Saturday Op Ed… Perpetuating the Stigma

trollface-problemThis is a somewhat difficult piece to write because it is about us. LaVergne. Freedom of speech. Yet here we are. I read with great interest last week several news items from local media. And I had to shake my head at the ferocity in which our city and city officials were attacked.

To recap:  In a newspaper with circulation of probably 10,000, maybe 20,000, one of our aldermen said the city spends like “drunken sailors.” The mayor on her facebook page with about 200 friends* said the alderman was an “embarrassment” to the city. The editorial that followed (plastered on the front page of the online edition of the newspaper complete with a nice little online poll designed to feed the fury) did not focus on why an alderman insinuated the city spent money on booze and hookers to 10,000 readers, but attacked the mayor for firing back to her 200 readers. The newspaper seemed almost gleeful in covering this silliness rather than the fact that a former elected official completely screwed up and ripped off home- and business-owners by over-assessing their properties.**

THIS is not the only reason why I’m writing, though… let me continue.

At the same time the county story of greed and unchecked power was essentially buried because of the “drunken sailor” comment controversy, the city was going through a rough patch with its little league ball team. There was zero coverage of this in the same newspaper, but lots of coverage by television news.  Online the city was attacked again and again as being terribly unfair and draconian in asking an organization that works with children to provide proper documentation from the IRS and state to operate.  Meanwhile in two short weeks, the city of LaVergne had gone from having the spring season blow up to now having a very reputable ball league manage what will be a season that starts a couple of weeks late … something that in my opinion is nothing short of a miracle.

Then the little league team in Lascassas had the same exact thing happen.  The media outlet (the one that kicked up a ruckus about the mayor telling 200 of her friends on facebook that an alderman was embarrassing but had NO newspaper coverage of the league disaster that could impact a thousand children) wrote a nice, three page piece about the Lascassas story. Read it here.  It was a good article.  It explained that the Lascassas league did not have their 501(c)3 (same as LaVergne’s league) and it was not registered with the state (same as LaVergne’s league).

And we heard crickets.  No one accused the Rutherford County lawmakers of being unfair and horrible for doing the same exact thing that LaVergne city officials did.  LaVergne leadership said their goal was to get kids to play ball. And they are coming through on that promise.  The county said they want to see kids play ball. We don’t know if that will happen yet.

But the county is totally in the clear. They are walking away smelling like roses.  But for us, people called our mayor names that were incredibly insulting and crass. People accused the city of lying (to quote one person [sic] “Yahl straight out lied…” and “ The city of Lavergne doesn’t give a crap about these kids and a ball season.”).  Really? Apparently the city hates children.

People made comments stating that LaVergne is always in the news for bad things.  But here’s the real story … one week of media coverage from just two media sources (DNJ & WKRN):

Warrants stop leads to meth discovery, arrest – Murfreesboro
82 bottles used to manufacture meth seized at Rockvale home – Rockvale (same story??)
Counterfeit cash passed; Man reports hit and run – Murfreesboro
Smyrna Police identify man wanted in Kmart attack – Smyrna
Standoff ends with disabling of suspect – Smyrna
Police seek identities of girls shown nude – Spring Hill
City school system may need to tap its reserves – Murfreesboro (Good Lord could you imagine if this was in LaVergne??)
Man tried to run over woman with her car – Murfreesboro
Another hole forms next to Gateway Trail – Murfreesboro (Good Lord could you imagine if this was LaVergne’s greenway??)
Couple indicted for children living in filth – Murfreesboro
Woman sought in ID fraud case – Murfreesboro
Son charged with death of 60 year-old mother – Nashville
1 stabbed, clerk punched in the face during argument – Nashville
Dog shot in front of East Nashville owner – Nashville
Woman wakes to find stranger standing over bed – Nashville
Man stabbed by girlfriend in domestic dispute – Lebanon
TN Department of Corrections warns of scam targeting inmate’s families – Nashville
Mayor signals Metro schools may not get requested $44 million increase – Nashville
Suspect smashes store’s window, steals cigarettes, cash register – Hendersonville
H.S. student dies from injuries sustained in shooting – Nashville (what a horrible tragedy)
Woman accidentally shot by child – Lebanon
Sandwich shop burglarized, suspect takes off with gumball change – Nashville
Man injured in shooting outside Village of the Green Apartments – Nashville
Couple arrested for vandalizing each other’s property after break-up – Murfreesboro

Again I ask, “REALLY?”  One week of news from two media outlets and you say LaVergne is bad?  Here’s my request. I ask people who perpetuate the stigma that LaVergne is bad to take a look around.  Look long and hard and don’t be so flippin’ quick to accuse our city of wrongdoing.  If YOU live here, have a little bit of class and do not talk crap about YOUR town in public. If you have an issue, call the city, call the mayor, call at least TWO aldermen (so you have a chance of getting a *balanced* explanation).  Do not harm your own city, your neighborhood, your home, your family.  Defend your city. Stop allowing nutjobs from other places to essentially devalue your home, your property, your quality of life by spreading malicious rumors and perpetuating the stigma.

If your hatred is that deep that you just can’t help yourself, then you have problems far more serious than just being anti-local-government or anti-mayor.

*200 has grown to 279 as of now because of the new friends she gained from the exposure.
**The city is refunding money contrary to online snark written by gloomerati that it is just not true. Read about that through this link and scroll down to the workshop update.

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