Friday, May 16, 2014
Molovinsky on Minorities
Mr. Molovinsky has another interesting piece ostensibly about race politics today. As has been the constant refrain for years now, opponents of the downtown redevelopment are claiming that the NIZ is a tax grab that takes money out of the hands of minority residents and funnels it to wealthy developers and business people. At the same time, Mr. Molovinsky constantly opines about the "glory days" of Allentown. he loved when the community came together through the CCC to improve the city parks. He waxes nostalgic about the trolleys and shopping on Hamilton Street. Fine, but, you can't really have it both ways.
Allentown was once a great city because people from all classes pulled together. Through successive waves of immigration in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, older majority population groups (first the English and Germans) stayed in the city and continued to pay property taxes and maintain communal institutions as new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe arrives. Its not like there wasn't friction---there was. But, by and large, Allentown became a thriving city because different ethnic groups and races were able to coexist and largely pull together.
Now, because of the NIZ, we start to have a nascent migration back to the city. We start to have money coming in, and we start to have middle class people regaining a consciousness of place. These are the steps to redeveloping the economic foundation of the city. And with that foundation secure, all ships (all races and classes will rise). The process won't be perfect there will be some friction around the edges, but Allentown needed a shot in the arm. Mr. Molovinsky is always championing for the status quo---that status quo has kept Allentown's head under the water for four decades. And yet, he also recognizes that the town once had greatness. And, it is obvious that he longs for that greatness once more. It is impossible to reconcile both good things without some friction.