Inky Columnist Puts Lie to Murray Analysis

stein's picture

and in the process dredges up another zombie lie:

Quote:
Fishtown, to be precise; the once-healthy waterfront community east of the El that, over the last 50 years, devolved into a rare white urban ghetto.

this patrick fellow (and his editors) must have come from the suburbs

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

TLP's picture

stein wrote:
and in the process dredges up another zombie lie:

Quote:
Fishtown, to be precise; the once-healthy waterfront community east of the El that, over the last 50 years, devolved into a rare white urban ghetto.

this patrick fellow (and his editors) must have come from the suburbs

I get the impression from the article that he attributes that vision of Fishtown to Murray. Especially when you read it with the following sentence.

ronchito's picture

TLP wrote:
stein wrote:
and in the process dredges up another zombie lie:

Quote:
Fishtown, to be precise; the once-healthy waterfront community east of the El that, over the last 50 years, devolved into a rare white urban ghetto.

this patrick fellow (and his editors) must have come from the suburbs

I get the impression from the article that he attributes that vision of Fishtown to Murray. Especially when you read it with the following sentence.

Agreed. Very poorly written but in the context of that next sentence that's how I read it, too.

stein's picture

fair enough. i see what you are saying.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

jbette01's picture

Quote:
"Fishtowners are what made Fishtown come back," ...."It was the people of Fishtown who started cleaning up the neighborhood and making it better. If we hadn't done that, if we had not started that change, the gentrifiers never would have moved to the neighborhood."

Perhaps it is the way I am reading it, but this statement makes me a little sad.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Sorry you feel sad but it is a fact. Sure when you moved here it might not have been what you were use to or what you say is your norm. But ... the fact remains that Fishtowners, not all of them but the majority, were doing things in the community long before the arrival of the gentrifiers. We had clean-ups that were hosted by the FNA and prior to that the FCA. We had Boy Scout troops and children who needed their community service hours working side by side with adults and the elderly. We had committees who worked with the various recreation and park facilities in the area.

Other than not being recognized for the work that is happening today, I see no reason to be sad by Sandy's statement.

FREE Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Lauraska's picture

I think what's sad about the statement is that it implies that a) the new folks are worthless to this community, b) that they've somehow taken all the credit for the positive improvements in the area - which is simply not true, and c) that there even HAS to be a distinction between who has done stuff and who hasn't, based on how long they've lived here. I wish people would just get over it already.

jbette01's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Sorry you feel sad but it is a fact. Sure when you moved here it might not have been what you were use to or what you say is your norm. But ... the fact remains that Fishtowners, not all of them but the majority, were doing things in the community long before the arrival of the gentrifiers.

Just as not everyone who has moved here in the past 10 years is an active member of the community, not everyone who has lived here for 40 years is an active member of the community.

In no way do I mean to discount what was done in the 80s and 90s to improve the neighborhood. I am sure it was very tough and I applaud everyone who pitched in.

I guess it is the label 'gentrifiers' that saddens me. I did not move to Fishtown because it was in vogue or I wanted to be on the cusp of something great. I do not give 25+ hours a week to FNA because I am trying to change the inherent fabric of where I live.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to bridge the gap between what seems to be a self perpetuated divide amongst the residents. I mean this in all sincerity, if you know how I can get more long time residents working next to new neighbors at cleanups, please let me know. It is the most basic of things that we all want, a beautiful place to live, and yet it seems to fall flat as a cause. Sigh.

lighterthief's picture

Lauraska wrote:
I think what's sad about the statement is that it implies that a) the new folks are worthless to this community, b) that they've somehow taken all the credit for the positive improvements in the area - which is simply not true, and c) that there even HAS to be a distinction between who has done stuff and who hasn't, based on how long they've lived here. I wish people would just get over it already.

I dont see any of that in the statement. The fact that Fishtown maintained its social institutions, familial relationships and worked to combat blight, before the real estate market here started to develop, made it an appealing place for new people to move and start businesses,

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

Landj's picture

I help a lifer pick up trash sometimes. At first he would glare at me. I just smiled and said have a nice day. I think it probably took about five times before he didn't glare back. Now he smiles at me when he sees me coming down the street. I know you can't win everyone over, but I just worry about what I do. It's up to the other person to like me or not. :)

Lauraska's picture

jbette01 wrote:
I spend a lot of time thinking about how to bridge the gap between what seems to be a self perpetuated divide amongst the residents. I mean this in all sincerity, if you know how I can get more long time residents working next to new neighbors at cleanups, please let me know. It is the most basic of things that we all want, a beautiful place to live, and yet it seems to fall flat as a cause. Sigh.

I'm not doubting that it may have happened somewhere along the line, but I honestly have never heard a newer resident say that they moved here to help "save" the community - and that is a sentiment that I see being attributed to us newer folks all the time. It is simply a fact that more upwardly mobile young professionals moving into an area DOES raise property values for everyone around them. But I don't think any of us are walking around expecting anyone to pat us on the back for that. It is also a fact that, even when there are a few dedicated members of a neighborhood, a community is ultimately responsible for its own fate when they allow their family members and friends to engage in the drug trade on their own streets. New folks didn't bring oxy with them. It was here. BUT it was here due to the lack of economic opportunity that came after the factory jobs dried up, which is not the fault of old any resident of Fishtown or Kensington at all.

