Are You Part Of The Problem Or Part Of The Solution?

My dear fellow citizens of La Vergne, Tennessee,

Please assume I’m not kidding for the vast majority of this missive. Lately we’ve had a ton of people complaining about various things that are happening in this city. Yep, the water rates are going up. Yep, taxes are going up. Yep, this city has a whole lot of problems, still. Does it suck? It sure does!

But let’s talk about what’s really going on here. Our water rates have not been raised since the 1990s. Our tax rates have not been raised in anybody’s recent memory. As my grandmother would have said, “The shit’s already been laid, there’s nothing you can do about the past.” For years and years, the previous administrations of this city have laid down and allowed developers to run rampant over our city and there’s not a thing we can do to change what has already occurred.

I’ve seen complaints that our current mayor has been part of the previous administration and therefore it’s her fault as well. I disagree. How could she change things when she was the only person really striving for change? When she was outvoted all the time? On certain votes, she does vote with everyone else, but if you look at her voting history, she was usually the lone voice of dissent. Now, we have some great new voices who are wanting change as well (I’m looking at you, Tom Broeker and you, Chris Farmer) and we can really make great strides to fix this city!

But they cannot do this alone. This takes support from our citizens, and patience. It’s been a long time since some real change has come to this city and you can’t expect everything to be solved immediately. Our board only changed last November. This will take time and effort.

When Kathy and I first started this site, we spent plenty of time complaining about the city. Don’t get me wrong- we did write some positive things, but we also complained a lot. Fair enough, there were plenty of things worth complaining about. But we got some comments from some folks that we were too negative and we were “sitting behind our computers and bitching but not doing anything”.

We talked about this, and didn’t dismiss what they had to say outright. We worked to have a more positive tone for this site, and in addition, we started actively working for change in this city. We campaigned for folks we believed could precipitate change. We’ve applied for boards and gotten jobs (Kathy, not me, I’m still unemployed, haha) working for the city. We’ve organized cleanups, we’ve made suggestions, we have actively worked toward having a better city.

Has it worked? We’d like to think so. Is the city perfect now, a shining city on the hill? No. Again, this will take time and I doubt it’ll ever be perfect, no place ever is. But this is OUR city. We’re taking it back, and we need folks who are going to work with us to do so.

This is a call to action!!

So, what are you doing for your city? At the very minimum, are you keeping your property looking nice? Are you calling codes whenever you see violations? How about picking up any trash you see when you’re out walking your dog? How about volunteering to help out at the Old Timer’s Festival?

Don’t just sit back behind your computer complaining about everything. If all you are willing to do is bitch, we don’t need you. Feel free to move elsewhere. (Oh, and if you’ve moved elsewhere, MOVE ON. We don’t care about what you have to say if you don’t live here, unless it’s actually helpful.) Either you’re part of the problem, or you’re part of the solution. Which do you want to be?

Could we really become the shining city on the hill?

36 comments for “Are You Part Of The Problem Or Part Of The Solution?

  1. Theresa
    May 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    All hail Queen Ivy!! Very well said!

    • Ivy
      May 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Aw, shucks, thanks Theresa!

  2. Kitti
    May 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I have picked up trash many times on my road, but it’s overdue for clean-up again.

    I still don’t know what to do about my neighbor who burns their household trash (mostly diapers and plastic bottles – it smells worse than a tire factory next to a slaughterhouse!)

    • Ivy
      May 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      Oh, barf. I will have to direct this question to someone who knows more about codes than I do. Here’s the number to the codes department: 213-2624, you can call them and ask, they’re nice folks over there.

      There might not be an ordinance against burning trash, but you can always get in touch with our aldermen and mayor (there are phone numbers and email addresses at http://www.lavergnetn.gov ) if there is not already an ordinance in place. Thanks for mentioning that, Kitti! That’s exactly what I’m talking about, actively seeking change.

      • Sarah N.
        May 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        I would support an ordinance banning trash burning! There are lots of nasty chemicals released into the air when people do that, and they can take it to the dump for free.

        • Kitti
          May 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

          That’s why I want them to stop! Not only does it smell HORRID, but it contains seriously dangerous stuff! I’ve offered to take their trash to the dump for them, but they say they’ll “just take care of it themselves.”

      • Kitti
        May 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm

        Thanks Ivy! I will call the codes dept.

    • chris farmer
      May 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      You have to get a burn permit in order to burn anything. Then you are only allowed to burn limbs and leaves. No household trash or plastics of any kind. As a matter of fact you are not allowed to burn lumber. When you see them doing this please call LPD dispatch 615-416-4592.

