St. Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues
Copyright (c) 2000 The Scholar: St.Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues
The Scholar: St.Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues
3 SCHOLAR 115
LENGTH: 18949 words
COMMENT: FORGOTTEN VOICES:
GENTRIFICATION AND ITS VICTIMS
*J.D., St. Mary's University School of Law, May 2000; B.A., Chicano Studies,
The University of Texas at El Paso, December 1996. I would like to thank my
parents, Raymond and Cecilia R. Telles. Without their continuous, unwavering
support and belief in their children, I do not know where I would be.
Everything I am, can, and will be, is due to you and your sacrifices. I would
also like to thank The Scholar staff. I would especially like to thank Julie
Linares, Sylvia Rhee, and Mary Ann Hisel.
... Part I introduces the Campbell subdivision in El Paso, Texas. ... The
redevelopment plan, which could ultimately cause disruption to and displacement
of current Campbell residents, is the impetus for the revitalization of the
area encompassing the Campbell neighborhood. ... Part IV analyzes the
impending collision of the Campbell subdivision with the Union Plaza
redevelopment plan. ... Campbell is zoned as a mixed-use area located within
the boundaries of the Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan. ... Examination of the
Union Plaza redevelopment plan illustrates how the areas of focused
redevelopment will affect the current Campbell residents. ... The Collision of
Campbell and the Redevelopment Plan Campbell is deeply affected by the
Redevelopment Plan. ... One example of rent control is when the person setting
the rental rate selects an arbitrary date and determines future rents at the
rate assessed on that date for an extended period. ... Along these same lines,
it seems unforeseeable at best, that rent control could ever be put into place
in Texas, not to mention the time constraints involved in the Campbell
situation. ... One scholar has discussed other possible positive effects of
enforcement of the implied warranty. ... However, the proximity of Campbell to
the Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan's core is where the problem is discovered.
A cool wind blows lightly as an agile bird descends into a great gorge created
by centuries of erosion. A young couple ponders the complexities of life as
they view the expansive magnitude of a valley before them. A man walks in
contemplation and complete solitude on a beach, lost in thought as he considers
the immensity of the sea.
[*116] These illustrations exemplify the awe-inspiring nature of raw land. Great
expanses of land allow for insight into one's proper place in the grander
scheme of things, regardless of faith or beliefs. Land ultimately allows for a
communion with all that is greater: a divine confrontation between the earth
and its parasitic human inhabitants.
The reverence for land has led man to commit the most heinous crimes for its
n1 Whether the discussion is of Native Americans reclaiming their homelands by
n2 or militant Chicanos taking an area that they claim was stolen,
n3 the point remains the same - there is sanctity in the place one calls home. It
is from this viewpoint that the basis of this comment is formed. This comment
examines the issue of
"home" and encourages an understanding of why a person's land, or rather, a person's
home, is of such vital importance.
The sanctity of
"home" stems from the notions of power and impact that land has on the human psyche.
Problems arise when one has no homestead, no land to call his or her own.
Today, many have no concept of the idea of true ownership in a home; in land.
n4 In fact, more and more
[*117] people in modern society are renting homes on someone else's land. However,
with regard to rights and securities, there is a marked difference between a
homeowner and a renter. Implicit in this distinction is the lack of security
inherent in renting, as opposed to owning. On the one hand, the status of
owning a home axiomatically implies security. A mere renter, on the other hand,
can face eviction at the hands of his landlord. What happens to the renter when
the landowner no longer wants the renter to live on his or her property? What
happens when the landowner finds that more money can be gained by replacing the
current renter with someone who has a higher income? The issue of displacement
for renters who face this predicament is examined throughout this comment by
gentrification - the raising of prices beyond what existing renters can afford.
Gentrification displaces a lower-income community from their existing neighborhood by virtue
of an influx of higher income residents, who are willing and able to pay more
n6 This comment focuses on
gentrification as it affects the renting population.
