Sunday, October 07, 2007

What's Really Going On In Irving, TX?

Over the past few weeks any attention given to Irving has either been focused on the (anti)immigrant enforcement of the Irving Police Department or the Dallas Cowboys, but even though there is another story of actions by the city of Irving that may be responsible for getting rid of far more Hispanics than will ever be deported under the Criminal Alien Program, apparently almost no one has noticed it. Not that anyone can be blamed for not noticing it; so far it’s been a very subtle movement and it can’t be explained simply. But the sentiments that run behind the CAP operate on a far higher level than simple law enforcement. Without any direct evidence, it’s impossible to say whether or not those forces are conspiring to use a backhanded method of cleansing Irving of its lower (largely Hispanic, somewhat illegal) class. However, there is circumstantial evidence, and with the new focus on getting rid of illegal immigrants, a strong case can be made that Irving is trying to do away with its large population of apartment-dwelling lower-class citizens (again, many of whom happen to be Hispanic).

Two characteristics about Irving are important to understanding what this story is about: one, that about 67% of Irving’s residents live in multi-family housing; two, that about 33% of Irving’s residents are Hispanic. In accordance with traditional demographics of poor populations, the Hispanics have more children, thus over 60% of Irving’s school population is Hispanic. There are plenty of Hispanics living in houses, to be sure. That’s why so many Irving homeowners end up complaining about three or four families living in single-family housing. But the majority of them live in cheap apartments in Irving’s older south side. There are plenty of white and black apartment and town-home dwellers as well. Many of them also live in cheap apartments on the south side but many also dwell in newer, higher-rent apartments up north in Valley Ranch or Las Colinas. The divide isn’t simply about race; it’s about class and Irving’s vision of its own future. This is why it’s necessary to briefly dip into a geo-political history of Irving.

Irving is basically divided into old Irving and new Irving by Airport Freeway (183). The older original part of town the south has long been fully developed, at least as far as land usage. It’s mostly suburban single-family housing with some small commercial areas thrown in. Aside from the large city complex, it’s typical suburbia. The “downtown” area, or as it’s known in Irving the “Heritage District” has none of the charm or success of similar areas in Grapevine or Denton. Aside from Big State, the old and old-fashioned soda fountain and hamburger joint, there’s not much there worth mentioning. Of course, the quaintness of the area is also spoiled by being home to Arby’s, a Bank of America branch, and of course, McDonald’s (and a few more of such charmless businesses).

South Irving is also home to much of the city’s Hispanic population. Many of these people are immigrants (whose immigration status may not be quite legal). So much so that the Irving Public Library’s East Branch (not quite matching the geography; it should be the southeast branch) is the home of the Library’s literacy and English as a Second Language programs, as well as having a Spanish-language collection that is equal to that of the main library (Central). As well, when one cruises down Irving Boulevard towards Dallas, one cannot but notice the number of taquerias and tortillerias lining the road, as well as the large Fiesta supermarket at the corner of Nursery and Irving blvd.

North Irving is another story. This is the part of Irving that has developed mainly since the opening of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and largely because of it. The Las Colinas and Valley Ranch areas are home to multi-national, multi-billion dollar industries and the Cowboys, respectively. And for those of you who’ve always wondered if they’re separate cities, no, they’re just special parts of Irving that are TIFs, in which their taxes go back into funding improvements in those areas. Needless to say, these have always been the more upscale areas of Irving where you will find very few restaurants or stores that cater to the lower-class citizens (especially Hispanics) and where you are likeliest to see Hummers and BMWs on the streets.

There has been a status quo for at least a decade. Las Colinas boomed briefly around 20 years ago and then stalled. After the construction of several office buildings, development slowed down leaving an area that looked upscale and half-finished. Development in the rest of Irving was slow and the pace hasn’t changed until recently. In just the past two years, new houses and apartments have gone up all over Irving (to use the parlance, both single-family and multi-family residences). There have been housing developments in lots so small they can only build 8 houses and they’re building homes that start at $350,000 between a Wal-Mart and Fry’s Electronics just north of 635 off Macarthur. Several new apartment, condo or town-home developments are underway in Las Colinas, including the stunningly expensive La Villita. The grapevine has it that the business buildings are full up and city tax receipts are doing nicely. Many new retail businesses have opened as well to help things along.

Three new developments (or rather, two new developments and one redevelopment) are now on the drawing board that appear likely to bring unprecedented income in taxes to the City as well as an image of prosperity that Irving has been struggling to obtain for years. The first of these is named Las Colinas Live, a multi-million dollar entertainment, residential and shopping area modeled after successful ventures such as Dallas’ West Village or Mockingbird Station. It will also have a DART rail stop.

It’s a long read so far and you’re thinking “there’s nothing sinister in that”, right? True. But wait just a little longer and you’ll start seeing what it’s all about. The other major development will be on the site of what is now Texas Stadium. In case you didn’t read that piece of news, the City of Irving will be tearing it down and building a retail and business development on it. More on that later. The last development to talk about is the “Old Towne” development, which is being done by Delbert McDougal. Old Towne is basically the old part of Irving, which, ironically, is going to be developed with all-new buildings.

Breathe deep now, because this is where it gets real. The fact of redevelopment isn't noteworthy unless you’re involved financially. What got my attention was Irving's crackdown on apartments. I first got clued in when a place called Villa Martinique apts. was condemned last year, before the Olde Towne redevelopment was announced. Villa Martinique is inside the Olde Towne area. After it was condemned the company that has the contract for Old Towne bought that property. Again, nothing shady if that's the whole story. What's funky though is that it was condemned barely a month before Irving announced the Old Towne project. What's really funky is that a friend of mine lived there 10 years ago and he said they were a hellhole even then. Those apartments have been condemnation-worthy for years, at least a decade. So why the sudden action? I don’t have the answer, but the timing sure was convenient for Mr. Delbert McDougal, and that, combined with some other developments, gets a little suspicious. There’s more to the story.

So then these stories start coming out in the DMN that Irving has decided to crack down on, let's call them delinquent, apartments. They've decided that after putting up with these complexes for decades, no more! In the past three months, King's Manor and Chivas Square apts. have also been shut down. Let me tell you what these apartments have in common: poor people and crappy old buildings. Of course, only poor people live in crappy apartments, but then nobody's out there building decent cheap apartments for poor people. Furthermore, Irving lawmakers want to require apartments to install fire sprinklers, a move that would convince a lot of apartment owners that it’s not worth doing business in Irving anymore. Of course some of these places were just barely above what you’d consider slums. The wonder is that Irving tolerated them for so long and only now decided it was necessary to come down on them.

I realize that this does not look like a sinister plan yet. Just hold on. According to a city employee, there are 16 complexes targeted for “cleanup” (which probably means forced closure) in the next five years. These complexes are in the area south of 183 around Carl Road. Guess what’s just five minutes down the highway? Texas Stadium, soon to be home of a multi-billion dollar redevelopment. Not sold on it yet?

I’m not saying that for sure there’s anything unsavory going on. It may all be on the up and up and the apartment cleanup may be because Irving has more money now than it has in quite a while instead of cashing in on the homes of its poorer residents when business is booming. But if you were going to go about getting rid of your poorer residents, many of whom happen to be dark-skinned Spanish speakers, this is one way you might go about it. Irving can’t use eminent domain to seize land simply because it doesn’t like apartments. But what it can do is run apartments off by making it impossible for them to continue operating.

It's my suspicion that a couple of things may be going on here. In Land Use we've just been talking about zoning restrictions that were passed for the purposes (disguised of course) of getting rid of apartments and apartment dwellers. Now that was back in the 30's and the 40's, but the law on zoning remains essentially the same; as long as a city has a rational basis for doing it, it's going to be upheld even if an argument can be made that the hidden purpose of the zoning regulation is discriminatory (as long as it's not blatant discrimination based on race.) I thought of that when I read about the sprinkler systems. Irving can argue it as a safety measure, but who will it impact the most, and what will the likely effect be? The closing of apartments in which poor people live. You may or may not remember, but in the wake of the Kelo v. New London decision from 2005, Texas passed a constitutional amendment which forbids the taking of private property by the state under its eminent domain powers, to confer a private benefit on a private party, or for economic development purposes (which is in direct repudiation to the more generous Kelo holding.) So that means in Texas, no seizing property under eminent domain so private developers can develop there. That means that if a city wants to take property, it's going to have to condemn it for other that it's unsafe. But once they do so, a lot of these absentee landlords are going to sell the property, and they're likely to sell it to developers who want to use the property the apartments are built on, which just so happens to be the same projects that the City is interested in developing.

Irving has used eminent domain actually, to seize the area for the new Northlake South Campus, which just happens to be in the southwest corner of the Olde Towne development. Of course it was for the public good, but it doesn’t hurt that it’s a “$10.2 million facility” and will bring hundreds of students daily to a sleepy, under-retailed area of Irving, which some day soon may sprout more restaurants and shops.

You still might say that this is all legitimate practice for a city attempting to better its station. But what if those low-rent apartments that are being closed down are being closed down despite their attempts to come into code compliance, and are being given too little leeway to actually achieve it? Some of the apartments being closed down are suing the city claiming just that. The Spanish Trace apartments are suing the city in an attempt to remain open. Their suit claims this is Irving’s “aggressive attempt to rid itself of working-class minority immigrants." Take also the Chivas Square apartments. A city employee who had occasion to go there frequently remarked that management only found that the apartments were to be closed a month in advance (they were given that month to make improvements). When the employee visited, they found that some of the tenants were unaware that they were going to be forced to leave in a month.

