Monday, July 20, 2009
We Are the Knights Who Say NO
In their uber–classic film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, the troupe encounters the Knights who say “NI”. Python’s knights demand a shrubbery as their due. They were funny.
In New Albany it appears we now have the “Knights who say NO”. NO to new fees. NO to new taxes. These knights are also funny, but not in the same way as their "NI" brethren.
Their resistance is expressed on newly-minted signs in declarative red letters. To their NOs, might I also add other NOs? NO to a clean city, NO to a functional street department, NO to a rational civic compact ensuring a decent place to live, NO to reality.
Mayor England has proposed a $5 per month increase in the fees charged for trash pick ups. This money, we are told, will free up the street department to focus on its eponymous mandate of maintaining the streets and those things which are related to the streets. I surmise from the economical use of language on the signs sprouting up about town that the Mayor's proposal may be the source of those signs.
What do the Knights Who Say NO propose in the alternative? A city where street and sidewalk maintenance is ignored so refuse can be disappeared at the expense of those amenities/services? A city where the fees sent off to the sewer department are raided monthly to subsidize the current garbage contract which, inexplicably, is set too low to pay for what Eco-Tech charges now? A city where those fortunate enough to live in neighborhoods with alleys, see those alleys piled high with stuff too poor to give away? See that stuff turned into homes for vermin? See that stuff weigh down the inner city and add to its decay?
Some people pine for the days of Tuffy Inman. Those were days when New Albany received the “All American City” award. Those were the days of “Clean up. Paint up. Fix up weeks”. Those were the days before The Gipper made “us” and “our” four letter words. There was a reason the 80s were the Me Decade, and some of those reasons are still with us today, and trying to frame the debate as a tax-avoidance stance rather than the free-riding,shirking stance it is.
No one jumps for joy at paying higher prices for anything. When designer coffee appeared on the scene though, people began forking over two, three, or more dollars for a newly-credentialed cup of Joe. Monthly charges for the daily things of life continue to go up. Last year gasoline cost north of four dollars. Gripes per gallon increased, but who actually parked the car? (Increased fuel costs are, by the way, likely part of the reason why the Eco-Tech contract is not covering the costs.) People will increase their spending for the things they want, or the things they won’t give up.
So,are we to conclude that people don’t want a cleaner city? People won’t put their shoulders to the civic wheel? People want to ask for city services but they don’t want to pay for those services? People want to carp because they oppose the Mayor on other issues, or in general? Yes. That’s exactly what you are to conclude if you listen to the Knights Who Say NO.