One cause of
gentrification is redevelopment, wherein a renewed community interest takes place in a
previously neglected area.
n7 Redevelopment has become a trend for blighted
n8 metropolitan areas. This neglect results in decreased property values, run
[*118] eroding infrastructure, and an overall decrepit appearance. The purpose of
redevelopment is one of renewed monetary interest, which in theory, serves as
an economic generator to spur other reinvestment into the community.
Redevelopment can benefit the city by increasing property taxes thereby raising
the tax base.
n9 Redevelopment breeds construction, which consequently creates a need for large
amounts of capital to redevelop. Depending upon the plan utilized,
redevelopment can work to channel commerce, tourism and industry into a once
blighted location. Therefore, positive benefits of redevelopment do exist.
Unfortunately, however, redevelopment can pose a threat to a community.
n10 Redevelopment can force the relocation of a population, who may not have the
ability to relocate easily.
Gentrification can displace existing low-income renters, essentially rendering them homeless.
This comment attempts to explore the general process of
gentrification, and identifies one community currently on the verge of
gentrification in order to present the reader with a true-life example of a neighborhood in
danger of displacement. This comment's purpose is not only to serve as an
gentrification, but also as a loosely adaptable blueprint for possible strategies to use in
the effort to curb the ill effects of
gentrification. Part I introduces the Campbell subdivision in El Paso, Texas. Part II examines
the Campbell neighborhood, which illustrates an application of
gentrification. Part II then explores the various theories used in identifying the patterns of
housing selection, and identifies the
housing and market forces that impact neighborhoods.
Part III introduces the reader to El Paso's Downtown Redevelopment Plan, more
specifically, the Union Plaza area. The redevelopment plan, which could
ultimately cause disruption to and displacement of current Campbell residents,
is the impetus for the revitalization of the area encompassing the Campbell
[*119] Part IV analyzes the impending collision of the Campbell subdivision with the
Union Plaza redevelopment plan. A comparison of homeowners' and renters' rights
is presented in Part V. This includes a general overview of a municipal
entity's use of eminent domain powers. Part VI introduces various solutions
that could be used to combat the displacement of, and promote the protection
of, current Campbell residents. In addition, Part VI examines the feasibility
of each named solution with specific focus on the Campbell subdivision.
Finally, Part VII places special emphasis on the author's thoughts regarding
Campbell's possibilities in relation to the surrounding area's property
I. The Campbell Subdivision of El Paso, Texas
Between 1960 and 1990, El Paso's downtown residential population declined from
17,029 to 6,864, a 60% reduction.
n11 In addition, the number of downtown
housing units decreased 64%, from 5,549 to 1,985.
n12 Alternately, there was simultaneous increase in the Central Business District
housing density, from 1.7 to 3.7 persons per
n13 The statistics illustrate that there were more people per home, even though
fewer homes and fewer residents actually exist in downtown El Paso.
The Campbell subdivision is located in the northwest section of downtown El
Paso and within the Union Plaza district.
n15 As part of the downtown area, residential development in Campbell is not
immune from changes currently brewing in the downtown area. Over the years, the
Campbell subdivision has tracked El Paso's downtown trend by losing a
significant number of area residents.
The United States Census Report for Tract Number 17 in El Paso, Texas,
encompasses and describes the character of the Campbell subdivision.
n17 Although the area accounted for in the census report covers a broader region
than Campbell, the demographics of Tract 17 are a reasonable
[*120] estimate of those found within the Campbell neighborhood. During the 1990
census, 32.9% of Tract 17 was between 25-34 years old.
n18 It was also predominantly Hispanic
n19 in that approximately 81% percent of the tract's inhabitants were Hispanic.
n20 The median family income was at $ 10,806 with a median household income of $
n21 Following the downtown trend, Tract 17 has seen an increase in population with
a corresponding decrease in the number of
n22 This snapshot of Tract 17 sufficiently characterizes the Campbell subdivision.
A more refined understanding of the type of residents and their living
arrangement in the Campbell neighborhood is garnered through examining El
Paso's Union Plaza district, which is a subcomponent of Census Tract 17, and
includes the Campbell neighborhood within its boundaries. As of January 1999,
there were approximately 669 residential inhabitants of the Union Plaza
n23 This area had a higher concentration of Hispanics than Tract 17.
n24 In addition, approximately 62% of Union Plaza's residents live below the
n25 and the subdivision itself currently contained 260 residential units,
including duplexes, single family homes, and tenement apartments.
