Monday, September 10, 2007

Neighborhood Association, Part Deux

I suppose I shouldn't complain... if a blogger blogs at a coffee shop and nobody reads it, is she really blogging? But recently a friend of mine forwarded my blog entry about the OHNA meeting to the OHNA mailing list (which I am STILL not a part of!), and suddenly I'm getting actual readers. Like, folks I don't know. It's a bit unnerving. Especially the fact that I've been "outed" to a co-worker who recognized "me" (and herself, I'm sure) in the entry. I've got to watch myself now-- no more blogging about my bank heists and the weekends I've spent at the North Pole clubbing baby seals.

Anyway, one of the comment-ers on my OHNA entry asked if I'd read the Historic Preservation Ordinance, and in fact I have. It's long. It's boring. It's full of legalese. But I urge everyone who has taken or is planning to take a position on the Ordinance to read it in its entirety here. This debate is too important and has gotten too ugly for people to blindly take sides without understanding the issue.

That being said, I hope readers who turned to the blog for the OHNA entry will read for the fun stuff too. Sure, every once in a while I lapse into "left wing kook" mode, but mostly I eschew politics in favor of exploring all the fantastic things this city has to offer, like cornhole, giant tomatoes, and BirdZerk!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh sure. We long time readers aren't worth enough to write for. Sniffle

-Bernard

John Riddick said...

I love this blog! Preservation Designation is all about having a "say" in the future of our neighborhood. Anti-preservationists don’t want you to know this. It's democracy at the grassroots level. If you want a great example of how important the Designation is, look no further than our friends in the Bonnycastle neighborhood. They are aggressively working towards the Designation because they had no input into the Park Grande project (Kevin Cogan, Jefferson Development Group). Here’s a link to the Website - http://www.jeffersondevelopmentgroup.com/properties/residential/viewer.php?prop_id=30. The Cherokee Triangle however, has had significant input into the Cherokee Grande project (replacing the old Aquarius Apartments) -http://www.jeffersondevelopmentgroup.com/properties/residential/viewer.php?prop_id=30. Why? Because the neighborhood is a preservation district, that’s why. Sooooo, should residents of the Original Highlands be concerned about what happens to the old Mercy property on Broadway? When a developer appears and recommends a land use that’s not in keeping with the community, it’s gonna get ugly and the community will have no say. It’s only a matter of time. For further information, check out the current (September) issue of Louisville Magazine (Pg 50). Unfortunately, it’s not online yet.

Anonymous said...

Designation is all about having a "say" in the future of our neighborhood. Anti-preservationists don’t want you to know this. It's democracy at the grassroots level.


Well john here you go again, you have been tounge twisting so much your starting to fight with yourself. Designation will not give the neighborhood a "say" it will give your group the "say" over the neighborhood. And now you think that having a handful of people doing what the majority "doesnt" want is democracy give me a break. Weak minds will continue to follow your groups misleading ways the majority will not, now get on with your life your power trip for control is over.

jscs said...

Those of you "out there" who don't know our neighborhood, see what we deal with? The minority who don't want Landmarks all actually have a problem with the former OHNA President. They ran him off by acting like children (see above post) and now they are worried that the Landmarks designation actually WILL happen becuase most of the neighborhood DOES want it and it's no longer a project associated with OHNA. So there you go. But if you come to Louisville do come here, visit our hood, and just smile at the grumpy people (again, see former post from annon).

jscs said...

And how is it, anon, that you keep showing up just after John? Obsession like that... no wonder he felt pressured to leave his post. I'd put out a restraining order against you.

Anonymous said...

Say doesn't that Lawyer, Karen Stewart live in Bonneycastle...This should be fun to watch.

M said...

Mr. Riddick, thank you for your kind words about this blog. I was sorry to hear that you stepped down (been meaning to say something about it in the blog). As much as I think I would make a GOOD president of a neighborhood association, there's no way in hades I'd pursue it after seeing what you've been through (Not that I HAD been thinking of it. Just hypothetically). And I want to commend you, too, for having the courage to post under your real name.

And my apologies to Bernard, who indeed has been reading my wacky ramblings longer than any other person on earth except my mother.

Thank you for the links, Mr. Riddick. As we go forth with these discussions, it's very important that we ALL substantiate our opinions with concrete evidence and not just gut feelings and passion. It's one thing to feel strongly about something; it's quite another to back up those feelings with cold, hard facts.

This should NOT be a contest between who can yell the loudest or sling the most muck or come up with the best insult. That's playground or playing field stuff (or for some of us, living room stuff... not for ME of course!).

Anonymous said...

now they are worried that the Landmarks designation actually WILL happen becuase most of the neighborhood DOES want it and it's no longer a project associated with OHNA.



