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Vol. 16/No. 12 - 445th issue - December 11, 2007 - - Bellevue, Kentucky
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Dec. 11 - The gentrifiers are at it again!

The city of Bellevue created a program in 2004 that seems to be designed to drive out working-class residents by paying building owners to convert apartment buildings into single-family houses. City officials hyperbolized that this vile class war would uphold the town's historic district status, for many of these buildings were single-family to begin with.

Except we're quite certain some of them weren't. And even if they were, the city ignores the reality that we're now living in a time when housing is in higher demand and families are smaller than they were when the buildings were built. But right-wing city officials don't let these truisms get in the way of their extermination of the city's least opulent inhabitants.

Now Bellevue City Clowncil has doubled the amount of money it pays building owners to eliminate apartments in this manner.

Mind-boggling. Truly mind-boggling. The city is actually paying people to eliminate housing, even while demand increases! Even worse, taxes paid by working-class tenants (who in effect pay property taxes via their rent) are being used to do it. In other words, renters are being made to subsidize their own extinction.

That's BushAmerica's idea of "fair."

With Covington officials finally admitting their dislike of homeless individuals, Bellevue has practically admitted that the reason for its apartment elimination program is officials' contempt for renters who belong to an unprivileged economic status. One City Clowncil member said that multi-family buildings "have caused a strain on our community." Another city official said that the addition of homeowners (as opposed to renters) "increases the value of the neighborhood and the quality of life for the whole community." We think these statements are intended to be longhand for the bashing of lower-income inhabitants.

Already the city has seen 20 apartments decimated by this program.

What's worse is that both the Kentucky Post and the Cincinnati Enquirer (in their usual gentrifying and economically elitist stance) are practically encouraging building owners to apply for this program by providing a phone number and a link to the city's website in the article about it. This link is right next to a link to be used by all the displaced tenants to find a list of all the apartments they can move to if they lose theirs. Just joking about that last sentence. The newspaper provides no such link for tenants.

History concern limited

While the city claims they're just trying to restore Bellevue to its historic roots, officials' supposed concern for history ends there. Earlier this year, the city used eminent domain to seize a small but historic house owned by a 79-year-old widow. The old dwelling was then set to be torn down to make way for the driveway for a new condo complex that hardly anyone who currently lives in Bellevue can afford to live in. In other words, eminent domain was abused to take property for private (not public) use. (I'm pretty sure this is the same condo complex where the pile driver kept the whole city awake all winter 2 years ago. The city refused to do anything about the noise. But heaven forfend someone have a car radio up too loud for 3 seconds.)

This despite the fact that Kentucky passed a law last year outlawing this type of land grab, and that earlier court rulings in Kentucky also prohibited actions like this. To put it in less polite terms, the city broke the law. Besides, we would have thought such a land grab would be unconstitutional anyway, except the U.S. Supreme Court somehow ruled otherwise.

It's obvious the only reason Bellevue wanted a historic designation was so the city could use that fancy serif font on its street signs that's hard to read. Unbeknownst to the revisionists, however, this never was a standard font for traffic signs.

Economic intervention for me, not for thee

Conservatives claim to be against intervention in economic matters. But they support not only economic intervention but a fully government-controlled economy as long as it benefits their cronies. Such is true of the rightists who compose Bellevue city government. (If you think it's impossible for an urban area to have such a conservative government, look at New York.)

City officials support intervening on behalf of condo developers or to chase away the city's poorer inhabitants. But they won't pass an ordinance to bar large store chains from making clerks take a drug test, because they consider such a law to be "communist" intrusion on the economy. Their ideology is corporatist and propertarian.

It's pretty clear they won't rest until every last person who's not at least somewhat financially secure has nowhere left in the city to hang their hat. Hopefully a nifty little thing called an election will intervene before this purge sees any more success.


You know what really is Illibelievin'?

Illinoisin'. That's what. So that's why we Illinoised back on December 29-30 of last year for another road trip! We goed to Quincy, Illinois, for a medium-mischief overnighter, taking a roundabout route to southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri, then north to Quincy, into southeastern Iowa, and then back home.

I call this the Bronchitis Trip, because a bout with viral bronchitis beginned several days before. The night before I left, I was kept awake gasping for air, and it was so severe that I would have gone to the emergency room except I had a mighty fact-finding mission looming! So on Friday morn, we left, went across Fort Washington Way in Cincinnati, down through Louisville, and across Indiana on I-64. The gasping worsened as I felt like I was constantly being choked.

