The funny disease.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rich Mouse, Poor Mouse

When I moved to Chandler, I was surprised by the diversity of the neighborhoods. There are palatial mansions within a few blocks of dumpy trailer parks. The impoverished pockets of tiny, poorly insulated houses and sad discount stores are a glaring contrast to the gated subdivisions and posh strip malls.

Chandler’s proximity to Phoenix made it attractive to a lot of people during the housing boom in the Valley. The economically challenged were here when the financially enhanced showed up. There doesn’t seem to be any noise about weeding out trailer parks and scaring discount grocery stores and cash advance businesses out of town. Or if there is, it can’t be heard above the shouts to keep out a chemical company that employs animal testing or the demands to keep a waste transfer station from being built next to a public park.

On the other side of the Valley, plans to build a transitional housing facility are provoking objections from local residents. The Phoenix City Council approved plans for the Southwest Leadership Foundation’s proposed transitional housing to assist homeless families in acquiring employment and establishing a residence. In an area already beleaguered by crime, residents worry that the influx of poor single mothers and their children will increase problems.

Similarly disinclined to sharing the neighborhood with those struggling to make a living, Disneyland is suing Anaheim over a proposed complex of subsidized apartments. Disney pays hundreds of park employees so little that the majority of them must commute, because they can’t afford to live in Anaheim. Disney has set their attack lawyers on the city to stop the development that would certainly benefit some of their so-called “cast members.” They claim that any housing development would be inappropriate for the area, which had to be rezoned. It used to be zoned for tourism-related business.

The contested area adjoins property that Disney owns and plans to build its third Anaheim attraction on. Apparently, the poor are good enough to go through the service entrance to operate park rides, assemble chilidogs and scrape gum off the sidewalk. But they are not good enough to be neighbors. Heaven forbid someone who spends the day wearing a 60-pound mouse costume in the relentless California sun should have a short commute.

In related news regarding disdain for the socioeconomic underclass, early Thursday morning Paris Hilton was released from prison and allowed to finish the remainder of her sentence under house arrest, due to an undisclosed medical condition. Because there are plenty of people with serious medical conditions in jail, my money is on a rare and debilitating allergy to poor people.

Despite a theoretical increase in crime or a possible allergic reaction, I would trade subsided housing for a waste transfer station as a neighbor faster than a celebrity heiress can say “Ankle bracelet.” These examples of shunning the fiscally depleted and the residentially challenged and deficient are stifling the very efforts meant to give them a boost. The attitude that the homeless and those living below the poverty line will go away if you don’t feed them is about as insightful and realistic as trying to keep illegal immigrants out of the U.S. with 2,000 miles of steel fence. Especially when we could easily get rid of poor neighbors by helping them prosper.

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1 Comments:

Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Then there is EL Mirage. Disney is a total Nazi.

6/10/2007 4:30 PM

 

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