Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Leana Good-Simpson (treasurer), Ian Jacob (president), Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Pamela Shaw, Clifford Tremblay
Board members absent: Jennifer Defilipp (vice-president)1
Others present: David Argitis (PPD), Morgan Beede, Sarah Colton (PPD), Rosanne Graef, Steven Graef, Cassie Graham, Suzanne Hunt, Christine McHale, Janet Mishoe, Lin Parsons, Kent Redford, Steven Scharf, Spencer Thibodeau, Barb Wood, Tony Zeli (WEN)
The meeting was called to order at 6:39 PM and self-introductions followed.
Minutes from November’s meeting were accepted as written.
WENA’s regular fund stands at $729.34. There is $16.46 in the Swim for Life fund.
David Argitis reported on the following:
- He recently attended a St. John Valley Neighborhood Association meeting regarding on-going prostitution problems in that area. They discussed a number of strategies to continue working on the matter. Additionally, the PPD recently conducted an internet operation that results about 10 arrests. He hopes that keeping up momentum will result in noticeable reductions. He assured the group that much attention by the PPD is going towards this matter.
- There has been a reduction in calls for police in park-related matters. This is typical for the colder season of the year.
- The PD is aware that the Maine Medical Center expansion is expected to change the fabric of nearby neighborhoods. Ian Jacob is serving on the neighborhood committee monitoring this major project.
A brief discussion followed David’s presentation. The main item brought forward was the problem with delivered parcels being stolen from front steps and porches. There is little that the police can do to keep this from happening and David urged citizen vigilance. The group exchanged several strategies for thwarting theft.
Board member announcements
- West End caroling starts at the community center on Sunday, 18 December. Meet at 5:00 PM at the Clark Street entrance. Expect to be out for about one hour.
- The neighborhood representative committee monitoring Maine Medical Center’s expansion hopes to meet with hospital representatives monthly. Ian is pushing for a full neighborhood association meeting and will keep everyone updated.
- The City has posted a draft of its comprehensive plan on its website. The deadline for public comment is Dec 20th. Ian called the group’s attention to the fact that there is no mention in the plan of Maine Med or Mercy Hospital. Nor are the City’s two universities, UNE and USM noted.
Member reports and announcements
- Steve Scharf, who is also a member of the City’s bike-pedestrian committee commended Rosanne’s article in the West End News concerning sidewalk snow removal. He observed that the current ordinance gives too much leeway for not doing anything and the bike-ped committee is exploring ways to change this. One suggestion is for people to take photos of any areas (especially City-owned) where snow and ice removal is obviously inadequate. These photos should go to City officials as reminders that the problems need to be fixed.
- Everyone was also encouraged to do use Fix-it! Portland http://en.seeclickfix.com/portland_2 as a way of documenting the number of inadequately shoveled and sanded sidewalks throughout the City.
- WENA has participated in the City’s voluntary shoveling effort to help those who are incapable of doing their own snow shoveling. Ian will check with the coordinator to see what she can do to help with the sidewalk issue.
- Rosanne Graef called everyone’s attention to the current fundraising effort for Swim for Life. The total to be raised by the end of January is $3,000. She updated everyone on procedures to follow regarding collection cans currently distributed at local businesses. This part of the fundraiser will last through Christmas. In early January she will send a letter to a wider range of businesses.
Ian thanked Michel Michaud for his hard work leading the by-laws update. This had been undertaken so that the document would more clearly reflect our current context and practices. Michel then briefed the group on reasons for specific proposed changes. Since the majority of the by-laws have to do with WENA’s tax exempt status as a 501(c)3 organization, the majority of the language is prescribed by law and cannot be changed. So, the board looked specifically at WENA is governed. Board deliberations had focused on making the by-laws more flexible and straightforward.
After Michel summarized highlights of the changes, Steven Scharf moved and Suzanne Hunt seconded that the by-laws be accepted as amended. Considerable discussion then ensued. Ultimately the following amendments were proposed.
- Article 7, section 6: The word “present” should be added so that the sentence reads “A Director designated for removal shall be so removed by a majority vote of the Members present at a meeting of the Association.” This change was approved unanimously.
- Article 5, section 1: The western boundary defining the West End should be changed from Valley Street to Gilman Street. This change was approved unanimously.
- Article 7, section 1: The end of the sentence reading, “However, if any candidate presenting themselves for a director position on the Board of Directors is unopposed, the President may determine that the candidate is elected to their position by acclamation” should be changed to: “. . . is unopposed, the candidate may be elected to their position by a motion.” This change was approved unanimously.
- Article 7, section 1: The terms of directors should be reduced from three years to two. This change was rejected on a vote of 7 in favor and 9 opposed.
The by-laws were ultimately approved on a vote of 16 in favor, 1 opposed. The group then commended Michel Michaud. The new by-laws will go into effect in January, 2017.
Board member elections
Elections for new directors, president, and vice-present took place by secret ballot. The follow slate was elected:
- Directors: Morgan Beede, Rosanne Graef, Cassandra Graham, Ian Jacob, Steven Scharf, Pamela Shaw, Clifford Tremblay.
- President: Elizabeth Parsons; vice-president: Leana Good-Simpson
The meeting adjourned at 8:28 PM.
1 Chip Martin and Wells Lyons both resigned for personal reasons in November.