Suddenly, the Morning News Cares About Minority Neighborhoods

Anyone smell a rat?

Let's talk about sincerity. It's awfully easy to take a certain position on an issue and be sincere about it when that position happens to coincide with the interests of your boss.

We speak here of The Dallas Morning News editorial page and its campaign against scrap yards near mainly minority residential neighborhoods in southern Dallas.

For 14 years the Morning News has been a principal proponent of the Trinity River Project, a highway-building and real estate redevelopment scheme along the river in downtown and southern Dallas. In the meantime the Morning News editorial page has been especially muscular about calling for certain types of businesses to be thrown off land that they own and occupy near the river, by any means possible.

In the case I'm about to tell you about, the city and state are using eminent domain to whack off 40 percent of the land of two businesses for a road project. The owners are asking the city for permission to squeeze their operations onto the remaining land, their own land.

The News is saying hell no, here's a chance to get them by the throat. They say the city should use this technical approval process to run the scrap yards off their land entirely.

Why? Well, the editorial page is very committed to the removal of businesses it considers unsightly or corrosive of the surrounding social fabric. Near the river.

Most of those businesses also probably have the effect of holding down land values and making redevelopment of the area along the river more problematic. In particular the News' editorial page has settled on recycling yards as engines of oppression.

Wait. Am I in favor of scrap yards near minority neighborhoods? Good question. Before I answer, let me point out a couple things.

First of all, the News' editorial page has suggested repeatedly that the recycling yards near the river must be moved because of their damaging effect on nearby minority neighborhoods, but whenever they come up with a suggested relocation site, it's always in the southern Dallas "Inland Port" area where the yards would be near other minority neighborhoods.

So I don't think it's the minority neighborhoods they want the yards moved away from. I think they want the yards moved away from the river.

Gold Metal Recyclers and Okon Metals are recycling yards—scrap yards—in southern Dallas between the river and South Lamar Street. The state is going to take almost half their land for a much-needed project to rebuild a dangerous highway.

Both businesses operate under tight restrictions dictating where they can place each element of their operations on their own land. Months ago they went to the city and asked for permission to move the things from the land they are about to lose, relocating them to the land they will be able to keep, closer to Lamar Street.

This is what the News said in an editorial about it on June 1:

"The problem is, people live directly across Lamar in poor neighborhoods, and many feel the scrap yard owners don't have their best interests at heart. The more than 100 homes that will be affected are occupied by politically powerless people, many of whom lived there decades before the scrap yards opened.

"These residents have rights that have been repeatedly ignored by City Council and Plan Commission decision makers, who for decades saw no problem placing noisy, ugly and polluting heavy-industrial businesses in the midst of homes."

OK, I'm a bleeding heart, right? How can I not be racing around in circles barking like a dog at this very moment? They've painted it so well: the dirty recycling businesses are ruining the lives of "politically powerless" people who have been "repeatedly ignored" by City Hall. It's my kind of red meat, and they've served it up on a sesame bun with salad on the side. But look, I say the problem is not what the News says it is. The problem is the News.

At the end of last week I attended the City Plan Commission hearing where all of this was considered. Half of the 250-seat city council chamber, where the plan commission meets, was filled by residents of the neighborhoods around the recycling yards, many of whom were also employees of the scrap yards.

Several of those employees got up and made speeches to the plan commission praising the owners of the yards for providing more than 300 good jobs in an area of high unemployment.

But let's be cynical. Let's say they were only doing what I have accused the Morning News editorial page writers of doing: sucking up to their bosses. Here is the part that dumbfounded me:

From that crowd of more than 100 residents, not one person rose to speak against the scrap yards. Not a single person. That just does not comport with my experience of politically powerless Americans who have been ignored. Usually once you get those folks to within 10 yards of a podium, they have a lot of saved-up stuff to tell you, including where you can put it.

Silence.

This all comes barely a month after a community service group with deep roots in southern Dallas, "Friends of Fair Park," bestowed a special appreciation award on the Goldberg family, owners of Gold Metal Recyclers.

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23 comments
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Malachite141
Malachite141

can we leave trinity river alone? can we concentrate on crime and homeless? this is stupid dallas spent millions on a river and we cant even kyake down it cause its too dangerous.. who the hell is watching dallas money? i wish i worked for them cause this stupid shit being built is dumb we have so many empty buildings that need merchants and people out of work and we worry about trinity and the art district? really? when did u get bought out and by whom?

iblobar
iblobar

why the actions of the City are suprising, i don't know,,,,the europeans that landed in america did the same crap to Native Americans,,,you certainly don't expect Change do u????

dylan
dylan

Typical Moroney and his morons looking out forthe Dallas elite.

Lazarusbrands
Lazarusbrands

While the Observer is breaking through the DDMZ (Dallas Denial Media Zone), perhaps this would be a good time to discuss DMN and Belo's complicity with the whole "Southern Sector" political cronyism system.

Anywhere else in America, the DOJ would be rattling all kinds of local cages to see what kind of "walking around money" shakes out. But here, it seems that so long as nobody shoots any more Presidents... The City of Big D(iscriminators and D-marcations) can keep doing its own "keep the peace" thing.

Sign me "a Star-Telegram subscribing, FORMER Dallas taxpayer. (And thanks to the US Supreme Court...) Hello, new taxpayer to the City of "NEW IRVING!"

guest
guest

One more reason why I will not read the Dallas Morning News. Horribly biased reporting and ulterior motives galore at that place.

Frank
Frank

The "News" is a bunch of arrogant snobs only doing what the rich want, I stopped receiving their paper years ago when i could not stand to read their dribble anymore.

