4/29/2010

Dispatch / Walking the Beat

Posted by MJ

It seems most of the council agrees that the city was mislead when the LPD solicited the LFD dispatch duties. Buffalo News and LUSJ reported.

I say give the police union a week to agree to accept the duties as solicited or move quick to turn it over to the county to ensure the transition prior to the "due by" date from the LFD negotiations.

Sort of related:

A nice article about retiring detective Yotter in the LUSJ the other day. Some quotes caught my eye:

…Yotter, a 1970 graduate of Wilson High School, said he started out as a “true beat cop,” walking the streets downtown for two years before he got into a patrol car…I miss that. I think they respected you more back then,” Yotter said….
It was probably because they knew a beat officer better (at all). Not only does walking a beat let the officer know intricacies of the area and people in it much better, but is conversely allows the people to get to know the officers better. Meeting and talking to an officer at a “good time” is much better for mutual respect than only meeting under ticketing/intervention/arrest circumstances.

Most citizens only know officers as the faces inside the car who only reluctantly come out to deal with you or worse. They are not going to have respect for them besides their power to detain. If you get to know each other as “neighbors” first, odds are there will a lot more friendliness. No different than a parent who only interacts through punishment: lack of respect is the least of the issues.

Officers in cars are a great reactive measure. Officers on their feet are a great preventive measure. Bring back the beat cop. Make each officer get out of their cars for a certain portion of their shift. Not only will we be safer, but we will also have a better relationship with each other. Or will that cost us 5% more a year?

4/22/2010

4/28 - Walk at Lunch Day?

Posted by MJ

April 28th is “National Walk at Lunch Day” or so says Blue Cross Blue Shield.

My question is where am I supposed to walk to considering a majority of our built environment? With our modern BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) planning and zoning codes most of us are left with nowhere to walk to, unless we enjoy a leisurely stroll around the parking lot. Maybe the walk back and forth to our cars for a lunch time trip counts?
Design a place where people have something around them interesting enough to draw them out at lunch. Maybe then we wouldn’t need our HMOs cheerleading a dedicated day to remind us of nature's way to stay healthy (and thus reduce our liability to them).

Walking is fun and easy. And it’s good for your health.
Did you know that by fitting a brisk walk into your day on a regular basis, you can:
  • decrease your risk of a heart attack and type-2 diabetes?
  • control your weight?
  • improve your muscle tone?
  • reduce your stress?
I think the key word there is "fun". What places do we currently design that are fun and interesting to walk to/through? How many of those are reachable by foot from our jobs?

4/22/2010

LPD and LFD

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported today that the council is negotiating with the Hickory Club PBA over compensation for taking on the responsibility of dispatching fire calls. I posted a while back that I was suspicious of entities clamoring for the responsibility while claiming willingness to do it at no additional cost. I thought the county would be the more likely culprit and that the timeline would have been longer for a surprise “bill”. It seems like we are on that path anyways with our own entity the LPD.

From an old Buffalo News Article:

“Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert urged the Common Council last week to turn Fire Department dispatching duties over to the Police Department.
For you to hand it to us now would be extremely simple. We could do it tomorrow,” Eggert said Wednesday. “I’m kind of hoping you give it to us. It’s easy. . . . We could do it for no cost.”
I'm curious what compensation will be equal to "no-cost".

4/19/2010

Historic Lockport

Posted by MJ


Talking with Captain Mike the other day he made an intersting comment. He mentioned the humor in reading the "Welcome to Historic Lockport" only to arrive DT and see nothing there; especially when compared to places like Medina.

After losing so much of DT to "Urban Renewal", the big old houses close to downtown are pobably the next best asset to build off of. It is another reason I find any demolition of the house in that area a notable loss. Granted, a lot have been bastardized over the years (I know my house was) but a lot of features remain that will never be duplicated again on this scale.

Where is the plan to encourage rehabilitation and to help foster a reasonable ROI for those willing to put the sweat equity in? In what ways could we help it along when the government itself won't?

4/16/2010

Canal Clean Sweep

Posted by MJ


A volunteer based canal cleanup is scheduled for tomorrow. Meet at the Excalibur Gazebo at 9:30 AM. A rain date of May 1st is scheduled if it is raining before 9:00. The Buffalo News and WLVL reported.

Last night we took a nice 2 hour walk around the city. Always of note are the lovely big items that can be found at the base of the canal while it is drained. Do these bikes, tires, shopping carts, etc slowly bury themself of does the state eventually remove them?

4/15/2010

School Budget Passed

Posted by MJ

The School Budget was passed for public vote. The Buffalo News and the LUSJ reported.

The Lockport School Board on Wednesday night voted 6-3 to adopt the proposed $77 million 2010-11 budget.
The plan includes no increase to expenditures, with a 10 percent increase to the tax levy. But Superintendent Terry Anne Carbone called the 10 percent increase “not good,” and said the board is ultimately aiming for a 7 percent tax levy increase.
 -----------------------
Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone and Assistant Superintendent of Finance Deborah Coder presented the budget Wednesday to a partially filled Lockport High School auditorium. The budget contains no increase in spending from the current school year, but the $2.1 million increase in the tax levy could raise the property tax rate to $23.99 per $1,000 of assessed land value. Currently, with the tax levy revenue at about $30 million, the rate is about $22.42 per $1,000 of assessed land value.

We have moved from "zero tax increase" of years past (thanks to the state?) to the land of "zero increase in expenditures" but with an increase in taxes (thanks to the state?) While it is nice to see the expenditure freeze in a year of economic hardship, where was it in the past two years of economic hardship?

Other school districts have made concessions from the top on down. Is completely hacking off programs/etc the best way (only way?) to adjust costs?

4/07/2010

Panera's...

Posted by MJ


...and places like it: why do they always have a fabulous view of a parking lot or, like the one in the town of Lockport, a bonus view of a retaining wall?

The safety found in the status quo of an auto dominated society is the easiest anwer. When looked at with an open mind, why wouldn't a "Panera's" work at a location like Canal St? Why can't I have my treats on a patio over looking the Canal or while people watching on Main St?