Monday, June 21, 2010

Newman Park Board Revises Bylaws

This past Saturday, board members of the Newman Park Neighborhood Association revised the 2007 bylaws with the principal goal of involving the general membership more by

  • Going to quarterly general membership meetings (the current bylaws require bi-monthly meetings which have never taken place)
  • Opening board membership up to 5/5 2 year staggered terms
  • Ensuring that the general membership nominates and elects board members in all instances

Read and/or download the bylaws as revised here. Some final revisions were made during the meeting and are highlighted in yellow.

Board membership will be expanded from 8 persons to 10. Recently board member, Becky Ayala, resigned. Rather than replacing that chair which expires at the general meeting in July, the current members who will serve for one more year will remain fixed at five. (This list consists of Board President Lynn Coyle, Board Vice President Becky Friesenhahn, Juan Villalobos, Treasurer Lee Byrd and Jim Tolbert whose terms expire next July 2011.) 3 new board members will be added to the list of those elected in even years which now includes Abbie Majerczyk and Lisa Degliantoni. The terms of these 5 persons would then expire in 2012.

Lynn Coyle has recently expressed a desire to step down as President. Obviously, whoever is elected President by the board after the general meeting which elects new board members is elected to fill the remaining year of Lynn’s Presidency. Becky Friesenhahn and Lee Byrd will continue to serve as officers as they have one more year in their terms. The new board membership will have to re-elect Abbie as Secretary should the general membership re-elect her to the board for another two-year term and Abbie wishes to continue in that capacity.

Members of the Newman Park Neighborhood Association may nominate persons to serve on the board for a 2-year term. The Annual meeting is scheduled for July 10. The Big Easy will provide the musical entertainment. Newmanista, Mike Torres, plays in that band.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

District 2 Updates

From Representative Byrd's Inauguration left to right: County Commissioner Veronica Escobar, her husband, Michael Pleters, Susie Byrd's husband, Eddie Holland, Rep. Byrd

Representative Susie Byrd has sent this update:


Wanted to check in and give a quick update on all things District 2.

Drug War. Recently in anticipation of President Obama hosting Mexican President Calderon community leaders from El Paso and Las Cruces presented a seven point “Declaration in Support of Ciudad Juárez and Its Efforts to Reduce The Violence Related to Drug Trafficking.” The Declaration was signed by more than 100 community leaders including local elected officials, civic leaders, faith leaders, business leaders and academics.

The Drug War has not achieved its goals of reducing drug consumption and drug access, and narco-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is raging at unprecedented levels with no end in sight. (See recent article on Drug War failure at: The Declaration asks for reform of current drug laws and drug enforcement policies as a way to help curb violence related to drug trafficking in Mexico. Community leaders asked that President Obama and President Calderón take serious steps to reform drug laws and the U.S./Mexico relationship to help bring an end to the violence in Juárez.

Professor Oscar J. Martinez started out the press conference. His statement can be found on my blog at

If you are interested in signing on to the Declaration, you can do so by going to:

Community Planning. We are finally launching our effort to rewrite the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the community’s consensus document about how we want to grow as a community. The Comprehensive Plan is then used to develop regulations that set that vision in motion and to inform decisions about zoning changes, development applications, transportation investments, etc. The last time the Comprehensive Plan was updated was in 1995.

We are starting out the planning process by developing area plans for Asarco and for the areas surrounding new investments in transit terminals (Five Points Terminal, Remcon Circle and the Glory Road Road). We want everyone to be involved in this process to help set the vision for how these areas grow and develop. For more information about the schedule of events and how you can get involved, go to:

You have a choice to go to any of the planning sessions or if go to the Open Design Studio to provide one on one input to the design team.

