If We Could Wave A Magic Wand and Rid Our Neighborhoods of Crime, Potholes and Bad Schools, We Would. But Life Isn’t That Simple – Is it?
What would you like to see happen in Lakewood and East Dallas in 1993? Better schools? An end to crime? Smooth streets? Homes for the homeless?
Nice wishes all, but what can you do to help make your wish happen?
That’s the double-barreled, New Year’s question the Advocate posed to some of our neighbors who live and work in our community. Here are their answers.
Urmila “Umi” Nagar
Co-Owner, Lakewood Ace Hardware
The revitalization of Lakewood Shopping Center has uplifted the surrounding community. It’s a cosmopolitan neighborhood where people are very friendly, and the houses have character.
But we do have a parking problem at the shopping center, especially during lunch hour.
And I would like to see more business come in. Lakewood does need a beauty shop, and maybe a music store and a shoe store to add a little more diversity so we can better serve the community. We will work with Corrigan Properties, the management company for the shopping center, to see what we can do to help with that.
We have a lot of older people come into this store with flashlights or other things they need help with. We always do things for older people because we like them.
We don’t actively participate in community work because we’re always in the store except on Sundays. But we donate to a lot of schools and churches in the neighborhood.
I know people hope for positive changes. But the world isn’t perfect, no matter where you live.
Dallas Mavericks Broadcaster
If I could pick any one thing to happen in East Dallas this year, it would be the continued improvement of the neighborhoods. I’ve been here seven years, and I’ve seen the community improve quite a bit during that time.
People buy old houses and make them better. I’ve done that with my house, which was built in 1920. That kind of interest in neighborhoods helps everybody in the long run.
My wife, Debbie, and I have been very active in our neighborhood association. She’s a board member and crime watch captain for our block. Debbie has made a concerted effort to go door-to-door, reminding people to look out for each other.
We’ve already had a couple of situations where that attentiveness has paid off. We stopped somebody from breaking into a car one day and also chased away some people who were breaking into a house.
Co-Founder, East Dallas Police Storefront
You ask me what I want for East Dallas? I’d like to see a decentralization of City services and police services, similar to what the Police Department did with the East Dallas Storefront.
I’d like to see the City take such services as welfare assistance, tutoring, senior citizens’ programs and code enforcement right into the neighborhoods.
That kind of involvement sensitizes officers and service providers more to the needs of the community and allows the community to take part in identifying problems and their solutions.
I’d also like to see creation and full implementation of the Peak/Bryan market area. My contribution toward that goal will be as an advocate, working to make it happen. I’ll use all of my resources to ensure mutual cooperation between the City and the residents of the community and to encourage small businesses to take part. And as a resident of the community, I’ll patronize the marketplace as well.
Artistic Director, Pegasus Theatre
I’d like to see people more confident about the economy and their own personal finances. I think for too long we’ve been gripped by doubts about our economy and where we’re headed as a country. That mindset feeds on itself.
It would be nice to feel the sort of confidence people had a year ago, when we all go behind Desert Storm, and we were good guys. I’d like to have that sort of feeling on the domestic front.
I’m not in a position to affect much in the way of national policy. But if people come here to see a show, I hope they leave in a more upbeat frame of mind. It really willl take more than just me to help make that happen for everyone. It takes everybody being positive. It’s too easy to get weighed down in the little negatives. We lose sight of the big positives for all the little negatives.
Dr. Bill Bryan
Pastor, Grace United Methodist
I’d like to see all the children in East Dallas grow up whole. And to do that, I need to pay attention to the way I behave as a parent, I need to pay attention to our schools, and I need to listen to and make time for children.
There are so many needs out there, and oftentimes, when constituents come to me with needs, I’ve had to say: “Well, that’s a big-ticket item, that will have to wait until the next bond program.” It seems like I’ve been saying that for years because we haven’t had a bond program since ’85. Things like the dredging of White Rock Lake, flood control and streets must come through bond programs.
I would be the primary advocate on the Council pushing to include the next bond program. It will be my responsibility, along with community leaders from the neighborhoods and businesses in East Dallas, to present our case.
As chairman of the Public Safety committee, I’d like to get more mobile police storefronts, including one or two in East Dallas. It’s an effective crime-fighting tool. The shell for each storefront costs $50,000. The Mayor and I are going to CEOs of area corporations to see if we can get some money donated for some additional storefronts.
Dr. Arturo Cantu
Principal, Mount Auburn Elementary School
I’d like to see the relief school for Mount Auburn and Lipscomb elementaries built as soon as possible, so we can eliminate overcrowding. I’d like to thank the people of Dallas, too, for approving the bonds that will build our relief school.
Anything I can do to expedite the building of that new school, I’ll do it. I imagine the planners and architects will be anxious to make bids, and I’m ready to attend any meeting to help with the process.
Assistant Chief, Dallas Police
The community should have a better understanding of the criminal justice system. We continue to make more and more arrests. But the criminals are rotating through the system and ending up back on the street. We need to send a clear, conscise message to our legislators in Austin that this situation is not acceptable.
The police department will make continued effort to work with citizens in the areas of crime prevention and apprehension of criminals. And we’ll get involved in the education of our children, offering programs on how they can avoid situations that may send them to juvenile court and perhaps the criminal justice system.
City Councilman, East Dallas
My primary goal for 1993 would be to make some meaningful improvements in housing, especially in-fill housing on vacant lots. That also means being more aggressive in helping people repair their homes and the City doing a better job of code enforcement and early warning.
If we can do these things, I think you’ll see houses getting off the demolition list and getting repaired. You’ll see young homeowners taking pride in their neighborhoods. And that will help our tax base.
I will try to work more closely with non-profits and with other groups who are interested in our housing stock to see what we can do to accomplish these goals.
I would like to see more adults involved with children with their reading. Literacy starts at home. People think that means parents reading to their children, but that can also mean children reading to their parents. That’s certainly a ’90s idea.
At the library, we can advise parents and help them find books that their children would like to read. We’d like to provide programs, materials and encouragement for adults and children to read together at the library and at home. And we’re always here to help the schools in any way we can.
Semi-Retired Civil Engineer
I would like to see the crime problem cleared up, particularly in the Gaston Avenue section from down around Haskell, all the way east to Abrams Road. There’s a very high crime rate in that part of town. It’s hard to say what I can do. But I can become a lot more outspoken about what’s going on.
Private Secretary and Author
Robert: The police should put up roadblocks to check all these cars and take away the guns like they’re doing in Somalia. We’ve got the Marine Corps doing that in Somalia. What do we do here?
Rosemary: We should call the police every time there’s a disturbance. But the last time we called the police, it was 30 minutes before they came, and the prowlers had already gone. We’ve been thinking about forming a community awareness group to make all the neighbors aware of all the other neighbors. But then, they would know everything about you, and how do you know if you can trust them?
Robert: I would be willing to arm myself if necessary and go out with a friend and patrol the streets with two-way radios. The criminals think we’re sheep, and we won’t defend ourselves. We need to get to know each other better, so we can look out for each other.
Rosemary: Just a few days ago, a man came into the neighborhood and stole a woman’s barbecue pit. One of the neighbors went out and said: ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ The man drove away, but do you know, he had the audacity to come back, right in the middle of the day! We called the police and gave them the license number of the truck, but it was probably stolen.
East Dallas Artist
I’d like to see less police harassment of people who are maybe driving five miles over the speed limit. There are so many police cruising up and down the road in this area, and they should concentrate on things that are important, like the prostitution.
There are a lot of nice people who live down in that area on East Grand, but there are a lot of drug addicts and bums who sit there with beer in their hands.
We live in Lakewood, where it’s nice, and we really don’t pay attention to what goes on over there. We should have some kind of center for the kids. Maybe we could make a nice park. If the City would start a public art project, I would do anything I could to help.
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