Long term, the worst element that could show up to Anniston isn’t Oxford’s ascension or the Army’s departure, or the town’s confounding addiction to overlooked possibilities. It’s a de-annexation.
No one desires to talk about it. Not publicly, at least. But in private get-togethers and informal chats, a modest number of Annistonians in a handful of neighborhoods are poking around the rims of this ability nightmare state of affairs for City Hall. The mystery they need to be saved silent is oozing out, a drip right here, a colorless there. Their motives are various: frustrations over the town’s track, desires to enhance property values, beliefs that Anniston City Schools are the albatrosses citizens can’t get away. People are bored with it. Somewhere, possibly prominently, the City Council’s lack of ability to keep away from getting sucked into Councilmen Ben Little and David Reddick’s recurring shenanigans probable performs a position, too.
This is a set race, and it’s no longer about race. That’s why de-annexation is both the last element and the worst issue that has to occur. Above all, the imaginative and prescient of majority-white, higher-earnings neighborhoods bolting from a racially divided metropolis and its almost all-black public colleges would be catastrophic. Economically, as a minimum, I get it. My circle of relatives has lived for greater than 25 years in Golden Springs, a few blocks from the simple school and so close to the new Burger King that you could smell the grease from my driveway. And it doesn’t take a Realtor’s license to remember that resale values almost everywhere within the metropolis could creep within the desired route if Anniston’s faculties have been a magnet for process-creators and monetary builders.
I don’t fault them for it. However, I suspect that the Annistonians asking approximately the de-annexation method aren’t troubled through this reality — that three many years of white flight from Anniston City Schools have performed a profound function within the system’s re-segregation and the thought that there are two Anniston, no longer one. It’s telling that a few Anniston churches encompass a stipend of their pastors’ salaries to pay for private school lessons. The “Anniston tax,” because it’s known as in whispers, isn’t a fantasy. De-annexation isn’t an easy process. It includes formal petition requests, criminal suggests council votes, and legislative topics. Petitions may be declined and are. And they regularly get messy. That’s what befell some years returned in Shelby County, in which a Chelsea community wanted to sever ties with Pelham because of a school zoning plan.
I could imagine landowners alongside Buckelew Bridge Road south of Interstate 20 trying to shed their Anniston address. That’s an Anniston appendage dipping low into Oxford that’s tough to explain on a map. I could believe owners in Edgefield Farm alongside Greenbrier-Dear Road — where houses mechanically sell north of $500,000 — trying to shed their Anniston deal with. And I may want to consider landowners at McClellan — especially residential landowners — are eager to have their houses zoned for Calhoun County Schools. Those hypotheticals would go away Anniston with an even smaller populace, a less-diverse population, and a diminished tax base in sensible terms. The city’s price range absolutely could suffer. Worse, nevertheless, would be the optics. Remember that it is about race, and it’s no longer approximately race. Anniston is a twisted pretzel of issues, some related, others no longer. Little and Reddick’s crusade in opposition to former City Manager Jay Johnson turned into reprehensible. However, they shoulder no direct blame for recognizing Anniston’s schools or the violent crime quotes from a number of the neighborhoods in their wards.