Saturday, April 23, 2016

Car-Free Citizens Mourn Fallen Firefighter

I was sitting here on my front porch at Foote Homes Public Housing, apartment 632 number 109, just watching the sun go down, as its final glimmer shinned through a United States flag hanging half-staff at Fire Station Number 8 for the reason that their fellow fire fighter, Rodney Eddins, passed away last Sunday. 
I have been deeply stirred by this entire situation and wanted to walk over there to pay my respects to this obvious fallen hero, who gave so much to the citizens of Memphis as a Fire Fighter, who could have been doing anything else that he wanted to do, but decided 30 years ago to pour his entire heart and soul into a profession he was clearly devoted to just as much as he was to his wife and daughter.
While hanging out at station 8, I asked a few of them if I could take a photo to remember our gathering, to which they agreed; except I noticed their gloomy faces and had to do something about it considering the dire circumstances, so I unexpectedly blurted out for them to say  --- my mommas got stinky feet --- and when they shouted it out in unison, they suddenly forgot their obvious sorrow and smiled as I snapped the shot.
They deserved to smile; they, too, face danger! They all deserve our love and affection, our full support. In fact, Lt. Eddins will be remembered by all of our firefighters and all of us Car-Free citizens.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Facing Up Foote Homes Public Housing

For the Sake of Public Health, 
This Entire Foote Homes Community 
Should Become A CAR - FREE zone! 


Well, this post highlights rants from the last few years, that's backed up by my own personal experiences and even makes a connection to the community I live in, Foote Homes Public Housing.

Facing up Foote Homes Public Housing is not that easy to sort out really.

There was a plethora of planners and organizations and activists involved who converged on the premises all at once to invite residents to public meetings, which pulled people in several different directions with dozens of plans to choose between, including one of our own perhaps.

The idea, I suppose, was that they were giving us the notion that what we think was really gonna count this time, and that everybody was in this thing together, and that our residents were actually going to be able to create several designs from scratch, which never really happened because as it turns out, it is the preconceived plans of the powers-that-be that are now being implemented.

The entire process has taken years to go through and likely to take years more.
The majority of people who I talk to about this entire situation fully understands that these ongoing common ground, or common good, movements concerning this community are not realistic, because, the planners actually end up erecting a façade with nothing specific in mind that transforms our souls for the better.

However, one plan certainly made common sense for me, like the car-free, friendly community design that I actually presented as the blog founder for Car-Free Memphis with over 8,000 visitors and growing.

In fact, the majority of Foote Homes residents is car-free.

And wow, I have got a few good stories to tell you!

Some stories are downright embarrassing, while some are mockingly laughable.

Some stories are making people fearful, while others cause people to shed countless tears.

But, there are no stories worse than the ones whereby car-free citizens are not safe, or that they can actually end up dead.

As you already know, I have been here to serve you with respect to making positive social changes whereby the mission, vision, and goals of Car-Free Memphis is to prevent these worst scenarios from happening.  

Of course, your long-term support of me and my blog and your ability to take action quietly and behind the scenes truly means that we can and will survive and thrive on the mean streets of Memphis, Tennessee, especially since we are ascending to positions of greater influence.

In fact, as you all know, I have been attending Foote Homes Public Housing community meetings to articulate the residents wants, needs, and desires.  
In which case, the powers-that-be has applied for and has received a block grant from the federal government for demolishing Foote Homes Public Housing and then redeveloping it along with the surrounding community. 

Their plan is not all that bad, it is just not the very best plan by far because it I will still be on the grid.     
Sad to say, if anyone is frowning about being on the grid, it is most likely because this newly submitted community design does not measure up at all to a car-free friendly community design, which was strongly suggested by car-free citizens who actually live in the Foote Homes. 

The car-free friendly community design is off the grid entirely and would save the taxpayers countless millions over time.

Another plus is that the residents would then be able to maintain their independence due to Victory Gardens and greenhouses within the community and utilize the barter system to trade between themselves and others for essential goods and services. 

There are the initial costs for a car-free community, sure, but afterward this lifestyle choice begins to pay for itself with positive residual returns, such as the significant reduction of environmental pollution and far better health conditions as a result.

However, if the powers-that-be have their way about it, the Foote Homes community will only look good on the outside, for the sole purpose of impressing tourist, guest, and people who may want to move here, because as they pass by the old Foote Homes territory they will be lead to believe that the poorest people, especially those with mental and physical disabilities, are actually living well, which will be far from the truth based on past experiences with other impoverished communities across our city. 
For example, as the new plans for these other impoverished communities rolled out, and after decades of implementation has long past, one will begin to notice that the projects and programs meant to alleviate poverty has not done what they said they would do, which leaves poor people just as poor as they have always been.

