Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Walking the Walk

The main goal of my blog has been to bring out issues in our city that require discussion and examination.   In addition to the blog, there is also a Facebook Group called North Bay Village Residents Speak, open to anyone who wants to post about North Bay Village. 

I do this because I am fascinated by process, because I care about the Village, because I have seen residents ignored and bad decisions imposed over the years.  I have no official position nor do I intend to run for one, and I don't have any business interest in the village.  I think of this as a hobby that interests me.  

Over the last couple of years, I have irritated some, pleased others, caused controversy, helped  resolve some controversies, afflicted the comfortable and called out the pompous.   I've been wrong at times;  that comes with being opinionated and I have apologized and corrected where needed. 

This week on the Facebook page, I posted two pictures of cars parked on lawns.  I took the pictures on the morning of February 18 during my usual early morning walk.   I walk almost daily and the 2 pictures I posted were culled from the 14 similar pictures of houses with cars parked on the lawn.  

I was surprised by the reaction and I've decided to take the post down because the owner of one of the houses felt creeped out that his house was now on a public forum.  I can understand that so that's why I took the post and photos down.  

In fact I was accused of “crossing a line” by publishing these pictures, something I reject because the front of our houses are the face we present to the community, and every house in this village is already up on Google Street Views, but it was not my intention to go to war. 

The other reactions though really interested me.   To break them out roughly, the responses were “why concentrate on this when the village does not clean the streets?”  “It's trivial compared to public safety.” and interestingly a concern about the cats and public health. 

If you read me regularly, you'll see that I have brought all of those issues and more up.  Just last week I was at  the Commission meeting challenging the commissioners to take a walk around the islands and see the problems for themselves. 

Now I'm still convinced that parking on the lawn detracts from the community and looks shabby, rundown really.   In a city (yes I said city) where the majority of sales are foreclosures and we have that hulking abandoned building at 7525 E. Treasure Drive and the garbage strewn lots on Harbor Island, we don't need even more distressed houses.   I never said  lawn parking  was the most pressing issue but it is real.

In the same way that I challenged the commissioners to take a walk around the islands to see it from the street level, I'm challenging the people who commented that they were offended by my observation to show up.  If you're really concerned, put a little effort into it.   

Be at the next commission meeting, March 12, a Tuesday, at 7:30.  Good & Welfare starts at 8:30 PM.  Talk about your concerns about the dirty streets, about the public health issues, ask questions about why the priorities are being made.  Then be consistent.  Look for answers.  Be prepared to come back in April if you haven't gotten them.  Otherwise, you're really not part of the discussion, are you?

Kevin Vericker
February 20, 2013

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