Last week, we wrote about Raleigh’s ascension to the shortlist for Amazon’s HQ2 (and we have more about that on page 8 in this week’s paper). Reader LH93 responded with some trepidation: “It is still a little astonishing to me that, given that the most immediate problem facing both Raleigh and Durham is a lack of affordable housing, the Triangle region launched this bid. One doesn’t have to look hard to see the remarkable upward pressure Amazon has imposed on Seattle rents, among the other deleterious outcomes the company has delivered for the city’s longtime residents. And now our local officials may decide to provide incentives for such a development, potentially sacrificing the tax dollars that make up one of the few (modest) justifications for the project. I know that this is exactly what other cities are doing, but man, this isn’t a race we should want to win.”
Lindsey Chester was more optimistic: “The transit thing is going to be a problem, but we do have improved transit coming, and the area is heavily invested in making that happen. The other cities on the list are already congestedAtlanta, anyone?or rich on crimeNewark: really? Housing is great here, land is cheap and plentiful. I think Raleigh-Durham-Cary have an excellent chance at scoring this.”
Our article about gentrification taking place in Durham’s East End continued to elicit fiery responses, like this one from maeveduir: “This is why we had to move. (Note: we are a Caucasian household, middle-class.) Housing is getting to be ridiculously overpriced in Durham. Gentrification (hate that word) is one thing, but to do it without also creating basic affordable housing (I don’t mean Section 8; I mean three-bed/two-bath for under $200,000) is ridiculous. It prevents the people who make the city happen from enjoying their home and creation. It is both racist and elitist. It is a city giving the finger to its own.”
Chuckde424 came away with a sympathetic view of John Little, one of the developers the article highlighted. “The piece never indicated that Mr. Little evicted anyone. His informed analysis and that of other knowledgeable folks quoted in the piece is that these properties that he is acquiring and rehabilitating were uninhabitable. All the naysayers have assumed, without much evidence, that they have moved folk out. The evidence seems to be that they are taking vacant, blighted properties and improving them and selling them at the new market rate. You need to hate the game and not the player.
“Mr. Little is not a developerhe’s a house flipper. What he is doing without any governmental support is pure capitalism. If we don’t like it, we need to develop public policies that change the game. The problem there is that the tools are limited to the limited powers of our local government, the limited will of our state government, and the limited vision of our elected officials. For the last three cycles, all of the electeds in Durhamthe new mayor being the chief of this strategyhave claimed to know how to develop affordable housing, yet nothing has been done. By affordable housing, I am talking about housing for middle-income folks, and not just downtown but all over town. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Let’s fix the system and not denigrate Mr. Little, who seems very knowledgeable and committed to improving the housing stock in Durham and making a buck.”
Finally, john of sparta saw something that spoke to him in last week’s Peripheral Visions. “V.C. Rogers’s recent editorial cartoon reflects a current theme for my social life. ‘Could we please try to go a whole (whatever) without talking about Donald Trump?’ But scandal sustains a populist, incessant commentary about his (fill in the blank) that drives the narrative, with Trump holding the steering wheel and accelerating.”
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