Morning News Editorial Writers Take Another Shot at the Working Poor

Categories: Schutze

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Wikipedia
For future reference, dear Morning News editorial writers, this is what heavy industry looks like.

Today we have a lead editorial in The Dallas Morning News, our city's sole and only daily newspaper, which starts off with a certain mistake that wounds my heart every time I see it. Again today they say, "There's a troubled neighborhood along South Lamar where residential property has suffered from decades of steady encroachment by heavy industry."

As one who grew up in the great American Ruhr -- the Upper Midwest manufacturing belt of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois -- it pains me to see a major American daily newspaper repeatedly refer to the scrap metal recycling business as "heavy industry."

Real heavy industry, what the word truly refers to, is something you would recognize the instant you saw it for the first time -- ore freighters docked at one end, miles of stacks rising to the clouds, a roar that shakes the ground, a stench that slaps your face and hundreds of thousands of people flocking straight to it from the four corners of the world with ferocity in their eyes, determined to walk into that hell and come back out with a brick house, two new cars and a bunch of kids in college. Apparently whoever keeps writing that line on the Morning News editorial board has never seen the real thing.

See also:
Southern Dallas' Uncounted Workers
Dallas City Hall versus The Car Wash

Instead what they are campaigning against again today is the scrap metal recycling business, a light, low-impact industry that rips nothing from the ground, puts up no sky-scraping smokestacks, may clang a bit but does not roar or stink. And it provides desperately needed scarce employment for the people who live near it.

Today's editorial is again urging appointed and elected officials at City Hall to use zoning authority to squeeze the recycling industry out of the South Lamar district along the river, an area that has been home to that business for more than half a century. It's not easy to propose persuasive reasons for squeezing out and running off a legitimate tax-paying payroll-meeting industry that operates within all of the federal, state and local environmental laws and strictures.

The editorial writers at the News today wind up with the one argument they have summoned repeatedly in the past, that the presence of the scrap recycling yards is a hardship for surrounding residential neighborhoods. I have seen this argument reality-tested only one time.

Some years back, there was a public hearing on the issue at City Hall. We were promised the neighbors would show up en masse to tell their tales of woe about the scrapyards. When I got there, even though I was early, it was tough to find a seat in the grand ceremonial theater we call the Dallas City Council chamber. The place was jammed with modestly dressed people who looked like neighbors, and I guess I expected them to rise up during the public speaking portion of the meeting and rip the recycling industry a new one.

That did not happen. One after another, those people trudged up to the microphone, some of them battling painful shyness, literally hat in hand, and they pleaded with the council not to shut off one of the very few sources of employment available to them. Repeated time and again was the same refrain I have heard from people working at Jim's Car Wash on MLK, another business the scrubbing bubbles of betterment would like to get rid of.

To paraphrase, it was this: "I've had a rough life. I have a record. I don't want more trouble. I want to work. These people will hire me. I can get there easy. All I want is to work so I can live and take care of my family. These are good people. They will hire me. Please don't shut them down."

I don't get moved to tears by much I see in the council chamber. I was that day.

Work is good. Bottom-level work, the work people can do when they are at the bottom of the heap, is ugly. It is ugly and good. Things don't get pretty until they get better. In the long run there is only one real way to make things better. Work.

A little over a year ago, we spoke here about the real wound in the heart of southern Dallas, which is the number of people counted as "not in the labor force." That's not unemployment. These are people who are not even included in unemployment numbers because they have rarely if ever even been employed.

In some census tracts, like the one near the exclusive corporate golf course the city is helping build in southern Dallas, more than 60 percent of residents are not in the labor force. Unemployment rates higher than 10 percent are stacked on top of that.

Making the area prettier by banishing good sources of employment is like providing a free shoe shine to a man with an open wound on his leg. It's so utterly inappropriate that it raises questions of true motivation. And, yes, when I think about those questions, I do find myself taking into account that this whole area, the site of the scrapyards and the car wash and the meat processing plants, is also the site of a massive real estate play along the Trinity River for which the city's only daily newspaper has been an aggressive partisan for the last 20 years.

