Sunday, June 2, 2013

I have a Voice

"I have a voice!" Or so American citizens are told. The Government says, "Use it!" Some take advantage of that and others choose not to. Those who do not choose to use it sit back and ... wait ... be idol ... take no action ...  Personally I think that's pretty boring. God gave me a "voice." And I will use it as I please!? But wait, what about the ramifications of using your voice!? Being an advocate for historic preservation is often vexing! Why won't anyone else jump on bored with it? Because "we" (historic preservation advocates) are accused of sticking our noses into other people's business, places they, our noses, don't belong! Warning: when it comes to historic preservation, it crosses a line. Who would think that a house could become so political? And why would anyone care if someone did buy that old house and take it down? It's only an old "house." Right? Hold onto your britches people! This is where it crosses the line! Houses are an integral part of what those two things Americans are sure of knowing we are going to do in life! Die and, well, pay taxes on. So to take a house down in a neighborhood that has potential only because it, said house(s), hasn't been lived in for a while or has become run down to the point that the city has considered it condemned is noxious not only to the neighborhood but for the city as well. It has destructive effects on the tax base which the city is so reliant on for day to day operations. Corruption sometimes exists in government that could have an even more damaging effect because of who has their hands in the pot making money from their little empires they have built! I know I've said this before! But now there are changes made to state laws that govern and supersede even local laws! Which is going to be even more baneful to the corrupt local government! VA has already passed a law stating that anyone who owns rental property at least two or more units either on one parcel or multiple and rents it as "affordable housing" as stated under affordable housing laws can apply with their local commissioner of revenue to pay a prorated portion of taxes instead of paying all of the taxes owed. I'll be the first one to tell you that there are more properties owned by the same people in this particular neighborhood that have that right! And they can still collect there rent on their two, three, or even four apartment housing units that they bought for really cheaper than what a homeowner bought and expended for their property in that same neighborhood. The second law that has been introduced but not YET passed is a law that will shake this 8.36 square mile "city" to the core! It's the right to build ANY type of "affordable housing" in any land available in even upscale neighborhoods! The only stipulation is if the neighborhood is historic! Franklin adopted guidelines in March of 2006 for their historic district but have yet to enforce them! Maybe now would be a good time with the threat of another house being demoed soon. Not only is it going to leave a big hole in the neighborhood, it's going to leave a big hole in the local economy as well. Franklin is in desperate need of affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity is now enabled with this new code to build affordable housing in any one of those existing holes they can buy for cheap to build cheap houses on that ultimately are not very affordable at all! So who's losing here? When it comes to who's who in government, the citizens do not have a say; affordable housing didn't get any more affordable; the tax base just slid by 30% or more; churches moved out of the neighborhood; the school system lost accreditation and never gained it back; City services were over extended; downtown businesses went out of business; nobody could sell their homes; and City Council gave themselves a raise. Do what you will to continue to destroy the entire city as a whole, just shut up and pay your taxes!