Letter to the Editor

'Not in my back yard' hurts us all

As I follow the progress of the proposed Mariposa Springs Housing Development, my heart is heavy. When I first heard of it coming to Jeffersonville, I was excited. A well-respected developer was willing to invest $10 million here to provide permanent supportive housing to folks who need safe, stable housing. It seemed an answer to prayer.

I attended a presentation by BWI a year ago at the Jeffersonville City Hall. I saw pictures of a high-quality project that will permanently house several vulnerable people who currently live in insecure housing. A partnership with LifeSpring Health Services will ensure people can maintain their housing. Security will be in place. Links to churches and others in the community will be sought. BWI is a purpose-driven organization with a successful track record. What a blessing it will be.

The Optimist Club site seemed like a perfect place. This would continue the long history of service that the Optimists had on that property. It would clean up an area that was used after dark by people using drugs and sleeping rough. It would revitalize and maintain a playground for neighborhood children. It would add lighting and security.

I attended a neighborhood meeting that was called after the Council approved rezoning the property for this use. There was a mix of people in attendance who were supportive and non-supportive. I listened as Mr. Hobbs from BWI tried to allay people’s fears. I heard him tell them they could have input into who would be served. I heard people say “yes we need this” but “not in my back yard.” They spoke of struggling with current break-ins from people on drugs. They talked about elderly already being afraid in their homes. They did not want “those people” nearby.

The dissenting people from the neighborhood did not see the vision of what the project could be. A safe haven for elderly who can no longer afford to stay in their homes. A place where someone with a disability can live in dignity. A place where a person in recovery can get a fresh start and move on to a productive life. A home for a single parent with a safe playground for children. This project could have breathed new life into a struggling neighborhood. People at the meeting who were supportive were silenced by strident negativity. As the rhetoric heated up, I realized this may not be a safe, welcoming community for potential residents of this housing and left the meeting with a heavy heart.

I attended the follow-up City Council meeting where Council members and the Mayor asserted they had been misled by BWI and demanded another vote to undo the rezoning for a multi-family building. The meeting dissolved into ugly diatribes by residents of the affected neighborhood and by elected officials. BWI representatives were disrespected and mocked. Hate won.

BWI is pursuing a third site. The property is not as pretty and not as accessible, but still would provide desperately needed homes for people without a voice who need a hand up.

Sadly, a recent article in the News and Tribune described another hate-filled meeting by yet another neighborhood group contesting building this project adjacent to them.

I have worked and/or lived in this area since 1978. I chose to retire in downtown Jeffersonville. I question my choice. I am sad at the voices of hate and judgment about “the least of these” that resound around this project. I am disappointed in wishy-washy officials who cave in to the loudest voices in order to win votes.

I try to find the voices of caring. I take hope from the churches, agencies and individuals who responded to the needs of people displaced by America’s Best Hotel.

Any of us may be old and alone someday and need safe housing. Veterans suffering from trauma deserve a place to live in peace. People recovering from disabling illnesses need housing in supportive welcoming neighborhoods. Let’s do the right thing and embrace this project before it is given to another community.

— Carolyn A King

Jeffersonville

Gerrymandering a non-issue in Indiana

Another Fake News article about gerrymandering in Indiana and another response from me. The latest was on Page 6 of the July 19, News and Tribune, by CNHI Statehouse reporter Whitney Downard.

Congressional districts are redrawn after every census. They will be redrawn after the 2020 census. In May 2017, Rantt.com ranked Indiana the second LEAST gerrymandered state in America, bested only by Nevada. Kudos to our Hoosier legislators.

Hoosiers should be made aware that Common Cause is behind this latest gathering in Indianapolis. Common Cause is a progressive group that receives most of its funding from Open Society Foundation. The founder of Open Society Foundation is George Soros. If you don’t know enough about George Soros already, you can learn all you want to know on the internet.

Common Cause should go set up their gerrymandering gathering in Kentucky, one of the most gerrymandered states in America.

— Elizabeth Madden

Georgetown

Plenty of drivers to ticket already

Indiana Law Enforcement has proposed issuing traffic citations for failing to stop at railroad crossings.

If you must cite anyone, how about those multi-tasking cell phone jockeys, and those texting Hemingways. The food connoisseurs, eating and driving, make-up professionals, radio music critics adjusting the right bass while driving, and litterers whose artistic talents defile the sides of all roads.

Come on guys, get a hobby like numismatics.

Oh, silly me! You guys already have that hobby with your traffic citation collecting. Never mind. You’re going to do what you think best, although sometimes it isn’t.

Hope not to see you in court anytime soon.

— Leroy Heil

Jeffersonville