I think we took a side trip up to Mount Carmel, Illinois, to gather a new county, and I know we ate lunchage at a Steak n Shake in Mount Vernon, Illinois. At the Mistake n Shake, I noticed that someone peed all over the toilet seat.

South on I-57, we drove past a truck carrying what appeared to be the Jolly Green Giant's toilet paper holder. Then we took IL 154 over to Sesser - leading me to refer to that road as Sesserme Street - and we got on IL 150 to Chester. Chester is home of a park featuring a Popeye statue.

I decided I had all I could stands and can't stands no more of the displeasure ravaging my respiratory tract, but Mighty Mo beckoned. We crossed from Chester into Missouri on a narrow bridge that - in counterrevolutionary fashion - prohibited nonmotorized traffic. Probably the most isolated part of Illinois is the island that includes the nearly abandoned town of Kaskaskia, which you can only access from Missouri.

We continued north on US 61 to I-55, but I opted to skip St. Louis, because I had just been there on my 2005 trip (the one where some stumblebum kept throwing stuff onto another spectator's bald noggin at the ball game). Instead we circled northwest from Barnhart to Times Beach, Missouri - another abandoned locale. Times Beach was abandoned in the '80s because it was contaminated by dioxin. Now it has a nice park commemorating the now-defunct US 66. At this park, the outhouse features a sign that skeeps, "PLEASE...DO NOT put trash in toilets, it is extremely difficult to remove." Despite this stark Allowed Cloud, I noticed that somebody had tossed a plastic drinking cup into the toilet bowl.

While I was at this park, I needed water. But there was no wa to be found for me. A tank in the museum was full of sparkling, clear, cool wa that was clearly intended for drinking. The agua looked so refreshing, because I was dehydrated. But I dared not ask if the wa that was easily within physical reach was prepared for us lowly peasantry. The forces of doom are touchy about these things, you know. They have easy-hurt feelings. So no wa was to be guzzled for many hours.

We used that weird US 40/61 bridge over the Missouri River and continued on US 61 up to Hannibal. By then it was dark, and we crossed back into Illinois and went north on I-172. Nature called. So we got off I-172 and pulled onto the side of a surface road, and I drained the main vein into a patch of weeds surrounded by subdivisions full of new fall-apart mansions.

We lodged at the Days Inn in downtown Quincy. I'm thoroughly unenchanted by Days Inn, but it was the cheapest hotel we could find in the immediate area. Pee or wa was sighted all over the floor of the bathroom there. But I dared not drink it!

I was so hungry and thirsty that I sought dinner instead of staying at the motel waiting for Saddam Hussein's execution. I zipped back east on IL 104 and eventually found a Mexican restaurant. The spicy sauce with my meal disemboogered my sinuses and cleared up my incessant gasping.

On Saturday morning, it was cold, damp, and stinky. We had brung along a laptop, but the Days Inn's wireless access didn't work (even though it was clearly advertised). So - to make sure we got our money's worth from Days Inn - we mooched off the wireless access of the nearby Holiday Inn by parking the car right outside it and using the laptop from there. This helped raise the mischief rating for this trip to medium. (It also helped even the score with Holiday Inn for the pool at one of their hotels being closed on a family vacation when I was 8 years old.)

There are 2 road bridges from Quincy to Missouri: one eastbound and one westbound. They're beset by the same elitism against nonmotorized traffic as the span in Chester. We took US 61 north through northeastern Missouri, and a construction detour dumped us on a weird road before we entered Iowa. We ended up on the minor road from Argyle to Mooar, Iowa, continued to Keokuk and to Nauvoo, Illinois. I think we found US 136 and took it all the way to I-74. Damn, that was a long road!

When I stopped at a rest area on I-74 in Illinois, I heard someone fart real loud.

I don't remember if or where lunch was had that day, but din-din was downed somewhere southeast of Indianapolis. I think it was at an Applebee's or some similar establishment. A customer at the restaurant switched the TV from a very interesting bio about a recently deceased American politician to a damn dumb football game (to borrow a phrase once used by a letter writer on 60 Minutes). In doing so, the customer was basically being a big jerk.

So that's my trip to the Quince! It Illinoised and Illibelieved in a big way, like so many other things we know and love. (Oh yes, the radio shit in a Sanka can.)

To fight the ravages of the Far Right, I have several pages worth of photographs of the Bronchitis Trip:

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(Copywrong 2007)
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