Like the rest of El Paso's downtown area, the Campbell subdivision has
experienced an increase in population accompanied by a decrease in
[*121] the number of available
n27 In fact, the Campbell neighborhood is presently zoned for residential, light
industrial, and heavy industrial uses.
n28 The residential areas of Campbell consist of both houses and apartments.
n29 One unifying character, with several obvious exceptions, however, is that the
housing situation in Campbell is in need of repair.
n30 The homes and apartments are generally older structures that are showing
obvious signs of age.
n31 Many of the residential units require a good deal of work and capital in order
to return them to viable residential structures.
n32 In some instances, this problem is being addressed by local community groups.
One local community organization, Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe (La Fe),
n33 has expanded its services to include a
housing project which
[*122] seeks to accommodate the growing needs of El Paso's poor and elderly
n34 La Fe's expanded services to the poor and the elderly range from medical
services to the addition of a
n35 This new
housing initiative involves two properties located within the Union Plaza
n36 One property designated for redevelopment
n37 is a condemned tenement which once held twenty units.
n38 La Fe will renovate the tenement from the inside out in order to accommodate
twelve new one-bedroom units.
n39 The structure was originally built in 1916, without accommodations for modern
day heating, cooling, plumbing or indoor restroom facilities.
n40 The renovated homes will receive these conveniences including: gas stoves,
refrigerators, and water and sewer services.
The second component of La Fe's
housing initiative involves two condemned buildings that will be completely demolished
in order to build two new
n42 These new buildings will be separate from the aforementioned twelve-unit
building, although located right next door.
n43 But in order to create a community atmosphere between the two new buildings,
La Fe has also developed a courtyard idea. Two renewed
[*123] buildings will share the courtyard as a common leisure area.
n44 In addition, there will be a stage for teatros
n45 and local musicians, a communal garden, and a sitting area.
La Fe's intention is to make the homes available for
"very low-income residents ... senior citizens... [and] farm workers,"
n47 and will also target couples and single people.
n48 The entire project is anticipated to cost approximately $ 728,000.
The La Fe
housing rehabilitation project serves as an excellent example of and solution for the
housing situation for low-income tenants in the Campbell area.
n50 The amount of work and money required by La Fe's
housing initiative to bring their particular
housing structures back into the existing Campbell
housing stock seems to illustrate the condition in which many current Campbell
residents find themselves.
housing stock is in need of other funding in order to help replenish the depleting
housing stock available to the area's poor and elderly.
n52 Even with the
"dramatic growth in the
housing construction industry, little of that activity is directed toward
n53 Sadly, this problem was exacerbated when another tenement in the area was lost
to fire during the creation of this comment.
n54 This incident may have added an additional twenty-five families to the list of
homeless in El Paso.
II. Introduction To
When dealing with the topic of
gentrification, an understanding of its working definition is helpful.
n56 However, even a brief examination into this subject reveals an overwhelming
list of broad definitional studies.
n57 For the purposes of this comment, the subject of
gentrification is limited to its residential applicability, that is, homes and apartments.
From this perspective,
gentrification is the process by which the socioeconomic designation of a particular
neighborhood is altered by the influx of new inhabitants.
gentrification can be defined by looking at the
[*125] resulting effects that an influx of high wage earners has on predominantly
Campbell is one such area and is highly susceptible to
gentrification at this point in time. Campbell is zoned as a mixed-use area located within
the boundaries of the Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan.
n60 The purpose for the new zoning structure is to attract business into the
district and foster economic development.
n61 As a result, it is believed that other financial resources will begin to
settle into this previously neglected area. Although not firmly and
pragmatically planned for, one highly sought resource is existing residential
n62 The problem, however, is that if the portion of Campbell targeted for business
renewal directly abuts itself against its residential area,
gentrification and displacement may result.
n63 With a significant influx of money for various infrastructure renewals and its
proximity to the business district, the Campbell area is likely to experience
soaring property rates.
