The first step was getting registered to vote in the neighborhood election, which is much different than regular voter registration. Instead of precincts, we have quadrants, and...
The voting process is relatively informal.
Food at the dinner was provided by Bangkok Market, just like it was the year before. When something works so well, why go changing it?
One notable moment in this year's meeting was the election of Mohammed Agoubi to the board as a business rep. Agoubi is the branch manager for US Bank in the Hawthorn Crossings strip mall.
And, actually, I made a point of talking to Agoubi about how crime-ridden that mall is, and how it really needs to be cleaned up. Hopefully, Agoubi will bring some much-needed progress to this issue which, in the past couple days, has become as pressing as it's ever been.
Agoubi is in the middle, another US Bank employee is on the left, and of course Hawthorne's Housing Director, Jeff Skrenes, is on the right.
Here are the US Bank guys with one of the actors from the talent show, dressed up as "Raymond In Space."
In these two photos, below, the business reps in Hawthorne vote, and Agoubi gets elected.
Here are some pictures of the talent show I mentioned earlier. I mostly have photos of "set changes" because I was shooting video the rest of the time. One of the videos is already posted, click here, and I really will get the others posted at some point. The actor/singers were terrific and put a positive spin on the whole annual meeting.
Here's another picture of the board election. I am in the middle, in a purple shirt from Northside Art FLOW. I won a 1-year seat on the board, promising to "ask the tough questions" when, for example, wannabe slumlords come to our board and try to pass themselves off as respectable members of the community.
Here is a photo of the actual voting, below.
Here, members of the League of Women Voters count the ballots and ensure the election went fairly.
Treasurer Brian Cheese (left) and Executive Director Laban Ohito (right) stand near a list of candidate names. The board meeting featured some tough questions about where Hawthorne will get money to keep the neighborhood office running as some official funding sources dry up.
Below is a photo of outgoing board chair Peter Teachout. Peter recently converted his house in the Eco Village into a high-quality rental for a three-generation Hmong family, and got himself a bigger house in the McKinley neighborhood, actually living right near the chair of THAT neighborhood.
During his term of service as chair of our neighborhood association, Peter helped guide Hawthorne through big challenges, and paid the price for fighting hookers and drug dealers who set up shop right across from his house, where he lived with his wife and small children. Now the drug and hooker house is vacant and on its way to being demolished, eventually, and the Eco Village is racking up incredibly low crime stats, including two months with no reported crime at all.
In this photo, Peter jokes that with four children (so far) he is "creating his own neighborhood." Peter's shirt features a British bulldog and the words "because he can."
This final photo shows some of the talent show performers taking a bow. In a sense, they are taking a bow for the whole neighborhood and its achievements in the past year.
Looking at all the events and progress which have taken place in the past year, it makes your head spin. This blog can't keep up with, for example, the demolitions of crappy buildings which really, truly needed to go. The crime stats have plummeted, despite periodic setbacks.
We have come far, but we have far to go. And THE SHOW MUST GO ON!