Two successful complaints


You might have noticed that the fence separating the golf course from Lake Hiawatha Park no longer has barbed wire around the top. Lea Johnson, former SENA president, had hated the look of that fence for years. She thought it gave the impression that the neighborhood had security problems. She talked to neighbors and realtors, who agreed with her, but she didn’t get any action when she complained to the City.

Last fall, however, after SENA staff researched the proper channels of city government, she wrote a letter on SENA letterhead and copied Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy. The letter went to the right person, who spoke with Lea about the problem and was “super helpful.” The wire may have been there as long as 30 years, and current City employees were not aware of it. Within a few days, the barbed wire was removed and plans were made to remove the brackets that held it.

Sometimes people feel that there’s no point in trying to get the City to change the things that bother them. However, it can be done. Using the proper channels, presenting the problem as a neighborhood issue, and involving the councilperson are all very helpful in getting action to resolve a complaint.

More recently many residents contacted members of the City Council to complain after Police Chief Tim Dolan recommended abolishing the CCP/SAFE program, which would have ended the jobs of neighborhood crime prevention specialists. Residents talked about how the specialists help the community solve problems, provide helpful information, and serve as liaisons with the Police Department. Eventually, cuts were made elsewhere and we still have our crime prevention specialists, Karen Notsch in the Third Precinct and Sue Roethele in the Second Precinct.