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Montrose Slums?


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This is bizzare, but I don't think that you have anything to worry about.

I did a WhoIs lookup of the owner of the website, and although the registered contact appears to be an unregistered partnership at a non-existant address, if the block number is correct, it could only possibly be an address affiliated with the Methodist Hospital System. The administrative contact address and phone number align with tax records and with John Edward McGary's registration with TDSHS as a medical physicist, his LinkedIn profile, and his biographical information and his photo from his employer...Methodist Hospital System. It struck me that an accomplished medical physicist would be an unlikely candidate for a political consultant.

And then I looked at a Google Streetview image of his home. There's an anti-Ashby "Tower of Terror" sign out in front of his home! I was also able to find a petition he started on ipetition.com against the new Montrose HEB (which only received two signatures including his own), which backs up to his house.

That developers discretely hire political consultants is nothing new, but the rhetoric on that website is toxic. It doesn't reflect well on his ability to handle sensitive community stakeholders with tact. Nobody capable of a project so large that it could generate substantial community opposition would dare reach out to this outfit. I can't help but wonder what this guy's motives are, but it strikes me as a distinct possibility that they are subversive. ...maybe he intended to make you nervous and distrustful of developers, Mahjong.

EDIT: I also checked into "Carl Roe" from the WhoIs lookup, but couldn't find anybody with that name in Houston. And I also checked into the co-owner of the home, Gladys Bel; I was able to ascertain lots of personal details from public information but I couldn't find any direct connection to this website or community activism.

Edited by TheNiche
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Interesting thread... I got a letter from a lawyer (yikes) about this earlier this year. Apparently someone not as thorough as TheNiche had done some investigating and somehow came to the conclusion that I was the creator of this website. I guess that was based on the fact that I had used the word "slums" in a post on swamplot once!

Anyway, back at that time the website was much more directed at one particular property owner in the area. They must have eventually found the creator since it looks like his approach has changed quite a bit since then.

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Anyway, back at that time the website was much more directed at one particular property owner in the area. They must have eventually found the creator since it looks like his approach has changed quite a bit since then.

That's interesting. I found an blog post written about the former website, here. And yes, it does appear that things have changed.

He was evidently active on Swamplot, variously under the name 'NotUrBitch' or 'montrose slums', on Nancy Sarnoff's blog as 'Montrose Slums', and on other websites. Fiesta seems to have been a key target of his; and a his comments are frequently inflammatory and some betray an underlying xenophobia. On the other hand, many of his writings do reveal technical knowledge and involvement with the subject. (This guy's rhetoric is almost what I'd expect from the Sheldon Cooper character on Big Bang Theory if he decided to attempt community activism out of self-interest. The technical expertise, self-importance, and lack of aesthetic coherence or social skills is all very Asperger-y.)

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I appreciate all the information. I was worried and so I asked for info on the neighborhood yahoo group and got this back from one of my neighbors=>

A couple of weeks back I sent an email to the author of the site, and I got back an angry email from him that basically said that he was being sarcastic on the site. I had to point out to him that the people that I had shown the site to did not catch the sarcasm. Basically, he is bashing the civic associations for not fighting development.

This is the response that I got back:

I am a resident living in the Montlew-Dearborn-Lancaster Place intersection of hell. I was threatened with a lawsuit from the local slum lords for publishing a different version of Montrose Slums with pictures of their buildings and comments about the properties. The website got their attention; the owners didn't like the public display of their names, money earned, 311 logs, and descriptions of their properties displayed to the public. My attorneys suggested for me to remove all entries that displayed their names, which I did. I later purchased blog insurance. The owners of the under maintained buildings approached the civic association and discussed possible improvements. Since that time, the neighborhood association abandoned communication with the owners and let the issue die in place. For that, it cost me 5K for the neighborhood association to give a nod to the owners.

Yes, you're right that most of the owners of these buildings do not live in the area. These owners live in Missouri City and own dozens of building in the Montrose area, where they have devalued blocks of properties. They do nothing illegal and it is within their right to neglect these properties so maybe I shouldn't complain; however, I chose to find methods to make their work public as it should be.

In this area, the local neighborhood association has done little to enforce deed restrictions or support homeowner properties. This is my opinion but the association has stated that they are primarily a social organization, with emphasis on ice cream socials instead of property protection. In my opinion, they have set up the neighborhood for failure with their vocal support of HEB, which is the largest development in the area. This created a target for developers; I believe this area has a new focus due to HEB and will create a new interest among developers. I also believe that they will view this area as pro-development, as a method to improve the area.

Can you imagine a situation where homeowners were confronted with a huge grocery store and the president of the association published a website titled "PRHEBMONTROSE"? There's something wrong when a neighborhood association doesn't actively protect property values. And that's where we are.

So if this website disturbs people, and makes them realize that they're vulnerable, hey might start to organize to fight a battle that is coming, and probably soon. Hopefully homeowners in this area might wake up.

On the other hand, the website has a number of subtle undercuts in the language and pictures such as the Montrose Land Defense Coalition protesting the development of the HEB grocery store. Maybe some residents will realize that city council members are partly to blame for helping sell off the area to big business. Maybe the super neighborhood has been instrumental in selling off part of the area for personal gain and the associations are not getting proper representation. Maybe the civic association leaders are selling out their neighbors for personal gain.

You might ask why David Robinson worked as a consultant to HEB during a highly controversial development that affected many residents quality of life. And he's literally on the TRAIN, coming our way down Richmond.

Maybe the website advertises the obvious and some people or associations feel that tidbits of truth are being exposed to developers and their secrets can't be maintained. What will they do?

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I don't get it... But anyway, maybe I'm too hopeful but I see the new development (including whatever may replace Fiesta) as a step in the right direction. I would think the proximity of some of the properties to a cleaned up Dunlavy with a new HEB and possible Marvy Finger development is likely the quickest way to generate interest in them.

The rest of the streets around there still suck, though, and I'm amazed at the big trash generating capabilities of area residents - I guess that it's really more indicative of the turnover of renters more than anything. Thank goodness Houston only picks up big trash every other month so the piles of discarded mattresses and couches can fester for a while. Driving down Driscoll it's often hard to believe you are in the middle of Houston... Maybe I should be more active on 311 myself

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Not to go too OT on this, but a big part of the complaint of the original website was the trash that tends to collect in front of these properties. Who exactly is responsible for this trash? It's obviously pretty clear when it accumulates in front of one of these places, but often it tends to show up in the corner of an adjacent vacant lot. As it can't necessarily be proven where the trash has come from, is the owner of the lot still responsible? This has been going on for YEARS in the area

If Fiesta goes, the shopping cart problem will go with it. My wife pointed out that she just saw a shopping cart full of trash over on Driscoll - a double whammy!

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