update: 19 June 2002

update: 19 June 2002:

..I have attended my first WeHav meetings:
Monday in Westwood, last evening (Tuesday) in Chartiers City.

..the presentation consisted of a PowerPoint (computer-run) slide-show projected via a computer-data projector (a set-up costing a couple thousand dollars);
the narration was a reading of the text seen on the screen.
..the PowerPoint color slides were essentially the text of the recent yellow-paper mailing from the WeHav Task Force (which was a re-hash of the Feb. Public Notice mailing) with some graphics added.
..it was frustrating to sit through the slides/text-reading "sell".
..I turned to reading something during the slide-show, on Tuesday.

..turn-out was similar both evenings; I guess about 50 or so?
..there was a "core" of about 6 of each side of the issues at both meetings, myself included.
..what strikes me so far is that most all non-core people were there to express their opposition,
which eventually progressed into collective outrage, at times.

..excluding the "core" persons:
-in Westwood about 5 people raised their hands when the WeHav speaker asked how many were there to learn about WeHav, while everyone else was there to oppose WeHav.

-in Chartiers City although the query was not made, there were fewer people initially well-versed on the issues, but as things progressed, it was evident that they quickly grasped the "sell", and then opposed the WeHav reasoning, the mandatory taxing, and more so the injustice of what I call the "NO-vote mechanism" --and that was before any of the "core" persons added pro-opinions and
(I am biased here) con-analyses of WeHav and discoveries regarding the implications of HB1142 and NID designation.

-in Westwood it was more raucous than in Chartiers City; after personally becoming so bummed-out the past few years over assaults by the City on the quality of life in my neighborhood in Elliott
(see my website if you wish), it was exhilarating to see and hear people speaking up, bent out of shape by the City-sponsored "side" of the issues.
     Perhaps in Westwood, as a whole, of all 12 targeted neighborhoods, because of it size, population, and community-uniformity (to my knowledge, there are no real "pockets" of residential-quality disparity, so to speak) the rationale of NIDs and WeHav is most obviously ludicrous
--and some Westwood residents were livid at City/WeHav spokespersons trying to sell them on the idea their middle-upper income community was losing value, and otherwise WeHav-ly threatened. They weren't buying it, and it was actually laughable, except for the seriousness of what Bill No.5 portends for all of us in its sights.

-in Chartiers City, where I believe it is more moderate-middle income, the people seemed a bit more nuts-and-bolts about the details and rationale of WeHav, the mandatory tax --and then about how to stop it, the matter of the NO-vote, troublesome tenants of irresponsible landlords, etc.
--in Chartiers City, it seemed the residents more readily empathized with the problems with irresponsible absentee landlords noted by some of the WeHav core-persons who seem centered from Sheraden.

-BUT my sense is that the people from Chartiers City emphatically do not see WeHav as a solution to the, somewhat shared, problems of those Sheraden residents, and they said so.

-towards the conclusion of the gathering, two women, separated by an interval of comments and some other discussions, made what I will describe as, maybe out of some real degree of frustration, but more so, sincere, heartfelt, and moving personal expressions.
-they are opposing "core" persons; one essentially asked passionately, almost pleadingly, if WeHav (Bill No.5) doesn't get passed "what can we do about our neighborhoods?"
-the other, perhaps from a perception that runs deeper than WeHav as a non-solution to shared community problems, expressed passionately the concern that we are all facing the erosion of our right to choose in the political process, a right secured by her immediate and elder family members, and those of all of us, who have suffered, even died, in the struggle to attain those rights for citizens of this country -the World Wars, Workers' Rights, Women's Rights, Civil Rights. ..the meeting dissolved at that crescendo.

..so far there have been no City Council members present;
how are they to vote on Bill No.5 without a sense of this opposition?
..further, it appears to me that sincerely, well-intentioned residents may have been recruited as volunteers on the "WeHav Task Force" -guided and financed by the Mayor's office. I'm not yet sure, but it seems they may be somewhat naive to causes and thus possible solutions to neighborhood problems. I'm wondering if the Mayor's office, or whoever, has sold them a bill of goods, about declining prices in a declining neighborhood, rather than the City dealing with solving local problems -sort of a version of the "white-fright/flight" scam of some years ago.

There are also the not-so-unreasonable opinions that the Mayor, having given so much away to Lazarus, May Co., the Sports Authority, etc. is looking to generate tax income by way of escalating assessment-based tax-income ala WeHav, and by way of NIDs which tax people locally for services/improvements in their neighborhoods --??

--an encouragement, so far, is that there seems to be a developing empathy for solving problems in neighboring neighborhoods/communities -something that is possible because we all live under the same City Code/Mayor/Council, and therein may be the possibility of a genuine "grassroots" residents' coalition..?

--paul-- 19 june 2002


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23 February 2002