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez addressed this issue (somewhat) in a recent Town Hall meeting. He said that it is his and the council’s goal that no citizen in Irving live in waste and squalor when apartment owners are getting rich off the poor, so every apartment needs to be brought up to code (which they’ve increased to a higher standard and added cops specifically to deal with; look on the city’s website for a current opening for a “Code Compliance Assistant).

How about the fact that preference is obviously being given to apartments like those in Las Colinas where one bedroom, one bath apartments go for over $800 a month? There is no talk on the city council of finding room for new apartments for low-income residents. Those who are forced out must find accommodations in existing apartments or leave altogether, although I did read that Irving was considering giving any tenant forced out $600 in assistance (so generous!). Irving isn’t against apartments, it’s just against apartments that poor people can afford. This quote from the DMN is telling: “But council members say these apartments will be different. They'll be within walking distance of restaurants and shops. Rents will be expensive, and some units will be for sale. In other words, they're trying not to repeat past mistakes.”1If you consider making housing available that your working class members can afford a mistake, Irving is doing a good job of rectifying it.

Lest you assume that this is entirely about apartments, there is the fact that as of this month Irving has reorganized its structure so that the department of Code Enforcement is now under the command of the Chief of Police Larry Boyd. Here’s the text of the paragraph that discusses this move in an internal city memo:

Code Enforcement (led by director Teresa Adrian) will be placed under the auspices of the Police Department. This will allow police and codes staff to better collaborate and help streamline processes. It will give codes staff direct access to information such as vehicles, license plates, and the ability to find property owners in relation to addressing code enforcement issues. Police officers and code inspectors will be teamed up according to beat areas. This also will improve training opportunities: police officers training codes staff on citation issuance, and codes staff training officers on city ordinances to better recognize code violations. A marshal will report to Code Enforcement as well.

I’m not sure who’s violating all those codes, but it could be that after years of older white home owners complaining about 4 families living in one house and 18 cars being parked on the street in front of it, not to mention having to listen to extremely loud music late at night, the city has finally decided to get tough on single-family housing as well. Of course this newly invigorated code enforcement will still be unleashed on apartments first, but we can expect to see some changes on suburban streets as well.

Is it safe to say that Irving is enacting a comprehensive plan intending to run Hispanics out of town and discourage them from living here? Probably not. But it cannot be denied that Irving’s recent actions are having and will have a disproportionate effect on Irving’s Hispanic community. Is it safe to say that the City Council is aware of that? Probably so. They have a bird’s-eye view of everything that’s going on in Irving and if I can see this happening, surely they can too. Whether or not this strategy is unsavory, as yet there’s nothing to say that it’s illegal.

But witnessing Irving’s crackdown on illegal immigrants (possibly violating the rights of US citizens and legal residents), it is evident that there are definitely forces in the power structure of Irving that are unfriendly to the Hispanic community. There are probably elements in Irving's leadership who would like to see less Mexicans combined with people who want to develop Irving economically and want to get some of these buildings out of the way to do so, none of whom much cares what happens to those people once their apartments have been condemned so long as they just get out.

There are some questions that need to be followed up on. Was the timing of the condemnation of the Villa Martinique apartments just highly convenient for the McDougal Olde Towne deal, or did someone on the council make it clear that it was time for them to be condemned with foreknowledge of the McDougal deal? Have other deals taken place whereby developers are buying land at rock-bottom prices when everyone else is paying top dollar (remember those $350,000 homes)? If Irving’s goal is simply to make sure that no Irving resident is living in a slum, where are the proposed low-income housing developments to replace the only apartments many people can afford? Is this a racist policy aimed primarily at getting rid of Irving’s Hispanics or just an insensitive classist policy that will have that side-effect?


adam said...

Great reporting.

Gary said...

There are political science courses that teach most things in cities take place because developers want them. Developers run most city halls. Even the supposedly "good government reforms" that are pushed like the city-manager form of government structually benefit corporate developer influence and reduce citizen and local group influence.

As to your questions, yes.

Some people know about the redevelopment and are helping it along and helping themselves by targeting those slums near the redevelopment.

Anonymous said...

The current mayor of Irving campaigned recently with a message on my answering machine saying that if elected, he would take care of the growing illegal immigrant problem in Irving, or words to that effect.

I voted for the incumbent thinking that was the best bet to keep fascism like that out of office. But apparently active Irving voters are primarily anti-hispanic. Perhaps someone should tell at least the legal Hispanic immigrants to start voting if they want to stay in Irving.

Nat-Wu said...

Thank you for your comment.

joe carey,

I would believe that the majority of Irving voters are not anti-Hispanic, but apathetic. I think rather that the anti-Hispanic faction is simply more active and more vocal. The Hispanic community does not typically turn out in large numbers to vote. I bet they would make a good showing if they did.

Nat-Wu said...

gary, thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I own the house I grew up in on 1.4 acres around Vilbig lake in South Irving. House ain't so hot, but the property is absolutely prime. Figure on building a nice place on it sometime, so I don't rent it out. Get me to sell out and a developer could subdivide it into 7-8 lots, which may be one problem.

Live in Houston now (I'm a physician). Keep the place up and my brother checks up on it a couple of times a week. He went into the Hospital for a few weeks and a vagrant broke in.

We call the cops to get the guy out and the next thing we know we receive multiple code citations-- so much for "protect and serve".

Best one was for "high grass", when we had just had it mowed-- ya can't grow 10 inches of grass in three weeks. So we had it mowed again and still got a high grass citation. All documented, naturally. Harassment, not legitimate code enforcement.

Round and round with the city ever since-- Can't get them to return calls or specify exactly what the problems are. We send a crew out with instructions to fix anything that looks bad. Still get citations.

Again, this is not code enforcement. Apparently, the real objection is to an old house sitting on prime property.

I have the resources and inclination to fight the city, should it be necessary-- they have really walked out on some limbs. But I pity someone who does not have these resources.

Anonymous said...

Spanish Trace apartments just made a deal with the city where they will put a million dollars into fixing up the place. The city touts this as a win, but I wonder if this claim is just a cosmetic face-saving solution to the litigation, which likely Spanish Trace would have won. The city just bowed to the inevitable and "allowed" them not to be torn down. Maybe even came up with cash, like they did at 1923 Senter.

It may just be the regular type of rebuild these places undergo every few years or so. In any case, I doubt the spiffed-up apartments will have quite as many undocumented aliens.

Similarly, 1923 Senter Road (currently in litigation with code enforcement) is only three blocks from 2005 Bolden Rd, where the city is offering its first gas drilling lease. Makes ya go Hmmm...

On the prinicple of "follow the money" and "Qui bono". Allegedly, South Irving is sitting on billions of dollars of natural gas. Apparently the airport made $185 million in royalties last year and things are just starting up. Could provide the motive for a lot of shenangans. Maybe it isn't just the developers need for more cheap land. Keep an eye on Irving drillng permits in the future.

Anonymous said...

More on the possible Barnett shale connection with Irving's efforts to cleanup South irving:

Turns out the gas-producing shale gets thicker the further east you go, until it finally ends at the Oachita upthrust. This is located generally east of West Loop 610/I35 east. So all of Irving is included in the prime area.

Likewise, The eastern part of the Barnett shale tends to be underlaid by a hard impermiable layer that makes extensive fracturing safer. Too aggressive a "frac" and you ruin your well due to water influx from a deeper water-bearing layer. But fracturing is necessary to get economically viable production.

It gets even better-- the gas well itself is no big deal, but drilling is pretty intrusive and takes up space. The metroplex is pretty-well built over, so there is not a lot of space available.

Consequently, according to the Star-Telegram, drillers in Arlington are buying up local apartment units just to get a place to put their rigs. Makes ya wanna go hmmmmm.

"Tear down apartments for a drill site

"How tough is it to find a drilling site in North Arlington?

So tough that Fleet Oil and Gas has signed a contract to buy two apartment complexes on Washington Drive with plans to tear them down and set up a drilling rig if the city approves the required drilling...."

Anonymous said...

Er, that's "east of loop 12", where the Barnett shale ends.

Anonymous said...

After being harassed on bogus stuff by code enforcement in Irving and hearing horor stories from others I hired a private investigation firm to find out the truth. The actually fake grass violations against people using photographic trickery, and obtain things to complain about by ilegal searches. In 1994 when Irving began to "agressively enforce code" it was not a "slum" but at the same time they adopted sanctuary policies and began to bus in ilegal aliens while harassing targeted people out. I know of a WWII veteran who was harassed on faked things until he died of a heart attack. My father who is over 70 has also been harassed. The redevelopement plan was to target Anglos, over 50 with paid for homes for this treatment then leave notes on their doors to sell their homes and blanket areas with "I buy homes" and "sell it 2 us" signs, companies paying 1/3 of value to get people to leave so they could be replaced with ilegal aliens. In order to turn your home over to private developement the city has to make a case the area is "blighted", or "in need of redevelopement." All that has been done is simply to save developers money acquiring properties, Irving did not care about people. My husband was ICOP's first team leader and had the job for 10 years until he suddenly retired to find out why we had our own "code care" parked day after day in front of our home. To get families to move local schools started teaching half day in Spanish, to get apartment people to leave they purchased buildings raised rents on Americans and replaced them. At a City Council meeting they used terms like "strategic acquistion" of "targeted areas" and it is clear tactics from The Art of War are being used here. I would like to fight this also and hope to find others to join me in a legal action against my home town. I live only 5 blocks from City Hall and have awards from Irving, it was heartbreaking when they started attacking us. Several members of ICOP and RACES from the IARC have been harassed also. The detectives found it is developers who drive through streets and make lists who to harass, fliers to buy homes were found in City Vehicles. I have a lot of information to share with anyone who wishes to join me in obtaining justice for citizens who were turned on by their own home town.

