ELDERLY WEST CENTRAL NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENT THINKS HE STEPPED ON MY TOES

It is no secret that I oppose a flood wall on Thieme Drive.  And, the neighborhood association also does not want a wall.  So when I am called an obstructionist by a certain neighborhood resident who lives at the end of Thieme Drive where it joins W. Washington – at an area that does not flood – he is also calling the rest of the neighborhood association obstructionists as well.

No one in his or her right mind would want a 10-foot high wall in front of his or her home. Perhaps that is the issue, since the vocal resident doesn’t have to worry about flooding and having an ugly wall in front of his home.  That position shows a total lack of respect for others who are impacted.

I very seldom write specifically about another individual, but his inaccurate statements about me and his posturings on his blog require me to straighten out his misguided view of just how he thinks he is impacting our area.  The elder gentleman who lives at the junction of Thieme Drive and W. Washington has deemed himself the savior of the neighborhood.

His blog touts how he thinks he has “called me out” and “stepped on some toes.”  I guess as one gets older, the mind plays tricks with what actually happens.  And, it isn’t my mind.  Since he refers to the person he disagrees with as the “secretary” of the association, I guess that means everyone pretty much knows he is talking about me since I am the secretary.

First, Thieme Drive has been the subject of two separate studies.  The initial study is a Section 14 Study that has looked at the area at the intersection of Thieme Drive and W. Washington Bloulevard where the elder resident lives.  The edge of the river bank has eroded to the west of his house, and the Corps will eventually need to do repair work.  I have no problem with that.

But what I do have a problem with is his attempt to lump that project with the second project which is a Section 205 Study of the “cup” area of Thieme Drive where I live.  The two are separate projects, and cannot be lumped togther to create a false impression that the Section 14 repair work is being delayed by our efforts to preclude a building of a flood wall.

He even goes so far as to mislead by saying that my opposition and those who also oppose the wall led to the funds for the repairs in his area being diverted somewhere else.  That simply is not true.  Congress has not funded the repairs in his area; it has nothing to do with our opposition to a flood wall.  Anyone can go to Corps website and see the information for the Section 14 Study.  The City has continued to work on the other areas it had originally targeted.

The elderly man also doesn’t have good vision and apparently doesn’t know who did what to my house either.  Here is a comment from what he calls his blog:

“I called her out on the selfishness of her position at a neighborhood association meeting, but apparently none of her neighbors were there to speak up, or if they were, they have some issue with not wanting to get crosswise with her. One of her arguments is that it would spoil the historic character of the neighborhood. I didn’t want to bring up in the meeting that her house is one of the worst-looking, most run-down ones on the street, with peeling paint, a junk-cluttered porch, and panels of historically unauthentic cheap discount-lumberyard lattice surrounding the porch and a bay on the side of the house.”

The elder appears to not have followed what has transpired over the past few years. The neighborhood association voted to oppose the wall, and he just can’t stand to think about it.  And, as to my house, I didn’t put the lattice around the house.  He needs to look around the neighborhood and get a new pair of glasses.  My home is certainly not a run-down home.

This is my home – the one he refers to as one of the most run-down on the street.  Since the above picture, I have replaced the front porch steps myself.  During the summer, I have numerous people tell me how beautiful my front looks with my flowers in bloom.

I guess I am not sure why is so vindictive against me other than I disagree with his rantings.

A statement on the elder’s blog:

“I vented a lot of crap last night in my previous post and this morning I thought about editing it. For now, I’ll let it stand. Everyone tries to be nice at the neighborhood meetings, and I’ve tried to abide by that. The only ones who get strident are the obstructionists and status-quo advocates, and it’s hard to get heard.

Last night I stepped – no, stomped – on some toes. There was lots of backpedaling and whining on the part of the chief obstructionist. She also happens to be secretary for the association; it’ll be interesting to see how the minutes reflect the discussion. I probably ought to check her blog, too.”

Here is another statement the elder made:

“The neighborhood association meeting was this evening, too, so I went and called out the woman who has been an obstructionist against building a flood wall. I think I’ve met my first quarter quota for number of people I’ve pissed off.”

I truly am not sure how this man thinks he is so important. I dismiss his comments as those of a grouchy, old man.  As to calling me out?  He has to be kidding.  An individual who works for the City explained that we were going to look at the modified version of a plan that we had all agreed to a couple of years ago.  We had a civil discussion about the issue with no “calling out” whatsoever.  To read this elder’s blog, you would think we were yelling and screaming at each other.