The majority of the poor in Memphis is truly car-free pedestrians with hardly any safe ways of getting around within their own communities, much less having a safe way to get around whenever they exit their community.

It seems as if the motor vehicle culture believes that they have a right of passage to scare pedestrians, half-to-death or to kill them at random and without remorse.  
That is why Foote Homes’ residents have tried to convince community planners to accept an alternative car-free friendly community design instead, and also because Foote Homes is located in the Down Town vicinity where the heavy motor vehicle traffic is, and where there is the heaviest pollution of all sorts causing unhealthy living conditions for decades.  

Of course, some people hear the words' car-free and believe that the car‐free movement means never driving a motor vehicle or not even owning one for that matter or that motor vehicles would not be allowed to drive into such a community for emergencies, which is not true.
Some people still believe being car‐free is about turning the clock back to a time when there were no motor vehicles at all or at least no drivers who text while driving.

The latter is definitely true; texting while driving is absolutely what a car-free citizens do want to turn the clock back on, as well as texting while walking, or texting while biking for that matter.
Car‐free citizens simply want motor vehicle drivers to respond politely to all pedestrians at all times and in a safe way instead of scaring them to death or actually killing them at random.

Car‐free citizens want to change the laws that tend to favor motor vehicle drivers and rewrite all of them so that they favor pedestrians at all times.  
It is equally stressful for the average person to cross at street corners with traffic coming at them from several directions, especially if children or the elderly are also crossing over together as a family.

When all alone, the elderly and/or disabled hardly bothers to venture out-of-doors because of heavy traffic surrounding their entire community; and this box such pedestrians in so that they cannot get away to do things on their own and without assistants.
The fact, is, most all of the crosswalk lights change over to don’t walk the second many pedestrians step off of a curb, and many drivers feel obliged to honk, scream, and to zoom up as close as possible to pedestrians, perhaps even brushing by them super fast and/or actually scraping them up, or running these pedestrians over, or killing them dead on the spot, just to show that their big bad ass vehicle is the boss of the road. 

Some deaths may never be solved.  
There are a few crosswalks with countdown timers that are forcing pedestrians to jog or run across the street before the final deadline. Of course, my compassion and empathy is always with the pedestrians, who cannot beat the timer, especially the one’s that end up dead. 

Due to this crosswalk debacle, many pedestrians find it much safer to jaywalk, but the current laws strongly discourage this.

Jaywalkers can and do get ticketed when they wish to cross a street other than at a crosswalk, even if that street is wide and long and the crosswalks are hundreds of yards apart, sometimes miles apart. 

Therefore, motor vehicle traffic slows pedestrians down to a snails crawl or causes them not to walk or bike at all; pedestrians become a prisoner within their community; they cannot get out of it without a motor vehicle to assist them.

This is unfair treatment of pedestrians in general.

Only a car-free friendly community design will help remove all the obvious obstacles that come mind.
In a car-free friendly community, Foote Homes residents could finally live at peace, at least within their own community and without any fears of heavy fast moving motor vehicles bothering them 24 hours a day.

It is about being able to walk outside of their homes or apartment and then going places by foot or by bicycle or a wheelchair; places that is very special, whereby all shopping for essential needs goods is done nearby, and they do not have to drive or even own a motor vehicle if they do not want one, much less riding on a public transit bus.

It is about taking long safe walks in a massive park‐like setting and all within a ten‐minute walk from their front doors.

Now for several decades, Foote Homes have had these common grounds or common good causes that say a change is for the better, but that change never really comes because the residents are still living as poorly as they ever were, while at the same time the crime rate is higher and educational standards lower.

This entire community has been economically redlined for decades and nearly every business has moved far beyond the reach of walking, bike riding, or even using public transit to get to such businesses in a timely fashion.

Of course, the powers-that-be have been expecting 40,000 car-free citizens in Memphis to buy a motor vehicle, which many of these poorer citizens can hardly afford a monthly car payment with a low wage job or if they are on a fixed income, much less have enough money set aside for unexpected expensive repairs.  
Not to mention, taking a public transit bus to any destination will takes the majority of riders two to four hours just for a one-way trip.

God forbid if a bus rider has to get off of that bus just to use a restroom that may be out of order and so they have to soil themselves, and the next bus is still not coming for another hour; and then, the bus driver turns them away because they stink; and you thought that only the homeless had a lot of problems --- believe me, you are not that far removed from being in their position --- so quit being so judgmental and uppity.

