NACA GENERAL MEETING
Thursday January 17, 2008 Wooldridge Elementary 1412 Norseman Terrace
Greetings & Introductions: The meeting was called to order at 7:05pm by Anthony Williams. Announcements: The November 2007 meeting minutes were distributed and approved.
A recreation program interest survey for the North Austin Recreation Center was distributed for people to complete and rank their interests of various activities that could be available at the recreation center.
The following was the slate of nominations for the 2008 NACA Board of Directors: Anthony Williams, President; Eleanor Langsdorf, Vice-President; Brian La Cour, Treasurer; Matt Myers, Secretary. There were no floor nominations. Bob Baker made a motion to approve the nominees and Susie Milam seconded the motion. All present were in favor.
Brian La Cour gave a review of 2007 spending and the 2008 budget. Brian stated that the balance included the Allied Waste/BFI funds that are specifically targeted for beautification projects. Budget numbers for membership in 2008 has increased to $2,000.00. The critical budget issue is the cost for the NACA newsletter which is $8,000.00 for 2008. A motion was made to approve the 2008 budget and was seconded and approved.
Brian proposed publishing a list of the Silver and Gold Members of NACA on the NACA website. If a member approves, their name and address would be listed. A motion was made to approve of this, it was seconded and approved.
Keith Huntsman stated that we have had over 5000 hits on the NACA web site.
Anthony mentioned that a committee has been formed to address the future of the NACA newsletter. He encouraged people to join the committee and to look for opportunities for sponsorship with your social and business contacts.
A NACA Dine Out Night will occur on Monday February 25th. Shalamar Restaurant and Andiamo’s Italian Restaurant are participating in this from 5pm until close. A portion of their profits for that evening will be donated to NACA to help offset the cost of the newsletter. Reservations are needed at Andiamo’s.
Code Compliance Update: French Embassy Apartments is now Quail Park Village Apartments and are making improvements. A playscape has now been installed. The Arbors Apartments are also doing an external renovation. New siding and roofing and paint are being done. Runnymede has already started renovations. An onsite meeting will be scheduled with the Project Manager.
Eleanor Langsdorf stated that there is a city ordinance stating that you must have clearly identifiable street address numbers on your residence or business.
Austin Police Department Officer Lee Davis is developing a subcommittee to deal with code enforcement that will include members from various city departments and neighborhood representatives. Contact Officer Davis (773-2269), if you are interesting in participating.
If you are interested in receiving a code enforcement kit, contact Anthony Williams. These kits include information that can be distributed to streets and homes that have been continual offenders of code enforcement. Anthony is looking for a Vietnamese translator.
Anthony stated that abatement proceedings have begun on the hotels along IH 35 and Rundberg to address the loitering, drug and prostitution situation. A stay away order zone for repeat offenders is still being discussed with the City Council. We still need to get this message of urgency to the judges who prosecute these cases.
Program: Battling Graffiti and Property Crimes; Speaker, Detective Kevin Bartles
Detective Bartles has been with the Austin Police Department for over 20 years. He specializes in “Mission Impossible” assignments. Copper thefts have escalated.
311 calls are resolved by the City of Austin City Services while 911 calls have been resolved by the COA police department.
Callers reporting graffiti violations need to take digital pictures and email them to the graffiti detective. Also state what the graffiti says. Giving up on reporting violations will give the violators motivation to continue their acts.
One city ordinance prohibits graffiti. The property owner commits an offence if he does not cover it up within 30 days. Texas penal code 28.08 addresses violation ranging from a Class B misdemeanor to a felony. If the marking is on a school, church, public monument or community center it is an automatic state jail felony. National legislation need to make the fines higher, to suspend motor vehicle privileges and to arrest and imprison for the initial offenses. Stacking offenses would help. The bottom line is that their bad behavior must immediately result in a penalty.
Categories of graffiti offenders: Gangs, hate groups, anarchists and anti government, tagger punks, skateboard punks and weed smokers and animal rights and social protest groups.
The main problem in the fight against graffiti is a lack of funding and personnel.
One way to fight graffiti is to have hidden cameras, audio and video transmitters. Cameras with infrared light are effective. It is legal to put up camera surveillance in a public area if it protecting your property. Covert cameras that are hidden are more effective than visible cameras. A problem with camera systems is that the pictures are not clear or too high and can’t get a view of the face. Backlighting distorts the picture. You must have permission from the property owner if you place a hidden camera on their property. Hidden cameras range from $12 to over $100. Super Circuits sell surveillance cameras. They are located in Austin or you can go to their website at www.supercircuits.com Total video and computer systems can be purchase from $500 and up.
Choke points are places that people or vehicles must pass through so you can get a view of the faces.
Be observant of suspicious persons in your area. If property in your area is hit by graffiti call 311 and ask specifically t o make a police report. Document the damage with digital photos and set up surveillance cameras. Email photos to [email protected]
Tony Caceres is with the COA Graffiti Abatement Department. He stated that graffiti violators get most of their supply of paint from garages that are left open. Call 311 if you would like to have graffiti covered.
Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:51 pm.