By Rosalie Tirella
A few weeks ago we asked: Where the fuck is Mary? As in where is our State Rep Mary Keefe, when the Henry Lee Willis Center went belly up?
Now the question is: What the fuck is happening at the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center? The Piedmont neighborhood center Mary Keefe worked at, RAN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR A DECADE?
Since Mary’s been gone, and she promised she would give up her job at the center, we have a kind of clubby atmosphere at the center. One big clique, actually. Clickety, clack, clack, the city’s unemployable, 40-somethings, all with college degrees and certainly capable of legitimately making their way in the world, have begun squatting there.
You know, the usual suspects. Kevin Ksen, Dante, Dante’s girlfriend. People who were always around when Keefe ran the place. People whose wide butts seemed and still seem perenially glued to the old sofa at the Network Center. If anybody can make an inner-city neighborhood center seem exclusive and unwelcoming, it is Kevin Ksen and his full-of-themselves pals. None of whom seem to have jobs, EVER. Even though they are middle-aged and educated. Whenever I pop into the center, next door to the Pickle Barrel restaurant and deli, I never see them doing any work. It seems more coffee klatch, political meeting space for future Democratic candidates for local elections.
I walked in right before election time last year and found Kevin Ksen sitting at the computer typing away.
Without my even asking, he said: I am not working on election stuff.
I replied: Of course you aren’t, Kev.
I hope none of these arrogant pretenders aren’t pulling down a paycheck, getting tax dollars to run their pals’ political campaigns, plot their next political move out of what should be an inner-city neighborhood center. You know, a place where neighborhood folks, many of them poor, could scan a bulletin board for job openings, maybe pick up some emergency food, clothing or even gain some new job skills. Take a citizenship class or computer class or ESL class.
I doubt any of this is going on. I know of some folks who feel shut out of the center’s clicky club atmosphere, PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE HOOD AND WANT TO USE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER.
Which makes me wonder: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON AT THE PLEASANT STREET NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK CENTER?!
WHO WORKS THERE?
WHO IS RUNNING THE PLACE? WHO IS THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR?
Where are our tax dollars going? To pay Kevin Ksen a salary to run a political consulting biz out of the office? Rent free, we may add. Dante C. So arrogant and so useless. Are we paying him money to squat at the neighborhood center?
What are the center’s intentions? Will its board of directors get off its ass and hire a new executive director or are they too afraid of Kevin Ksen and his pals to make a move, get things going FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOLKS, MANY OF WHOM NEED THE BASICS? Holding anti-foreclosure meetings is good, but the center needs to do so much more if it is to keep getting the public funds the state and city keep pouring into it.
Now that Mary Keefe is supposedly outa there, let us make the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center a true inner-city neighborhood center, a place that is open TO EVERYONE IN THE ‘HOOD, A PLACE THAT REALLY HELPS PEOPLE IN A HANDS-ON WAY.
Not some clubhouse for Kevin, Dante, Dante’s girlfriend, etc. These over grown, arrogant children must unglue their arses from taxpayer-funded sofas, in taxpayer funded neighborhood centers and start WORKING. TRANSPARENCY has never been this group’s strong suit. But now that Mary is gone, let’s hope a new day is dawning.