Here in this city, if you are not dressed just right and your sporting a worn out backpack and/or you stink because you haven't cleaned up, then you're more than likely treated with disrespect and turned away from almost every door of opportunity --- and so, believing that hard work, alone, is what causes a person to become wealthier, well, that is just a damned lie --- it really does take a village to left people up and out of poverty and to keep them out of it; but, intentionally keeping people impoverished is the reason why some of you people will be splitting hell wide open.  
It is absolutely degrading how bus riders spend more time on a public transit bus than they spend with family and friends; and, many of these riders are stressed out, hardly able to take good care of their elderly, their own relatives with disabilities, and their children.

This causes many people to remain homebound while taking care of family; they hardly step out on the porch, and if they did where would they go boxed in by traffic, among other obstacles. 
Of course, there are some good programs that help out a little, but they are not always as adequate as they could be without proper funding. 

For example, despite the efforts of excellent programs like the Green Machine, a retrofitted public transit bus that brings nutritious foods to many impoverished residents across the city, this bus does not reach everyone in the Foote Homes because of time pressure placed on them to serve thousands of people with only one bus --- perhaps several of these busses could serve the entire community better --- let’s all pitch in to make things like this happen. 

In addition to such busses, there must also be massive green houses in every single community across Shelby County and within Memphis for growing food 365 days a year, while using pressure cookers and Mason Jars to preserve this food long-term.

Let’s build one of those green houses on the Foote Homes property.

There needs to be massive rows of solar panels on rooftops and perhaps windmills and rain water collection barrels that helps remove our community off the grid forever.

Nonetheless, you know the drill; in the past, government planning projects tend to be top heavy, and not that much money trickles down to the poorest of the poor like some believes it will. 
Yet the planners still conduct mock surveys with Foote Homes’ residents and pretend to listen to the residents; when all along, the planners have their own agenda in mind that finally pans out several years down the road.

The plans often look like massive jigsaw puzzles spread out on huge tables.

Confused and highly vulnerable residents are asked to sort through the pieces.

And finally, years later, one of those plans finally comes together and the result will be as sad as ever.
It is sad because the result will be the same: more poverty, but with a fancy facade.

The same people are running these projects and programs no matter who’s in political power; they just keep playing musical armchairs.

It will never change for the better as long as the powers-that-be is in control.

That is why I want to sound off an alarm so loud that you and the whole universe hears it, perhaps God and Jesus Christ and the angles in heaven!

And here is some inspiration for you: the gospel song, Choice to Make, written by Memphis singer-songwriter Marvin Grant and recorded my Daniel Winnians that received a Grammy nomination for the album from which this song was released; and it says, “You have got a choice to make, you better lean on heaven to lead you” --- and --- that is exactly what I expect from my blog readers! 
The powers-that-be does not know how to do this folks --- they fake it to make it; they fake it to get over on you. 

In fact, they came up with a this slogan, while pretending to work closely with the residents of Foote Homes.

The slogan goes “A Change Is Better”.

The entire mess might turn out to be just another one of those community planning programs that is just as sad as the Hope VI debacle, because neither of these plans are a car‐free friendly community design. 
And of course, a change ‐ is ‐needed; but is South City Choice Neighborhood Initiative actually going to make Foote Homes Public Housing better since they have already neglected what many of the residents truly want, need, and desire?

Many Foote Homes residents have stated in every single community meeting that they want a car‐free friendly community design; and they said it numerous times; and, they said it at various community meetings throughout the entire planning process, just to have resident input set aside for some other agenda instead.

Many Foote Homes residents have been Car‐Free Citizens for decades.

As it is, programs in the past have gained residents little or nothing, but short‐term jobs and junk heaps for vehicles because they can never seem to make enough money to keep a vehicle up and running, as they are being laid off or fired, or never even hired long-term by temporary services.

So how is the new plan by the powers-that-be any better, if there is not going to be any good jobs coming to Memphis that will actually pay well over $15,000 dollars a year, jobs that  pay a living wage, enough to afford a motor vehicle long term, much less enough money to take care of a family, or pay rent without also having to live in the same dwelling with a dozen family members and friends, or even enough wages to keep people from becoming homeless.

For poverty and homelessness to end, there needs to be an end to how the upper class is thinking --- such as them outsourcing our jobs overseas, leaving the working class here with no way to purchase goods and services, and so crime goes up; entire communities fall apart, residents turn to drugs and alcohol and/or become mentally ill in droves.    

Will the wealthy class ever bring back those manufacturing jobs to America or Memphis that will provide full time positions that pay well and only requires the lowest level skills possible?

It's not likely going to happen if one is to believe the book The End of Work by economist, Jeremy Rifkin, 1995.

In this book, computerized machines will take over nearly every job via robotics.
The wealthy class has done nothing positive for you at all; and, they are also thinking themselves out of jobs at some point also.

