Each month I rent a U-haul truck to do the grocery run to the public housing sites where the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House distributes groceries. This month I thought I would show a little solidarity with the beleagured downtown merchants and rent the truck from the Bricktown U-haul site. So Zach and I hopped into this pickup and headed downtown to get the truck.
Big mistake not to ask the U-haul people for driving instructions. I was merrily headed east on Reno when we literally ran out of road. “Road Closed” — and for folks not from the area, Reno is a major street, four lanes, that runs along the south edge of downtown OKC. Was there a detour sign to show folks the way around the downtown construction to find our way to Bricktown? No there was not. So we wandered about a bit and finally found a way across.
How hard would it be for the city to mark the detour around their construction with signs? One would hope the city, which is presently doing a billion or so in downtown renovations, would be well stocked with detour signs, but they must be saving them for something else because they sure weren’t on display this morning.
One more example of how little the city cares about customer service. One hopes in vain that Mick Cornett and Meg Salyer would take just a little break from their Economic Development Czardom and pay some attention to the basics of running a city.
Today’s mail brought a card from Meg Salyer that pretty much looks like it was done by the ad agency employed by stopsalyer.com . She’s bragging about the OKC “momentum” and our “renaissance”. Hmmm. I spent the morning wandering around OKC’s public housing developments, I didn’t see much renaissance there. I didn’t see much momentum when I was delivering groceries last month in NE, SE, and SW OKC. Robinson looked like it has more prostitutes than ever, which I consider to be an economic indicator of sorts for the area. (More prostitutes = less economic opportunity, in case you’re wondering.)
Comes now newgeography.com, with news that the world’s largest cities are no longer homes of upward mobility. They’re stratified — a luxury city on top, a large number of poor people, with the middle class departing the scene en masse. It’s not much of a secret that this is the model that Mick and Meg want to see for Oklahoma City, that’s why they’re spending a billion dollars downtown while parts of the rest of the city are crying out for basic amenities. And we will see the same thing here. The middle class will continue to leave, for communities like Edmond, Yukon, Mustang, Jones, Luther, Moore, Norman, where the cities spend money on people, not on driving business and people out so that “luxury city” can rise on the banks of the North Canadian River.
Pictures of February Catholic Worker grocery deliveries.