Letter from the Mayor

For the third time in the past year I have seen the ugliness of racism, elitism, and class distinction rear its head in our community.  Let me explain.

Last year the city received numerous calls and emails about a small, proposed basketball court that we wanted to install at Desert Rose Park.  Desert Rose Park is a small city park nearly under the I-15, and adjacent to the Desert Rose Subdivision.  We were clearly told by some of the residents that it was their park and they did not want kids from nearby neighborhoods using the facility.  They, of course, didn’t use any racial terms, but just called them, “those kids”.   The residents thought the shooting of baskets would disrupt their peace and quiet.  At least that’s what they claimed. Untrue as you can’t hear much of anything except traffic noise.

The second incident was meaner, raising the issue of, “those people”, who might come from the other side of town to use Redd Hills Park, another city owned park.  The adults I encountered there were far more direct when I was told we don’t want Mexicans here on our property.  In fact, I was told by one of the residents it wasn’t my concern as it wasn’t my neighborhood.  I happen to live just up the street.

Last week got really ugly when I, as well as our council, received e-mails about the area across from the elementary school about the possible workforce housing planned for the vacant property.  The property was zoned single-family low-density housing and would have had to have a zone change.  Sometime back, we allowed Clark County School District to use the property for the drop-off and pick-up of their school children.  We offered the property for sale or lease to the district, but it never got anywhere.  This was our mistake, as we need at a minimum an agreement for liability purposes from the district.

As we grow as a city, we all know we need workforce housing if we are to attract new business to Mesquite.  We know we are badly lacking in affordable rentals or homes.  I’m not talking about Section 8 housing for those barely able to get by or those receiving government assistance, but housing for the many skilled workers Mesquite will need that are not making twenty dollars an hour and up but need a respectable place to live.  A great many of these workers would have children that would probably attend the school.

What we heard from many of those with children attending the school was just plain racist and class defining.  Rather than say it outright, it was the usual, “we don’t want those people here”, especially so close to our school.  They will spend the day looking out at the children as they play and so forth.  I don’t think so.

It took the Supreme Court in 2015 to make it easier for advocates to use the Fair Housing Act to integrate communities and dissolve the racial and economic lines dividing them.  Maybe not in Mesquite.  I guess we need more than a court decision. We need to change attitudes. Everyone has the right to live where they can afford.  Having less than others is not a crime.  It does not mean that you are better than someone because you have more money, and can afford a more expensive place to live.

Comments

  1. Mike Fikani says:

    The most amusing thing is tha 99% of the people that are terrified of “Those Kids or Those People” proclaim to be such great christans. I’d much rather have Those Kids or Those People as a neighbor than the phony religious Hypocrites !!!

  2. This is one of the best written articles I have seen here since moving to Mesquite last April. It’s sad to know that people put others down so they can live in their perfect little worlds. Well, let me tell you – there is no such thing. I’m sure many of those who injected slurs into their complaints are living in homes built by “those people” and are quite comfortable in said home.

  3. Miriam Samuels says:

    Thank you for being a voice of calm and reason.

  4. Andrew Newcom says:

    Very sanctimonious, Mr. Mayor. The gall of people wishing to protect their neighborhoods and property values from the unknown effects of a Federally mandated social engineering experiment. A project that also happens to provide taxpayer subsidized housing so businesses don’t have to pay their workers a living wage. Like the billionaire family of the late Sam Walton, for example. Yes, that sure sounds racist to me!

    You write that “We all know we need workforce housing to attract new business to Mesquite”. That would be you and your business first cronies, because a lot of us don’t feel that way. When I think business first, 3.8 million dollars of decaying public infrastructure for the Solstice project comes to mind. So does the defunct indoor soccer field, or the attempt to place a truck stop where the Rising Star now sits. We would all be better served if you would recognize that we are first and foremost, a resort and retirement community. One of the finest, if not THE finest, in the Southwest. Amazon will probably never build a distribution center here, so don’t wreck what works trying to get one.

    • Paula Jaramillo Stewart says:

      Not a community with families that includes children ?

    • David West says:

      Mr. Newcom,

      I would highly recommend you watch the presentation about affordable housing from the Dec 12 council meeting. When affordable housing is built, the effects on the surrounding area are well documented. Property values rise, wages increase, and students learn more. Most interesting is the positive effects are not confined to the residents of the new housing. Everyone in the community benefits.

