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Guest column from OWN: Town hall, candidate forum planned
By Welling Clark
President, Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN)

       OWN Town Hall

A map shows how the OWN geography is divided into six areas, each of which is meant to have its own representative, based on the neighborhood organization's bylaws. "NSA" is an acronym for neighborhood strategy area. That was a term used by the city when OWN was formed in 1978, denoting an area that was earmarked for federal funding programs to address poverty and blight. As the designated liaison between the city and the NSA's residents, OWN also received some funding for outreach; however, in 2014 the city decided to move away from the NSA format, which also led to OWN being defunded. The group plans to continue, in any case. As the map indicates, five of the nine board positions are open to candidates at the March 12 Town Hall. Three terms are for a full three years while two are partial because elected members had stepped down and others were appointed.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Come learn about the latest news and efforts to better the Westside and the city at the annual Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) Town Hall meeting Thursday, March 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mother Muff's, 2432 W. Colorado Ave. All are welcome.
       Planned information updates and topics include:
       - Election to fill positions on the nine-member OWN Board of Directors (see more information below)
       - Westside law enforcement efforts.
       - Westside Avenue Action Plan update.
       - Avenue (aka No Man's Land) Task Force update.
       - Open OWN board positions.
       The five open board positions are Area 2, Area 4 and all three at-large positions (see map at right for locations and term durations). There are nine board positions in total. Three are at-large and six are specific geographic regions of the neighborhood.
       Two at-large seats are now held by appointed members Linda Schlarb and Jim Thompson, both of whom are local business owners, but the OWN bylaws require that members who have been appointed be confirmed by a vote at the annual Town Hall.
       For more information, contact OWN President Welling Clark by e-mail at welling80904@yahoo.com.
       Meeting locations
       Future OWN town hall meetings are planned to be held at different locations throughout the Westside. OWN's objective is to provide a more festive environment that encourages participation and at the same time helps support our Westside businesses.
       Locations at eating establishments give attendees the chance to order dinner and beverages and have a relaxed evening at a meeting with neighbors without feeling hungry and worrying about where to get a meal. Because OWN is not being charged to use the restaurant March 12, OWN encourages everyone to take advantage of the dining opportunity.
       Crime - see it, report it
       If you see a crime happening, report it by calling 911 for emergencies/threatening incidents or calling the main number, 444-7000, for non-emergencies. The police use called-in crime reports to plan their patrol and staffing levels. If you don't call in, they don't know you have a problem. If you want police protection and a good response time, you need to call in.
       Candidate Forum
       Leading up to the April 7 city election, OWN & the Avenue Merchants will host a Mayor/City Council Candidate Forum Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. Come meet the candidates for mayor and the three at-large seats in the election and learn their stances on various concerns and issues that affect our Westside. Watch the Westside Pioneer for more upcoming details; stay informed.