May 24, 2010

The City of Baytown: "We want rich people"

From my sort-of home town paper, the Baytown Sun:

In the city’s efforts to attract high-end retail and restaurant development, one essential ingredient is having a customer base to support that development. In an early step toward building such a customer base, the Baytown Economic Development Foundation has been conducting a survey to assess the potential market for houses valued at $200,000 or higher.


In a letter DonCarlos sent to large employers asking them to invite employees to take the survey, he said consultants had recommended “for the City of Baytown to establish a framework that encourages developers to build higher-end housing that would attract affluent buyers and therefore create more demand for commercial and retail activity.”


“We feel a lot of the white-collar workers, and a fair number of the blue-collar workers—professional and nonprofessional—in some of our major industries have chosen to live elsewhere. We’ve got a pretty concentrated effort under way to try to attract the people who work here in our industries to also live here and raise their families here.”

for the whole thing click here or on the title of this entry

What this amounts to is a desire for white-washing in Baytown. When you have city officials like mayor Stephen Don-Carlos complaining that houses valued under $160k are not "profitable" for them, you're talking about a city that doesn't want anymore non-white people living there. But there are other issues here.

That last quote I put here, about white collar and blue collar workers from "our major industries," is addressing the fact that the Exxon corporation is the only reason why Baytown exists, yet the people at the top of the company making obscene amounts of money don't live in Baytown. This also begs the question, "Why should the city where the most profitable company in recent history is based have any money problems?"

Another question on my mind is "Does Baytown really need MORE suburban sprawl??"

Is there any chain restaurant Baytown doesn't have at least one of now? Maybe we could have the first Karl's Junior restaurant in the region, how exciting! Is there any room left on Garth road to build another fake, over-priced suburban "Italian" restaurant? We got Johnny Carinos, now Olive Garden, is Carabas on the Don-Carlos radar for white people bait? Ah, but that's not enough. The city wants "high end" retailers to set up shop in Baytown. Ooo, let's turn Texas Avenue into the Galleria of East Houston, complete with a Jeffery's outlet and an Apple store! Floor those old historical buildings and local owned businesses and build a place where Rex Tillerson himself may shop, maybe we can make some room where the old hospital used to be!

I think we all know why people move to Baytown. It's Exxon, stupid. Any economic questions about Baytown can be referred to their accounting department. Exxon is Baytown, Baytown is Exxon.

That's the way things are, but that's not how it has to be. There's been a thriving little-music-scene-that-could living there for a while now. They even had their own legitimate venue to play at on weekends. But new owners of the property got tired of the place's slight money problems, being run by a church that lost support from the Southern Baptist Convention because they dared to let a gay-friendly Christian denomination rent the place out during the week. The venue fell behind on the rent, and despite their potential to put on profitable shows, with over one hundred people showing up to one show in particular in August 2006, the following month the owners of the building kicked out Mr. Haney and his brainchild, The Harbour. That's the kind of ethic the city council is supporting--your only value is your profit margin. Pay now or get out.

What's good for the bosses is good for our city. Screw the poor, screw the individuals who have grown up here and are trying to define Baytown beyond Exxon. Lets pave the way for a yuppie paradise. Gee, why are so many young Baytownians moving to Austin? Screw 'em. The oil an gas industry will never die.....

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