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The March 2012 annual meeting of the Downtown Neighborhoods Association was held at Hotel Blue, pursuant to prior approval.
Board members in attendance: Robert Bello, Miriam Ortiz y Pino, Ric Higginbotham, Jacque Wright, Lindi Anderson, David McCain, Sue Brych, Bob Yuhas, Dick Deichsel, Holly Siebert, Rick Miera and Reba Eagles. No board members were absent. Approximately 45 other neighbors also attended. Sign-in sheets are on file.
Acting Board Chair Sue Brych called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Introductions were made. The agenda was approved with the addition of a report on the Growers Market from Anna Muller and a discussion of dangerous cracked sidewalks from Peggy Alford. The February 1 minutes were approved.

Sergeant Amy Sutler of APD gave the Police Report. DNA crime statistics were generally low in February. APD received several compliments from the audience. Sgt. Sutler described the “hot spots tactical plan”, which places undercover officers in areas with a history of home or auto burglaries. Sgt. Sutler asked for suggestions from the audience. There was a complaint about recurring problems in the long alley from Orchard to Mountain, between 11th and Forrester.

The February 1 minutes were approved.

Jacque Wright gave the Treasurer’s Report. For the month of February there was $158.88 received in dues and $47.65 in home tour advance ticket sales. (Both amounts are after the PayPal fees are deducted.) Advertising revenue from the Tour program totaled $1235 and Jacque reported that the printing of the program will be covered in full from this ad income. There were no expenses in February. The ending balance was $17,398.61. The report was approved and is on file.

City Councilor Debbie O’Malley reported on recent activities of the Council. She described the redistricting process, which she described as partisan. Councilor O’Malley’s district is larger now and includes all of DNA. The mayor has signed the new boundaries into law so any challenge would now have to take place in the courts. She announced that the full Council will hold a hearing on the Sector Development Plan at 5:00 on Wednesday, March 28. A consultant has been hired for the upcoming downtown traffic study.

State Representative Rick Miera reported on the recent legislative session. It was a 30-day session, intended primarily to concentrate on the state budget. Only 77 non-budget bills were passed and many of those will be vetoed. There is “a little more” funding for education and the Rail Runner is safe for the time being. There was approximately $300 million approved for the renovation of the traffic interchange at I-25 and Paseo del Norte, which will ultimately cost about $900 million. Funding for higher education will now be based in part on graduation rates and there is a greater emphasis on two-year programs. The legislature approved $150,000 for the City to improve Robinson Park and Rep. Miera encouraged DNA and other neighbors to participate in the planning. There was a brief discussion of our neighborhood’s aging infrastructure.

Petra Morris of the City Planning Department gave an update on the Sector Development Plan. She reviewed the two-year process, which is now at the point of being considered by the full Council. She gave out a flyer with contact information for questions about the plan.

Sue Brych described DNA’s policy of two-year staggered terms, which results in roughly half the terms expiring each year in March. There were nine vacant seats, eight of them for full two-year terms and one term for just one year, resulting from a recent resignation. The following six current board members have expiring terms and agreed to be renominated for another term: Ric Higginbotham, Robert Bello, Sue Brych, Rick Miera, Holly Siebert and Jacque Wright. The nominating committee presented the names of Melanie Lewis and Curtis Hunt for two other terms. Each nominee gave a brief summary of his or her background and interests. Sue asked for nominations from the floor and Chan Graham nominated himself, so there were nine nominees for nine open positions. Sue said that each attendee at the meeting should vote for eight and the person receiving the least votes would be elected to the one-year term. Printed ballots were distributed and the meeting continued as ballots were filled out and results counted.

Robert Bello reported that the owners of 1100 Tijeras NW had lost their request to the Zoning Hearing Examiner to use the property as 100% office. The ZHE’s letter referred to DNA’s historic opposition to these requests. The owners have been out of compliance for years with respect to the current “50/50” office and residential zoning. Petra Morris reported that the proposed Sector Development Plan would allow the property to be used as entirely office. Robert encouraged letters in opposition.
Robert then reviewed a few issues from the past year, including two new restaurants in DNA and the progress of solar heat conversions.

Lindi Anderson and Sue Brych announced the winners of door prizes.

Lindi Anderson gave an update on plans for the upcoming Mother’s Day Tour (Sunday, May 13). There are eight houses on tour and we still need more docents. Ric Higginbotham reported that students at Lew Wallace School will have an art contest with drawings of the homes on tour.
Jacque Wright reported for the Communications Committee. She described how to make announcements on DNA’s web site ( Lindi Anderson solicited articles for the Summer 2012 issue of the newsletter.
Jacque Wright reported that the Tree Committee has planted 59 trees and committed eleven more in three phases of planting. There are no more trees available from the County grant, which was also used to fund copies of the USDA tree care manual.
Bob Yuhas gave the Safety Committee report. He described the Neighborhood Watch program, which emphasizes “eyes on the street” organized block by block. DNA needs 17 more block captains. He encouraged people to report non-emergency problems to 242-COPS.
Holly Siebert described the Care Committee, which provides services for people new to the neighborhood and organizes the annual Neighborhood Night Out in August.
Dick Deichsel described the monthly Curb Appeal award, given to homes or businesses that have improved their appearance from the street.
Miriam Ortiz y Pino reviewed DNA projects, including getting the County tree grant and “beefing up” DNA signage.

Reba Eagles announced the results of the evening’s board elections. The following people were elected to two-year terms: Ric Higginbotham, Robert Bello, Sue Brych, Rick Miera, Holly Siebert, Jacque Wright, Melanie Lewis and Curtis Hunt. Chan Graham was elected to a one-year term.

Peggy Alford described the badly cracked and uneven sidewalks in the neighborhood. She and several other neighbors have taken falls because of this problem. Several people in the audience commented that they have had problems. Sidewalks are the responsibility of homeowners.

Anna Muller reported that the Downtown Growers Market is now the largest in the city. It is coordinated by the Downtown Action Team and held on Saturday mornings in Robinson Park at 8th and Central. The new season is scheduled to start in May.

Heather Brewer with Congressman Martin Heinrich’s office gave contact information for the office. Ms. Brewer is also a DNA resident.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
David McCain