The News Has a Hissy Fit Over Poison Soil. Maybe It Should Dig Into Its Own Dirt.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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Yesterday The Dallas Morning News published an editorial written in a style that I, as a journalist and one-time editorial writer, could only describe as screaming hissy fit

The newspaper is incredibly pissed off because a recycling yard they've been trying to run out of business for the last year won a lovely award from Friends of Fair Park, one of the city's most distinguished public service groups.

How could Friends of Fair Park dare to honor a company The News wants dead? Didn't they check first?

So angry was The News with the Friends of Fair Park for honoring Gold Metal Recyclers that they accused the Friends of some kind of complicated racism or elitism or something bad:

"The neighborhood surrounding the State Fair grounds is known as South Dallas/Fair Park, but don't be fooled by the cohesive connotations of that name. The gates and walls and chain-link fences make clear exactly where the boundary is between the park and its South Dallas neighbors."
So that means what? The Friends don't give a damn about the neighborhood around them, right? They're a bunch of elitists and maybe racists.

Good God, what a crock.

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Kenny and Neil Goldberg, flanked by News President John McKeon and Publisher Jim Moroney when the company was named by the paper as one of the Top 100 Places to Work in Dallas. You read that right.
Listen to what Friends of Fair Park Director Craig Holcomb had to say about the Goldberg family, owners of the recycling yard: "This is about three generations of the Goldberg family, going to work every day in South Dallas and doing their part to create a more vibrant and sustainable community.

"The Goldbergs have proven to be good citizens contributing to the welfare of the South Dallas area by providing hundreds of jobs, giving back to charities and organizations in need, preserving natural resources, and putting millions of dollars back into the economy."

If you judged by the tone of the editorial, you'd think the Goldbergs were serial killers. Talk about shrieky. My ears hurt after I read that thing. I bet every crystal wine glass in about a 10-block area cracked when they wrote it.

The News is on a tear to have a bunch of businesses run out of the area near the Trinity River. Who knows what it's really all about? For a long time the worst complaint they were able to come up with about Gold Metal Recycling was that it caused dust and was a source of loud banging noises.

To give you some flavor for the area near Gold Metal, about the only problem I can imagine coming from dust and loud noises would be if it's working some sort of hardship on the crack houses. And usually you can't even disturb those people with a two-by-four.

Now The News has a new drum to bang, suggesting broadly that the recycling yard is poisoning the soil: "The soil beneath Gold Metal is so full of toxins -- arsenic, mercury, benzene and lead -- that the company has entered a state-directed environmental remediation program," the editorial claims.

"The source of these toxins is under investigation but certainly comes from decades of industrial misuse, including by previous owners. The bottom line is that heavy industry has no place in residential neighborhoods. If Gold Metal hadn't been grandfathered under current zoning laws, it would never be allowed to operate there."

Hey, let me tell you something. That stuff is skating along very carefully just inside the libel line. I would bet 10 bucks it was carefully lawyered.

Read it again. Do they tell you that they know that the Goldbergs put that stuff in the soil? No, not when you read carefully. They suggest it. But a closer reading allows another interpretation: that the Goldbergs are cleaning up poisons put in that dirt long before they bought the property, an entirely predictable aftermath of a century of heavy industrial use.

But let's not get legal. I have a good faith proof in mind by which The News could show its good intentions and honesty of purpose. What they need to do is invite in a team of environmental investigators to check out the soil all over their own property, especially in the area where their original printing plant was downtown.

If we're going to damn people to hell for what's in their dirt, let's take a good close look at a major industrial use that has been in the same ownership for a very long time on the very same site.

The News.

Gold Metal owners Kenny and Neil Goldberg, praised by the Friends for "doing their part to create a more vibrant and sustainable community," were given the "2011 Spirit of the Centennial Award."

If The News submits to a pollution check of their own property, I think they should be given the High Screaming Hissy Fit Award for 2012, bequeathed only to recovering bullies who are able to acknowledge their own feet of clay.

Don't hold your breath.

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37 comments
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Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

The heavy metal use was on that property when white families lived there,long before Black folk moved to Southern Dallas,a block away DISD uses that old P&G property with all kinds of dirty soil,they did attempt to clean it.DMN need to go straight to hell race batting on Gold Metal. I was on P&Z when issued zoning for them under South Dallas plan and Councilwoman Ragsdale wrote the improvements she wanted the company to do and I believe all were done.DMN wants to help their developer Friends get that property for little of nothing, for the so Trinity Plan,they don't want Black people within a 10 mile radius of Downtown Dallas.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Betty, did "white families" live there? I thought it was Jewish and other minorities. I'm not making a charge against Jews, but they weren't considered "white" back then. This topic (segregation) always brings to mind McShann. We lived in some apts on Harvest Hill for a year and my grandfather was a couple of blocks away on Charlestown. McShann, for those who don't know was basically an all Black street. This street was nicer, better maintained than any other in the neighborhood--Preston-Inwood between Forest and Harvest Hill. That was still the case in the early 80's, I don't know if it's still so sharply segregated. There are so many vestiges of Jim Crow forty years after it's passing. I remember when the DISD started busing, I was in 3rd grade. It's a legacy we don't fully appreciate and fail to understand it's impact on so much.

