Saturday, September 12, 2009
Joint council and parrish commision meeting, KSCL programing, Operation T.B.O.N.E., and other topics discussed at 8/31 meeting
First, we had a packed meeting a week ago Monday which I summarize below. Our next one will be on the 14th—we skipped a week for Labor Day. Our nomination of board members and officers have been postponed until that meeting, and our election will be a week after that, on the 21st (at least, I think that’s what we agreed to).
At the last meeting we discussed:
* city council and parish commission meeting on the master plan
* the bike routes project
* Coates Bluff Greenway
In attendance: Zakk Owens, Merwin McCrady, John Davenport, Loren Demerath, Shreveport Police Chief Whitehorn, Cheryl Jeter, Jim Holt, Ryan Tew, Maurice Loridans, April Dahm, Steve Godfrey, Rebecca Lehr, Bob Markey, David Aubry, Matthew Linn, Susan Keith, Cynthia Keith, Dan Marcalus.
COUNCIL AND COMMISSION MEETING ON MASTER PLAN: The group discussed the meeting at Government Plaza earlier that day. It was noted that some council members expressed concern about representation, but it was also noted that representation appeared to be quite diverse, and that there appears to be no consensus on the standards for judging success or failure for the vissioneering forum. Assessments seemed to be based on anecdotal evidence.
It was noted that Citizens Advisory Group is apparently taking steps to reach more people by going to high schools and facilitating dialogue about what the plan for our city should look like. It was noted that some people in particularly low income areas may not feel welcome or secure at those schools, and that churches and community organizations may also be good places for the C.A.G. to go to hold "mini-visioneering" conversations. (This was noted by Barbara Jarrell and supported by Monty Walford at the joint meeting earlier, as well).
ON THE TOPIC OF OUTREACH: Loren said he had discussed with Michael Laughy, the faculty advisor to KSCL, about doing public service spots in the spaces that appear to be available in the during Tim Fletcher's morning sports talk show. Zakk mentioned if we were to have a program we could invite people into the booth to talk if they sign a contract saying they agree to not violate FCC rules, etc.
It was also noted that during the joint council-commission master plan meeting ABetterShreveport was singled out several times as being a means of getting more people involved in the conversations surrounding the master plan. During our own meeting it was mentioned that ABetterShreveport could craft Public Service Announcements, and perhaps even produce a show to be aired on Centenary's radio station, KSCL 91, that would publicize and discuss master plan issues, as well as other issues and projects related to improving the city. It so happened that three Centenary students who are active at Centenary's radio station, KSCL, were in attendance at the meeting: Zakk Owens, Merwin McCrady, and Rebecca Lehr.
NOMINATIONS FOR BOARD MEMBERS AND OFFICERS: A number of people were mentioned as being possible board member nominees because of their consistent activity in the group: Dan Marcalus, April Dahm, Maurice Trudeau, Ian Webb, David Nelson, Robert Trudeau, Feico Kempff, Jon Soul, Ryan Tew, Stewart Greathouse, Mark Goadrich, Troy Messina, among others. Currently, Ian, Loren, and Maurice are the sole board members of the organization. It was suggested that on the 14th we nominate board members and officers.
BIKE ROUTES PROPOSAL: It was reported that Jo Rose is the lobbyist commissioned to monitor the planning on the Jimmy Davis Bridge amendments that will allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass between riverside bike paths of Shreveport and Bossier respectively, and that Kent Rogers had been contacted to talk with Ian Webb about the planning.
The overall proposal was described briefly for benefit of the new attendees. Maurice also made a suggestion to Chief Whitehorn that the police on patrol in squad cars use their public address systems atop the cars to notify bikers who are biking on the wrong side of the street that their safety will be improved biking with the traffic—not to mention, perhaps, that they are legally required to bike with the traffic, and not against it, and that they endanger other bikers when they are on the wrong side of the street.
It was mentioned how the police could help educate bikers as to safety, even by writing citations. It was also mentioned that PSA's might help. It was also noted that there is a fine production studio at Booker T. Washington high school, and students could be involved in producing the public service announcements, and would be a way of crafting community specific announcements.
COATES BLUFF GREENWAY: The greenway project was described and to-do’s were reviewed. It was mentioned that state contacts existed for south caddo parish verteran's sites; operation iraqi freedom had funding; in general we could link the project to the VA hospital, considering it will be a path that features a cemetery of with veteran’s graves. It was also noted that the fact that they are unmarked graves complicates things; that agencies could come in with federal mandate and bring things to a halt. Feico Kempff reported that he and Sharron Swanson met Friday and formed a game plan on the next steps.
THE DOWNTOWN GROUP reported it was compiling a mailing list and would soon regular meeting time. It was noted that one of the goals of the group would be to coordinate property owners and help promote a vision that would allow those owners to profit from developing downtown, and allow the rest of the city to profit from having it be developed. As it currently stands, the many vacant and underused properties may only benefit property owners for tax purposes.
OPERATION T.B.O.N.E.: Director Jim Holt and Police Chief Henry Whitehorn then described Operation T.B.O.N.E. and how the program can help the city by identifying property owners—particularly lax landlords—who are neglecting their property to the detriment of the community. The website describes the program in detail, and it was agreed at the meeting that it was good for citizens to know about the program so they can help facilitate its operation.
Director Holt pointed out that ABetterShreveport's own Dan Marcalus is an example of the kind of property owner that improve the community by rescuing buildings marked for demolition and renovating them. It was noted that the building restoration cooperative discussed by ABS might be a resource for Operation TBONE, perhaps pointing property owners to it as a resource as they attempt to bring their properties to acceptable standards.
The next ABetterShreveport meeting will be on Monday the 14th at 6:15 p.m. in Centenary Square, across the street from George's Grill, in room 206.
Posted by Robert Trudeau at 11:47 AM