ACONA Group is Expanding

Neighborhood Watch Groups add extra eyes and ears for neighbors looking out for you. ACONA widens the lens of protection even further out.

In case you haven’t heard about this organization yet, ACONA (Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations) is another great homegrown Altadena resource that was started by a few of our local community volunteers.

This organization was established in 2010 in order to provide a means for Altadena neighborhood associations and Neighborhood Watch groups to network with each other and thereby share ideas and practices used to keep their neighborhoods safe.

ACONA meetings are held bimonthly at the . All are welcome to attend. You can find out more about them online here.

The meetings are extremely organized efficient. If the moderator, Elliot Gold, goes over the planned agenda by only one second he would apologize for his imperfection. He runs a tight schedule and will have you out by the designated time.

I assume most of you have heard about Neighborhood Watch Groups and know the benefit of belonging to one. If you are unsure if there is one in your immediate area just call the Sheriff’s station and they can look up the one nearest you. A listing of the established groups can also be found on their website under the “LINKS” tab.

Our neighborhood established a watch group about eight years ago. It has been growing ever since. Neighbors come out in the streets or at someone’s home and discuss what’s happening in the neighborhood. We are an established network of neighbors that look out for each other.

It helps if you have a block captain. This person would become the figurehead in order to organize the meetings and send out information to the group. All of this can be learned from your local Sheriff who would be happy to help you establish your group.

At first some neighbors may be hesitant about joining because they wish to remain anonymous and maintain their privacy in the neighborhood. However when you weigh the benefit versus the loss the balance wouldn’t even come close.

Watch Groups use a very simple model, “neighbors looking out for each other.” While you are away at work or on vacation, or away from home for any reason you can know that others will be looking out for you. Essentially you gain more eyes and ears watching out on your behalf.

ACONA was established in order to expand upon the watch groups by connecting them with each other so they might share ideas and practices that work. The goal is to make Altadena one of the best towns in LA County.

At each meeting a variety of speakers share very valuable information, including public safety experts, County servants, security experts, and the like. Even if you were to attend a couple of meetings you would gain tremendously from hearing what others have implemented successfully in their neighborhoods. The website also has PowerPoint presentations of some of the past meetings.

Elliot Gold and Holly Rundberg, the original founders, established a team of leaders that help organize the association as well as create its agenda and growth strategy. The list includes block captains, county employees, and other smart minds with a host of expertise and talents they bring into the organization.

In my attempt to bring you more good news rather than bad this would be another article exposing more of your community heroes that do things just for the benefit of the community without any need to receive a pat on the back.

The entire ACONA team includes volunteers that show up because they love and care deeply about Altadena, and want to make it better, much like my last mystery person.

Some of the other members of the team listed online are, Nina Ehlig, Carlotta Martin, Melody Comfort, Dale Comfort, Sandy DeJardin, Dick Smoak, Sussy Nemer, and Tanganica Turner. By the way, each of these individuals would be a story of themselves.

More Popular than Town Council?

Although I hate to admit this, the ACONA meetings are much more popular than the Town Council Meetings. For some reason people will come out when there is value-added information provided. That is something the TC is currently working toward as they attempt to change their image and outreach into the community.

Dr. Sandra Thomas chairs this new Town Council where there is much to do in order to restore the community’s opinion of the Council. Fortunately the past Chair Gino Sund did a lot to move the group forward, but there is more to be done. Providing the community with value-added information would be a sure way to get them involved at the meetings.

In case you didn’t know about ACONA, you owe it to yourself to attend one or more of their general meetings. You won’t be disappointed. If you do not belong to an established Neighborhood Watch Group you really need to start one. The benefits are immeasurable.

Altadena is really a great community with a lot of great people, organizations, services, activities and events. The fact that you may not be aware of these things is something that several of us are constantly working to change.

Both the Altadenablog and the Patch are filled with local new and information. Even still people claim they don’t know about what goes on in Altadena. At this stage if people don’t know it is more because they are not motivated enough to dig just a little beneath the surface.

On the other hand they might just want to keep our little haven a secret so we remain the quaint little town that has no particular distinction except for being the laid-back town due north of Pasadena.  

Holly Rundberg August 29, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Thank you Greg for this wonderful article. Elliot and I are both very proud of ACONA and are grateful to the folks who help us fill the meetings with knowledgeable speakers. Our goal is to bring the, already strong, Neighborhood Watch groups together. They all have such excellent hands-on experience as Watch leaders and as a 'group of groups' they are helping each other by sharing their expertise. The audience members present thoughtful questions and are always able to embellish upon the knowledge that our speakers bring to the meetings. We want the community to let us know what topics they want covered at our meetings. We do all we can to ensure that we get the experts in those fields to come. Our website: www.aconaonline.org to learn more. P.S. Our next meeting is on November 1st.


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