JimS
JimS

Scottindallas: Well, depending on how deep you want to go in the well of ignorance, there have been times in American history when the Irish were not considered white (look at 18th early 19th century Brit fox-hunting art, the Irish dog groom always looks like a chimpanzee), the Italians were considered black (Booker T. Washington visited Italy and took great delight in writing about how much more primitive Italians were than African-Americans, and long before Hilter, the 19th century when lage numbers of Germans and Slavs began hitting our shores, they were generally described as as slobbering apes. Just sayin'. I'm not sure what any of these distinctions mean today. In the 1950s, when Jewish Dallas was in South Dallas, Jews were white. But here;s a question for you: in 2011, what's good about white? Is there any reason to be proud of that term?

CJAZ
CJAZ

THERE'S that white guilt. It took awhile to arrive at the party, but it got there.

dertymindz
dertymindz

That question would be better asked on the stormfront site.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Thought I might mention here that the current plan for fixing Dead Man's Curve involves extending U.S. 375 westward from the curve to a new interchange with I-45. In other words, the Gold Metal site has the potential to be a big real estate play-- I suspect that's what is behind all of this nonsense being spewed by the DMN.

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

Wylie is correct. The city of Dallas (i.e. taxpayers) will be buying a portion of land from Gold Metals for fixing Dead Man's Curve. Any real estate deal comes with an environmental evaluation in determining price. And this site has so many levels of chemical and metal contamination, it would qualify as a Superfund. But if the EPA gets involved, they would close it down and seriously investigate, holding businesses (current and prior) accountable. And the status as a Superfund site doesn't really help with your real estate prospects.

There is a reason Gold Metals voluntarily entered into remediation with the state. I don't know, because of indemnity and desire to sell the property to the City--taxpayers--at the highest possible price?

As far as the conspiracy theories, the land is so contaminated, who in their right mind would want it? It would cost at least a couple of million to properly remediate. But you could sell a portion to taxpayers as part of a road improvement scheme, work out a back room remediation with the state, and slowly move away. Indemnity at a far less price than if the EPA steps in.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

So, who is it that wants the property that the DMN is sucking up to?

Tom L (no, not that L)
Tom L (no, not that L)

Jim, I'm not sure where to ask so I'll ask here.

I just got the strangest post card in the mail. It's purportedly from the Dallas County Elections Department and has my correct precinct info on it. And it says my usual polling place will not be open for the May 14 election but instead I have to trek across town to some hotel up on LBJ freeway.

Is this legit? Seems to me someone would've mentioned something about the usual polling places not being open.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Shoot it to me?

scottindallas
scottindallas

be glad this isn't the ticket, and quotes can't be turned into drops.

What do you think of the Flying Burrito Bros? I think I must have been born with Flying Burrito Bros. synapses that were waiting for that sloppy, groovy key--countryfied "Let It Bleed" and "Exile"

Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

Can't quarrel about FFP ineptitude, but any property near a railroad for 30-60 years or next to a highway for 20-30 years is going to have polluted soil. Gold Metal is providing a service that is needed. Does DMN want us to stop recycling and start dumping metal in our trash cans to go to the land fill? The nearby neighborhood may have been historic and important once, but in the late 80's when the P&Z toured the Gold Metal area -- Gold Metal was nicer than anything else around it. Unless there's been some gentrification that's slipped under the radar, the houses across the road from the entrance to GM were in bad condition 30 years ago. We made them move most of their operation to the rear of their property, but found no reason to close them down.

This is a Belo a/o ODB land grab. No question about it.

annon
annon

Alls I know is that if Carolyn Davis is taking money from GM, no one should support it

Guest
Guest

The answer is in front of everyone's noses, but JS has got everyone questioning the motives of Belo instead of GM. Why would GM voluntarily agree to remediate this site? They will be transferring land soon but it's not to Belo, taxpayers.

Carry on.

