MNA Steering Committee Minutes, May 2, 2018

MNA Secretary Meeting/Meeting Minutes

Mueller Neighborhood Association Steering Committee Meeting

Location: Aldrich 51

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Time: 7PM to 8:30 p.m.

Officers present: Lila Valencia, Chair, Preston (Ty) Tyree, Vice Chair, Luke Downs, Treasurer


Members present:  Bill Berman, Joan Quenan, Dan Updegrove, Audrey Glaser, Ana Acosta, Bill Kirwin, Evan McLendon,

Members absent: Alison Raffalovich, Secretary, Andrew Clements, Kathy Farley

Guest(s):  Dennis Mick, Karen Sharp, Dusty Harshman, Kathy Sokolic, Nhat Minh Ho, Dave Neider


Meeting called to order: 7:04 p.m.                          Meeting adjourned: 9:10 p.m.


  1. Greetings and pleasantries [Lila Valencia]
  2. Approval of previous meeting minutes – Minutes were approved by email and have been posted on the website.
  3. Treasurer’s Report [Luke Downs] Beginning balance of $11,183.09. Revenues of Dues ($50), Credit Card Fees ($.52), T-Shirts ($40), Sponsorships ($6825), Tip Jar ($16.75).  Total Revenues were $6932.27.

Expenses:  Meeting Coffee ($36.70), Neighborhood flags ($297.83), Egg Scramble Partial ($557.99).  Total Expenses were $892.52.  Ending Balance is $17,222.84.

298 total members, which was an increase of 10 members.

  1. Committee Updates
  2. Neighborhood Transition [Karen Sharp]

Karen, chair of committee, provided recap of the Neighborhood Transition meeting.  Karen provided a history:  This committee was formed to start preparing for the time when Catellus would be handing off to MNA and property owners would comprise all seats on the boards and run the neighborhood.  There are several MNA members on the committee with Karen, including steering committee members Dan Updegrove and Bill Berman.

The committee met at least 4 times to discuss transition issues: the need to educate residents on POA and transition issues including discussion of issues that would need to change for the transition.  There was a need to engage with Catellus to discuss covenant issues and how to rectify some situations.  Ken Blaker and Brian Dolezal (Catellus) felt the transition committee should become a POA Committee, with formal reporting back to MNA.

Steering Committee members discussed whether this was a good thing for MNA, and questions arose.  Will there be quorum requirements?  Karen will find out.  Would we trust the committee members to vet issues through the MNA / Steering Committee?  Dan reported that being on both committees would give us more access.  Karen said it looks like a mostly positive thing that will help us.  Bill and Dan agreed.

Lila shared the concerns about having an independent committee.  Karen reported that at any time we feel we want an MNA committee, we could still do that, but likely there will not be a need.

Lila reports a history of mixed communication with the POA and is concerned that it would make things even more distant.  Bill said this would likely give us more access.  Dan agreed.

Dan Updegrove made a motion to agree to having the committee fall under the POA.  Bill Berman 2nd.  All approved. None opposed. The motion passed.

  1. Website
    1. Front Porch Flyer, discussion [Dusty Harshman & Kathy Sokolic]

A year ago, there was a discussion on how to continue the Front Porch Flyer.  There were ideas on how the print process could continue.  Several proposals were considered, and the committee decided to go fully digital, giving up the printed version. This involved building out the website.

The website has been launched. Several MNA members were trained.  Approved minutes are now being uploaded.  The problem is that they struggle with getting regular, fresh content.

A new proposal has come up that Dusty and Kathy wanted to share and discuss. (Dusty is Editor, Kathy produces content.)

This alternative is a potential return to printed copy via an outsourced company (Kelly Peel).  The MNA would have to provide monthly content.  There was a concern that monthly content stream would be a challenge.  And with that challenge to produce regular monthly content, both Dusty and Kathy expressed their disinterest in leading that effort, and happy for someone else to take it on.  There is nobody known who wants to take on the leadership.

The committee discussed the options.

  • Kelly Peel would do all the printing and distribution. We can post any of the content on social media and our website.
  • If MNA stays involved and produces content, it would remain “Front Porch Flyer;” otherwise the name would change.
  • Kathy noted that Kelly Peel wants to do this anyway to: produce, mail. MNA can put it on website, share it, anything we want to do with it.  The newsletter is likely to show up anyway; do we want to be a part of it?
  • A question came up about whether he would poach our sponsors for their advertising. Kathy doesn’t think it will since his subscription base is mostly in Westlake.
  • If we provide content, they will not edit. They take care of layout, advertising.
  • Timetable for decision is not yet known. Kathy said the steering committee is now the decider.  Lila noted that the decision was already made less than a year ago to go digital and discontinue.
  • Question from Dan U about whether we might want to consider paying someone to do this if we think it is valuable and want to keep it going.
  • Luke noted that everyone who has managed it is burned out.
  • Lila requested (1) more clarity: an agreement that he won’t approach our sponsors and that we could recognize our sponsors in content.  Is there someone who we could pay that we’d feel comfortable with?  And (2), to assess if there is a leader.

Dusty and Kathy agreed to look for a new leader and then get clarity on the advertising and sponsors


  1. Purchase of G Suite, update [Luke]

Luke will send out email to members about this and discuss at next meeting when functional.

