that an inventory of services/resources available in our neighborhood could be both useful and enlightening.  Pax, our splendid newsletter editor, is seeking short articles from anyone with about issues important to our neighborhood.  Contact Pax atpaxbobrow@yahoo.com

NEXT MEETING:  Thursday, February 12 at the Keller-Willliams offices, 7 p.m.

Crime committee minutes, 12/10/2008

At yesterday’s (Wed 12/10/2008) CRNA crime committee meeting, the majority of our time was spent in a fruitful conversation with Karen Celestan, the newly hired Manager of Community Relations and Policy in Tulane University’s Office of Government Affairs (kcelesta@tulane.edu).

Ms. Celestan recently spoke with the CRNA Board, so we focused the conversation on crime issues. There are several Tulane resources that our neighborhood can tap into for anti-crime efforts:
•    Drug hot spots – If you see clear signs that it is a Tulane student buying drugs, you can forward the license plate number, pictures on cell phones, etc. to Tulane Police (TUPD) and they may be able to track the student down and give them a warning. If you start to notice pattern – ie, the students buy on Thursdays around 4pm – that is particularly helpful. TUPD can even send one of its patrol cars. TUPD has authority to arrest Tulane students immediately. Danny Lawless of TUPD (dlawless@tulane.edu) attends the 2nd District NONPAC.
•    Underage and binge drinking – Tulane has recently sent warning letters to the Frat House (Willow) and Pat Fanny’s (Maple) and has plans to push the Alcohol & Control Board to send agents down from Baton Rouge for more enforcement and busts. Tulane EMS will pick up intoxicated Tulane students who are unable to drive themselves home. P. Boxbrow raised the excellent point that enforcement can feel Sisyphean – busts have to be done again and again, with seemingly no results, but in the end it does work.
•    Off-campus apartments – Tulane is in the process of developing a legal document, a “pledge” contract between students and landlords modeled after a program at Vanderbilt University. They hope to reduce the number of students who are lousy tenants and landlords who are slumlords. Since many Tulane students live in our area, this is an interesting development to keep an eye on.
•    Community Service requirement – If we are interested in involving Tulane students in non-profit projects in our neighborhood, the person to contact is Vincent Ilustre (vilustre@tulane.edu).

Other matters discussed at CRNA-CC’s 12/10 meeting included:
–    Our next CRNA-CC meeting is on Wed 1/14/09 will probably be held in a private residence.
–    In January, we’ll talk more about a possible small anti-crime rally in Palmer Park.
–    CRNA-CC will begin to network with other Carrollton area anti-crime groups to share information and coordinate efforts.
–    An interesting possible volunteer opportunity to help NOPD 2nd District complete its police reports has opened up. E. Leyda is pursuing further.
–    M. Dewitt Dukes is continuing her crime prevention education efforts, following up on the success of our table at the November 2008 Po-Boy Festival on Oak Street.
–    CRNA-CC is still trying to obtain information about the 1935-37 Cambronne murder, namely its status in the criminal justice system. A reminder: Nola.com posts detailed information about each murder that takes place in New Orleans at: http://www.blog.nola.com/murders/
–    We will begin to get better acquainted with Major Bruce Little of the 2nd District, as well as Angel Varnado of the DA’s Office and D. Langhoff of Fielkow’s Office, who liaison on a regular weekly basis with the 2nd District NOPD.

Upcoming crime meetings:
•    Tue 12/16/2008, 7pm – NONPAC (New Orleans Neighborhood Police Anti-Crime Council) at Touro Hospital, community conference room. For further info, email Major Little at blittle@cityofno.com
•    Wed 12/17/2008, 10am – City Council Criminal Justice Committee, City Council Chamber. For further info, email: NHVanDyke@cityofno.com

Board meeting minutes – Dec 12, 2008

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes
December 12, 2008

Attending—Board:  Pax Bobrow,  Betty DiMarco, Tilman Hardy, Julianna Padgett, Amanda Smithson, Jerry Speir and Jim Stratton

Absent Board Members:  Marilyn Barbera , Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolf Garrison, Marshall Hevron, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Gary Smith,  Llewelyn Soniat, Betsy Weymann

Residents/Guests:  Cindy Morse

Cindy Morse reported several new members as a result of our most recent newsletter—and numerous compliments on the membership forms about how much people appreciated the newsletter.  Kudos to Pax Bobrow who created it, sold the ads, and got it printed and distributed (with help from lots of folks on that last task).