The elder also does a disservice to our neighborhood meetings.  He makes statements that make it sound like he doesn’t get to talk because of the “obstructionists and status-quo advocates.”  How he can in good conscience publish this false information is beyond me.  He has always been able to talk at the meetings, and no one interrupts him or shouts him down as he would have others believe.  This is truly a disservice to our meetings and to the efforts of all of us who believe that we have problems that need to be discussed.

The purpose behind neighborhood associations and neighborhood meetings to work on problems and issues that impact the neightborhoods.  Not everyone will agree, and that is natural.  The elder just doesn’t seem to be able to accept a different point of view than his.

At last month’s meeting his idea of modifying the Thieme Drive and W. Washington Blvd. intersection was accepted and the City is looking into taking his idea and implementing it.  I am really puzzled that he would try to convince his few readers that he is denigrated, not allowed to talk, and, in general, drowned out.

I guess this is one of the downsides to internet blogging.  People can say whatever they want, even if the statements are lies and those who read the lies do not know the difference.

I feel kind of sorry for the older gentleman.  He is very bitter about his area not being repaired, so he thinks the only way to combat that is to spread lies and misinformation about my position as well as the rest of the neighborhood’s position.

Sorry, Mr. Elder, I and the rest of the neighborhood association oppose a 10-foot high wall along an historical drive.  If that is something you cannot accept, that is no reason to personally attack me and villify me for a position I am entitled to hold.  I have never once attacked you on my blog, so I am not sure why you feel you need to be so vindictive.

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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11 Responses to ELDERLY WEST CENTRAL NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENT THINKS HE STEPPED ON MY TOES

  1. Iceironman says:

    I think I know this guy. Was he elderly?

    • Suze says:

      Sarcasm? How many times did the blog’s author call the guy old, elderly, elder, impaired by age? Geez, he may be a cranky neighbor, but what does it matter if he’s a senior? Snarky!

  2. Robert Pence says:

    Charlotte, I apologize for giving personal offense. Sometimes I get swept away on a wave of my own zeal when I start to talk about things that frustrate me.

    I’ve lived almost continuously in what is now West Central since about 1960, and on the 900 block of Thieme Drive since 1972. For about twenty years I had been trying to warn someone in city administration that the river was undercutting the bank in the 900 block of Thieme, and that eventually it would cave in, endangering the street and anyone who used it.

    I never got any serious interest until I was advised to contact Flood Control. There, I got a response within a day of my contact. There was serious concern over the problem, and a search for a method to stabilize it began immediately. Before that could happen, the first segment collapsed; I think that was about five years ago.

    The ensuing discussion/planning brought in the Corps of Engineers, and that’s when the idea came up, “While we’re fixing this, why don’t we look into protecting the whole area against flooding?” So at that point, stabilizing the undercut riverbank and building a floodwall/levee effectively did become bound up together. When the floodwall idea went dormant for whatever reason, it seems the unstable riverbank was forgotten, too.

    Until this week, that is, when another, larger segment let go, causing the bank to fall away to within a foot of the pavement’s edge. The remaining soil supporting the roadway is fill, and beneath that, a mix of sand and clay. It’s now a dangerous situation that needs to be addressed, whether or not a levee or floodwall is built.

    Again, I apologize for taking my comments to a personal level, and thank you for referring to me as an elderly man. Trust me, others have on occasion used less generous words.

    Best Regards,
    Robert Pence

  3. As someone who lives right next to the St Joe I understand the desire to keep a clear view. I have wondered if y’all have ever tried a compromise of having pillars every ten feet that the City or a private contractor hired by the neighborhood association could then insert walls between the pillars (similar to Lawton Park) during flood situations, preferably before the river goes over the banks of course and then remove and store after the flooding.

    Just an additional suggestion if you design the pillars to have multiple tiered planters installed y’all could plant herbs and some flowers across Thieme and then harvest and sell the herbs to generate money to pay off the private contractor annually and have close to a net zero expense.

  4. Iceironman says:

    How about a concrete wall with a peep hole? Two or Three more floods like that and the river will change its address to Charlottes corner. I dont think rock and chicken wire is going to be a good long term solution. But, then again, printing one trillion dollars yesterday by the govt wasnt either.

  5. Andy says:

    It’s always fun to read your blog, Charlotte. This Andy, your neighborhood up Berry a few houses. I’m sorry I missed the neighborhood association meeting.

