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Alderman Maldonado

July 27, 2010 by Daniel

At LUCHA’s SRO building, Alderman Roberto Maldonado met with Shadelab to discuss the next step in our procedure. After a quick explanation of what we are doing, we asked the alderman how he could help us find a way to make a difference in the neighborhood. Alderman Maldonado answered, “it isn’t about how I can help you, it’s about how you can help me.”  And his words rang true. “In order to make a difference” he said, “there should be research, but also suggested solutions.”

We found that the playground in Von Humboldt Elementary School has a slide where it is 115 degrees Fahrenheit, an almost fearful amount, and we clearly stated reasons for this cause (the material the slide is made out of, and the direct sunlight from a lack of trees to provide shade, as well as other reasons). He taught us that we need to provide an alternative that guarantees the wanted outcome. Once we prepare all of this, he said, then we can formally present it to him, which he, in turn, can present it to the City Council.

Recently, Maldonado was involved in the trimming down of some trees around a park. His reasoning was that the trees blocked the street lights from lighting up Simons Park at night. He also put up a few more lights in the park, and now the park feels much safer at night.

“What is your main concern towards your neighborhood?” we asked. “Number one concern today is public safety”, he said, and added, “Number one public safety concern today is recycling.” The alderman and his staff are determined to incorporate recycling into the community.

We asked if he had thought about adding trash cans around the neighborhood. He surprised us by explaining to us that adding trash cans on a street is not as simple as it sounds. First, he said that there had been many more trash cans, but many had been stolen by people who collect metal to exchange for money. Maldonado explained that it takes much planning and budgeting and hiring and work to successfully place trash cans in and about the neighborhood.

He confessed that he only began with a budget of 1.3 million to spend in infrastructure. He said he doesn’t have the money for many things. This means he must be extra careful when deciding what to spend money on.