A. Two Basic Ideas
Before Campbell's redevelopment issues concerning
gentrification are fully examined, it is pertinent to note two fundamental facts, which
affect all low-income communities. First, poverty, in and of itself, plays a
role in where indigent people are financially capable of living; and second,
the ability of the poor to seek legal protection through the court system is
minimal, at best.
[*126] Despite the Department of
Housing and Urban Development's stated goal of freedom of choice in
n66 those living in lower socioeconomic brackets generally do not have much
latitude in choosing where they live.
n67 Instead residency is a function of income, and most indigent persons live in
blighted metropolitan areas because that is where their income dictates they
n68 For example, there is currently an explosive growth in the number of colonias
across Texas and other southwestern states.
n69 These neighborhoods offer
housing that lacks basic infrastructure, including running water, sewage, and in some
places, electricity in exchange for extremely low rental payments.
n70 Obviously, if one truly had freedom of choice in where they lived, it would
not be in a neighborhood that lacks the most basic necessities common to other
neighborhoods and necessary for the prevention of numerous health risks.
Regarding El Paso in particular, the development of colonias in far east El
Paso is, in part, a result of a shortage of
"affordable, decent, and standard
housing for moderate and low-income persons."
n71 In reality, basic economic needs, rather than personal choice, determine where
the poor make their homes.
[*127] In addition, indigent communities lack the financial resources to defend their
existing homes and communities, no matter what their condition, through the
n73 Many court cases brought on behalf of low-income communities demonstrate that
these neighborhoods are subjected to discriminatory zoning practices, land
usage, and hazardous waste siting.
n74 These facts provide for a more profound understanding of
gentrification and how it affects low-income minorities.
B. Types of
gentrification occurs in two ways. One example is when an upper-income earner moves into a
blighted area. This move creates the impetus for other subsequent upper-income
earners to follow suit.
n76 With this type of renewed interest comes an increased rental rate,
n77 which ultimately results in the displacement of the low-income residents.
The second most readily identifiable way for
gentrification to occur involves the influx of public financing by local and/or federal
monies for the redevelopment of a specific area.
n79 In this situation, a targeted blighted area is the focus of such money. Large
amounts of capital spent on previously neglected correlates in the renovation
of buildings, better infrastructure, lights, and improvement for other
important residential necessities.
[*128] The Campbell subdivision, however, is actually on the outer boundary of the
n81 Most of the money going into the region will actually go to fund the
redevelopment of the nearby warehouse area.
n82 As noted, both residential and commercial zones are found within the Union
n83 However, this commercial zone is primed to become an entertainment district,
not a residential community.
n84 The Campbell neighborhood's proximity to the proposed entertainment district
seemingly ensures that the residential area will be affected.
n85 Examination of the Union Plaza redevelopment plan illustrates how the areas of
focused redevelopment will affect the current Campbell residents.
C. Causes of
Gentrification: Housing Development Theories
Before delving into
housing development theories, it is important to further develop the idea of
gentrification. Causes for
gentrification are myriad. One example of
gentrification can be seen in the currently renewed interest in downtown metropolitan living.
n86 Cities are promoting a return to central city living by increasing the number
of residential spaces available in downtown lofts and other buildings.
n87 Another example is the return of upper economic level professionals,
[*129] professionals, to older neighborhoods.
n88 In returning to what were once well-established upper level economic
neighborhoods, one sees the development of the process often described as
For one to fathom the depth of reverse filtering and its implications on
gentrification, however, one must first turn to an understanding of the various theories
housing patterns, such as the
"reverse filtering," and
"spiral" theories, discussed herein.
