Oak Cliff's Better Nature Takes Charge

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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The Oak Cliff secession movement in 1990 was one of Oak Cliff's very few expressions of political will in the last 30 years, and even that weak attempt at assertiveness was based on the region's profound inferiority complex. Its ethos was sort of: If you're going to treat us like your red-headed child anyway, then, fine, we don't want to be in your damned family any more.

I don't remember anybody saying, "Oh, no, please stay." Most of the Yankee blow-ins said, "What's Oak Cliff?"

It's right across the river from downtown. Oak Cliff is hilly, forested with cedars and can feel like Austin if you blink your eyes. And smoke some dope.

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At the turn of the previous century it was upscale. The turn-of-the-previous-century was a long time ago. In 1990 Oak Cliff was at the wrong end of white flight -- well, maybe that was the right end, come to think of it. But the point is, Oak Cliff was decidedly down at the heels.

There have always been two strands of leadership in Oak Cliff: the proud champions versus the grovelers. On the one hand you have guys like Bob Stimson, a former city council member and current president of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, who has always known that Oak Cliff is cool and wouldn't live anywhere else if you paid him. But then there also always has been this parade of leaders, often on the city council, who think Oak Cliff should settle for whatever it can get because it can't get much anyway.

That was what was wrong with Dave Neumann, the incumbent who just got voted off the city council. Just an example: People in Oak Cliff had been fighting for years to get the right kind of mixed development on Fort Worth Avenue -- a very tough fight because it means somebody had to borrow money to build to a market that isn't there yet.

So right in the fat middle of all that, without any consultation with the people who had invested all that time, Neumann comes along with former Mayor Tom Leppert and announces he's done a deal with Walmart for the very area they were working on.

Walmart!

I'm not a Walmart-hater, in the right place and time. But Walmart in that location kills all kinds of other efforts to do something new and better. Walmart just soaks up all the business. It's the retail equivalent of a bad Japanese nuke plant. Nobody can get near it. Nobody can borrow money to go in and do small shops or organic grocery stores or anything like that. The money's all going to say, "Hey, there's a Walmart going in there, forget it."

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Scott Griggs' election to city council is a sign that Oak Cliff wants to keep its cool.
And here's the point: Neumann was proud of the Walmart deal. He was expressing the old Oak Cliff chip-on-the-shoulder, down-in-the-mouth, better'n-a-sharp-stick-in-the-eye fatalism.

Wow, it'll be a brand-new Walmart instead of a used one trucked in from East Texas!

So guess who one of the people on the other side of that whole fight was? Scott Griggs, the guy who beat Neumann in the election last weekend. Griggs is the other strand -- the proud, smart one.

It's very exciting. It's Oak Cliff's better nature stepping to the wheel of the ship. It's all about Oak Cliff is cool, Oak Cliff rules and no more Oak Cliff fools.

I'm not saying it hasn't always been there. It has. That's why I talked about Stimson. But the fact that the voters of Oak Cliff turned to that better nature now and away from the old nature is very exciting and just damned happy news.

Oak-Cliff-Oh just became Oak Cliff-Oh-Yeah.


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133 comments
James Daley
James Daley

I think oak cliff is great, when I moved here everybody was telling me how bad it was , I didn't see it. I seen neighboprhoods with potential. I was also glad that it was dry (keep the skells downtown) I also seen that if you wanted something you had to go somewhere else to get it.there isn't a movie theatre. anything fancy is somewhere else  I think that putting a walmart on fort worth ave is like putting six bullets in a russian roulette gun, you can't win how about an in & out burger, how about a butcfher , a good fruit store one with character not one with stock market reports only caring about bottom lines not with trying to  keep the neighborhood atmosphere

Ben
Ben

Weird how none of you remember when Sears, big ol' bad ass bigbox Sears, served as the anchor of Jefferson Blvd and Ross Avenue where Fiestas now stand. Strong and full of mom and pop shops the blocks were. You would have to been living waaaay back in yesteryear, 1985!

Not even sure what all the fuss is about.

Carter Class of '72
Carter Class of '72

"Yankee blow-ins?" Jim, aren't you a carpetbagger from Detroit yourself?

dertymindz
dertymindz

 Man, you guys got me. Thank the lord for the righteous like y'al!  You know everything, but the past, and y'alls stench is growing ever so stronger. Read what became of Uptown...the Southern one is next. And to the haters...Kiss My Grits. PEACE

Nice
Nice

Sweet Jesus...I just realized what's happening here. For some reason, JimS posts an article talking about Oak Cliff changing and fighting for itself for once, and all of a sudden a three or four people start bombing the comment section praising Dave Neumann and Wal-Mart and talking about how the change is bad for the poor. At first, I thought they were genuine, then I realized...Wal-Mart just blew up, and a handful of people just lost a big pay day on the land deal...So all this BS about, "Wal-Mart put my Aunt through College", and "We don't need no white people" is a total front.  