Ahh more lies..majority rules in most cases and you claim the majority are those who want landmarks!!! Do you have your head in the sand? There were almost 400 in writing protesting this nonsence and the pro landmarks are a small handful of people who do what their told without even knowing the issue. And also the sneaky back door approch to getting landmarks approved without consent isnt going to happen. And on a personal note to you jscs I'm not a child or a grumpy man while personal insults are your way you should first know who your insulting I can assure you that I'm not who you think I am.

M said...

Sheesh, not to perpetuate this nonsense or anything... seriously, I've made 47 entries in this blog since June and only two have been about neighborhood politics-- and one of those was simply to add a link to the city document because I was accused of not having read it...

But I need to make the point that it may be the case that several hundred people signed a petition (although other posters have cited about half of anon's # of 400... whatever, I don't know), NOBODY asked me. Nobody asked my neighbor, who is in favor of it. Nobody asked my colleague who is in favor of it. Clearly "my" side never mobilized. That's a shame. But it's also not democracy. It's just not.

Whether you feel as though Mr. Riddick tried to strong-arm something through in a sneaky fashion, that's between you and... well, I don't know who since Mr. Riddick resigned. I'd say it's a moot point now, Mr/Ms Anon. Regardless, it doesn't change the fact that people like me and jscs and my neighbor and my colleague were never polled on this issue. As I have said before, I am a newcomer to this issue, but I find it fishy and odd that the only people I KNOW in this neighborhood not only support the preservation district but have also never been asked to sign a petition of any sort.

And I'm sorry, Mr/Ms Anon that you feel insulted by what jscs said. But I'm afraid you've opened yourself up to harsh criticism by being very insulting yourself. You may take offense to being called "grumpy" (which, I assure you, I am called on a near-daily basis-- even occasionally by friend jscs), but I am rather insulted that you insinuated that I have a weak mind. I'd take grumpy any day, Anon.

Anonymous said...

But I'm afraid you've opened yourself up to harsh criticism by being very insulting yourself.

My statement was a general one not pin pointed to any one person. Having a weak mind is ignorance of fact, only persons who cant understand what landmarks means fall into that area. The opposing side was everywhere explaining this issue sorry they missed you after you see the reality you might not be so quick to give up your rights. If you would like to gain more understanding about the facts and not hear say I'm sure they would be willing to explain them to you.

M said...

Anon, I've responded to your comments in a full-blown post. If you go to loueyville.blogspot.com it should be one of the first posts on the blog. I'm hoping that we can move on now, perhaps simply just agreeing to disagree.

My blog is about the great things in this city. I sure hope you continue to read the blog and perhaps contribute in a positive way.

I'm not saying that the debate can't continue; I'm just saying that should it continue, can you at least accept that we're using the same information and just drawing different conclusions?

John Riddick said...

Hey folks,
I like the debate but hate the name-calling. The past few months I've probably been in 40 living rooms in the Original Highlands discussing the pros and cons of historic preservation. I haven't been turned down on a signature yet. Preservation is a tricky issue. It takes about 20 - 30 minutes to explain the issues and the impact on the neighborhood. I would have loved to do this in a group setting but we simply didn't get the opportunity. So the next best thing is to go door-to-door in an effort to cut through the misinformation. This is a slow and methodical process. Opposition groups have an advantage here in that you can scare the bejesus out of a resident in about 30 seconds. If I'm elderly, on a fixed income, etc., and someone knocks on my door and says the evil neighborhood association is going to raise your taxes, tell you what color you can paint your house, and eventually drive you from your home, I'd be listening too. So, contrary to what is being projected by anti-preservationists, I think my door-to-door, one-on-one conversations are pretty damn democratic. I am 100% dedicated to evaluating this issue in an open environment and will continue to work towards that goal. I hope we get the chance to debate the issues in a civil manner.

With respect to the OHNA Board of Directors, I am proud of my service and accomplishments over 2.5+ years. I hope the Board continues to have a positive impact in the community and I will support their efforts. I resigned for several reasons that go beyond the scope of this post. True, the stress level on me/family was pretty high and I have other interests! More importantly, I felt by resigning, it might take some additional pressure off the board and allow them to be more effective. New blood and change is a good thing. I also believe that Kristen and I can have more of an impact working for neighborhood causes outside of the OHNA. We’ve got some great ideas and I can’t wait to execute them. I have no intention of rolling over for bullies.

My one sincere hope is that residents will understand that the OHNA Board is a bunch of volunteers. They are just trying to make a difference. It’s not a powerful or prestigious position. Threatening to sue a bunch of volunteers isn’t noble. So, please, the next time you attend a neighborhood meeting, don’t use works like “extortionist”, “thief”, and “fraud” to describe board members. Let’s avoid screaming. Let’s especially avoid screaming at 8-months pregnant women! Disagreement is great but let’s try and be a bit more gracious about it going forward.

