Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back to Nimbyism, Part II

Another commentator in the Unfair Park discussion offered up this piece of satire:

As the owner of a luxury home here you can imagine how appalled I was when I saw a old Honda parked on the street, someone who clearly could not afford to live here was spending time in my neighborhood, likely getting intoxicated and using restroom facilities that were not their own. . . . Just the thought of sharing the street with people that have so little money compared to me makes me sick, who knows what kind of diseases and pests they are bringing with them. Many of them can't even afford a Lexus, even an used entry level model and instead assault my eyes with junk like 15 year old Hondas and Chevys. . . . . I want to be very clear, I don't "hate" poor people, I just wish they wouldn't be so, poor, it's so distasteful.

This is funny stuff, but it would be even funnier if it weren’t absolutely true.

One of my favorite recent issues was a dispute over whether a Frisco resident could park his new Ford 150 in his driveway. The homeowner’s association (“HOA”) said no:

Earlier this year, [Jim Greenwood] the Concentra Inc. CEO began getting notices from the Stonebriar HOA threatening to fine him for parking his truck in his driveway. They say pickup trucks are not allowed in the driveway – although other luxury vehicles, including the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Mark LT, pass muster.

Bill Osborn, a board member with the association, had explained that those vehicles are “fancier,” “plush with amenities” and do not look like pickups. Most domestic pickups are banned.


What could be worse than having to look out at your neighbor’s home and see a domestic pickup?

Seriously, though, if people are concerned enough to worry about the type of car your neighbor drives, I have to think that it will be a long uphill battle to convince a neighborhood to let us build homes for homeless people in their neighborhood. This isn’t work for the faint at heart or the easily discouraged.

It seems to bring out a primal fear in people. Perhaps it’s the fear that you won’t be able to keep your separate status. If people can see that your neighbor drives a domestic pickup, then maybe they will assume that you drive a domestic pickup as well.

The next thing you know everyone will be driving a 15 year old Honda or Chevy instead of a Cadillac Escalade or a Lincoln Mark LT.

Can you imagine anything more distasteful?

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