Betty DiMarco reported on a recent “Restorative Listening Circle” meeting that she hosted, attended by several board members.  This is a community-building process designed to build new relationships and levels of trust within our community.  Betty, Julianna Padgett and Tilman Hardy will provide recommendations for future such meetings and guidance on these issues.

Tilman reported that the Leonidas House group is developing an “action plan” and seeking community input on specifics of the program that is expected to provide after-school and summer opportunities for neighborhood youth in the elementary and middle-school years, initially, with later expansion to high-schoolers.  The group is meeting on “second Tuesdays.”  The next meeting will be Tuesday, January 13, at 5:30, at Keller-Williams, 8601 Leonidas.

The Crime Committee recently met with Karen Celestan, Manager of Community Relations and Policy in Tulane University’s Office of Government Affairs.  Among other initiatives, Tulane has recently written letters to the Frat House, among others, about under-age and binge drinking problems, and promises to involve the state alcohol control board as necessary to address the problem.  Residents who have clear evidence of Tulane students involved in drug activities are encouraged to contact Danny Lawless with the Tulane University Police Department at dlawless@tulane.edu  Mary Dukes has been leading crime education efforts, including at a table at the recent Po-Boy Festival.  The committee’s next meeting will be January 14; contact chair Alice-Anne Krishnan for details at tarpsnola@yahoo.com  The group also continues to develop a relationship with NOPD and our new Second District commander, Major Little.

Julianna, Betty and Tilman reported on a recent meeting that they attended concerning the possibility of developing an Office of Neighborhoods within City Hall.  A document is expected soon detailing the questions, concerns and recommendations concerning such an office.

Jerry reported that the new Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance process continues apace, with some initial drafts of what will actually be proposed expected within the next few months.  He also reported that the Carrollton-Audubon Renaissance, Inc. (CARI) process to generate a land-use plan specific to Carrollton is close to finishing its initial data-gathering phase and CARI expects to host a series of meetings in the next few months for community input into that plan, which will then be incorporated into the citywide process.

Next board meeting:  Thursday, January 8, 7:00 p.m.,  Keller-Williams, 9601 Leonidas

September board meeting minutes

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes
September 11, 2008

Attending–Board:   Pax Bobrow, Rodney Dionisio, Todd Leavitt, Julianna Padgett, Gary Smith, Amanda Smithson, Jerry Speir

Absent Board Members:  Marilyn Barbera, Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Betty DiMarco, Rudolf Garrison, Tilman Hardy, Marshall Hevron, Judith Miranti, Llewelyn Soniat, Jim Stratton, Betsy Weymann

Residents/Guests: Brenda Floyd, Cindy Morse, Charlene Walvoord
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Fall General Meeting/Party – Given all recent dislocations and complications, we decided to re-schedule our fall general meeting/party gathering for Sunday afternoon, October 26, from 4-7.  (It’s the day the Saints play the Chargers in London, at noon, local time.  J  )  Danny Kieffer has kindly agreed to host again.  Amanda and Cindy are working on the details.  We’ll plan to ask folks to bring food to share, as before.  Suggested invitees included Councilwoman Midura, an NOPD representative, and principals of all the schools in the neighborhood.  More info to follow as we get closer.  And we’re open to suggestions.

Carrollton Shopping Center Redevelopment—Rodney reported that plans for the re-building of the old Carrollton Shopping Center (Carrollton at I-10) are disappointing.  Despite all the neighborhood suggestions that went into the Unified New Orleans Plan, plans for the Shopping Center continue to look like the former Center—a sea of parking lots with “big box” stores at the back and a restaurant up front.  We will be working with other neighborhood associations in the area to try to encourage modifications.  One driving force is the involvement of “GO Zone” bond funding in the project; there is a deadline by which those funds have to be spent.  We expect that the project will be before the City Planning Commission before too long.

Schools
–Johnson Elementary  — Cindy reported that a major “work day” is scheduled for Johnson for next Friday, September 19, from 10-3.  It was scheduled on a weekday to allow the students to be involved.  We need volunteers.  There are plans to build beds for vegetable gardens, a compost pile, and a butterfly garden.  We expect to also be building benches, assembling donated furniture, assembly a basketball goal, and similar projects.  Part of the work will help to make the school available after hours to the community, thanks to a grant from Target.