  1. Online Member Enrollment update was provided by Luke
  • Transportation Update provided by Dave Neider
    1. Public transportation training: It was very well attended with 69 attendees.
    2. Transit adventure to Fareground. More people attended than the limit with 45-50 people.  Used 2 buses.

Joan was thanked for organizing.  There will be future similar events, tentatively with the brand-new bus, aka “Central Market Express” where the group will go to Central Market Deck.  And then in the future, possibly a trip to the downtown library.

Joan noted that 31 reduced fare IDs were distributed.

Dave will be at next neighborhood meeting and will share the new bus info.

  1. Neighborhood Engagement
    1. Block Captain Network [Dennis]

Dennis reported a good response to his survey, and agreement about the ideal functions of block captain network:  to promote a sense of community within Mueller and within the block, and to help neighbors know one another.

The survey showed a variety of ways suggested to improve block captain, including Increasing routine communication through the block captains. Dennis prefers communication to be routine — but as needed.  Base level is forwarding information they receive to their residents.

  • There are 104 identified block segments for captains; About half have captains.
  • Dennis has been reviewing the block captain list and updating data. He has had 80% response from captains during his outreach.
  • Dennis made request of the committee: to officially contact Catellus/POA to get request a list of residents to help his efforts.
  • Lila asked if Dennis could draft something that we can present to Mueller / POA. It was noted that if rejected, it could be taken to the PIAC as it is needed to fulfill the basic tenet

Joan made a motion that we send the letter to the POA and Associa/Catellus requesting the resident names and contact information. Ty 2nd.    All agreed, none opposed.  Motion passed. 

  1. Engagement Ideas [Audrey]

Audrey shared Neighborhood Engagement committee progress:

  • Goal is to increase membership in MNA
    1. Audrey and Alison are drafting MNA Value Proposition Flyer and will send out to committee for review.
    2. They met with Dennis to brainstorm and discuss how Block Captains can help to increase MNA members. Dennis will use Value Proposition Flyer in his outreach.
    3. Working on recruiting committee members and will schedule first meeting soon.
    4. Noted that having a list of residents from POA would help us reach out for members.
    5. Discussed Club Clearinghouse idea where MNA could help by posting clubs with openings to help people get involved with neighbors.
    6. Discussed Welcome Kit idea to include the MNA flyer and giveaways from local businesses. Need strong committee for this.
    7. Tabling at events to sign up more people
      • Ty volunteered to table at the next Happy Hour
      • Dusty suggested we order inexpensive business cards with the link to hand out when recruiting. (ACTION)


  • Creation of MNA Page, update [Lila]
    1. Lila will reach out to Ana and Bill for Facebook Page. Lila will use the value proposition for the page once approved.



  1. Audit, update [Joan]

The committee reviewed the last 2 years of books.  The report was distributed.  All went very well, everything is in excellent order and balanced.  They will be meeting next Thursday with Dan and Luke to discuss recommendations and will bring to the committee for a vote next month.  Joan will present to the MNA general meeting.

  1. Bylaws [Preston Tyree]

Ty handed out the bylaws updates and proposed we review the bylaws and discuss via email to be prepared to vote at next meeting.  Joan and Ty are on the bylaws committee.  The full steering committee is now responsible for the bylaws.

Bylaws updates are being proposed due to problems encountered over the years as we’ve grown and changed. Nhat highlighted some of the changes being proposed:

  • Adding sustaining memberships
  • Have alternate members.
  • Operating with vacancy: there is not a clear bylaw language about how to operate with a vacancy, what is quorum.
  • Business tiers
  • 2-year terms staggered
  1. Fourth of July [Bill B and Bill K]
    1. Announcement is going to go out. Lila will put in the newsletter.  There are 2 months until the event.
    2. New idea: Proposing a new destination for the parade – to the Hangar due to need for shade.  Bill has informally asked Angie wp gave preliminary OK.
  • The starting point could still be Paggi Square. This would avoid having to cross traffic on Berkman. ACTION: We will need a food permit and certificate of insurance.

Luke made a Motion to approve $4,000 for the 4th of July Event.   Dan Updegrove 2nd, all agreed, none opposed.  Motion passed.

  1. MNA Directions Lila: reports Survey has had a strong response. Results to follow.
  2. Housekeeping:
  • Lila is not available for June meeting and requested reschedule.
    • June 13th was agreed on as new date for meeting. Lila will send out update. 
  • Joan will be gone all of June and first week of July and requests someone do nametags. Luke and Ana volunteered.  Joan will give box to Ana.

General Meeting

Lila reported that the Mayor is coming to next general meeting, to address “Getting to know your neighbors”.

ACTION:  Everyone please invite friends, so we can have a large meeting for Mayor visit. 

Joan suggested having Lettuce share their information with Mueller in some way.  Bill Kirwin will invite them to present at general meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 9:10pm.

[Upcoming General Meeting Agenda]
  1. May General Meeting Agenda: 5/19 10am @ Seton
    1. Neighborhood Conversations
      1. Mayor Steve Adler
      2. Rachel Rosen
  • Kevin Michael Foster
  1. City of Austin Curbside Composting Collection Program[tentative]
  2. MNA Directions Survey Summary
  3. Local Business Spotlight: Maybe Lettuce?