Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Council to Mr. Brown: We're putting your letter in the May COW meeting

Invitation going out to NPD rep. to attend, too

After the clerk of council read Mr. Brown’s letter (see 4/6/07 blog below) aloud at last night's meeting, council and Mayor Williams engaged in a lengthy 13-minute discussion about how to address the safety issues our South Norwood neighbors are struggling with. Along the way, the mayor expressed concerns about how he found the tone of the letter “troubling,” about how it would have been better had either the chief of police or the captain been contacted about the issues before writing such a letter, and how he didn’t want “anyone to get the impression by the tone of the letter that they (the police) don’t care” about South Norwood. He also said he didn’t understand the letter’s reference to the “Medpace thing.” Nor do we.

Ms. Kelly was the first to speak, asking that the letter be placed in next month’s COW meeting, along with an invitation for a NPD representative to attend. Next, Mr. Sanker said he had sent a copy of Mr. Brown’s letter to the police, since “lots of times there is no record of people calling.” He said there may not be problems as stated in the letter and seemed to want verification from the police before “dragging them in” because “too often we overact.”

Mayor Williams said he had contacted the chief of police and discovered he had had no conversations with residents about South Norwood problems. He read aloud data from police citations that have recently been issued in Beat #1 as proof the police are not neglecting violations in the area. He also said there are 4 beat cars that patrol Norwood neighborhoods.

Next, Ms. Kelly felt the need to say her invitation to the NPD for the next COW meeting was not meant to insinuate the police aren’t doing their job. Next, Mr. Sanker offered that his prior remarks weren’t meant to convey her invitation was a bad idea. We’re glad they got that all straightened out.

Mr. Moore supported the police invitation, adding that it’s a good idea to have public discussion again about neighborhood safety issues and what residents can do to help the police address them. Mr. Gabbard agreed and urged all residents to faithfully call the police every time we witness traffic and other violations like vandalism being committed. He said he had attended the previous evening’s WNNA meeting and put a plug in for their COP program.

So, all in all, despite the mayor’s and Mr. Sanker’s misgivings about his letter, Mr. Brown got some positive input and action from our council. Petitioning our elected officials is, of course, a right we all enjoy. What is not so enjoyable are the criticisms they sometimes level at the petitioner afterwards. Our hunch is Mr. Brown, if not his neighbors, was probably prepared for this. But the final result is what is important, and council certainly rose to the occasion by placing the matter in the next COW meeting on Tuesday, May 1 for more serious public discussion.