  3. Adam Frazier
    May 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I would love it if public works would come around and collect all these tree limbs laying roadside. It really makes a neighbohood look alot better when you dont have to look at that. I read that they do it every 6 weeks…Do you have any idea on that? Good article by the way. Way to take a stand for a city that some people just dont care about. We love it here and will definitely do our part to keep it clean and make it a better place for our kids to grow.

    • Ivy
      May 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you, Adam! I’m not sure who does that, but I have forwarded this to Kathy (the city’s PR director) and I’m quite sure she can get me the right information on this. Thanks again for your kind words. 🙂

    • Sarah N.
      May 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      I happened to have had a pile picked up recently and it took about three weeks. They even raked up the dead leaves, which they didn’t have to do, and didn’t leave a scrap behind! That was a couple of Fridays ago, and then the next Monday they were out on Jefferson Pike working through a huge pile of tree limbs.

    • chris farmer
      May 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Adam they do make a route through the city every so many weeks possibly it is 6 weeks. If you call Public Works and let them know they may get to you sooner. That number is 615-971-4084. Sometimes they may be driving by an area and not know if you have not called. I hope this helps.

    • Kathy T.
      May 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

      Public works does try to make mulching rounds in a 6-wk to 2-month cycle. Not to disclose too much for the sake of privacy issues, but they are very short-staffed right now. Their director had heart surgery, several left, and one was just diagnosed with cancer. This is a time those workers really need our support and an extra thanks if you happen to see them.

      • Jessi
        May 29, 2011 at 3:00 am

        And they fired someone last fall for “cussing in front of citizens” when they were running the chipper truck. Now, let me explain how the chipper crew runs: There is a 2 man team, TYPICALLY a city employee and an inmate from the work house. And that chipper is LOUD! This person had 5 or 6 different reports of that incident, yet it was only him and an inmate out that day. BUT when asked if they had inmates giving statements, he was told that they did not count inmates as employees and the complaints were from other employees. ALSO on his seperation notice, it said that he had been warned (written) several times for this before, yet when he asked for copies of those warnings there were none to be found. AND no sooner did he start out of the building when they fired him, someone was there to fill out an application for the position, yet the position itself had not been posted to the job board. Now, what’s REALLY goin on with the street dept? (Which is who runs the chipper truck & cuts the grass in the medians & along the roads) **And yes, he did appeal to the highest level, AND was even going to put in an application to another city job, but when he looked into it he was told that he was wasting his time because as long as there was a certain person as the HR guy, his application would never leave that persons desk.

        • Ivy
          May 29, 2011 at 10:50 am

          Was this when Mark Moshea was the city administrator?

        • joe blow
          May 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm

          Lets be honest here! We all know who you are talking about getting fired! Keep posting and I will put his name out there for everyone. Don’t try and make him out to be a SAINT. He was far from that. I think we all know he got fired for horseplay. I would personally never take up for Mark Moshea, but if there was ever someone who needed to be fired the street person you are talking about was the one. Nice guy but did not know how to follow the rules. See I think that’s the difference in the old administration and the NEW. The old just did things without sufficient reasoning. The New is giving everyone answers and NO ONE likes it……..

  4. tony vanatta
    May 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Are city bright as a star to me…all the one that are not helping and want to say Nashville and Nashville go live there and come back to lavegne and see what you. I live there for 34 years move up here in 2001 and the best part on my day to driving to lavergne home….I feel safe as you call are policemen and they are at your door…hehehe for Nashville call them and you may already be dead before they get there..of public works I’ve had to call them too. Was there in a hour,,go to Nashville and you may get them after crap is running in your back two weeks later ….just say

    • Ivy
      May 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      That’s a good point, Tony, I had to call public works once and they came out quickly and had the problem solved immediately. I never did get that good service from any other city I’ve lived in.

  5. Tracey
    May 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Perhaps a neighborhood beautification contest with plaques/markers to be given out yearly for winning neighborhoods, streets, etc. Maybe some different categories for historical, most improved, best clean up, most beautiful, etc.

    • Ivy
      May 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Tracey, I love this idea! We’d kicked the idea around for awhile on doing this on the site. I’m going to kick that idea around some more, maybe we can get local businesses to help out with this.

      • Tracey
        May 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm

        I know that Knoxville had a similar program they used to perk up their downtown residential area. Not sure if that would be a place to get some ideas.

        • Ivy
          May 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm

          I’ll look into that, thanks!!

  6. Elizabeth
    May 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    great article, Ivy, and love the positive comments…now that is what we are talking about….just saying

    • Ivy
      May 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks, Elizabeth!!

  7. Adrianne Meeeeechelle
    May 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    First off, IN LOVE with the mobile site. Oh man. So happy.

