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Letter to the Editor

Dear Porch Press,
Several issues in the April 2011 Grant Park Neighborhood Association minutes published in the July 20ll Porch Press need correction. Responses to six alleged acts by Steve Carr, leading to illegal censure, are as follows:
First, I did not assault the chair. I lobbed – not threw – a very soft yellow-striped rubber snake in the direction of President Russell Baggett in an attempt at humor. If I had thrown at anyone, I would have hit them. At the end of the meeting, I reclaimed the soft rubber snake and had an amicable short conversation with Russell. So – what’s the point of the soft rubber snake? I hoped that someone from Zoo Atlanta (where GPNA meets monthly) was there to address concerns about having no auditory emergency notification should any additional dangerous deadly creatures (lions, panthers, komodo dragons, and lots of others) escape after the very poisonous Zoo Atlanta rattlesnake escaped during the crowded Grant Park Summer Shade Festival last September. That afternoon I and over l0,000 others were there – unaware of a possible threat. The next day, Sunday, an eight-year-old boy found the deadly rattlesnake on the porch at a house on Atlanta Avenue – across the street from the Zoo. Fortunately, his father was nearby and killed it. I found out two days after it happened. I later asked zoo director Raymond King why no audible public notification – especially in light of other escapes from other zoos – Miami Zoo, Bronx Zoo, or even Yorkes locally. He said, “We’re in discussions with the neighborhood.” I have asked GPNA President Russell Baggett about this at following GPNA meetings. He first responded that he/we are meeting with the Zoo. Later, Russell said that in case of emergency, the Zoo would e-mail Russell, and Russell would e-mail the electronically connected GPNA members. I asked how any neighbor mowing their lawn would be contacted or those like me who don’t have immediate Internet access? How about children outside without their iPhones or Blackberries? What about dangerous creatures faster than snakes? Several months ago, I phoned three emergency notification companies and received catalogs and brochures from Cooper, Honeywell, and Rapid Notification. At the March 20ll GPNA meeting I shared a brochure. Rick Hudson dismissed my concerns. If any Zoo person was at that GPNA meeting, they didn’t reveal themselves. The next GPNA meeting in April 2011, I again showed a brochure and lobbed the very soft rubber yellow snake towards Russell. No one was hurt by my soft rubber snake, but someone in the neighborhood could be hurt by an escaped snake or other animal.
1 – I deny accosting anyone from 344 Woodward Avenue. I stopped by to inform the building owner that his application for a building height variance was going through the process and politely invited them to the appropriate meeting. I did not purport to represent the GPNA zoning committee. I mentioned that he missed the last meeting where his application was reviewed. I stayed on my bicycle throughout our brief conversation. Rick Hudson wasn’t there and cannot say what happened there.
2 – I deny accosting anyone from GardenHood. At the previous GPNA zoning committee open public meeting, I asked Chair Rick Hudson what issues were on the committee’s list. He stated “GardenHood.” I asked what specific issue/s. He refused to answer. Later I stopped by GardenHood and mentioned that GardenHood was mentioned by Rick Hudson at that GPNA Zoning Committee and that he would not reveal what zoning issues were under consideration. I invited them to the GPNA meetings. I did not purport to represent the Land Use and Zoning Committee.
3 – I don’t accost people. I invite/encourage anyone I meet to go to their community meetings. I did not purport to represent the GPNA Zoning Committee.
4 – The alleged cuss word was “poop.” The 11-year-old boy almost fell over laughing.
5 – I ask a lot of clarifying questions – more than most – but not constantly. This is permitted by Robert’s Rules. GPNA’s Bylaws state that Robert’s Rules applies to GPNA activities. Occasionally, I do speak without being called on by the chair, but so do others.
6– I do not understand the reference to matters previously handled by GPNA and its unnamed partners.
The items above were not mentioned at the April 201l GPNA meeting, yet they made it in the minutes. But there was no mention of my question about zoo emergency notification comments in the April 20ll minutes – or any other minutes since the escape of the deadly rattlesnake last September.
Steve Carr

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