Who can we trust?

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

As citizens in a viable ever growing city, we are faced with determining what elected officials and leaders can we truly trust to work on behalf of all—not just a selected esoteric group.

True, we are told and led to believe that all public figures have our best interests at heart. But all too often we are led to wonder about or question their true intent. If you listen to the media and many public figures, you would no doubt believe that the growth and development occurring in Nashville is benefiting everyone. But there are those who would beg to differ. We all know that growth and progress can also bring with it dire consequences at the expense of all or those less fortunate.

Builders, developers, and those with money are literally salivating at all the money being made (or to be made) as Nashville grows.

But you have those being relocated due to unaffordable housing who are uncertain of their future outcome. There are hardworking law-abiding citizens unable to afford to live in their neighborhoods because of gentrification, which has made housing unaffordable to many native Nashvillians in many communities. Some say that very little is being said about where people losing their housing are being located. While this concern may occasionally be addressed on TV and by some local officials, many would argue that very little is really being done to realistically relieve this problem. This is a big problem. Solutions being only seem to skim the surface to pacify those affected. A handful of affordable housing in some areas is only seen as a smoke screen by so many people (poor people and especially African Americans) adversely affected. However the concerns of those affected seem to be diluted with the big picture that Nashville is the Mecca for growth and prosperity. While this may be true for some, what do you say to those who cannot afford the astronomical prices of these new apartments, condominiums, and homes being built in the inner city?

There is an undercurrent of local Nashvillians trying to figure out who can afford the cost to live in these new dwellings when the majority of working people they know cannot. We look at but are afraid to address the disparities that exist in jobs and salaries allowing certain people the opportunity to live in dwellings deemed unaffordable by so many.

And by the way, someone needs to be more concrete in defining what is considered affordable housing. Maybe by some people’s standard’s or salaries, rent at $1200 or above or buying a home at $325,000 or higher is considered affordable. Is affordable housing a term being manipulated and played with to dupe or confuse the common working Nashvillian? If affordable is based on the median household income in a city (it is estimated at between $42,000 and $46,000 in Nashville), the real culprit may be a disparity in those with good paying jobs—since you find a large percentage of African Americans and people of color unable to attain affordable housing.

Many citizens are wishing to be able to have what they consider a meaningful realistic dialogue with those movers and shakers or people in the know who are honestly concerned with developing and bringing into being compromises or solutions that benefit all parties involved. We don’t need those manifesting smoke screens to dilute the truth because this deters the progress necessary to bring about positive change benefiting all Nashvillians, especially those being trivialized and marginalized.

There are so many problems contributing to growth and affordable housing (such as elevated crime and excessive traffic) that we must be honest in addressing the bringing of positive change for all. Therefore I am appealing to all people in the know to be honest with the public in providing truthful information and remedies that truly work for all Nashvillians. Self-interest and clandestine agendas should be discouraged and avoided. The public deserves nothing less than the truth.