MNA November 16, 2019 General Meeting Minutes

MNA Secretary Meeting/Meeting Minutes

  • Welcome to visitors and members, Preston Tyree, co-chair. Approximately 65 people in attendance.
  • Approval of Last Month’s Minutes, Alison Raffalovich, Secretary
  • Treasurer’s Report, Joan Quenan, Treasurer

Starting Balance $15,561.92

Revenue – fees, dues t-shirts ($285.80)


  • Babysitting $60
  • Fees/website 16.40
  • Refunds $50
  • Grants $500

Total $626.40

Ending balance, $15,221.32

  • Election for Steering Committee, Dennis Mick, Nominating Committee Chair

Candidates: Edwin Dorn; Brittany Estes-Garcia; Ted Herr, Colleen Knox, John R. Thomas; Marta White; plus write-ins Sherri Taylor, Aretta Abdullah, Mariana McEnroe. Brief bios of all candidates except write-ins were handed out.

  • POA Review, Bill Berman – POA annual meeting was Thursday night, 11/15/2019; Jeff Lucci was elected as one of two resident members. Joe Freeland is rolling off the board and has made a huge impact in driving more transparency and openness in the POA, so please thank him for his service the last years. We’ll have a new landscape company starting 12/1/2019; WLE will be doing all the major mowing, trimming etc. on one day per week to minimize noise.  They do not use pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals and use more battery-powered rather than gas-powered.  All of their staff are full-time regular employees.  Next year’s budget, this year’s audit and the reserves study will be online. There will be a $.50 pool increase, a $3 row home increase. The Shorenstein Building is under construction for the next two years across from the Alamo, and hotel construction begins next month.  Tower lighting is Dec. 3 at John Gaines Park at 5:30.
  • Mueller Commission, Michael Jones, President, PIAC Mueller Commission. The PUD Amendment was approved by the Planning Commission, and will be heard by the City Council, likely December 5. The Economic Development Office gave a report on the Mueller Project, which has added $1.4 B to the City of Austin tax base.  Bonds issued to cover some of the infrastructure costs, and bond debt will be paid off in 2032.  Any surplus at that point will do into general revenue. The next meeting is January 14, 2020 (no December meeting). Kathy Sokolic, Dave Neider, Corky Hill and Carol Drennan are fellow commissioners with Mike.
  • Google Fiber, Daniel Lucio.  He did the same thing two years ago that he’s doing today; unforeseen issues caused a long delay in completing the network.  Google is continuing network construction and Mueller will be connected within a year with construction beginning as early as next week on Berkman near Manor. He and his colleague Rose will be available following the meeting to answer any questions. Berkman will be the backbone of the network, and it will be connected to the backbone of the overall Austin Google network.  The hope is to complete all areas of Mueller by the end of 2020. On Berkman, the fiber is being installed in the softscape. On other streets it will be installed in the roadway and into houses from the alleyways. Google is aware that alleys are how many people get in and out of their homes so Google will work to minimize disruption to resident access.  Crews are identifiable as with Corbel Communications and carry identify cards. Google will work with a city arborist and or a city-certified arborist to ensure that construction methods do not harm trees. In the streets, they use shallow trenching – a two-inch wide hold between the street and curb with 6-12” depth and place a 2” conduit in the hole.  The cut is made with a large saw.  If you have any questions or concerns in the construction process, contact the 24-hour hotline at 877-454-6959. People who made a deposit a couple of years ago, and if you haven’t gotten it refunded you should be signed up.  Those who signed up more than a year ago should have been issued a refund about 10 months ago, but Daniel will check on those since many people do not recall getting a refund. If you got a refund you need to sign up again.  If you had earlier expressed interest in getting Google Fiber, you’ll be contacted again to assess interest.
  • $50 Restaurant Gift Card Drawing for Members, Bart Jacob, Co-Chair, Web Committee. The winner (current MNA member in attendance at the MNA General Meeting) of the Mueller restaurant of his or her choice: Sherri Taylor. Pairs of Alamo Drafthouse tickets:  Gwen Choss and Len DiSanza; $10 Food and Beverage gift cards for Alamo Drafthouse: Laura Baker and Andrew Clements.  
  • Halcyon is launching a Coffee Porter from Real Ale today at 2. Taylor works with the Civil Air Patrol for people 12-100 two weekends/month and she invited others to think about joining.
