Friday, July 14, 2006

Can you read between the lines? I think I can

"Pass me that 40 homie!"

The Northern Liberties section of Philly has apparently decided that selling 40s in a Foodery takeout beer shop (read, "liquor store") in that section of town is not allowed.

"Under an unusual agreement aimed at keeping lowlifes off its high-priced turf, a Northern Liberties neighborhood group backed off its opposition to the Foodery takeout beer shop after the store's owner promised not to stock Colt and other cheap malt liquors."

Can you read between the lines?

Lowlife: We know what this really means. This means people that are poor and seen as a threat to the community and its residents. I will not bring race into the picture though we know what the underlying assumption is.

High-priced turf: Either this neighborhood has always been nice or it's being gentrified revitalized. Oh wait, let's do a smidgeon of research on the neighborhood:

"In recent years, Northern Liberties has become a center for local artists and musicians. Large improvement and revitalization projects have also been undertaken recently causing a large jump in property values. The neighborhood has been targeted for revitalization because it is very close to Center City yet contains many vacant lots and abandoned historic properties. Like many Philadelphia neighborhoods, the housing stock is primarily made up of rowhouses"

Can you read between the lines?

Revitalization nowadays means gentrification. Learn that right now while reading this post. It's happened in SW and NW D.C., it's happened in Baltimore, it's going to come to a hood/project near you. Please believe it!

"Large jump in property values..." Of course. Considering you are gentrifying *revitalizing* the place. Revitalization is a buzzword among city governments nowadays and seems like it's been part of many mayors plans to get in office and stay in. Pick a neighborhood to revitalize, tell people how it's gonna help the city so much...But don't think about the people who you're displacing. Just think about the wealthy new people who'll flock to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to live in an area that'll thrive in the next 5-10 years and skyrocket your property value, the governments taxes on that property, and the egos of everyone who's trendy and successful enough to make a purchase.

Funny thing is, people in the hood/ghetto know what revitalization really means, but just aren't empowered enough to do anything about it. That's the sad part.

"The agreement, which was approved by the city Zoning Commission, specifically bans the sale of popular but often-condemned 40-ounce bottles...The neighborhood group thought carrying 40-ouncers would attract panhandlers and riffraff....In addition to Colt 45, the deal bans the sale of Crazy Horse,Old English 800, St. Ides and Silver Thunder, as well as other malt liquors in 40-ounce bottles"

Who do YOU KNOW that drinks 40s? Better yet, who do "they" assume are the 40-drinkers? We've all seen Boyz N Da Hood and Menace II Society. We know who's coppin' the 2-11's (Steel Reserve) and Colt 45 and St. Ides. The bruhs most likely.


I can't be mad! I can't be mad that people want to keep their neighborhood clean. I can't be mad they don't want drunks, panhandlers, or whatever other sketchy characters around their homes and their kids. I wouldn't want any of that in my neighborhood either.


What are they doing to help these people that they don't want around? What is the local government doing? Is it about getting them away from you and f*ck-em after that? Or is it about saying, "There's a problem, we are going to try to stop it from affecting us, but we want to help these people. Because they're people, just like we are".

I realize it's not the responsibility (necessarily) of the residents to help these people, it's more of a governmental issue. While they're spending all this time coming to terms on zoning agreements and dishing out more liquor licenses, maybe they could be looking into ways to more effectively help these people. Like ways to attract them to places that can help them with their drinking/drug problem. Places that can help them get clean, get a job, and get on the right track.

So many areas of this country enforce incarceration OVER rehabilitation. And even worse, incarceration WITHOUT rehabilitation. People need help with their problems, not to be locked in a cell where they can form even more destructive ways.

Nowadays so many people are concerned with the value of their home and the value of their neighborhood as a whole and trying to maintain it and keep it rising. But what about the value of human life? Do we just not give a F*CK anymore? DAMN!

Moral to my story. People like the one you're about to see don't need to be thrown from one ghetto to another or from one jail cell to another. They need to be rehabilitated!

It might be funny at first, but when you think about it, is it really funny?


T.C. said...

Another issue to think about with this whole topic is what happens to the people that serve these cities as a whole...where do they go? Where do the teachers (public school), police, fire fighters, local gov't employees? Where do they go because with all of this "upgrading" (as I like to call it) they can't afford to stay in these areas anymore...

Those who can now afford these neighborhoods, normally don't send their kids to public school, so to them it doesn't matter what happens to the teachers or if the teachers and law enforcement have to actually relocate from the VERY areas that they are supposed to serve because they can't afford to stay...

It's really you say you can't be mad at the people, but what is the gov't doing to help those displaced...

Then you have young adults like us who can't even afford to buy houses in the very neighborhoods that we grew up in...

I could go on and on...its really important that this topic gets out there and we talk about what is happening in cities all over the country, but especially the mid-atlantic....

Anonymous said...

I think this is going to continue to happen across the country. There will just be very distinct areas of poverty. And the lines will be less blurred than they are in some areas today. This is going to contribute to the only type of neighborhoods available being upper-middle class and very poor. I didn't mention the upper class just because I want to make the point that there will be no "middle-class" neighborhoods anymore. Just upper middle class, which will eventually become the new "middle" class. I know I can't afford to live in a $300K condo in PG country 2 miles from where I grew up. So to me, that's upper middle class. And I don't want to buy a $150K piece of shyt in Bladensburg or Fairmont Heights where I can't feel 100% safe. NO offense to anyone from those areas (I'm from Capitol Heights but it's home to me so the area doesn't scare me away).

The whole spectrum of stuff that's tied into this "revitlization" talk is so expansive and deep. I could go on for days.