Montopolis & Zoning

RECEIVED Fri., Oct. 16, 2020

Dear Editor,
    As vice president of the Montopolis Neighborhood Association and Contact Team and occasional Austin Chronicle contributor, I take exception to Austin Sanders’ reporting about the recent 508 Kemp St. zoning case in our neighborhood [“Council Recap: Not Many Tools in the Toolbox,” News, Oct. 16]. Just exactly how shallow and yellow has your journalism gotten?
    Sanders seems to think that we “don’t seem to understand” how the proposed development would work. He’s the one who should work on his understanding. But in order to do that, he needs to actually show up.
    Just as at the Montopolis Negro School victory, we understand perfectly well what is at stake for our community and our families. This is why neither propaganda, strategic silencing, intimidation, gaslighting nor a war of attrition will work. People say that gentrification is inevitable; if that is the case, then we’re those Indians, Mexicans, and Blacks who will go down standing instead of on our knees begging.
    When I published my history of the Montopolis neighborhood in 2014 and then ran for the city council that year, some people who had actually read and engaged the book would on occasion ask me if there were other neighborhoods analogous to Montopolis that they could use as a frame of reference. My answer was always the same: East Oakland or East Los Angeles. Stereotype us as stupid or ignorant all you want. We may be notorious and we may not have much money, but we’re rich in culture and personality.
Signing off with a raised middle finger,
Fred L. McGhee
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