Private Enterprise, Public Space

Some time since (Oh, heck was it in 2005, ten years ago? So it was.) I mused on the concept of public space, both in the general sense – of a large city – and the smaller sense, of a neighborhood … that is, the place that we live in, have our gardens and our households, where we have neighbors who know us, where we jog, walk our dogs, take an interest – from the mild to the pain-in-the-neck over-interested and judgmental. If our homes are our castles, then the neighborhood is our demesne.
And unless we are complete hermits, home-owners will take an interest in the demesne. I state that without fear of contradiction, and it does not matter if that demesne is in a strictly-gated upper-middle or upper-class community with real-live 24-hour security, a private and luxurious clubhouse with attached pool and attractively-landscaped park or a simple ungated, strictly crisscrossed-streets and cul-de-sacs development of modestly-priced starter houses without any HOA-managed extras like golf courses, swimming pools, fitness centers, jogging paths – indeed, anything beyond a little landscaping around the sign denoting the entrance to the development. This is where our homes are, and at the lower end of the economic scale of things, likely to have consumed a major portion of disposable income on the part of the householder. A good portion of our material treasure, in other words, is committed to those foundation, walls, roof and yard.

Generally, the lower on the economic scale of things, the harder it is to liquidize and relocate elsewhere, when things go south, in a manner of speaking. People who have a paid-off mortgage and decades of residency in a neighborhood are anchored there by economics, at least as much by habit. If there is no buyer for that little house … then they are at least as stuck as the residents of a development where the average house runs to almost half a million when there are no buyers either. It’s just that the owners of the larger house are likely to have more in the way of tangible and intangible resources to start with. Generally the working-class or just barely middle-class home owners are liable to fight more fiercely for their neighborhood and regard any letting down of the standard with fear, disgust and loathing. Trashy, loud, inconsiderate neighbors, who let the landscape and home maintenance fall into arrears, who have noisy parties, invite large numbers of similarly trashy friends to them, appear to take pleasure out of flouting the written and unwritten community standards and making the lives of their nearest neighbors a misery – such residents are the bane of a convivial suburban neighborhood. Indeed, many residents of suburbia moved from stack-a-prole city apartment blocks to get away from that kind of neighbor at least as much as for the free-standing house, gardens, trees, and HOA amenities.

Which brings me around by easy stages to McKinney, Texas, and a sprawling suburb development called Craig Ranch, whose open park space and gated private HOA-owned pool have wound up being ground zero in the latest racial outrage. (Complete rundown, including analysis of the social media of the young woman who seems to be making a career out of throwing a succession of raucous parties is here. Scroll down – about the only question I haven’t seen answered yet is if she is reporting any of the income from this to the IRS…) Somehow, though – I just don’t think that the flying company of race agitators are going to get very much more mileage out of this affair. This is not a marginal to failing neighborhood like Ferguson, or an almost entirely black one like Baltimore. Craig Ranch seems to be about what you would expect from a neighborhood in Texas where the houses run $400,000; about three degrees more upscale than my own, but not anywhere near the eye-wateringly exclusive level of San Antonio’s Dominion neighborhood. It also seems to reflect the same racial balance nationally, as it is about 11% of color. So, not overwhelmingly, vibrantly diverse … but not exclusively white, either. These are home-owners who have resources of their own, and an HOA with presumably strict rules. Getting into their faces with the usual displays of racial grievance and demands that their employers fire them will, I think, be counterproductive. People who have paid $400,000 for their house and lord knows how much in HOA fees for the privilege of enjoying their castle and demesne … no, I can’t see them being bullied very much beyond what they have been already, although it does look as if the city of McKinney itself has caved.


(Cross-posted at

7 thoughts on “Private Enterprise, Public Space”

  1. They may have a time the next time they have to call the cops. From what I know, that cop was alone and the first responder. There is a history of ambushes of first responders.

  2. That doesn’t mean this won’t make McKinney less trusting.

    Your observations about relocations is perceptive. But I can also imagine that living where this “party planner” plans her parties is likely to lower the trust and raise the uncomfortable, nuisance level. Implicit in your observation is a certain level of, what, assimilation isn’t the right word. But I suspect you are right on that, as well. At some point, there is more buy in to the worth of houses, the level of trust, the desire for a quiet life, the community is full of people you know – that becomes more important than racial identity.

