You think the number one issue at community relations meetings is crime? Guess again?
Here’s the question so listen up. What do you think is the No 1 issue at community meetings? Violent Crime? Nope. Break-ins? Not even close. Gangs? Only if you’re renting the movie.
Give up? It involves belts, buckles and airbags, and I’m not talking about your neighbor. The answer is…drum roll, please…Traffic!
No, not drug traffic, the kind with four wheels often driven by others lost in a haze of distractions.
Yep, who would think something as mundane as everyday cars, trucks and such would raise the ire of our citizens and get their blood pressure in a dither.
I was going to call my old office at Traffic Management and brush up on some stats until I attended the Norwood Holabird Community Association, Inc. meeting at the Atease Senior Center on Monday. Who need stats when heated words during the Q & A caused an overload on the air conditioner.
There were two guests for the evening. One was Irene Spatafore whom I covered in a on her efforts with Angles Supporting Our Troops.
The other guest the County Executive’s special assistant, Bryan Sheppard, who was impeccably dressed in a suit and tie. Why would that matter, we’ll get to that.
NHCA president John Ayres started off the meeting attending to the formalities that make these gatherings official and bring out the county’s big guns.
Things moved along nicely until someone pulled the pin on a parking complaint. The complainant, 70 years old, began to inform Mr. Sheppard of his neighbor’s penchant for parking his car on the curbside grass in the Martel Avenue section of Dundalk. This lead to a detailed account of “I’m gonna beat your…” and “I’m gonna kick … ” – you get the gist. By the way the other guy was 40-something.
In an effort to mediate the war between the two, Mr. Sheppard said it was legal to park a car on one’s own grass. The complainant took exception to that assessment and finally, NHCA president Ayres stepped in with a lengthy page of parking regulations pertaining to the county.
It appears that Mr. Sheppard wasn’t quite right in his assessment. While that debate raged on, another gentleman in the audience took exception to the amount of time spent on the one battle.
He wanted to start down another street with a different traffic problem and became upset and stormed out when he felt he did not get chance to spend his two cents.
As I was feverishily writing my notes while hiding behind Mrs. Spatfore, Mr. Ayers was able to restore calm. I noticed that Mr. Sheppard’s suit was still in one piece but his body armour had as few holes in it.
Eventually the guy who stormed out came back and got his two cents worth and there were hugs and kisses for everyone.
Last I saw Mr. Sheppard was making a quick exit still intact.