For the past two years, I’ve been receiving vitriolic email from a couple of disgruntled neighbors over my work with our neighborhood association. These “email warriors” have been hurtling these screeds from behind the safety of their screens, where people don’t see what they are doing. I tend not to post private emails, but emails like the following — copied to a City of Austin email address — are by definition public records. So I thought I’d share:
From: vicki mcfadden
Subject: RE: Development
To: NSCNA Directors, Chip Rosenthal
Cc: Sherri Sirwaitis (City of Austin)
This might be “a concern” for the neighbors in North Shoal Creek IF the development committee would inform the entire neighborhood through a newsletter or proper notice that it is even occurring! It’s Feb. 1 and the NSCNA development committee still doesn’t know where the meeting will take place? “The meeting location is not yet confirmed. We will update this post and notify the neighborhood email list once the location is final.” The association is suppose to try to reach and include all neighbors, whether or not you are on chip’s email list or a member of the association. “Neighbors who are not members are encouraged to join the Association and participate.” Chip’s “notice” sounds like he is holding the information hostage unless you pay $15 in order to participate. North Shoal Creek neighbors should be encouraged to participate in the hearings whether they are a member of his clique or not. Many people refuse to join NSCNA until chip rosenthal stops trying to run everything in order get a job at the city.
Development Committee Meeting, Feb. 2
Posted on January 30, 2012 by Development Committee
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2012
Time: 6:30 – 7:30PM
Loocation: to be announced
The City of Austin has scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday, February 7 for a zoning change request at 8100 Burnet Road (the Ross Store and former Chuck E Cheese location). The developers are planning a large apartment complex (270 – 300 units) with some retail facilities, and have applied for rezoning of the property to MF-6, highest density multifamily residence.
You can view a copy of the hearing notice here: Public Hearing Notice: 8100 Burnet Rezoning
Members of the NSCNA Development Committee have been meeting with representatives of the developer to express concerns about the high density of the proposed development and increased neighborhood traffic, in efforts to work out potential problems. They are also coordinating with the adjacent Wooten Neighborhood Association regarding the development. This matter should be a concern for our neighborhood, since whatever is developed on that property will be with us for a long time.
The NSCNA Development Committee will meet Thursday, February 2, 2012, to discuss the current status of this project.
All NSCNA members who desire to provide comments and recommendations concerning possible NSCNA action concerning the rezoning and planned development are invited to attend. Neighbors who are not members are encouraged to join the Association and participate.
The meeting location is not yet confirmed. We will update this post and notify the neighborhood email list once the location is final.
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Here is the response I sent:
1. The reason the message Vicki quotes doesn’t look like what’s on the website (http://www.nscna.org/?p=1984) is that she’s cutting-and-pasting from an email she received, not the website. If she had looked at the website this evening she would have realized the article she had was two revisions out-of-date.
2. Vicki is accusing me of things I didn’t do. The Development Chair called the meeting. The President drafted the article on the website. I guess I should be impressed that Vicki has such high estimation that I’ve done the work of all these people.
3. Vicki is asking for things that sound nice, but are infeasible. The neighborhood only gets 10 days notification on public hearings. That’s not time to produce and deliver newsletters — let alone call a general meeting (which our bylaws say require 10 days notice). Once again, she is making accusations without having any of the facts.
4. Here is the timeline of what’s happened:
* I got the notice by USPS Friday 1/27.
* I scanned it and sent it to the Development Chair and President on Saturday 1/28.
* On Sunday 1/29, since we couldn’t call a special membership meeting (10 days notice is required), they decided to call a Dev Committee meeting and invite the entire neighborhood to attend.
* On Monday 1/30, Kevin tried but was unable to get Village Christian to confirm availability of their meeting room. So that night I went ahead and posted the notice with location TBD.
* On Tuesday 1/31, when Kevin received confirmation, the notice was updated with location and a message was sent to the neighborhood email list.
5. In the meantime, Kevin has been working with the developer to try to get a postponement, so we can properly notify and call a special meeting. We think we’re going to be able to do that, in which case notices will be sent to members. (This is going to be an item of discussion at the Dev Comm meeting.)
Directors – I’m at a loss to find any positive recommendations in Vicki’s screed, and at a similar loss to think of anything that can be done differently.
From my vantage point, Kenneth and Kevin (and me!) have been working very hard in a critical situation, coordinating with the developer, and trying to get the neighborhood organized and informed. They (and I!) should be commended for their/our service to the neighborhood.
I hope you will reject Vicki’s vitriolic, ungrateful screed, and give our volunteers (including me!) the support they deserve for the work they do
Feb 5 update: Vicki McFadden has widely distributed a reply to this post, included below. A copy of this blog post was attached to her email, which is why I’m adding this update here, even though she doesn’t really address any of the issues raised in this thread.
From: Vicki McFadden
Subject: Fw: chip’s email
To: NSCNA Directors, Chip Rosenthal
Cc: Tom, Steve Farmer (City of Austin), Sherri Sirwaitis (City of Austin)
Once again, Chip has used his public platform of blogs, tweets, websites, etc. to spew his “vitriolic screed”. Get one thing clear, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for any missing neighborhood signs or reporting anyone for code violations. Mr. Farmer, perhaps you can confirm to Mr. Rosenthal I did not report any violations to city code enforcement. As usual, his email has skewered the truth and he has convinced a group of people that he is the victim when he has a long history of verbally bullying not only me but other good long-term volunteers. I am not going to respond to the lies he continues to perpetuate.