 

The only people this deal hurts are the one's who stand to profit. Sorry MF's...you lost.  

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

 The first victim of the nice little Walmart Neighborhood store will be he Aldi's (grocery store) that just opened not long ago across the street. Once Aldi is gone (out of business) from that location, Walmart will be the ONLY player, Then, they will do what they want.

dertymindz
dertymindz

 It was Mr. Neil Young who said, "they give you this but you pay for that".

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Instead of aiming low and "settling" for another Wally World FoodStamp WIC SuperCenter, why not go for something great, like a Trader Joe's or those smaller scale Central Markets they're building. not to mention some decent retail businesses and restaurants to surround it. Wal-Marts, as a whole, are rotting retail carcasses IMHO, that attracts maggots, who in turn decompose and destroy the area and communities they surround. 

ts
ts

As a NOC resident, I'm glad to see all the backbiting crossing the river.  We've arrived.

JimS
JimS

Wow, this is interesting. It's Wal-Mart, that great temple of equality and justice for all, versus those terrible racist white people who want to break all the rules and move into the townships with the people of color, and why would white people do that if they weren't up to some kind of ethnic cleansing? Just does not wash for me. I suspect half the pro-Wal-Mart crap here is astro-turf coming from some boiler room, and I would trust the North Oak Cliff people to be cool way before I would trust anything from the Wal-Martonians. I mean, people, be serious. Wal Mart?

pak152
pak152

so when one looks at this Google map for where Walmarts are located in Dallas they are fairly absent in the OC http://goo.gl/maps/zNTf  it is really too bad that the "do-gooders" are so in favor of preventing people from accessing lower prices, well stocked shelves and jobs. much better for them to have to buy higher priced food and clothes at toney stores

rubbercow
rubbercow

Wow.  Thanks (and I mean that sincerely)!  This comment brings a lot of perspective to the whole argument.

Coleman
Coleman

 you sound like a yankee trying to swear like someone from Texas.

This hipster found a fraud
This hipster found a fraud

You're a fraud...and you just lost your Wal-Mart. Sorry...you'll have to shoot for another land deal somewhere else.

dertymindz
dertymindz

Hmmm...hard to understand where you're coming from with your wild generalizations. Walmart helped my Aunt go through college. Walmart has helped quite a few folks with the bills and put food on the table. I suppose all these new mom and pop shops are gonna employ all these folks? Probably not. Save the hyperbole for those who have no ammo.

cp
cp

Because not everybody has an idea for what to do with artichoke hearts, organic wheat fussili pasta, San Marzano tomatoes and basil pesto. Or wants that.

It's okay to have both. If there is enough density, you can have both. There's room for a small specialty urban market and a Wal Mart. Or whatever else.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Wasn't Oak Cliff white before it wasn't?  It the theory is "whoever steals it last wins," then the white flight into Oak Cliff is just part of the natural order of things.  Personally, I'm looking forward for the day when the local residents start complaining about all the white people moving into Preston Hollow.

Edgar
Edgar

Well, if you're suggesting that using public zoning laws to redefine an area can be sanctioned as long as the end result is cool, that doesn't wash for me either.  As a NOC resident, I was downright ashamed of the vitriol espoused by residents opposed to the introduction of foremerly-homeless to the tower down the way on FWA.  That tower is already a rough place; keeping the formerly homeless out wouldn't really impact property values.  The explanation for that uproar is that it was a long-term plan that interfered with NOC resodents' long-term plans for making the area cool.  It's really not all that different than the phobias voiced by North Dallas residents in the aftermath of the big Buchmeyer decision.  I don't really care if a Wal-Mart goes in there or not.  There are less-notorious chain establishments that would serve the people there well, and I doubt those are what your boy Scott has in mind for that area either.

dertymindz
dertymindz

 Where are these places where the rich, poor, middle class(true diversity) live with each other? It sounds all nice and dandy, but the truth of the matter is, that the more affluent the neighborhood turns, the less diverse it becomes.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

Walmart does not always have cheaper prices. You've just been brainwashed into thinking they do. So when you walk a mile from your car, another mile to the back of the store to buy your eggs, you see they are higher in price but you're too tired, stand in line another 5 minutes, and tthen you pay it anyway forget 10 minutes later you were ever in Walmart, but they got your cash.Kaching! Sucker.

french fried taters
french fried taters

umm...there's a Wal-Mart Supercenter that's 2.9 miles away from the exact spot that this Wal-Mart is being proposed. It will kill every small (read:local) business within it's radius. But I guess we might get another checks cashing place, so that's a plus. 

