Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Minutes for August 6, 2007 meeting

Minutes for the meeting of Monday, August 6, 2007

  • Call to order: Elvira Kidd
  • Introduction of Guest: Elvira Kidd
  • Review of minutes of last meeting (July 23, 2007): Joe Openshaw. Minutes approved

Sergeant Carmichael of the BPD spoke and fielded questions. He brought us up to date on equipment the city is purchasing for each police car, decibel meters to measure sound, so that noise ordinance infractions can be prosecuted.

This area is beat 204.

He mentioned that houses that are called in as suspicious and requested to be watched that patrol officers keep a log of their visits.

He told us that police calls to 425-2411 are not recorded as to caller ID. Calls to 911 are, for obvious reasons. You do not have to give your name when calling the police, no matter how much the dispatcher tries to persuade you.

Patricia Hilliard gave examples of no police follow-up following 4 auto b&e’s on her block, and on another occasion her husband was shot at in his vehicle, police were there and let the shooters go, they never heard back.

Elvira Kidd posed a question regarding response time, Sgt. Carmichael defended the department.

The monthly meetings sponsored by the BPD were mentioned, usually on the first Monday of the month. They are open to the public, and discussions like this are common. This month the meeting will be at Beulah Baptist on the north side on August 20.

Other problems:

Mrs. Williams (I think) mentioned that on Shades Street there is shooting all day and night at times.

On Berkley the problem is noise.

On Dartmouth poor lighting and motorcycles and racing and noise.

Ray Street to Black Avenue is like a raceway.

Sgt. Carmichael said they are trying to get substations in all areas, but could not really say why the first one was put in at the low crime area of Watermark.

He said Red Rock is constantly under surveillance. Elvira Kidd said we should demand that the owner either clean it out or go out of business. Sgt. told us to call it in when we see loitering.

The issue of street lighting came up. Elvira requested names of streets that needed lighting, and practically every street represented was named. We realized this is a street department issue.

Sgt. Carmichael said he would address these issues to the chief and will get back to me with the lists for beat 204 and Burstall patrol officers.

He said if someone has a suspicion that an officer is crooked they should call Internal Affairs at 424-4060.

Mrs. Webb suggested we get the names of dispatchers and officers so if we have to complain we have a record. Should get officers name and badge number and a card with case number on it.

The sergeant left after receiving a round of applause for coming.

Joe Openshaw reminded us that our first priority project was a success, the demolition of the building on 19th street between Dartmouth and Clarendon. A brick was brought in as evidence. Earl Cochran was thanked for his role.

Patricia Hilliard brought up houses next to her next to her. One a gray house at 16th and Arlington, and another at 15th and Arlington, where one side of the house is burned and an older person lives in the other side. DHR should be notified and should be able to get her to a better place.

Ms. Hinkle mentioned the Jones Carpet building in Jonesboro as being a building that is a danger to children and should be torn down.

Doug McKnight raised the issue of a 20 year delay on tearing down abandoned houses in Alabama because of certain ownership laws that allow people to hold on. We need to question or state representative Priscilla Dunn about this.

Ms. Hilliard mentioned downtown revitalization with restaurants and shops and Joe Openshaw reminded us that the TVA Strategic Initiatives a few years ago ended with this as one of their top recommendations, but the city has ignored it.

Joe Openshaw spoke of the Animal Abuse Committees meeting and read their recommendation, which is “that the City of Bessemer hire an outside consultant, preferably Kim Staton, to assess and make recommendations for the Animal Control facility and for Animal Control policy and personnel. He also spoke of his appearance before the city council, being invited by Council person Earl Cochran to speak, and being interrupted by the mayor and not allowed to continue or to read this recommendation.

National Night Out is Tuesday August 7, 2007. In this district the event will be at Roosevelt Park.

The Membership Committee of Patricia Hilliard and Wanda Thomas will report next meeting.

Arlington School, one of the proposed topics for this week, will be put off till next meeting due to time.

Our priorities are:

  • The woman in the burned out house on Arlington
  • Research lighting on residential streets.
  • Jones Carpet Building in Jonesboro

We adopted a new meeting schedule, the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, so as not to conflict with the police meetings.

The meeting was adjourned with a prayer.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Minutes for Monday July 23, 2007

 Call to Order: Elvira Kidd

 Introduction of Citizen’s Present (22 citizens present)

 Review of Last Month’s Minutes: Joe Openshaw

 Minutes Approved

The Noise and Dilapidated Buildings Issues were postponed in hopes that Councilor Earl Cochran would make it to the meeting and share with us any developments.

