DECEMBER PLAIN PRESS ARTICLE - UNCUT VERSION - THE REST OF THE STORY

Submitted by jerleen1 on Wed, 12/02/2009 - 01:38.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY: JERLEEN JUSTUS

FINAL DRAFT

Tremont West  Development Corp. (TWDC) voting members arriving at the Zion United Church of Christ at 2716 West 14th Street, on November 11th, 2009, near the Six O'clock hour, found the doors open, were greeted by TWDC staff and volunteers seated behind tables ready to assist with their system of signing in, assigning ballot numbers, and pointing the way to the pews.

Upon entering the dimly lit sanctuary, being summoned here on an occasion such as voting on TWDC's proposed By-Law and Articles of Incorporation Changes seemed almost profane and ungodly.

For weeks members of the TWDC Ad-hoc By-Law Committee had taken their cause to the streets of Tremont, knocking on doors and to the many block clubs in hopes of spreading the word and convincing the ultimate authority (membership) of Tremont West Development Corp. that these proposed changes were in the best interest of the people - "out with the old" and "in with the new."

With the voting date drawing near and after exhausting all their propogating capabilities, it was finally time to stuff, lable, and stamp the envelopes that would carry the Final Draft of the Proposed Changes right to the door of each and every member of this community organization serving the neighborhood and it's residents since 1969.

The soujourners needed to do more than persuade the rank and file that it was in the best interest of the poor, long-time, elderly and minority residents to remove all humanitarian services from the oranizations Charter but to also coax at least 20% of the 900 plus membership to attend this special election to obtain quorum in order for the voting process to take place. It was just during this past January, 2009, Annual TWDC Membership Meeting and Election that quorum was not reached and TWDC Board President Tom Cook "blighted" the organization with a "straw poll."

Leaving no stone unturned and in an attempt to assure that the multitude would come, the determined, unrelenting supporters of the by-law changes decided to throw in some bait. The TWDC cover letter/MEMO added to the mailed out packages included an italicized promise. "Local businesses have donated gift cards as door prizes/give-a-ways throughout the evening." The allurement also stated that dinner would be served following the business meeting. The slated Agenda list ended with a notation that stated, "Must be in attendance to win a door prize."

 As it turns out, there was no business meeting, there was no call to order and again, for the second time in 2009, there was no quorum and this, of course, would be "blight" number two. Of the approximately 140 voting TWDC resident/members who responded to the invitation and took the time to show up in hopes of exercising their right to vote in this special election, a large portion of the congregation were elderly and long-time residents of the Tremont community. Some no doubt attended not only to vote but to enjoy a good dinner and maybe hope to win a gift card for a little extra shopping or perhaps a free dinner at one of the extravagant award winning restaurants being promoted as giving so much back to the Tremont neighborhood.

Several days following the November 11, 2009, debacle, a gaggle of elderly ladies gathered in their usual "fixed income coffee joint" for a hen party and started cackling worse than old hens laying eggs - they felt they had been "had." While leaning on a chair for support, the only tea toddler in the crowd said, "them lyin dogs. The liars nedn't ask me to come to anything else. They lured me in under false pretense and I think I ought to sue. I sat there on my bad hip for nearly two hours and all I got was a wet balony sandwich that I thowed in the trash. No, no, no more for me. That's a lyin' bunch and I got my papers to prove it." The silver haired spitfire made no bones about her dissatisfaction with the ordeal and continued with loudly yelling, "You tell 'em I got my broom by the door and if they come back a knockin' again, I'm gonna use it. Caused me to miss the Country Music Awards."

While this special called meeting resulted in no quorum, no call-to-order, no ballot marking and no passing of any new proposed changes to the Tremont West Development Corp. By-Laws and Articles of Incorportaiton, there clearly now must be an Annual TWDC Membership Meeting, election and dinner in January, 2010. At which time, there will be new candidates slated on the ballot for election to seat several new Trustees at the table of the TWDC Board of Directors of this long-standing community organization. However, the question remains, will the TWDC Ad-hoc By-Law Committee representatives strap on their walking boots and hit the bricks again in an another attempt to persuade the many poor, long-time, elderly and minority residents of Tremont to brave the elements and come out a second time to vote in favor of making by-law changes and removing all humanitarian services from the Articles of Incorporation?

At the most recent board meeting, on November 19, 2009, it was announced that an attempt will be made to purge the membership list prior to the January meeting by way of utilizing block club sign-in sheets. This would assist in bringing the required membership number needed to reach quorum down. The resolve seems to be that there will now be two list - a membership list and a probationary list. Of course, this would now open up many new questions and possibly put TWDC's Executive Director Chris Garland on the hot seat. Why has he kept the membership list under lock and key, using privacy issues as a firm explanation for not allowing members, slated candidated, etc., to view the list? If the list can be purged now, did he gain additional funds, a competitive edge on grant and model block funds, etc., by keeping so many "long-gone" members listed in the log for so long?

It was also brought to the TWDC Board's attention several months ago that, even though Mr. Garland stoutly professed that the membership list was private and everyone's privacy was protected, the Executive Director himself had been for some time supplying membership's names and addresses to other organizations and groups who came calling for a mailing list. Mr. Garland did not deny these allegations and stated that he thought he was just being helpful. The concesus of the Board at that time was not to deal with the matter and instead referred it to the marketing committee. Now the question becomes is Tremont West Development Corp. a broker for selling membership names and addresses to other organizations and for what price?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Due to shortage of space

Today the Plain Press came out and due to a shortage of space, my December Commentary was cut quite a bit.  Therefore, I am posting the uncut final draft on NEO.