Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Back Story: Game Changers

Have you ever asked yourself, "What are the three major things that, if lost to us, would irrevocably change the nature of our village?"

What the game changers would be..?

To my mind, and not in any particular order, they are as follows:
  • Antioch College
  • The Yellow Springs Village Schools
  • The Yellow Springs Police Department
We have already had a taste of what it would be like to be without the college. Fortunately, some smart, energetic and visionary souls stepped up to the plate and put in motion the machinery to fill that void. While, for many, the jury is still our on whether the effort will be successful in the long run, it appears to me that, from the selection of Mark Roosevelt as president to the decision to offer free tuition to the entering class and then extending the offer to another class, they are doing things right at the new Antioch.

Barring any action at the state level to eliminate the smallest school districts, the Village Schools are also in pretty good shape. Under the leadership Schools Superintendent Mario Basora and a responsible and creative school board, an emergency levy passed by a huge margin and planning 10 years into the future is proceeding nicely. Villagers can always be counted on to support their schools, both with their votes and most recently with private philanthropy.

As for the YSPD, we have a new Chief of Police, and I heard a collective sigh of relief when it was announced that Anthony Pettiford got the job. Pettiford is one of us and, therefore, we can assume that it is in his interest to see that we continue to maintain community policing as we have known it from the time of Jim McKee. Imagine if we never had our own force. Without it would we have ever had a Jim McKee? He has probably, more than any individual, shaped the quality of village life in Yellow Springs.

So, are we really in any danger of losing our local policing?

There is a movement afoot to get rid of our local dispatchers. Think about it... Once that is achieved, the next logical step is to lose the local cops and pay the county to have the Greene County Sheriff's Department cover the village. What kind of coverage would that be? Would there be an officer on duty in the village at all times, as there is now? Would we get the kind of policing we are used to, by officers who know us and treat us with respect? Or would we be treated with the disdain we have sometimes experienced from out-of-towners who just don't get the way we roll around here?

The argument, of course, is to save money by cutting back. But is it really worth it? Look at my list of game changers. In every instance, we have stepped up to the plate to preserve our way of life. We have saved Antioch College; we have saved our schools; and, in the past whenever it has come up, we have saved our dispatchers and, thereby, saved our local police department.

Imagine if we had an emergency and the officer assigned to cover the village was off patrolling somewhere in Xenia Township. That's a big change from the kind of service we have come to expect here. Would you want to live in Yellow Springs without our local police department? I wouldn't.

1 comment:

Les Groby said...

Some more Game Changers:

YSI/Xylem—They are our last major industrial employer, and the only employer left with many highly paid employees. If YSI left, the impact on the budget of Village Government would be so severe that municipal services would have to be completely redesigned at a smaller scale.

The Pillars of our Downtown—There are four businesses downtown without which our business district would not be viable: Tom's, Town Drug, Downing's Hardware, and the bank. If we lose any of those, all the remaining businesses become uncompetitive with out-of-town shopping. For example, if the drugstore is gone and you have to go to Kroger to get your prescriptions, you're just going to buy your groceries there too and not go to Tom's.

Friends' Care Community—another indispensable major employer, and reason not to leave town for services.