Three Wise Men said...

Anonymous 1 "I own the house I grew up in on 1.4 acres around Vilbig lake in South Irving", can you please write us at We would like to discuss some information with you.

Anonymous said...

re: 4th amendment violations: The 4th amendment requires "reasonable cause" and a warrant before a gummit agent can come on your property. As a practical matter, this means that, absent permission to "trespass", code enforcement is limited to what the officer can see from the street.

The city of Irving has been violating this provision like crazy and issuing citations on the illegally-gathered evidence. More recently, they seem to have backed way off.

I cannot help but think this is because such "trespass" is claimed in at least one lawsuit (Spanish Trace). Similarly, according to a plaintiff's filing in the "Texas Lunchbox" case (1923 Senter rd), the city tacitly admitted to committing a civil rights violation when making a settlement. This may have been part of it.

When they came after me, they cited stuff such as "outside storage" that could only have been obtained from entering into a gated and fenced backyard and on a well-obscured and covered back porch. Really makes me mad, the repeated hassles they put me thru and the valuable stuff I had to throw away (mostly construction materials). I should have figured this was all illegal, official oppression even, and told them to go to hell earlier. Last time, it was for a couple window screens on this porch. Harassment, not code enforcement and for the apparent purpose of gettig me to sell a very valuable piece of property.

BTW, the plaintiffs original petition in the Spanish trace lawsuit describes the same pattern of strenuously trying to accede to the cities requests only to find more piled on that I and everyone else seem to see. This constitutes the "custom and practice" that pierces thru the city's sovereign immunity and renders them susceptible to federal civils right action.

Though as a forensics expert, I know all about the rules of evidence, I did not realize that they were conducting an illegal search. I mean, sometimes the cops stretch things a little, but in 20+ years of forensic work, I have never seen anything so brazen. So, I trustingly figured that they were working under some special "health and welfare" exemption. They were not.

Now, they have gotten tricky. Last time, they wanted to meet with me at the property to go over certain things that concerned them. They also intimated concerns that someone might be "doing drugs" in an outbuilding and I did not want that to happen, did I? Such manipulative arguments are complete BS, naturally, and set off my alarm bells.

Having finally figured out the game, I asked what would happen if I refused to meet them.

The inspector then allowed they might have to go to court. At that moment, I brought up the subject of "probable cause" and he admitted that they do need my permission. Which I naturally refused.

In fact, In my best crotchey old-fart voice, I told them if I found out they have been on my propitty, I'll call the cops on them for trespass (an amusing thought, since officially they are cops themselves.) Anyway, if this stuff happens again, I'm calling the federal cops on them, plus the odd lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

The reason code enfocement has backed of in the area west of MaCCarthor is they are about to implement their "final solution" and declare the area "in need of developement" (same legal term as blighted", in order to pave the way for taking properties from owners for private developement. Currently a large portion of central Irving east of MacCarthor is already a "redevelopement zone". On my street they used an incident of domestic terorizm in Feb to encourage people to leave (I report everything to the FBI) and after one nice renter left a home a man went to the owners who live elsewhere in town. He was nice and personable so they rented to him. But straight out of central casting a hillybilly family moved in didn't mow, spread garbage all over the yard, and hung a rebal flag in the window. As code enforcement is now under the police department a week ago police and code enforcement came, took pictures of the mess then left and so did the family. The owner came to the street and apollogized to others saying they were not the person she rented to. The photos and all the bogus and or ilegal search violation will be used as evidence the area is in need of redevelopement. Govenor Perry vetoed emmanant domain reform, so all a city has to do to take properties is get a blight designation. I would really like to speak with you and have been fighting the city tooth and nail for awhile. It looks like it is time for a suit by citizens against our own home town.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, you may be interrest in this Inet buliten:
>June 18, 2007
>Texas Governor Vetoes Eminent Domain Reform
>All Texans Remain Vulnerable to Abuse
>Arlington, Va.-On Friday, June 15, 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed HB 2006, an eminent domain reform measure that overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Texas Legislature. The bill was designed to close a loophole that remained from an earlier bill Perry signed two years ago in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Kelo v. City of New London decision. Perry becomes only the fourth governor to veto an eminent domain bill since Kelo. In the three other states, however, reform still passed when the Iowa Legislature overrode one veto, New Mexico's executive signed other reform legislation this year and Arizona reformed its laws by citizen initiative.
> "With this veto, Governor Perry has left every home, farm, ranch and small business owner vulnerable to the abuse of eminent domain," said Steven Anderson, director of the Institute for Justice's Castle Coalition, a national grassroots advocacy group committed to ending the private-to-private transfer of property using eminent domain.
> The bill would have closed the large loophole that remained after the enactment of SB 7, the 2005 legislation that allows local authorities to forcibly acquire private property for the purpose of so-called "slum" or "blight" removal. Under Texas law, the terms "slum" and "blight" are defined so broadly that they can be applied to any property, meaning no one's property is safe. HB 2006 required, with certain limited exceptions, that all takings be made for a "public use," which would have stopped eminent domain abuse throughout the state.
> HB 2006 also included procedural and compensation changes, and it was the latter that Perry cited as the reason for his veto.
>"Compensation concerns were totally overblown by government agencies," Anderson said. "Comprehensive protection against eminent domain abuse for all Texans was scuttled because of unfounded fears that property acquisitions would cost substantially more. Dollars drive the abuse, and now dollars drive this veto. In both cases, the property owners are the ones who end up getting hurt."
> In all, 41 states have passed legislation responding to the Kelo decision.
I think you may be the person also posting on another board in response to a fellow in Irving (mr. H.) who posts photos of closed bussinesses and cheers the City and Developers on-he is not going to know what hit him and is clueless. Bussinesses were purchased and left boarded up on purpose. This area of Irving was nice and could have had new bussinesses (we need a Starbucks and book store) but they wanted to have the city turn over our properties for pennies on the dollar so they set out to "blight" the city. I hope you will contact the managers of this board who can put us into communication. Irving has attacked some of its best citizens and it is time for people to fight back. It is hard to convince people this is really happening because it is not in the news, the developers own alot of the media. My husband and I both have awards from Irving and even things for "crime prevention" and have decided we will fight crime even at city hall.

Anonymous said...

I originally beleived ( as you do) that this was all about providing cheap building space for the city's developer friends. That may still be part of it.

But the real reason may be that south Irving overlies what is arguably the richest part of the Barnett shale gas/oil field. The shale underneath us is 300 feet thick and thus can be brought in by straight vertical drilling, rather than the more complicated and expensive horizontal methods used elsewhere in the field.

To drill, you need space to drill (in Arlington, they are tearing down apartment units) and a way to carry off the gas.

A consortium of companies called "DDJET" headed by a branch of ExxonMobile is preparing to drill Irving. Also use "Barnett petrosearch" on google to find the details.

Production is to be based upon two pipelines originating at the ExxonMobile terminal right next to Cowboy stadium. In this interpretation, the clustering of closed units around the stadium noted above is merely coincidental-- by chance, the stadium happens to be next to the terminal.

One pipeline goes south from the terminal and ends up on the Gulf. According to the Texas railroad comission website ( ), this pipeline goes right under Chivas Square Apartments, 1900 Carl Road, which the city forced to close, if you get my drift. A perfect place to drill.

This is smack between two other apartment units on Grauwyler, which the city also attempted to close, Kings Manor (closed) and Spanish Trace (made a deal). These are also good drill sites and easy to connect with the pipeline at Chivas square.

Another pipeline (not yet committed to the project) goes straight west along 183, doing a dip down the rail line and then heads west again. This pipeline goes right underneath another apartment unit closed by the city, Rayo del Sol.

This pipeline could easily be extended down the rail-road right-of-way to end up at Old Town. The former Villa Martinique is a great place for the drill site.

Places in Arlington close to a pipeline are getting $25K an acre, just to drill. Figure old Town controls 600 acres, This means $15 million into somebody's pocket. They also get the property and royalties for 20-30 years too.

Last year, DFW Airport made $185 million on lease payments alone. so this whole thing looks a lot larger than just a developer land grab.

No, I don't think ExxonMobile is behind this-- not much money involved by their standards and a potential bad PR hit. It is just that certain people early on had insider information and acted accordingly.

Anonymous said...

More comments: Either directly or thrugh a fmily trust, acrewise, I am one of the biggest property owners in south Irving. I concur about the possibility that South Irving was deliberately "blighted" to lower property values so that The Connected could pick them up cheaply. All the city has to do then is pull back on "enforcement" and the buyer gets a windfall as the property value shoots up.

