Monday, October 31, 2011

The Five Percent Solution

There is an old bromide along the lines of "the first solution to pollution is dilution", but when the matter at hand is socio-economic there is no acceptable solution but to separate the effluent from the affluent. Fortunately, commonly accepted practices, particularly zoning, create a physical and economic moat around the affluent and also serve tof encapsulate the effluent thereby reducing the cost of extraction and elimination.

Such is the case with Dunwoody, which proposes to eliminate a particularly odious demographic from the fringes of the relatively recently christened city. As it turns out, a majority of Dunwoody's poor, its Hispanic population, lives in a very small area. This just happens to be exactly the same location where Dunwoody leaders intend to build the city's premier recreational facility, thereby clearing up that demographic blemish.

While the demographics are well supported by our most recent census, this is not news. The maps below, based on Y2K data show 'twas always thus. Consequently this is not a recent infestation to be eradicated, nor is it likely that the City Founders, the smartest of the smart, did not know this prior to these recent plans or even before formulating plans for cityhood.

The above map shows where the white folk live. Not surprisingly, the darker green coincides with a higher percentage of whites in the population from its lowest in the area under discussion to above 95% in the area furthest from the Hispanic fringe.

The above map shows only the Hispanics and more clearly demonstrates how the city plans to eviscerate the existing community to prevent any northward spread and slow if not reverse the westward spread.

Below the bull's eye on both maps sits an apartment complex housing 2500 residents, of which approximately 580 are students in the Dunwoody cluster of DeKalb County Schools. These residents represent approximately five percent of the City's population.

Of course it isn't just about race or ethnicity, it is every bit as much about relative income and poverty. As one moves east or south from the border with Sandy Springs one sees a drop-off in home values and household income identical to the map of "white folk" distribution. A similar map of poverty is identical to the map of Hispanic demographics. The correlations between poverty and crime, or poverty and poor educational outcomes will neither be questioned nor belabored here, but simply accepted as a fact underpinning the motives of many including the most outspoken supporters of destroying these homes.

The plan includes razing the homes of some of the poorest in Dunwoody. Without the availability of the targeted apartment homes, these people will remain poor, but they will not remain in Dunwoody. Nor will their children, poor and less equipped to keep up with their whiter and brighter neighbors to the west and north, remain a burden to the Dunwoody cluster.

Supporters claim this is about parks and recreation as Dunwoody is currently one city-owned diamond short of their desired minimum of three. And while it is not the purpose of this post to question motive or intent, there is a point worth pondering. "If you wanted to eliminate the poor, especially poor Hispanics, in Dunwoody, what would you do differently?"