I think it's disconcerting that the head of a local organization that is charged with helping to strengthen the neighborhood is making comments that seem to divide us. But then again, it might have been taken out of context, as is typical in print media.

steveeboy's picture

The Murray book looks worse every time you find out more...

to wit:

"Murray leans heavily on her work to give anecdotal life to his statistical account of Fishtown's failure. Smallacombe spent four years researching Kensington (close enough to Fishtown, apparently, for Murray's purposes) for her 2002 dissertation. She lived there, spoke with hundreds of residents, and gained a nuanced view of the white urban poor that is altogether different from Murray's take.

Smallacombe says that Murray cherry-picked interviews from her dissertation to support his arguments. I wonder if Murray's conclusions would have changed had he conducted the interviews himself (Murray quotes only one Fishtown resident he spoke to himself in the entire 416-page book.)"

This is the typical method of right-wing "research." Use the preferred ideologically-based argument and then dig up stuff to support it. It's a violation of the scientific method and a real problem-- which would NOT have been allowed for Smallacombe's actual research project-- but seems de rigeur for "scholars" like Murray who are paid via right-wing welfare...

As far as the other issues/objections:

1. I most certainly do recall Fishtown being referred to as an "white, irish ghetto" and it was oft-discussed that the area had/has some of the largest numbers of whites on welfare/public assistance in the city.

2. There is a reason that people moved here before kenzo/north philly when development moved up from NoLibs and that has a lot to do with the NKCDC and extant community groups being in place and working. It also has a lot to do with long-time residents of the non-dirt ball variety who still maintained a level of neighborliness and social cohesion so that urban issues here did not get as bad as they did in kenzo/north philly.

3. an "old school" local may disdain clean ups because they work according to "old school" standards and thus they clean their own pavement and own block on a daily/weekly basis. they work like they feel others should be working, so why should they do work which others should be doing themselves? Seems like between the two you have some overlapping coverage. I wouldn't expect my elderly neighbor to show up to clean up Frankford Ave 2x year when she is sweeping half the block every week. Seems like putting in the new baseball field was a much larger local issue than a newcomer issue. Seems like getting a coffee shop back in the day--rocket cat--was a far more important issue for newbies than locals. People inclined to volunteer pull their weight in different areas.

jbette01's picture

Landj wrote:
I help a lifer pick up trash sometimes. At first he would glare at me. I just smiled and said have a nice day. I think it probably took about five times before he didn't glare back. Now he smiles at me when he sees me coming down the street. I know you can't win everyone over, but I just worry about what I do. It's up to the other person to like me or not. :)

I love stories like that. Thanks for sharing.

There is an older Italian man that doesnt speak a lick of English on my street. One day he decided that he needed me to help him buy a blood pressure meter. I cannot even describe the insane gesture conversation we had. He warms my little heart.

ronchito's picture

lighterthief wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
I think what's sad about the statement is that it implies that a) the new folks are worthless to this community, b) that they've somehow taken all the credit for the positive improvements in the area - which is simply not true, and c) that there even HAS to be a distinction between who has done stuff and who hasn't, based on how long they've lived here. I wish people would just get over it already.

I dont see any of that in the statement. The fact that Fishtown maintained its social institutions, familial relationships and worked to combat blight, before the real estate market here started to develop, made it an appealing place for new people to move and start businesses,

Agreed. I'm not naive to the fact that those kinds of divisive sentiments are present in the community, but to me it just seemed like she was defending against claims (and rightly so) that the neighborhood owes its resurgence to gentrification alone. There's nothing in her comments that degrades or downplays anybody's contributions that occurred after the resurgence began.

jbette01's picture

Lauraska wrote:
I think it's disconcerting that the head of a local organization that is charged with helping to strengthen the neighborhood is making comments that seem to divide us. But then again, it might have been taken out of context, as is typical in print media.

I would guess you might be right. Sandy has an incredibly difficult job and has to fight tooth and nail to keep NKCDC moving in the right direction with the money it needs, I admire what she does. I have thought it was cool that NKCDC has staff members that are both longtime residents (ie Tom) that work alongside the young and wide-eyed (ie the VISTA staff).

Landj's picture

I've found sometimes that older in age people are very loving to those they love but the exact opposite to strangers. I know that's generalizing... My grandmother always gets upset when she tells me stories of how hard they worked to make ends meet. Bartering, charity, labor, etc. She says that us young folks just don't appreciate anything. Which can most certainly be true. We want it all and we want it now. The microwave effect...

I moved a lot because I thought it was fun. I always worries about my grandparents. I was always hoping that someone was helping them at the grocery store, holding a door for them, etc. A friend told me that if I wanted someone to be doing that for my grandparents while I was absent that I had to do it for their grandparents while they are absent.

I really took that suggestion to heart.

steveeboy's picture

"I think it's disconcerting that the head of a local organization that is charged with helping to strengthen the neighborhood is making comments that seem to divide us. But then again, it might have been taken out of context, as is typical in print media."

Or you may just be a bit over-sensitive and reading too much into that quote.
I am sure Sandy Salzmann said exactly what she meant and that without her leadership and the NKCDC over the years this area would be far less successful.

And of course, MANY newbies here immediately go off on crusades to change things, so whether or not that was the intent of coming here, it sure seems like they buy here and then try to implement change which seeks to replicate their white, middle class, suburban origins.

"it's too loud, people yell in the street too much"

"why are all these people hanging out on corners, outside, on stoops,"

"why aren't these kids playing inside, more organized activities, etc"

"how come people wear pajamas as outerwear and go out in public"

etc.

I spent two years warring with the local 11-15 year olds before I figured out how to deal with them via local mores and guidelines. Far more effective to learn their names and where they live and then talk to parent(s) in person without police, without violating kids respect, without unduly threatening kids, etc.

also, pretty sure that MANY of the customers of the open air street drug marts are coming from suburbs, so not sure I am gonna say drug issue is purely local.

also pretty sure that opiate/prescription drug use is common across all social classes and may even be more middle class than lower class since pills cost more than actual heroin.

stein's picture

steveeboy wrote:
2. There is a reason that people moved here before kenzo/north philly when development moved up from NoLibs and that has a lot to do with the NKCDC and extant community groups being in place and working. It also has a lot to do with long-time residents of the non-dirt ball variety who still maintained a level of neighborliness and social cohesion so that urban issues here did not get as bad as they did in kenzo/north philly.

I think you are understating the effect being close to nolibs, convenient access to the el, and having much more residential housing stock (compared to the areas north of north of nolibs and west of the el).

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Atomic Larry's picture

jbette01 wrote:
Quote:
"Fishtowners are what made Fishtown come back," ...."It was the people of Fishtown who started cleaning up the neighborhood and making it better. If we hadn't done that, if we had not started that change, the gentrifiers never would have moved to the neighborhood."

Perhaps it is the way I am reading it, but this statement makes me a little sad.

I don’t think Fishtown ever "left" so in that regard, that statement is just inaccurate. Maybe we didn't have the organized cleanups on scheduled days like today but the residents always cleaned up. If they looked out their window on a Tues evening and saw a bunch of trash and had some spare time, they went out and swept. And, as steveboy says, if you're doing that 2x a week you might be more inclined to spend a Sat afternoon with your family and not at the FNA cleanup. Also, keep in mind that a lot of the responsible residents that were more apt to take care of their surroundings migrated to the burbs during the real estate boom. All this might explain why the organized cleanups get a larger percentage of new residents.

steveeboy's picture

"I think you are understating the effect being close to nolibs, convenient access to the el, and having much more residential housing stock (compared to the areas north of north of nolibs and west of the el)."

Umm, no, not really understating, had all those things in mind.

many areas of kenzo have same proximity to el, same proximity to nolibs, same sort of row houses and row house densities.

but for reasons I do not know--but I bet the PhD who did her diss on Kenzo DOES, Fishtown did not go down as far as other nearby areas and thus was more inviting.

If I had to guess, my pick from the holy race/class/gender trinity would be race, but that is a whole 'nother can of worms.

stein's picture

I disagree.

look at girard to cecil b moore, front to fifth. that was the area in competition with fishtown to become the area of overflow development/'immigration' from nolibs. it has way more industrial/commercial buildings than fishtown.

I'm not trying to overstate that importance, or understate the the other things that fishtown had going for it.

But things were flowing from nolibs so there were only a couple places it was going to go. west of nolibs takes you away from easy walking distance to the el. east is the river and old industrial areas/clubs. to the south were rich people already. it was coming north and fishtown was more neighborhood with some old industrial sites interspersed whereas west of front was more industrial area with some houses interspersed.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Kenzo's picture

Landj wrote:
I've found sometimes that older in age people are very loving to those they love but the exact opposite to strangers. I know that's generalizing... My grandmother always gets upset when she tells me stories of how hard they worked to make ends meet. Bartering, charity, labor, etc. She says that us young folks just don't appreciate anything. Which can most certainly be true. We want it all and we want it now. The microwave effect...

I moved a lot because I thought it was fun. I always worries about my grandparents. I was always hoping that someone was helping them at the grocery store, holding a door for them, etc. A friend told me that if I wanted someone to be doing that for my grandparents while I was absent that I had to do it for their grandparents while they are absent.

I really took that suggestion to heart.

My grandmother's house got flooded out chest-deep after a hurricane back in the early 70s. The first responders wasn't the national guard or law enforcement. It was the Banditos MC. After she heard about some of their problems she volunteered going to the state prisons to help do tax returns and the indoctrination program: where they teach inmates about to be released what basic things they need to know as an adult and find a job again; what an I-9 is, what it means if you get paid on 1099, how to make sure your employer pays you Advance EIC, etc.

She kept that up until she turned 80.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Lauraska's picture

steveeboy wrote:
I am sure Sandy Salzmann said exactly what she meant and that without her leadership and the NKCDC over the years this area would be far less successful.

I'm not dissing on Sandy at all, so slow your role. I know her and like her and the work she does.

steveeboy wrote:

And of course, MANY newbies here immediately go off on crusades to change things, so whether or not that was the intent of coming here, it sure seems like they buy here and then try to implement change which seeks to replicate their white, middle class, suburban origins.

Or they rage against it in an effort to look "cool." Ahem.

Either way, I don't think it's about making the city in to a suburb. I don't know a single newcomer here that would like to go back to the suburbs they grew up in. Not a single freakin' one. Your obsession with this idea is almost comical.

steveeboy wrote:

"it's too loud, people yell in the street too much"

Wait...so there's screaming in the street in every single neighborhood in all of Philadelphia?? I'm going to go tell people I know in Center City and South Philly to start yelling, then, because their neighborhoods are just WAY too quiet!

steveeboy wrote:

"why are all these people hanging out on corners, outside, on stoops,"

Oh yes, because hanging outside on a corner is totally the same as standing around selling drugs, which is what I see people complain about. I'm totally down with eyes on the street, just not when those eyes are criminals themselves. Yes, yes, we know you love the drug dealers because they police your block for you. No need to reiterate.

steveeboy wrote:
"why aren't these kids playing inside, more organized activities, etc"

For reals? You are going to argue against constructive, positive role models and activities for kids? Would I rather provide something good for a kid to do instead of letting him wander the neighborhood all afternoon breaking stuff? Heck yeah. If that makes me a suburbanite on a mission to change the very fabric of my wonderfully urban neighborhood, then go me.

steveeboy wrote:

"how come people wear pajamas as outerwear and go out in public"

Dude, this happens all over the place. Even in the suburbs. And it's lame no matter where it happens.

steveeboy wrote:

I spent two years warring with the local 11-15 year olds before I figured out how to deal with them via local mores and guidelines. Far more effective to learn their names and where they live and then talk to parent(s) in person without police, without violating kids respect, without unduly threatening kids, etc.

HAHAHAHAHA...talk to their parents in person. That's a good one. Violating the kids' respect? Are you serious? I consider myself a fairly progressive parent but even I believe that a kid who is breaking my stuff/tagging my property/saying filthy stuff to or around me doesn't need my patience and understanding. He needs me to tell him to behave himself or else. And before you go all nutty about how I'm so suburban, I spent my first couple years here working with a girlscout troop in fishtown that had quite a few older girls in it. I am all about getting to know kids and talking to them at a level they appreciate. But allowing them to run roughshod simply because you want to look like the awesome adult? Heck to the no.

steveeboy wrote:
also, pretty sure that MANY of the customers of the open air street drug marts are coming from suburbs, so not sure I am gonna say drug issue is purely local.

Suburban kids aren't coming into the neighborhood to SELL the stuff, though. The supply is being provided by local people, whether its pills, heroin, crack, or weed. We get it, dude. You hate the suburbs and want to do anything humanly possible to separate yourself from your suburban past. But it's getting to be a bit of overkill, especially when you are denying obvious realities.

steveeboy wrote:
also pretty sure that opiate/prescription drug use is common across all social classes and may even be more middle class than lower class since pills cost more than actual heroin.

Actually, the typical trajectory is that a user gets hooked on pills but then moves on to heroin because the pills get to be too expensive. Usually the pill popping starts off small so it seems affordable. And that actually transcends most economic boundaries.

dan

Lauraska wrote:
I think it's disconcerting that the head of a local organization that is charged with helping to strengthen the neighborhood is making comments that seem to divide us. But then again, it might have been taken out of context, as is typical in print media.

I know Sandy, and I'm sure it's a misunderstanding. She would not perpetuate such a divide.

I think what she's saying is that Fishtown had already started working out its problems before any gentrification took place, and also that pre-gentrification Fishtowners laid the groundwork that made Fishtown more appealing for gentrification. NKCDC in particular was big on this front.

Among many other things, NKCDC:
* helped homeowners acquire abandoned lots through the side-lot program
* encouraged and oversaw the cleaning & greening of abandoned lots
* initiated clean-ups along major corridors
* created the Coral Street Arts House
* created the Frankford Avenue Corridor
* encouraged and assisted in the creation of many new businesses

All of this was initiated under the leadership and work of pre-gentrification residents.

If it was a different article, I'm sure Sandy would also be talking about the many positive contributions that newer residents brought to the area.

Godwin was basically a Nazi.

jbette01's picture

Atomic Larry wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
Quote:
"Fishtowners are what made Fishtown come back," ...."It was the people of Fishtown who started cleaning up the neighborhood and making it better. If we hadn't done that, if we had not started that change, the gentrifiers never would have moved to the neighborhood."

Perhaps it is the way I am reading it, but this statement makes me a little sad.

I don’t think Fishtown ever "left" so in that regard, that statement is just inaccurate. Maybe we didn't have the organized cleanups on scheduled days like today but the residents always cleaned up. If they looked out their window on a Tues evening and saw a bunch of trash and had some spare time, they went out and swept. And, as steveboy says, if you're doing that 2x a week you might be more inclined to spend a Sat afternoon with your family and not at the FNA cleanup. Also, keep in mind that a lot of the responsible residents that were more apt to take care of their surroundings migrated to the burbs during the real estate boom. All this might explain why the organized cleanups get a larger percentage of new residents.

Great points Larry.

I dont mean to hone in on the cleanups as an axe to grind of some sort, I hope it wasnt interpreted this way. It was simply meant as an example where it would be good to have a cross section of the neighborhood. The reality is we need more people to clean blocks and more people to show up at cleanups.

jbette01's picture

dan wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
I think it's disconcerting that the head of a local organization that is charged with helping to strengthen the neighborhood is making comments that seem to divide us. But then again, it might have been taken out of context, as is typical in print media.

I know Sandy, and I'm sure it's a misunderstanding. She would not perpetuate such a divide.

I think what she's saying is that Fishtown had already started working out its problems before any gentrification took place, and also that pre-gentrification Fishtowners laid the groundwork that made Fishtown more appealing for gentrification. NKCDC in particular was big on this front.

I agree with you Dan. Once again, I like Sandy, I like the NKCDC and a truly respect the work that they do. 19125 would be very different without them.

I guess what I really have is a semantics issue with 'gentrifier'. To me, there is a negative connotation associated with the term - something along the lines of tearing down and starting again that results in a homogenous disengaged population a la Blatstein's Piazza.

I know its all shades of gray... we should probably chock this up to me being an overthinker and inconsistently sensitive. However, I will say I do like the discussion it's generated, good to hear different views.

roma258's picture

jbette01 wrote:
dan wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
I think it's disconcerting that the head of a local organization that is charged with helping to strengthen the neighborhood is making comments that seem to divide us. But then again, it might have been taken out of context, as is typical in print media.

I know Sandy, and I'm sure it's a misunderstanding. She would not perpetuate such a divide.

I think what she's saying is that Fishtown had already started working out its problems before any gentrification took place, and also that pre-gentrification Fishtowners laid the groundwork that made Fishtown more appealing for gentrification. NKCDC in particular was big on this front.

I agree with you Dan. Once again, I like Sandy, I like the NKCDC and a truly respect the work that they do. 19125 would be very different without them.

I guess what I really have is a semantics issue with 'gentrifier'. To me, there is a negative connotation associated with the term - something along the lines of tearing down and starting again that results in a homogenous disengaged population a la Blatstein's Piazza.

I know its all shades of gray... we should probably chock this up to me being an overthinker and inconsistently sensitive. However, I will say I do like the discussion it's generated, good to hear different views.

I'm a little late to the party, but I found that quote quite jarring too. I think my problem with it is that it play's into Murray's framing (gentrifiers vs. locals). Why does it have to be an either or proposition? Why can't it be a mutually benefitial situation, where positive contributions from one side help facilitate the positive contributions from the other? The whole newcomer/longtimer dynamic is so tired and old at this point that it's probably just time to move on. I mean, some so called newcomers have lived here close to a decade and started their families here.

To see a prominent head of a neighborhood organization going back to that cliche and sounding so defensive doesn't help move things forward IMO. NKCDC has done great work, but they more than anyone should realize that the best results come when everyone is working on the same page.

dan

I guess I just consider "gentrifier" to be a neutral term However, I can see how our views of gentrification can certainly shade our response to it.

Godwin was basically a Nazi.

lighterthief's picture

dan wrote:
I think what she's saying is that Fishtown had already started working out its problems before any gentrification took place, and also that pre-gentrification Fishtowners laid the groundwork that made Fishtown more appealing for gentrification. NKCDC in particular was big on this front.

Yes Dan, thank you! This is exactly how I saw this quote. In no way was it perpetuating or creating a new vs old divide just acknowledging the role played by a community that was being maligned in the book.

super over sensitive people get offended by the book and offended by the person who defends the neighborhood jeesh

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

dan

Godwin was basically a Nazi.

Landj's picture

kenzo - its amazing what can happen when people lift stereotypes.

cant convince anyone to do it, it has to happen on their terms.

to the people who are helping keep fishtown clean and fun, i thank you. lifer, newbie, gentrifier or whatever. to the losers who arent doing their part, i feel sorry for you. life is too short and youre missing out.

now, what to have for a late lunch....

dmandy's picture

Lauraska wrote:
I think what's sad about the statement is that it implies that a) the new folks are worthless to this community, b) that they've somehow taken all the credit for the positive improvements in the area - which is simply not true, and c) that there even HAS to be a distinction between who has done stuff and who hasn't, based on how long they've lived here. I wish people would just get over it already.

How could you read Sandy's statement and come to this conclusion? Nowhere did she say anything that could be taken as calling new neighbors worthless to this community. what she said is true. If longtime residents hadn't kept this neighborhood together it would not have so attractive to new people. I think it is great that we now have so many different people living here, we needed some new blood and new eyes on what is good and bad. i like anyone who is willing to make a commitment to this neighborhood.

Lauraska's picture

Let me clarify...again. I know Sandy and know that it probably was not her intention to make a statement that differentiated between new and old. But I do agree that "gentrifiers" can be seen as a derogatory term that makes it seem like new people see themselves as saviors.

dmandy's picture

Lauraska wrote:
Let me clarify...again. I know Sandy and know that it probably was not her intention to make a statement that differentiated between new and old. But I do agree that "gentrifiers" can be seen as a derogatory term that makes it seem like new people see themselves as saviors.

i took Sandy's statement as giving credit where credit is due. what is wrong with acknowledging the hard work that went in to keeping this neighborhood a good place to live, a place where new people are excited to move? why shouldn't she say what is true? She isn't taking anything away from new neighbors.

lighterthief's picture

since her quote was in response to the term ""irresistible" forces of gentrification" it was sort of hard to skirt the loaded term "gentrifier" Sandy did not insert that word into the dialogue but respond to an inaccurate representation by the author. Getting so worked up over a word when WE ALL KNOW YOU KNOW the context is really a bit of a stretch.

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

steveeboy's picture

I continue to be amazed at how someone can have such knowledge and insights into my deepest motivations and feelings without ever having met me. This mind reading technique should be investigated, I am sure it would be of interest to the military, the CIA, and other state entities.

Not going to waste the time to unpack everything, but will deal with the most obvious and glaring:

Lauraska wrote:

"HAHAHAHAHA...talk to their parents in person. That's a good one. Violating the kids' respect? Are you serious? I consider myself a fairly progressive parent but even I believe that a kid who is breaking my stuff/tagging my property/saying filthy stuff to or around me doesn't need my patience and understanding. He needs me to tell him to behave himself or else. And before you go all nutty about how I'm so suburban, I spent my first couple years here working with a girlscout troop in fishtown that had quite a few older girls in it. I am all about getting to know kids and talking to them at a level they appreciate. But allowing them to run roughshod simply because you want to look like the awesome adult? Heck to the no."

Actually "Lauraska," I spent the years 2003-2004 confronting every local cretin between the ages of 8-14 whenever I caught them littering, tagging, trespassing on my property, etc. (and I spent a great deal of time telling adults engaged in poor behaviour how they should act as well.)

Typically this would also involve a 911 call. In one case I followed like 10 of them for many blocks while on phone with cops trying to get them to come over and jack the kids up (they were having a party on my stoop while I was trying to drink beers and get my Star Trek on.)

Didn't get many good results from this, wasn't good for the stress level.

And I noticed a funny thing, once I called the cops on a local 15 year old who was tagging my neighbor's alley gate at 3pm one day --my new local neighbors weren't quite so friendly.

The whole thing peaked when I caught one of the younger 11 year olds on my roof and grabbed him by his coat and drug him around the neighborhood asking where he lived--by this point I knew not to ask the cretin personally because every time I ever asked a Fishtown kid this they always said "I live at your mother's house" (or, if I confronted them about littering and said "why are you being a pig?" they would invariably say "your mother's a pig.")

So, a neighbor told me where he lived and I took him home. Knocked on door. Big brother (15 year old) answered, big brother immediately got in my face because I was holding little brother by coat, told me to let him go. Then sister came to door, she immediately got in my face. Mother finally got to door, she also told me to let him go.

Told her what happened and "dropped" kid off at home.

--It is really amazing that you knew how I was handling these sorts of issues before I explained myself. Is this what you meant when you claimed I was "allowing them to run roughshod?"

--And even more amazing is that you knew I was handling it this way to be "the awesome adult" when I thought I was doing it to stop my stuff from being vandalized, stop the kids from sitting on my roof and watching my GF in the shower through the window, stop them from having tomato fights with my roof top garden, etc.

In any case, while the whole family gathered in the door and I figured I was about to get a serious beat down from the mother, the 16 year old sister, and the 15 year old bigger brother along with any cousins, uncles, etc they might summon from the surrounding area, the mother said "don't you ever touch my kids, you got a problem with them you come to me."

Next time one of her kids messed with my landscaping around my street tree, I marched to her house without doing anything to kid and knocked on door. told her the issue. Like 10 minutes later SHE marches kid to my house makes him fix landscaping and apologize to me.

At some point another local neighbor laid it out to me and said "don't call the cops, go talk to parents, don't mess--eg 'lay hands on' with other people's kids, etc."

pretty much stopped having trouble with any kids around my block once I knew their names, where they lived, and they knew I knew this info. Also started talking more to locals to ask them how to handle things within local customs.

So, if this means I was "allowing [children] to run roughshod simply because [I wanted] to look like the awesome adult" I guess I am guilty.

Regardless, I did find that once I backed off from my crusade to change every thing that seemed weird to me and figured out how to handle it within local mores and such, I had much better results.

I don't think for a minute that all of these kids became good little angels--one of them impregnated a girl at age 15, one went to jail, etc, but they stopped messing with my stuff, and suddenly if I saw one of their parents at the bar they would talk to me and gossip.

Nor would I assert that every local parent is going to be as decent as the ones I interacted with when I first moved here. But I bet a lot of them are decent and neighbors are gonna have more respect and be more inclined to help if you don't come off like an elitist snob trying to change everything around, complaining about everything all the time, humiliating people's kids, calling cops on kids and thus getting them into the "system," etc.

8 years later, I find far fewer things to worry about and believe the good things about Fishtown far outweigh the threat posed by 10 tents under i95, the occasional outlaw motocross rally, the yelling in the street --I guess we can't have a down and out boxer screaming "YO ADRIAN" anymore, the neighbor who sends his pizza box "to the river" via the corner sewer grate, etc.

Lauraska's picture

Sucks when people make assumptions about who you are without knowing you, don't it? I seem to recall you calling some people spoiled gen x'ers and non-reformed suburbanites and don't believe you know them from Adam.

And legitimizing throwing trash down the sewer so that it pollutes our waterways? Nice.

codergrrl's picture

I think enough time and effort has been wasted discussing this guys skewed viewpoint.
We're all Fishtowners/Kenzo's now. I don't really care how or why he thinks we got to this point.
I'm just glad we did.

"Je Suis Prest"

Kenzo's picture

I don't know if Sandy was there for this because this goes back years ago, but the lot that Greensgrow sits on was an EPA Superfund site. When the galvo plant that sat there was demolished, nobody came over to test the soil, not until the community rose up to b---- about it did the EPA come over and test the property.

Here's the EPA documentation about the Boyle plant that used to sit there: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/PA0000569244/index.htm

And 'lo and behold, there's zinc, there's cadmium and lead, in the dust, everywhere. And the dust of course spread all over the place, which is why testing your soil if you live in the southern reaches of ORCA is pretty important if you ever have plans to dig up your yard.

This activism laid the foundation that eventually turned into Greensgrow.

As for the term "Kenzo", I love the term (why do you think it's my name on here) and I don't consider it to be the pejorative that some people think it is.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

jbette01's picture

Kenzo wrote:
I don't know if Sandy was there for this because this goes back years ago, but the lot that Greensgrow sits on was an EPA Superfund site. When the galvo plant that sat there was demolished, nobody came over to test the soil, not until the community rose up to b---- about it did the EPA come over and test the property.

Here's the EPA documentation about the Boyle plant that used to sit there: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/PA0000569244/index.htm

And 'lo and behold, there's zinc, there's cadmium and lead, in the dust, everywhere. And the dust of course spread all over the place, which is why testing your soil if you live in the southern reaches of ORCA is pretty important if you ever have plans to dig up your yard.

This activism laid the foundation that eventually turned into Greensgrow.

As for the term "Kenzo", I love the term (why do you think it's my name on here) and I don't consider it to be the pejorative that some people think it is.

I presume this was discussed last night at the ORCA meeting?

Kat's picture

Personally, I don't think that Sandy meant that statement in the way many are taking it.

AmyPaxton's picture

dmandy wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
I think what's sad about the statement is that it implies that a) the new folks are worthless to this community, b) that they've somehow taken all the credit for the positive improvements in the area - which is simply not true, and c) that there even HAS to be a distinction between who has done stuff and who hasn't, based on how long they've lived here. I wish people would just get over it already.

How could you read Sandy's statement and come to this conclusion? Nowhere did she say anything that could be taken as calling new neighbors worthless to this community. what she said is true. If longtime residents hadn't kept this neighborhood together it would not have so attractive to new people. I think it is great that we now have so many different people living here, we needed some new blood and new eyes on what is good and bad. i like anyone who is willing to make a commitment to this neighborhood.

I can guarantee that she didn't mean anything negative with that statement. She welcomed new people into the neighborhood with open arms, hiring them at NKCDC, bringing them in as volunteers...if anything she has been a bridge between people that have been here all of thier lives and the people that have just moved in.

I feel like you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.

AmyPaxton's picture

Kenzo wrote:
I don't know if Sandy was there for this because this goes back years ago, but the lot that Greensgrow sits on was an EPA Superfund site. When the galvo plant that sat there was demolished, nobody came over to test the soil, not until the community rose up to b---- about it did the EPA come over and test the property.

Here's the EPA documentation about the Boyle plant that used to sit there: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/PA0000569244/index.htm

And 'lo and behold, there's zinc, there's cadmium and lead, in the dust, everywhere. And the dust of course spread all over the place, which is why testing your soil if you live in the southern reaches of ORCA is pretty important if you ever have plans to dig up your yard.

This activism laid the foundation that eventually turned into Greensgrow.

As for the term "Kenzo", I love the term (why do you think it's my name on here) and I don't consider it to be the pejorative that some people think it is.

She was there for that, she was there from the beginning. When I was a little kid, she had me door to door giving out flyers for neighborhood clean ups. I remember when the nice clean "dog parks" on Frankford Ave were dump lots. That we cleaned up. 30 years ago. You have no idea how gross some of those lots were before people from the neighborhood took it upon themselves to clean it up. It was NOTHING like it is today - it wasn't terrible, but I can tell you that a lot of the people that have moved in recently would NOT have moved here if the lots weren't cleaned up, the graffiti painted over and the work of the people that were here been done. I say this with confidence after reading some of the stuff on this site and seeing what gets folks all riled up.

I love that new people have moved in. I'm thrilled to have artists on First Friday and nice restaurants. BUT 25 years ago, Sandy said "some day people will eat cheese and drink wine on Frankford Avenue, we can do this" and the answer she got "when pigs fly".

Enough. She didn't mean anything disrespectful by it. Stop trying to make something out of nothing. AGAIN.

Lauraska's picture

AmyPaxton wrote:
dmandy wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
I think what's sad about the statement is that it implies that a) the new folks are worthless to this community, b) that they've somehow taken all the credit for the positive improvements in the area - which is simply not true, and c) that there even HAS to be a distinction between who has done stuff and who hasn't, based on how long they've lived here. I wish people would just get over it already.

How could you read Sandy's statement and come to this conclusion? Nowhere did she say anything that could be taken as calling new neighbors worthless to this community. what she said is true. If longtime residents hadn't kept this neighborhood together it would not have so attractive to new people. I think it is great that we now have so many different people living here, we needed some new blood and new eyes on what is good and bad. i like anyone who is willing to make a commitment to this neighborhood.

I can guarantee that she didn't mean anything negative with that statement. She welcomed new people into the neighborhood with open arms, hiring them at NKCDC, bringing them in as volunteers...if anything she has been a bridge between people that have been here all of thier lives and the people that have just moved in.

I feel like you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.

Sigh. Okay, let's do this one more time, and then we can go have circle time and sing songs...

1) I read Sandy's quote out of context, so I officially stand corrected about its intention, even though I never thought that Sandy would ever intentionally say anything negative about newcomers.

2) As I said already, Sandy is AMAZING. She has done fantastic things for this community. I am not discounting her work AT ALL.

3) As I also said already, my concern with the statement was that the use of the word "gentrifiers" can sometimes be met with offense. Now that I see she was answering a question that made use of the same word, I see why she said it. Done. End of story.

4) Having an opinion, asking questions, trying to get people to THINK about things and talk about them is not arguing for the sake of arguing. What IS arguing for the sake of arguing, however, is yelling at Kenzo when I believe he was actually trying to give an example of positive change that happened before the influx of new people.

