Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Well at least they seem to like each other, for whatever that's worth

I received word from a reliable source this afternoon that perhaps I was not getting attention from Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods Director Brady Banks for a vexing Salemtown concern because Mr. Banks had left the post of MOON Director. I tweeted a query to see if anyone else could confirm. Tennessean reporter Michael Cass followed up on my tweet with phone calls to Banks' office, and then finally to the Mayor's communications office, which confirmed that the MOON Director had indeed moved on.

The coda I would write to Mr. Banks' tenure is that not much happened in the last two years at MOON that stands out as remarkable for the benefit of neighborhoods. I'm not going to sit here and blame the MOON Director for that knowing that Mayor Karl Dean has not put neighborhood issues on his short priority list in the last two years. Either way, MOON has not been the force it was under the previous executive.

But the comments of Banks and Dean since the news broke about the amicable divorce are telling to me in how conspicuously devoid they are of any reference to accomplishments at the neighborhood level of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods. First, Mayor Dean:
Brady is a great guy. I appreciate all of his work both during the campaign and here in the office. I believe he has a meaningful role to play in public service here in Nashville. I wish him the best.
I cannot fathom whether the Mayor's statement is so bland, general, and unceremonious because he's not exactly sure what his own Office of Neighborhoods is supposed to be doing or because he cannot figure out what particular contributions Mr. Banks made as Director. If it is the former, I must say that neighborhood associations are going to have a tough time the next few years regardless of whether Mayor Dean hires a replacement, regardless of whom he hires. Honestly, the Mayor could probably close the office and we wouldn't know the difference.

Now, Mr. Banks:
I have enjoyed my time in Mayor Dean’s office, and I believe in what he is doing for Nashville.
That's just as vague and indirect a response as Mayor Dean's. Why can't either one of these leaders put Brady Banks' service of the last 2 years in the context of the work he was hired to perform with neighborhoods (assuming that's why the Mayor hired him)? Is there no actual context to put him in or is it simply being ignored because of the indifferent tone toward neighborhoods in this administration?

I don't have answers to those questions, but I am still looking for reasons to vote for either one of these two probable candidates for office in the future, other than they're great guys who enjoy one another.

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