Westenders to NAC: “WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE OUR CITY COUNCILMAN COFFEY WILL NOT HELP US.”

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(Don’t forget this evening’s Speakeasy Jazz grand opening and ribbon cutting)

It wasn’t that long ago that unidentified “RESIDENTS OF NEW ALBANY” were asking me, a mere blogging Publican, to “GO TO HELL.”

Oooh … AHHH … it’s trognonymous hate mail!

Actually, it’s one of my favorite Alice Cooper songs* … but I digress.

Yesterday I received an anonymous letter with a far different tone. In it were two photos of trash-strewn, overgrown housing eyesores.

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July 15, 2007

DEAR MR. BAYLOR

WE ARE GLAD THAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HELPING CLEAN UP UNSAFE HOUSES IN THE EAST END.
ALL OF THE INTEREST IS IN CLEANING UP THE MESSES IN THE EAST END.
WE WISH THAT YOU WOULD HELP US CLEAN UP THE MESSES IN THE WEST END.
WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE OUR CITY COUNCILMAN COFFEY WILL NOT HELP US.
PLEASE SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP THE WEST END.

WEST END RESIDENTS

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Make no mistake: As it pertains to ordinance enforcement, rental property reform and basic human decency, NA Confidential’s blogvocacy has never been restricted to one neighborhood, one council district or one type of resident. New Albany’s west end is no exception, and you may recall these words, as written in May by my colleague Bluegill:

This is the house in which my mother grew up, 216 W. 10th, right in the middle of the 1st district. It’s currently a foreclosure, for sale for $10,900. When I first stopped by to look at it, the back door was kicked in and it was full of trash. It’s been that way for months.

The houses across the street are worse, with boarded up windows. Judging by the number of cars parked out front on my last visit, at least one of them is occupied. It would seem an opportunity for a caring local representative to either hold the landlords responsible for the egregious violations or to inform the beleaguered homeowners of the city assistance programs available.

All I’ve heard from incumbent and former redevelopment liaison Dan Coffey are the reasons why we can’t. I guess they believed him.

I hope they believe Theresa Timberlake on Tuesday.

From NAC’s Primary Primer: Introduction and 1st council district (D) endorsement.

Although Theresa Timberlake pushed Coffey to the brink of much deserved retirement, she unfortunately didn’t win the race. That’s a shame, because she looked to be the breath of fresh air so desperately needed in the 1st district. Fortunately, Coffey’s threadbare margin illustrates that there is a hunger for quantifiable change in the 1st district.

To those who westenders who wrote the letter published above, rest assured that when it comes to better neighborhoods, “we” want “all” of “us” to be a part of the solution. The problem so far has been in getting “all” of us to leave past prejudices at the door and to work toward a unity of purpose that is calibrated to succeed, not fail. The Dan Coffeys of the world survive in a fragmented habitat divided into units sufficiently weak that their bullying and braying is mistaken for leadership, not the demagoguery and spitefulness that it really is.

Herewith, NAC renews the call for a meeting between representatives of all the city’s neighborhoods, whether these representatives are organized into neighborhood associations, or block watches, or informal groupings of concerned citizens. What matters is working together to make progress, not perpetuating divisiveness and dysfunction by remaining separate.

Tragically, Coffey’s 1st district seat is uncontested, but other races are not. Given the impending vote scrum, it’s a fine time for togetherness, don’t you think?

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* For the record, here are the lyrics to “Go To Hell” (1976).

For criminal acts and violence on the stage
For being a brat
Refusing to act your age
For all of the decent citizens you’ve enraged
You can go to Hell

For gambling and drinking alcohol constantly
For making us doubt our parents authority
For choosing to be a living obscenity
You can go to Hell

You’re something that never should have happened
You even make your Grandma sick

You’d poison a blind man’s dog and steal his cane
You’d gift wrap a leper
And mail him to your Aunt Jane
You’d even force-feed a diabetic a candy cane
You can go to Hell

You’re something that never should have happened
You even make your Grandma sick

For criminal acts and violence on the stage
For being a brat
Refusing to act your age
For all of the decent citizens you’ve enraged
You can go to Hell

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