The nobility of Noble Neighbors
I love the gardeners market sponsored by Noble Neighbors at the Roanoke park. I have found new homes there for my crowded native perennials.
The park that finally occupies that space, after years of begging the city to allow citizens to create it, is wonderful and charming, all initiated by the early work of Noble Neighbors’ Beautification Committee.
Noble Neighbors’ May event is also tremendous, but I do wonder who actually plans it, since members never discuss [the plans].
I learned long ago as a member of Noble Neighbors (we first came together in winter 2013, because of crime and related housing issues) that beautification and promoting our area had become the group’s sole purpose. Any confusion about this was made quite clear at one of the group’s monthly meetings, that I had attended religiously. In mid-2015, one woman became frustrated by the leader's refusal to allow attendees to discuss vacant-housing issues. The leader and her allies told her angrily that she was not wanted, and she should leave!
Noble Neighbors’ website statement that “crabby people” are not allowed to be members reinforces this reproach! So, don't mention housing at any meeting!
Where did this reproachful and exclusive attitude take Noble Neighbors?
In March 2021, an e-mail from Noble Neighbors to me and CH City Council revealed attributes of the group about which I was unaware:
A leader of the group said Noble Neighbors is not a citizens group, is not a nonprofit, and doesn't have bylaws that give members rights on how the group operates!
Furthermore, the leader stated the function of Noble Neighbors is as a network, and “members” are people from all over the city and beyond who join the Noble Neighbors e-mail list!
I and other Noble-area residents believed we were members of a local citizens group focused on improving our area. It turns out we aren't even considered “members” by our “leaders.” We're just on an e-mail list like any other schmuck!
Under the watchful eyes of city leaders, including FutureHeights, which acts as the fiscal agent for Noble Neighbors, somehow a Noble-area citizens group transmogrified into an e-mail list, and “members” were stripped of having any rights over its functions or operations.
When city leaders claim Noble Neighbors was included in some decision, or approved something, what does that actually mean? An e-mail list said this was okay?
Just how did it indicate its approval, I wonder.
Joking aside, this is how systemic racism plays out: a group of frustrated, fed-up and angry citizens in a long-abused and -neglected part of the city is co-opted by city leaders and its agents to create a marketing e-mail list that exists to tell everyone that whatever the city or its agents decide, it's great!
The takeaway: “Noble” here does not apply to my neighborhood on the north side, but instead to the feudalistic treatment of it.
Diane Hallum is a 30-year resident in the Noble Road area, north of Monticello Boulevard.