June 28 LHDNO Meeting Notes-Revised By Laws, MPD Info/Security Cameras

MEMBERS VOTE TO PASS REVISED BY LAWS

Leinkauf Historic District Neighborhood Organization (LHDNO) passed Bylaws Revisions on June 28, that, among other things, allow their members to elect an “at-large” Executive Board (President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer). With this change, the Leinkauf Board will become a 13-Member Board: 4 – “At-large” members of the Executive Board (elected by the full membership of LHDNO) And 9 - Area Representatives (one Representative elected from each of the nine “Areas” of the Leinkauf District) The By Laws Committee recommended and the Board supported this change. The meeting discussion of this item included these comments:

1. A concern was expressed that Executive leaders elected At Large be vetted as to their prior experience in leadership roles, their commitment to LHDNO, and their understanding of the organization and its history and mission.

2. The President and NEC chair explained that, as to vetting, the Nominations Committee role in the By Laws is responsible for talking to candidates about these areas. The NEC chair mentioned a possible need for written “job descriptions.”

3. Others present said sometimes inexperienced leaders bring new ideas and fresh commitment and should be given an opportunity to develop.

4. Everyone agreed that ideally an Executive is experienced, but electing the Executives from existing Board is not a guarantee of experience, capacity, or commitment, and is more than balanced by a need for members to have the opportunity to vote on their executive leaders.

5. Everyone present concurred that it is the role of the Board to assist new officers/Board members as they gain experience.

6. There was concern about being able to fill 13 positions. The President explained that should a vacancy be unfilled, the existing procedure outlined in existing By Laws would be followed (rising Board seeks candidates to fill vacancies either from existing Board or outside Board from Membership).

7. The President stated that the reasoning of the By Laws committee was that this combination of At-Large and Area leadership provides balance across the district, while also giving members a direct vote in the election of their Executive leaders. This change will also give the Board greater flexibility and more input from a wider range of people in policy-making and decision-making, and in carrying out the activities of the group. Finally, this By Laws review was motivated by the implementation of Areas of Representation (Precincts), in order to bring By Laws in line with a new operating model (Areas/precincts). In the past, all Board members were elected “at-large,” so when each year’s Board selected the Executive Committee from Board membership, anyone selected had been elected “at large.” With a Board comprised of 9 Area Representatives, which will be fully implemented for the first time in 2019, no Board member is elected at large, so no Executive would have been elected at large. This factor, with the considerations stated earlier, formed the basis for the recommendation.

TYPES OF MEMBERSHIPS REVISED

Another area of discussion was the discontinuation of Lifetime Memberships as a membership category. Everyone agreed that existing Lifetime Memberships should continue to be honored while the Member maintains residency in Leinkauf. There are only 3 Lifetime Memberships. The discussion focused on Lifetime Memberships as a vehicle for faster infusion of funds, since the status required payment of ten years’ annual membership fees at one time. This was balanced against the experience of some who said an organization as small as LHDNO could have a Board that sold Lifetime Memberships to a large number in one year, and used the income for a one-time project, leaving the organization with low dues collections for years to come for future Boards to operate on and for future projects. Everyone agreed there is an almost desperate need for more members and more engaged members. A Past President said that, historically, membership in LHDNO has remained at about the same level year after year, with new memberships offset by those who move away or fail to renew for other reasons. Most of those discussing this recognized and agreed that this fact makes Lifetime Memberships a drain on income needed by future Boards.

The other changes to By Laws were all just changes in terminology and timelines.

After discussion, the Motion to Adopt the By Laws as recommended by the By Laws Committee and full Board passed, with the Amendment that a statement would be included to protect the Lifetime Membership status awarded in prior years, and this year’s Board would be recorded as the Board under which the Revised By Laws were adopted.

A copy of the By Laws, as Revised June 28, 2018, will soon be posted to the By Laws link on the Home page at www.leinkauf.org (the link is under the photo of the lamppost on the Home page).

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JUNE 28 MEETING PRESENTS SECURITY CAMERA INFORMATION

Your LHDNO Board has received requests for information about the Mobile Police Department security camera program known as Project Shield, and arranged a department representative to attend our June 28 meeting to present details and answer questions. The LHDNO Board is not taking a position for or against camera installations on private property, but wanted to respond to neighbor requests for information.

Sgt. Sterritt made the following points:

1. The MPD links via the internet to privately purchased and installed security camera systems. There is no fee for the connection to the MPD but owner must insure their camera system is internet-capable.

2. The MPD will ONLY monitor a system for the OUTSIDE of the home, so if your system is inside and out, the outside must be SEPARATED from the inside system when installed.

