I love original music. I’ve been lucky enough to live in several large cities where on many a night there’s a “show of a lifetime” opportunity. It opened my ears considerably. So, I try to be diligent about getting out to see good shows when they come to town — especially nationally recognized acts. I put the word out to all my music-loving friends. After all, we want the best artists to WANT to come back to Little Rockin’, right?
I regret to say I was severely remiss last week when a truly world-class indie band came to Vino’s. Got to hand it to them for managing to lure the spectacular and legendary 90’s indie act, Built to Spill. Then I went back and noticed that our own experts at the Arkansas Times didn’t take notice either. I read about lots and lots of jam bands, country and bands from the south central and southeast regions in the Times — which is fine and good. But we need to be aware that there’s a great big country out there with a hell of a lot more to offer. After all, Built to Spill FILLS venues such as Chicago’s Metro and NYC’s Irving Plaza. How many showed at Vino’s? How many knew??
It is not often that I find myself in agreement with Warwick Sabin but I must say his ideas on housing vouchers hit the nail square on the head. To quote from the study he uses to back his point: “Families on welfare could live next door to middle class families in neighborhoods close to schools and services.” Yes! I have finally seen the one idea that proves to me that a much better and “fairer” society is close at hand.
However, we will have to ignore a few minor realities to get there. We need to forget the fact that many “middle class” families did not start out that way, pulling themselves up through difficult times from meager beginnings. Many availed themselves of educational opportunities and/or job training, choosing to invest in themselves for the longer haul. Many are the first college graduates in their families and one reason they accomplished that was to live a nicer life. Many have worked hard to get to the “middle class” and are now employed, productive citizens who pay the taxes that allow us the luxury of even talking about various social support programs.
I am sure these families will understand when we ask them to shell out more hard-earned dollars so we can move welfare families in next door to them. Surely they must care something for their fellow citizens and would be willing to make any sacrifices necessary to bring this about. We can make them realize that peaceful neighborhoods and property values are only secondary considerations.
Any objections can be handled if we couch it in the right terms and I believe that folks like Mr. Sabin are just the people to handle this job. In fact, I propose that he go beyond mere words and show a meaningful commitment to this idea. I don’t know where he lives but I propose that he set the example and allow us to move welfare families in on either side of his home. Heck, let’s put them front and back as well. That will give him the greatest opportunity to demonstrate the merits of the idea to other neighborhoods that need enlightenment. Let’s try that for a year and have him report back to us. Only then can we find out who is truly enlightened and whether we need to proceed with this idea in other neighborhoods. I await his report.
I had a good laugh reading Warwick Sabin’s column on rebuilding New Orleans neighborhoods by mixing homes for the poor with the rich. It will never happen!
Take a look at Park Crest Apartments off Kiehl Avenue in Sher-weird. When it opened years ago, you had to have a minimum income to reside there. Now it is almost 100 percent Section 8, housing subsidy. Home owners and Section 8 residents have two different mind-sets. Homeowners have income and want to take care of their homes and neighborhoods. They take pride in the appearance of the area. They plant flowers. They work overtime or two jobs to get by.
Section 8 residents don’t care for the most part. The man, “the landlord,” will fix whatever they or their kids break. And, if they want to quit a job because they don’t like the boss, they get chewed out at work, or their hours get cut, then the Housing Authority will just cut their rent and give them a little utility check. Welfare will increase their food stamps.
Section 8 residents are more concerned about having fun and buying new cars. Middle-class home buyers make do with an older vehicle.
To some extent, you have the same culture problem as you do when Anglo and Hispanic cultures clash. Hispanics play their music loud enough so neighbors can enjoy the music too. Anglos would rather have their own peace and quiet.
Other than fixing interstate highways and building secondary levees out of all the crushed debris 150 yard behind the lakefront levees, the best thing the Bush Administration could do to help rebuild New Orleans would be to have FEMA sell its emergency shelter mobile homes to the local housing authorities. Use some of the trailers for new public housing complexes and sell the rest on a rent-to-own basis so the buyer is responsible for upkeep.
In summary, you’ll only end the “pitiful poor me” cycle by enabling the poor and lower middle class the opportunity at home ownership. If Warwick and other radical ultra liberals want to show the ultra poor how to integrate a neighborhood, then they ought to buy some land on Roosevelt or the Pine-Cedar neighborhood and build themselves a new home.
Congratulations! Ever since the editorship of Bill Terry, the Arkansas Times has been suspected of liberal leanings, of catering only to the educated, interested and vocally active reader.
The response to Mara Leveritt’s factual, well-documented article on the long history of New Orleans’ susceptibility to floods by your readers Carl W. Bird and Jeff Pitchford demonstrates that you have succeeded in reaching out past such narrow, parochial readership and are now finding the same readers that regularly rely upon the Arkansas Democrat and Fox News for their “information.”
That they did not agree with history and Ms. Leveritt is to be regretted, of course, but wisdom seldom comes with a sudden flash of light. Nevertheless, a good start has been made of reaching out to new readership. Keep up the effort.
William and Mary Ann Brady