–Priestley School for Architecture and Construction—The public hearing scheduled for September 3 was cancelled because of Gustav; we’re not sure yet if it will be re-scheduled or if the September 20 deadline will be extended.  The public hearing on September 18 at 5:30, at McDonough #35, 1331 Kerlerec, is still scheduled, and we need as many people to attend as possible.  Our documents in support of Priestley (and of having the school at the Leonidas/Green site) are being distributed to decision-makers.  Rodney reported that he had heard that the decision-makers are more impressed by larger schools and wondered about the possibilities of Priestley partnering with another small charter school to occupy a single facility.

Treasurer’s Report – Cindy reported a bank balance of $1835.69.

Citizen Participation Project—Julianna reported that information is now available at http://www.nolacpp.org  Work on the Project has been divided among various Action Teams.  You can join an Action Team on the website.  The next meeting of the Action Teams will be Tuesday, September 23, 6 p.m., 3500 Canal, 2d floor.

Lessons Learned from Gustav—Julianna also reported that the evacuation site at Mater Dolorosa (for elderly and special needs persons needing assistance) had a shortage of volunteers.  We were not notified in advance of a need for volunteers.  We will try to connect with the organizers of the City’s assisted evacuation efforts to remedy that problem in the future.

Board meeting minutes – Aug. 14th

Attending–Board:   Marilyn Barbera, Kevin Brown, Betty DiMarco, Tilman Hardy, Todd Leavitt, Julianna Padgett, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton,

Absent Board Members:  Pax Bobrow, Gordon Cagnolatti, Rudolf Garrison, Rodney Dionisio, Marshall Hevron, Judith Miranti, Gary Smith, Amanda Smithson, Llewelyn Soniat, Betsy Weymann,

Residents/Guests: Lyn Adams, Annette Bak, Cindy Morse, Anne Nicolay, Robbie Robertson, Seth Siegel
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“How Safe, How Soon?”—Seth Siegel explained that this project is working with three disparate communities (Carrollton/Hollygrove, Lower Ninth Ward, and the United Houma Nation in the Raceland area) to address the reality that major hurricane protection will not be in place for at least decades.  So, what can neighborhoods and individuals do in the interim to become more resilient?  The project will look at a broad array of issues: preparedness, evacuation/return, and the overall policy issues associated with decisions on levees and coastal restoration.  The project is expected to take a year to complete.  Mark Davis, Director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy (who lives in the neighborhood) and Paul Harrison (of Environmental Defense in D.C.) are the principals on the project.  Jerry Speir and Paul Baricos (Hollygrove CDC) are advisors to the project for our part of town.  We expect further meetings in the neighborhood on these issues.

Treasurer’s Report – Cindy Morse reported a bank balance of $1935.69.

Crime—Todd Leavitt, Tilman Hardy and Betty DiMarco reported on the Crime Committee’s meeting of August 13.  Of primary concern at the moment are two recent incidents involving shots fired from automobiles.  On Saturday, August 2, shots were fired from a vehicle at individuals at a house in the 1300 block of Joliet.  The victims say they did not know the shooters.  On Wednesday, August 6, two cars speeding through the neighborhood in the Dante/Green area were shooting at each other.  Both incidents happened about dusk.  Particularly problematic was the delayed police response to the latter incident (and the disjointed follow-up).  Also, the police now say that they received no 911 report of the incident—though multiple neighbors report calling 911.  Todd Leavitt and Alice-Ann Krishnan, Crime Committee chair, are pulling together a report from immediate neighbors to be presented at the next NONPACC with NOPD (Tuesday, August 19, 7:00 p.m. at Touro Hospital, 2d floor).
This discussion also provoked comments about the importance of the upcoming District Attorney’s race—and questions about whether we should host a forum for DA candidates.  Betty DiMarco, Kevin Brown and Jerry Speir agreed to make inquiries about the feasibility of such a forum.
On a related matter, the group opposed the idea of allowing the CRNA e-mail list to be used to announce meet-and-greet parties for individual candidates.

Education Committee—Cindy Morse reported that Target has made a grant to Johnson School to enhance its library and to make it more available after-hours as a community resource.  There will be a “work day” on Friday, September 19, to help with the library and other projects related to the school’s theme for the year, “Johnson Goes Green and Grows Character.”  Details to come.  We will need volunteers for that event.