      My wife, who prepared the presentation manages two subsidized complexes in Mesquite. Her former residents include prior council members, single mothers in school to become RN’s, and business professionals in our community including at least one board member of our chamber of commerce. At least a half-dozen or so former residents are current MPD officers. I’d say that social engineering experiment is working as intended by lifting venerable residents out of poverty to become contributing, successful members of society.

      Mayor Litman showed true leadership in calling out those who would denigrate others for the reasons used to justify the protest.

  5. Pam &Tom Gillick says:

    Dear Mr.Mayor,
    So glad to see you are such a great “fact checker.” Maybe you could apply at CNN! We were some of “those people” who live in Desert Rose and contacted the city regarding the park. First, the land for the park was donated by the builder of our development with the agreement that the residents would have first option for the design and amenities in the park. Second, we did not use any type of language regarding any of the “wrong kind of people” using it, merely our experience in another state when out of area kids used the basketball court in our development and damaged it–pulled the nets and hoops off many times. Neighborhood kids were known by the residents and knew better than to abuse the equipment. As it has turned out, very few kids use the basketball court either because it’s too hot in the summer and they’re busy with other things in the winter, so it was just a total waste of money. Younger kids used to use the swings that the basketball court replaced. I don’t appreciate your innuendo!

    • Kenneth Jensen says:

      I agree with you. This Mayer sounds like a racist. I’ve lived here for going 10 years and I’ve herd nothing like this man is saying. Maybe we need a reflection for a none ravished Mayer.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸😡😤

    • Brock Leavitt says:

      Although your experience in another state is of no pertinence to this matter, I believe the Mayor was addressing the trend in which he has personally experienced these obscene gestures. Your response leads me to believe you have no concrete evidence to your claims and that you merely care about your right to oppose those looking to broaden the horizons of this town. I would hope discussions as this will continue to spur community feedback so that we may move Mesquite forward into the modern era.

  6. Teri Nehrenz says:

    I’m just wondering if any of you who have the audacity to call our good Mayor a racist are actually reading the letter he wrote.

    Why, when he is speaking out AGAINST people’s bad comments/opinions, is he the one being attacked? In his first sentence it says, “For the third time in the past year I have seen the ugliness of racism, elitism, and class distinction rear its head in our community.”

    I urge you to reread the letter, he states that these comments were coming in from residents. He’s dissapointed in the mentality of the elitists….calling racism and the comments ugly….he’s standing up AGAINST the mentality, not defending it.

    While some of you may see Mesquite as a Retirement community, who do you think is going to support all your “retirement activities?” I’m betting it’s the younger folks and for what they’re paid to support your activities, they need affordable housing.

  7. Lenni Cunningham says:

    Honest to god people how is it you have let such hatred into your hearts. Fear and hate breed and welcome the same. Where there is love only love can grow. But then I am sure you know this, sadly some don’t care. We are talking about kids here, KIDS! So good job destroying their little spirits and encouraging them to be all they can and reach for the stars NO MATTER WHAT COLOR THEIR SKIN OF ORIGIN.Grow up!

  8. Laura Bart says:

    I support our Mayor and the opinions stated in his open letter.

  9. Mike Kronk says:

    I’m considering moving to Mesquite, I live in St George. Let me say this, if anyone wants to see racism come to Saint George MANY people stare at minorities in St George, they berate them, and don’t hire them. They also exclude them and shun them, and the LDS are very hard on children that are not LDS.
    I’m not from that type of environment and I want out. I don’t believe Mesquite is that way as I’ve come down here many times. I also don’t believe any place is perfect, so I will look at moving there objectively. Any person that believes in God believes , WE are all Gods children.

  10. I truly believe that what the mayor states is not only true but well said. I understand that some individuals move to Mesquite only to retire and could care less about the increase of viable work places. These individuals are short sighted and do not understand how a city works. Without a large enough population, we cannot afford to improve the city’s infrastructure, pave streets,install lighting for sidewalks,improve the library and other services like your parks. These are just a very few of the things that a city must do to serve the community. These “other” people maintain your properties through your HOA. Restaurants, grocery stores and even movie theaters need a population to support them. Cities need to grow, must grow, or your desirable retirement home will just be a shack in the desert.J

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