Density is great (except when it's in the neighborhoods of the powerful)

The opening of a 4 October Chronicle story by Mike Snyder and Nancy Sarnoff on the fight over a proposed high-rise in an affluent neighborhood provides some entertainment:

Two days after Mayor Bill White pledged support for residents fighting a planned high-rise building near Rice University, city officials withdrew their approval of the developers' traffic impact analysis of the project.

This reversal of the city's position, the mayor's personal involvement and the announcement that prominent attorney Rusty Hardin would represent the opponents have reinforced concerns that affluent, politically connected neighborhoods enjoy an advantage over others in Houston's frequent land-use battles.


White and other city officials denied that the Southampton and Boulevard Oaks neighborhoods near the site at 1717 Bissonnet had received any special treatment.


Just like well-connected Yellow Cab and Jason Yoo received no special treatment in their sweetheart airport deals. *wink*

ANNE ADDS: Yesterday, the Chronicle's editorial board came out swinging for the wealthy and influential:

Influential opponents of the Ashby Tower have won considerable support at City Hall and are represented by prominent litigator Rusty Hardin. Their clout has led some Houstonians to charge favoritism and inequity.

Well, of course. Well-heeled, civically active voters wield more influence than low-income residents who might have less time or inclination to vote and take part in civic affairs. Human nature is not easily repealed, but that's not all bad in a democracy in which politicians are supposed to consider their constituents' concerns.

Wow! It's not often we see that kind of elitism on display!

The problem is that Mayor White apparently hasn't been so willing to consider other constituents' concerns, according to Councilman Jarvis Johnson:

But Councilman Jarvis Johnson, who represents District B in northeast Houston, said residents of the poor and working-class neighborhoods he represents had a difficult time getting a sympathetic ear at City Hall when they complained about single-family housing developments with no parks or other amenities.

"The city said there were standards that we set that (the developers) followed," he said. "How can this community (Southampton) push the envelope so much?"

Because they have money and clout, apparently. Which the Chron's editorial board says is a-okay.

BLOGVERSATION: Slampo's Place, Lose an Eye, It's a Sport (more).

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 10/07/07 05:07 PM | Print |

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