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but the police can’t be everywhere. The local police officially support the gates; Lieutenant John Anderson of the HPD says they would “discourage pedestrians and traffic from coming through the neighborhood” and consequently cut down on crimes of opportunity”crackheads stealing a lawnmower, that kind of thing.” Lence said residents are tired of fighting for the gates, and he considers the current delay a sign that the city is “capitulating to political pressure,” and that once again, through the HUD investigation, “the federal government is meddling where it has no business.” Lence added that he personally is near to surrender: “There’s just no reason to fight it any more; it’s just quicker, easier and safer just to move out, and let the city rot in the hell it’s producing.” Lence and his neighbors particularly bristle at charges of racial motivation. He claims that the subdivision itself is “fifty percent” Hispanic, and Hispanic residents support the gates \(although he admits they aren’t much involved with the civic associing to do with racism: “Frankly it’s an insult to be branded some kind of racist because one lives in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood.” Lence’s comments were echoed by Tip Allen and Carlo Penagos, Shenandoah neighbors chatting outside Allen’s garage one recent afternoon. Allen is retired and is head of the Shenandoah Citizens Patrol; Penagos is a physician \(President of the American Association for Preventive Colombia. Penagos has three children play unsupervised in front of his home, for fear of passing criminals from nearby apartment houses. Penagos strongly supports the gates; Allen says he is less enthusiastic because of the inevitable inconvenience to long-time residents: “I don’t want the gates, but I know we have to have them.” Allen says thanks to the citizen patrols, the storefront station, and police pressure, crime had gone down in the last couple of years, but is starting to creep up again. He attributes the increase to what the men called “HUD apartments” \(rent-subsiBoth men dismissed the charges of racism. “We have Asian, Indian, Spanish even seven or eight black families,” said Allen. They simply want to keep out “transient,” “non-residential” traffic, in car or on foot”there is no reason for them to go through here.” Allen called my attention to the signs, erected by the SCA on the Renwick esplanade, which exhort residents to write their congressmen in support of the gates, and declare, “Stop HUD from Engineering Another Urban Slum.” Standing beside their short cul-de-sac, we talked for perhaps twenty minutes. During that time, a couple of cars went by the corner, one a bit too fast for a residential streethardly an unusual occurrence in Houston, but we took note of it. The men said they would accept speed humps if they had no choice, but they preferred gates. Penagos’ wife and children returned from errands. As the conversation broke up, Allen shrugged, then nodded resignedly in the direction of the busier streets nearby, and said, “The biggest question isif we could stop the border crossings.” The Lanier administration has not yet drafted an ordinance for border gates. But in honor of the mayor’s work with Shenandoah on the Neighborhood to Standards program and his support for the street closings, a proposal was recently placed before the civic association to rename Shenandoah “Lanierville”ideally to coincide with the installation of the Shenandoah gates. Shenandoah block captain Bill Marberry told the Houston Chronicle that the name change “would tie right in with the street closings that give us back our identity.” Lanier seemed a bit embarrassed about the offer, saying it should at least wait until he’d left office; the Shenandoah residents I spoke to, despite their vocal support for Lanier, were also unenthusiastic. “I presume they came up with that scheme,” said Ross Lence, “just to draw attention [to the gates proposal].” Lence doesn’t think much of Lanier’s fiscal policies, but he acknowledged the street lights and increased police and other services they brought Shenandoah. “The mayor did do wonderful things for the subdivision.” But Francisco Lopez suggests that is precisely the problem. Lopez described his outrage that while the Gulfton area has “no city park, no city health clinic, no public library, no multi-service center” and is desperate for these and other services, the city somewhere found an estimated four hundred thousand dollars to build street gates around Shenandoah. “They just want to impose a solution on the neighborhood,” he said. “We cannot spend four hundred thousand dollars just to protect three percent of the [district’s] population.” Asked to respond to these charges, the district’s city councilman, Ray Driscoll, said that more services are in the works, and that while there’s no city clinic, the county clinic is still funded by taxpayers’ money. Driscoll supports the Shenandoah gates, and expects others will be built elsewhere. “We’ve got a few other neighborhoods that are looking at that proposal alsoten to twelve subdivisions in the district.” Lopez pointed out that Driscoll didn’t even know about the clinic until GANO told him about it, and that the same resi dents of Shenandoah now demanding the gates have been opposed to every attempt to improve the conditions in the wider Gulfton community, with the single exception of the police storefront. Lopez adds that this is not simply a matter of racial divisions, but of class divisions, and he’s seen it before. “In Latin America, money is put in to protect the ones that are rich, the ones that have power, that have control. Money is never spent for the poor, the ones that don’t have anything. Now here in America, there are some subdivisions who want to practice the same dictatorial ways. And that is wrong.” BUT MAYOR LANIER is determined to move forward with what he has repeatedly described as allowing neighborhoods “to take control of their own destinies.” He said recently that he had talked to HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros in what he hoped was a successful effort to defend the street-closing program, and he reiterated that his own experience as a developer of suburban subdivisions confirmed that “one-entry in-and-out works.” Apparently, it has not occurred to the mayor that a suburban subdivision might not be every Houstonian’s vision of an idealor even functionalcity neighborhood. Councilmember Huey also dismissed the idea that barricading streets might polarize neighborhoods instead of bringing them together, saying, “I think that is so much rhetoric,” even for GulftOn/Shenandoah: “It hasn’t polarized that neighborhood any more than they already were.” Other council members, especially Hispanic and black representatives, have been less enthusiastic about the gates, but not one has been willing to fight this pet program of the mayor. So, unless they are derailed by citizen protests or legal action, Lanier, Huey and the rest of a subservient city council will continue to encourage subdivision civic associations to determine city policy for entire neighborhoods, and increasing numbers will choose to enclave public streets to their exclusive benefit, at whatever the costs and risks to their neighbors. That appears to be the twenty-first century “destiny” Lanier envisions for Houston: a mayoral legacy of neighborhoods increasingly segregated by race and class, and occupied by citizens physically and politically isolated from one another, by governmentprovided barriers that make a mockery of community. It is a peculiarly cramped, restrictive, and stultifying vision of a great city, especially one dedicated to the memory of the hero of Texas independence, Sam Houston. But then, maybe they can rename the whole town Lanierville. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9