REWIND (July, 2005): “Messer should be commended.”


July 10, 2005

(On Amany Ali’s Tribune City Council report):

On Thursday night, City Councilman Jack Messer’s introduction of the resolution detailing Scribner Place funding permitted him time to explain his support of the project, but far more than that, it allowed him to explain the reasons why he chose to enter public service, and to issue a rare challenge to the political class to do what is right, not just what is expedient for the continuation of careers.

(Ms. Ali):

“Before the council voted on the (Scribner Place) resolution, Messer did what I wish other political figures would do. Not petrified by the thought that he might not get re-elected, he announced that he supported Scribner Place and support the plan that would use property taxes as a backup …

“ … Messer’s words were a breath of fresh air at a meeting where entirely too much time was taken up with political malarkey and bitterness. He should be commended for speaking his mind and not worrying about the political ramifications. There are other politicians in Floyd County who could learn from Messer’s example.”

NA Confidential says:

Amany Ali does a marvelous job of recognizing Councilman Messer’s contribution to last Thursday’s meeting, and although all council representatives voting for Scribner Place deserve commendation for their principled stances, Messer’s address to the audience, and his comments to fellow council members, almost certainly and deservedly will become the stuff of legend.

Here’s why.

Throughout the run-up to the Scribner Place vote, upstanding citizens confused and frightened by impending change have been manipulated by certain calculating elements — some well-intentioned, others unfortunately not – who are in opposition to New Albany’s ongoing efforts to move forward.

Time and again, fear and loathing have been stoked. Sincere efforts to explain the way a city works have been dismissed. Progressives have been attacked as pointy-headed, out of touch – and to be truthful, even threatened. Freedom of speech has been curtailed.

In short, citizens have been turned against each other by fellow citizens who quite simply should know better – assuming, of course, that they haven’t meant worse from the beginning.

Jack Messer’s words last Thursday night demolished this “culture war” argument once and for all.

Here is a New Albany resident, a concerned taxpayer, a policeman of long standing, a public servant – a man who is as fully representative of the community as any could ever hope to be – walking tall and announcing that he understands why some of his fellow New Albanians are scared, but that there’s absolutely no reason for them to be; that much hard work certainly is yet to come; but unless something is done now to reverse the fortunes of New Albany, that there will be no city to pass on to the next generation — and this work must begin now, by all of us, and for all of us.

Brilliant. Thank you, Jack, and thanks to Amany Ali for her take.