MNA Steering Committee Minutes, February 6, 2019

MNA Secretary Meeting/Meeting Minutes

MNA Steering Committee

Location: Aldrich 51 @ 2604 Aldrich Street

Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Time: 7PM to 9PM

Attending: John Wooding and Preston (“Ty”) Tyree, Co-chairs; Lila Valencia, Chair Ex Oficio; Penny Brandt, Treasurer; Richard Carr, Vice Chair; Alison Raffalovich, Secretary; Bill Kirwin, Suzanne O’Malley, Bart Jacob, Bart Glaser, Joan Quenan

Guests: Dennis Mick, Ani Colt, Luke Downs, Angela McPherson

Not attending:  Maria Salas, April Geruso


  1. Greetings and pleasantries [Preston]
  2. Approval of previous meeting minutes [Alison Raffalovich] – these were approved via email and have been posted on the MNA site.
  3. Treasurer’s Report and 2019 Budget (Revised) [Penny Brandt] With Luke’s help, Penny has prepared a proposed 2019 budget. A check from DMA has arrived for $500 sponsorship as well as in-kind use of Amli on Aldrich for 12 Steering Committee meetings and the Wildflower Terrace for 3 general meetings in the summer. Sponsor and potential sponsor updates are maintained on a Google sheet; Bart G and Ty will work out who picks up development outreach from Lila, who is graciously continuing in that role for now, and Bart G will maintain the Google sheet. Dan will add a column for the sponsor contact’s job title. Luke advises that we’re likely to see additional sponsorship checks come in within next two months. Lila has completed an email outreach to all the existing contacts in the spreadsheet but many companies still don’t have a contact noted. We need to ensure that our commitments to sponsors are honored (that their logos are featured where we promise, social media recognition, recognition at General Meetings, etc.).  We need someone to fill out the grant application for an HEB grant; when we do so, we should note that we have received $2500 in past grant cycles.  There is a different form for smaller individual event sponsorships, using the same contact person from the spreadsheet.

Committed sponsorships to date: 

Neighborhood Navigator, $2500: Seton Ascension plus having general meetings at Seton for the balance of 2019 except for October, when there is another event already booked for our planned date. We need to move the date or the location. Penny will invoice for the sponsorship fee.

Tower of Support, $1500: Frost Bank (Lila brought the check)

First Class Partner, $1000: Envision Eye Center (Lila will pick up the check from Envision)

Friend of MNA, $500: Green City Realty and DMA (plus the meeting rooms)

Social Butterfly, $250:  Catellus

In-kind sponsorships from Alamo, Loca d’Oro, Halcyon and Lady Quackenbush’s are also committed. Quack’s has some creative activity ideas for the events.

The proposed budget was unanimously approved and adopted.

  1. Committee updates:

4.1 Block Captain Network and meet & greet [Dennis Mick] – Presented a neighborhood map with blocks that have captains and those that don’t; 30 of the 104 do not have current block captains.  Dennis is in the process of a couple of new blocks that are beginning to be occupied. From a year ago, a survey of the Steering Committee felt that improving the stream of communication via block captains to neighbors was the highest need to make improvements, along with refreshing block captains, rather input from block captains, and peer-to-peer support.  Current training is not formalized; Dennis greets new block captains over coffee in the neighborhood and familiarize them with the role.

Basic expectations are to maintain a contact list, share the list within the block and relay MNA info to neighbors.

Advanced expectations are to initiate social activities, assist MNA in membership, organize new neighbor welcome events and more.

Recently we did block walks with the Neighborhood Committee with the MNA brochure and got 3 new block captains and 18 new members that we know off.

We have the next block walk scheduled for February 16.

The Block Captain meet-and-greet is scheduled for February 21, 5-7 likely at the Alamo Barrell O Fun and it would be great to have a good showing from the Steering Committee. Dennis will solicit input on how they like the happy hour, what could help them do their jobs better, etc. Dennis can put together a little questionnaire for them to fill out to find out how complete they think their contact list is, etc. He is also open to someone filling the role of Block Captain coordinator (or more than one – one for apartments, one for houses, for example).  If a current Block Captain doesn’t step forward, Joan will consider taking on the role.

Churn is an ongoing reality – we had 18 new and replacement block captains in the past year. In same cases, the same block captain is still in place even though they don’t seem energized.

4.2 Aging & Neighborhood [Ani Colt]

The Objectives of the Aging & Neighborhood Group (established in 2015)


  1. Develop Agers-friendly structures, plans and programs to enhance the role Neighborhood can play in successful aging.
  2. Utilize the gifts of the over-55 population to help create the social networks to support us.
  3. Create Healthy Together events, activities and programs.
  4. Promote housing options.
  5. Promote Mueller work opportunities that fit the lifestyles of Senior and Elder Adults
  6. Practice Intentional Intergenerational Relationships (IIR)
  7. Create a Community Place to eat, meet, play, learn, work etc together.
  8. Pave the way for the Mueller population to stay in Mueller for the rest of their lives, should they choose.

