Patsy Sharpe, a downtown property owner, submitted the following letter to Clarksville Online, with the following note: “The Leaf Chronicle is refusing to print letters to editor on the blight issue. They always give different reasons but none are truthfully a good one. I am sending my letter to [Clarksville Online] in hope that you will print what a biased newspaper like the Leaf, won’t. ” The following is Ms. Sharpe’s letter:
I would like to address the upcoming talks on the controversial Redevelopment Plan that blights the entire downtown. The idea of involving the residents and business owners in the affected area is, of course, the only right thing to do. They should have been notified from the beginning and one can only speculate as to why they were excluded, referring to the Emerald Hill and Dog Hill residents. The Brandon Hills and Red River residents were notified. If proper procedure is followed, there will be a series of meetings and discussions on how redevelopment should proceed and all should have a voice in the matter. For the record, we are not anti-redevelopment. We just want redevelopment that is fair and beneficial to the residents as well as to the city.
While the mayor has stated that citizen’s input is important and everyone will have a chance to voice their concerns, ideas and thoughts on how redevelopment should be done, I anticipate a problem. Our mayor does not handle opposition well. People are removed from committees if they oppose him and organizations are threatened. The only people in good standing are people with like ideas and agendas.
We live in a democracy, so I thought. In a democracy, everyone has a voice. Not just those close to the mayor. Our country is rich in diversity and our individuality makes for colorful personalities that ultimately enrich our own lives and those around us. What a pity it would be to squelch those voices. What a pity that one person, or a group of people, can be the controlling factor in a city and make monumental changes that the majority are against. How can we let this happen without a fight?