  • Q&A with the Candidates for US District 25 introduced by Suzanne O’Malley. Heidi Sloan is the Democratic candidate running in the March 3, 2020 primary against Julie Oliver who participated in the earlier Q&A; the winner will run against incumbent Roger Williams, R. This is next in the series of Q&A sessions with candidates for District 25, whose winner will represent our area in Congress.  Heidi works on a farm, and she has spent 7 years as a farmer in Austin alongside those experiencing chronic homelessness, growing food and creating community. That time has heightened her passion around affordable healthcare and housing in our society. We are all just a few bad breaks from being in the same position as our neighbors who fall through the cracks in the safety net and end up homeless.  Prior to farming, she worked as a pre-K classroom as a teacher in an inclusive environment for children of all different abilities. These experiences caused her to think a lot about root causes of generational trauma; everything costs more for poor people than for wealthy people and income disparities continue to grow. This process caused her to expand beyond nonprofit work to governance and began to do community organization, since so many people don’t really know what to do to help our neighbors and change the power structures that perpetuate income disparity and differences in life expectancy. We need to empower our community to change things, and Heidi’s community organization began with the campaign for paid sick days for all workers in Austin. In 2016, the flu in Travis County was severe and hit a lot of working people. Many hourly workers didn’t even know the concept of paid sick time existed, while other people didn’t even realize that many workers don’t have access to paid sick time. The more the issue was publicized, the more people supported universal paid sick days. Heidi is also committed to Medicare for all so every person can go to a doctor regardless of their means and get the care they need. She also works to help organize unions and to get people experiencing homelessness moving toward secure, safe housing rather than toward prison. In Texas landlords are allowed to discriminate against renters based on income source, such as Section 8 housing. Mueller exemplifies how we can provide safe, affordable, beautiful housing for neighbors who are otherwise housing insecure.  Heidi deeply believes Austinites and Texans want the best for each other and is running for Congress to take steps to help them achieve meaningful changes in income disparity and the outcomes that result from it. Her platform is people-centered and aims to put people’s voices for compassion in the conversation every day. She seeks community support to win the election, but equally importantly, after being elected, to change the community approach to housing, healthcare, public education and income equity, treating our neighbors in need with dignity and care. Heidi lives in Windsor Park and Julie Oliver in Cherrywood. A question on gun rights arose. Heidi supports background checks and banning assault weapons and changing the culture and rhetoric of fear, prejudice and hatred that leads to gun proliferation.  One important policy shift is to provide true and real paths to citizenship, and better protect those targeted by violence including immigrants, African Americans, women and transgendered.  Q: What about the potential school closings that AISD proposed? Heidi was there when the teachers’ union asked questions of the trustees about those, and it was interesting. Over-reliance on standardized test scores in making funding decisions while turning a blind eye to historical and socioeconomic issues needs to stop. She is committed to better funding public schools. Another attendee commended the MNA for giving candidates a platform to engage the community, including Julie and Heidi, for letting us hear directly from candidates. She also appreciated the artist represented at our last MNA meeting. A more balanced playing field for disparate communities is key. Stepping toward equity is difficult but important. Visit for more information about her policy stance and to learn more about her campaign. The MNA does not endorse specific candidates and is committed to giving a voice to all.
  • Votes were counted, and the 2020 Steering Committee include continuing members Bart Glaser, Bart Jacob, Richard Carr, Alison Raffalovich, John Wooding, Taylor Youngblood, and newly elected members Ed Dorn, Brittany Estes-Garcia, Ted Herr, Colleen Knox, John Reese Thomas, Marta White, and Mariana McEnroe. We can elect officers now or do it at the December Steering Committee meeting. John will distribute orientation materials. Currently Steering Committee meetings are on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the HEB Community Room at the Mueller HEB.  Bart J has been cochairing the communications committee, and Bill K will remain to support that committee even though he is rolling off the Steering Committee meetings. Ty will stay on ex officio as of January 1 as a nonvoting member. The January 1 Steering Committee meeting will be pushed to January 8.

The monthly general membership meeting will be December 14.

Respectfully submitted 12/2/2019, Alison Raffalovich, Secretary