Filtering is a theory that describes the pattern of
housing choices by a city's inhabitants as it relates to real estate market forces.
n90 Basically, filtering is the cyclical process by which a city's inhabitants
divvy up its
n91 The idea is that when one with a higher level of income, party A, relocates,
generally the party will build a newer home. This new home is also usually
further away from downtown's populated areas. In doing so, party A's former
home is left behind for someone else, party B, who is typically just below the
first party's economic level.
n92 Party B then leaves its current home to move into Party A's old home, thereby
creating another vacancy; this time in a lower-income
Filtering reveals that economic level with
"filtered" down via real estate market forces.
n93 Implicit in this theory is the increase in creation of
housing stock by the upper economic levels.
n94 This is due to
[*130] wealthier families building and moving into new homes.
n95 By doing so, not only have they created another home to be added to the area's
housing stock, but the family has also left their previous home to be placed on the
2. Ring Theory
Intrinsic to the theory of filtering is the ring theory.
n97 This is the class stratification theory that accompanies the filtering model
in order to complete the description of the outward residential pattern of
n98 The ring theory's premise is that as a city develops, the
housing patterns begin developing into rings stretching outward from the center of the
"walking city" is the initial settlement area where one typically finds the centers of
commerce, industry, and residence.
n100 The stratification of these rings is generally by economic class.
n101 Accordingly, the imposition of the ring theory with the idea involved in the
n102 produces the full accounting of how and why the middle and upper classes, who
are typically Anglo, moved from the center of the city.
This process left the lower income classes, often poor migrants from within and
outside of America, in central city locations.
n104 It should also be mentioned that the creation of these economic and racially
segregated areas should not always be attributed to the innermost workings of
the impartial free market tenants of real estate. Restrictive covenants and
other tools of racial subjugation cannot be left out of a truly open discussion
of the forces responsible for such theories of spatial concentration.
3. Reverse Filtering
In contrast to the ring theory and filtering method, reverse filtering
involves the depletion of the city's
housing stock when the upper-income inhabitants, instead of building new homes,
relocate to the older neighborhoods previously lived in by lower income groups.
n106 In returning to these neighborhoods, new money is spent in renovation and
repair. Once several renovators have moved in, a trend characteristically
begins. With more and more money being pumped into these older neighborhoods,
property taxes increase.
n107 With increased property taxes, landowners find justification for increased
n108 Accordingly, the few remaining low-income residents are displaced by
skyrocketing rents, which are paid by incoming upper-income tenants.
A devastating problem associated with the process of reverse filtering is the
depletion of the existing
housing stock. When reverse filtering occurs, there is less
n110 Once displaced, the lower income groups have even fewer places to reside,
since they are not able to relocate to where the upper income group came from,
for obvious economic reasons.
n111 In this present day and age, when the availability of government provided or
housing is proportionally lower than other
[*132] times in history,
n112 reverse filtering has led to not only the displacement of lower income
neighborhoods, but more frequently to homelessness.
4. Spiral Theory
The process of filtering is closely related to the spiral theory.
n114 In fact, the spiral theory was actually developed from the filtering theory.
n115 The spiral theory provides an explanation for the geographic patterns of
housing. It looks to three critiques of the filtering model for its creation.
n116 From these critiques, circular causation is developed.
"Circular causation" is the idea that many forces are at work together in a system, i.e.,
n118 These forces are
"functionally interlinked" so that if one such force changes, it not only alters the other forces, it has
the ability to affect the cumulative aggregate of the system itself.
n119 The altering of the system itself allows for further alteration by virtue of
the fact that the system itself has changed.
n120 This is analogous to a ripple effect: if one side of a pond is disturbed, the
ripple will reverberate throughout the pond.
"circular causation" theory holds that the alteration of one force can alter another force equally,
thereby causing an opposite reaction. This is a
"stable equilibrium" in that one force's alteration nulls the reactive force's alteration.
"cumulative causation" problem arises,
[*133] however, when the initial change in force is so strong that the reactive force
n122 This unstable equilibrium, or spiral, is the result of cumulative causation.
This is the basis of the spiral theory, and
"through its operation, one can understand how and why one small stimulus in a
neighborhood environment may lead either to no effect, or a drastic movement of
the neighborhood toward either decay and abandonment (a downward spiral) or
prosperity and improvement (an upward spiral)."