Yay, ye olde champion of the poor.

Nice
Nice

 "San Francisco", "Poor Aunt", "Greyhound Travels"

Man...that's some classic bullshit you're layin down. Guess what, Wal-Mart ain't comin' now...keep up the "hipsters are kickin' out the poor" line though...it makes you look smart.

Clea
Clea

 What you don't seem to be getting is, this is not a supercenter or the Wal Mart that helped your aunt get through college. There is one of those Wal Marts right down the damn street. This Wal Mart is going to be one of their neighborhood "markets" like the one in Uptown. Higher prices, dude. The opposition against this Wal Mart has nothing to do w/opposition against the poor. And no, those mom and pop shops will not employ a lot of people. But the presence of that wal mart will take away a lot of opportunity for independent businesses. And if you think a community of independent "mom and pop" businesses is worse off than a community serviced by the Wal Marts of the world...well, that sure ain't the 'merican dream. It's effed.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

I know a new, huge, vacant apartment building across from NorthPark that has a Whole Foods sitting at it's base that would just be PERFECT for a HUD group of homeless. It also sits at the DART stop. Let's see how Ann Margolin would like that in her district. LOL! Oh girl!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I'm pretty sure the biggest objection to Cliff Manor was the idea that you could tuck some extra homeless people into the Oak Cliff area and no one would object while you have large swaths of the city for whom the homeless problem is "out of sight, out of mind". You compare reactions to the phobias of North Dallas, but that comparison isn't really fair. They aren't being asked to welcome homeless people into their part of town. I agree that the reactions were overblown, but comparing the opponents to "North Dallas" isn't really fair either.

dertymindz
dertymindz

The Disciples of Griggs will never understand what you're saying for they secretly don't like poor folks either. 

cp
cp

NYC? 

Anonymous
Anonymous

That may be true, but all of Oak Cliff outside Kessler and Stevens Park is still VERY diverse and will be for quite some time. Change may be accelerating but there will be lots of poorer families living in Kings Highway, Winnetka Heights, Kidd Springs, etc for a while. Gentrification takes WAY longer than the flight because property values plummet quickly and build up slowly.

dertymindz
dertymindz

If this is the snobbery that comes with "coolness", i'll be quite alright with being "square".

JimS
JimS

My bad. You're right. Wal-Martians -- little greenback people. 

pak152
pak152

they may not always the cheapest prices but on the whole they are cheaper, and in many cases their fruits, vegetables and meats are fresher. a smart shopper will always comparison shop. I don't always shop WM, but when I do it is because the item is in stock and at a good price. the sad thing is that is that a large number of people have a visceral hatred of WM without having ever shopped there. much like people who complain about talk radio without ever listening to them. the information is pretty much second or third hand

cp
cp

No it won't! Different demographics. There is a way to do it all. Other cities manage to do it.

But, I love how the argument against Wal Mart is that there's already a Super Wal Mart 3 miles away. We get the same treatment in our neighborhood, which has been wanting a grocery and fending off things like 24-hour towing car lots. The do-gooders in the neighborhood did manage to successfully fend off a La Michoacana on the basis that it would look shitty and not be kept up. So we got a Family Dollar instead. And it looks shitty and is never kept up. Some of us understand the reality that a Joe's Coffe Haus within walking distance might not last long. But I would have preferred the meat market/grocery store over the Family Dollar, within walking distance. Because I still have to take an hour to get in my car and drive three stupid miles and stand in a long-ass line just to pick up a damn fresh tomato.

But thanks for telling everyone else how far they should drive to do a little grocery shopping done.  

dertymindz
dertymindz

So, which community grocer will they be taking away from? If not a Walmart, what? A Whole Foods, Central Market, Sprouts? Those are all chains just as Walmart. They just don't have the Walmart name and that to y'all just ain't cool. It's okay. I know funky hipsters wish for an eclectic neighborhood experience. You guys are paying good money for it, no? Who are the, mom and pops, that will take the "whatever chain grocer insert" place? Thanks for your wonderful insight into my not getting it, but I get it, loud and clear.