Our community has a history of driving good people off the OHNA Board. This is not good. I’m certainly not the 1st to move on. It is my hope that in the future, people are compelled to finish their terms and make a difference. One problem I’ve noticed is a lack of institutional knowledge. I had a lengthy discussion with a former board member from the distant past the other evening. What he articulated was eerily close to what I’ve experienced the past few months. I wish I would have talked with him long ago. Institutional knowledge and tradition can make the OHNA a powerful force in the neighborhood and the broader Louisville community. The next time we face a controversial issue, I hope the OHNA Board can meet the challenge and I hope the membership/community will engage in a civil manner. We must keep in mind that the “issue” at hand is likely to be one of many the Board is wrestling with. My only question for anti-preservationist is this – Are you a “one-hit wonder” or, are you going to get involved in the numerous projects the association is working on? They need the help. Remember – your credibility is directly related to your contribution. Great blog!

Cheers,

John

Anonymous said...

John,
You don't like name calling? Anti-preservationist, One Hit Wonder?
Riddick "spin" at it's best.

Josh Behr said...

John,

I have spoken with many folk in the area, just as you have, and I find one very common theme: Many people are not opposed to “Historic Preservation”, they are opposed to the Ordinance and they are opposed to the way the OHNA pursued the issue. Thus, when I refer to those “opposed” I am including people who seek to preserve the historic character of their homes and the neighborhood (myself included) but are OPPOSED to the ordinance and the methodology of the OHNA.

You will not convince ANYONE that 200 signatures (roughly 10% of the neighborhood population) represents Democracy – especially when 400 have already signed saying they are opposed!

Why does the OHNA website not have Board Meeting minutes past May of 2007 posted? Subsequent minutes have apparently been typed and distributed at meetings, why are they not posted? Also, what gives with the “closed” Board meetings? Transparancy?

Regarding “name calling”, the “opposition” (as we have been labeled) have been called

Haters
Fear Mongers
Anti-Preservationists
Yellers

Since you frequently refer to “name calling” in your various posts and letters, can you give me an example of a name that has been applied to the “pro-preservation” forces? Just one, please.

John Gilderbloom has publicly, loudly, annoyingly (and with poor grammar) accused me of “Character Assassination” based on one email I sent to the Board describing my conversation and experience with you and Kristen. Were any of my comments untrue? Did I resort to name calling or profanity? No. Absolutely not. Just the facts. It would seem it is the good doctor who has engaged in an attack on MY name. Me thinks he doth protest too much.

In closing, a comment for the doctor: edit, dude…EDIT.

M said...

Mr. Behr,

Thank you for your comments. In my opinion, it's one thing to be opposed to the way that the OHNA went about seeking the ordinance (and at this point, it's a moot point as Mr. Riddick has resigned...) and the ordinance itself. And I don't doubt that many people who oppose the ordinance are in favor of maintaining their personal property in the spirit of the historic nature of the neighborhood.

I still contend, though, that there will be neighbors who do not intend to maintain the historic nature of their homes. And I am all in favor of an ordinance that keeps people from tearing down their sweet little shotgun homes and turning them into McMansions or the glorified double-wides we see in some of our suburban neighborhoods.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but my use of the word "opposition" categorizes folks on the other side of the debate from me. If we were having a political discussion and you were a Republican, you would be the "opposition."

I have never used the word Haters (hell, I don't think I've ever used that word in my life). At the August meeting the anti-ordinance folks, for the most part, were indeed Yellers. I would doubt that anyone who was in attendance would argue that fact.

Insofar as fear mongering goes... again, perhaps I'm only speaking of those on the extreme end of the spectrum... but all this discussion of the giving up of rights is rhetoric of fear. The shocking yellow lawn signs are meant to instill fear. I have a hard time seeing these things as benign and reasonable. They don't open up debate; they squash it.

John Riddick said...

Hey Josh,
I'm not sure where to begin in responding to your post. I do think there is a high-level of misunderstanding here sooooo, let me buy you a beer and we'll discuss. We don't have to agree on preservation but we can still talk. Let me know.

Cheers,

John

PS - Bottom line on the neighborhood association - if ya wanna improve the OHNA, run for a board spot in November and work to improve the organization. Finally, I can't help you with the Good Doctor but I feel your pain....

John Riddick said...

Josh,
One final thought. Remember, there are numerous projects and recommendations outlined in our Neighborhood Plan. For example, the neighborhood desperately needs zoning changes (R6 to R5B and other classifications). There are other potential projects involving the streetscape, traffic calming, etc. I'm sure your expertise in these areas would be welcome on the board.

John

John Riddick said...

Josh,
What do you think about debating Jay Stottman on the pros and cons of historic preservation? We could call a public meeting and hold a formal debate perhaps at the TMS auditorium. You and Jay could get together and develop the ground rules and we could solicit questions from the neighborhood. Let me know your thoughts on this.

Thanks,

John