It heats me up when people are critical of Dallas, and plenty of people find it easy to throw verbal stones our way.
Yesterday at lunch I learned something that stokes my fire even more.
Four suburban cities that ring Dallas to the northwest have made the conscious decision to accept no federal or state funding for public or affordable housing development. In essence the city councils of each of these cities have said, "We don't want 'those people' living in our communities."
Economic segregation is a cruel, evil, unjust reality in the Metroplex.
City leaders who do not plan for economic diversity impoverish their communities socially and, at the same time, add to the forces of racial and class discrimination, fuel economic deprivation, block access to new opportunities and deepen the challenges facing the poor.
Shame on them and every resident who tolerates such narrow, closed minded, injustice.
Thank God for Dallas!
Don't be knocking my city or its leaders!
Don't get me wrong.
None of us are perfect.
Our City Council, County Commissioners Court, School Board, Housing Authority and other community leadership groups are not perfect.
But, you know what?
For the most part they are trying hard. Most of the time, most of the members of these groups, or at least a significant and verbal portion of each group, are pressing for decisions that benefit people across a diverse spectrum in our city.
They fail at times.
Do we wish they did better? Certainly.
Do they need to hear from us when things could be improved? Absolutely.
Some few members would like to keep low-income, working people in selected and isolated areas of our city. We face economic and racial segregation inside the city limits of Dallas.
We get angry when leaders think in these terms. But others of our leaders really help blaze new trails for new approaches to old problems that often involve mixing our diverse population across the city. Just here I think of the leadership of Ann Lott, as she provides leadership for the Dallas Housing Authority. Or, Jerry Killingsworth who heads the Housing Department at the City of Dallas. I could name many of our City Council members just here and County Judge Margaret Keliher.
We know frustration in this city. We try to act against frustrating and unjust choices.
But, at least, on the whole, we aren't shutting people out as a standard, understood, agreed upon operating procedure.
We don't always do all we could. We have been known to leave federal and state dollars on the table that could really help the poor.
But, it is not like what I heard today about the inner-ring suburbs in north Dallas.
So, don't be bad mouthing Dallas, especially if you aren't living here.
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Thanks to all who are joining the effort to make a difference here in Dallas' inner city.
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