Friday, December 30, 2005

Metro Action Commission's Black Eye

This picture of Nashvillians-in-need standing in line in Salemtown on Wednesday for assistance to pay their utility bills is a sad symbol and indictment of the inadequate facilities at MAC and some questionable administrative practices. The Tennessean story that accompanies the picture is even more disturbing. People were told to get in line at 7:30 a.m. and many were turned away by 8:30 a.m. Perhaps MAC is going to need to be re-tooled at the administrative level and/or perhaps the federal and state governments are going to have to do more from their end. But, at the very least, the old Fehr School Building at the corner of Garfield and 5th Avenue is obviously not a suitable facility for addressing the needs of the growing ranks of impoverished Nashvillians. It's time for MAC to quit Salemtown for a location where people can be sheltered from the elements while they wait. It's time for MAC's administration to do something different so that they are not sending people away just after they open and so they are not sending tens of thousands of federal dollars back to the state for redistribution to other areas.

12/30/2005, 2:00 p.m. Update: In the next couple of days I'm going to write and post something on the circumspection I feel whenever I publish criticism that is easily turned inside-out by those whose best and only idea of social services is probably to lay out cots for Room-in-the-Inn one-night-a-week at some suburban mega-church. Bill Hobbs responds to my MAC post by accusing me of not wanting poor people in my neighborhood. My guess is that he has confused his own "not-in-my-backyard" feelings with mine. If this is an example of the "journalistic integrity" that gets attributed to him, one wonders about the health of "journalistic integrity." If he means that I would like to see poor people in my neighborhood make their way out of poverty and realize the American Dream so that no one in my neighborhood is poor, then he is correct. I doubt his meaning is that charitable.

I posted the following comments to his weblog several hours ago, but they have yet to make it through the Hobbsian filter and into the light of day:

I've lived in neighborhoods for years with people in need lined up at local service providers (both private and public) for assistance. I would prefer that those people not have to stand in line in the cold and other harmful elements only to be told to come back later. You obviously have no knowledge of Fehr School's small facilities (or you don't care). But the small building is the reason people were lined up outside.

I also believe that urban neighborhoods unfairly bear most of the burden for social services. It's time for surburban neighborhoods like yours to share some of the social responsibility for safety nets that cities have been shouldering for too long now. I can live with social services. My guess is that surburbanites like yourself could not. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't.


  1. Do you ever wonder if people are actually reading your posts? His reply was absolutely absurd and typical of a suburbanite. I wonder when journalists are actually going to step outside of Starbucks and into the real world?

  2. It appears to me that you have edited the post to remove the line that prompted my original comment.

  3. The only line I've changed was to remove an extra "but" from "But, at least, ..."

    If a stray duplication grammar error is what you consider "poor writing" leading to a completely different meaning, then I'm going to have to chalk up your judgment to your own misreading.

    I'm with hang on this one: I do wonder if some ever actually read my posts or just read into my posts.