Trowbridge Fire Station. Quick update on the proposal by the Fire Department to consolidate the Trowbridge Fire Station (#13) with the one on Alameda. We had a lively community meeting to discuss the proposal. Almost 400 people were in attendance and the overwhelming and adamant consensus was that the neighborhood wants to keep the Fire Station where it is. The neighborhood asked us to bring back the other option of keeping the fire stations where they are at and rebuilding them. I am pulling together a small group of neighborhood leaders to meet with the Fire Department to discuss both options side by side, looking at both service impacts and budget impacts. We will then present back our findings to the larger neighborhood group. After we do that, we will take the issue back to City Council for consideration, hopefully by the end of July or beginning of August. I will keep you updated as I know many of you were concerned.

Bridge Operations. If you have ideas about what we can do to improve bridge operations, making the secure movement of legal goods and people more efficient, please be sure to get involved. There will be a series of public meetings to solicit input and concerns from the public. If you are interested, check out the schedule at:

Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Looking for Big Brothers Big Sisters for 25 kids who live in the Triangle. Often referred to as the Devil's Triangle, this is a tough neighborhood. We are trying to build up social cohesion in the neighborhood, mostly by giving kids more things to do. We have added a Midnight Basketball program, a Basketball in the Barrio program and are rolling out some block parties. Big Brothers Big Sisters have 25 kids in this neighborhood who are on the waiting list for mentor and friend through this program. It is a twice a month commitment for a year that can mean a world of difference for a kid who is struggling to find a good path. If you are interested, contact Rosalinda Natividad at 546-2275, ext 4342. Tell her that Susie sent you. To get more information about the program, go to:

Well, I’ve probably loaded you up with too much information and too many things to do. Let me know what you need me to be working on and what are some issues that you think I should be paying attention to.

Take care.


City Council Representative, District 2

Close Scenic Drive at Wheeling?

A drug-related accident at Scenic Drive and Wheeling in December 2009 caused extensive damage to this car

The City of El Paso is now considering closing the intersection of Wheeling at Scenic Drive since the extended curb is forcing vehicles to make unsafe wider turns.

Representative Susie Byrd has sent out this message regarding the intersection of Wheeling and Scenic Drive:

In response to high speed coming off of Scenic Drive onto Wheeling, the City added an extended curb that forces a sharper turn and as result slows down traffic making a right turn off of Scenic onto Wheeling. We did before and after speed studies and determined that the fix was working in terms of the goal of slowing down traffic. We also found that fewer people were making this turn after the curb extension was installed.

But the neighbors and the users of that street alerted us that they felt the curb extension created a new hazard that warranted us reconsidering the curb extension. Several neighbors and users of the street pointed out that cars were often turning too wide off of Scenic and into Wheeling and into the other lane, creating a possibility where one car going down in a too wide turn might hit a car going up. The potential hazard is made worse because of the steep grades which make it difficult to see traffic in the other lane until you are right up on them.

Based on these concerns, the Traffic Department went out and did a visual audit of the street conditions and the turning movements. In traffic design, they try to build a road where 85% of drivers are going to behave in ways that create a safe street condition. We all know that no matter how you design a street or how many speed humps you put in, it won’t account for the 16 year old with a new car or a driver with a six pack in him. That is why traffic engineers use 85%. The visual audit revealed that 50% of the time people making the right turn off of Scenic into wheeling were staying within their lane and 50% of the time people were veering into the other lane of oncoming traffic. This means that the curb extension is only creating a safe condition 50% of the time, which is well below their threshold for safe street design. Some of this concern is mitigated by the fact that there are very few people who drive down Wheeling but it is still a concern.

Based on the Traffic Department’s review of current conditions and conditions prior to the curb extension, the Traffic Department is going back to their original approach to solving the speeding. As many of you remember, their original recommendation was to close off Wheeling from Scenic by extending the rock wall across the street. In response to neighborhood concerns about blocking an area of connection in the street network, they went with the curb extension instead.

After many traffic studies and after having tried an alternative solution, I think we need to consider closing the street. We would leave open access for bikes and walkers. My question for the neighborhood is this: we have had several meetings on the issue where we have shared traffic counts and traffic speeds and looked at the various options. Everyone knows how the street works both pre and post curb extension.

