Thursday, November 08, 2007

CatMac Contacts the Governor and the Mayor and Others about Bicentennial Mall Security

After getting no where with State Parks, Divine Ms. Mac goes straight to the top--or the tops--writing a letter (which she forwarded to me) to Governor Phil Bredesen, Mayor Karl Dean, and assorted other leaders. Here is an exerpt of the letter I wish I would have written to the Collective Hizzoner:
While I understand the bureaucratic status quo that can be used to
weave the carpet under which the Commissioner's office is sweeping
this event, some very simple conditions make this particular park

1. Bicentennial park is an expansive green space between a commercial district and a residential one. It is common sense, then, that residents will walk through the park, both in the day and at night.
2. Because the park is designed to be walked through, car-patrols are necessarily limited and inadequate in securing the park.
3. Because the park includes traversing local roads, it is impossible to secure the state-run areas separately from the local ones.
4. Because the park is situated in the district with the highest number of violent crimes last year, it is reasonable to assume that the park is, itself, in a more dangerous context and demanding of special protections.
5. No one, no where, in our parks, our cities, or our state, should be able to be raped for over two hours without someone noticing.

Greenspaces in urban areas are necessary for residential life, for livable conditions and downtown vibrancy. These are all good things, and essential to Nashville's sustainable growth. But urban
greenspaces also require the thoughtful cooperation of state and
local agencies to make sure that they are uniquely responsive to the
challenges of urban siting.

I have been told by the Governor's office that it's up to the
Commissioner to decide whether or not to increase patrols.
I have been told by our local police that the park areas can't be
patrolled on foot because they're state-operated.
I have been told by Commissioner Fyke's office that they lack the
resources to provide overnight patrolling to the parks.
In an exceptionally offensive remark, I have also been told by the
Commissioner's office that I probably wouldn't be all that upset
about this if it didn't happen in my neighborhood.

That logic is reckless, and indicative of a mindset that allows
handing off our collective responsibility to whatever government
agency is "officially" responsible. I urge you, as public officials,
to stop handing off the responsibility to respond and to model,
instead, a government that can, and should, work together to make
sure that our cities, our parks, and most importantly, our residents
are safe.
Amen, sister. Amen.

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