Mary Lou Montes Zijderveld
White Rock Tent City
Jorge Torres, Jr.
02/02/04 City Hall Takes from
Taxpayers to Give to Street Bums
You can just imagine the state of agitation in
Northwest Dallas since last Thursday when we heard the Mayor tell a bunch of
street bums that we very well may have a tent city of addicts, criminals and
mentals plopped down near Grwyler Park, Bachman Lake Park and our neighborhoods.
Good news - City Hall is finally
doing something about street people.
Bad news -
the HS building has a higher and better use in a
location that could be redeveloped.
Street people congregate wherever
they are fed. So,
pick an old industrial site away from downtown, parks and neighborhoods, and
they will find it.
Boy, with our gang problems, drug dealers, over-crowded apartment houses, etc.,
this is just what we need -- hundreds of derelicts roaming our streets and
harassing our community businesses and residents.
We have numerous crime watch groups, the Bachman/Northwest Highway Community
Association and other groups that meet monthly and quarterly -- I mean there are
a lot of meetings going on in NW Dallas. None of our groups were invited
to the "community" meeting the Mayor had with a couple of hundred street people.
NW Dallas has problems with too many after-hour drinking joints, tons of non-complying
businesses posing as restaurants but selling a lot more booze than food,
rundown and over-populated apartment complexes. Now, City Hall wants us to have 900 street bums for neighbors.
I understand the Harry Hines location (the abandoned Health South Hospital
complex) is not where the Mayor wants to put the new Homeless Spa, but it is
very likely where the taxpayers will get to accommodate the street bums.
Mary Lou Montes Zijderveld:
Having a homeless shelter in the old Health South building on Harry Hines
affects everyone who lives or owns a business in the NW/Bachman area.
By accident, we
learned there will be a meeting at City Hall in the City Council Chambers
this Tuesday evening.
has over 10,000 apartments. It also has a large number of public and
What will this do to our children having
homeless people roaming our streets?
has suffered enough,
With downtown being revitalized,
the Mayor does not want
the street people
It looks like
is on a FAST track to be placed at the Harry Hines location
several poor Hispanic neighborhoods.
They would be affected the most,
all those people would roam our streets.
is all they know how to do.
It will be voted on
by the City Council.
of us needs to get involved because we who live in the affected area are not
being told what ambitious politicians at City Hall are trying to do to our
You know why? Because we don't have anyone looking out for our interests
at City Hall. Neither do you!
If we must provide a day spa for vagrants and addicts, the best location would
be the Decker Jail.
We will get back to why we shouldn't even do this at all, but let's look at the
Harry Hines site.
Where are the tax-exempt religious
organizations whose stated goal is to take care of these street people?
Aside from molesting little boys
and protecting the guilty, I don't see the religious folks in the
Editor's Comment: I think Jesus would put the
mentals in a safe place where they are cared for and can't hurt themselves
This is a view looking west on to I-35/Stemmons. The building is just
one of several non-attached structures on the site. Notice the lack of
fencing to keep the premises secure.
This building faces toward Harry Hines.
Pretty fancy digs for 900+ people who contribute nothing to our tax revenue
or our community.
Looking Southeast onto DART Maintenance Facility and Dry Gulch
Recycling Center. Can you imagine the impact of hordes of panhandlers
swarming on responsible people just trying to recycle?
Cross Harry Hines on Shorecrest, and a couple of blocks later you are at
Bachman Lake, where we just spent a million or so of taxpayer monies
dredging the lake. Guess where the street bums are going to be hanging
when they break the rules and get expelled from their Day Spa?
That's the real kicker here. Why are we doing this at all? Why are
we responsible for building a day spa for street bums? Who made this a
"priority" for Dallas taxpayers?
This is right up there with those stupid string thing bridges. A bunch of
liberal do-gooders have control of our city coffers, and they are not only
wasting our money but neglecting our basic necessities.
Here's an exchange I had with a Homeless Advocate after
the news broke about the Harry Hines site and the tent city:
Hello Ms. Boyd,
My name is James Waghorne. I am
formerly homeless. Currently I serve on the Board of Metro Dallas Homeless
Alliance and am President of the Dallas Homeless Neighborhood Association.
In the past I know we have disagreed
on homeless issues, but I think this is one we can agree on. Many council
members and downtown business owners (Hershel Weisfield) wish to relocate
the homeless population from downtown to NW Dallas.
site on Harry Hines will bring 900+ chronic homeless individuals into your
area. Along with them, the drug dealers and other non-desirable people.
The tent city the Mayor speaks
of will result in homeless people from NW Hwy to LBJ and Harry Hines east to
Central. I lived with these people and know
There is a public meeting at City
Hall Tuesday evening from 7pm to 9pm.
James K. Waghorne
Dallas Homeless Neighborhood Association President
Thank you for getting in touch. I
will forward your e-mail to
several NW Dallas community leaders to see if we can get to that
meeting. None of us were advised about it.
to see you there.
I am a homeless Advocate,
but I am also a community advocate. This
site would do harm to both homeless and the area.
The main mode of transportation for
the homeless will become Bus Rt 428 in NW Dallas along with 44 and 486 in
Mr. Waghorne --
I don't want those horrible people
near the neighborhood around Grwyler.
This is near neighborhoods
of moderate to low-income
Hispanic families -- most of whom own their homes.
I don't want those horrible people
near Downtown either.
I am all for reopening mental
institutions for those who are not equipped to
care for themselves. However, I will never concede that street bums have a
claim to any street or public park
space or anything else in this city. They made
some really bad life choices, and it is not my responsibility to fix
things for them or to
Society can only exist if people are
willing to follow the rules a community sets for
itself. I will never concede that we must accept the anarchy the
street bums have inflicted on themselves and Downtown.
