Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Who's Your Buddy?

I spent the better part of this balmy afternoon pounding the pavement around S-town to pass out flyers advertising tomorrow night's meeting with MDHA and to press the flesh to get to know more of my neighbors.

One of those neighbors gave me a flyer generated by the fellow who quit our neighborhood association recently after he ran for president and lost. For the sake of unencumbered brevity, let’s call him “Bud.” Not only does Bud now have his own association, but he also has a personal axe to grind. You see, at the top of that flyer for his first meeting he typed, "Announcing The First 'True' Salemtown Neighborhood Association Meeting."

Remember: Bud is the guy who wrote me that he was leaving the southern half of S-town to Salemtown Neighbors to organize, while he was arbitrarily claiming the northern half for his own association. Despite his announcement in the latest flyer that he is holding the "First 'True'" neighborhood meeting, he writes at the bottom "If ... you live between Garfield and I-65, on 3rd Ave. through 8th Ave. [basically, the north half of S-town], then plan on attending this very important meeting."

So, I am left to surmise that either he only sees the northern half of S-town as the "true" S-town or he is not truly interested in organizing a meeting for the entire neighborhood. Either way, he makes it clear in his invitation that only those who live within the arbitrary boundaries he has drawn are invited to attend. If I did not already have to go to the Salemtown Neighbors meeting, I would attend his meeting anyway, if for no other reason than to contest--silently and by my very attendance--his claims.

Contrast Bud's flyer to the Salemtown Neighbors flyer, which I distributed this afternoon: it basically passed on information about meeting agenda, speaker, time, place, and location. It was essentially the same info that I posted here yesterday. No veiled attacks on Bud's group. No grudges borne against someone.

And I refuse to limit the target audience to Bud's prescribed southern S-town boundaries. I distributed flyers across S-town, north and south. I even left a flyer at Bud's house. I talked to his wife. I spoke with one of Bud's neighbors, who gave me a confused look and said that he had planned on attending Bud’s meeting on Thursday night at 6:30. Rather than saying bad things about Bud behind his back or talking him out of Bud's meeting, I suggested to Bud's neighbor that he could attend the first 30 minutes of Salemtown Neighbors and then leave in time for the start of Bud's meeting. I told him that MDHA would be discussing federal grant monies at the beginning that might directly affect him. I appealed to his self-interest without putting Bud down. I kept the moral high ground.

I wish Bud had given Salemtown Neighbors the same consideration.

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