    Personally, I haven’t lived in the neighborhood long enough to form an opinion on this issue. I agree with you — I love our view of the river, and I don’t want it to get blocked by an ugly flood wall, similar to the ones between Edgewater Ave. and the St. Joe River (or is that the St. Marys?) However, I can see Bob’s point about how much the city spends on our neighborhood every year when it inevitably floods.

    I’ll continue to view both sides with interest, and please continue to post! This is a really great blog. I especially love the local issues you cover.

    Perhaps I’ll see you around the block!

    -Andy Welfle
    andy@welfle.com

  6. Robert:

    Thank you for your comments. I would like to emphasize again that I have never opposed the repairs at your end of Thieme Drive. I think what happened was – at least according to the Corps’ fact sheet – that Congress just didn’t appropriate money for 2006 and 2007 to continue with the project to stabilize the embankment.

    That lack of appropriation occurred at the same time the City found out through soil borings that even the modified version of the wall couldn’t be done because of the nature of the land in this location. My understanding from the report from the company that did the soil borings is that they had to go down at least 25 feet before solid ground was hit. The City then realized that it couldn’t undertake the modified wall project on its own.

    Both things happened at the same time, so it is understandable that you would assume they were tied together.

    As I said, I have accepted the fact that something will have to be done. I just want it to be the least destructive option possible. I don’t know if you look at the rivers as you drive around the city, but this is one of the last stretches where one can actually see the river without climbing on top of a wall or a levee. I also am a fan of Theodore Theime and his love of the rivers and the beautification of Fort Wayne. I bought his biography at Hyde Brothers a few years ago, and it is an original autographed copy.

    I know I seem stubborn on this issue, but it is very traumatic for me and my other neighbors I am sure when the flooding occurs. I get water in my basement – not from the river topping its banks – but from the ground flow we talked about at different meetings. A wall won’t help that part of the problem. The river crossing the street and coming towards my lawn worries me because of the fragile nature of my basement walls. I live in fear that after every flood, the walls will collapse. I don’t know what can be done about the ground flow other than a slurry wall as has been suggested.

    Other than my four boys and my grandkids, this home is my love. My kids tend to want me to sell because I have a hard time because of my physical disability keeping up even though I try. I was supposed to have two hip replacements years ago (I was born with dislocated hips) and now also a knee replacement.

    But as I know you can surely understand having lived in this neighborhood for over 40 years, I have an attachment to it, and I plan on spending the rest of my life here in my home. If I have to crawl upstairs to bed eventually then that is what I will do.

    As to that lattice work (I don’t like it either) – if you have any ideas on what to use in its place, I would be glad for the advice. I am planning on doing painting outside and replacing the lattice this summer. The lattice under the bay windows hides the supports for the bay windows. I also have to paint the front trim.

    I hope that both issues with Thieme Drive can be worked out, but I think your issue with the bank stabilization is critical and needs to be done as soon as possible.

    Again, than you for your comments. I will see you at the next meeting!

    Charlotte

  7. RaiulBaztepo says:

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  8. Suze:

    I think you didn’t get Ice’s point – he was being facetious.

    Apparently you aren’t familiar with the neighborhood or you would know that I am a senior also. As to snarky – you should have seen what the elderly gentleman wrote about me first – thus his post apologizing.

    Get with it.

    • Suze says:

      Hi Charlotte, I know WC very well indeed, but forgive me, I don’t know you, are you a celeb in the hood?
      I used to read your blog with interest and respect for your flood control stance & knowledge, but why the ageism? The snarky tone is a real turn-off.
      The man may be a complete a-hole, but criticizing his age does little to boost your arguments, but you already surely are aware of that. It just makes you look weak.
      Get with it? LOL Why don’t you get with him and find a way to effectively work the water problem? Good luck with the river, your home looks lovely.

  9. Suze:

    I don’t consider it ageism when I am also a senior citizen. And no, I am not a celeb – am I supposed to be? I am simply a homeowner who loves West Central, Thieme Drive, and the St. Marys.

    As to snarky – I am really not concerned in this instance that you think my post is snarky. I do not have any reason to feel guilty over my post simply because you think I should. Mr. Pence was terribly nasty to me, and, frankly, I felt like getting nasty right back – something I rarely do. I just don’t feel bad about writing the post – so sorry if that bothers you.

    By the way, I have tried in the past to get my point across. Mr. Pence was the only one at one of our meetings that didn’t give a crap about what happened to Thieme Drive. He was all for a huge cement wall which would require destroying virtually the entire river environment. The rest of us urged moderation and doing as little harm as possible. I doubt his opinions and mine will ever coincide.

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