Editorial: Palm Springs bulldozed a Black neighborhood. Compensate survivors
I’ll be honest. I am a little disappointed in this editorial. The headline is pretty much what needs to be said. The piece, however, is flawed. The basic premise is as follows: “The City’s decision to push forward with the construction of the Palm Springs City Airport has been described as ‘blatant discrimination’. But that characterization appears to ignore the fact that Black residents of the area were largely left out of the conversation.”
But I wonder, did the residents of Black neighborhoods in Palm Springs not have a say in this decision? And if they did, what options did they have? These were the questions in a report by the Palm Springs-based nonprofit, Black Palm Springs, issued Friday (and posted on their website, theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/10/black-palm-springs-black-neighborhoods-downtown-airport.html).
On page one there is a summary:
“In 2009, The Palm Springs City Council unanimously chose to move forward with construction of the city’s new airport. The city’s then-mayor, Bob Filner Jr., supported the airport as a symbol of city progress. His administration worked with the airport’s developer, the Los Angeles-based Desert Air, to build a new commercial and business complex along Palm Springs Blvd. and West Palm Beach. The city then worked with Desert Air to build an 18-acre air traffic control and fuel depot at the airport. When the new city council changed in 2010, the new mayor, Gary King, also expressed support for a new, bigger airport and indicated he would be willing to consider the option of demolishing Palm Springs Airport, as opposed from expanding the facility.
“Since the city’s new airport had not yet been launched, however, many residents of the surrounding neighborhoods were left out of the conversation. They asked the City Council to