Friday, September 7, 2018

From Frustrated Facebook Ramblings About Fairfax Village, The Spectre Of Gentrification And Very Real Cultural Isolation

By Mel Dyer
While I don't spend as much time, there, as I used to, I can't give up hope that my home of over twenty years, FAIRFAX VILLAGE, will soon escape the pessimism that some of us have inflicted upon it, since the early 1970s, ..and return to its pastoral niceness, someday. While I have enjoyed friendships, with a wide variety of people from every corner of the planet, I don't think the Village needs cultural OR economic gentrification to make that happen.
Inflicted? Did I say...yes, ..I did. So, what am I talking about?
In the late 1960s, there used to be an Italian restaurant - a RISTORANTE, with a piazza and bistro tables, with candles on them, at night - literally, a mere couple of blocks, from my condo. Long before I moved here in 1995, lovers, old ones and young ones, used to amuse each other, over candlelight, in that piazza, ..right up the street. What happened? I don't care if the lovers are East Indian, Polish, Jamaican, Salvadoran or Cameroonian - I want that, back. I don't care, if it's not as fancy, as the original; I want that, back.

Show me a reason I shouldn't want it...that it's not possible. I want it to matter enough to my neighbors, here and in the surrounding communities, that we don't PEE on it, pollute it with vulgarity ..or fight and kill each other and bleed all over it - enough that we'd keep it decent for our families...especially, the elders, who got us, here. If we'd never had it, I might content myself with seeking such simple pleasures, elsewhere, ..but, we had it.
We had a standard, in Fairfax Village. I want that, back. I want that ..and optimism.

So-called 'big government' can't back up a truck, over here, and dump optimism into our community. It can create tax incentives for venture capitalists, established corporations, sole proprietors, small businesses and prospective homeowners to encourage investment. It can educate our young people to be the next generation of job creators in Fairfax Village. Beyond that, big government, liberal solutions offer very little. I think we need a mix of solutions from the right, left and between to solve the civic problems, here - that's another discussion, entirely.

What's broken in Fairfax Village is more, than social; it's ..cultural. When we Villagers draw a line, at our border, no matter what socioeconomic turmoil is unfolding in the world beyond it ..or what trouble is plaguing our individual, personal lives ..and declare there will be no danger, filth or dysfunction, within, ..we will have turned a corner. The optimism and determination - the revolution - for a better life for our collective, has to start inside the hearts and minds of each and every Villager. I can't give up hope that I will see that cultural transformation take place, here, someday, ..and hopefully sooner, than later.

Maybe, it's time for it. Maybe, the ambitions and aspirations of new villagers, especially immigrants, can infuse our old neighborhood with something it lost ..or never had, in the first place - the determination that, no matter where you come from, a good and better life will be had, here. That Fairfax Village will not fail...period.
No excuses.
In my lifetime, I'd like us to do better, than 'not fail'. I'd like to see us thrive. Again.