Oswanz
Oswanz

Big money is exchanging hands, and these bullshit tactics are being used to distractthe public from what's going on until it's to late!

W W
W W

0721 6/11/11

W W
W W

."politically powerless people".. nice phrase, applying to too many..

Me
Me

It's a historical fact, that the masses of the "Southern Sector" (South Dallas, SE Dallas, Pleasant Grove), are politically powerless people. There has been a number of associations, companies, and small political groups who have all tried to represent these people and their few interests in the game of local politics. How much political power would you assume a group of people making an avg salary of less than $26k (some of them even with higher education) would have against political figures backed by corporations and well-to-do individuals who only care about their next million? Another fact, most American cities and their economies were built on the backs of people who, in one way or another, have been opressed, abused, unfairly treated, and any other negative impact one could suffer. I hear people always talking about change and improvements to areas and all these different ways to make a city better. But not one of them have ever mentioned ridding our city of the real problem. Corruption in every level of local government is the number one reason Dallas cannot move forward. Think about the possibilities of regaining all the leaked out and squeezed out funds that these local corrupt politicians have been able to get their hands on. Tens of millions of our dollars missing in budgets and so forth.

Rich
Rich

Look, this recycle complex creates local jobs and local revenue for people struggling to feed their families and make an honest living.

I work right down the street from this place on south Lamar. This operation causes little impact compared to the concrete plant on Lamar and Forest. The trucks drop rocks all over the road and ruin the streets in the process.

Someone needs to go down there and see whats going on. The trucks run over stop signs, and it takes a month to replace them. The potholes are deeper than the grand canyon over there.

Someone, go look around Forest Park at MLK and Forest. Absolute neglect by the city of Dallas. Shame on you Dallas

Tom
Tom

Who in there right mind would want to walk next to Trinity DOODOO river? And yes, another road we need, not. Try fixing the ones we have. This is why I moved my business out of Dallas and I myself have used metal recyclers. PS, it didn't stink. All those poor pickers need a place to sell their loot, and none of them complained! Are we sure there is not some god forbid "under the table" money being flashed here? Besides, the pickers, as long as they are not stealing" keep America beautiful. I just have to say this, The Arlington Cowboys would have brought money to Dallas but instead we get a Motel and a bridge. The great flood is coming and we were warned. Why don't we build a gigantic merrygoround in front of city hall.

Shelleysbutler
Shelleysbutler

I was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels in this exact same area for almost a year. I don't pretend to know the history of the area (even though I was on board at Preervation Dallas for several yrs) or the politics or connections of the companies' owners or the political or economic views of the residents in the area. Let's just play stereo-types. I will say this...as Friday was my usual day for that area I regularly saw the "goings-ons" in this area and always saw a lot of cars, pedestrians, activity in front of Gold Metal Recyclers. One day I had a flat tire right in front of their property. There were A LOT of passers-bys on foot and vehicles in front of the gate. I mean A LOT. I had heard about all the copper-thiefs in the news, made unfounded judgments about the nature of their business and assumed it was some kind of "Sopranos" waste-management type front or just a place for "pickers" to take their loads. I was approached by two different homeless looking, but very friendly guys while standing by my car on my cell phone. (" Where do all those guys in South Dallas find the time to take walks during the day?") Well, one told me, "Why don't you come across the street with me? They have a cop over there.I am going to pick up my paycheck. And.... they have free hot dogs every Friday."In the next hour (because that's how long it takes for your ex-husband to get there to change your flat tire) I was treated, but more importantly, the odd-jobbers, employees, "pickers", long-haulers and I guess the fancy-truck BIG LOGO all over your truck dudes, vey well. We were all part of a Free Hot Dog Friday thing that you had to be there to believe. And they were either picking u paychecks or dropping a load = money.I know just because you give out free hot dogs once a week, it doesn't make you Mother Theresa. And it may not do any good in court to help these business owners retain their rights to the land. But really? Do we need ANOTHER highway thru S. Dallas to make things happen?Stanley Marcus was bred in that area (South Blvd. I think?) Let us learn from the mistakes Dallas made in the 50s with South (and East) Dallas.Here we are putting the so-called 'Dallas' Cowboys in Arlington. And the Rangers too.These people need work. They want to work. There is tons of land.And this place was hoppin! There are men that want to work in this area. Lets's please, finally, Dallas, find a way to make "progress" work. Recycling yard as "engine of oppression"...try Payday loan/car title loan storefronts?"Unsightly or corrosive"... its not anymore unsightly or corrosive than thousands of acres of tract homes and Olive Gardens and Wal-Marts in our sub-urbs. I promise you that NONE of the residents in this area want yet another highway dividing their neighborhood. Or "expansion/redirection of highway/roads" or whatever for all the nit-pickers out there.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

The morning news lacks (to me) credibility. They are two faced in their views and opinions. Look at the way they are tying to re define their roll in the Trinity River Toll Road. They were cheerleaders every step of the way in that project. Now they are slowly eating their words (I guess it is always better when YOU decide to eat your words as opposed to having someone else force them down your throat).

In short Dallas has a LONG record of trying to force established businesses out of existence. Make me want to start up a business here.

Likeicare
Likeicare

I haven't read the Dallas Morning News in years because they are so biased and lacking in actual news. I really miss the Times Herald.

parkay
parkay

that'd be one of us.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

The Moroneys wouldn't own the land next to the scrap yards would they?

Bob
Bob

Who knows? As Jim pointed a few days ago, it's hard to track ownership because some land is held by law firms, trusts and hard-to-track business holdings. Or, some interested land owners have contracts to buy the land at a later date.

 
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