Wood-headed in Woodhaven

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Posted February 8, 2006 by Static in News

Gentrification efforts in the East Side’s Woodhaven neighborhood, led by city councilwoman Becky Haskin, have reached new levels of hype. A Feb. 7 article in the Fort Worth Star-Tell-It-Like-It-Ain’t-agram under the headline “City will allow developer’s ideas for Woodhaven” was so thick with bullcorn that Static was left speechless. Well, maybe not.

Woodhaven has indeed fallen from its 1980s glory days as a middle-class country club area. A slew of apartments designed for swinging singles evolved into a community preferred by low-income and – gasp! – minority families. The city, pushed by Haskin and aided by a questionable use of nuisance abatement laws, has tried to characterize the apartments as a crime-ridden, gang-infested ghetto that needs razing, an exaggeration more vast than the empty air pockets in Haskin’s brain. She calls the apartments “dilapidated” yet ignores the fact that some people are moving to Woodhaven apartments from other areas of Fort Worth because it’s a large step up in quality of life. Of course, Haskin doesn’t live in those other areas; she lives in Woodhaven. So she uses her sway at City Hall like a giant broom to sweep those she doesn’t like back into the cracks and crevices around town where rich folks don’t have to see them. The story’s one interesting point: the city’s backing off of threats to use eminent domain there, because of the “bitter” reactions of the apartment dwellers. Do tell.

Turn Down the Music, Not the Weed

Some people would rather be beaten with a baseball bat than assaulted by earsplitting, thumping, bass-heavy stereos blaring from automobiles. Hey, even Static, the snarky voice of an edgy alt-weekly and general proponent of personal freedoms, is inclined to yank stereos out of dashboards and cram them down the throats of idiots who want to vibrate the world and annoy everyone else in it. It was understandable, then, when a southeast Fort Worth resident complained about a car-sized boom box cruising the neighborhood and rattling windows. It was impressive that Fort Worth police responded and located the car. And it was justice when the driver was cited for loud music, even though he was a celebrity – NFL rookie star and Fort Worth homeboy Darrent Williams (a three-time All-District player while at O.D. Wyatt High School).

That should have been the end of it. But the cop smelled marijuana, found less than an ounce, handcuffed Williams, and nearly started a riot. Hey, the resident complained about music, not weed. Who cares if Williams had a small stash? When the majority of Americans, including teachers, preachers, lawyers, cops, and our most recent U.S. presidents, have admitted smoking marijuana, the laws and police enforcement should reflect this. Zero tolerance means zero common sense. Kinky Friedman for governor! Darrent Williams for president!


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