HARBESON: My bout with annexation anxiety
By DEBBIE HARBESON
I had the bejeezers scared out of me when I went out to get the mail last week. Of course, as a newspaper opinion columnist, I’m always cautious of what might be behind that little black door, but I was not prepared for this.
I saw it as I was flipping envelopes walking back to the house. I stopped short, turned white and couldn’t catch my breath.
A bit later, my husband pulled into the drive, and since the usual hot air wasn’t coming out of my mouth, he mistook me for a snow drift and almost ran over me.
“Debbie, what the heck are you doing?!” he yelled.
But I couldn’t answer. He hauled me inside and once I was thawed out a bit, I screamed, “Oh John, this is horrible! We’ve been annexed by Jeffersonville!”
“What? That can’t be right; you must be mistaken.”
“No, I’m not. Look what was in the mail today. It’s Jeffersonville’s latest propaganda piece!”
“You know, that newsletter I told you they were mailing out.”
“Well I still think there’s some mistake. And don’t you think you’re going over the top saying it’s propaganda?”
“You think so? Listen to this. On page three they proudly announce that with the new population numbers, the city is now an ‘entitlement community,’ which lets them automatically get their hands on federal funds.
“People are supposed to feel proud and happy about all the new tax money to spend, rather than sad that a basic freedom was denied to those forcibly annexed.”
“Well OK, but I still don’t think we’re part of the annexation.”
I scanned the front page letter from the mayor, “Oh yeah? Well listen to this. He writes, ‘This is your city. You live here.’ He’s talking to us!” I felt faint.
He grabbed it out of my hands. “Would you stop? I’m telling you there’s some mistake, we were not forcibly annexed like those other poor souls.”
“Well why did we get this newsletter then?”
“I dunno,” he said, frustrated. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe the city’s elected officials sent one to you in particular because you are such a well-respected local columnist.”
“No. Did it really occur to you?”
“No,” he admitted as he looked at the back page, “Um, honey? Unless you’ve changed your name lately to ‘Postal Customer,’ I think I found an explanation. And didn’t you see this note at the bottom of the front page?”
“What’s it say?”
“Due to bulk mail requirements, U.S. Postal Service customers outside the City of Jeffersonville, but who live on postal routes that include portions of the city, will receive this mailing.”
“Oh, so they produced and mailed way more than they needed and sent it to a bunch of people who aren’t involved because the government postal service told them to?”
“Well, I think it saves money somehow. So I guess you can feel good that fewer Economic Development Income Tax funds were used to pay for your near-death experience.”
“They used EDIT? How does sending a newsletter out to a city’s residents develop the economy?”
“Don’t ask me, you’re the smarty-pants columnist. Oh and here’s another reason you should be glad they mailed this out. They’ve listed The Evening News as one way to stay informed. It also says ‘The city of Jeffersonville believes that having media free of government controls is critical to our community and our way of life.’”
“Well, that’s interesting. Too bad they don’t extend that same belief in freedom to people who didn’t want to live in their city.”
Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson is so shaken up by her recent scare that she only answers to ‘Postal Customer’ and still can’t find her bejeezers.