Mueller Neighborhood Association Steering Committee Meeting Minutes August 7, 2019

MNA Secretary Front Porch Flyer

Location: HEB Community Room @ 1801 E 51st Street

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Attending:  John Wooding and Preston Tyree, Co-chairs; Richard Carr, Vice Chair; Alison Raffalovich, Secretary; Lila Valencia, Chair Ex Officio; Bart Jacob, Joan Quenan, Bart Glaser, Dan Updegrove

Not attending: April Geruso, Penny Brandt, Suzanne O’Malley, Maria Salas

Guests: Kathy Sokolic, Mohan Rao


1.      Greetings and Pleasantries [John & Preston]

2.      Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes [Alison Raffalovich]

3.      Steering Committee Updates [John]  – Penny has asked to step away as Treasurer due to other commitments. A motion was made and passed unanimously to appoint Dan Updegrove as Interim Treasurer to serve in the role until the new officer election cycle. We’d like someone to sign up to be trained by him so they are potentially able to take on the role seamlessly in 2020. April is getting busy at work so she has asked to step away from the Steering Committee and the Transportation and Urban Planning Committee. John will approach Taylor Youngblood to see if she may open to joining the Steering Committee. John and Dan will help with getting payment for some receipts that have been submitted but not yet reimbursed.

5.      Guest Presenter [Mohan Rao] Mohan has created a Windsor Park neighborhood-centric interactive business map and is exploring ways that this might be useful to other neighborhoods who may want to create their own business maps.  The current map captures businesses in Windsor Park and surrounding areas based on neighbors’ recommendations and suggestions.  Windsor Park felt it was underserved business-wise. Mohan hopes the map can encourage people to spend money locally and organize errands and outings without getting into a car. Mohan is happy to mentor anyone in other neighborhoods who want to do something similar. The map is not (nor is it intended to be) comprehensive but rather a curated list of businesses. It’s a live map so he can add and remove businesses as needed and it continues to grow organically.  He offered to support someone in Mueller creating the equivalent with a Mueller-centric view and Mohan would link to it from the Windsor Park interactive map.  Bart J and Richard will get with Mohan to understand what’s involved to create and maintain the map as an informational discussion. Mohan typically gets updates a couple of times per month and it takes him on average 20 minutes a month or so to maintain it.

6.      Committee Updates:

6.1. Front Porch Flyer Committee [Kathy Sokolic] The Front Porch Flyer was originally Dusty Harshman’s brainchild, meant to document the change and growth in the neighborhood. It was published quarterly with several articles and lots of photographs. They were hand-delivered to each home, so many volunteers were required to write, edit and lay out each issue, take files to the printer, divide printed issues into stacks for volunteers to distribute and then house-to-house deliveries themselves. As the neighborhood grew it got unmanageable, so the Steering Committee and Front Porch Flyer Committee agreed to go to a digital format. The lost advertising revenue for the MNA was replaced by area business sponsorships.

In the digital model, not many articles got submitted and it languished. After three years, the print edition was revived via a six-month MOU with Peele Printing, responding to neighborhood survey data showing neighbors like the print edition.  It seems to be well-received but we are now beyond the end of the MOU term.  The content is also available online and now we have more current and in-depth content because of needing to keep pace with the monthly print schedule. The newsletter covers neighborhood events and sometimes includes recurring articles on, for example, recycling from Taylor Youngblood and recaps of the MNA committees from Alison. A challenge is that there’s no mailing list that keeps pace with the new construction, so residents of the new houses as they’re built have to sign up via Peele’s site to get added to the list.  We could link to the PDF on the Peele website from the MNA website. The original idea was to replicate all the print stories to the MNA website but that hasn’t happened. Bill will collaborate with Kathy to upload new articles going forward and link to the actual full PDF of each issue. The MOU doesn’t address adding businesses to the mailing list, though individuals at neighborhood businesses can sign up voluntarily just as any resident can. Kathy would like the FPF to get more regular updates from the committees and get more direction from the Steering Committee. We can submit article ideas related to the MNA or building community and the FPF committee will ask someone to write about it. Joan will submit an article reminding people about block grants in the September issue when the weather begins to get nicer. It’s a great way to also communicate around issues people are curious about, like how the affordable housing program in Mueller works.