I was intending to rent out one of my properties, but then realized this gave the city leverage and pulled it off the market. I can afford to do wihtout the rental income, most landlords cannot. Since nobody knows what demands the city will make, the value of rental property in South Irving has plummeted.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I was doing some research on the Irving Blvd redesign and came across info about Old Towne and this site. This has been a very interesting read to say the least.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in South Irving and my mom was active in politics (E.g., president of the local league of Women Voters). Nothing much happens politically in Irving with-out some developer being involved, for good or bad.

I dabble in mining and oil and gas, owning pieces of oil wells at times. More a hobby than a money maker, but I have learned a lot about how the "O'l Bidness" works on the street level.

To drill a gas well in Irving, you need a drill site 300 feet from any habitation, plus a way to carry off the gas. Both are pretty scarce in South Irving. In Arlington, drillers have bought up and torn down apartment units to meet such space and distance requirements.

On a wild hunch, I mapped out the rather limited local oil and gas pipeline rights of way in Irving. When I discovered that two of them ran right under apartment units closed by the city and that other targeted units clustered close, my jaw dropped. Coincidence? Beats me.

Being on or close to existing pipeline right-of-way greatly simplifies matters. In fact, DDJET, the company that intends to drill South Irving, is primarily a pipeline company, setup to take advantage of existing ExxonMobile pipeline right of way.

Looking further, the Rock Island rail road already has an ExxonMobile pipeline coming down it around 183. Easy enough to extend this all the way to Old Towne and then east and west, also along the rail-road's right-of way. Not to mention the already existing gas collection pipeline terminating just south of Vilbig lake.

Again, there is not much money here by ExxonMobile standards. Similarly, "Big Oil" is very careful to avoid bad PR these days. So, if there is shenangans going on here, it probably did not originate with them.

Anonymous said...

You may be interested if you have not noticed it yet in the clearing of a large area on MacCarthor next to the Vilbig Lake area. It almost looks like an excavation for a foundation of a highrise. When you came across things on the city cite in regards to developement of south Irving did you happen to see the notes on a meeting where the developers and city council discussed the "statigic aquisition" of properties in the "target areas"? Tactics from the Art of WAr are being used here and they even use military jargon in coldly discussing our properties. The article that started this blog I dissagree with. This all began in 1994 (I have the Dallas Morning News issue where Irving announced its new policy of "agressive code enforcement") My home happenes to be a small two bedroom frame built in 1949 but I am by no means poor, nor or any of the remaining original population. I would call this area a place where people ride their Harleys and Hot Rods to main street on weekends to have burgers at one of the last soda fountains in America. We are people if the yuppies of Los colinas knew our secret they would be green. In fact on man who owns a successful bussiness in Los Colinas told my husband, "wow you relly live below your means." He worries about car and house payments and we do so much bussiness with him each year we make a couple of those payments. We originally bought this home in 77 and when our income went up we started looking for a new home to keep up with our new status. We found one we loved in Arlington, 4 bedroom, split level brand new. But when we started writing down what we wanted to do in life we decided our love of travel won out over a bigger home. In the last two years we have taken trips to Vegas, with a tour by helicopter of the grand canyon, San Diego and Los Angeles. (we love the west and have bussiness in LA) We are not the poor hayseeds the media tries to paint south Irving ressidents of being. Developers brought up put out of bussiness many places, trafficed ilegal aliens here and banks made sub prime loans. Americans could not get loans to open new bussiness here, I tried to get a coffee shop and a book store. But walk in a bank prove you're an ilegal alien you sure can get money to open a Taquiria. Irving has been remade very fast so when they declare the rest of the area blighted the news will show Mexican bussinesses and stage code violations no one will hear the sound of American bodies falling.

Anonymous said...

A little more than a decade ago Central Irving had many bussinesses along irving blvd, including the Irving Daily News, Minyards, Belltone, a Harley Shop, a Bonaza Steak house. But it had to be destroyed to make a case it was "blighted" so Irving City Officials could declare areas in need of redevelopement in order that Irving could cruely take property from owners (and remember most peoples home is their major investment in life) destroy lives to give away their land for pennies on the dollars to billionaires. We stayed here because it was such a nice town. So how do you blight Main Street USA? You open stations and traffic in ilegal aliens. You declare your best citizens "a certain kind of people" telling lies to code enforcement officers about why they should be harrassed and forced out of Irving. You blanket the streets with signs "I buy homes", you have appraisors tell people their property is worth very little. You buy apartments raise the rent on Americans and give them to others. You swop out Minyards for Canavals and shock the people (anglo, jewish, native american, mexican american, etc) tell them you did this because the area is mostly "hispanic". Everyone knew that was an outright lie. To get families to move you start teaching school a half day in Spanish so those feeling their children are no longer getting a fair American Education move to other towns. School Marques in this area carry messages only in Spanish. One man said he bussiness area suddenly filled with ilegal aliens. People would come in harass him and his Mexican American Employees, make messes, and he began getting break ins. He moved and his old location on Shady Grove became a Taquiria, then a redevelopement zone. (blighted) What is heartbreaking is people here loved their town participated in the annual parades, volunteered in groups like RACES, Skywarn, Icop, then got attacked. Code enforcement went by this profile-anglo over 50 paid for property-you would get lots of notices faked against you, cited for things that were not violations, and have officers pound on your door and tell you your neighbors complain about you all the time. They drove a WWII veteran with awards from the city to his death of a heart attack. Police officers attended his funeral not knowing what he went through the last few months of his life caring for his wife (a stroke victem) his area is now a redevelopement zone. Tactics from The Art of WAr are being used against a civilian American Population on American soil. How do you take over an area, flood it with forieners. Create turned agents amoung the local politicians-there will always be those who will turn on others for monetary gain, agrandizement or elevations in position...

Nat-Wu said...

Look, violet, I hate to break it to you but there is no conspiracy to blame here. At least, none local to Irving. The influx of immigrants has nothing to do with the city supporting some kind of pro-illegal policy, nor with banks offering them money, nor with the city deliberately allowing any areas to become blighted. Mexicans (and other South Americans) came here for jobs when their economies took a major downturn in the 90s while ours took a major upturn. Bush has been very business friendly and Clinton was in his day too. Businesses stand to profit from an influx of cheap labor so they influenced both administrations to keep them from instituting harsh anti-immigration measures. I'm not going to argue about how illegals somehow get more in government benefits than American citizens doand all similar accusations because that's plainly wrong, and what's going on in Irving has nothing to do with that. What happened here is what happened all over Texas and other border states; people from Mexico moved here to take jobs which by our reckoning are crap but which earn them more money than they can make in Mexico. And that just means that suddenly we had a lot of working-class and poor people on our hands. There is no conspiracy!

You're entirely wrong about Irving's friendliness towards illegals. The Mexican embassy has warned Mexicans away from this city because its reputation is so bad now! Irving deports more illegals than Dallas, and at least two of our council members support the use of 247g, the controversial program in which our police act like immigration officers. And there have always been people like that on the council, people who would never endorse a plan to actually bring in immigrants as part of some scheme to devalue Irving.

Irving's economic downturn began quite a while ago. Did you not notice that it had been nearly two decades since a new office building had gone up in Las Colinas? The current city council inherited one of the worst economic situations Irving's ever had, what with the recession of 2001. City departments' budgets were slashed and in recent years staff has actually been cut. Whether it's related or not, things started to really turn around about the same time Tommy Gonzalez was hired. From that point on, the city's funding has been replenished and major building projects have begun. The point is, when the economy was down and nobody wanted to build in Irving, there wasn't much point in tearing down old apartments. Now that there's money flowing, it's time to develop. Why get rid of your old house? Because they can replace it with something worth $200k or more in a neighborhood of the same and attract people who don't live below their means! It's all about money, nothing else. That's why code enforcement is all over the older neighborhoods and the apartments. They want to get rid of them and replace them with new ones. It's that simple.

Nobody in the city is trying to turn Irving Hispanic. Businesses and schools respond to demand. Yes, there are more taquerias now. That's because there's demand for them. Yes, there are school marquees in Spanish. That's because there are schools in areas where 90% of the kids speak Spanish at home. They're not trying to make white kids Hispanic, they're teaching Hispanic kids. That's all.

As for banks giving loans to people without credit histories? Ridiculous. If the immigrants have access to loans that you don't, it means they're getting them privately, perhaps through established Hispanic businesses or some kind of private cooperatives.

Again, there is no need for conspiracy theories. The reasons why this has happened are all out in the open and quite understandable and while I agree that the city is acting in bad faith towards its citizens, the truth is that it's acting in its own perceived best interests. In my mind, that means they're doing a disservice to all of its citizens, white and otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Most of South Irving was built in the 1950's. Code enforcement is so subjective that you can often find some offense in a brand new house, much less a 50-year-old one. Unfortunately, this makes for abuse.

The problem for the city and its developer friends is that the old f@rts sitting on all this equity are not dying off or moving to the nursing home fast enough. Even when they do, their heirs often don't feel like selling off the old homestead, particularly when it can be rented or just carried. Some of these properties are even rented out by the original owner, who may be in (say) a nursing home.

All this keeps rents cheap, which means an influx of immigrants. Whether or not this influx of poor folks has been encouraged by the city fathers to further depress property values is uncertain. For one thing, this would require pretty long-term planning and is probably unecessary, though you never know.

