Upham's Corner Online

SNI - Update from Sgt. Tommy Brooks 2/4/2011

Posted: February 4, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

We met with Sgt. Brooks on February 4, 2011, about a week after the January 25, 2011 SNI Planning Meeting and have received additional updates since then.

Q:
It's been a week since the January 25 SNI planning meeting.  Looking back, how are you feeling about that meeting?
A:
I'm feeling enthusiastic and optimistic.  I've only been at the Safe Street Team job for short while but I really think we can make a difference in Upham's Corner, both in crime related issues and quality of life.

I've already received a lot of phone calls as a result of that meeting and we are taking steps regarding the ideas presented at the meeting.  Here are some examples:
  1. A resident on Virginia Street called about a car sticking out in the street.  It was causing the passers by to honk with aggravation because they could barely fit past.  We put a ticket on the car, and then we went to every door in the immediate area, found the owner of the car who was able to move it.

  2. A resident on Monadnock Street spoke to me at the meeting about a commercial van parked on the street overnight.  The police are now on the lookout every night.

  3. We followed up on the snow removal problem identified by a resident on Groom Street.
    • The City state they could not address the residential streets yet -still working on school areas for the busses and major intersections. 
    • Also the snowbanks are all ice  - "bobcat" is needed to break up the snow (truck with snowplow can' do it.)
    • We contacted a friend who works for a private snow removal company - they are mobbed and under current contracts to keep doing the properties that they are contracted with.
    • We made numerous calls to the city, and it appears that the residents did too, because the city has agreed to send out snow removal trucks to some residential streets, and Groom Street made the list!  When the snow removal actually occurs depends on other City priorities but we will continue to stay in contact and keep the pressure on.
    • Around 2/9/11, the City was finally able to remove the snow on Groom St out to the curb allowing full parking on that narrow street.  The residents are ecstatic.  See photos below.

  4. We are planning to speak with B2 District Capt. John Davin about attending the next Dudley Triangle walk-through and eventually starting up an NRT (Neighborhood Response Team) in Upham's Corner.

  5. We need to do get more people to get involved in their monthly neighborhood meetings.  This will likely be a door to door campaign.  One resident from West Side neighborhood suggested using facebook as well. 

SNI Update SNI Update SNI Update
Groom Street went from impossible parking to "normality" after the City removed snow from the street out to the curb.
Q:
You emphasized the importance of the SNI quarterly meetings and the local monthly meetings.  Which are more important and why?
A:
Monthly neighborhood association meetings are the ideal venue for all new issues, ideas and concerns. We refer to these issues as "micro" because, hopefully, we can take care of them quickly.  I will be attending meetings and reaching out to anyone who has an issue (my cell phone:  617.593.5882). 

Whatever crosses over to other neighborhood and other local organizations, or that takes a long time to resolve will be handled at the SNI quarterly meetings.  We refer to these issues as "broader" based or "macro" issues because they could take longer to resolve or require more group input and may require other City departments' involvement. 

We want to reiterate that the quarterly SNI meeting is not a meeting for new ideas.  It is just a NEW tool in the toolbelt for dealing with Upham's Corner issues. The SNI role at the quarterly meeting will be to invite people with authority, get commitments and then stay on them!!!  Think of the quarterly meeting as a venue for the long term "goals" of Uphams Corner. 

Remember:  If you come to the quarterly meeting with a new idea, we will ask you to save it to work on after the meeting.  If someone needs help today with an issue, they need to call us now.  Don't wait for a meeting.  And definitely don't wait for a quarterly meeting.
Q:
When are you planning to have the next quarterly SNI meeting?
A:
That is still in the planning stages with Matt Feeney at the DAs office.
Q:
The neighborhood organizations at the Planning meeting were Upham's Corner Westside, Eastman - Elder, Groom - Humphreys and Hancock Civic.  What other groups are you planning to include in the first quarterly meeting?
A:
Our intention is not to exclude any neighborhood organization that is clearly a part of the Upham's Corner neighborhood. 
  • Annapolis Neighborhood Association has expressed an interest in being involved. 
  • We will also be reaching out to neighborhood associations close to the Kroc Center. 
  • But we also want to include the outreach workers who were at the meeting from Dorchester Bay, the Upham's Corner Health Center and other groups. 
Q:
You're planning on having representatives from key city departments present at the meeting.  Is that right?
A:
Yes.  Over the course of the next three months, as we visit with the neighborhood associations and collect a list of high-priority issues, we'll get to know which departments to invite like ISD, DOT, Code Enforcment, etc.
Q:
You are promoting the idea of inviting the whole neighborhood to the quarterly meeting by delivering flyers in multiple languages to all the area residents. Is that correct?
A:
Yes.  Several people at the meeting pointed out the fact that most of the area residents do not attend neighborhood association meetings.  They also pointed out we need to address language barriers.  So we see the quarterly meeting as one way to introduce neighborhood residents to their neighborhood organizations.
Q:
Somebody at the Planning meeting suggested the "block captain" method for bringing ideas to the meeting. Both you and Matt Feeney seemed to like this. A designated representative from each organization would be given the chance to speak to their issues before the whole group.  You would already know their issues because you have been meeting with them on a monthly basis. 
  • What if the neighborhood residents who don't belong to a neighborhood association come with their own set of issues.  How are you going to handle that? 
A:
The neighborhood organizations already have a structure in place, so there is no need for additional "block captains." But you're right.  How do we keep the quarterly meeting from going astray if lots of new ideas we haven't seen before walk in the door?  What we are planning to do is focus on the issues that been coming out of the neighborhood groups.  Remember I'm collecting those every month.  That's how I know what city departments to invite. 

But I'll invite the other residents to do two things at the end of the meeting. 
  • First I'll introduce them to the neighborhood association rep
  • Or they can talk directly with me if they want
They need to know their voice and their concerns are going to be heard.
Q:
I know you're attending neighborhood association meetings.  What about the other groups like Dorchester Bay and the Upham's Corner Health Center?  How are you going to stay in touch with them and their concerns?
A:
I am still meeting these people and learning of these organizations.  I just want to ask for help.  Anyone who can refer me to people who want to be involved - that would be a great asset to all of us.
Q:
Three months is a long time to delay between meetings.  What method can you use for giving progress reports, say on a monthly basis, to let area residents know that you're making progress?  This would also be a way for you to get additional ideas from people who might want to communicate with you directly.
A: We're still working this out.  I'll listen to any community ideas because that's what Upham's Corner is - your community.  Remember you can call me anytime. 617.593.5882

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