Yesterday, for the umpteenth time in just the past year alone, NAC revisited the seemingly eternal issue of New Albany’s only enduring, signature 20th-century social welfare program, the Slumlord Protection Act, in the context of yet another in a long series of slovenly, anti-social outrages committed by the friendly folks at Gregory Family Properties LLC.
If you missed the discussion, feel free to go back and reread it, because it was spirited and quite good: An absentee rental property owner's Yuletide gift to the citizens of New Albany.
Also, I recommend you visit Gina’s blog for a further primer in citizen activism: Smile, you're being photographed in broad daylight on my camera!
Don't forget Courtney's essay, Welcome to New Albany - What problem?
And, there has been much recent activity on the Tribune’s Floyd County Forum (go to the web site and scroll down).
Numerous New Albanians from all walks of life have known for quite some time that "Clean Up New Albany" must be the defining campaign issue -- the most accurate litmus test -- for the forthcoming 2007 election cycle.But in spite of this, think back to the recently concluded mid-term elections. Did any local candidates embrace the specifics of such a fundamental position, and speak aloud of the matters discussed here yesterday, and so many other forums so many other times before?
I can't think of one. Can you?By simple extension, who will be the candidates in 2007 to take what must apparently be the very bold step in advocating the precise condition desired by large numbers of voters, i.e., cleanliness and ordinance enforcement, as well as the even bolder step of articulating and supporting specific planks of a cleanliness and ordinance enforcement platform? Or, will they all revert to the Kochert Maxim: Enforcing existing laws costs the political machine votes?Yesterday, I asked: What would five specific planks of a cleanliness platform be?
Here’s my colleague Bluegill’s answer.
Phyllis Thomas, Republican candidate for the 1st District County Council seat, was the only candidate to my knowledge that mentioned clean up at all, and she offered no specifics.
A rental inspection/licensing program.
Legal staff whose sole purpose is ordinance enforcement.
A total revamping of the building commissioner's office, including all new employees.
A fine structure that's of high enough scale to actually act as a deterrent.
A city court to expedite the prosecution of offenders and to keep fine revenue in the city.
Local dollars budgeted for redevelopment. That amount is currently zero.
Much more than the measly $7,000 dollars a year total the city currently spends on historic preservation.
A scientific study of land use and value in the city in order to objectively strategize where to implement resources first.
Time and time again, we discuss and debate these problems, but heretofore, the necessary precondition to successful activism has been unachievable.
That precondition is unity of purpose across party lines, unity of purpose irrespective of neighborhood of residence, unity of purpose apart from perceived social class and the lingering distractions of decades-old slights, and unity of purpose absent probably a dozen other irrelevant considerations that customarily intrude upon the process of convincing people who agree on the nature of the big picture to move past petty self-imposed impediments so we all can begin tackling those injustices imposed upon our neighborhoods from a discredited and unresponsive system in need of immediate alteration.
Will this be the time?
Discuss ... if you please.