Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What Does Durham Think Of Downtown Durham?

Since the so called conversation web of lies about Greensboro's downtown performing arts center, now refereed to as the Stephen Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, first began, proponents have been pointing to the success of the Durham Performing Arts Center as a reason to do the same thing here.

But as was pointed out just a few days ago DPAC's success has come at a cost Durham hoped to keep hidden-- a cost that threatens to destroy Durham's history and the history of North Carolina.

But it doesn't end there. The long time residents of Downtown Durham are being displaced by what is going on there, forced to move from their homes, many with no place to go and they're fighting back the best they can.

These same things are happening in Greensboro and not just downtown. Already you've heard of UNCG's march into Glenwood.

Over on the East Side, NC A&T has recently gotten the go ahead to appropriate and acquire much more property than they already have today, no doubt forcing many from their homes as well.

All for what, so we can add more bodies to Greensboro's Restaurant Graveyard? How many more have died since Ged posted his 2008 article? Obviously what Greensboro is doing isn't working.

The cost of real estate close to the performing arts center will force menu prices through the roof pushing the working class even farther away.

Besides, any experienced waitress can tell you working in cheap greasy spoons get you a lot more in tips than working in high end restaurants. We working class folks all have family members who wait tables even if we haven't done it ourselves, we understand how important those tips are when it comes to feeding babies and putting kids through school. Rich people are lousy tippers unless they're trying to buy a piece of ass.

And guys, I've been married to 2 women who waited tables, dated a whole bunch more, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that when you start trying to buy tail from your waitress she just thinks you're a piece of skum.

But getting back on topic.

The slide show I shared above is from a rather left leaning group. Lets read what a more right leaning Durham resident, Mike Broadway of Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, and Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, has to say about what is happening in Durham:

"Sadly, there are some who have said that downtown is for the millennials, for entrepreneurs, for people with higher incomes.  They say that Durham can find a way to provide affordable housing for lower incomes somewhere else, somewhere less in demand, somewhere less desirable, somewhere out of the way of the profits a select few desire to make.  Those kinds of arguments sound to me like there is some kind of insider decision-making going on about who gets to live in what neighborhood and who gets pushed out.  It seems that someone has in mind a "certain quality of people" that are acceptable for Durham's nice downtown.  Others need not apply.  If there is no property available for affordable housing downtown, the doughnut hole, then the next step, and we see it happening already, will be no affordable housing in the doughnut ring around downtown.

Moderate- to low-income people get pushed farther and farther away from the neighborhoods with rich heritage.  Will the last remnant of Hayti be a museum surrounded by residents who know and care nothing about the struggle and achievement of families who built a prosperous community when all odds were against them?  Will Walltown go the way of Brookstown, Hickstown, and Crest Street, to be a faint memory of a lost past?  Cities change, and neighborhoods change.  That is inevitable.  But will people of various economic levels have access to the historic neighborhoods of Durham?  Or will the profiteering incentive lead to closing off the central city from people of moderate to low income?"

This isn't what Greensboro's leaders point to when they talk about the success of Downtown Durham. But this is the reality that is Downtown Durham.

In another article Mr Broadway writes:
"What has often been misunderstood as a problem for only those working poor has become a problem for many workers holding critical public service jobs:  police officers, fire fighters, school teachers and other school employees.  In addition, as new economic development occurs, restaurant and cafe serving staff, maintenance and cleaning workers, retail workers, and many others need housing that is convenient to their work.  The affordable housing crisis is a workforce housing crisis.

City planners and architects have had opportunity to learn a great deal about how to develop affordable housing successfully, if they want to learn.  Mixed income communities are much more successful than overly stratified, class segregated communities.  The world of work and commerce is made up of people with many different roles and responsibilities, and they constantly share space and interact.  Clerical workers and managers, store owners and checkout clerks, chefs and food preps--all need a place to live, accessibility to their work, places to eat and shop, and safe neighborhoods."

Is there a single low cost home planned among all the new homes that are being planned for Downtown Greensboro? Not nary a one. Who will wait your tables, clean your clothes, park your cars, make your beds, etc, etc, etc? Will DGI President Zack Methany do it? Better lock your liquor cabinet. Or will Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat "Grasshopper" Vaughan be at your every beck and call? Mr Broadway continues:

"Often the conversations about such projects get derailed by misunderstandings or out-and-out misinformation.  A focused affordable housing development is not the same thing as a ghetto.  Mixed-income affordable housing provides opportunities for low-wage workers as well as for low-salary professionals like police and teachers who are being squeezed out of town by rising housing costs.  NC State Employees Credit Union has a strong interest in affordable housing for its members, and funds to support projects."

Durham is sounding just like Greensboro. You see, Folks, gentrification doesn't care if you are black, white, liberal, conservative, ugly or smart. All gentrification cares about id finding locations to develop and pushing out anyone who hasn't got enough money to stay. I don't agree with all the socialist, anti-capitalist leanings of El Kilombo, the producers of the slide show above, but if you were being pushed out of your home, everything you owned being taken away, your life destroyed, your children forced into the streets and the only people willing to help you was a Socialist group like El Kilombo could you not see yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with them?

Let them come to Greensboro and see who I side with. It won't be Greensboro's Elitist developers and political class. This is how revolutions start, it's beginning in Durham already. Are Greensboro's leaders intent on bringing it here too, intent on following the exact same formula Durham followed?

It sure as hell seems like it.