Readers Comment on Capitalism and Gentrification

Two reader views on addressing gentrification in Santa Fe and in other urban communities and an encouragement to continue contacting City Councilors about Ranked Choice Voting.

Readers Express Different Views on Gentrification in Santa Fe

The past few posts have focused upon gentrification, its causes, its impact and to a limited degree, solutions. Our Activist Research Team is studying possible solutions and will present them as they are identified. If you’d like to be part of that research, click here for information on the Team. Our next meeting is next Th. the 20th and all are welcome, but an RSVP is appreciated. Click here to get information on this and other activities in the coming week.  Below are excerpts from comments about recent posts on gentrification from three of our readers. I plan to include such commentary periodically to allow differing fews to become part of the post.

And please continue to press our City Council about Ranked Choice Voting. Councilors Rivera, Ives and Dominquez supposedly on the fence and while Lindell is apparently set to vote to delay again, she needs to hear from you District 1 residents and be told that you are not happy with her vote or position. For details on the issue, the looming vote (Wednesday the 26th) click here.

From Bruce Poster:  “While I support addressing and overcoming inequity, I find the focus on gentrification to be misplaced.  The City limits have been defined (by 599, I-25 and the national forest).  So I don’t see how addressing future development will overcome inequity, as there will be only in-fill within the City (including Los Soleras, which has an approved plan) and perhaps more development in the County, e.g. in Rancho Viejo and along Hwys 14 and 599.  Also, the City has been very proactive in supporting affordable housing as a part of any development.  The real need today is for more rental housing within the City.  Proposals for such projects are typically opposed by neighbors.  So I think the focus should be on using infill to distribute affordable rental and ownership housing throughout the community.  That is probably our best bet for undoing the historic economic segregation.”

He goes on to say that the best way to address economic and racial justice is to expand access to high quality early childhood education and for those programs to explicitly incorporate instruction to support students whose home language is not English, something about which I completely agree. Bruce’s point about the City “supporting affordable housing” may be old info. While the City once required 1/3 of new developments to be affordable housing, that regulation has been rescinded in favor of requiring a “fee-in-lieu’ of actually creating the affordable housing. What’s more, much of the ‘affordable’ housing created in Santa Fe (and elsewhere) is based upon a definition of affordability that uses ‘area mean income’ as the standard and area mean does not reflect the actual affordability of low-income individuals as area mean is an average of all incomes in an area, leading to an income level well above low-income individuals. We will be discussing this issue in more depth in the future and it will be examined by the Activist Research Team.

From Eduardo Krasilovsky:  “Finally an article about Gentrification that connects dots. It is my view that we need to deconstruct our economic model. Gentrification and the construction of ‘affordable housing’ are just the symptoms or end products of an economic model [capitalism] created to manufacture poverty. We should not accept affordable housing, which is a code term for the construction of cheap and largely unsustainable housing and for the creation of (ugly) neighborhoods with no services mostly built in the worst locations. Affordable housing also ‘promotes’ social stratification and racism. Most of the ills of our society, like our deteriorating public education system, are due to the promotion of an economic model designed for the rich by ‘their’ economists… Yet, Capitalism has been challenged by many economists who have shown that the market is not ‘free’ and that the ‘invisible hand of the market’ is well covered and hidden as the tricks magicians use to deceive the viewers.”  Well said, Eduardo and a critique of capitalism is likely thread to be followed.

 

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