Forward four All isn’t always forward for all.
It’s forward-most effective for a pick-out few — the fortunate, the monied, the effective.
It’s no longer forward for the town of Anniston. It’s not ahead for individuals who love Anniston, warts and all, and blanch on the concept of running away because the solution is difficult, and they’re bored with the fight. It’s now not ahead for Anniston’s public colleges. It’s now not forward for those charged with Anniston’s monetary development. It’s no longer on for McClellan redevelopment. It’s now not ahead for Anniston politics, which crave balance, and the tensions among Anniston’s color-coded factions, which want dousing, no longer inflaming.
It’s now not forward for the metropolis of Oxford — which, if this huge de-annexation of Anniston’s Ward 4 and east-facet neighborhoods transpires, might soak up masses of extra college students, offer lots of additional homes with police and hearth safety and metropolis offerings, and have its politics rewritten through former Annistonians who call for the same illustration. Imagine this: Oxford’s next mayor may additionally stay these days close to Anniston Country Club, for instance.
It’s not forward for Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade, whose deputies might be requested to protect nearly 10,000 former Annistonians if deannexation happens and Oxford doesn’t play along. It’s not ahead for Calhoun County Schools, which would possibly take in several thousand Anniston City Schools college students like Wade. And why? Because if the Forward Four All draft bill becomes law — and de-annexes Anniston’s Ward 4 and lots of the town’s east aspect — Anniston’s gutted price range could force the city to dissolve its college system and, in turn, hand those college students to the county. How do I know that? Because metropolis officials told me that several months in the past. They’ve recognized what’s occurring.
Put in another manner, the Forward Four All nonprofit — organized this month through 5 Ward four citizens — and it is draft invoice ought to pressure Calhoun County Schools to redraw regional barriers to house college students from Anniston High School, Anniston Middle School, and most of its standard colleges. And where would the one student cross? Saks? Wellborn? White Plains? Alexandria? Weaver? Imagine the arguments.
And permit’s talk the reality: Those who welcome the de-annexation of Anniston’s southeastern neighborhoods may additionally swear this isn’t approximately race, but a race can’t be separated from this reprehensible concept. Don’t be silly or naive. And it’s no longer only the awful optics of the metropolis’s majority-white neighborhoods soliciting to (a.) leave majority-black Anniston and (b.) beg majority-white Oxford to invite them.
It’s inseparable from race because Anniston’s violent crime rates are improved in sections of Wards 2 and three, Anniston’s black council members are hopelessly disruptive, and Anniston’s college population is overwhelmingly black. That’s what Forward 4 All would go away in the back of. It’s inseparable from the race because a truncated Anniston and its gutted finances might end up an Alabama disaster remembered for monied, commonly white citizens giving up on a town that desires anyone to seize keep of the rope. By the manner, I get it. My domestic is in Ward Four. This is private for my circle of relatives. We stayed in Anniston because we picked to live in Anniston. We’d move there if we desired to visit Oxford, a first-class region.
There are two Annistons, and every person is aware of it. In this metropolis, the belief that house owners’ asset values might boom if their houses have been de-annexed lengthy in the past has become a euphemism for something else, something sinister. Anniston’s risk of turning into a true Calhoun County accomplice with Oxford — a partner in economic improvement — dies if half of Anniston implodes the metropolis’s future to enhance the assets values of the properly-to-do in Golden Springs. A divided Anniston is a failed Anniston, and a failed Anniston enables no one — not folks who still stay inside its limitations and not those who left.
There’s the most effective manner ahead, and it needs to be emphatic. Without put off, the Anniston City Council has to denounce this drafted de-annexation bill and implore Marsh to see to it that this proposed legislation dies a speedy death. And then Annistonians of all races, in all wards — even in Ward 4 — should come together and announce that we’d alternatively be a part of the answer, then turn our returned and stroll away. That would be forward for all.