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Dawson Neighborhood

Neighborhood Newsletter April 2016

Please forward this post to any and all neighbors who might be interested. The printed edition is only delivered to a select few!

Click here to visit the download page for the April 2016 Neighborhood Newsletter and browse our Archives of almost a hundred old Neighborhood Newsletters, Minutes, Meeting Summaries, Agendas, By-Laws and more!

Starting a couple of years ago, we had a secret squirrel smuggle the Draft Newsletter to us electronically before official printing and distribution, so we could provide it to all neighbors and give everyone more time to read it. Since then, the Newsletter Editor has begun to post it online as much as a week in advance of Meetings. This month, it came out just four days in advance.

Why the Newsletter is Important

This Newsletter is the only place you will find the Draft Minutes from the previous meeting two months past. It also is the only place you’ll find the Draft Agenda for the upcoming meeting. It’s typically hand-delivered the day before the meeting!

Why the Newsletter’s Importance Is Diminished

You can probably see the problem with that timing… You’d think the Minutes would come out soon after Meetings and the Agenda would be available well in advance. And that’s what the Ass’n actually used to do, until mid 2010. An honest civic organization would want to engage folk’s interest and give them time to arrange to attend, right? The current (and re-elected) Secretary of both DNA & DNPCT refuses to do these things out of personal choice:

“I have stated elsewhere that Chad and anyone else are welcome to write summaries and post them wherever they wish. What I have also stated is that *I* am not going to write those summaries, nor am I going to coordinate the efforts of other people who wish to write them. When I signed on as secretary, that was not one of the duties that I volunteered for. I do not wish to take on more duties as secretary and that is reason enough. I am baffled that I have to keep repeating this statement, which is why I resorted to “no means no,” which seems clear enough.” – Julia A. Kimber (AKA Julie Woods) March 27, 2015 [Link to nextoor.com, if it has not been purged, it will be soon. Take a screen shot.]

What a go-getter, eh? You realize, she has the Draft Minutes in hand at the end of each meeting, and the Agenda develops over many weeks beforehand. She forces us to duplicate efforts because she wants the information to chill for two months. She also states (and let’s see if you can get your mind around this) since the current editors of Robert’s Rules, have a FAQ page on their website, where they advocate brief Minutes, that her hands are tied and she must make those Minutes as brief as possible. And boy does she do a good job at that. If you can’t read her cryptic abbreviations, then you don’t catch anything objectionable. While minutes have been markedly improved over recent months, the Secretary still omits certain issues, certain people’s names and mis-describes the matters they spoke of in order to minimize the impact they should have on the public record.

Two separate neighborhood surveys, one held by us, and one held by Julia herself, proved that most neighbors see the benefit of having the Newsletter distributed two full weeks before meetings, Minutes distributed sooner, and with more detail, and Agendas exhibited publicly well in advance of the meetings. The will of the people has not been honored. And just look at this month’s “Agendas”. They could be voting on anything, having anyone guest speak, and the Agenda still shows nothing but bare bones.

Julia also frequently “settles” disputes in-meeting by declaring herself “a lawyer”. However, she has demonstrably been a home-maker for over a decade now. Linkedin lists no “Julie/Julia Woods/Kimber” who has law credentials. Her husband, DNA President W. Eliot Kimber admitted that she was a member of the NC Bar in the 1980’s. He concedes that she has not held a license in over 20 years, but warns anyone from accusing her of having been disbarred. No-one has, to our knowledge. We’re not sure if Julia’s self-embroidery is actionable, but we don’t think our neighborhood’s best interests are being served by her commanding the title and authority not vested upon her.

The Dawson Neighborhood Association (DNA) issues this newsletter only 4-6 times a year, typically just the day before public meetings. The Ass’n has no Treasury, so it must find an area merchant to pay the $90 cost of printing 875 double-sided black and white pages in return for an ad on the front. It is distributed door-to-door, mainly to our 630 single-family homes, by 10-12 volunteers. The full route is around 10 miles long.

This newsletter is in fact, a very closed and exclusive publication because of their adversarial approval process and limited distribution. It is literally a tract sheet which serves the ambitions of our Neighborhood Association. The Ass’n will publish no editorials from people with viewpoints they disagree with. They will publish no announcements of neighborhood social and safety events which “they’re not sponsoring”. Except that they often do. In December, they failed to publish a list of biographical introductions of the candidates for 2016 Officer roles, as directed by a vote at the Oct Meeting, because it would have included people they did not want to see publicized. The ex-Editor instead printed her husband’s page-and-a-half long tedimonium.

Still, we provide the Newsletter online here to enlighten our 2000 apartment and condo dwellers, who now make up over 2/3 of the more than 1550 households (circa 2010, US Census) in the neighborhood. Yes, if you don’t occupy a freestanding home, then you’re not a priority to the Ass’n. Nor do they see fit to deliver to the homes of their critics or accept the volunteer services of folks outside their social circle. We haven’t gotten ours since October 2015, and while we volunteered to be a deliverer in October 2014, and were publicly recognized, we have never been called up to help. Our inquiries to the Newsletter Editor(s) have gone unanswered.

A Neighborly Way Forward

Our neighborhood has not been well served for some time now, and our response is to work on ways to bring all of our neighbors together, and set a good example. The persecution, muzzling, and operating under the radar must become a thing of the past. It is inappropriate to operate as an exclusive club!

A group of 11 neighbors launched this new neighborhood website in Jan, 2014 to provide our neighborhood with a truly representative public face to the world. A core group of 4 continue to work closely on it, and it is in fact a collaborative work by all of our neighbors. Neighbors contribute our content. Send us your tips! Our newsfeed updates almost daily, with Dawson-specific items published on the website, and topics of wider interest featured on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, G+ and 7 others). We accept neighbor’s editorials without bias or delay, and follow a strict no-censorship policy (which a couple of wags have tried playing provocative “gotcha” games with us). We strive to bring our neighbors important news as quickly as possible, especially info being withheld from everyone. Sign up on the top right column to get news conveniently emailed to you.

We launched a new, uncensored neighborhood forum on Nextdoor.com which almost instantly overtook the DNA’s 15-year-old Yahoo Groups-based mailing list in population and activity. However, we learned the hard way that Nextdoor does not care about democracy or letting neighbors develop a natural culture. Once our rapid growth plateaued, they expelled our moderators and handed our forum directly over to the actual persons guilty of relentless censorship on the DNA Yahoo Group. Nextdoor also engages in security and privacy theater, promising but not providing, and milking our citizens of every personal detail they can. Nextdoor does not permit criticism of itself in it’s forums. They do not negotiate, they simply punish if you step out of line. If you unsubscribe, they continue to display your public profile.

We have a new forum on Google Groups for now, where we also forward newsletters from area civic and environmental groups which our neighbors have expressed interest in. We’re working to launch an even better self-hosted forum in the near future. The forum doubles as our mailing list, with neighbors sharing group conversations over email. We also have a Chat Room. Drop in and discuss anything!

Dawson Neighborhood ORGanization (that’s us!) is an actual neighborhood association, registered with the City of Austin. We are working toward 501(c)3 status so we can manage grants to improve our neighborhood. Long-neglected issues which we will focus on over the coming years are social gatherings and safety programs. See us at Gillis Park for a series of picnics. Join us around the ‘hood for coffee and happy hour round-ups. We’re returning this October with an official National Night Out block party to give crime a going-away party!

We operate without any agenda other than to ensure that all of our neighbors have a voice and a seat at the table. We warmly invite all of you to join us!

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