I imagine that point will be sooner rather than later and this is why the wealthy class is hoarding all of the money and refusing to spend it properly on the middle class or people in poverty; and this is why all the programs that are rolled out for the poor and middle class is so top-heavy --- it is absolutely intentional --- it must be!   
And so, it seems that the Foote Homes residents will soon be wandering around within a faced up fancy façade with little or nothing better to do, but dies off from starvation and disease as prices on food go up and healthcare is cut off and whereby one must pay to live at high interest rates.
YES THIS IS FOR REAL FOLKS --- the wealthy class is looking down on you right now.

YES --- They are the POWERS-THAT-BE! 

After all, only a few of them will be needed to rule this New World Order of theirs. 
But, this is not how our world has to be.

We can think differently.

We can think like car-free citizens think with peace and love and joy and happiness in our hearts.
Or, we can think like those impoverished French citizens once did, who stormed the Bastille. 

I would rather pursue living simple lives without that many possessions and without shitting and falling back into it like so many wealthy class people have done, which is to think themselves, and us, out of good jobs to do!

As a result of how the powers-that-be think, this new plan and application for federal funding by South City, HUD, and the CNI does not properly address the concerns of Foote Homes residents. 

It will not be nearly as successful as we have all been lead to believe; this is why they have taken so long to work through the planning process and they have dragged us along for a ride and will still not deliver what they say they will, but one thing is for sure --- they will be the richer for it, not us. 

There was yet another community meeting concerning this whole matter on Thursday, January 22, 2015 from 2:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Transition Academy, 620 S. Lauderdale, here in Memphis.

And of course, car–free citizens spoke up for what they wanted: They said that living well goes far beyond facing up store fronts and dwelling places to look picture perfect for tourism, while the insides lack proper construction barriers, such as blocking out noise pollution and reducing vehicle traffic congestion and reducing air pollution.

Here again, car‐free citizens want a pedestrian only zone where they can live in peace and meet all of their essential needs within a ten‐minute walk or bike ride from their homes, while motor vehicle parking is allowed at a secure off‐sight location.

Car‐free citizens want to do their entire essential needs shopping inside of their own gates for a good and fair price --- not prices marked up 30% whereby a can of beans cost well over $3.00 dollars.

Within ten minutes of their homes, car-free citizens want greenhouses and fruit trees and nut trees everywhere, but this concept is intentionally blocked by the powers-that-be who do not dare allow for people to become independent and free of their overlord system that wants to micromanage the peoples lives.

These overlords want people to waste all their energies on frivolousness.

When it is all said and done, these overlords want people to get a paycheck no matter if they work or not and this system only works out for a short time before our whole economy and government fail and the country is run over by all sorts of rolling stones. 

It does not have to be that way!

Let me take you around one block of Foote Homes and explain a few things.

Within ten minutes of the Foote Homes vicinity there is Danny Thomas Blvd at Mississippi Boulevard, go eastward between Fire Department number 8 and the main entrance to Foot homes, then veer to the left and around a corner down Lauderdale past the Boys & Girls Club and then King Transition Academy, then north towards Linden, then left on Linden towards the Library, and then to Danny Thomas again.

One main issue that was shared with me at this meeting held on the 22nd of January, at the King Transition Academy, concerned noise pollution and air pollution and traffic congestion, which has residents pinned down with little or no hope of escaping the conditions of poverty.  

Now let’s consider one main source for those three types of pollution --- diesel trucks.

It is not that I hate the trucking industry, or that people who live in Foote Homes hate it either; we clearly need this industry to deliver much needed goods and services, but we also need for these trucks to be made better; perhaps using alternative fuel and becoming much quieter with electrically driven motors once they have entered the city and to become self driving vehicles that move at a much slower speed; and, we need to redesign our entire infrastructure so that it will withstand much heavier loads and all of which favors pedestrians.  
These trucks either need to be rerouted away from the entire community of Foote Homes or this community needs several layers of protection.

Danny Thomas Boulevard (51 Highway) runs north and south right between two separate sections of the Foote Homes and this highway is a major corridor for diesel truck traffic as well as many other roads surrounding the entire community.  

To give an example of how quickly these trucks can do major damage to current infrastructure, Danny Thomas was repaved recently with blacktop.

There were also brand new reflective white crosswalk stripes and bike lanes painted up and down one section of Danny Thomas that flows right between the two sections of the Foote Homes. 

It looked absolutely pristine at first; I smiled with pride at the very first community bike lanes, something that should have been done decades ago because the money has always been there to do it.
Until recently, this entire area was severely neglected.

There were no wheelchair ramps at crosswalks; people dependent on wheelchairs had to roll along out in the streets with heavy vehicle traffic instead of up on the sidewalks.

