Local Commentary

The Little City Weed

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The lawn exists today in what is best described as scattered patches of greens, yellows, and browns. Uneven in height and variety, what was once notable for the sense of order it gave an otherwise pleasant property, has become an unkempt symbol of direct nonviolent action taken in objection to what is the worst collection of city council members elected in the modern history of our city.

 

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The lawn exists today in what is best described as scattered patches of greens, yellows, and browns. Uneven in height and variety, what was once notable for the sense of order it gave an otherwise pleasant property, has become an unkempt symbol of direct nonviolent action taken in objection to what is the worst collection of city council members elected in the modern history of our city. A field of broken dreams, if you will, where if I do not mow it, maybe they will go away.

The new city council majority has manifest itself as arrogant, secretive, pedantic, ideologues driven by fear of what they do not know about the past and by what they cannot envision in the future.

This week the majority city council voted to strip money from all affordable housing initiatives in the city due to their own independent, undocumented, assessment the city financial condition is so dire no affordable housing planning is possible and monies previously committed to affordable housing should be spent on “other priorities.”

The decision to defund affordable housing follows the vote a few weeks ago to kill a historic senior housing initiative which included a 100 percent commercial component and a much needed parking garage near the city commercial center. The belligerent new council took its opportunity to kill those initiatives.

The vote this week underscored the new council’s disdain for affordable housing. The council disregarded the city affordable housing policy; dismissed a commitment the city has made to regional housing goals; mocked testimony of expert investors and housing professionals; and refused to allow its own volunteer city housing commission to weigh in on the issue.

Nader Baroukh, Ira Kaylin and Johannah Barry just know better than anyone else. When former mayors, now in the minority, pointed out the significance of defunding affordable housing and gently challenged the justifications proffered by the new council members, who have a fraction of the experience of the veteran minority, the new majority mocked them as well.

The hubris of the new council is magnified by its angry denunciation of any suggestion it is “against” affordable housing. If you vote to kill a historic affordable housing initiative, and vote to defund future affordable housing initiatives, then it is fair to say you are against affordable housing. A resident who has lived in the city for 26 years and whose only experience has been the votes she cast in the last few weeks to kill affordable housing – cannot fairly be called a housing advocate. A council member who supports affordable dwelling units built into new mixed use projects, but then opposes new mixed use projects, can fairly be said to be against affordable housing.

So, with sincere apologies to the neighbors and assurances this is a matter of principle unrelated to the demise of my lawnmower or laziness, my fields of weeds stands today as a nonviolent direct action protest befitting my objection to the actions of our city council.

It is not easy being a weed.

 


Michael Gardner is a quixotic citizen and founder of the Blueweeds community blog.

 

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