Other People

WRITING - Joe Bob's America


In Seattle, which used to be one of the friendliest places in America,

people will very openly tell you how much you are NOT welcome there, especially if you intend to build a house, open a new shopping center, or--for that matter--just move there to live with your idiot cousin. A few weeks ago I drove around the city with a woman who would go into a rage every time she saw a California license plate--evidence that some JERK had moved in to RUIN her quality of life.

"If you get that excited about THOSE people," I told her, "I'm glad we're not seeing any TEXAS plates. Californians are masters of politeness compared to us."

She didn't know what I was talking about. Or maybe I didn't know what she was talking about.

It's not just Seattle, though. I've been hearing this stuff EVERYWHERE lately: "Our city is being RUINED by Them."

But who is "Them"?

In Seattle it's anybody with California license plates.

In Orlando it's people moving in from all the other southern states.

In Atlanta it's "Yankees."

In Aspen it's "Yuppies."

In Santa Fe it's rich people from Texas, rich people from California, rich people from New York, and just rich people in general.

In the Little Italy section of New York, it's Chinese people from Hong Kong, buying up all the good buildings--and IMPROVING them.

See, it doesn't matter that they're IMPROVING things when they move in. They're CHANGING OUR PLACE!

Texas is actually one of the few places left that KNOWS it's composed of the scum of the earth--so anyone that shows up automatically becomes a member within five minutes. There are a few "Daughters of the Alamo," or whatever you call em, who think they have some kind of heritage to protect, but Texas is mostly made up of folks that got kicked out of every DECENT state in America. We also know that every time the state goes broke--which is about once every twenty years--all the Yankees go back home anyway, and all the real-estate hustlers head for Phoenix, and all the weekend ranchers show up at some pitiful auction in Lubbock, trying to unload the $500 bull they paid $10,000 for.

Anyhow, I've got a message for all these cities that are constantly WHINING about the OUTSIDERS moving in:

1) When the guys from El Lay show up, offering to pay $400,000 for a house that's worth $200,000, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SELL IT TO EM. If you DO sell it to em, and they immediately tear it down and put up a suburban replica of Disneyland, complete with the Matterhorn, then it's not THEIR fault. You already made the decision: This game is played with money.

2) If you say you do NOT want growth, but you're constantly trying to get United Airlines to move its corporate headquarters to your city, then you're an idiot who doesn't understand what growth is. Most of the cities that are complaining are the ones with aggressive chambers of commerce.

3) If you truly don't want any more shopping centers, then you'll pass zoning laws that make them impossible.

4) If you truly don't want any more traffic, then you'll stop REQUIRING every construction project to have massive numbers of parking spaces. Nothing encourages traffic MORE than the availability of parking spaces. But first the city council says, "We'll let you build that office building, but only if you include ten acres of green space as a city park." And then the SAME city council says, "Of course, we also expect you to build 50,000 parking spaces." So you're ENCOURAGING driving--therefore pollution--to get to the green space.

I'm not complaining about driving. I LOVE cars. I'm just pointing out the reality here.

5) You should really watch it with the "I was here first" syndrome. Seattle, after all, is a man's name. He was an Indian.

This is America. Let the people in.