Even still, there was and still is the following: broken sidewalks, uneven sidewalks, missing sidewalks, sidewalks with deep potholes, and all of which could easily flip a wheel chair, or cause a trip and fall scenario, causing severe personal injury and/or severe damage to expensive battery powered wheelchairs, or these chairs or strollers or grocery getter carts can get stalled in the mud leaving some people stranded if they have to get over into what should have been thick grass, but it is mud

It is not like pedestrians can call the equivalent of triple AAA for a rescue.  

Anyway, diesel trucks are peeling away the white crosswalk stripes.

Wherever these trucks wonder, there will soon be dips and waves along the roadway and the sidewalks will continue to crumble due to ongoing earthquake like rumbles through the ground.

24/7 --- the truck noise shakes and vibrates the apartment buildings of the Foote Homes as the foundations are already cracked and the new plans for Foote Homes does not state that such problems have been considered and they do not even address them at community meetings.   

Moreover, the smell of exhaust fumes is blocking people’s ability to breathe well.

Imagine, these fumes, taking over the breathing space of a pedestrian at a crosswalk or while waiting at a public transit bus stop as multiple vehicles stop right next to them or while sitting on one’s front porch.

Memphis is infamous for spewing 7.8 metric tons of toxic fumes into the air each year and it just happens to be at its worse near the Foote Homes because the community is centrally located in one of the most congested traffic areas in the Mid‐South Region.

Adding to all this misery, the Foote Homes have no insulation at all, which would not be so bad if there was plenty of shade trees and none of this environmental pollution.
The brick facade and single pane windows are leaking air profusely not to mention the noise and dust pollution on the inside of theses apartments.  

Open a window at the Foote Homes and the decibel level of noise is well above OSHA’s recommended level, which is debilitating to anyone’s entire body over time.

Even with closed windows, echoes of noise are bouncing off of the concrete floors and ceilings on the inside.

The average decidable level spikes well over 120 decibels constantly, while sitting inside of most anyone’s public housing units.

There is also little or no privacy from one’s next door neighbors.

These following problems vary from room to room, apartment to apartment, and building to building: One can clearly hear every step that is taken, every conversation above a whisper, beds clanging and squeaking, every passing vehicle, every car door slam, every apartment door slam, every closet door slam, every washing machine and dryer unit, water being run for any reason, every single flush of a toilet, air condition and heater motors roaring, all sorts of sirens, storms that sound like they are on the inside, every diesel truck shaking and vibrating the ground beneath, and every airplane engine.
Outside on the porch the noise gets far worse ‐‐‐ it is deafening and nerve racking!

Diesel trucks pass by here blowing plumes of dust and fumes into people’s face, filling one’s ears full of wheel and engine noise at speeds well above the speed limit and dust plumes and exhaust fumes fill the apartments every time a door is opened and the HVAC system draws the pollution inside.
I dare you to dust an entire apartment at the Foote Homes and then do a white glove test after just three days; it would receive a failing grade.

One will find a thick visible layer of dust everywhere unless one uses a top of the line air filter that cost about $25.00 dollars every month.

Moreover, the blowers are extremely loud and powerful, and way too close to the filter screen, drawing air through it so hard that one must change any filter more often than should be necessary. 

Any dust builds up around the inside of the unit is a fire hazard and maintenance only provides one of the cheapest flimsy fiberglass filters made, perhaps costing 10 cents each --- dust is all over the place inside apartments at the Foote Homes --- and do not dare raise a window, it will get worse.

The front yard of the Foote Homes, on Mississippi, across from Fire Department 8, it floods well over people’s shoes each and every time it rains, and heavy rain makes it worse; one cannot leave out of their door without waterproof waders up to their knees sometimes.

When the ground dries up, there is nothing but a dust bowl left --- and those heavy diesel trucks that drive past blows this dust up into the air where it lingers for hours like a brown haze.       
If one is not driven towards insanity before they have moved into the Foote Homes, they may be soon enough because of the bad environmental conditions, not to mention other related issues like the high crime and a failed educational system. 
Here again, these planners are highly dismissive of the resident’s legitimate worries and concerns.
The planners are not planning on preventing any of these problems, just masking them over with a new façade, which they have entitled “A Change Is Better”. 

All the planer's want is a fat paycheck for throwing up some cheap new buildings with a fancy façade that fits with rich people's notions of a lofty outward appearance, while it makes little or no positive social change in the lives of the residents.

Residents with asthma will still be choking long-term, perhaps dying slowly from one of many related illnesses.  

And, I personally witnessed a family that is very close to me, who was dealing with this same scenario each and every day and had to keep oxygen tanks and breathing machines and filter masks at the ready just to breath clean air; they never did enjoy the front porch on Mississippi Blvd.
Let’s not forget that Memphis was named the asthma capital of the USA.