The committee is particularly concerned that Mueller lacks facilities for ongoing assistance to aging residents to enable them to age in place within the neighborhood. The committee’s research has led them to the Green House Project, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating alternative living environments designed to be markedly different from traditional nursing homes < >. The Green House concept is central to a vision being developed by the committee and others for the 7.5-acre parcel bounded by 51st St, Berkman Dr., Barbara Jordan Blvd, and Aldrich St. The conceptual plan for “ONEderment Central” < > also includes dwelling units for younger residents, retail, community space, public space, offices, and parking. Much work remains including a market feasibility study, garnering community and governmental support, funding more detailed project designs, and identifying one or more developers. The Committee hopes for support from the Steering Committee, as in the past we have supported DMA (Wildflower and Aldrich 51) and Foundation Communities (the Jordan) for developing their affordable apartment communities.

4.3 Website – Next Door [Bill Kirwin] – Bill’s understanding is that Next Door was originally conceived as an outlet for the MNA.  Today Next Door (Mueller only) has 2365 members and 80 unique posts YTD. The Mueller Neighbors Facebook page (not MNA-run; Dusty Harshman and Dave Nieder are the primary moderators) has 3000 members with 507 unique posts YTD.  The MNA Facebook page has about 200 people who have “liked” it (meaning they will see posts in their Facebook feed) and 12 unique post YTD. Bill and Bart J have been sharing the posts with the Mueller Neighbors page to increase our reach. We should encourage more people to “like” the MNA Facebook page and use these properties to encourage people to get involved with the committees who would like more help. The more Steering Committee members engage with Mueller Neighbors to like, comment on and promote MNA events, the more visibility the MNA will have to that broader audience. Bart J: the  Front Porch Flyer is up and running, and we are moving ownership of the MNA Facebook page to Austin Mueller (rather than Lila’s personal contact info). Bill and Bart have identified 25 things to be updated to improve the MNA webpage and are working through those. G-Suite gives us our own Google Drive, aliases, etc.  Bart is setting up committee aliases – such as [email protected] for the Transportation & Urban Planning committee – so emails go to current committee chairs rather than personal email addresses that must be updated when the chair changes.  Bart can also set up folder structures, access, etc. as well as working with others (Ty, Luke, Dusty, Lila, etc.) to document processes, etc. to keep things evergreen.  Bart will check with Kathy Sokolic to see about ensuring that the FPF is mailed to Mueller-based businesses, particularly sponsors.

  1. MNA Membership Database [Luke Downs] – Luke loaded all members into Member Planet and ran it in parallel with the spreadsheet of members for 2 years, but Member Planet has a number of problems. It requires an email for a member to be tracked, for example, and many MNA members (10-15%) do not provide their emails, and the cost has increased from $5/month to $45/month for Member Planet. Now Luke is using the spreadsheet plus MailChimp to do email distribution, and it ties pretty well to our website. The spreadsheet has about 8 years of membership data on it. Richard is fine maintaining a spreadsheet plus MailChimp.  It needs some updating and data cleanup, and Richard is working through that.
  2. Row house town hall/ Q&A [Preston] – Bill Berman suggested a meeting of row home residents to surface their views to Catellus/Associa about issues including, but well beyond, the topic of optimal insurance. Associa has set a meeting for February 20, 5-7 in Aldrich 51 Community Room to discuss row home insurance with an open house format; John will attend. John noted that the policy declaration lists many of the row home addresses. (It may be worth adding home unit style – yard home, row home, condo, apartment, etc. in our membership database.) The HOA has refused to provide a copy of the insurance policy to the residents. Suzanne will raise this issue to the PIAC; Kathy Sokolic is on the PIAC so can give it visibility.  After the Town Hall, the MNA in coordination with Bill Berman can consider whether to facilitate further discussion at, for example, the PAC or Seton and have the Steering Committee take relevant row home concerns and suggestions to Associa.
  3. Construction traffic [Suzanne O’Malley/ Ty] – There is heavy construction contractor truck traffic on Simond and lots of parking on Vaughn, including outside designated construction hours. April had the first TUP meeting last evening and wants to meet with Catellus initially to surface concerns. Catellus will want to know whose trucks they are (what contractors) and coordinate with the MNA to support routes that are least disruptive to the neighborhood. John and Ty will also go over and introduce themselves to Catellus as the new Steering Committee co-chairs. Maintaining long-term communication to Catellus and Associa (Kim, Brian and Nicole) and PIAC over safety concerns is important. Ty can also comment during PIAC’s Tuesday public comment portion. Suzanne will look for the TUP to take it from here.
  4. February General Meeting agenda [John] – February 16, 10-11:30

81 Social Time – invite folks to come enjoy food and coffee from 9:45 with mix-and-mingle time, as well as socializing for the first few minutes of the meeting. Bart J will modify the calendar entries to reflect that, as well as post on Facebook and in the co-chairs newsletter.

8.2 Pecan Street Presentation

8.3 Local Business Spotlight: PreFix will sponsor a raffle for flushing tankless hot water heater and changing batteries in your smoke alarms. We give preference to sponsors for the local business spotlight.  If you invite a non-sponsor to attend, invite them to become sponsors.

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Raffalovich, Secretary