This whole business is calculated to generate paranoia and conspiratorial theories, even among normally hard-headed folks like myself. Anyway, as a practical matter, it sounds pretty paranoid (unless you have actually had to deal with the city) and probably undercuts our case to claim the city deliberately encouraged the hispanic influx.

Then into this mix, introduce the fact that South Irving overlies what may be the richest part of what is emerging as the largest gas deposit in North America.

Whatever their other motives, my personal feeling is that this played an important role in (e.g.) the specifics of the cities' enforcement actions against various apartment units. By "creative" use of code-enforcement, the city largely forced them to be torn down, no matter what corrective measures the owners offered. The sole exception seems to be Spanish Trace, who took the city to court.

With the exception of some large residential lots just north of Vilbig lake, a demolished apartment unit is about the only legal drill site in south Irving-- an acre or so for the equipment plus 300 feet from a habitation, school, etc.. This area is clearly going to be drilled by DDJET, no matter what. So what are they going to use for the drill sites otherwise?

It does not hurt that two of the demolished apartment units are actually crossed by existing pipeline right-of-way. Pipeline access is emerging as the limiting factor for gas production in the metroplex.

Anonymous said...

Hello Nat wu, nice to meet you. Hi Anon.

The Kelo vs New London ruling at the Supreme Court left a loop hole that put into motion the greatist disruption of lives in American History. Sandra Day O'Conner was the single descenting vote. She wrote that it would unfaily target the poor and dissinfranchised.

If it is a "conspiracy theory" that Irving and developers (and others) put into motion over a decade ago a plan to convert areas to "mostly hispanic" the declare them "blighted" using the alternate more friendly legal term "redelelopement zone" it is a shame that often people who call attention to the plan have to suffer inuendos that they are racist. If federal law enforcement would do it's job it can be proven whatever has happened more Americans have dissapeared from Central Irving than ilegal aliens have been deported. I find it outragous that "hispanic" is used to define "blight" personally.

Two news stories you may be interested in. This was reported on either KDFW or KXAS (I don't remember which) after Irving in the City Spectrum encouraged people to go green and come to classed on solar energy and to form and join neighborhood assns. a Mexican American placed solar panels on top of his two story beautiful home. He was notified by his assn they would have to come down, he tried to meet with them to talk it over and the next day got a notice from Irving to remove them. He told the news it saved him emmediately hundreds of dollas and he just wants to talk with them and should have time to have a discussion. The next day he got slammed with a fine and the next a lien which destroyed his credit rating.

In Dallas reported on KTTV two Mexican Americans who jointly owned a bussiness were told by the cities building insp unit they would have to make changes that cost them $20,000 they took a loan and made those changes but returned one morning to find a chain link fence around their bussiness and the notice it had been turned over to private developers. They cried to the news they were both stuck with the $20,000 loan they still had to repay.

No rallies were held for the injustices held to these fellows. Did you know in Jan of this year the Mayor of Cleveland filed suit against 6 large banking groups saying they had "blighted Cleveland" and were opperating like "mobsters" in the city?

The man my husband personally knows who was harassed from his bussiness employed Mexican Americans who were also harassed and he is Asian. A grave disservice is being done to the ilegal aliens and to minorities as well as the group that gets beat down when they say their civil rights are being violated.

Anonymous said...

I hope you will read my last post but I would like to digress here to the simple topic of "grass violations" and their impact on North Texas. Have you noticed there is a growing number of complaint posts on what one blogger called "grass police"? He posted that North Texas now has more grass police than health inspectors. A vast army of officers combs the streets daily in search of 10 inches of grass while we get poisoned in restaurants. Did you know the plant that made National News two years ago when it blew up in Dallas had not been inspected in five years?

This entire area has been under drought conditions for almost two decades now, every city rations water each summer, limiting when you can water your lawn. Did you know agricultural experts (check ANY lawn care book) caution against cutting grass too low under hot summer conditions because if the sun can hit the roots it kills the plants? Additionaly they reccomend that grass be allowed to get longer to conserve water. Proffesional mowers upset clients were complaining to them they recieved grass violations lowered their mowing height to less than two inches. One guy said he mowed 16 yards on a two week basis but in Irving 12 of them got hit at 8 inches for grass violations. Two summers ago it got so bad here most of south Irving was entirely dried grass I emailed the Mayor he had reduced the area to a fire hazard and would start complaining to the Fire Chief. About that time the fire chief resigned. Irving has the maximum height now at 10 inches but violations routinely occur at 8. The national average is 12. Did you hear on KTTV this week the Dallas City Council is currently considering reducing the maximum in Dallas to 8? That will translate to violations occurring at 6 as we face another long hot summer and water rationing.

You may remember sometime during the past year the news reported Dallas was frustrated by so many monitored security systmes going off when crimes were not happening at bussinesses in South Dallas that Dallas announced on the news they would no longer respond to the automatic calls but would need a phoned in also alarm. Bussiness owners (African American) made an outcry to the media, "why did you report that, crime went up!!" One bussinessman yelled, "if this doesn't stop I will move!" Bingo, do I have to explain this?

Now South Dallas faces if the council does lower the hieght reduction to hazardous conditions.

Anonymous said...

Racist/culturalist appeals provide ideal political cover for Irving's land grab. Even better, Irving can truthfully deny that running out all those poor undocumented Meskins is their primary goal. In fact, it is not.

The other advantage is that the victims are unpopular (unless you need their labor), generally can't vote, and (most importantly) displace persons who can.

Thus, when unpopular disenfranchised minorities move into an area, they clear the way for any necessary wholesale population "cleansings" without having to pay the political price. How else could you displace whole apartment units full of people?

Anonymous said...

Exactly! (I'm glad someone can read and process) Did you see the KTTV story when the people suddenly ordered out within two weeks of the Villa Martinque cried to the media? It showed mostly nice Asian familys carrying laundry baskets with their things and crying they don't have time to even find another place. I live just around the corner from there and use to wave at those kids when I went to shop at Kroger. They were ordered out just after Christmas in winter disrupting their kids school year. What were they "saved"? Most did not own cars they had a bus stop in front of the building, a medical clinic on one side, a grocery store across the street and an elementary school on the other side. A city official was agrandized for saving them from deplorible conditions first reported as "sewer proplems". Am I wrong aren't sewers the domain of the city. I have cried for those nice families and it is sick the way the media and propagananists refer to their apartments as crime infested hell holes. I do not remember reading in Police Beat of a big crime problem there.

Twenty years ago I lived in some apartments here in Irving that had backed up plumbing, gas leaks, rodents and was so structuaraly unsound wind blew in through the bricks. Those apartments are north of 183 and strangley still today no city official feels the need to save those people.

Nat-Wu said...

As to your last point, violet, that's exactly what I've said. Irving has let apartments get to that point, only to swoop in and suddenly declare that people need to be saved from these "slums" and "slumlords". This has two purposes: one, clearing off land on the cheap for developers, and two, getting rid of working-class and poor people the city doesn't want. As I've made clear, the first point is the more important one to the city. They don't care what happens to those former residents. Either they can move into other apartments in Irving, or they leave Irving. Doesn't seem to bother the city council either way. And as I stated before, this represents the unity of two distinct factions in the city: the pro-business advocates who have no particular agenda towards Hispanics and the anti-Hispanic advocates who have no particular agenda towards business. Their ends serve each others' needs.

That being said, this is not the culmination of some 20-year plan to bring the city to this point. Inevitably properties age and become less valuable. People say houses always gain value, but that's only true up to a point. Look at the value of a house when it's 10 years old versus 60. Same for apartments. It's natural that some of these complexes need to be torn down. However, it's also the case that Irving let them get that way through bad management. You would not believe the ineffectiveness of some of the city's bureaucracy. And it's true that the city is making more of some of these cases than is warranted. No conspiracy, but it has the same effect.

What's ironic, violet, is that it is the strength of the anti-Hispanic south Irving homeowners that is supporting the same council members who are coming in cracking down on them for code enforcement violations. These people don't like Hispanics, and these are the people who talk about Mexicans living 4 families to a house and 2 families to an apartment, and also complaining that Mexicans bring crime and lower property values. This is truly what I've heard before. Ok, maybe there are plenty of people in South Irving who don't care that they're Mexican so much as the supposed problems they bring, but either way these are the people who elected council members on an anti-immigrant platform, council members who promised to "clean up" Irving. Well guess what? They're doing exactly what they said they would! The only problem is that they don't give a rat's ass about the people living comfortably in 50-year-old homes, they care about reelection and the potential for making money for the city (which is almost the same thing). These older white folk who voted for the restoration of law and order pulled the lever against their own interests.

I'm not saying that code violations should be allowed, but "code enforcement" is actually code (no pun intended) for "excuse to clear off areas for developers". This is known! It's not like Irving is the first city to see this kind of thing!

Villa Martinique was an utterly craptastic apartment complex, and many of those apartments were not fit to live in. That, however, does not explain the city's failure to be flexible when it came to looking for solutions. They forced the closure of the property and decided it needed to be knocked down without ever exploring the options of getting someone in there to clean it up and make it meet code or replacing it with other affordable housing. It'll be part of the new Old Towne development, meant for up-scale young folks and retirees not living on Social Security. In other words, tax generators. This fits both the pro-business and anti-immigrant agendas.

