Shame on the City of Amarillo

The above pictures were taken on Saturday May 19, 2018 in the alley off N. Tyler between 12th and 14th streets. This is just one picture of many hundreds of alleys all over Amarillo that are quickly turning Amarillo into a shithole town—a la Trump. This is a disgrace. While the trash in the alleys pile up, the folks at City Hall, namely the Amarillo City Council are busy cow-towing to the “selects few” who run this town. The City Council recently approved $1.18 million for industrial mowers and equipment to be used at the city owned golf complexes in Amarillo. The same City Council also approved $1.764 million to renovate a parking lot used by the Amarillo Police Department, and an additional $1.7 million on street projects. Amarillo’s nasty alleys are shouting, “What about us?”

Two weeks ago I wrote a letter to Amarillo City Manager, Jared Miller, complaining about the nasty alleys all over the north side. Nothing is new about my complaint. I have been posting picture of Amarillo nasty alleys, nasty vacant lots and tire strewn streets for years. Except for the one massive tire haul off spear headed by the now retired Steve Fisk of the Amarillo Solid Waste department, nothing else has made a difference in the City of Amarillo attitude toward clearing the growing piles of trash in Amarillo alleys. The City of Amarillo has decided to ignore the problem and instead focus all its time and money on revitalizing downtown Amarillo, including Liberty Square, the new baseball stadium, and now the parking lot of the Amarillo Police Department.

After I wrote to the City Manager I received a call acknowledging my letter and a promise that starting soon the City would start cleaning alleys. I will not hold my breath. In the meantime, the stickers reminding residents to haul bulk trash to the front curb and call for a pick up are falling on deaf ears. Instead, residents refuse to break the long standing habit of just pitching it in the alley. I would rather see the junk in the above pictures in the alley than piled up on the front curb.

I have repeatedly asked the question of Amarillo City Hall exactly what the problem is that it can no longer remove bulk trash from Amarillo alleys. There has been no response. Is the Solid Waste Department budget inadequate to handle the job? Why is there only one grabber truck to pick up bulk trash in alleys all over Amarillo? Why not purchase more equipment and hire more people to do the work? The City of Amarillo did not waste time removing homeless folks from the Tent City under the Hughes Washington Street overpass. Oh yea, those poor derelicts had to go—they were a blight upon this “fine” city. The City of Amarillo wasted no time finding code enforcement violations to make those folks “git.” This follows the same pattern of Amarillo wanting homeless people to stay away from downtown Amarillo—so they could not be seen by folks visiting the Civic Center, the Globe Center, and now Liberty Square. Strange that the City could find a way to clean up Tent City but ignore the much larger and growing blight of nasty alleys all over town.

The nasty alley problem is more than just an eyesore and a health concern for breeding rats, it is adversely affecting the property values of folks in these neighborhoods. Recently I overhead a group of people complaining that it is hard for them to sell their homes in certain parts of town because buyers are turned off by the neighborhood blight. The City of Amarillo’s neglect of the alleys is costing real citizens real money. The City should be held legally accountable for deliberately enriching certain neighborhoods and facilities, such as the city own golf courses and parking lots, while deliberately destroying the value of many other properties—the same properties that get hit with a tax bill every year that helps fund the City. What is happening here in Amarillo is a shame—no, even worse, it is a damn shame!

Copyright 2018 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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