THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

Not Going to Happen

I am not in the habit of printing retractions of opinions made in this column, and I do not plan to start now.

As a refresher, I wrote here on June 17: “We don’t need … low income housing in Garden City. We need people with jobs to live in the rentals and buy the for-sales we got.”

Consequently, St. Mary Community Action Agency Executive Director Almetra Franklin, CAA Housing Director Jeff Beverly and Frank Alcarez of Investerra, the developers of a proposed complex in Garden City, spoke at the parish council meeting Wednesday”

“This is a gated upscale community for upper income folks,” Franklin said. “We promised you … that we would not do a low income development, that this was going to be for working people to encourage development … and we’re sticking to our word.

Beverly said that the involvement of the Housing and Urban Development Agency will be limited to a loan guarantee.

Alcaraz said he feels that “a lot of people seem to be against this project.”

He added that he has said from the beginning that the project will be an upscale community not low-income housing…Franklin said they would not want to devalue surrounding properties with a low-income type of development.

Regarding this column, Alcaraz said: “This is sheer lies, this needs to be retracted.”

Of course, Miss Franklin and Mr. Beverly know perfectly well that I and this newspaper have been steadfast supporters of CAA for decades, personally and in terms of our coverage and accommodating of CAA’s needs in print. In fact, I have a nicely mounted certificate of appreciation on the wall behind my desk from CAA for “recognition of outstanding support.” None of that has changed.

I offer no retraction. I will not retract an opinion, that’s just silly.

Dissect the following sentences:

“We don’t need low income housing in Garden City.” (What I wrote)

“There will be low income housing in Garden City.” (What I didn’t write)

One is clearly an opinion, the other a statement of fact.

In either case, I never mentioned Alcaraz, CAA or anyone else.

I’ll stand on my laurels regarding CAA over 30 years of taking photos at their every request, printing every news release ever submitted to us, and visiting Head Start centers repeatedly for this and that, and if this single disagreement is enough to erase all those years of support, well, that’s just the way it’ll have to be, I guess.

By the statements of all three at the parish council meeting, I am not the only one complaining.

We’ve been hearing about this project since late 2009. Nearly two years later, nothing has happened. Alcaraz said Wednesday he feels that “a lot of people seem to be against this project.”

Almost two years down the line and not a spade of dirt moved, does abundant suspicion seem so odd?

Alcaraz said he would do whatever he has to do to get a retraction.

Sounds vaguely threatening, doesn’t it?

This is my community, sir. You are a visitor here. I have family and friends here, vested interests here, a lifetime of service and blood, sweat and tears in this community. I’ll stand up for it when and where I see fit, as I always have, and if that doesn’t set well with you, I am completely unmoved.

I note also from Wednesday’s meeting of the parish council they agreed to form a committee to review construction permits and inspection fees, as placed on the agenda by members Gary Duhon and David Hanagriff.

Oddly, no one was named to that committee, though Chairman Steve Bierhorst invited interested parties who wanted to volunteer.

A half-step in the right direction, it will be next meeting before we see if such a panel is formed and begins to study the matter.

I also note that I’ve been complaining and battering on parish government for, oh, three and a half years now and they’ve completely ignored me.

Now three months from an election, folks on the Fifth Floor are getting all bent out of shape and hot and bothered.

Interesting, no?

3 comments to Not Going to Happen

  • Becki

    No retraction on your opinion is needed.

  • It is rather amazing how a politician’s attitude changes as election time nears. Just wait until the promises begin to flow – “Didn’t he/she promise that last time?”…

  • This statement says it all:

    This is my community, sir. You are a visitor here. I have family and friends here, vested interests here, a lifetime of service and blood, sweat and tears in this community. I’ll stand up for it when and where I see fit, as I always have, and if that doesn’t set well with you, I am completely unmoved.

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