Hold on for more announcements of apartments being shut down. It will happen. The target areas are in proposed development areas (with the possibility that this may have to do with gas leasing as well). That means the Old Towne area, the Irving Blvd. area, and the area around Texas Stadium.

Anonymous said...

Ironicaly (to your point of view) my husband and I voted against all incumbants this month. Which means that in the case of one of the council positions we voted FOR the Hispanic Pro Amnesty canidate against the long term incumbant ressident. Our eyes are open. We believe if the media were telling the true story no one would ever reelect anyone currently in City Government. I would fall under your term "older white folks", and feel I was an informed voter.

In the past code enforcement was non existant in this town until in the 1980's I took a neighbor to court who had damaged my fence and won. Five households were complaining of the smell from goats, a lean to built to house them in view of the street, 16 non running cars (five parked on the front lawn), high weeds etc. The Judge ordered the city to enforce its own codes.

Because of activities in Irving (volunteering with city programs etc) and memberships in a club of very civic minded individuals who responded to calls for volunteers from the city we were in the position to notice when things started to change and what was occuring to our many elderly friends. On Sunday Nov. 11, 1994 Section P (devoted to Irving the issue of The Dallas Morning News featured two articles of interrest on the same page. 1) The first titled "The Call of Duty" was about a married couple in the fledgling Irving Citizens on Patrol Program. It spoke of their service to the city in spite of their ages. The man served in the Navy during WWII. 2) The article at the top of the same page is titled "Code Enforcement is goal of Program", with lead subtitle "Downtown area targeted for cleanup effort." It gave the parameters of the target area the same area that is now a part of the "redevelopement zone" the legal designation which clears the way for properties to be seized and turned over for private developement. The area included the block where the Villa Martinique stood.

I have stated that what is happening began happening over a decade ago, it dates back to 1994. Are you familiar with R.L. Polks City Directories? A comparson of the book for 94 would show a vast change in the make up of the residents with the latest edition.

The couple in the first news article were Elks and members of the IARC, they partroled Irving in the ICOP program and also for Skywarn. They missed doing parade communication on the 4th of July or any other city program requiring volunteers to do communications. The lady always made homemade cookies for club meetings, everyone loved them.

Shortly after those articles happened things began to change. Within months someone purchased the Irving Daily News and put it out of bussiness, the citizens no longer had a forum. The lady in the article suffered a stroke and her the couple had to drop out of their numerous activities. Her husband cared for her in thier home. Something strange started to happen. When anyone would visit after visiting with the lady (who could no longer speak or walk) the man would take friends into his neat back yard and show them what was happening to him. He said code enforcement people were like woodchucks popping up all the time and banging on the door to march him arround his property. He said it was upsetting that would wake his wife like that. Code enforcement one day demanded he get out right then and paint a small piece of trim on his garage. The next time they told him he had to have a lock on his garage because he kept tools in there. He put a $12 Master lock on the door, and they came back and demanded he leave right then and go to the place they gave him the address for and buy a $46 dollar lock. He showed people the pile of garbage in his neighbors yard and said when he pointed it out to code enforcement and asked why didn't they do anything about that, they snapped at him, "you are the problem everyone complains about you!" Signs popped up in his neighborhood "I buy homes", "homes in any condition." After several months of harassment he had a heart attack and left his wife still needing care. She was moved by her daughters to a care unti in Tyler her obit was in a Feb issue of the Rambler this year. Police Officers attended his funeral not knowing what had been occurring. His home was just south of 183 near Carl Road.

The next thing I heard was from my own father who is over 70 and also a good citizen with numberous thank you's from the city of Irving. Code enforcement began to pound on his door and demand he mow his yard even though it was not that long. When he would point out the yard across the street was over 16 inches he got snapped at "you're the one everyone complains about, all your neighbors!" A man began to come to his door regularly and try to talk him into selling his home. Signs sprung up, "I buy homes!, etc
He lives in the Phymouth Park area of Irving.

Next someone pounds on my door and ta da it's code enforcement. I had called a week before to report the 4 foot weeds at the home next door blowing weeds into my flower gardens. The woman demanded I come out and look at my yard with her and chewed me out for reporting the yard next door! I told her you can see it, the lowest weeds are 4 feet. She told me that yard was not in violation because the high weeds did not cover more than 60 per cent of total of the property. (huh???) I am not a young person and have asthma and began having a stress induced attack at that point and was still almost frog marched through my front yard, side yard and back yard while she inspected everything. Finally she pointed to the tree clearly on the property behind me and said I had to cut it or she would fine me it was too low over the street. At some point she bragged to me "I am college educated." That was the worst case for higher education I have ever seen. On another day when I recieved a bogus notice I pointed to several real violations and asked why don't you do something about those? I got snarled at that my neighbors complain about me all the time. I asked, "who the people who threatened to complain about me because I let African American and Hispanic kids play in my yard". I sent a note to the city saying if they were harassing me on that bases they should stop city employees from acting as stooges for people with kkk mentalities. Years later after more abuse I found out when a made neighborhood compared notes all of us hit were always told the same thing and none of had complained.

We confronted Teresa Adrian (seperately) and got the same "story", she admitted it had been a lie no one in the nieghborhood had complained and said it was "people from other places that come to city hall and complain after taking streets from a map and driving down them." When pressed she backed up and said she doesn't know who they are they just "write letters".

The lady who now owns the property next door and ironically had never speaken to me because I had sued her mom over goats is herself over 60 and recieved so many insults when she went into city hall they reduced her to tears and she ended up in the hospital with heart problems a week later was told the same thing. We are now friends.

I employ a professional mower who does my yard on a two week bases, when it get too long for me I mow it myself before the two weeks are up. One day I got mad to find an abandoned shopping cart on my frontage so I snapped a photo the day after we had just mowed showing my mowed lawn. I called the city to ask what to do about the cart so my call to the city dates the photo of my just mowed lawn yet I recieved a grass violation the next day. My neighbor was hit for something obtained by an ilegal search witnessed and reported by a Viet Nam Veteran ill from Agent Orange. We were told they inspect only from the street or properties where they are invited they NEVER go down someones drive way or enter back yards. Two days later a neighbor snapped a photo of a code person down a driveway peering over a fence, the photo has the city car and emblem in the foreground. We live in days where Irving ressidents are subjected to violations of the 4th ammmendment and Viet Nam Veterans are called "liars", but photos show it is not that guy who lied. One guy was cited for having a single bucket on his driveway. Two homes on our street that day had 16 inches of grass but they had to drive a sign so low into the ground in front of my home it was only 13 inches high and then take a photo from the GROUND.

I wrote the city and demmanded an apollogy pointing out I had been recognised at the annual dinner with the city council and mayor honoring city volunteers for my helping the city with "traffic control." I wrote, "you trusted me with controlling traffic around both perimeters of Texas Stadium for a City Event but feel you need to have to tell me when to mow my lawn? For all my troubles dispite mentioning I was flying to LA to visit my grandmother ill with Alzhiemers I recieved threats and insults from city officials. Before I had even unpacked I had to fly back she had died. I get back and a man comes to my street and tells my husband we would have less yard work to do if we sold our home to him for $50,000. He hit the other homes also that had recieved bogus code notices. Signs appeared all over (near Rogers and Rock Island) "I buy homes", post its were left at my gates "Sell it 2 us".

We figured an enterprizing city councilman with real estate interests was using code enforcemnt as a private army. We later found out we were wrong. My neighbor said she had asked City hall, "why are you harrassing us, do you have some sort of project planned here and want our properties?" She hit the nail on the head. This was in 2006. The blantant extortion attempt was made on my home only have 10 years of harrassment. We were never asked to sell there was never a "good faith negotiation". I will continue this later.

Anonymous said...

Thru my pacer account, I have access to the details of the two cases the city took to federal court after being sued in state court. These are "Texas Lunchbox" (1923 Senter) and "Spanish Trace".

It is clear that the city's true motivation was to tear down the properties and not to correct problems. Simply stated, the owners offered to do whatever was needed, if given the opportunity.

It is also clear that the property owners prevailed in court. I don't have immediate access to the state court cases which did not get to the federal system (such as "Villa Martinique").

But since the city evidently thought the feds would be more sympathetic to its case, I suspect that things are turning out even worse for the city in state court. State limits on "takings" are significantly more stringent than federal law. BTW, likely these cases are on-line somewhare, but if not, you can just go to the court house.

Any agreements are sealed. Presumably, this is so the city can claim a cosmetic win, as it does in "Spanish trace". But in "Texas Lunchbox" the city renigged, so we get the details of the negotiations. Again, this included an agreed $225K payment to tear down a building carried on the tax rolls at $28K.

Interestingly, the city did force one apartment unit north of 183 to be torn down. This was Rio del Oro, which just happens to sit on top of a gas pipeline. What are the chances?

The city may continue to force further tear-down of South Irving properties, but only if it is willing to pay the property owners for the priviledge or the owner doesn't take them to court. However, judging by "Spanish Trace", if the property owner doesn't take the city to court, the bank does, rather than get stuck with a foreclosure.