6.2. Transportation and Urban Planning [Preston] – Ty will look for someone to run the committee as April steps away, including approaching Andrew Clements, who ran it in the past. There is a need for more clarity on the respective roles and interaction between the POA transportation committee and this MNA committee. April will get with John and Ty on the handover and current status. An example of recent effective committee input is the alterations to the original city plan for reconfiguring Zach Scott Street to preserve more parking while still having separated bike lanes.

6.3. Nominations Committee – Elections [John] 7:52– Some of the Steering Committee reviewed existing committee member terms, and the people who are not term-limited this cycle are John and Suzanne. Maria, Bart, Bart, Penny, Richard, and Alison have another year remaining on their current two-year terms.

6.4. Fall Festival and Yard Sale – Call for Committee Chairs [John] – Kathy Farley is not able to co-chair, so we currently don’t have a chair. John and Joan agreed to co-chair the event, scheduled for November 9.  Last year’s co-chairs will pass along the documentation from last year.  Joan will lead the yard sale planning for October. Bart J helped create the Google poll in the spring with a link from the Mueller Neighbors Facebook page and Joan will provide a few dates to Bart to create the new poll.  

7.      Membership Update [Richard Carr] We are at 410 members, and approximately 100 people who were members from last year have not renewed in 2019.  Richard and Alison will send an email to former members who haven’t yet renewed.  Richard will talk to Taylor about recognizing exceptionally engaged block captains.  

8.      T-Shirts – Pricing and Inventory [Joan Quenan] – We ordered 216 T-shirts including requests for specific orders. There was some disconnect about additional orders so we have 269 t-shirts now at a cost of more than $2,300, and we’ve already gotten about $1,300 in sales revenue.  Joan needs to get records with the credit card payments on the bank statements to get a complete reconciliation. They cost about $8-9 and we sell them for $15 so they create net contribution to treasury.  There are 187 remaining. Joan proposed we consider selling youth shirts, which cost $7, for $10. We could see about getting a table at Rock the Park and Paseo and selling shirts and signing up new members. There was a motion made to try to sell the youth shirts at $10 to move the inventory and more than cover costs, which passed unanimousely.  Richard will send a photo of his entire family in MNA shirts to Joan to run with her FPF article.

9.      Childcare at MNA Meetings [Joan Quenan]– Is there a way to provide a sitter or multiple sitters on-site at meetings so young kids can play in another area while parents attend the meeting? Maria mentioned earlier the she may know some people who are willing.  Joan will talk to Maria about lining up two high-school age babysitters at the August meeting and if they can John will add a blurb in the newsletter to ask people to let us know if they plan to bring children so Joan will know in advance whether to line up one or more sitters. 

10.   Bylaws and Term Lengths [Preston]– Bart and Bill need to update the PDF of the bylaws on-line with the new document – the document that displays is the new one but the link to the PDF goes to the old one.

11.   Discussion – Neighborhood Safety and Homelessness Ordinance [All]– At the General Meeting report, Bill Berman mentioned Catellus having their attorneys work through the implications of the new ordinance.  There was discussion of having a way to welcome the Jordan residents at the opening event. They will start leasing in September. There are 135 units which by design are very family oriented, including some 3 bedrooms. There is concern about the recent armed robberies in the neighborhood, and Ty will ask our local APD liaison to come give an update to the Steering Committee and potentially the general meeting.  The POA allocates some of our dues to pay an off-duty APD officer and we can certainly ask them to inform us more about the program.

12. Dan will get an updated quote for the annual insurance policy option to cover all three of our signature events plus the directors.  

13. We’ll add the December general meeting to the calendar for December 14.

14.   August General Meeting Agenda [John] (5 mins)

14.1.        Treasurer’s Report [Dan Updegrove]

14.2.        POA Review [Joe Freeland or Bill Berman]

14.3.        Mueller Commission [Michael Jones]

14.4.        Catellus Developer Update [Brian Dolezal]

14.5.        Local Business Spotlight: West African Chef Ibrahim

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Raffalovich, Secretary, September 3, 2019