11 thoughts on “Reading the Landscape: 28”

  1. Stan,

    I’m enjoying your Americana photography series. I’ve been taking pictures of historic and interesting buildings around the country for years. Many of my favorite old Savannah buildings–classic 50s style architecture–have been bulldozed and replaced by overbuilt government glare (by private government contractors). My elementary school. The Chatham County Health Department, where my father worked . . . .

    They are bulldozing Savannah history as fast as they can get away with it, now angling to carve another piece out of Sandfly, our historic neighborhood African-American community, by eminent domain. City parents (translation: tax collectors) are negotiating privately with out-of-town Methodist Church mucky-mucks, and parishioners at Speedwell have been told they must be out by June 1.

    In 2003, when local citizens got together to oppose the Walmart encroachment, they held meetings at Speedwell, which is within walking distance of Walmart’s pavement plantation.

    I’m telling you because this kind of thing is happening all over the country, right now, and this is how they do it. If citizens realized how underhanded their “public servants” are, they would quit paying taxes. I call them “asset plunderers,” government entities that seize land outright by eminent domain, or render it unusable through road or other construction, zoning changes, and the like.

    Then we have the “money exporters,” the out-of-town corporations and federal government players, who conspire (“confer”) with each other about how to indebt future taxpayers for today’s extravagances. These are the “job creators,” whose main purpose is to put more people on tax rolls, so the government can borrow against anticipated future revenues. This brings us “municipal bonds,” or “muni-bonds,” which naïve retirees like because they are “tax-deferred.”

    I could go on, but it upsets my stomach too much. Glad to see you are getting outside on your bike more (or so I assume), instead of watching all those movies.

      1. Architecture can tell you so much about a period of time. I’ve always liked the layout and simplicity of that 1940s-1960s architecture, like the old public housing. Very versatile, and practical. Those simple little buildings were well constructed, with enough yard space for everyone to have a garden and swing set, if they wanted one. Commons areas to keep neighbors connected. Those photos you took show buildings in basically good condition (outside, anyway). Brick is low-maintenance. Standard building materials, parking lot in good shape, such as for skateboarding or basketball hoops. It is fraught with potential, like so many others like it around the country. We have similar ones in Savannah.

        Don’t expect government to think of citizen-involved remodeling by itself. People have to requisition control of potential gems like this, and get their communities involved in saving money on crime and taxes. The overall strategy is to make public land more accessible to the public . . . for everyone to benefit equally.

  2. PS About the bottom two photos. That looks like public housing from the 1950s or 1960s. The buildings themselves are probably sound, considering building standards back then. However, they are probably sitting on a nice piece of real estate that someone wants to sell to a “friend.” It would be interesting to note who controls the land.

    It may be HUD. Those buildings are classics and could be fixed up nicely, and the overall layout would support families, community gardens, and playgrounds. However, someone wants it to lose money so that they can justify selling it or “partnering” with a commercial developer to raze the site and throw up shoddy overbuilt, overpriced, and impractical buildings marketed to politically correct mixtures of tenants and purchasers. Local officials and private “partners” will pose smiling for a photo-op and tell the public what they are doing to provide more housing.

    In Savannah, every time the Housing Authority gets involved, we lose housing.

      1. Churning public land into private friends’ hands via local governments has gotten dangerously out of hand since Kelo. Savannah may be worse than others, but it’s the one I’m most familiar with. For example, the city bought some primo real estate downtown for a planned police building in 2012 or so, but they’ve since decided they don’t need the facility so want to re-sell it. My read is the city was saving some overextended developer friend by taking the land off the tax rolls, and now they need to re-sell it for the cash.

        Both city and county governments have been buying way too much land around town lately, but since all the insiders are in on the scam, nobody dares speak up.

        The eminent domain decision was probably the worst decision the Supreme Court has made in my lifetime.

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