We appreciated Alejandro Puyana taking the time to express his concerns in an article in last month’s Pecan Press, but we have to disagree with most of his points.
We disagree that “HPNA bylaw provisions seem to ensure that an old guard and their allies come out ahead on all votes.” We think HPNA encourages and values participation. While it is true that HPNA members don’t agree on all issues, as witnessed by the diversity of viewpoints in the Pecan Press, including his article, we have found that all of our members work to promote what they believe to be the greater good of the neighborhood. We don’t know the source of Alejandro’s quote, “HPNA bylaws specifically do not require that the association represent the interests of Hyde Park residents,” but HPNA bylaws provide that the neighborhood association promotes maximum livability for all residents, and membership is open to both home owners and renters.
The mission of our neighborhood association goes far beyond holding meetings to cast votes. HPNA has worked for over 30 years to preserve and protect the neighborhood. It arose out of efforts to preserve the fire station, something that benefits all Hyde Park residents. It has worked to preserve houses and trees. It provides parties and potlucks designed to make the neighborhood a community. It provides movies and the egg scramble to champion the children in the ‘hood. It provides programs at meetings designed to educate neighbors about issues and resources. It addresses zoning issues based on a concern with maintaining the quality of neighborhood life. And HPNA has always appreciated the businesses in the neighborhood as part of what makes Hyde Park “a village in a city.”
The 30-day period required before voting is no different from the voting rules of Travis County, and the rule seems to work pretty well for HPNA. We try to make sure that neighbors have ample time to be informed of the issues and sign up to vote before an issue comes up for a vote. Our goal is to have all of the members of HPNA engaged with all of the issues that shape our community and we want attendees at our meetings, whether they are members or not, to feel that their views are heard and respected.
At the urging our treasurer, the Steering Committee has decided to explore issues related to the business side of the Pecan Press, such as distribution, production costs, and advertising prices. The new committee assigned to this task consists of Betsy Clubine and I. Jay Aarons, co-chairs, and additional members Ellie Hanlon and Kevin Heyburn. They will work with the editor to make sure he has the resources he needs to continue to put out a quality publication. If you have thoughts about how to make the Pecan Press a wider circulated and more profitable publication, please get in touch with any of the committee members.
Our membership co-chairs, Karen Saadeh and Sharon Brown, with the addition of Debbie Wallenstein and Travis Turner, will be assuming the efforts of the Outreach Committee. Do you have a new neighbor? Let one of them know! It is our intention to welcome everyone to Hyde Park and to encourage them to become part of the Hyde Park community, including the neighborhood association.
–Kevin Heyburn & Lorre Weidlich