Foes Turn Allies, Seek Solutions

Community Leaders Vow Not To Retreat From Problems Facing City

April 28, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

Harold Greene, executive director of the Annapolis Housing Authority, had lunch with one of his most vocal critics, Rosalie Mitchell, president of the Harbour House tenants council.

Nick Kallis, the attorney for downtown tavern owners, talked with Wendy Beavers, a leader in the College Creek and Obery Terrace public housing communities.

Downtown residents and tavern owners -- often at odds -- agreed to meet regularly and work to solve problems. Police officers and public housing residents talked about reclaiming their communities from drug dealers.

People whose paths usually crossed in conflict -- or never crossed at all -- talked about their problems at an all-day retreat Friday at Quiet Waters Park. They came up with about two dozen solutions to the drug-related violence that has plagued Annapolis. Many of the ideas had been discussed before in other forums. All agreed the challenge this time was in bringing the ideas to fruition.

"Unless we can forge a new partnership, we are not going to win the battle we've talked about here today," said Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8. "This is the first of many meetings."

About 150 people from all

walks of life attended the event: city and county residents and officials, police, business people, school officials, black community leaders and clergy, media representatives, and health care and social service workers.

The retreat was called last month by Moyer and Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5. Emily Green and Bonnie Holmes, aides to Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, did much of the organizing.

Seven workshops were conducted to develop ideas: on community drug and crime watch programs, health issues, police- community relations, the media, alternatives for youths, downtown problems, and family support systems.

At day's end, the participants met to propose solutions. The recommendations include:

* Community watch programs, like drugand crime watches and anti-drug Planning Action Committees, need to be better publicized. Police sources and callers should be guaranteedconfidentiality. Resident management training programs should be instituted.

* Health education resources need to be centralized. Detoxification centers should be located in communities with drug problems, and employee-assistance programs should be developed in the workplace. The group will establish a permanent committee to address healthissues.

* The police department needs more money for officers andequipment, particularly narcotics officers and downtown patrols. A board of residents and business people will meet with police biweekly to discuss progress.

* Twenty percent of all news stories should be prominently displayed positive stories, and features on teen and elementary school role models should be printed weekly. Stories that readers complain are slanted should be run again or corrected, and media representatives should meet with citizens regularly to talk about how events are portrayed.

* A teen center will be established. A meeting to recruit volunteers for the effort will be conducted at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Eastport Fire Hall. A group of youngsters will start a youth newspaper, printed at the Housing Authority's new print shop.

* Downtown businesses and residents will work together, and agreed downtown needs more lighting and security, better parking and traffic management, and a visitors' center.

* A multi-purpose family center should be established.

Participants joined hands in a circle at the end of the retreat. "There is no one savior, no one person, who has all the answers," Snowden said.

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