Friday, January 08, 2016
Vaughn, Within City Limits: Episode I, The Phantom Menace.
By Nick Vaughn, Guest Columnist
This is where it begins. The first installment of my new weekly column you, the lovely reader, will be able to find every Friday here on NA Confidential. Luckily, I was able to steal the title of the worst Star Wars movie ever made, although I fear coming up with future titles will become the hardest part of this new hobby.
The title is very fitting for this topic that hits close to home. As many of you know, I have begun the process of starting a nonprofit venture that will, hopefully, begin to curb poverty in our city (although, possibly in my naivety, I have found the process to be very tedious). The title is fitting, however, because poverty in New Albany really is the Phantom Menace of our city.
It is one of the few things that I think is really holding us back from major successes. Poverty is nearly never talked about by our Mayor; he seldom if at all mentions it. In fact, I think the only time in the entire campaign he even was aware of the immense poverty issue in New Albany was at the New Albany Housing Authority Forum, where I filled in for Kevin Zurschmiede and brought the issue up.
The past four years of Gahan saw immense spending: spending on a water park, spending on numerous other parks (some susceptible to flooding), and a very large sports complex. All these projects look nice, but what do they do for the 22.5% of New Albanians who are in deep, dire poverty?
How can spending millions on a water park that 22.5% of New Albanians can’t afford to play at be justified? In the low income housing area by the Floyd Memorial Hospital, the average income per year is a little over $8,000. $8,000 in one year to live off of! I challenge the Mayor to try living off of that instead of the $84,000 he makes in a year (which I might add is a little much, but that is an article for another day).
The reason poverty is the Phantom Menace of New Albany is because you would never think it is as big of a problem as it actually is if you ask our Mayor. If you look at his actions as Mayor, this either shows he doesn’t care about the high rate of poverty, or else he just doesn’t know about it. I’m not sure of the dynamics in his administration, but I find it very hard to believe he doesn’t know nearly a quarter of the population he represents can’t afford to use his shiny new water park, let alone pay their bills on time.
I don’t want to accuse the Mayor of not caring about the impoverished. I don’t think that is the case. However, I do think that his actions and blatant disregard for even talking about the issue makes it tough to debunk, whether he cares or not. I just hope that in these next four years the Mayor begins to address this very pressing issue.
I have already extended my hand for support, if he needs it, and I am very willing to help him tackle this. This issue crosses party line; I just hope everyone realizes that.
So, what is there to do? How about we first start caring and become compassionate people who care about our fellow men, women, and children. I have several ideas that I cannot fully explain in this medium, mainly because I want to keep my articles fairly short and focused, however, I am hoping to share my ideas in coming articles and I do hope our elected officials reach out to me.
Until the next article, I will leave you with this first of many weekly quotes:
“We must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
-- John F. Kennedy.