Right
Right

@df8dcdd7694d649eb5b1a3694b8780e8:disqus

You sure are a rocket scientist...how's this, genius...where are the largest job sectors in Dallas? Three places: 635/Tollroad, I35&NorthwestHWY, and 75&Forest. Tell us why you feel the poor should be placed in an area where no jobs exist and where they'll have to commute hours and miss out on school activities with their kids. As much as you like to attack hipsters, you sound like a straightup white bread conservative who's making sure the "browns" don't come North. Guess you're not a big fan of integration...it just doesn't fit the "South belongs to the poor...North belongs to the Rich" narrative that you'd like to maintain.

dertymindz
dertymindz

But why do you not want them in your neighborhood? You see it's easy to spin this question around the way you have, but it's quite disingenuous. Why don't you like the poor? Do they not fit the model of cool, hip, and urbane? Just come out and say it "New"Oak Cliff(NOC), "We don't want the Poor". See, it's not that hard. Years down the line, when Oak Cliff resembles Uptown, the only poor you'll have to reside with, are those clearing your table. See, I didn't forget that the same thing happened when Uptown was manufactured. Smart am I, no?

Montemalone
Montemalone

 I don't understand why they don't just put the homeless up in Valley View. There's lots of space that nobody's using, and they can go out and clean windshields on the new LBJ parking lot that will soon appear once reconstruction begins

matt
matt

 you have lost your mind.

dertymindz
dertymindz

 You're really on to something...so the foot of the Singleton and Beckley will be the precursor to Oak Cliff. Thanks for the heads up! 

quick!
quick!

You're on to something...those damn bicycling hippies with their "think small" mottos, actually hate the poor.

If you really want to see a decimation of an entire swath of low income families, look no further than the foot of the new bridge at Singleton and Beckley. As soon as the new bridge is complete, you'll get to see first-hand a population of poor hispanics become wiped off the face of the city by a handful of wealthy developers.

Take pictures...they could be gone within months.

Monsieur Douchebag
Monsieur Douchebag

@df8dcdd7694d649eb5b1a3694b8780e8:disqus

Us?!?! Ha! Mr. San Francisco is now among the poor families of Oak Cliff. Tell us more, oh great poverty stricken one, of this grand Golden Gate Bridge, and of the glorious greyhound in which you travel upon. Oh, and remind us where exactly you plug your computer in when you're replying to comments on the DO blog. For someone who's poor, you somehow managed to scrounge up enough scratch to cover your dsl bill.

dertymindz
dertymindz

 But the plan is still to rid the area of us.

cp
cp

How long ago did Wal Mart start selling groceries? 

Coleman
Coleman

 man, I have a feeling this article about how Target actually undercuts Wal-Mart on a lot of things is going to really chap your ass...

http://consumerist.com/2011/03...

By the way, I was in that family trying to make ends meet growing up. We would avoid Wal-Mart for everything but ammo because that shit falls apart faster than it's worth. Now who's playing class warfare games, dick? 

dertymindz
dertymindz

 Hey Coleman, no bizarro world just the truth. Go talk to a family, trying to make ends meet, about how they feel about Walmart. You see, there is a world outside of your $4 latte.

Coleman
Coleman

 wait, you have to be a snob to not like Wal-Mart? what fucking bizarro world did I fall through?

Coleman
Coleman

 I'm pretty sure the percentage of Americans who have never stepped foot into the branch of the largest retail corporation is pretty much non-existant.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

@cp, that's not what I said.  I said that arguing that a WalMart was a good idea at that location because the immediate area market was underserved was not correct.  I believe that you could put a Walmart at the crossroads of Hell and Gone and it would make money.  Frankly, I'd like to see the WalMart neighborhood market down further south near where I live.  It would be a great alternative to the E-coli Kroger in Wynnewood Village.

cp
cp

@Dallas Diner- did you read their pro forma? Since when do grocery stores think it's sound business to open stores in non-profitable areas? I have always been told that competition is always a good thing, but for some reason Wal Mart seems to be the exception to this rule. I don't understand it. I only WISH that my little neighborhood in South Dallas had this many choices.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

There are quite a number of established grocery stores very close to the proposed Neighborhood WalMart location, including the Minyard's across the street, the neighborhood Tom Thumb on Hampton, and at least three grocery stores geared toward the Hispanic locals.  I have no problem with the WalMart store coming in, that's the American way, but the argument that it will serve a currently unserved market just isn't true.

Nice
Nice

Tell us, pak152, how much money did you just lose on the Wal-Mart land deal now that Scott's been elected?

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