Dave

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

GNW Watch Meeting Report: My notes...

Last evening I had a chance to attend my very first meeting of the Great Northwest Neighborhood Watch. You'd be interested in knowing that I think there were more people in attendance at this meeting than what I have seen at the HOA meetings I've attended.

Just a few brief notes to let you know of my observations.

First, if you need any excuse to attend a GNW Watch meeting, the food was outstanding. I have noticed at the board of directors meetings, they usually have coffee and some cookies and such. This event had sandwiches, a veggie spread, cakes, cookies and more. If I were homeless, I'd become a member of the GNW Watch, just for the food*.

I didn't know how long the meeting was supposed to last, but for the first hour, we got a really good breifing and Q&A session with Mr. Jose Morlett. Mr. Morlett is the GNW Deeds, Restrictions and Covenants Officer or DRACO for the association and he is actually a certified code compliance officer. You can tell from his cheerful attitude that though he fully expects people to be upset with him when he has to notify them that they are in violation of the codes, his goal is to help the homeowner fix whatever the issue is.

Mr. Morlett gave us multiple examples of homeowners who were violating policies where it was a matter of time before the city was going to come in and issue a citation. Had the homeowner taken the cue from our own DRACO and fixed the problem, they would have saved the expense of a $200 fine from the city.

Mr. Morlett did tell one story about a disgruntled homeowner who was upset about having to move his goal post away from the sidewalk. (I feel this home owner's pain - we ended up getting rid of our goal post because it just wasn't worth the hassle). Anyway, as the story goes, while the gentleman was arguing with Mr. Morlett about what the difference was between the goal post covering the sidewalk and the mail box covering the sidewalk, the man actually ripped the mailbox off its post, ran into his garage to collect some screws, and promptly drilled the box to the goal post. As Kramer from Seinfeld might say, "Installed!"

Though I confess to cheering for the homeowner on that one, Mr. Morlett did tell us that the issue has to do with accessibility and mobility on the sidewalks for disabled folks. And, it is a city violation.

There was a good half-hour of questions from residents about specific things and lots of complaining about neighbors, but his talk was extremely informative. He told us exactly how the process works when he gives someone a notice but I'd prefer not to repeat that info as I just as soon not give any violators the big secrets. Suffice it to say, Mr. Morlett will work with you to help you solve your situation and avoid court at all costs - unless you push him to it.

One other thing to mention was that he is promoting something called The A-Team. The part I liked about this effort was that these people often come together to help out neighbors in need - elderly or disabled folks who may require some assistance with minor work around the house or something. I'm personally going to look into it and see where I might be able to volunteer a little bit. Perhaps some Granny out there needs help getting her Blog started!

Once Mr. Morlett finished his talk, Chief Roger Burton took over providing the assembled folks with maps highlighting locations of incidents of mischievous behavior, car break-ins etc. Additionally, we were provided print-outs showing the logs of calls our security staff made.

Folks, in spite of my personal pet peeve of graffiti, this area is not bad at all. I mean, a few car break-ins suck, but compared to the activity we see on KENS-5 every night, we are doing quite well, thanks.

I did want to highlight one call that the security folks responded to. It seems that a resident contacted security because a garbage man (is that politically correct?) found cause to relieve himself whilst working the route. Yes, the cad in question unzipped and whizzed as appreciative neighbors gawked in disbelief.

WTF!

So anyway, I was tickled at Chief Burton's description of events as he says that the man "whipped it out in front of God and Country and proceeded to urinate." Of course, I'm easily amused, though I understand the lady who called it in, was not.

When security raced to the scene of the incident, the trash hauler had moved on and the exact perpetrator of this heinous crime could not located. Tease.

I also enjoyed Chief Burton's description of an event that occurred several years ago whereby a man (now serving some 60 years for this event) broke into a home, "wearin' nothing but a birthday suit and a gun". And it seems, the man was armed with a weapon, thus the long sentence.

Anyway, the watch meeting ended with a raffle where a very nice lady, I believe Betty Hood (Lee - correct me if I'm wrong, please), drew names for some lovely gifts donated by area merchants. I'm not talking chump-change here. She also passed out envelopes containing certificates and coupons from local business for the people hosting Block Parties during National Night Out (like me) to raffle off to the guests. You can't ask for more than that!

So there you have it. Looking for some way to get involved? August 7th is National Night Out.

* I'm certain my comments about homeless people joining the GNW Watch for vittles is offensive to some and outright blasphemous to others. I am immature and I know it. Thanks for noticing.





1 comment:

Lee said...

Dave, as usual you have out done yourself. Betty Hood is indeed the National Night Out (NNO) Chair person this year. I'm also trying to get her to become the Watch Coordinator after the previous coordinators being transferred to Germany by the U.S. Air Force.

We're also working on a possible "PLAN B" for NNO. If we have the type of rainy conditions that night, that we've been recently experiencing, I've proposed we open up the Lodge at Silver Creek, the Flores Meeting Room at Emerald Vally Pool, and then invite the block captains to relocate their parties, guests and supplies (BYOB) to one of those indoor locations. The Emerald Vally Pool facility will be open normal hours, so folks could go swimming if they wanted to. This would be ZERO cost to the association, other than turning the lights on for a few more hours.

I'm planning to ask the GNW Board to authorize Security Chief Burton to make that decision should the weather turn out less than favorable on the evening of August 7th.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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