And still, there is a sever lack of concern by planners, which comes as no surprise.
The planners do not seem to live in the Foote Homes, or anywhere nearby, if they can possibly help it.
If they did live here, then the plans for Foote Homes would be far more thoughtful.

Perhaps the one’s who are doing the planning should be required to live in the Foote Homes with their entire immediate family before they are ever allowed to submit plans for government funding.
In which case, that makes me more qualified to submit my own plan, which I tried to do; and the powers-that-be even acknowledged me, but ignored my plan. 

In every respect, the powers-that-be should be required to live just like the people they are planning for long-term; made to eat off of $200 dollars worth of SNAP dollars per person each month and made to ride a public transit bus to the grocery store, which takes two hours or more to get there from the Foote Homes --- and let's not forget that restroom debacle that I saw so many other people deal with and who needed a Depends Undergarment, just in case they soiled themselves.

So my plan is based on boots on the ground experiences gained from actually living right here in this community, not some dreamed up facade made up in a far and away plutocratic armchair.

If the planners had to live within the community long before, during, and after submitting such plans, then the Foote Homes would most likely get a car‐free community design that is desperately needed if the poorest people are ever going to recover from decades of abuse to their bodies, minds, and souls.

Many residents in the Foot Homes and the surrounding area have not reached their full potential because of these ongoing environmental issues that are always stressing these residents out. 

Despite nearly all of the residents of Foote Homes being among the poorest of the poor in our country, and as well as being car‐free citizens, the powers‐that‐be have refused to design a plan for this entire community to be car‐free friendly with massive walls around the whole community to block out the noise, or adding roofs with a noise reduction system in place, adding double pane windows with noise reduction qualities, firewalls between each and every resident dwelling, and noise reduction insulation in the flooring and ceiling.

The vast majority of homes and apartments throughout Memphis may have most, if not all, of these features --- with the exception of impoverished communities like the Foote Homes.

In fact, I was inside of several apartments right next to the Trolley Line on Main
Street and I could hardly hear the trolleys as they rolled up and down the line.

That is because the developers of some of those dwelling places have apparently installed soundproofing materials.

The wealthy class is not about to live where they have to hear loud noises all the time; they are going to go somewhere to get some peace and quite.

The decibel level of the Trolley Line and diesel trucks are very similar; that is one of the reasons why the restaurants on Main Street have framed up their pavilions that were once exposed to the elements.
And now, these pavilions take up massive square space where people used to walk and bike unimpeded, and there was no loud trolley that drowned out people’s important conversations.

Moreover, the trolleys are too high off the ground and people are carrying heavy loads while trying to slide their hands up poles attached on the sides for pulling themselves up, but they are nearly loosing their grip; it is no way to live life.

Thankfully, a few people have been saved from such a fall by a gentle nudge from behind with helpful hands cupping butts no matter how uncomfortable the predicament.     
And our city has the nerve to list Main Street as a car‐free street, when there are motor vehicles parked all over the place, blocking people’s pathways at all times of the day or night. 

There are now more obstacles that block walking and bike riding on Main Street than there ever was before.  

One can hardly walk or bike on Main Street like they once did --- back when there were plenty of shopping centers like Gold Smith’s. 

Oh, let’s never forget The Easy Way Grocery Store that was one of the main attractions for thousands of people each and every day until it closed recently.  

And, in which case, the Foote Homes should be among the first communities to get a makeover with layers of pollution and noise reduction systems in place. 

The Foote Homes residents deserve a little heaven on earth, some love and affection.
It would change how these residents feel about themselves.

For once in their lives they could live with far less stress. 

It would change for the better how well they recover, how well they keep hanging on to hope across their entire lifespan, and how they pass down the benefits gained to one generation after the next, finally free from the poverty woes of the past.  
However, based on the plans submitted for Foote Homes, there will be fire alarms, but no firewalls; there maybe insulation, but not enough for isolation from the loudest noises or plumes of dust that fill the outside and inside air.

Which reminds me of yet another good example of constant stress in the Foote Homes --- the HVAC motors need to be placed out of the way of one's ears where they belong, like in an attic or basement, or at least far enough away from the air filter intake screens, so as not to disturb important family conversations or homework assignments --- the walls are so thin at the Foote Homes that the HVAC system noise roars straight through the walls, floors, and ceilings.   

Right now, people living in the Foote Homes are always saying ‐‐‐ what, what, what ‐‐‐ I can’t hear what is being you said --- and then, they go right over to turn the HVAC system off.

Also, the Foote Homes should be off the grid --- only powered by the sun and wind whenever possible. 
Because problems like this are not being resolved, one might find that many Foote Homes residents may not bother with moving back into this same property.

That is because residents realize that they are going to be faced with the same old problems of noise pollution, air pollution, and traffic congestion, along with ongoing crime and a failed school system, among other related problems.