Do you think we should have one more meeting before they implement the closure? If so, let me know and we will work on it as soon as possible.


You can contact Representative Byrd by emailing her or calling her office at 541-4416.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Help End Auto Theft - Here's How

Click to enlarge image

By registering your car in the H.E.A.T. program, you authorize police to stop your vehicle if it is seen being driven late at night or early in the morning. Police will stop the car and make sure that the driver is the owner or someone authorized to drive the vehicle.

Officer Slack told Nemanistas at a recent meeting that most cars "go south". In addition, he sent these statistics about the make and model of cars most frequently stolen:
















RAM 1500




Monday, June 14, 2010

The Band Played and the People Danced

The band played . . .

Romance Latino riveted a crowd of more than 150 this past Saturday night at Newman Park. The children played with paper airplanes, a football and a Frisbee were tossed, dessert was devoured, the people listened and cheered and danced.

Desserts were devoured

The people danced . . .

. . . and danced . . .

. . . and danced

Video courtesy of the Lisa D Show

Friday, June 11, 2010

Newmanistas Begin Annual Membership Drive!

The Newman Park Neighborhood Association annual membership drive is now underway. Each year residents who can participate financially are asked to contribute $15. You can do this by simply clicking on the yellow "Donate" button at the top of the right hand column on this blog or you can send a check to Treasurer Lee Byrd at her office: 701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901. Make checks out to "Newman Park Neighborhood Association". Donations above $15 are always welcome.

Neighborhood events such as tomorrow night's Romance Latino concert are funded by your contributions.

You can print out the membership form below.

2010 NPNA Membership Form

Newman Park Residents Share Concerns with Police

EP Police Neighborhood Relations Coordinator Leslie Canada makes a point as Commander Austin (center) and Officer Slack listen

Newman Park neighbors met yesterday with Central Commander Mark Austin, Officer Henry Slack and Leslie Canada, the Neighborhood Relations Coordinator with the police department. Residents discussed their concerns about recent vandalism, a case of arson, and new graffiti in the area.

Ms. Canada informed the group that the City is about to launch a new anti-graffiti awareness program and that the police will be doing anti-tagging education with 6 to 12 year olds.

The police trio recommended several actions neighbors can take now:
  • Report tagging immediately even if it isn't on your property.
  • Report suspicious activity - a youth with a backpack late at night, for example.
  • Work with the Neighborhood Coalition and get ideas from other Associations.
  • Report code violations.
  • Report paper plates on cars that have been there for a long time.
  • Ask the police to do a safety inspection of your home. You can get up to 20% off your house insurance this way.
  • Take part in the HEAT program. You register your vehicle and ask police to stop and check it after a certain time at night.
  • If you suspect that there is a stash house near you, report it.
Neighbors expressed their gratitude to Freeda Westmoreland who hosted the meeting in her home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Romance Latino at Newman Park 2009

the Newman Park neighborhood association

presents Music at the Park with

Romance Latino

¡Cumbias, corridas, country y mas!

Live @ Newman Park

SATURDAY, June 12, 2010 at 7 p.m.


Bring a dessert. Surprise us. It’s your chance to show off!

AND bring your own chairs and blankets.

A SPECIAL PRIZE will be given to anyone who brings a family who has never been to Newman Park events before!

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Sold!

With hard hat in hand new owner, Enrique Mata, is ready to renovate the McKee Mansion

The McKee Mansion has sold. Enrique and Lupe Mata purchased the home and have already begun renovations. I met with Mr. Mata this morning. He wore a hard hat - a sign that he is ready to do the repair and renovation of the neglected mansion at 2630 Richmond.

When I caught up with him, he was trenching around a tree. He said that he is trying to save as many of the trees on the property as he can. Watering began yesterday.

There is electricity and plumbing to do. The dry wall and window contractors were on there way.

"This is where I want to live," Mr. Mata told me. Historically the house may always be the McKee Mansion. However, now it is Casa de Mata.

Welcome home and welcome to our neighborhood!