Annette Bak reported that the Priestley School for Architecture and Construction has been moved (yet again) to the 2900 block of Palmyra—where it is forced to share space with the “P.M. School,” an after hours school for students who are not able to attend at regular hours.  The two schools exceed the capacity of the building.  The Priestley board has had a problem getting straight answers from the School Board and other school officials as to both the future of the existing school (the students and teachers) and the old building on Leonidas.
Several board members expressed a need to bring pressure on the appropriate individuals and agencies to resolve this untenable situation.  One wondered if a “class action lawsuit” might be possible, against the school board and/or the city, for “ruining our neighborhood and adversely affecting property values” by their neglect of the school.
Mary Green is putting together a Priestley alumni group and our Education
Committee will work with them to try to help resolve these problems.  Jerry Speir will be in touch with Priestley board president Chris D’Amour to help define appropriate assistance that CRNA can offer.

Kevin Brown noted that there are AmeriCorps positions available for individuals interested in tutoring in local schools.  The jobs carry a modest stipend and are usually taken by college students or retired persons.  Anyone interested can contact Kevin at Kevin@tccno.org

Events—Cindy Morse reported that she and Amanda Smithson are working toward a general membership meeting/picnic – tentatively for September 13.

Zoning/Land Use—Jerry Speir reported that the Saltwater Grill is moving to the space formerly occupied by Chef’s Corner in the Riverbend and is interested in signing an Agreement with CRNA like the one signed with Chef’s Corner, limiting the transferability of the liquor license.  Kevin Brown moved, seconded by Betty DiMarco, to offer them the same agreement as that signed with Chef’s Corner.  Passed unanimously.

Questions were raised about blighted properties and how to address them.  Jerry noted that there will be a BGR breakfast on this topic on Wednesday, August 27, and individuals can attend by signing up at http://www.bgr.org

Board Vacancy—Jerry noted that Nicole Bouie had agreed, subsequent to the discussion at the July meeting, to accept our invitation to join the board.  Discussion followed on filling the remaining vacancy on the board.  The group agreed that we are in no rush to fill the vacancy, that we should make the vacancy known at the general meeting in September, and seek nominations (including self-nominations) from the general membership.  Tilman Hardy suggested that we might delay filling the position until we can have further discussions about what we need in a board, our goals for the future, etc—perhaps at a meeting that we could ask the Neighborhood Partnership Network to facilitate.

HUD complaint—Jerry informed the group that CRNA has been named, along with the city of New Orleans, CPC Director Yolanda Rodriguez, and all members of the Board of Zoning Adjustments in a discrimination complaint filed by Brad Robinson over his effort to build larger houses (with no parking) than allowed by the zoning ordinance in the 8600 block of Zimpel.  Jim Logan, attorney for the neighbors and CRNA, is dealing with the matter, and Jerry has written a response to HUD.  We believe the claim to be totally baseless.  (Robinson specifically claims that we have colluded with the city to deny Section 8 housing in the neighborhood.)

Citizen Participation Program (CPP)—Julianna Padgett reported that the CPP is moving forward and that there will be a meeting at 6:00 on Monday, August 18, to bring together all the committees that were formed after the recent Summit.  The meeting will be at 3500 Canal, 2d floor.

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

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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. 

 

 

Board meeting minutes – May

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes
May 8, 2008

Attending–Board: Marilyn Barbera, Pax Bobrow, Kevin Brown, Betty DiMarco, Tilman Hardy, Alice-Anne Krishnan, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Gary Smith, Amanda Smithson, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Betsy Weymann

Absent Board Members: Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolf Garrison, Marshall Hevron, Julianna Padgett, Llewelyn Soniat, Evan Wolf

Residents/Guests: Annette Bak, Bob Bermudez, Sandy Brown, Jason Coleman, Mary DeWitt Dukes, Michele Dupre, Jean Fishcer, Brenda Floyd, Colby Johnson, Ken Kinnett, Paul Manger, Cindy Morse, Michele Pope, Steve Schmitt, Chad Toups, Lauren Tucker (Green Light New Orleans)
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FREE Light Bulbs—Lauren Tucker with Green Light New Orleans reported on the organization’s program to replace high-energy incandescent light bulbs throughout the city (and surrounding parishes) with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. The program is funded by grants and donations and is FREE and open to all residents. (Commercial entities can purchase bulbs from Green Light at a reduced rate.) Residents simply need to call or sign-up online. Yes, folks, the bulbs themselves are free, and volunteers will come to your house and do the actual replacement for you. You may also volunteer to work with the program. They’ll be happy to have your help—and note that volunteering may help you get your own bulbs faster. J They have a considerable waiting list at the moment. Green Light is based in the neighborhood and our own Jim Stratton is also a board member of Green Light. They’d like our neighborhood to be a model for the city. To contact the program, call 324-2429 or visit their website