The residents have plenty of good reasons to agonize over these issues since other complexes that have already been rebuilt across this city for the poorest citizens are nearly empty.

How many more red flags does anyone need to mistrust the powers-that-be concerning this entire matter?  
Here again, these planners flat out ignored car-free residents and certainly misunderstood and underestimated the car‐free movement and they apparently believe that there is little or no backing for the car-free agenda.

Despite that line of thought, the blog Car‐Free Memphis has amassed well over 8,000 wonderful visitors worldwide.

Yes - the world is watching us because of this blog.

Yet, the powers‐that‐be wants citizens to spend every dime that they were keeping junk heap motor vehicles up and running.

It is all about the glory of motor vehicles, while the first modes of transportation get shafted.

No matter how many poor people get outside to bike and walk, these so called planners are not about to develop any properties here in Memphis to become car‐free friendly, not as long as we allow them to get away with it.

I know this is true because, I have been walking and biking for all sorts of reasons for well over 30 years and I have been car‐free for over 13 of those years.

And, it has never caused the powers-that-be, or our city planners, or community planners to design bike lanes in poor communities and then also connect them to reasonable destinations for meeting essential needs like grocery shopping, at least not until just recently and this is nowhere near adequate at this time. 
Just because you might see some of these lofty planners and their partners or members of the wealthy class biking for recreation on the Green Line on $3,000 dollar bikes and wearing $800 dollars worth of bicycle clothing, does not mean you are going to see them walking or biking for utilitarian purposes such as going to work, getting groceries, or getting children to and from school; if you do see it, it is a rare sight indeed.

But, you will hear these planners making suggestions about how everyone else should live ‐‐‐ they will ask people, who have never been car‐free, to live life like we real car–free citizens do and will paint bike lanes in those lofty communities, while deliberately disregarding the 40 thousand poor people who have already been car‐free for decades while walking, bicycling, and using mass transit in misery. 
One of these planners is trying to pocket the credit for this blog.

They have told the entire world via the mass media that they are Car-Free Memphis and they are in fact, using a Word Press blog.

I had to make several personal appearances to set the record straight. 

This other person is now finding it a lot harder to tell people that they are anything like David Fullerton, the original Car-Free Memphis blogger. 

This other person has even tried to suppose that no one else, except a few of their own close friends, supposedly the upwardly mobile upper class, meaning the rich, is going to become what is known as Car‐Free in Memphis.

And that is fine by me, really --- Please Do Be Car-Free.

Perhaps this imposter and their followers find poor people, who are car-less, to be unless.

Since the majority of car-free citizens are truly poor, then why did this imposter and their group not distinguish themselves from my blog by calling their group The Car-Free Yuppies --- see there --- no harm done.  
I believe the poorest car-free citizens deserve far better than the yuppies that are hardly using their bike lanes anyway.  

Ever since the beginning of time, until the last century anyway, everybody has been car-free.

And, so, I can assure you that this want-to-be hijacker of my blog is not about to be the first one to be Car-Free in Memphis, Tennessee.

I am not the first either; just the first one to ever use the phrase Car-Free Memphis as a blog title and then promote it so heavily that it now has well over 8,000 wonderful visitors like you. 
It seems that the lofty class of citizens is more than willing to parade poor people around to market their poverty pimp programs and they act like they are doing great wonders for the poor.

If they were doing anything great for the poor worth a damn, then there would be a low crime rate here and all the student’s grades would soar higher than an eagle and nutritious hot meals would be on the table; cooked from scratch by Dad’s and Mom’s instead of processed foods prepackaged with all sorts of chemicals, salt, sugar, and bad fat. 

Oh, if you are an outsider reading through all of this, I do feel so sorry for you right now, especially if you are planning to visit, here are actually moving here based on what this other bogus hijacker of my blog has been telling you; they will say that we are a car-free friendly city, when we are clearly not.

Of course, they were working for our previous Mayor, so what would you expect them to be saying?  
Do not dare move here or take any tour of any kind whereby this other person is claiming that Memphis is walk‐bike friendly or car‐free friendly or that the streets are complete, because bike lanes here end abruptly and they will not get you anywhere fast ‐‐‐ like all the way across this city safely.

Case and point, it will be hard to navigate this city, even if one has GPS.

Let’s not forget that a GPS system will not tell you that our streets are free of debris, which is often ankle deep, or that massive diesel trucks will be sharing the road with you while passing inches away from your outside bike pedal, forcing you over to the curb as your inside pedal scraps it, nearly flipping you under a truck tire or over a bridge or into a phone pole.

GPS will not tell you that a sidewalk exists or not, or if a given community is a high risk crime area; and here, the best sides of our town can become a high-risk crime area at any given time of the day or night.

