Monday, November 2, 2009

Me and All My Mexican Babies

I'm sorry, that was ghetto, what I meant was 'all of my Mexican babies and I.'

You know what I love about South West Richardson? Within walking distance from my house is a Whole Foods full of the most waspy people on God's green earth, just like me, and then if I go down to the other side of Waterview there are the most fabulous supermarkets around for people who actually like food that tastes good, just like me. Additionally, at those supermarkets I get to freak out my kids by showing them full pig carcasses, and that totally trumps Whole Foods any day. The scariest stuff they have is in their cosmetics section.

Either way, Abrahm and I often joke that we've got the best of both worlds by being here in between Beltline & Spring Valley. On one side there's so much culture and life and on the other there's so much face cream! We love it.

And maybe the council has just struck a nerve with me, personally, but I don't like the way some of them talk about "cleaning up Spring Valley" obviously implying that we should snuff out little Mexico over there.

At tonight's meeting they discussed the "density" in that area, and how while it'll never go back to being a single family development maybe we could at least have town homes there instead of apartments, or "Urban Living" as someone called it.

I get that. Gentrification is not a new concept. They've done it in Houston, Dallas and East Plano recently. Kick the poor people out, bring the yuppies in. Yuppies like Whole Foods. I know that much.

The problem is, Richardson is such a dichotomy. There are old, white, rich people and young, poor, brown people. By yuppifying Spring Valley, you're proposing we just bring in young, middle-class, white people.

I suppose that's your version of a compromise. It's my version of bad juju though.

Just because you kick the poor people out of Richardson (who also appreciate our good community and school district for their children), that doesn't mean they'll magically disappear into thin air. And they will have to go somewhere.

So how about this for a compromise- you continue code enforcement for the Spring Valley apartment complexes, I mean really crack down; you protect the young, low-income families from slum lords; you continue providing wonderful educators like Fernando Medina and the others at Dover, and you learn to embrace the rich culture that South Richardson has to offer without writing it off as a subpar community just because it's not very "white?"

Interesting trumps white. {see also: pigs trump cosmetics}

E. went to Dover last year, and I can tell you these "apartment people" are good people. They would pack out the cafeteria for PTA meetings and school events. They were involved. They cared. Their kids were my son's friends. Sure there are bad apples, but there are bad apples all over Richardson. I just heard about a guy the other day from Canyon Creek who was having sex with some woman in a trailer on his lunch breaks. If that's not ghetto behavior than I don't know what is.

Look, I'm not just saying all of this because I'm mexican by marriage, or because I drive a rice burner or because I'm practically Catholic-just minus all of the Pope & Mary stuff, I'm saying this because some of you other wasp's are just being straight up whack. People are more important that property values, and culture is an attribute not a hinderance. Why can't anyone appreciate this diverse part of our city?


  1. I hear ya, sister.

    I have often suspected that "clean up Spring Valley" is code for "flush out the Mexicans". I do agree that compliance crackdowns on the apts would be productive, as would mandatory background checks for renters (would that even be legal?).

    I lived in the SV/Waterview barrio for several years in the 90s and made great friends with the pushcart vendors and folks at the mercado. The locals weren't a crime problem; they were largely victims of young thugs from the Dallas side slipping over and robbing them at the car wash (for example).

  2. Well said. Thank you.

  3. Hear, Hear! Well said, indeed.

    Cruising into El Rancho for some tacos al pastor, tamales, and a horchata are one of life's great simple pleasures. Although I have no immediate need for an entire pig carcass, it is comforting to know where one is at a moment's notice.

    To Whole Foods credit: they do sling a mean Tirimasu.

  4. What else is let to say after what you said. Good job and I will stop there!


  5. I do love my Fiesta!

    I have said this all along, they can crack down all they want, beg fo yuppies to come, but until the corner of the high five, South of Spring Valley changes, they can beg all they want, they aren't coming. Build a fence! Escape from Hamilton Park

  6. Exactly Anon@ 8:46. No matter how nice the North side of Spring Valley gets, it won't change the view of Dallas. The best alternative is to embrace & enforce what WE have.

  7. Watch it Destiny, you're sounding downright liberal here.

    I see both sides of this.

    I don't think it's so much that certain neighborhood leaders and members of the council want to get rid of all the Mexicans in that area. I think they'd love to have all the middle and upper income Mexicans, Middle Easterners, Indians, Asians and other minorities that are willing to move to our town.

    Yes, legal imigrants and minority low income families need a place to live just like everyone else, and inexpensive housing is hard to find.

    On the other hand, this super low rent low quality housing attracts a very undesirable element that you don't neccesarily see at the elementary schools and grocery stores. These are your drug addicts, your criminals and yes, people in this country illegally. If you think all the crime in that area is committed by people who are coming up from Dallas you are sadly mistaken. If Richardson keeps what's there, whether they get it fixed up or not, property values will continue to go down and people with the means will move to more affluent areas of town, and that will just lead to more decline.

    How about someone try lobbying for some mixed income housing with the lower end tenants being suplemented by HUD? Because let's face it, there's no way the city will be able to completely get rid of all that lower income housing without civil rights activists coming out and crying foul. At least with HUD the more undesirable element will get somewhat filtered out.

  8. Sherri, Destiny is a liber-something, (libertarian). I saw her test results (and mine too).


  9. I live in a neighborhood in Richardson with several HUD houses. They do not "filter" at all.

  10. The plaza with the Fiesta looks like it’s doing more commerce than it ever has at least since the mid 60s and what else can you ask of the other end of SV by the cinema

    It’s the apartments. On the Richardson side most are crumbling, you don’t realize how bad they are until you walk through them, I have, it seems the newer ones built in the late 60s and early 70s are worse off than the older ones, because of inferior methods and materials, just like a lot of houses built in that era. They are borderline condemnable.
    The Maham Rd apartments were mostly built in that era, this is one reason everything east of Cottonwood Creek is on its second iteration

    No property management firm is going to put the money up that’s need to bring them close to a decent standard, they are in the business of getting the most out of them as they can with the least amount of money spent

    I also like having a diverse neighborhood and would like a mixed income developments like Brick Row, but I just don’t see that happening here, this isn’t Austin


  11. The responsibility for this decay falls squarely on the shoulders of our lovely ethics-challenged mayor Gary A. "Slago-jevich" Slagel and his top Lt. John "The Murphy" Murphy. Between these two, they have been in office almost 50 years!

    During their decades on the city council, this part of town was left to crumble - and crumble it did. While they were out hob-knobbing in with their "regional" responsiblities, "Rome burned". Make no mistake, these apartments didn't just start resembling ghettos overnight. It was shear neglect by Slago and Murph during their tenure that allowed this to happen. Voters should - and still may - hold these two incompetents accountable.

    As far as I am concerned, Slago and Murph were asleep the wheel for the last 20 years. We clearly have the wrong two on the council to lead the charge for redevelopment. Unless it involves Cottonwood/Canyon Creek (or a big mean in Murph's case), don't expect to expect Slago to give two hoots. He hasn't for over two decades; why expect him to do so today?

  12. Don't leave out the King of the city:
    Bill Keffler
    The others seem to be in for the goodies and power.
    Keffler is the one holding the reins.

  13. I thought the City Council tried to make a redevelopment effort along Spring Valley back in the mid/late 90s. Isn't that right? So they didn't entirely ignore the problem over the past 20 years, it's just that the incentives offered were not enough to entice developers to deal with the hundred or so different property owners along that road.

    You may now proceed to jump down my throat for defending the council.

  14. Here's to me jumping down your throat Sherri!
    By the way, how are you liking your new house? Living out of fewer boxes yet.