    My oldest daughter was assertive and ended up at the police station (I think to scare her) when she was about 14. White or black, it is a pretty good idea not to mouth off to the police – but she was also about 14 at the time. We call some behavior adolescent for good reason. And her parents figured the police were right – she just needed to shut up. And if I’d handled two suicides just before arriving at this scene. I can see why he hung it up – maybe his department wanted to cave, but frankly, I’d be pretty close to saying what the hell.

  3. Oh, yes, little Miss Thang Party-Planner and her family will be about as popular in the neighborhood as a scorching case of herpes at an orgy. The supposition is that her family are renters … which is always cause for a side-eye, until those renters prove that they are worthy and upright citizens. Doesn’t matter what color, either. Middle class is middle class. Trash is trash. You should hear my next-door neighbor (married, black, church-going middle-aged mother of hard-working and upright sons) talk about Section 8 tenants – that would scorch the paint on the walls. She and the hubs had to sell out of a down-hill heading neighborhood on the other side of town. Her front yard is better kept than mine.

    It’s been interesting, reading the various posts, and comments at Conservative Treehouse, as they put it together. The girl’s parties are widely advertised on her social media contacts. The advertising for this one was pretty obvious that access to a pool was part of it. But it wasn’t – she didn’t have permission, had not paid any fees to the HOA. They were selling tickets to her next party at this one, apparently. Don’t know yet if she actually had paid anything for that venue. The whole enterprise seems distinctly unsavory.

    Residents in Craig Ranch pay a bundle not to have to deal with cr*p like this. And they live there, as opposed to the flying squad of SJWs and their internet enablers.

  4. And then there’s the new plan to integrate communities. I just wish the government would leave us alone. And we really need to cut off the spigot so they can’t bribe and force us to do their bidding; our neighbors, perhaps, can, if they have a solid enough majority at the neighborhood meetings I don’t go to.

  5. I guess it will depend on the strength of HOA and the strategy of the mob that’s assembled to wreak havoc. They have backers with deep pockets and legal protection at the highest levels. Protesters were blocking traffic with signage that read “We can’t swim, you can’t drive”. That’s a good clue as to where this is going. I think that the only people that will be affected will be the law-abiding segment. Insurance increases, decreased property values, (those that can may already be planning to move)the pool may be considered too much trouble and closed. It, like the entire city is now a target. The direct action goons may very possibly stage an incident there, utilizing willing participants from the subdivision. People in my area move frequently. I suspect metro Dallas may be the same. Very few of the original residents of the 20 yr. old subdivision I live in remain. Those that are, are empty-nesters or retirees.

  6. I don’t know, Will – it’s all the difference between a subdivision where home-owners CAN move, fairly readily, and leave it all to the neighborhood disruptives … and neighborhoods like mine, where homeowners cannot upsticks and abandon the field so readily. Will the HOA in Craig Ranch fight? It appears to be a pretty wealthy area, with residents of substantial worth, so I guess it comes down to how stubborn they are. My neighborhood has no HOA, and no facilities, but there are a good portion of military retirees, and plain old retirees among them. I’d guess that at least 90% of the homes are owned by residents, and for at least two of the rentals that I know of … the owners are pretty picky about the renters. The one across from me is owned by a former military member and he only rents it to people personally known to him. His house never comes on the open rental market.

  7. I suspect one reason for the sky high house prices in my area of Orange County is the migration of people from Los Angeles and other areas where the neighbors are not always desirable. The number of children and children sports in this area is amazing. There is also a private lake with tall fences.

    This little city is under constant attack by the state legislature for not having enough “Affordable Housing” and I have written somewhere about the iron triangle of state legislature (all Democrats) “public interest law firms” and real estate developers. The developers fund the law firms which then sue to increase “affordable housing,” also known as subsidized housing, even in a fully built out suburb. The legislature keeps increasing the amount of “affordable housing” the city has to provide. I was on the Planning Commission for a while and saw it in action.

    In the east where the poor have been scattered among the middle class neighborhoods, there have been correlations between Section 8 and crime.

    “Last summer we did a two month snap shot to look a what impact residents of section eight had related to people that we arrested in our community,” said Mike Van Milligen, Dubuque City Manager.

    In a two month period police arrested 553 people and 121 of those arrestees listed a section 8 address as his or her home.

    Those addresses make up just about 14 percent of all rental properties, but they accounted for nearly half of all the people arrested during the study period. And many of those people, the city never approved to live there.

    “That person who moved in, not authorized has some sort of checkered past.”

    Harris is now pushing for more research to dive into the connections between poverty as a whole and crime, not just section 8.

    The city is making major changes in its housing program, including stricter criminal background checks.

    That is just one example.

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