There were once several shopping malls here, but many of them have shut down due mostly to our high crime rate.

Many shoppers will tell you that they are now carrying licensed firearms because of crime.  
Even shopping at home on the Internet is proving to be unsafe because criminals have infiltrated the loftiest gated communities all across Memphis and Shelby County to kill and rob people at random in driveways and/or inside of homes.

Yet, they are planning on facing up the poorer communities, like the Foote Homes
Public Housing; and on the outside, when you pass by this community, it sure is going to seem like one of those lofty communities in the suburbs; but, they are not really planning on actually improving the people’s lives who are living on the inside of Foote Homes. 
In other words, the residents are not going to be able to walk outside and pick a peach off of a tree or plow a garden for themselves or maintain a greenhouse because of all the concrete parking lots being planned for tourism.

However, the people that visit us or moves here may find themselves trapped in a snake pit; all true because of who is in control of all of our systems of management from the top to the bottom levels. 

Considered to be at the bottom anyway, residents of Foote Homes will still be no better off at any time in the near future due to who is now controlling all of the systems that manage poorer people; poorer people who are kept poor against their will for multiple generations; just as poor as they ever were; only they will be living in poverty behind a fancier and fancier façade with each project and program that comes along --- the powers-that-be will say --- be quite, do not make waves --- we promise to throw you a bone once this whole thing blows over, but it will be a dried up old bone with the marrow sucked out of it --- nothing succulent will be left over for the poor.   
Therefore, Foote Homes residents will still have to walk and bike or take mass transit far and away from their own community just to purchase food because this community has been located in a food desert.

Ok ---- now let me tell you at least two stories to prove that you outsiders are not safe when you come here expecting a good time, especially during Elvis Presley fan celebrations.

In one case, a couple came down here from Canada to visit Graceland Mansion and their dog was stolen from out of their car while they were eating just inside of a restaurant located on Elvis Presley Boulevard.

But, at least the couple did get their dog back several weeks later ‐‐‐ thanks to our police force, whose budget has been slashed over and over again until they can hardly do their jobs. 

And many officers have quit and moved elsewhere to make more money and to live in a place where promises are not broken after years of boots on the ground experience and service.

And now, the dog thieves may sue the city and the police for going overboard during the search and seizure process.

And since the mayor was up for reelection, he decided to give this dog a key to the city.
And you are now beginning to wonder why we are the laughing stock of the great State of Tennessee and the whole wide world. 

There was a second case of an Elvis Presley fan from London who was run over and killed by a motor vehicle.

Of course, she did not get her life back.

And no one is laughing about the matter at all.

I am not sure if the offender is being tracked down for prosecution ‐‐‐ please let me know so that I can update my other blog posts concerning this matter.

All of this happened simply because these fans ventured outside of the tourist trap.

Maybe these tourists thought to themselves that it does not seem all that bad beyond the boundary line where it looked faced up and a few people seemed nice and friendly from a distance. 
Wrong train of thought --- because --- this entire city is called the hood now days ‐‐‐ and, the poor residents of public housing and the homeless will not always be nice if they are half starving with no job and they have been reduced to donating plasma like a cow just to afford a can of beans and a pair of flip flops.

But, do not to worry yourself ‐‐‐ because ‐‐‐ the poor and homeless have their boundary lines also.
Yes, the powers‐that‐be is working harder than ever before to make sure that poor people stay within those lines at all times, with only one exception --- leaving to go to work at some part-time job that has the lowest pay possible and has little or no health care coverage.

No one wants to be confined within a community like that, which only looks safe and sound and cozy, but it’s not!

The poor are grateful for a place to live no matter what it looks like.

But, when they venture out from such a place, they get little or no respect at all.

Poor people living in the Foote Homes are confined in dire poverty no matter what their facade has ever looked like, whereby the residents are charged high poverty taxes at stores nearby, and there are food deserts for miles around otherwise.

And venturing across their boundary line to support them, usually requires taking a public transit bus, which takes countless hours for just one single round trip to a grocery store, much less adding another pit stop which may take an entire day to accomplish.

Yes --- the poor keep wondering day to day when will their bad scenarios ever end.

But, sorry to say, it doesn’t end as long as the powers-that-be has it their way! 

What poorer people would rather have happen is for them to have a job within their own communities that will last across their lifespan until retirement; safer homes that will last several generations; the best schools ever that leave one generation after the other better off than the one before; and having people’s respect whenever they walk, bike, or use mass transit to get around this town. 

Well, I will end here with this salutation for a hopeful future: peace and love to all my car-free friendly friends out there --- one day, our way of life will get the RESPECT that it deserves and we are going to shower our supporters with the love and affection they deserve.

David M. Fullerton,
Founder, Car-Free Memphis, 2016