Need to be anonymous this time
Need to be anonymous this time

The main reason that Friends of Fair Park honored them is because saved the 4th, make that 5th, of July Fireworks show. FFP had not successfully raised any funds until the VERY last moment when Gold Metal stepped in. This is indicative of the inpetitude of the FFP,which has not been an effective leader for Fair Park for years.

Blaskout1975
Blaskout1975

I swear, the irony that is lost on damn near all of you (especially "Shotgun Guy") is downright hilarious.

Willprysalot
Willprysalot

Jeez, Jim, for you to call out the News for screeching is the very definition of the the adage "the pot calling the kettle black." Have you actually read, with a clear head, the vast majority of what you write?

LAZER SUX
LAZER SUX

he does'nt have to care anymore, look at that GUN!! aw shit, here he comes, we meddlin' kids better get off his grass, post-haste.. help us o'lord, help us! not wilonsky though....

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

BELO = DMN = Printer's Ink = Heavy Metal (Lead) Contamination?

A very common problem in locations where newspapers were printed. Also discovered to be a common probem where newsprint was disposed of (landfills).

LAZER SUX
LAZER SUX

get your one-way ticket to midnight, call it: HEAVY METAL!!

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

The corner grocery store the DMN had set up trying to get subscriptions as people came into shop. When I exclaimed that I would never subscribe to the DMN after they raised their rates and started charging for on line access I mentioned their constant effort to drive businesses like Gold Metal out of their long established places of business because their self ineptest in their (Belo/Dealy) properties and that in my opinion they were using the paper for self promotion of their investments as opposed to the duty to truthfully inform the public the sales guy trying to sell me a subscription had a look like he was sucking lemons. It made my day!

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Just got a call from the DMN about the free paper 'Briefing. Wanted me to call to renew my free subscription. While I would welcome it (becase I am a cheep SOB) I had signed on but they never deliver. Go figure in that I walk the hood and see all those copies trashing peoples front yard. What a bunch of self serving clowns (DMN(.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

I have a serious question, as I don't know the area. Is there no neighborhood there that should be protected? Is it really only crackhouses?

LAZER SUX
LAZER SUX

damned if did'nt see you there night before last, bill.. WTF??

stupidisasstupiddoes
stupidisasstupiddoes

No, it is not only crackhouses. That neighborhood is historically known as Colonial Heights. The houses were built in the 20s. There are lots of good, honest people living there and they would be really irritated to know that because some people view their homes as "crackhouses" that they are not worthy of the same considerations as anyone else, anywhere else in Dallas. The polluting industries were not there first, the homes were. Many people have lived there for generations. There used to be a streetcar line that goes through the neighborhood. There are many old unique storefronts that you can still see when driving through. What "ruined the neighborhood" was I-45 and later, 175, chopping it all up, and then the heavy industry. And yeah, it's because after the Jews fled for North Dallas and the blacks moved in, it became the neighborhood to dump on. It's dealing with decades of racism. The people who live and worship there are fed up and are saying something about it and now seemingly for the first time in the history of Dallas, they have the Morning News on their side. And people are criticizing the News? Sorry but they are right this time.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

It's pretty clear you've never bothered to look at an aerial photograph of the site: it is bounded by on each side of Lamar by other metal recyclers; in the rear it abuts both I-45 and a major freight railroad line connecting Dallas to Houston. Heavy industry has been there for decades; and there are actually few complaints from residents-- indeed, the company is one of the larger employers in South Dallas.

dertymindz
dertymindz

Nothing new here folks. The newspaper bidness been editorializing their overlords views since probably its' inception. Those salaries of them "letter writing folks" depend on it. Manufacturing Consent...dare say?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

JimS You asked "The News is on a tear to have a bunch of businesses run out of the area near the Trinity River. Who knows what it's really all about? ""Although voted DOWN as The TRINITY CANAL Project was when even you were a young lad the project is not dead . And I would venture its almost more about the Every day People actually thinking and Voting their wishes than losing the Project that was being voted on that still sticks in the craw of the Landed Gentry.

How Dare they ?

alfredo
alfredo

Agreeing with JS 100%, now that mey be a first

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

Why don't check into the cleanup permit, Jim? You know where to look, right? No, not City Hall. Why don't you investigate why GM would voluntarily go into a remediation program? What are the advantages of agreeing to a cleanup prior to a land sale?

I know you like to hammer away at this issue, so why not expand your gaze? You know who ends up paying for environmental contamination in Dallas, don't you? Taxpayers.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Belo has money in the Trinity River Project...I agree, id like to see less scrap yards in that part of town and away from the river as a whole, but this was purely a spite piece.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I find their subscription rates and newsstand prices to be toxic.

Perhaps Belo executives can use their bonuses towards their paper's cause.

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