Saturday, September 26, 2009

TNA: How Does One Join?

The announcement and subsequent reports of Thursday's meeting between the Mayor and the Tenleytown Neighborhood Association has sparked discussion on the neighborhood listserv about the nature of the organization.

According to some, the trouble was caused by non-TNA members. One apparent TNA member offers this comment:

This meeting, like all TNA meetings, was open to the public. There was, in fact, an agenda. The Mayor was invited to speak and answer questions on any topic; this was followed by the regular TNA business meeting. I was sitting near the Mayor; his cell phone rang once and he quickly silenced it. I didn't hear another phone ring and didn't hear anybody carrying on a conversation while the Mayor was speaking.

I didn't think there was a lack of decorum and I didn't perceive the questions to the Mayor as hostile. Much of the conversation between the Mayor and the audience was dominated by ANC3E commissioners Jon Bender, Sam Serebin, and especially Matt Frumin, who made legitimate, but persistent and argumentative, complaints about the Wilson and Janney modernization plans and the lack of communication between the schools' management/improvement teams and the architects and/or city officials. None of the ANC commissioners are TNA members.

The TNA members who spoke asked perfectly civil questions about the Fort Reno playing fields, the hiring and firing of public school teachers, the Wilson High School plans, why we always have to fight the city government for what we need, underground parking for Janney and the Library, hours at the Wilson Pool, and compliments to Ginnie Cooper and the Freelon Group for a beautiful plan for the Tenley-Friendship Library. There was one incident when a person who is not a TNA member responded to a statement by Jon Bender by shouting out "What planet are you from?" The chair of the meeting quickly told her she was out of order.

This certainly invites some questions which have been asked repeatedly, such as how one joins the TNA? There have been repeated requests for information. In terms of being "open to the public", it was only because the Mayor's office to announced this particular meeting (and only a day before) that any non-member even knew about it. So exactly how are the meetings open to the public if there is no outreach or information provided? Given its listing as a member of the DC Federation of Citizens Associations one would think there would be a minimum level of transparency attributed to membership and meetings.

No comments: