Robert Wilonksi over at Unfair Park posted a great piece about how East Dallas continues to screw itself over by listening to just a few neighborhood voices and scraps yet another great development - in addition to Whole Foods - before the area residents even had a clue about what was going on. And that's the way those anti-development yahoo's want to keep it.
I was at my neighborhood meeting a month or so ago where I went to learn about the Whole Foods plan and how it was progressing. There was a man and a woman who were very clearly against WF building a new structure. I found this a little odd and the man even made a few tacky comments to the WF execs. Most of us there were obviously not as informed as this man and this woman and they sounded like they knew what they were talking about so WF must be doing something wrong, right? I mean these people are residents of our neighborhood, right? They know what's best for us.
Turns out the man's was Neil Emmons, city planning commissioner for parts of East Dallas including the area WF wants to build on. The lady was Virginia McAlester who I hear is a neighborhood busybody who gives a hard time to every developer in East Dallas. As it turns out, neither person is a resident of Abrams-Brookside neighborhood for which the meeting was meant for. So why were they there and why were they allowed to speak out so vehemently against WF? I mean, Mr. Emmons cut off the WF execs multiple times and actually got up out of his chair and stood in the center of the room! This doesn't allow the residents to make up their own minds and I have a problem with that.
So East Dallas has denied Whole Foods and the Andres brothers' mixed use development on Henderson and Neil Emmons claims the residents have spoken. I take issue with this. The DMN article a few days ago stated,
"...'All's well that ends well,' said Anita Childress, spokeswoman for the eight surrounding neighborhood associations."As one of those residents I would like to say I've never met this lady and she certainly does NOT speak for me - and never will.
By allowing people like Neil Emmons and Virginia McAlester to attend neighborhood meetings in which they do not reside, the WF project was dead before it even left the ground. What other purpose would Mrs. McAlester (who lives on Swiss Ave.) have to attend MY neighborhood meeting other than to try and sway innocent and uneducated residents?
And where was Angela Hunt and Sheffie Kadane in all this? What was their stance on the issue? Why should someone like Neil Emmons have so much say in the WF plans? He said his job is to convey the area's message back to the City Council which is obviously a lie. Does he have a degree in architecture, building and development?
You can probably feel my frustration but I'm happy to know I'm not the only one. Check out the comments on this blog post on Frontburner. I especially like this one that sums it up quite nicely.
"We’ve lost a once in a generation opportunity, because of a few individuals inability to think outside the box."People like Neil Emmons and Virginia McAlester and those who support them should be ashamed of themselves. Furthermore, I challenge Angela Hunt and Sheffie Kadane to step in and acknowledge that the resident's voices are not being heard.