You know I have spent a few years trying to push the fact that the West end has been left behind and in need of some serious work. I have been demanding and even made it a part of my platform in the 2006 Mayoral election that we need to push an agenda that involves a serious economic development plan and pay attention to the West End residents who feel like they have been left behind.
The West End has been crying out for help for years and we got lost in the hyperbole of so called leaders like Louis Coleman whose message may have been correct but was publicized in a way that divides not unites leaders to help make a difference.
Today in the Courier there is an interesting article that may help lead us to the work that needs to be done. Unfortunately the story also includes some of the problems with why nothing has been done.
Here is the story: Politicians, meet the West End courier-journal.com The Courier-Journal
Interesting that in the story Gerth points out yet another campaign violation possibility by Jim King but the one thing that stuck out to me is the quote by David Tandy.
Tandy states the following:
“And it's not about the color of skin,” he said of Democratic Metro Council President David Tandy, another mayor candidate, who is black. “The West End does not know David Tandy.”
The reason this is interesting?
Tandy was quoted in the CJ on October 5 "Tandy has said he doesn't believe he'll need as much money as other candidates because his base in western Louisville will give him a significant advantage in the primary."
And therein presents yet another example of why much will not be done to aid the West End.
Tandy clearly believes because he is African American that he will get the vote regardless of his saying he does not believe color will matter. His statements lead one to believe that it does matter. In his eyes anyway. King has not done anything whatsoever to aid the West End since being on the Council. The others truly do not care either.
So what is going to be done? Probably nothing as history has shown us and that is the problem.
The West End at one time was the economic heart of Louisville and in a time when racism was rampant (not that it does not exist in a lesser form today) Louisville migrated east and decided the West End could fend for itself.
The leaders left the West End to the wayside in favor or East end economic development and a new Downtown based on the whims of leadership. When we did this we told the citizens in our community that leadership would do what it wanted at their whim and not necessarily for the betterment of ALL of us who live here.
The West End is a primary example of what is wrong with leadership and why it is so important for us to get involved in changing it.
I applaud the think tank for taking this action but sincerely hope that they will remember who has done nothing for the West End, hint David Tandy and Jim King, and open their eyes to helping elect someone who just may follow through.
It is long past the time where we ignore our citizens and begin healing the problems that have arisen because of it.
My plan included an economic revitalization plan that would bring jobs to the West End and a focused plan on helping rid the problems in the neighborhoods that hold the people back. Problems that all neighborhoods are facing today but no focus has been on in helping fix them.
Crime, drugs, these things are hurting as much as anything. You can read more about that here: Louisville News and Politics: WEST END CRIME
When we begin anew a dedication to bringing some jobs and a new awareness that there are options beyond the streets then we begin the revitalization that gives hope to our young and begin the process of having pride in oneself and our neighborhoods.
Mayoral candidates should heed this warning: If you choose to continue ignoring the problems our leaders have created over the years the problem will fester and get worse resulting in a chaos that will hurt our community deeper than one can even imagine.
My hope for voters in the West End is that indeed color does not matter. But I also hope that indeed the candidate with the most money does not matter either.
It is time those seeking office and votes do the right thing.
Do not ignore this opportunity and be sincere in your efforts.
Some of us are going to hold you accountable.
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