Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Illuminating The Neighborhood


How Much Bureaucracy Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

This is an actual e-mail that I sent last week to the city councilman that represents the neighborhood where we live in Phoenix, Arizona. It is pretty self-explanatory. You can't really be too upset over something that you don't have and never expected to get. But don't promise us something and then never deliver, that just makes people angry.


Dear Councilmen Nowakowski,

I am one of your constituents living in the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic Neighborhood. I am writing this e-mail concerning the Historic Street Light Restoration Project that has been slated for our neighborhood for quite some time.

The Encanto-Palmcroft Historic Preservation Association (EPHPA) was advised of this project in the summer of 2009. The City Historic Preservation office made a presentation to the EPHPA that was very impressive and comprehensive. They indicated that work on restoring the street lights would commence in January 2010 and take about three months to complete.

Suffice to say, that it is now April of 2011 and to my knowledge, no work has been done on this project. It was the EPHPA understanding that this project was being funded by a Federal Historic Preservation Grant that the city had applied for. The money for the project was approved, available and could not be used for any other historic projects.

I understand that there were some delays regarding design specifics that had to be resubmitted, and due to staff turnover because of the ongoing city budget crisis, however, this delay has passed the extreme and is now approaching the ridiculous. Many residents are doubtful the restoration will ever take place.

For a project that should cost the city nothing and in turn beautify our neighborhood to take this long reinforces the cynical attitude that many of my friends and neighbors have regarding government in general.

While I am not blaming your office for this delay, this is the sort of mismanagement that your office should be watching out for regarding the management of the city center and the historic neighborhoods. I believe that there must be contractors that could be creating jobs with this grant money. It would also have been a point of pride to have the street lights on display for our recent Historic Home Tour in March 2011.

We have our home tour once every two years. Do you think it might be possible to have the street light restoration project completed by our next tour in 2013?


Bruce Johnson
EPHPA Newsletter Editor
Phoenix, AZ 85007


It has been almost four days....and I have never received a follow-up response. I'll keep you posted. Although many of my neighbors have read this and have applauded the content.