Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More on neighborhoods and value. . .

As a follow-up to yesterday's conversation regarding property values and race, be sure and read the Op-ed essay in The Dallas Morning News yesterday ("Appreciating value," Viewpoints section, May 27, 2008, 11A) offered by Gerald Britt, one of my partners here at Central Dallas Ministries.

What Gerald says makes a lot of sense and begins to get at solutions for improving the quality of life in heretofore marginalized neighborhoods.

To check out his wisdom, click on the title line above.

You know, I'm believing that, as a community, we can do just about whatever we decide should be done. Our failings are related more to will than to any lack of capacity.

How about you?



Anonymous said...

Larry, I'm not sure what you and Gerald are advocating for here. Gerald appears to want government subsidized neighborhood pharmacies, grocery stores, and Dollar stores in the proximity to his target neighborhoods. is that right (no pun intended - but found)? What does he define as "proximity", and does he in fact want government subsidized shopping in these neighborhood?
Also, if the disparity in property values in south Dallas is a concern, My review of Dallas Central Appraisal District records generally indicates a lower property value for residential properties per square foot as compared to more affluent areas. I attribute this to age, quality of construction, and location (as a factor of demand). A lower value means less property taxes!

Where's the beef?

Larry James said...

Anon 8:35, your last question tells me that you have never lived in one of the areas Gerald is concerned about and you certainly don't own property there. The city gov't of Dallas has subsidized hotels, stadiums, upscale retail development and upper end housing as a regular part of doing business. Providing such benefit to lower-income areas of town will return a tax benefit as well. At ever level of government we provide public benefits to those who are far from the bottom of the economy. I'm not saying that all of those subsidies are bad, but can't we have at least an attempt at equity? Why do the resources always seemt to flow uphill? That is the beef.

When Jerry Jones was considering building his new stadium in the Fair Park area, our leaders debated whether or not to give the Cowboys almost $500 million in incentives. When he decided to go to Arlington, I thought we should have kicked off a "now the Jerry's gone" campaign that would have seen a similar amount invested in Fair Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. No one was taking on that one.

Janet said...

Anon 8:35...The longer I live and am involved in the inner city...and in politics...the more I realize how higher socioeconomic neighborhoods and people receive many subsidized benefits that aren't talked about. For example, I always thought that the boarded up or dilapidated houses in my neighborhood were justified and our own fault...until our community prosecutor informed me that the city doesn't allow that in higher socioeconomic neighborhoods; they are torn down. However, in South Dallas, the community prosecutors and code enforcers have something like 100 per year that they get to designate to be torn down.

The city has resources...and it chooses where and how to use them. People in the higher economic areas don't seem to be complaining when the city comes to tear down a burned or dilapidated property in their neighborhood...but seem to be offended when the suggestion is made to step up the resources in lower income neighborhoods.

Daniel Gray said...

Anon -- to add to Larry's point, I'm currently working in a municipal government. Almost every economic development proposal that comes through has a request for some form of tax abatement. It's the norm for doing major commercial development. It's important that cities apply these fairly and target low-income areas as well to promote much-needed development.

Anonymous said...

So, is the basic argument that without government subsidy such businesses will not come to South Dallas? If there is such a demand for these services, why is the market not responding to them?

Isn't that the nature of supply & demand?

Larry James said...

Anon 3:01, the markets are there in some areas and certainly in the entire region of the city there is more market than there is opportunity for that market to engage. The problem is other markets, especially to the North and to the far South here in Dallas are simply easier to develop and exploit. So the suppliers, as always, follow the paths of least resistance.

Anonymous said...

I say bootstrap. These citizens should bootstrap themselves and their communities. Government subsistence leads to lifelong dependence, and robs the individual of initiative. Moreover, such dependency leads to further generational issues and moral decay. If this were not so, why not?

Or is it?

Larry James said...

There is so much mythology and urban myth about this. The incentives I speak of would go to builders and businesses, not individuals. Such stimulus helps invigorate neighborhoods. Read my previous comments about how we do this again and again as a strategy to stimulate business and economic growth. It actually is a business strategy and it works. Consider the success of the American Airlines Center and Victory plaza Downtown. What works there works in poorer areas as well. It is just that these areas continue, year after year to be neglected to the peril of us all.

Bootstraps are useful, unless you have no boots.

Anonymous said...

For A look at the type of investment in community Larry is advocating check out what happened in this low income Atlanta community.