“Magnolia Street” Legislation—Tilman Hardy reported on legislation being proposed by Senator Cheryl Gray that would create a residential “Magnolia Street” program, much like the “Main Street” program that supports the revitalization of older commercial areas and that is presently in place on Oak Street. The legislation is Senate Bill 732, and it can be viewed on the Senator’s legislative webpage
It is modeled on a program in Philadelphia and could be very relevant to our neighborhood.

Security/Improvement District Legislation—Tilman also reported that the group that has been working on creating a new neighborhood association in the Leonidas corridor area (sometimes referred to as Pensiontown) has decided not to pursue the security/improvement district idea this year.
In light of that and other developments, and after much discussion, the CRNA boarded voted 11-0 (on motion by Betsy Weymann, seconded by Kevin Brown) to defer our own promotion of the district and to put our efforts into planning for the possible re-introduction of the measure next year. It was generally agreed that our planning efforts must begin promptly, to take advantage of the energy and connections that have developed as a consequence of this year’s discussions. It was also generally agreed that CRNA should support the new Leonidas corridor organization in its development.

Education Committee—At a recent work-day at Johnson School, shelving that had been donated by Lowe’s was assembled and installed and the school’s supply of texts and other books were organized on the shelves—a great improvement from their previous storage in stacked boxes.
There will be a meeting of the Education Committee on Monday, May 12 at 6:30 at Betty DiMarco’s home,8221 Birch, to conclude the “vision planning” process that the committee has been working on with relation to our schools.
Annette Bak reported that Priestley School had received a $25,000 grant for library materials from the Laura Bush Foundation.
Carrollton United has also received a legislative grant (through Rep. Walker Hines office) that they hope will be sufficient to re-open the gymnasium at Priestley for recreation by children in the neighborhood.

Crime—A lengthy discussion about crime followed—noting the recent armed robbery of the Zotz Café on Oak Street, the muggings around Palmer Park reported by the Times-Picayune, and a rash of house burglaries, and shootings. The principle point of discussion was whether it would be preferable to meet with Major Bouyelas, the 2d district commander, or Chief Riley—and whether it should be a meeting just about our neighborhood or involving other neighborhoods through the Carrollton Area Network. Out of that discussion also grew a suggestion for a facilitated meeting with other groups within out boundaries to work out our collaborative agendas and particularly to work on the crime problem. Alice-Anne Krishnan volunteered (or “was volunteered”?) to convene a group to discuss these issues further and to propose/convoke a meeting with the police. Of those present, the following volunteered to be part of that planning effort: Gary Smith, Jason Colman, Ken Kinnett, Michelle Pope, Pax Bobrow, Betty DiMarco, Amanda Smithson and Todd Leavitt.

Zoning—Marilyn Barbera reported having heard that Walgreen’s is proposing to buy the old Eckerd’s, possibly to demolition it so that they can build a “drive-through” for their adjacent store. The issue of creating parking along the railroad tracks, between Leake and the levee has also been discussed again recently. We agreed that the Zoning Committee would meet to address these and related matters. Betsy Weymann volunteered for the Zoning Committee.
The group of neighbors pursuing the BZA appeal re: housing permits in the 8600 block of Zimpel (an appeal supported by CRNA) will be in court on May 17.

Streetcar Return to Carrollton—Planning for festivities associated with the return of the streetcar to Carrollton Avenue continue. The festivities will coincide with the last-Saturday-of-the-month Art Market in Palmer Park. It remains unclear whether this will be May 31 or June 28. Stay tuned. The board agreed to pay for a CRNA banner to be displayed in connection with the festivities, preferring that it be re-useable.
[NOTE: Since the board meeting, it has become clear that the event will be June 28.]

Next Board Meeting—Following our new “second Thursday of the month” plan, the next CRNA board meeting will be Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. We will expect to have it at the same place, the Keller-Williams office at Leake and Leonidas, though that must be confirmed.

Best,

Jerry Speir, President
Carrollton/Riverbend Neighborhood Assn.