Thursday, April 17, 2008

Historic Germantown, Inc. Chooses Not to Circulate Petition Favoring Increased Mall Security

As I'm gearing up to write my fourth or fifth letter to State Senator Thelma Harper (in as many months with no responses) on the lack of Bicentennial Mall security, I received word Wednesday night that Historic Germantown, Inc. has chosen not to sign the petition that Freddie O'Connell wrote and Salemtown Neighbors approved in February. You can read the petition here, and see for yourself that there's little controversial, radical, or inflammatory about it, so Germantown's rebuff is a riddler.

They reportedly have inside information that hasn't been communicated to Salemtown leaders that emergency call boxes--which is one thing we have been asking for since State Parks Commissioner Jim Fyke scoffed at the suggestion when I brought it up to him by phone in November--are coming in 4 to 6 months. Should we accept this news, then we must also accept that what was the scornworthy suggestion of a lone malcontent on November 5, 2007 will be implemented by the State of Tennessee next fall; and so, Germantown seems to be declaring victory without having to commit troops.

Nonetheless, the string of unfulfilled state promises gets stretched farther:
  1. State Senator Thelma Harper phones about a brokered deal to come at the end of November.
  2. Senator Harper tells a Channel 4 reporter that we will see changes "in the spring."
  3. Germantown leaders say that changes, specifically kiosks, are coming in the fall.
Given the string of unrealized promises on top of the unwillingness of state officials to communicate with Salemtown leaders, why should we believe that next fall is going to be any different than last November or this spring? In the meantime, it looks like the North End is not going to hang together on the issue of increased park security; that makes me wonder whether we'll watch each other's back on other issues in the future.


  1. Just because they didn't sign it, doesn't mean they are against you or our association. It just means they have decided to go about it another way. There are many things that you do that I do not agree with, but I am not against you. And it most certainly does not mean that I wouldn't support you in the future. People can be just as passionate about something as you are, but that doesn't mean they have to act upon it in the same manner.

  2. In my opinion, the HGI Executive Committee could have shown support for SNNA by circulating the petition even with their faith in the state that it would follow through in the fall (that's a faith that I believe to be misplaced, given that the Parks Commissioner originally opposed kiosks). There is no contradiction between following through with a petition to express concern and waiting on the state to make the changes.

    I have been asked by Metro Council members for my opinion on the Germantown overlay. After HGI answered our initial questions about the effects on Morgan Park to my satisfaction, I have been supportive when asked about it. If HGI leaders asked me to attend a public hearing (which I am entitled to do, living within 600 ft. of the proposed overlay) and express my support I would have. Why? Not because it helps me in any direct way, but because it would have been a show of support for a sister association. I wouldn't have tried to sit down and calculate whether it looked like the overlay would pass, and only respond if it it didn't look like it would happen.

    I believe that HGI made a mistake in not going ahead with the petition if they were as ready to go ahead as I have been told they were. If it turns out that the state's fall kiosk promise to HGI is another empty one, then we've got nothing to fall back on and if they are still interested in Mall security at that time, then they'll have to start the whole process over, and in the meantime, SNNA loses time and influence, and the Mall stays insecure overnight into next year. The state has done nothing but drag its feet since last September, and I believe that speaking with a unified voice would have helped leverage state action.