Eureka's West Side
The cover story of the North Coast Journal is a good read this week, assuming you're interested in blight vs. redevelopment issues. The writer really covers all the angles of what's going on on Eureka's notorious West Side.
Some, like West Side resident, Ann White, seem to feel that maintaining zoning, as the City has, is intentional. She cites the rise in the Welfare- Industrial Complex (more and more people trained as welfare workers) and the City's preoccupation with affordable housing as a reason for the continued decline of the City's West Side.
Mayor Peter Le Vallee seems to give credence to Ms. White's concerns by defending the Welfare- Industrial Complex, him being a social worker by profession. He's disturbed by the accusations and wants to help people in need. He feels the half way houses and youth shelters he runs are part of the solution, not the problem, and would like to see them spread out over Eureka rather than concentrated in one place.
Then there's Xandra Manns, who feels part of the solution to the problem of blight is planting more trees, among other things. You know, that old Tree Lined Cities thing I've commented negatively on before. Just what we need.
Kevin Hamblin, Eureka's Planning Director, seems to go along more with my sentiments: "If not on the West Side, then where will the low income people live?". Exactly. Mayor Peter Le Vallee said he was interested in spreading the shelters and half way houses around the city a bit more. Do we really need to go there? Never mind that's already happening to some extent. I have a half way house across the street from my house. Of course, I'm just a couple blocks from the official West Side. And I'll have to admit, the operators have improved that house tenfold since they took it over some years ago. Heck, they're probably complaining about MY house!
Seems to me, the bottom line is, there's always going to be so called "blighted areas" in any town. Blighted areas are caused by people. Spreading those people around is just going to spread the misery, over time. I appreciate efforts to make the West Side safer and to look nicer, but the people are the problem and it's probably best to keep them in the part of town they're already in. As far as tearing down older houses and replacing them with "affordable housing", good luck. The same people will still be living in there, whether it be in affordable apartments or a run down Victorian.