Harrisburg Happening

Sunday, June 25, 2006

GSA, Federal Courthouse, Reed and King

I just read in the Patriot that once again, the GSA is raising crime as a concern at the Jackson Lick potential site for their new, secure Taj Mahal. Here's how the Patriot's reporter (and budding paperback crime novelist) John Luciew put it:

"Yet GSA officials have expressed misgivings about Jackson-Lick, saying it is the most expensive option because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would demand replacement costs for the lost units. The GSA also has concerns about crime there. "

Two points - if crime is so terrible in and around Jackson Lick, how do all the elderly residents manage?

And how much crime would really remain around what is bound to be the most secure federal courthouse ever built? Surely a few federal marshals can protect the federal workers and visitors who will work there. This isn't the Green Zone in Baghdad. It seems to me what's showing is that to the federal government, an African-American mixed class neighborhood is crime infested. GSA, unless you have figures to prove it, your prejudice is showing. Show us the crime figures for the area, if they exist. After all, the rest of us who happen to live where you want to put your fortress want to know. Am I supposed to arm myself to go the the Broad Street Market? Do I need a Doberman to walk to the river?

Come on - take the challenge. Show us the numbers.

And where is Mayor Reed on this? Luciew quotes pointman Randy King as follows:

"Regardless of whether they choose Jackson-Lick or Cumberland Court, we expect the new courthouse to have a very substantial economic spinoff impact on the surrounding blocks and neighborhoods," said Randy King, Reed's spokesman.
"Neighboring property values are most assuredly going to be profoundly impacted for the better," he said.
The opposite is true of the Third and Forster site, according to Reed's office. King calls the proposal "simply unacceptable."

Thanks for taking sides - clearly to the Reed crowd, the disabled and the working poor have less value than the upper-middle class folks on Green. Shame, Shame, your lack of social conscience is showing, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


June 26, 2006  
Blogger Anniken Davenport, Esquire said...

Thanks, anon. Interesting reading, to be sure. can't wait for my school taxes (already sky high for crappy schools) go up another $800 per year. Oh, and there's no inflation, so no need to raise wages.

June 26, 2006  
Blogger Aries708 said...

All three sites were poor selections. I have believed this from the day one.

There was a better way to do this...but the Federal Government is uncaring and moves like a glacier wreaking havoc to everything in sight.

But come on, if you were the mayor (and it pains me to defend him) would you want to lose the tax base at the Green/Forster/Third/North location? These are tough times and government budgets are increasingly unable to cope with inflationary forces, not to mention fewer top down dollars from the state and feds.

Please let's not scream class warfare when the issue is more complicated.

If the courthouse does go on the Jackson Lick site, I pray that they take care of those folks. Those buildings are awful, but they are home to the older folks and it is not right to pull them out of an environment that they feel secure in at such a late stage in their lives.

GSA seems to be backpeddling on the Jackson Lick site anyway. As for Cumberland Court, it is a nice, safe neighborhood and I feel for the families there that have finally found a spot to land and start over at.

And if it does come to my neihborhood, yes, I know the "upper middle class," (landed gentry perhaps) then we'll fight as hard as we can to save our piece of the city.

Anniken, why is it that the socioeconomics of the site residents plays such a powerful role for you? It's like you are saying that people with means are not as deserving of their homes. A home is a home...losing it to a wrecking ball still causes grief and anguish.

Upper middle class makes it sound like we're all loaded down here on Green St. Well, I sure don't feel rich.

The whole thing stinks. Rich or poor, we all lose when GSA makes that final decision. It'd be great if GSA worked WITH the city on this. Oh well, I'll go tilt at a windmill in my Bourgeoisie Hood.

June 26, 2006  
Blogger Anniken Davenport, Esquire said...

I agree it should be none of the three, but I also firmly believe that those of us with the means to move without great financial hardship should go before 85 year old ladies and young struggling single mothers. I'm sorry if I point out what seems to me to be obvious and I certainly feel your pain at the prospect of moving.

The alternative site I would urge the Mayor to push is actually on the other side of Forster - all the Ronald Brown Charter buildings (since the school is losing its charter anyway) That location is about as big as your neighborhood, and has only a very small handful of private homes.

As for full disclosure - I live in an affected area too - across from Cumberland Court. I would gladly have relocated if they had picked our parcel, if the alternative was Cumberland Court or Jackson Lick. I have the means to, they don't. I asked GSA at one of the meetings if our site had been considered - it was a bit too small, she said.

June 26, 2006  

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