A turnover in the ownership of large parcels of land in this area is in the direct interest of people who want to see the big new land play happen along the river. The Dallas Morning News is among them. I don't accept the reasons given for the paper's continued concerted assault on large parcel owners in that area. I'm that simple.

Call me tinfoil hat. I can take it. But just to prove me wrong, editorial writers, why don't you try this? Next time, before you propose anything that would remove a single source of work from this part of town, tell me first what you propose to do to replace that job.

Before you take away one person's ability to earn an honest living by working, show me how you are going to replace it. Then we're talking. I would love nothing more than to be able to take off this hat before another summer season arrives.

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62 comments
scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

They're part of the financiers, who advocate for low cap gains.  Raising cap gains would tax the financiers and would LOWER the tax burden of REAL HEAVY INDUSTRY aka REAL CAPITALISM.  What we have today, what the "capitalists" advocate is financialism.  That's the market we've had since Regan, and Clinton moved all the incentives there. 

GAA214
GAA214

The DMN are puppets of their Parkie overlords.  Developers want the land.  Plain and simple. 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

This country is SO broken......The American Dream now is an X-Box and some fancy duds that cost over 100 dollars a pop.  The inmates have now taken over, the asylum is now in the hands of the insane and infirm-please turn in your guns, get in your cars, GO HOME!


Life works in a vacuum; we are the dirt. The vast middle class is what made this thing of ours great, shielded in it's banality and simple ethics. Now some guy pushes one button, once a day, and makes millions; and YES, he is fat and rich!  It took no skill.


Hard work now is akin to stupidity. 

AtoZ
AtoZ

Nope, I see it differently.  Those are not "good sources of employment."  They're just the best those people can get.  That doesn't make them "good," or good for Dallas as a whole.  The least moldy sandwich is not the same thing as a good sandwich, but as usual your "logic" slides all over the page like a greased pig.  The notion of preserving crappy jobs for the benefit of low-tier workers is like keeping a crappy school district full of crappy teachers open for the benefit of low-performing students.  (Whoops!)  Sure, ideally everyone should have an opportunity to work.  But no one owes anyone a job.  Least of all the dreg jobs you seem to celebrate.  "But where will those people go to work?" I hear you ask.  I don't know.  Sounds harsh, but it's really not anyone's problem but theirs.  I was out of work myself recently for over two years.  No one wept for me, and they shouldn't have.  No one kept alive a tree full of low-hanging fruit for me to pick from.  It was my job to find my job.  Progress for Dallas is a great thing, and it means pushing the crummy stuff further to the outskirts, and gentrification, and lots of other positive things that seem to be dirty words around here.  Will some people be left out?  Yes, of course.  That's the price of progress.  Keep everything at the lowest common denominator works out for those bottom people, but it unfairly stunts higher performers.  (Wow!  Another DISD jab!)  Point to a functional city that has industrial facilities in the midst of prosperous, high-income centers and then I'll give your concept some thought.  Show me a facility like Fair Park somewhere else in the country that thrives in the midst of a scary, horrible part of town, and I'l reconsider the benefits of gentrification.  Otherwise, your bleeding heart position will only keep things from possibly getting better.  Besides, aren't you always the guy who says people can't be expected to do significantly better unless they get plucked out of their crappy circumstances and integrated among successful circumstances?  But now you want to keep the crappy circumstances in place?  Again, no consistent logic to your positions.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Yes, the only time the snooze ed board takes a tough stand is drunk at a urinal. Very sad.

BigDave
BigDave

Wilbur Schutze lived in the idyllic village of Lake Orion Michigan a world away from the great American Ruhr as he (Wilbur) puts it. 


Wilbur pretends like he grew up on the mean streets of Detroit which could not be farther from the truth.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I think they ought to just dump that entire crew.  Seriously.  Hire a whole new bunch with a Prime Directive - Take a Stand.  As it is, we are treated with the high-minded and courageous convictions of Yogi Berra, when presented with a fork in the road, they take it.

I don't care if it's Right or Left, Libertarian or stout Vegetarian but get out there plant a flag.  Capture territory. 

The current formula - Decisive Header, milquetoast recitation of the facts for filler, an on-the-other-hand counter point to block a potential retraction, then a big Nancy admonishment finish . . . is now so formulaic the Opinion page could just replace them all with a single-frame cartoon.  The same one, every time.

And learn how to write with impact.

"Democracy can be cruel because elections deprive the demos of the delight of alibis and the comfort of complaining." - today's George Will

or put Mr. Schutze in and let him go nuts.

tdkisok
tdkisok

Gary, Indiana. Nuff said...... 

roo_ster
roo_ster

JS:

I see those scrap metal yards and I see light industry, jobs, and real benefit to the environment via recycling metals.



James_the_P3
James_the_P3

As somebody who writes for a living, it pains me to read the first sentence.  Tell me, Jim--is there some difference between "sole" and "only"?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

What's funny is, one of the hottest properties for sale right now is small warehouse buildings in old industrial districts.  They are being converted into Dirk Pitt (protagonist in the Clive Cussler novel series) style residential lofts by the Boomers.  Very trendy.  You drive into your living room and the overhead door auto-closes behind you.  One side is built out with a mezzanine loft.  The rest is wide open living.  The last kid has taxied into the wind, the wife has moved to Santa Fe, and the Yup is free at at last, thank God Almighty, free at last. 

to live in his own dream garage. 

 With a killer sound system.

A score of these districts are in varying stages of conversion, with the Design District farthest along.  

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Why I believe the DMN would propose that all those whose jobs may be lost with the removal of this heavy industry could deliver the DMN to all those subscribers they have.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Replacing those jobs with similar jobs will just encourage those people to stay where they are. I don't think that that is part of the 'balance" or the "vision" in the "Balanced Vision" plan.


P1Gunter
P1Gunter

You failed to mention Jim all the c - stores and liquor stores on that part of Lamar that would likely also go out of business. Outside of the one that does bookmaking out of the backroom, those are their customers. Closing those scrap yards effectively kills all business on Lamar south of Downtown.

wcvemail
wcvemail

Is there any synchronization with other events to these DMN stories? That is, does some financial institution perhaps issue a periodic update, or maybe a land valuation hits another benchmark, or something? Or are the recurrences based just on the notion that "we haven't re-written this one for a while"? 


Also, good work on the car wash+scrubbing bubbles string.


WylieH
WylieH

I agree 100%... what is also curious is the fact that DMN Editorial Board continues to obsess over these facilities, all of which are appropriately situated on the opposite side of a wide arterial, while it simultaneously ignores the presence of the City of Dallas municipal garbage truck depot, pipe yard, etc.-- all of which is literally embedded right in the very middle of the Bonton neighborhood, just a short distance away.


In that area, the City engages in heavy equipment operations literally 50 feet from the back doors and bedroom windows of area residents--- if the DMN Editorial Board is concerned about neighborhood impacts in South Dallas, why do they ignore the far greater problems associated with the City of Dallas facility?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

You are right Jim.  Scrap metal recycling is to heavy industry as repairing bicycles is to the Ford River Rouge Plant in its heyday.


I spent some time at the Bethlehem plant before they shut down the blast furnaces.  That plant made the Chaparral Plant in Midlothian look like a hobby job.


One time I was working in Ohio and drove past a steel mill which had some huge forging hammers.  When you drove by in your car, you could feel those hammers at work.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@BigDave  

All true, except for idyllic. Jimmy Hoffa was my neighbor.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

No, what this process needs is a few j q publics heckling these jagoffs, a la MST3K. A RUFR counterpoint to their insular incestuous opinionations.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

btw - committees do not take stands nor have opinions.

they produce filtered cigarettes and near beer.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@James_the_P3  

the phrase is idiomatic.

been around for a long time.

it's in the Lexicon.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

@WylieH And they could also jump on AIRGAS facility that sits 25 feet away from residents in Oak Cliff at 3415 Banning and Westmoreland. Who remembers the gas facility explosion in 2009 across from downtown Dallas. Funny how the city council rushed that business away that sat between Industrial Blvd and I35 yet this business in Oak Cliff continues.


Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  From my new perch high above the shores of Lake Michigan, I can view what remains of  heavy industry in Indiana at night, the lights twinkling along the southern lakefront. And nobody is advocating for their removal. If anything the opposite.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@bvckvs  

Sanders Kaufman, Jr. calling something an "expression of ignorance"...Nice.

However, If anybody knows what one looks like, it is Sanders Kaufman, Jr.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

Saying that you see it differently is just an expression of ignorance.

Well, so much for open-minded intellectual discourse

It's like when idiots say they don't believe in climate change.

Everyone knows that climate changes, but some idiots believe that by further taxing American businesses by any means possible, they can change Earth's climate when we all know that it's simply another way for a desperate government to get more money, and create yet another vast bureaucracy of over-compensated apparatchiks who will, reliably, vote for the party that created their purposeless job, while gaining more central power over the proverbial Koch Brothers.

You want to know how to actually changes Earth's climate? Twitter!

#changeclimatenow!

Or maybe

#stopthesun!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JimSX

Jimmy Hoffa was my neighbor

Which part?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@JimSX

Was that when Jimmy Hoffa was walking on the ground, or when he was put in the ground?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@PlanoDave

However, If anybody knows what one looks like, it is Sanders Kaufman, Jr

And, if they exist, his students. One suspects that in said expression, involuntary drooling is involved - which explains the need for "Assistants".

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

With one, sole, single solitary word from me, I could double or triple the number of comments here. Of course my power is awesome, as is my humility.

It can be taught.

But, you now allow me to Segway to the most awesome event in the history of modern Democracy, which of course, given the nature of the incredible power of mandate given ideology opposite our Dear Leader's, will be entirely ignored by the Golfer-in-Chief, unlike his habit of celebrating socialist victories whenever they occur.

I will, through a sense of decency towards the sensitive nature of some of our commenters here, refrain from citing specifics, but I suspect conservatives, not to mention the proudly Islamophobic, will be smiling.

अच्छी नौकरी, भारत!

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

Hey man!  Easy for you and your Twitter cannons. Just try to channel a pulsing Yellow Dwarf, and God knows I've tried, for yourself Mr. Life-Is-Easy.

It's hard.

It's like channeling the Taos Hum.  If harnessed, I am certain I could control the Sun and save Mankind.

unless it farts, then Poof! we're an Hiroshima shadow on a Moon rock.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Your deconstruction of my arguments is remarkable not for content, but for most-welcome pith, a pattern we can only hope continues.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@holmantx  

I had a relative pronounce numbers from  11 to 19 when taking about money as $12.98: "A dollar, two and ninety - eight."   $16.25: "A dollar, six and twenty five".

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@JimSX @holmantx @James_the_P3  

or as my old man used to say for emphasis - the mainest reason.

sometimes he would go with the onlyest reason.

He would also stretch out a particular year in the past if it needed it:

Nineteen Hundred and Sixty Two!

and if you want to really torture the linguist, employ 

irregardless.

used so often and despite correction, it single-handedly shot its way into the Lexicon.  It now officially means precisely the opposite, if treated as a double negative.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @Montemalone@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul 

Hwy 225 through Pasadena beats that.  And nothing says Welcome to Hell like the plant flare at the Mobil - Beaumont refinery at full blast.

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