3. The MPD does NOT monitor your camera, but only connects to it in the event of a report of an ongoing incident, or upon report of a crime after the fact, at which point they do monitor and they do download and "save" the pertinent video in a CASE FILE as evidence.

4. If the report is "after the fact" they do review your recording and download and save the pertinent evidence video as part of a CASE FILE.

5. They are not allowed to recommend any particular installer, brand, or camera system.

6. His advice is "get the highest quality camera you can afford."

7. Prices can vary widely based on quality. Some are affordable DIY home systems from "big box" stores and others can cost as much as $2500-$3000 for a single camera.

8. If individual residents on a single street wish to plan street coverage and share costs, he will meet with the group to offer advice and guidance.

9. He advises AGAINST EVER posting security videos to Next Door or Facebook.

Information and program application forms are available online at the MPD, Project Shield.

LEINKAUF REPRESENTED AT DOWNTOWN STREET DESIGN SUMMIT

The Leinkauf Board President, Treasurer, and three Leinkauf members participated in the recent Street Design Summit, sponsored by the Downtown Mobile Alliance. It was a very informative presentation by the authors of the book, STREET DESIGNS: The Secret To Great Cities. We hope some of the concepts presented will find their way into Mobile infrastructure projects for Leinkauf and Government Street. We hope LHDNO can unify to advocate for:

  1. Good Streets are beautiful streets that lift the spirit and elevate Quality of Life.

  2. Good Streets are safe and walkable streets that create energy and encourage healthy and life-enriching activity.

  3. Good Streets Support A Variety of Methods of Movement (pedestrian, bicycling, car, public transit)

  4. Good Street Design Always Includes Trees, which serve both form and function.

  5. The Infrastructure that supports good streets (lighting, sidewalks, planting areas, street furnishings, and surfacing, etc.) protects and nurtures both the environment and the people.

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COMMUNITY MEETING ATTENDED BY OVER 120

The Government Street Collaborative of which Leinkauf is a member, along with Councilman Manzie, sponsored a recent community meeting. Leinkauf's favorite special events venue, The Pillars, hosted the community meeting on June 12th, for the exchange of information about an area zoning issue. We appreciate the beautiful historic building known as The Pillars, and the many ways it has supported Leinkauf. Truly, we could not ask for a more beautiful gateway into our Leinkauf neighborhood, than The Historic Pillars at The Cannon. Further, we appreciate the Collaborative and Councilman Manzie for sponsoring this opportunity.

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ZONING ISSUE FAILS AT FIRST STEP

The Planning Commission, at the June 21 meeting, denied an application for approval by special exception to operate a homeless shelter at 1805 Government Street, citing infrastructure issues such as the property having only 5 parking spaces for up to 12 residents and up to 15 staff, visitors, and itinerate service providers. Other infrastructure problems discussed included a single entry/exit onto Govt St, no pedestrian infrastructure at a busy intersection, undersized driveway, no room for dumpster service and lack of outdoor space for residents. The Commission found the project outlined not in harmony to the site. A petition drive sponsored by The Government Street Collaborative in which Leinkauf participated following the June 12 meeting produced over 220 signatures by June 21 and an additional 44 since. The applicant may appeal, or the applicant may proceed with a project which is allowed "by right" under the Mobile Zoning Ordinance in the current zoning (B1).

Some Leinkauf residents supported the shelter, citing a need for services to the homeless. The LHDNO Board agrees there is a desperate need for support for the 13 existing agencies in Mobile providing services, a majority in District 2, and encourages anyone wishing to help the cause of homeless assistance to take steps in support. Contact the agencies to ask about their needs:

  1. Donate funds or supplies to First Christian Church, which maintains a food pantry for homeless and arranges a “mobile shower van” and other services. First Christian offers their building to LHDNO for meetings at no cost to us, and the Board hopes we will all support their efforts for the homeless.

  2. Donate funds or supplies to an existing shelter, such as Inner City Methodist Church on So. Broad (currently offers overnight shelter to women)

  3. Donate funds or supplies to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Government Street in Leinkauf at the Cannon which is providing temporary day services to homeless women through McKemie Place

  4. Donate to Salvation Army on Dauphin Street in ODWA

  5. Donate to Home of Grace and Penelope House crisis shelter for women.

  6. Donate to McKemie Place as they prepare to open a new facility by next year, doubling capacity

  7. Donate to the Sybil Smith Foundation program

  8. Donate to the Waterfront Rescue Mission and the mission's Thrift Store

There are 13 agencies in Mobile providing homeless service, and ALL are underfunded, and many volunteer services are needed. Make your contribution today.

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