As for gas drilling-- last year, the airport made $185 million from gas leases. Likewise, Fort Worth makes a lot of money off urban gas wells. Potential windfalls to the cities' friends aside, Irving should also do well. The problem is drilling space, which the city has neatly solved.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the good information. After reading your other posts I decided to keep watch on the space cleared next to Lake Vilbig on MacCarthor. It could go either way, I had thought it looked like they had cleared it for a foundation but will keep an eye out for drilling.

One of the victems in this is over 90 years old, in a wheelchair, his wife died just three months ago. Story Road was named after him and he does not believe this is all a "conspiracy theory".

I had wondered for years what on earth would make code enforcement officers step so far out of the limits of their state licenses and use their possitions to harass people. It was not until I read the ex officers interview on page 5 of the 11-29-07 issue of The Irving Rambler. Evidently they are told lies that the people they recieve lists to harass at out of town closed door meeting with two city council people and Teresa Adrian and why these people are "a certain kind of people" who should "be forced out of Irving" Their goal was to sew as much resentment and fear into people, fear their neighbors hated them, in some cases people were told others had complained against them and innocent people got their tires slashed, because a neighbor thought they had complained. Diabolical wasn't it? Anyway even though many of us are long term citizens in good standing we became "a certain kind of people".

To get back to our story, as you can imagine, people who have awards for things like "crime prevention" were not going to take this laying down. Friends in the IPD had already told one of us the officers hands are tied as far as the complaints they were getting on harassment by code enfocement, they too work for city hall. Oh, by the way, what Irving is doing by suspending Federal Laws and taking away citizens rights to have open mike at council meetings is called nullification. Which is essentialy succeeding from the union so it suspend little documents like The U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Ammendments.
When I found out to speak at City Hall I would have to submit the topic in advance and if it was considered "disruptive" I would not be allowed to speak I thought of Norman Rockwells painting Freedom of Speech, it seems to be missing these days in Irving.

We reported on behalf of five households on our street that we all felt someone was trying to extort our homes from us using code enforcement. Our caller got brushed off with "we don't police code enforcement." Really? How strange they were at that time knee deep in the case where members of Dallas City Government had used building inspection to harass owners into paying for a protection racket. One man testified in Austin on that case saying he was also threatened with "code enforcement".

Even though I am not a wealthy person I was so upset with the injustice done to me at the same time my grandmother died and the injustices to other we decided to fund an investigation. The people driving though our streets looking at homes and making lists cars traced back to developers. It looks like several companies were buying homes in Irving but they all are owned by the same billionaire finacial group heavily involved in all sorts of projects. A city vehecle was found to have stack of fliers to buy homes. City employees were vidio taped making ilegal inspections. After a year I wrote the FBI and reminded them they feel they do not police code enforcemnt and I stated, you Do police, domestic terrorism, extortion, harassment, corruption in government, human trafficing and racketeering do you not? To date I have had no response. I have also written the US Attorney for this area of the country. I have challenged the media to tell how the existing homes were obtained for sub prime loans. On 1-2-08 HLN (headline news) reported the FBI is busy revisting an old case they think they can finally solve after all these years...D.B.Cooper.

Oh Nat, haven't you been keeping up on current events, it is not just appartments now it is small bussinesses, next I predict it will be homes. Oh I meant to say in my last post the couple I spoke of never missed a parade etc. Next time I will tell you how Irving dupes citizens into propagandizing for them, I was one they tried to recruit.

Anonymous said...

Violet: You may be complaining the wrong way. First, reciting every little injury ad nauseum and continually telling everyone you and you friends are good citizens is unecessary and dilutes your case. After a while, you get dismissed as a crock, rather than a citizen with legitimate complaints. This is how misbehaving gummits regularly handle complaints. Don't give them any ammunition.

First thing, you gotta make them take you seriously. Gummit employess acting wrongly are not used to people coming at them in effective legal ways and don't know what to do. Complaints ain't enough.

When I reluctantly realized the screw job was in, I starting approaching this as just another legal case and started systematically gathering evidence. This is a "He said, she said" situation. Further, the court tends to believe a gummit official, absent reason not to. Again, what counts is EVIDENCE.

E.g., I got a "tall grass citation" three weeks after a mow job. Had it mowed and then three days later got another tall grass citation.

Rather than getting mad, I thanked my luck stars. The city inspector had just lied in a documentable way (naturally, I keep receipts). By itself, a small thing, if one done in official capacity. But this can be used to impeach his credibility under oath.

The legal principal is that if someone officially lies in a provable way about a small thing, you can't believe him about something more important.

Similarly, in a deposition, having established the complaint is fabricated, you ask the officer, under compulsion and oath, who put him up to it. Then you work up the chain. Who knows where this will eventually lead. My wild guess is that the city is not going to want this to happen and the case would end long before.

Similarly, first thing I do is obtain the court records of whatever other cases the same parties are involved in. This can tell you a lot and put you onto other leads. Because Pacer only gives Federal court filings, I just got two cases, but these were enough to confirm my original suspicions that the city is on pretty shaky legal ground.

Another element is "motive". In legal terms "Qui Bono?". So, you start following the $$$$. All the while gathering documentation and avoiding throwaway claims or expressing surprise that they would treat people like you and me this way. They obviously can and do.

Anonymous said...

My profuse thanks anon. I had been mad at myself all day anyway for getting "emotional" and realized I was losing. Your advice is right on. I hope oneday we can at least exchange a few emails and I share with you I found out by funding a private investigation into why people were being harassed. One thing no one has of yet mentioned here is that some of the targeted properties are not in the way of private developement, they are in the way of TX DOT projects. Our tax money should not be going to people with government contracts using harassment to obtain properties. I like this site and it dedication to Freedom of Speech so I have not named names here but can even tell you why the media locally does not do these stories.

Frankly the people who came up with the plot in Irving (and other parts of North Texas) are so slick they slide uphill.

Anonymous said...

We are just being treated like the disenfranchised. You know, poor folks, with darker skins and questionable immigration status. Not very pleasant, is it?

The following demonstrates how things really are:


SEPTEMBER 27, 2007

“1923 Senter, Sam Kim, Owner

"Code Enforcement Director Adrian gave a status report on this case on behalf of the City. She provided a PowerPoint presentation, as well as a chronological report on the condition of the property which failed to meet deadline, and she noted staff was not making a recommendation. The August 30, 2007, Order authorized the City to demolish the building for owners failure to have property occupied with full functioning businesses by September 26, 2007.

Sam Kim, 1923 Senter, Owner addressed the Commissioners.

Sue Harper, 1117 S. Delaware, spoke in opposition of the item. She said she personally monitored the property, and she questions the work that has been done inside of the building. She said Mr. Kim had lots of opportunities and this item needs to be resolved.

Sam Kim, 1923 Senter, Owner, asked for additional time to come into compliance. He said he made application for water service but he could not understand why the water service was not provided to his building. He also asked for a 30 day stay for the demolition order so that he could get the property ready for operation.

Code Enforcement Director Adrian requested that the Commissioners refrain from making a change to the original Order. She stated the intent would be to bring the case back to the October 25, 2007, meeting as a “closed” case.”

Summary: The usual suspects order Mr. Kim's property to be demolished, right away. He appeals to no avail.

Looks like all is lost, Ya can't fight city hall, etc.. However, Mr. Kim took the city to court. Ultimately, the city agreed to the following settlement. Some at least of it was for “damages”, done by the city to Mr. Kim

From the court records (this was supposed to be kept secret, but got revealed when the city renigged on the deal):

"1. The lawsuit would be dismissed and each party will pay their own attorneys' fees;

2. The case pending before the Irving Building and Standards Commission (`BSC") would be closed;

3. The City would pay Plaintiff $225,000.00;

4. The City would demolish and dispose of the improvements (including any asbestos abatement) on the Property at the City's expense;

5. The City would rezone (from commercial to residential S-P-2 for R-6 use) and replat (from one (1) commercial lot to two (2) residential lots) at the City's own cost and expense;

6. Plaintiff could remove any personal property he desired from the Property prior to demolition;

7. Plaintiff would sign an Application for Zoning Change; and

8. Plaintiff would retain title and ownership of the Property after the demolition, rezoning and replatting.”

Tell 'em to go to hell. None of these people wants to sit for a deposition, under "oath and compulsion" to tell the truth.

Anonymous said...

Iris: I can be contacted by emain at:


Anonymous said...

I to live in south Irving and have for over 30 years. Never in those thirty years have we ever had a code violation until last week. Ours was "out side storage" I had a 5 gallon bucket picking up trash because my neighbors had put their trash out 3 day early and a stray dog had torn open the trash. Oh and also did catch a code inspector looking in my back yard from my neighbors drive way. I asked them to leave the property because they were trespassing, in which they replied that "no one was home" at which I informed them that I owned the property that they were trespassing on. Got to admit the look I got was "classic".

Anonymous said...

As the lein-holder, Wells-Fargo bank intervened in the Spanish Trace case. The first thing they did was send the city a message by submitting a list of potential wittnesses they wished to call.

This list includes the usual suspects from code enforcement and city government. In essence, Wells Fargo's attorneys were stating their intent to depose them, under oath. This is the last thing the city wants to happen. Right about this time, the city told the judge that they had reached a settlement, terms unspecified.

Anonymous said...

Violet: In reference to your comment about a possible gas well next to MacArthur around Vilbig lake. I just checked the Rail Road commission mapsite ( ).

Sure enough, there is a well being drilled about a quarter mile east of MacArthur on Oakdale.