Spiral theory is best illustrated through the use of an example. Essentially,
the theory asserts that any type of system
n124 is like a string held at both ends.
n125 If one end (side A) is moved, the other end (side B) will also experience
movement. If side B counteracts with an equal force, however, the string can
again achieve balance.
n126 A problem arises when the movement of one end is so violent that the response
cannot equalize the initial force.
n127 Applying this example to the
housing market illustrates problems concomitant with
As the market is functionally interlinked,
n128 any action within it will cause results elsewhere in the market. Therefore, in
order to redevelop a blighted area, which creates a disturbance on one end of
the system, equalization of the system requires a counterbalancing force at the
other end. Where a large amount of money is invested into an area without
accounting for the opposite reaction, the cumulative causation problem arises.
One must look to other factors when considering the causes of displacement
created by a gentrifying market. One such factor is
[*134] Milking typically occurs in a low-income neighborhood and involves the
intentional refusal by a landlord to maintain
housing conditions for residential property yet continuing to collect rents from
n131 Maintenance of the residential property is left unattended until the property
is either no longer habitable or desirable as a home, forcing all residents
eventually to move or authorities to close the building.
n132 A milking landlord is essentially engaging in constructive eviction and
treating her property as a wasting asset rather than a renewing asset.
As a wasting asset, no money is invested in the property; therefore, the only
real loss felt by the landlord involves time and property taxation.
n134 Thus, the milking strategy is a mechanism for wasting the property, rather
than maintaining it as a renewable long-term investment.
n135 The possibility of future increased rents in a gentrified neighborhood is
often incentive enough to encourage a landlord to
"milk" the property and
"wait out" the residents.
n136 In addition, current inhabitants continue to pay rent, providing income to the
milking landlord throughout the entire waiting process. Thus, there are
instances when a
"rational landlord will decide to 'milk' his building."
Another factor is
n138 This occurs most often in states where landlords are not at liberty to evict
n139 When one resident moves out, that rental unit remains empty until the entire
n140 Usually, a nearly vacant building is a disincentive for residents to remain in
the rental unit.
n141 This commonly utilized tactic empties a low-income
housing unit, and hastens a newly gentrified larger income producing property.
Using merely one of the aforementioned options or a combination of several,
various roads to
gentrification are illustrated. These are only a few of the perils that low-income renters
must face. This listing is in no way an exhaustive list of gentrifying factors.
These factors are discussed merely in an effort to understand how the
gentrification of a neighborhood can often begin.
III. The Union Plaza Redevelopment Project
El Paso, Texas is currently undergoing several drastic redevelopment projects,
the goal of which is the creation of a new and vibrant downtown area.
n143 Several new points of interest include an entertainment district, a
public/private transportation hub, and an improved infrastructure.
n144 The most significant part of the redevelopment plan is the Union Plaza
n145 The name stems from one of the more prominent features found within the area:
the Union Plaza Train Station, which is an historic and beautiful building
created by the same architect who built the Union Station in Washington, D.C.
The Union Plaza Project area encompasses nineteen city blocks entirely within
the Campbell neighborhood.
n147 The Project area's boundaries
[*136] lie at
"Paisano Drive to the south and west, El Paso and Santa Fe streets to the east,
and the Santa Fe Railroad tracks to the north."
As has been illustrated herein, the area that encompasses Union Plaza and
Campbell has become blighted and dilapidated.
n149 Like most of downtown El Paso, the Union Plaza District has suffered from both
public and private disinvestment.
n150 Many of the once busy warehouses have been closed for years,
n151 resulting in an abandoned appearance.
n152 The Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan (hereinafter the
"Plan") is an effort to recapture the lost vibrancy of the area.
The Plan has a four city-block, business-zoned area at its focus; an area
originally encompassed in the initial Union Plaza Plan.
n154 The organizers of the plan, however, found that in order to receive federal
assistance, the Plan needed to be expanded.
n155 Once the project was enlarged to include residential areas, federal funds
n156 Accordingly, the initial (four city-block entertainment redevelopment) Plan
was enlarged to encompass the new (nineteen city-block redevelopment) Plan.
