Failed Community Administration

The past week saw a barrage of local news appear in The Newark Advocate. Though apparently disparate in content, the aggregate spoke volumes about the Newark community. Analysis was intrigued by what the stories contributed to the overall larger narrative. There were a couple of stories about the growing population of homeless within Newark (by definition marginal to Newark’s self identity as community). There were likewise a couple of stories of projected capital improvements within the geography of Newark (by most accounts structures and institutions are what define community in Newark). In the final lines of ‘What needs to be done with homelessness in Licking County?’ (2-17-19) Kent Mallett quotes Newark’s mayor: “”No individual group, entity or person will have all the answers, but collectively, we’ll work together. The power of community is pretty strong right now.”” Previous to the mayor speaking Mallett wrote “The mayor said any sustainable answer has to include the public, private and non-profit segments of the community.” Analysis shows the mayor is cognizant of Newark as a community and his place within that community. He IS the mayor who is being interviewed and as THE community leader he is integral to not only what needs to be done but what IS done. ‘New senior housing, wellness center coming to Denison’ by Craig McDonald (2-16-19) is technically NOT Newark though the large footprint of The Art Space on Church St. definitely puts the DU in downtown Newark. DU likewise self identifies as a community with a mission of producing leaders for tomorrow (may or may not include mayors). From McDonald’s article it becomes obvious that there is not enough housing and group activity spaces on campus, and the community must generate more, and will. Likewise, the healthcare of the community is being inadequately provided and that too must be improved, and will. ‘Newark’s St. Francis de Sales announces $3 million expansion’ by Dave Weidig (2-17-19) projects an expansion of the downtown church to meet its urgent need, and the sundry reasons, plans and financing involved. DU takes a lot of pride in their generations of leaders, so small wonder that they actively address the immediate physical needs of their community. Pride is somewhat ambivalent within the context of the Catholic Church. Though an understatement, “”It will be a good street presence,” said Shannon Karrenbauer, St. Francis Business Manager.” suffices as an adequate surrogate. And Newark Mayor Jeff Hall? “While other cities are talking about what they can’t do, Newark is talking about what it is doing, Mayor Jeff Hall said. “You kind of have to get out and see what’s going on around and there aren’t a whole lot of cities in Ohio that got a lot going on,” Hall said.” (Newark may see downtown, north end developments, Kent Mallett, 1-5-18). Analysis finds this collection of reporting in the middle of February inadvertently reveals the disjunct of “community” when it comes to the administration of Newark. All three groups take pride in their community. On the basis of this pride the administrators of the leaders group as well as the religious organization address their present real concerns with projected solutions in the here and now. The administration of the Newark community? The mayor mouths the 100% correct analysis of what it takes to accomplish the goal of addressing the need (“The mayor said any sustainable answer has to include the public, private and non-profit segments of the community.”) but has failed to do any of the above. Akin to DU and the Catholic Church, Newark is not some isolated hardscrabble backwater struggling to identify itself, let alone flourish.  Along with being the government seat of a prosperous and thriving county, it is the headquarters of a bank with $7.8 billion in assets. Its membership rolls, along with its alumni and active promoters far outstrip anything that the local church or university can access. Yet the present Newark administration has not succeeded in generating any affordable housing, public transportation or public community centers. It isn’t that there is a lack of public, private and non-profit segments within Newark. Rather, Analysis reveals that the current Jeff Hall administration has totally failed the Newark community even though they know what it takes to do otherwise.

 

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