5) The way to approach people, just for future reference, is not to wag your finger at them and talk to them like they are your child. We are all adults here. We all have our own opinions and ways of expressing them. I don't always like the way codergrrl expresses herself to me, but I'm determined to have a drink with her some day. (And hell, I once called her STUPID and told her to shut up!) We are all grownups and real life is not the Jerry Springer Show.

dmandy's picture

AmyPaxton wrote:
dmandy wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
I think what's sad about the statement is that it implies that a) the new folks are worthless to this community, b) that they've somehow taken all the credit for the positive improvements in the area - which is simply not true, and c) that there even HAS to be a distinction between who has done stuff and who hasn't, based on how long they've lived here. I wish people would just get over it already.

How could you read Sandy's statement and come to this conclusion? Nowhere did she say anything that could be taken as calling new neighbors worthless to this community. what she said is true. If longtime residents hadn't kept this neighborhood together it would not have so attractive to new people. I think it is great that we now have so many different people living here, we needed some new blood and new eyes on what is good and bad. i like anyone who is willing to make a commitment to this neighborhood.

I can guarantee that she didn't mean anything negative with that statement. She welcomed new people into the neighborhood with open arms, hiring them at NKCDC, bringing them in as volunteers...if anything she has been a bridge between people that have been here all of thier lives and the people that have just moved in.

I feel like you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.

I'm not sure if your answer was directed at me because i thought i was saying that sandy wasn't being negative about new neighbors. And your remark about arguing for the sake of arguing, if it is directed at me, please explain to me just who gets to have an opinion and who doesn't and where those rules are posted. If none of this applies to me, did you hear it's going to be 59 degrees tomorrow?

Lauraska's picture

No no, Dmandy. It applied to me, of course. Silly girl. And to answer your question - no one here gets to have an opinion. And more importantly NO ONE can have an opinion, realize their opinion might have not been very well informed, and then change said opinion. That's called backpedaling and is VERY VERY evil and wrong. Anyone who changes their mind should be "ashamed of themselves."

AmyPaxton's picture

Lauraska wrote:
No no, Dmandy. It applied to me, of course. Silly girl.

which I explained to you privately so as not to cause a huge stir (which I also explained in my private message). Privately.
It's also points to my theroy that you often seem to type things solely to get people upset and to cause a stir.

Lauraska's picture

AmyPaxton wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
No no, Dmandy. It applied to me, of course. Silly girl.

which I explained to you privately so as not to cause a huge stir (which I also explained in my private message). Privately.
It's also points to my theroy that you often seem to type things solely to get people upset and to cause a stir.

Wait...what? You sent me a PM AND you said something directly to me, here. Was I not supposed to refer to the public statement you made? Could you just type out the rules one by one so that I can understand them?

steveeboy's picture

I called you a spoiled gen y, not a spoiled gen x.

But, there are always outliers, if I got your age wrong, please let me know.

Once more you attack another beloved activist who helped build things long before you got here.

You could argue like a rational/intellectual person--see, for example, Stein's points about geographic proximity vs my assertions that perhaps it was more a racial thing with Fishtown vs Kensington gentrification--but that wouldn't allow you to avenge your hurt fees fees now would it?

And of course--much like your astute analysis of my positions on drug policy, the homeless, child care, etc.--you got me as far as pollution goes. I DO want all waterways polluted with pizza boxes and arctic splash containers.

Lauraska's picture

steveeboy wrote:
I called you a spoiled gen y, not a spoiled gen x.

But, there are always outliers, if I got your age wrong, please let me know.

Once more you attack another beloved activist who helped build things long before you got here.

You could argue like a rational/intellectual person--see, for example, Stein's points about geographic proximity vs my assertions that perhaps it was more a racial thing with Fishtown vs Kensington gentrification--but that wouldn't allow you to avenge your hurt fees fees now would it?

And of course--much like your astute analysis of my positions on drug policy, the homeless, child care, etc.--you got me as far as pollution goes. I DO want all waterways polluted with pizza boxes and arctic splash containers.

Wait...I thought you called Matt a spoiled Gen Y or X or Z. I was one, too? Wow...this is a revelation.

Are you having the same reading comprehension issues as Amy? Or have the two of you just been sitting at Atlantis commiserating and being butthurt over this whole conversation? Either way, you both seem to have ignored the parts where I said repeatedly that I admire Sandy and all of the amazing work she did for this community before I got here and the work she's done since. I read her quote out of context and took the word gentrifier the wrong way. I've already acknowledged that. AND I've already said that I doubt it was her intention to cast aspersions on new neighbors because I know she'd never do that. But it's amazing how you are able to filter all of that out and say I'm attacking a neighborhood activist. Absolutely amazing. I think you two might want to turn back around to the bar and have another Kenzinger and think about it.

Hurt fee fees? Who even talks like that? Anyway, hurt feelings would indicate that your opinion is important to me. As someone who goes to GREAT lengths to come off as the cool city cat, it seems to me that the issues with seeking approval and being sensitive lie completely with you. I don't feel the need to prove why I live here, why I stay, or if the time comes why I might go.

And with that, this argument is over for me. I will HAPPILY explain myself in person or over the phone to Sandy if she has gotten wind of this thread (which I'm SURE she has...this is Fishtown, after all) and feels offended by anything I've said. She's the only person I feel a responsibility to in any of this.

sdm's picture

Everyone needs to take a step back and remember, this is the Internet.

Neatly chiseled, well groomed, drop dead handsome face.