BRING ON THE STUDENTS 

I live near the university, practically surrounded by students. Every year there are some annoying minor incidents — one or two loud parties and illegally parked cars.

While these incidents are a bother, they are nothing compared with the aggravation caused by the neo-nazis of the local community association. These folks, in their panic to rid the neighbourhood of students, use tactics much more harmful than a few loud parties and illegally parked cars.

Not long ago, members of this group held a neighbourhood walk-through with the local alderperson. They indicated all the houses they thought had been converted illegally into student housing and decried the cars parked in front of some of the houses.

Because we had recently done some remodelling, and because we park in front of our house, these concerned citizens fingered our residence as one which likely had been carved into student housing. But did these neighbourly folks ask us directly about what was happening? Nope.

Instead, two different persons visited us to talk about their organization and its activities. The second was a pushy man who barged into our foyer, trying to look around our house. It seems this group keeps tabs on neighbourhood housing by soliciting for charitable organizations and petition signatures.

A few days later we received two letters from city hall. The first told of an anonymous complaint that we had illegally added an apartment to our home and asked to arrange for an inspection. We replied that we would be happy to speak with the complainant(s), that indeed we would like to meet with them, but that an official inspection was out of the question. The administrator was quite apologetic, indicating that she could not reveal the name(s) of the complainant(s) but that she thought they were over-zealous. To date our enlarged bedroom has not been inspected.

The second letter alleged that we were parking illegally in front of our house. At considerable inconvenience however, I convinced city hall that I was parking legally.

Throughout these events, none of the crypto-fascists confronted us directly with their concern about our home. Instead, they hid anonymously behind city statutes to harass us.

To these so-called neighbours in this so-called community, I ask, "Where were you when neighbours were ill? Where was the spirit of concern then?"

To them I say, "If this is your idea of community, I prefer students as neighbours."

 

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