The Pressing Issues of Animal Abuse and Dog Fighting were introduced with Clark Gaines, local veterinarian, distributing photos of abused animals that have gone through the Bessemer Animal Control Office and on to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society to be euthanized. Jacque Meyers, Executive Director of the GBHS spoke with us on the issue of dog fighting and animal abuse in Bessemer. She stated that drugs, prostitution, domestic violence and theft are all societal problems that can, more often than not, be found among those who participate in animal abuse. She shared with us that she had been in contact with both Reverend Eades of the Street and Sanitation Department, and head of Bessemer Animal control and Mayor May regarding the problems that exist within our animal control department and that they have been unwilling to address the problem. She stated that there was a report of an animal abuse situation in Bessemer today at 618- 8th Avenue.

Elvira Kidd asked the citizens present for suggestions. One of the suggestions was additional police substations. Elvira asked for a show of hands from the audience to determine if they agreed there was a problem with dog fighting and animal abuse in our area. Most every citizen raised their hand.

Councilor Earl Cochran and Camilo Fuller, the Mayor’s assistant arrived. The issue of the dilapidated apartment building on 19th street was brought up and Mr. Fuller stated that the owners of the building filed suit against the city when they began to tear it down and the city go caught up in a legal battle. He stated that this was why the building had not been torn down yet. Councilor Earl Cochran indicated that his is still working on getting this building torn down. He indicated that he had spoken with Chief Rutledge about the noise issue and that he was working on getting more equipment so that the police cars will be able to site those who are violating the noise ordinances.

A citizen brought up the issue of the RED ROCK and the drug deals that she has witnessed there. Roger Bressler, a local reporter, stated that the owner of the Sweet House which is located across the street from the RED ROCK had offered the police his property to set up a camera so that they could catch those who are making the alleged drug deals but that the owner never heard back from the police.

It was suggested that Chief Rutledge be invited to the next meeting so that we could speak with him about these issues. Another citizen suggested that we make sure we contact each Councilor and invite them to our NA meetings and perhaps we could rotate our meetings from one area to another. It was also suggested that we post our meeting at City Hall and even ask City Hall to host a BNA meeting there.

Elvira Kidd suggested that we organize an Animal Abuse Committee to follow up with Ms. Meyer’s suggestions as well as to make sure that something is done soon to remedy the problem of our animals being abused and engaged in fighting. The following individuals volunteered to serve on the Animal Abuse Committee: Laurie Leslie, Joe Openshaw, Rose Kelly, Earl Cochran and Betsy Rogers. Bill Hines from “The Foundry” and Don Kendrick from the Alabama Animal Control Association also volunteered to help the city with this problem. A Committee Meeting was scheduled for Thursday, July 26, 207 at 1901 Dartmouth Avenue.

Camilo Fuller agreed to take our issues regarding animal abuse to the mayor, and to meet with the animal abuse committee.

Citizens were reminded that the next BNA meeting would be Monday, August 6 at 7:00 at Broken Vessel Church.

Ms. Elvira Kidd closed the meeting in prayer.

Joe Openshaw, Secretary, with the help of Susan Lehman

Minutes from July 10, 2007

BNA Minutes from Meeting of July 10, 2007

Opening remarks and welcome Elvira Kidd

Elvira Kidd was elected interim president

Joe Openshaw was elected secretary.

We adopted a mission statement: The Mission of the Bessemer Neighborhood Association is to improve the quality of life throughout Bessemer and its surrounding communities.

Herman Lehman will look into beautification projects, and into organizing as a non-profit and fund raising.

Herman began reading from a list of goals and objectives, and discussions about the various suggestions took place.

The demolition of the building on 19th Street between Clarendon and Dartmouth Avenues was targeted as our number one priority project. Council person Earl Cochran said he would alert the council of our strong desire and we decided that if it was not torn down before the next council meeting we would attend in mass.

We asserted that we are working for all of Bessemer as a community, but that there are smaller communities or neighborhoods within the larger community that we will focus on from time to time.

The animal abuse/dog fighting issue was introduced, and copies of The Western Tribune (2 issues) were distributed that had articles and editorials about the problem. It was noted that this issue is related to other criminal activity and should be addressed.

The next meeting will be Monday July 23, 2007.

Meeting was adjorned.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Success II

Here is a video of the bulldozing. My first youtube video, so bear with me. A little too long and a little too loud.

Bessemer Neighborhood Association Success