Avi Adelman, the self-appointed watchdog of Lower Greenville who's spent a quarter century hounding yard-pissing drunks, bar owners, certain elected city officials and whoever else happened to cross his path, is moving. He's not saying where just yet. "I will tell you why. I'm protecting my family from crazy people who have said some pretty nasty things," he says. The move will happen in the next 60 days, and he will be living somewhere that is not Lower Greenville.
Adelman hadn't intended to announce the move, but then he got a call Thursday from The Dallas Morning News' James Ragland, who keeping up his torrid torrid pace of two stories per month, had been reporting on the opening of Trader Joe's.
Adelman wouldn't -- and still won't -- talk about where he's moving, or why. ("That I'll explain later.") But there were other things he was more eager to discuss, like the current state of his soon-to-be-former neighborhood.
"I think the Lower Greenville rezoning was a disaster," he told Unfair Park on Friday morning. It succeeded in driving out most of the drunks, but the pendulum swung too far in the other direction. Businesses like the Blind Butcher, which Adelman welcomes, gets caught up in red tape. And the lower rents that were supposed to materialize never did. "I think in five years, the only thing that's gonna be left standing will be Trader Joe's."
He also thinks the process of deciding who gets to build what where has been hijacked by a small group of neighborhood leaders who elbow ordinary citizens (read Adelman) out of the way. His complaints on this front were given a thorough airing in the bitter legal fight over the Walmart Neighborhood Market that his house now faces.
He's also keen to point out that, while
some a lot of people are no doubt celebrating his imminent departure, he is by no means universally reviled, which is borne out by the surprising number of positive comments to the Morning News story.
"I'm getting a lot of private calls and emails that are like, 'You're what?!'" he said. This is in stark contrast to anonymous online commenters who "hide behind phony names [and] make comments personally attacking me for no reason. A lot of people were mad at me because I was ruining their private pissing box."
There's no doubt that Adelman sometimes stepped over certain lines. But there's also little question that he played a key role in the transformation of Lower Greenville. Will he play the same role in his new neighborhood, wherever that may be? That's an open question, though he plans to keep barkingdogs.org live and says he's already been asked by his future neighbors to start a crime watch.
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"We're still in Dallas," he says. "I'm not going to change my attitude, I'm not going to change my politics, and I am not going away."
Update at 2:45: It seems that while the Morning News was sleuthing out Adelman's moving plans, they also stumbled upon a handful of five-month-old articles he borrowed and posted to barkingdogs.org. (He typically grabs the first couple of grafs, then posts a link to the story.) The paper's attorneys sent him a chill cease-and-desist letter, which you'll find below.