By MATTHEW NASH
It has been four years now that I have written this weekly opinion column.
Each week, I sit down on my couch or in my recliner, turn the television on, and type it out on my laptop computer. I come up with my own topic each week and I have always written it myself. The opinions are always my own and no one has ever told me what to write. I rarely discuss what I plan to write and my wife even waits until it is published before she is able to read it.
Each week, I wait patiently after my column appears as part of the online edition to see what kind of reaction I receive from my fans. It is so refreshing to read the input from the general public to know that what I have written has really made an impact. It is also interesting to read comments from people that have a legitimate disagreement with something I have said, last week this was not the case.
A reader with the moniker “NA Taxpayer” left a comment that I think is important to point out. The comment claims that “it’s obvious Mr. Nash is only a mouth piece for Roger Baylor …” The anonymous post then calls Mr. Baylor a name only adding to the legitimacy of their argument.
In this case Roger Baylor and I do have the same opinion on the subject of one-way streets vs. two-way, as do many others. The following day the editorial board of the News and Tribune published its opinion on the subject pointing to several different studies that the better practice demonstrates two-way streets are the way to go for getting people to stop and enjoy our city. One-way streets are to get people through our town as quickly as possible.
News reports have also pointed out that two New Albany City Council members were to present separate resolutions on the subject at Thursday night’s council meeting. I would suspect that both resolutions passed on initial readings by a majority of the council members (the deadline for this column is before that meeting took place).
The “NA Taxpayer” goes on to say that “It’s one thing to have an opinion but it’s worse when you push an agenda that is not best for all citizens of New Albany.” I do not actually have an agenda that I am pushing on the subject, I just believe that for years we have tried to get people to leave New Albany as fast as they can. Maybe we should make it easier for them to stop and spend money.
I should also point out that no matter what we do it will never be “best” for all citizens of New Albany. Some people will benefit, some people will not. I think in the long run, once the shock of having people driving toward you, legally on Spring or Market streets, most people will wonder why we didn’t do it long ago.
I pointed out that I have seen numerous people driving the wrong way down one-way streets in downtown New Albany in recent years. Do we have to wait for a serious accident to occur before we act? I have lived here all my life and I still have had to think about which direction I am going when I drive in our downtown. As more and more people are visiting our city, many for the very first time, it only makes sense to make a street grid that doesn’t confuse.
It is also important to point out that a 2007 study suggests that New Albany streets would benefit from the move to two way. This was before Mr. Baylor’s business, the New Albanian Brewing Co., opened the Bank Street Brewhouse, located in the 400 block of Bank Street in downtown New Albany. The brewery and restaurant offer modern American bistro cuisine, accompanied by their own house beers of proven merit, locally made wines and selected small batch of spirits in a casual, friendly and contemporary atmosphere for dining and drinking.
Now it is time to get into my biggest argument with the person who commented on my column last week, their pseudonym. I am not even going to get into the argument over anonymous comments on the Internet. I just want to touch on the subject of who is and who isn’t a “taxpayer.”
If you read comments on the Internet in almost every forum there is always someone who claims to be a “taxpayer.” In recent weeks a quick scan reveals similar monikers including a “concerned” taxpayer, a “Floyd County” taxpayer and a concerned “citizen.”
In an online forum you are free to call yourself whatever you like but can you get a little more creative than “taxpayer.” The name is used so often it makes me wonder if it is the same person each time.
Furthermore, who doesn’t pay some form of taxes. Some would have you believe that many people don’t pay taxes and only a select few are “taxpayers.” It is a pretty select group of only people that live here, work here or buy stuff. The homeless guy that collects money at the Interstate 265 interchange on State Street and then stumbles into the liquor store to purchase some Boone’s Farm is technically a New Albany taxpayer. Maybe he is the one who commented on my column last week.
— Matthew Nash can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org