Call me heartless -- but my
compassion and concern and energy will always go
to law-abiding people who are willing to do the right thing -- even when
it's the hard thing.
The families who live near Grwyler
Park struggle every day to keep a roof over their
heads and feed their families. They are where
I want public money to go -- not to the street bums.
I have been informed the city
intends to allow a tent city regardless of where the shelter is located "for
people who won't go inside".
I'm sorry? Who gives these deadbeats a choice?
Earth to City Hall! -- These are drug addicts and drunks and thieves and
vandals and polluters. Who gives them the right to even use our streets or
parks or public spaces, much less just concede park land to their illegal
activities? The street bums don't contribute a penny toward the care of
our city, but they cost us millions in the devastation they have inflicted on
We have those do-gooders who pass out food to the street bums Downtown --
treating the street bums like they are human pigeons. Of course, that
might be a step up from what the street bums have done to themselves. The
do-gooders could care less about the harm they do to decent people, so long as
they can make themselves feel superior to us and the human pigeons they are
Dallas urges homeless feeders to focus on one site;
Volunteer groups asked to take meals to
city facility, not parking lots
08:48 PM CST Sat,
Twice a month, women from The Sisters' Hands cook
chicken stew, black-eyed peas and other hearty dishes in their own kitchens
and take it to people living on the streets. . . . police have asked The Sisters' Hands and
other volunteers not to offer meals in their usual spots, often downtown
parking lots, because property owners have complained about trespassing,
litter and other problems.
Instead, the city has asked the
street feeders to bring their meals to
the city's Day Resource Center at 901 S. Ervay St., . . .
"We know there are 5,000 homeless people out there, and we know that one
place isn't going to cut it," said the Rev. Kevin Olson
. . . True
Jesus Church in Richardson to feed the homeless. .
. . . The city considered banning street feeding to the homeless more than a
decade ago but never adopted a measure, in part because of opposition. In
May 2000, a downtown homeless committee began discussing
a ban but backed
off because it had been strongly opposed by religious groups in other
City officials began enforcing street-feeding regulations in March 2002
that required providers to serve food at certain temperatures and
conditions. But the city stopped enforcement after church groups and the
homeless criticized the move as an effort to drive the homeless away.
. . . The city is working on an ordinance to address street feeders, but it
won't be ready for months.
. . . the city hopes to open a homeless
assistance facility with a large kitchen and dining area where street
feeders can serve their food. . . .
Wonder how those suburban do-gooders would like having someone show up on their
front lawn - their private property - and pass out food in containers that get
left behind by deadbeats someone else invited to the do-gooder's home?
That's what the suburban do-gooders do to Downtown business and property owners.
The suburban do-gooders encourage vagrants and addicts to congregate on someone
else's property and leave litter and you can imagine what else -- after the
do-gooders go back to their suburban churches and homes.
Who says there are "5,000 homeless people out there"? There may be 500 to
1000 -- but 5,000?
Help me here -- Dallas business owners are pleading with City Hall for help to
control street bums littering, loitering and vandalizing on Downtown privately
owned properties. City Hall begs companies to relocate to Downtown, but
they do little to keep the ones who are already there. When Downtown
property owners begged for help, City Hall looked into "a ban but backed
off because it had been strongly opposed by religious groups in other
Why do religious groups in other cities have more influence at our City Hall
than Dallas business owners who help pay the bills?
Then the city puts in place some rules, and then the "city stopped enforcement after church groups and the
homeless criticized the move as an effort to drive the homeless away".
Well, duh? Driving street bums away sounds like a good idea to me.
I don't want to pay for a day spa for street bums. We are not talking
about providing a shelter for women with children. There's no way a woman
with children could expose them to what they would see a day spa for vagrants.
We do little or nothing for homeless women with children, but we spend millions
feeding and tending to street bums and addicts.
If the do-gooders had true concern for the down and out, they would be demanding
the state re-open the mental institutions. We could afford to maintain
several institutions outside several large cities around the state much more
cheaply and humanely than we can regulate half-way houses. They would also
be fighting for facilities for women with children. They won't do that.
The do-gooders would rather handout food to bums lined up like trained pets.
Part of the reason the do-gooders from the suburbs come to Dallas to feed the
street bums is to discourage them from looking for handouts in the suburbs.
I don't blame the Downtown guys for wanting the street bums moved out of their
area. I just don't want them moved to my area or your area. I want
the city to make the street bums disburse and follow the rules.
We cannot live in a city where some people have to follow city laws and
regulations and others get a pass. For that matter, why do only taxpayers
have to follow the laws?
If street bums and street feeders get to confiscate other people's property,
then I want to stake a claim on some prime properties that don't belong to me.
If street bums and street feeders get to litter and pollute our public spaces
and park land, then I want to throw litter out my car and dump bulk trash on
streets outside my neighborhood.
Of course, I'm kidding. We are nothing without property rights and
community standards. I don't want to live in a polluted and littered city,
but unfortunately I do.
We cannot keep our medians or our parks green, but we can spend millions on a
day spa for street bums who trash our public places and harass. We can
even furnish street bums free transportation from Downtown to wherever we
finally put their planned day spa. Does the city furnish you free
transportation to and from your job?
There is a community meeting on this issue Tuesday night at 7 pm in the Council
Chambers at City Hall. We weren't invited to the meeting last week where
the street bums had the ear of the Mayor and Councilwoman Finkelman.
Everyone at City Hall knows who we are in Northwest Dallas, and no one thought
to include us in the meeting or set up a community meeting with us.
It's time the Mayor start dancing with the "ones who brung her". Dallas
taxpayers should take precedence over street bums.
If we set up a day spa for vagrants, we are only
inviting street bums from all over to head for the good life in Dallas.