Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boutique City ..... WHAT??????

The first time I heard of Dayton being referred to as a "Boutique City" it was by our incumbent mayor at the Upper Riverdale Neighborhood meeting on July 27th where we were both invited to attend and have questions asked of each of us. The second time I heard it was almost two weeks later at the 10 Living Cities Symposium when the incumbent got up and stated "If you look under the surface, you will see that we are developing a boutique city" without any further elaboration. She used the same phrase when she presented a city update to the Priority Board Chairpersons.

This phrase intrigued me. So I "Googled" the phrase and got a link to this site. I have pasted some of the wording below in case you don't want to read the entire description of what a "Boutique City" really is. I suggest that you do read it though. It horrified me!

Like aging dowagers, many cities have sought to arrest their decline by applying both a touch of rouge and some serious cosmetic surgery. This is the urban landscape of the “boutique city”—one dominated not by middle- or working class concerns, but by elite culture and the antics of celebrities, whether cultural icons, financial titans, foundation bosses, or media moguls. The boutique city is the playground of Paris Hilton and P. Diddy, as well as the assorted “masters of the universe”; it not a place with playgrounds for working-class and middle class kids. These cities are almost obsessively concerned with “coolness” and “hipness,” being “with it” and “trend-setting.” Boutique cities, like a high-end specialty merchandiser, have little use for the general run of the working and middle class, whose needs are assigned to the domain of Target, Wal-Mart and other suburban merchandisers. Indeed, if the makers of the boutique city worry about anything beside themselves, it is usually not the disappearance of this hard-working middle, but how to deal with the potential threat represented by the alienated underclass, with its potential for lethal mayhem. Many denizens of these environments do not see the city as a place that holds their commitments, but only one locale that, for a period of time or a particular season, seizes their fancy. Many are not even full-timers, instead flitting to Florida, Malibu, Palm Springs, Europe, or the Hamptons, depending on the season and their latest whims (since the 1990s, for example, the number of Manhattan residences serving as second homes has grown by as much as three-fold).


San Francisco, despite its avowedly liberal, even radical politics, is becoming a particular poster child for social inequality—a cross, in the words of historian Kevin Starr, “between Carmel and Calcutta.” The difference between African-American and white incomes in this liberal bastion, for example, is almost three times the national average.


In many cities, the shrinking of the middle class has brought about an overall drop in population. Although New York, with its large immigrant population, still enjoys slowing yet positive population growth, many other boutique cities, including some which gained population in the 1990s—such as Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago—have all lost population over the past five years. Some boosters explain this depopulation as a sign of a “qualitative” improvement in the population, a kind of genteel version of ethnic cleansing where middle and working-class families are being replaced by well-educated, affluent and
often childless households. They point to certain positive developments, such as the proliferation of upscale restaurants, art galleries, trendy shops, and architecturally pleasing hotels and condos. Yet look at what’s missing: middle-class jobs and families. Boutique cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and Portland, Oregon rank among the American cities with the lowest percentages of children. In San Francisco, there are more dogs than children. And why? Extremely high housing costs and an economic environment that provides few middle-class opportunities. Since 2000, almost all these cities have produced far fewer jobs—even in the business services—than the nation as a whole or their surrounding suburbs. Put simply, all but the richest families don’t see a future that they can afford.


I can see Oakwood as a Boutique City. I can see the Oregon district becoming "Boutique" but I am disgusted that Ms. McLin wants to make Dayton a place where dogs outnumber children. Where fewer jobs cause "ethnic cleansing" and eliminate the middle and working classes. Where the income divide between African-Americans and "whites" becomes three times the national average and an elitist class determines what the underclass does.

I don't know about you but this seems to be a big slap in the face to the average union worker, the middle class businessman and any African-American who wants to live here. I want a Dayton that works. I want a Dayton that thrives and I want a Dayton where our children get the quality education that they deserve. If you agree that Dayton needs to be a place where everyone has the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to seek liberty and the pursuit of happiness, join my Grassroots Revolution and vote for the winds of change. This time, I guarantee, your vote counts.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

WTF?????

That is sure the way I want my mayor to communicate.

Brooke said...

Having heard the debacle that Ms. McLin loosely terms "speech", I doubt she even understands what the term "Boutique City" means.

It is my sincere belief and hope that the citizens of Dayton will finally see that change is desperately needed here and join the revolution.

Leslie said...

I am very disappointed that Mayor Mclin wants Dayton to be a "Boutique City" That's ok for parts to be like that. The whole city?! What is wrong with making Dayton the place to be?? Look at history, it was at one time.
Why should we bring people into our city who's stanards change as often as we change our socks. I want to see people in gov. who care about Dayton and not just about themselves!!

Jamal said...

I am appalled that Ms. McLin would want Dayton to become a boutique city.

Another Anonymous said...

To Anonymous: considering that Rhine McLin has given "shout-outs" (her words, not mine) during televised city meetings, I think "WTF" is the least of your worries, and if anything, is fairly warranted considering the state of the city.

As for the article, Cincinnati is an hour south, Columbus an hour east. How are we going to be the "hip" place to be?

Agent0042 said...

Thank you for copying the text for us to read because I'm afraid the link no longer works.

Will B. said...

Here's a link that does:

http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/urban_legend_0

Will B.