Watch these puppies start springing up all over town. As a practical matter, in Irving property, there is no other place for a drill-site than a torn-down apartment unit.

Anonymous said...

Here is an Interesting article from the Barnett Shale News on the finances of Gas leases:

It may not be up for long, so look at it quick. Remember, there is reason to think there is more gas under Irving than Tarrant county.

The article indicates that a typical Barnett shale gas well will produce about $30 million dollars in gas over its lifespan. Multiply this times the 6-9 wells drilled from each site and you get into the hundreds of millions.

Right now, the drill-site owner gets a 2.5% royalty. This is on top of the prorated 25% royalty paid to landowners in the drilling block (typically 50-100 acres).

Conservatively assuming six gas wells, 2.5% of $180 million is $4.5 million, just to the drill site owner. Not to mention the upfront $100K plus $10 per well. And the 25% royalty if they take gas from your property.

A lot easier money than just developing the property. Besides which, the well-head is pretty non-obtrusive. So you can also use the property for whatever.

This gives plenty of motive for forcing the sale and tear-down of an apartment unit to use as a drill site. So don't think all these people who take the property in the forced sale are doing the citizens of Irving a favor.

Anonymous said...

he incumbants of Irving were not a wize choice to vote for. They knew what a santuary city was even though all of us sitting duck saps in Irving had never heard the term. All of our city government knew Irving became a santurary city a decade ago, we citizens didn't know and even when we heard about it said,"isn't that ilegal?" It was so sad to those of us who found out what is going on that Rose Cannaday who knew this was a santuary city and bragged she was a ressindent here 12 years and for "more agressive code enforcemnt" won over the real canidate. All the people committing crimes against Irving Citizens claim kinship to Irivng of 12 years and add a year each year. wowie that really impresses up third and fourth generation over 50 year citizens. Rose Cannaday knew what a santuary city was when she came to town, I bet you just learned about it.
Irving was converted to a sanctuary city which means a place where in Mexico they are told if you go there you will not be deported a decade ago. Over a decade ago now. If you have santuary status that means (as reported widely on cnn and hln) when Mexican Nationals are released from jails and prisons in "nice towns" the marshal service drops them in the santuary areas. A santuary town or area (in Irving zip codes 75060-75062) is where police are not allowed to ask status if stopped or arested. Landlords are not required to check if renters are citizens etc.
Nat Wu posted to me I was spinnng a conspiracy theory but that is not true he just forgot the history of this area. In 2007 spring Irving started breaking out in pot fields to the north and south and filling up with gang members from prisons and jails the marshall service dropped off here. People protested and the feds started breaking up Irvings santuary policies freeing the ipd to do their jobs in august 2007. Irving which had ilegals bussed in by the thousands was at the breaking point. Irving city government and developers began trafficing criminal ilegal aliens to Irving in mass not caring what happened to people. If people were killed by gang members more would move. The feds stepped in and cancelled Irvings santuary policies. It is true what Nat wrote in Mexico are posts that if you come to Irving you will be deported-those notices appeared in 2007.
In sept 2007 an arizona police officer was killed by an ilegal alien prompting rank and file officers in calif and arizona to give a news confrence where officers spoke out against santuary pollicies that put officers and the public in danger.

Anonymous said...

According to the railroad commmission website, a gas well just got permitted immediately North of the Stadium. If that comes in ( and it is almost bound to), the next step will to be to drill south of the stadium, in South Irving proper.

As a practical matter, the only place to drill legally will be all those conveniently-empty apartment units clustered around Carl Road and Grauwyler. Just like in Arlington. It does not hurt that they are either close to, or sit right on top of, the DDJET pipeline right-of way.

Still, the one good piece of news is that this absolves Irving of racist/culturalist motives in their "cleansing" of said apartment units.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say as a teenager that lives in Irving and has lived here since I was 4 years old, that I understand why they are cracking down on the apartments and immigrant issue. First off the apartment thing really has nothing to do with race or anything but with how it has lead Irving down the wrong path. Now I am not rich, I used to live in apartments in Irving with my father when I was younger, but there are a lot of apartments in Irving. To many, and several don’t live up to code or are shady about it. Some has several families living in one apartment among other things that shouldn’t been tolerated. I know this because my mom used to be an apartment manager. It’s a big problem because it makes the city look bad and Irving has gotten a bad rep (understandably) over the past few years. If you could look at Irving, say when I was 5 or 6, you would see the HUGE difference from it today. It is not looking so good these days, especially to outsiders, and something must be done to change this.

Irving made the big mistake years ago by putting so many apartments in the town. More houses and buyable properties should be built. Also OBVIOUSLY Irving is going to be expensive. It only like 10 minutes from Dallas and not much more to Fort Worth. Its centrally located so it’s going to be a lot more expensive then say Frisco.

I think the writer of this article should put himself in the position of a Irving City Councilman. Your city is not going so good. What do you do? Your try and fix it. And as someone who has lived here almost my entire life, I think I have to right to say that Irving does need to be fixed.

Nat-Wu said...

Thanks for commenting, latest anonmyous. As was originally stated, we're aware that the crackdown on apartments is primarily because through lax code enforcement, landlords were allowed to let their apartments turn to crap. That does not mean, however, that it does not disproportionately affect certain minority groups and a certain economic class. Certain members of the council are definitely in agreement with Farmers Branches law against renting to illegals, and continue to push for stricter anti-immigrant legislation. The idea that they are not aware that apartment crackdowns have such an effect on illegal immigrants is naive, to say the least. They know what they're doing. That is not to say that the city would not do it anyway, because I'm sure with the rest of the council being fairly set on remaking Irving, they would, but there are definitely racial overtones.

The trouble is not that the city wants to get rid of old apartments, it's that the city evidently also wants to get rid of the kinds of people who rely on low-rent apartments. If your position is that the city owes nothing to its poorer citizens who work in the restaurants and other low-wage jobs of the city, I can understand that. I don't respect it, however. The people who work here should be able to afford to live here. What's wrong with this situation is that the city is not concerned about the welfare of all its people, just the ones who have money.

If I was a city councilman, I'd tell the citizens that I see it as my job to take care of all of them, not just the ones I think can do me the most favors. They might even appreciate that point of view. Urban renewal does not require displacement and replacement of people.

I hate to tell you this but the days of suburbia are over. It would be another post in itself to explain why we have to return to a more urban style of living for our dense population centers, but it does have to do with the fact that the suburbs are a direct consequence of the former affordability of driving. Of course now we have extreme traffic congestion, incredible oil prices which will keep rising and supplies that will keep shrinking. It's entirely untenable. From a tax-base point of view, sure, reversing Irving's percentages of multi-family and single-family residential sounds great, but in reality, it's impossible to accomplish. Besides which, with the sub-prime mortgage collapse, it'll be impossible for the home market to expand for years to come. That doesn't mean it won't recover, but it's a good time to invest in doing things differently.

Lastly, a lot of people seem to be under the impression that this city is beleaguered and ailing. As a recent article in the DMN points out though, Irving is one of the few Dallas suburbs whose property and sales taxes continued to grow in this declining economy. That puts us in the same league as Plano. Property values have continued to increase city-wide, widespread redevelopment is planned which should bring in billions more in tax dollars, and there's the possibility of gas leases enriching the city.

All of this is to say that the city does have time and money to spare a little on making homes for its less fortunate residents.

Anonymous said...

The city is using illegals as cover for a land-grab in South Irving. Not a bigoted bone in their bodies. Otherwise, they would not have let this situation develop in the first place. There is much to be said for cheap immigrant labor, as long as it lives south of 183 and North of Shady Grove.

To me, the only issue is motive. Is the city's intent, however illegal their methods, benign? E.g, to raise tax revenues and do urban renewal by working around Texas law forbidding using eminent domain to benefit a private party. Or is it simply to enrich their friends by forcing the cheap sale of property in South Irving? One does not necessarily exclude the other.

Add to this the fact that Irving overlies arguably the richest part of the largest gas field in North America and you have a real stew. Three of the apartment units (Chivas Square, Rio Del Oro, and Spanish Trace) that Irving went after sit over ExxonMobil pipeline right of way. Thru a consortium called DDJET, ExxonMobile is making its right-of way available for gas-drilling.

Considering that pipelines are pretty scarce in Irving, what are the chances? Pipeline access is proving the real limitation on drilling in irving. BTW, in case you wondered why the city was so determined about tearing down rather than fixing up the units--you can't drill in an occupied apartment unit. So down it comes.

Anonymous said...

Irving has now changed its strategy of driving property owners to sell cheaply by misusing code enforcement. Because of the cold reception in the courts, the city is now actually publically buying properties. About time. The city was setting itself up for some serious litigation.

E.g., they just paid $500K+ for some apartments on Tudor lane. Doubtless this was another forced sale. But at least the property owner got something.

Similarly, the city fathers are now using the fire codes and the fire department to force out tenants. Harder to argue with and you can get those pesky tenants out instantly. You need them out when you drill those gas wells. It also puts pressure on the property owner by removing his source of income from the property.

Naturally, the "slumlords" get demonized. But why put good money into maintaining South Irving properties when the city has sent the clear message that whatever you do, it will not be enough. Your property will be taken. Welcome to Zimbabwe.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

You should feature your services/products on the Irving community, classifieds section.