Sep 132013
 

In late August, WLEX reporter Dave Wessex delivered a four-minute report on the North Limestone area that stirred a wide-ranging discussion on the North Limestone Neighborhood Association Facebook page. Below is a slightly revised version of NoC editor Danny Mayer’s contribution to that talk.

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I. As a newer white resident with a college degree and job who bought a nice though somewhat shabby house four blocks north of Main Street on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, I am a gentrifier no matter what I do or say. My actions in the neighborhood must always take that identity into account. Continue reading »

Apr 052013
 

By Danny Mayer

In early March, members of Lexington’s city council voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of the restoration of voting rights to felons who had served their time in prison. The resolution was largely symbolic—the legal authority to re-enfranchise former felons lies in the hands of state lawmakers, not city council members.  The resolution’s main purpose was to offer a demonstration of unified local political support for HB 70, a state bill sponsored by Fayette County congressman Jesse Crenshaw. His bill would allow Kentucky citizens to vote on a constitutional amendment that will automatically restore voting rights to most Kentucky felons who have completed the terms of their sentence (as happens in most other states).

In addition to the show of support, the council’s vote also sent another message to Frankfort politicians: let democracy happen. For the past seven years, the Kentucky House of Representatives has voted on and overwhelmingly passed HB 70, only to see it killed by Republicans Damon Thayer (Georgetown) and Joe Bowen (Owensboro) in the Senate’s Committee on State and Local Government. Consequently, despite the bill garnering increasingly bipartisan support among both state politicians and the general public, HB 70 has yet to leave its assigned Senate subcommittee. Continue reading »

May 022012
 

An update on the Nehemiah Action Assembly

NoC News

Over 1,500 people arrived at NorthEast Christian Church on the windy Monday evening of April 23 to call for the amelioration of several social justice issues in Lexington. On the docket: predatory payday lending, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), and employment barriers for ex-offenders.

The large gathering was BUILD’s (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action) yearly Nehemiah Action, which is the culmination of a year-long process that includes listening sessions on community problems, research on solutions and best practices, and engagement with those who hold the power to create systemic change in Lexington, i.e. public officials. Continue reading »

Jan 252012
 

Dear Council-At Large Steve Kay:

I am writing to pass along two neighborhood watch encounters that I, as a fellow neighbor in the Martin Luther King Neighborhood, recorded on Friday, January 20 at approximately 11:00 AM. As you know, you have spearheaded the effort to create a list of activities that I must be vigilant about monitoring–assuming, of course, that such incidents occur within two blocks of the recently opened New Life homeless day center on Martin Luther King near Third Street. With that in mind, here is some neighborhood surveillance work for you to log in your official incident reports.

Incident 1

The first New Life area encounter occurred when I bumped into Jerry Moody on the corner of Third and MLK. I note this particular chance encounter because it occurred as a direct result of the Day Center’s opening in our neighborhood. Jerry, a neighbor of ours living a block from you on North MLK, has been volunteering regularly at the center. We met this late Friday morning as Jerry was leaving the center, and as I was headed to an anti-corporate rally downtown. We loitered together in front of the gas station for 10 minutes and had a wide-ranging though amiable conversation about being out of smokes, the impending political castration of Kathy Stein, and our work on several different non-council supported community projects taking shape.

For the sake of your neighborhood watch, I should say that Jerry is a white male, late fifties, standing around 5’8″ and weighing approximately 150 pounds. He generally looks “homeless”–you know the look I’m talking about, right Steve? Since chance encounters like the one I had with Jerry are a big part of why I moved to the city (to be around a diverse group of people), I would like to go on record and report this positive incident of New Life Day Center-related interaction.

There is one problem, though, with my report of meeting Jerry. Here are the categories that you have created for us to use in developing surveillance reports:

Panhandling in the street

Panhandling at a residence or business

Approaching cars

Fighting

Drunkenness

Gatherings of six or more

Threatening behavior

As you can see, my interaction does not fit into any of the above categories that you have spent city time developing. (In fact, most of the above offenses seem to happen closer to Rupp Arena, where large crowds of drunks regularly gather, with some regularly panhandling for tickets and most negatively effecting car traffic.) Maybe you need to include better, less pejorative, categories, for the MLK neighborhood (at least around the New Life Day Center that the neighborhood watch targets)? Here’s one category: positive city interaction. Here’s another: positive associations that come with knowing that some of your neighbors take an interest in working with down-and-out community members. Can you put a strike down for each of these categories on the day of January 20?

Incident 2

The second incident occurred after leaving Jerry and passing the squeaky clean Day Center and the filthy and decaying vacant office located right next door to it. At the intersection of MLK and Second Street, I was passed by two joggers. The two men nearly caused an accident when they attempted to cross illegally at a red light, which forced a car to slam on its brakes and swerve chaotically in an attempt at avoiding the illegally crossing men.  Looking back on it, I shudder to think of the immense economic damage that might have been inflicted on the car!

The joggers were both white males, both wearing specialized black jogging tights.  One jogger, 5’9″ and late 30s/early 40s,wore a black cap and blue long-sleeve wick-away jogging shirt over top an undershirt, grey in appearance. The other jogger, 5’8″, early 50s, bald on top, wore a yellow reflective jogging vest. The two men did not appear to be patrons of the Day Center, but since the incident occurred within the two-block radius you have specified neighbors should report to you about, I pass it along here in the spirit of neighborly surveillance. At the very least, if the joggers cannot be banned from the center, maybe we could have the police track them down and ban them from the block for six months. Please put this in the category of “approaching cars” and “threatening behavior.”

What do you say? You with me? Let’s clean our neighborhood out of these white jogging fiends!

Sincerely,

Your MLK neighbor and constituent, Danny Mayer