Thursday, 13 December 2007
My first-ever letter to a councilmember
Edgar Sanchez' story in today's City section of The Bee pissed me off. People in Land Park and Curtis Park are fussing about having to pay for streetlights? Poor things! We don't even HAVE streetlights in my neighborhood, save one on-again-off-again sodium light on the corner. Other parts of the Grid get all sorts of amenities, and we here in Old Chinatown don't even get our street sweeped. But we still get tickets.
Here's my email to Councilman Rob Fong. I'll keep you posted on his response.
Dear Councilman Fong -
I've lived for the past 28 years in Land Park, Curtis Park and various parts of downtown, all of them in your district. Currently, I own a house on the very south edge of the Grid, not sure about the neighborhood name. We call it Chinatown, since it is part of that historic area.
As I'm sure you know, this area is pretty crime-ridden - drug deals are common, as are car break-ins, and I've been propositioned by hookers at my own front door. So it was with some surprise that I saw that Land Park - probably the most pampered neighborhood this side of Roseville - was being given 780 streetlights (780!!) to "deter crime".
It surprised me because not only do we NOT have many streetlights, let alone "historic-looking" ones - my street is deadly dark at night, with what little light there is coming from passing cars on I-80 - but we don't even have ADA-compliant SIDEWALKS! Most of the city has sidewalks that anyone with a wheelchair could get up on, and some of them, in midtown, even have anti-slip mats embedded. We have nearly foot-high curbs that elderly people find nearly impassable.
Moreover, we have no stop sign at the corner of 17th and V, which has resulted in a number of traffic accidents in the four years I've lived here. People come off the freeway, go to the AM/PM, then roar around the block and get back on the freeway. It's very dangerous.
Moreover, the street sweepers don't even come down our block! I have no idea why that is, we still pay tickets if we're parked on the street without a sticker, but that service seems to stop at V Street. What has resulted is a street that looks more like it belongs in Oak Park than in the booming Grid.
I'm not asking you to stop the drug dealing, the prostitution or the ridiculous amount of litter from the AM/PM or Nick's Market - I've been cleaning that stuff up for years, and am not figuring it will get any better as long as liquor stores masquerading as gas stations and "convenience" stores are allowed to blight the area. But I would appreciate it if you could see to it that we get at least the minimal amenities that our neighbors to the south get without even asking for.
There are a lot of elderly people in this area, many of them Chinese who barely speak any English. My next-door neighbors came here from Hong Kong in 1969, and still barely speak English, and they are virtually barricaded in their house. I think it would improve this area, as well as your reputation in it, if you could see to it that we get more than minimal services. I know I would appreciate it.
David Watts Barton