Sunday, September 14, 2008

Time for a different View

Here are the last few O-R headlines related to the Valley View Terrace housing project in Canonsburg:
Brothers jailed in armed robbery
Suspects in assaults at housing project appear for hearings
Two arrested in drug bust
Jailed Bridgeville man facing more gun charges
Woman wounds two with box cutter

Nice, huh? In the most recent case, police said two men from Westmoreland County are accused of robbing another Westmoreland County man as the three exited Valley View after "chilling" there. The two suspects were captured hiding in an apartment at Valley View, and police found a handgun described as the one used in the robbery. In many of the recent cases, the people involved were out-of-towners, as noted by Canonsburg police Chief R.T. Bell, who said, "It seems like the terrace is drawing outsiders like the old days. We are getting more calls up there like shots being fired, and the problems have been with people who don't live there." Now, I'll admit that my knowledge of Valley View Terrace is limited. I've never been there, and I don't know anyone who lives there. I also don't know the layout of the project, especially how many entrances and exits there are, but at the risk of infringing on people's civil liberties, I think it's time that people who want to enter Valley View are subjected to a police check at the entrance(s). The project, as far as I know, provides government-subsidized housing, so our tax dollars are involved here, and I think we who are footing the bill have a right to be assured it does not become, or should no longer be allowed to function, as a haven for druggies and other criminals. I'm even going to go out on a limb and suggest that if a drug-sniffing dog were employed in these vehicle checks, he would earn his food. Said Bell, "The area is starting to be a thorn in our side again. They all seem to find Canonsburg." Well, it's time they all find somewhere else to go.



Blogger PRIguy said...

Here's a solution, although I'm sure that the ACLU would bring out the big guns to stop it: Give the tenants three months to get out. Bulldoze the place. Build houses there instead of tenements. Provide incentives such as low-interest loans, HDA loans, etc. to the displaced residents so they can buy their homes.

This was done here in Richmond. There was a subsidized housing complex called Jefferson Village. It was one of the worst areas of the entire city, and this was back when Richmond was consistently ranked in the top three cities for murders. A coworker of mine dated a woman who lived there. He had horror stories of the violence there. The mail was dropped off at the front office...for the entire complex. Even the mailmen refused to go into the complex.

Eventually, the city decided to do exactly what I described above. Everyone was given an ample amount of time to vacate the premises. Everyone was afforded the opportunity to apply for a mortgage for the new houses. Some applied, some didn't. The place was leveled and rebuilt and is a thriving, safe neighborhood.

When people are given a sense of ownership, they will treat the property differently. When it's THEIR property being vandalized, when it's THEIR neighborhood street corners that are drug markets, when it's THEIR way of life being threatened, suddenly it all matters more than when it belongs to the city or state. They'll take better care of it, and as a result, what once were crime-riddled cesspools are now safe places for people to live.

This program is successful enough that it's been done in three other areas of Richmond, all with the same results. It works. Sure, some feathers get ruffled, the cries of racism fly, people piss and moan about what they're going to do for a place to live, but in the end, everyone survives. I never saw a single report of a displaced Jefferson Village resident ending up on the street.

September 15, 2008 at 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Steelerfan43 said...

That's a nice thought priguy but the problem with that is just about everyone who lives in the projects, be it Valley View, Lincoln, Jolly, Maple, etc. is on welfare. They don't have jobs and most of them don't want jobs so how are they suppose to apply for a mortgage, or even pay for the mortgage? There is no quick fix solution to the problems that arise in the projects. There is drug dealing and violence in each and every one of them. I guess the government could tear them all down, like they did in South Fayette and don't build anything else in there place. But everyone who was displaced will only find other areas to live in and cause problems there.

September 15, 2008 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

You're right about the welfare. I didn't take that into account. I sort of generalized things. I do know that the neighborhood was turned into something pretty nice. But yes, the ones who were able to buy had jobs. There really is no quick fix, or some across-the-board solution for this. My general premise remains true, I long as they can get something for nothing, there's no incentive to do any better. It's a shame.

September 15, 2008 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I don't want to sound like a dick, but South Fayette is a pretty nice place...

The pic you posted looks a lot like Lincoln Terrace here in WashPa... except LT just go new porticos over the doorways... why, I don't know...


September 15, 2008 at 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Steelerfan43 said...

Ellipses that is actually a picture of Valley View Terrace. As far as my reference to South Fayette, there used to be a pretty bad Terrace there, years ago and the citizens of South Fayette got fed up with the drug activity etc. and they finally shut it down and asked everyone to move. I believe it was torn down, but it may still be there. Sometimes you can see if from Old 51, when the trees are bare. So you don't sound like a dick when you say that South Fayette is a pretty nice place, because it is, but they used to have just one area that wasn't so nice, just like Canonsburg, who has to deal with Valley View Terrace. The rest of Canonsburg is nice, except for that part.

September 16, 2008 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

What I meant was that South Fayette is a pretty nice place... and it doesn't have a terrace... so, does getting rid of public housing make a borough "nicer"? That should sound more dickish... forcing the poor people to relocate raises the curb appeal of an area...

Thanks Troy! :-)


September 16, 2008 at 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Steelerfan43 said...

Getting rid of public housing doesn't make a borough nicer, but getting rid of public housing that houses nothing but problems does. I am not for forcing poor people out and having them relocate, but I am for forcing out the "problem children" of the public housing complexes so that the decent people, old and young who live there can live in peace. There are many decent people who live in public housing who are harassed on a daily basis by the scum that live there, it is not just the people who live around or near public housing who are fed up.

September 16, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Canonsburg & never knew that place existed, lol. I guess I don't sray from my beaten path much.

Seriously, I used to live in one of those places when my daughter was younger. I viewed it as TEMPORARY housing. Most people there had been there for years some 10 or more. That was thier home. They didn't treat it that way though. There were nightly dumpster bonfires, windows smashed because they forgot thier key and other questionable behavior.

I really think there should be a time limit if you in government substidized housing. A year lease & then you move on. I don't know if that would solve any of the problems but it sure would motivate some to get on thier feet & get out.

September 17, 2008 at 2:00 PM  

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