Place in the Sun: Should Meier prevail, the new East Dallas resident would be the first Democrat elected to statewide office since 1994.
Democrats are looking eagerly upon Pete Sessions’ place in congress. After Hillary Clinton squeaked past Donald Trump in District 32, the eyebrows of our left-leaning politicos raised sharply. (And I mean squeaked: She won by a percentage point.) Clinton’s would-be transition chief, Ed Meier, jumped in the race first. He was followed by Obama appointee Lillian Salerno, former NFL player and civil rights attorney Colin Allred, and the longtime WFAA reporter Brett Shipp. Sessions says bring it on. We say get your popcorn ready.
Large Marge has opened the gates of gentrification to West Dallas. (Photo: Scot Miller)
In a way, we’d been awaiting what we saw in West Dallas. We may have chosen not to recognize it. The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge may well have been an express lane to gentrification. The La Bajada neighborhood fought hard for many years to retain its own place at the foot of what would’ve been the bridge. They found about as much ground as they could with the city, but the developers proved much more difficult. The arrival of Trinity Groves brought rows of cookie-cutter apartment buildings. Rents shot up. Then, the city passed crippling ordinances that increased regulations that landlords had to adhere to. One of the prominent low-rent landlords got out of the game, which triggered a mass eviction crisis. Peter Simek put it this way: “It is not a simple good guy-versus-bad guy affair, but rather a battle in the gray zone of property rights, gentrification, poverty, politics, history, and race. It’s one of the uglier episodes in recent Dallas memory. But the real issue in West Dallas is that the evicted tenants have no place to go. That’s because, in a city with staggering rates of poverty — the highest in the country of any big city, up 42 percent in 15 years — Dallas has an abysmal shortage of low-income housing.”
The crisis in West Dallas should open our eyes to what we could see in neighborhoods across the city.