    Second, I love the beautification idea, Tracey. And maybe some more volunteer opportunities. I know we have a lake clean up, but there has got to be more. I’m sure the senior center would have some ideas. The more involved someone is their community, the more pride they have in it for it to change if you ask me.

    As for the people that badmouth (and, say, DON’T EVEN LIVE HERE) I’m starting to just feel sorry for them. It takes a lot to have that much anger in your heart and when you add the anonymity of the internet they lose themselves in their heads. I feel a John Lennon song coming on. Imagine all the people…

    Did I mention that I love the mobile site? Woohoo!

    • Ivy
      May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      Hee hee, Adrianne, I’m glad I could help. 😀

  8. Debbie Heughan
    May 17, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I think with the new administration in place, & for the 1st time in many years; La Vergne has a second chance at becoming the little jewel of a city we could have been years ago. It’s not too late to turn it around if everyone that cares will get on board. This is where my home is & where my heart is..After living somewhere else for almost 3 years, I can honestly say that I could hardly wait to get back home again:) This city was left in a mess, let’s help the new administration get it where it needs to be..

  9. aunt yoya
    May 18, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Great story Ivy! I love this city and its nice to read other people’s positive comments on This administration and taking this city forward in a positive manner. I joined a board so I can be part of the solution and there a few more spots open on some of the others. I do believe the there are way more people in line to take this city forward than the negative Nelly’s who try to discourage us all. There are some amazing events planned that will hopefully get the citizen’s attention that we are striving to stand out from Smyrna and Lower Antioch but at the same time keep that small town feel of everyone knowing your name. Kudos to This Is La Vergne, The Leaders, and The Residents who are willing to ignore the naysayers and make this city the best it can be!!!!!!!!

  10. mark
    May 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

    With taxes being raised maybe those that own their homes will take better care of them plus rents will go up on those that are rentals and you might actually get a better quality renter. More tax money does mean more fire and police protection as well as city services. think about it. would you rather have more police or lower taxes? People can bitch all day long about taxes being low but in the long run you actually have some of the lowest tax rates in the state. so an increase really would help everyone in the long run.

  11. Robotoid
    May 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

    The previous administration did very little to keep pace.If indeed property taxes are going to rise,reassesments will be needed as my and many other homes have been crunched by the foreclosures and short sells.

    • Debbie Heughan
      May 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      Unfortunately La Vergne has been hit really harder by dropping real estate prices than some of the other middle Tn. cities.. I am hoping that with the new administration in place we can get this city cleaned up & back on track.. Our homes are our biggest investment…Community involvement will help..and higher rents do get better tenants for sure..

    • Kathy T.
      May 19, 2011 at 9:10 am

      The property assessments are done at the county level by the Property Assessor’s office (www.rutherfordcountytn.gov/dept/property.htm). As a former realtor, I can tell you the values in some areas rose to a crazy amount that my colleagues and I knew would never “sell” at those prices. That’s why some people felt their property taxes increased – they did increase because the assessor valued their house at a higher price (the actual tax rate did not increase). Then there are other areas that plummeted in value, so they saw their taxes decrease.

      Like our own city officials, the property assessor is an elected position. If you don’t agree with the direction, your opinion is basically your vote.

      Meanwhile here in La Vergne, I’m so very excited to see many many many positive things happening… I know our vice mayor spent yesterday riding around looking for codes violations. If your grass is too high, for example, or if you have junk cars in your yard, you may be contacted by the city soon. Beyond that, I am working feverishly on building a new city web page, we are planning some great events (that won’t cost the taxpayers), and there is a general feeling of hope all through city hall.

      Please remember that all city meetings are open to the public. At both the workshop and regular meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, there is a time provided for citizens to speak directly to the board of any concerns. You sign up when you get there (15 minutes in advance of the forum), so there is no longer that long delay to speak. In fact at the last workshop, someone who hadn’t signed up from the audience spoke and was respectfully heard by the city’s leadership.

      That in itself is one of the best changes I’ve seen since I’ve lived here for eight years.

      • Cee Dee
        May 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

        Kathy — so glad they have made it so much easier for the citizens to speak at workshops & meetings. That is truly a POSITIVE for the adminstration.

  12. Cee Dee
    May 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Great article, Ivy. Love all the “positives”!

  13. Carrie
    May 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Thanks, Ivy. I agree with SO much of what you said! =D

  14. May 24, 2011 at 9:13 am

    this is an excellent article, Ivy. Gandhi was right, we must be the change we want to see. It is so easy to sit back and complain, but much more difficult to get up and take action, but that action is what this city needs, and lots of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *