The following contains graphic descriptions of violence with language some might find offensive.

This is a working draft excerpt from the script to:

A Study in Local Civics
 The Little Town Who Sold Its Soul
A documentary film about local government in a small town,  
closed economic system in the Southeastern United States
                          The Park

The Riverwalk Park, as they called it was set along side a bend in the Duck River and across
the street from a virulent, malign rental property with an unflagging history of ongoing
sordidness, criminal activity, felons, drunken brawling, violent  anti-social, socially disruptive,
loud, vulgar brutish conduct by tenants with long case histories of
anti-social conduct including assaults, burglary, aggravated burglary, auto theft,
and a landlord who also became their bail bondsman when they'd get arrested the next time...
...A win-win situation for the landlord-bail bondsman.

In a few weeks...opening ceremony...Riverwalk Park...
each Council Member would be able to take credit for another public vanity project.
Vanity projects, projects to obscure, hide and pretty-up the crumbling infrastructure of the dying
little town, were the main order of business for the City.

The city had no economic purpose for even existing.
It used to decades ago...when the plants were here.
But now they were gone and the only economic model left for the dying little town was that of
feeding upon itself...especially upon it's lower-income demographic...the poor...
in a kind of self-parasitical and ultimately deadly paradigm.

Jesus told us, "The poor will always be with you,"
And thank God for that
because no matter how poor they get the poor still gots to live somewhere;
and no matter how poor they are they're gonna have to find some way to pay rent...
and if they do happen to get a soul-sucking minimum wage job...the only kind of job available in
an economy which does not actually produce anything...
then most of that is going to go for rent...
because these people will able to buy their own property.
because these people will able to buy their own home.

And if they don't have a job from which most of their paycheck goes directly for rent...
then they'll have some sort of government dole from somewhere
and that dole will go directly into the pockets of our predatory slum-landlords...
and whatever that dole amounts to will be just exactly what the local rate of rent is.

And the rent will be the same whether the rental property is maintained or not.
And the less the maintenance done on the property...
the more of that dole goes to the landlord.

Money spent for property maintenance is just money down the drain.
Improvements on the property will not provide more revenue for this landlord.

The landlord can't raise the rent because if he does...
this demographic, the poor, simply will not have the money...
based upon either their minimum wage jobs
or upon whatever government dole they may be getting.

There simply is no more money left once all the money has been sucked away.
The model is set.

Those who
do have more than subsistence income will have too much self-respect
to live in one of these rathole rental properties.

It doesn't pay to maintain the properties in this economic demographic.
The renters aren't going to go anywhere.
They don't have anywhere to go.
That's why they're there in the first place.

And if they do...go somewhere else that is...
there will be another poor, hopeless, destitute renter right behind them to take their place.

And the welfare of the rental tenant is the very last on the list of concerns for everyone.

And a small fraction of that revenue will wind up as property tax revenue...
and that will be where our local government gets the money to keep the faltering infrastructure
hobbling along while at the same time siphoning off some grant money here and there to
produce another vanity project to lure new business into an otherwise useless and palpitating
economy...our town...Columbia, Tennessee.

And to procure that small fraction of revenue this local government...our local government...
is willing to sacrifice the safety and welfare of a major segment of the population...that is, the
poor...for the sake of a few peices of that we can get designer lampposts on what
used to be a pretty good bridge.

It is a feudal system in which "the poor" are considered chattel...possessions...
to be harvested and fleeced by a "ruling class."
It is our culture.
It is what we do.
And we don't  think anything about it.
It is the way of things.

It is our Cultural Hegemony.
It is our Destiny.
There can be no other way.

At the ceremonial dedication of the new little park there will be lots of official glad-handing
among our Public Officials...
...lot's of self-congratulatory patting themselves on the backs
    by Council members and executive staff.              
           for a job well done.

They'll probably give themselves another award to go along with
the other bogus awards they generate with their fluff vanity projects.
    while in the meantime 40% of the population is having the blood sucked
from their souls by the most prominent and highly regarded of our old family citizens.  

                      This is more than I can bear.
                                It is unendurable.

Because I live daily with the results of the true nature of these self-serving, silly little people we
know as our City Council...
I live daily with the results of what these people are really about...
I know the truth.

I will explain.

         "How could we have known?
                 ...such a tragedy"
offer the City Council ...

...History of violence and human degradation
at this105 Riverside Drive address
directly across the street from the Riverwalk Park Farmer's Market.

Someday...maybe soon...maybe later...but someday
this is what we are going to hear from our City Council members..
.whoever they happen to be at the time..
 it doesn't matter who they are...
   They are all of the same ilk...
   They are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

This is what they will say:.

                "How could we have known?

                  What could we have done?
                       It was out of our hands...
                      We were not permitted..."
                                                   cry the City Council members.

I already know from my direct experience and research that this body, the City Council,
considers the profiteering interests of local malign business entities to take precedence
over my personal interest or a property owning resident.

I know this is so.
I have established this through my own direct experimentation with local civil procedure.

I already know that this body, the City Council, considers the profiteering of local, malign
business interests to take precedence over the interests and rights of other property owners in
the Riverside neighborhood..

I know this is so.
I have determined this through my own direct experimentation with local civil procedure as well.

But maybe with the opening of our lovely Riverwalk Park
there will be a different faction to consider...
a faction different from the negligible interests of the resident citizens of Riverside.
There have been:
...many interested citizen groups volunteering projects...
....building decorator gates, planting bushes, setting trees at their own expense for the
beautification of the Riverwalk Project...creating  a jewel of a setting for park visitors.
...while directly across the street at 105 Riverside Drive,
nestled directly in the crook of this crown jewel
is this deplorable rental property...
    a rotting dollop amongst your crown jewels.

As an adjacent neighbor,  I'm continually insulted by this property and
by the Municipal Government of Columbia
for allowing this circumstance to exist with impunity.

"Circumstances were beyond our control..."

But my interests do not compete with the interests
of malign predatory property rental businesses in my Riverside residential neighborhood.

I'm seeing a new phenomenon.

I'm seeing people walking the new sidewalk in front of my house.
I'm seeing people pushing baby strollers...
walking with very small children
on their way to the park...the Riverwalk Park.

They stroll along unconcerned that they are in easy gunshot range of the malign
rental property directly across the street from the new Farmer's Market.

I see this little girl in pink with a bow on the top of her head.

I don't even like children all that much
and even I think she is adorable.

She and her big brother are looking for four leaf clovers in the fresh uncut patch just in front of
the New Farmer's Market by the side of the road at Riverside Drive.

I picture her with a 9mm slug smashing into one side of her head blowing out a major
part of her skull on the other side as her entire vascular system ruptures from the
instantaneous hydraulic-explosion which occurs when a high caliber bullet hits such a fragile
little mammal.

Her Mother doesn't know she and her child are in imminent  jeopardy as she plays in the clover
across the street from this site of ongoing, continual human degradation...that is 105 Riverside
Drive ...a rental property operated by Vandiver Property Rentals
with an office a few blocks up Riverside Drive at the other end of this little piece of political fluff,  
the Riverwalk Park.

"Why, that's irresponsible of you, Mr. Yeager, to hypothesize such a scene."

Is it?

People who live in places such as this six(6) dwelling unit are desperate people...
People without hope
people at the end of the line.
People who live here and
at other similar
minimal maintenance rental properties
are here because reputable rental property owners who care about their properties will not
have them...

In many places such as this the rent is higher than at well maintained apartment complexes.

They are not here because the rent is low.

They won't have more than the first week's rent to start with...
 so they won't be able to make an advance rent deposit or cleanup fee..
Most won't pass a background check made by a reputable rental landlord.
 So they come here...

          "How could we have known?"
                  "Nobody told us."

         "No-one could have foreseen"

          "Our hands were tied, you see."


You, our City Council members, can tell your sleazy friends and your greedy relatives
that you have fulfilled your role as public servants...

               "How could we have known?"

Just because a building which ordinarily should be a single-family residence at most...
has been granted a variance...
such that it is no longer housing the single family it is properly suited for.. now 6 dwelling units
...which each of the six tenants usually moving in another resident...or two.

at one point 16 people living there at once
poor tenants moving in their girlfriends, boyfriends...
relatives, multiple relatives
in density code violation

                  "We didn't do anything illegal."

For instance:
in one 300 square foot dwelling unit
four small children and two adults
a man and what appeared to be the live-in baby sitter/girlfriend/divorce correspondent.

another time:
in one dwelling unit: 275 square feet:
five grown men
three of them middle aged and
two adult sons...both of which were arrested on separate occasions
one of which resisted arrest and had a physical struggle with a sheriff's deputy outside my
mother's kitchen window...
in which the Deputy single-handedly maced and subdued the 230 pound attacker...
a fugitive already with multiple outstanding warrants,..the most recent for having just stolen a
Ford F-150 red truck earlier that day...

which he drove over here to show it off to his Daddy, Uncle, brother and cousin...all crammed
into dwelling unit #5...
and that day had threatened to kill a very small young woman, Rebecca, who said she was
going to call the police to report the stolen truck...

another incident two women, a tenant, Wanda, and her guest, attacked this same
very small young female tenant, Rebecca... half the size of either one of them,
and they brutally slashed her face, neck and back with a broken bottle..

              "No-one could have foreseen..."

another incident in which an habitual multiple offender, another large, unemployed,
violence-prone male thug, Junior, with a history of violence, aggravated burglary, assault, DUI
and so forth
assaulted a female tenant, Wanda, the same Wanda who subsequently assaulted the
aforementioned Rebecca...
as he, Junior, complained to City Police his:
                           Benelli shotgun,
   Glock 9mm handgun
       and his mind-altering percosets had been stolen..
he himself standing outside my mother's kitchen window making loud, passionate threats
to kill Barach Obama
 and to kill Hillary Clinton of either got elected to the Presidency...

"' I'll fuckin kill Barach Obama and Hillary Clinton if they git elected!!"
                     Who do you want?
        A nigger, a bitch or a Republican?"

             To Junior the choice was clear.

So, as it should be apparent to the objective observer, the reasons for,  the objects  of
    and the times of brutal physical assaults at this
         malign rental property cannot be predicted...

except to predict
the assaults and brutish conduct will continue under current City Public Policy....
which Public Policy is something to the effect..,
       "As long as they don't kill anyone who matters
          then it's okay with us...just leave us alone." another tenant, Randy, who wields a knife on the sidewalk in front of his dwelling unit
across from my mother's kitchen window
and will not allow another tenant, Pam and her guest, to pass...on "his" sidewalk...
this same tenant later seen in a knife fight with another larger man who turned out to be his own
which brother himself is an habitual offender with a previous offense of trying to "burn his wife"
according to the police reports...
 it's not clear if by "burn his wife" whether he was simply trying to burn
        her with, say, hot bacon grease,
             or if he intended to immolate her...i.e. set her on fire...
                  like a fatty candlestick.

To our City Hall this was  "just boys having fun."

                           "Our hands were tied..."

Another tenant, Eric, habitual offender in the local system, bolting from his Dwelling unit #3
when a parole violation warrant was being served by Deputy Sheriffs
who later, at the conclusion of the Riverside neighborhood wide manhunt by Sheriff's Deputies
and police,
assaulted two Sheriff's Deputies who found him hiding between 2nd and 3rd avenue in a
basement entryway..injuring one of the deputies during the struggle to arrest him.

And this 105 Riverside Drive property is one of the "high-end" rental properties
operated by Vandiver Property Rentals.

The landlords, the Vandivers, write to me in a letterhead document delivered by certified mail:

      "The only thing wrong with 105 Riverside drive is you."

The "you" in this case referring to me, the owner/occupant of the adjacent residential property.

I don't know about you...
  but this shows me that these landlords do not have self-awareness...
       This shows me these landlords are not remorseful...
This  demonstrates to me the lack of insight of these landlords, Kendall and Adrienne
Vandiver...operators of
 Vandiver Property Rentals
                           905 Riverside Drive
                office at "The old motel"
       formerly the 20th Century Motel...
 into the degradation they have imposed my Riverside neighborhood.

This shows to me that the landlords of Vandiver Property Rentals are incorrigible.

And recent violent activity at this very rental property shows me that these landlords
continue to act without regard to the interests of the residents of our Riverside neighborhood.

And this shows me that these landlords have no intention of changing whatever it is they are
presently doing.

                            "It's out of our hands.".

...and this property is just one of 140 properties these landlords
   have operated in this community.

And they act with complete impunity.
And our local government will act as advocate to protect their interests over the interests of
property owning citizens in the city.

                            "We are not permitted..."

And the response of these landlords has been to threaten to have me arrested for complaining
to the City about this property

And the City...our City...the City of Columbia Municipal Government... has consistently protected
the interests of this and other malign rental property businesses over the interests of property
owning residents in Riverside...
and have and will testify in local Court on behalf of offending, malign Property Managers
        (if previous Court cases and Board cases are any precedent.)

 "Our hands are tied."

So take a collection of six dwelling units in a 2,700 square foot rat-hole...
add ten to twelve socially maladaptive, low-income, desperate, hopeless, angry tenants with
short fuses, lots of alcohol, unregistered firearms and recreational methamphetamine,
in a roach infested, plumbing defective, black mold contaminated rental property
designed as a single family dwelling and what do you get?...

add an indifferent set of landlords exhibiting a sociopathic, remorseless lack of concern...
coupled with a weak-willed, ineffectual Codes Administrator,
a self-serving supercilious City attorney,
a City Manager who is essentially a mechanic with a talent for acquiring
        grants for vanity projects
(which all Council Members can take credit for)
         and no interest in the actual humanity of the city

couple that with
 a set of weak-willed, not too bright City Council members
      whose prime motivations are to accommodate their sleazy friends
            and their greedy relatives
 add a Vice-Mayor who is "good ol' boy" persona on foot...
 throw in a Mayor who is a lackey to local
          real estate interests
                 and what do you get...?

             a pretty little park across the street from a
      chronically violence-prone, dangerous rental property
just waiting for an unsuspecting park visitor to catch a stray bullet to the head....

        "Why, that can't happen here, Mr Yeager..."

And to rationalize this all away
our City Council will say:

"The State of Tennessee made us do it..."

They don't know why, exactly,,,
but that's what their City Manager and their City Attorney told them to say...

...and they should know
     or they wouldn't be City Attorney and City Manager...right?

"How could we have known?"

I am embarrassed by you
I am embarrassed for you
and I am embarrassed for this town
in which you people are considered the cream of the crop of our civic leaders.

And I am embarrassed that you people do not have enough self-awareness
to even understand
         what it is that you should be embarrassed about.

                         Have you no shame?

"Our hands are tied."

          This is a working draft excerpt from the script to:

    A Study in Local Civics
The Little Town Who Sold It's Soul
      A documentary film about local government in a small town,  
        closed economic system in the Southeastern United States

                                 A production of
New Morning
    Countryside Films