The Union Plaza project is a multi-phase plan;
n158 its most notable plans include: the creation of a new art museum and a new
arts festival plaza; expansion of the tourist and convention center; creation
of a streetscape program to include infrastructure renovation; creation of a
transit terminal, expansion of the rubber-tire trolley service; creation of a
[*137] station to serve the newly renovated area; and, creation of two new urban
n159 In January 1999, the projected budget anticipated a total spending of $
n160 The project is funded through various public and private resources, including
federal funds and local bonds.
n161 The current status of the individual public improvement projects range from
the completion of the art museum and the arts festival plaza, to the expected
Spring 2001 completion of the final design plans for the tourist and convention
One aspect of the downtown redevelopment project involves the development and
integration of El Paso's area for both residential and commercial use.
n163 This section of the Plan deals with the creation of new buildings and
renovation of existing historic buildings, making both viable additions to the
n164 These improvements envision creating
housing developments in the northeastern part of downtown.
n165 The renovation portion focuses on the Plaza Hotel, Popular Building, Banner
Building, J.J. Newberry Building, Caples Building, and the southern part of
n166 However, the
housing portion of this Plan does nothing for the residents of Campbell subdivision
with regard to their existing homes. Instead, the focus on redevelopment is to
revitalize the area with restaurants, hotels, and retail operations.
Although much capital has been invested in the Campbell area businesses and
infrastructure, funding is minimal for
n168 That so little is being done for
housing renovation is ironic because although the initial plan was designed for only
the redevelopment of a business zone, it was altered to add an additional
fifteen residential and business blocks in order to gain access to more funds.
n169 These funds,
[*138] however, only improved the additional fifteen blocks in infrastructure.
housing situation has only changed minimally and additional plans to help the existing
housing situation in Campbell do not exist.
Regardless, the Plan does help Campbell, by encouraging the redevelopment and
infusion of both private and public monies.
n172 Through economic incentives, landowners are given various opportunities to
refurbish existing buildings or to create new structures.
n173 This is worrisome because, as illustrated herein, if money pours into a
previously blighted community without any protection over the existing
gentrification is often the result.
n174 This effect is cumulative causation in action.
n175 Focusing solely on the redevelopment of the businesses and properties of the
area illustrates that the Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan has forgotten the
residents of Campbell and is not concerned with their possible displacement.
IV. The Collision of Campbell and the Redevelopment Plan
Campbell is deeply affected by the Redevelopment Plan.
n176 As a result of the money and interest expended on redevelopment in the
Campbell area, several things are bound to occur. One is that the property
rates within this neighborhood will rise. An increase in property rates
typically justifies a landowner's decision to raise rental rates.
n177 Additionally, once the surrounding area has undergone beautification, it is
foreseeable that the nearby properties (outside the Union Plaza area) will
alter their appearance in order to create a cohesive, unified city area.
n178 This would also likely cause rental rates to increase.
[*139] This scenario is particularly relevant to the Campbell area due to the strict
requirements of conformity for the surrounding buildings and the aesthetic
restrictions placed upon them.
n179 According to architectural and design guidelines created by the Department of
Planning, Research and Development of El Paso, adherence to uniform
construction styles are to be followed.
n180 Compliance is required in order to protect area businesses
"from inappropriate design and unsightly construction that could potentially
diminish the appeal of the district."
Union Plaza has a long-standing transportation history that has been utilized
as a theme for development of the area.
n182 For instance, the area adopted a turn-of-the-century railroad design.
n183 This railroad theme will be strictly enforced to comply with the Union Plaza
Architectural and Design Guidelines.
n184 The stringent requirements range from the height restrictions of buildings,
n185 to the placement of canopies and awnings,
n186 and the color and design choices of signage.
n187 These demanding building code requirements
n188 will likely increase the amount of financial resources that landowners will
need in order to be in compliance. In turn, this will likely add to a
landowner's justifications for raising rental rates.
It should also be noted, however, that some monies have been offered to
landowners to minimize the costs of aesthetic compliance.
n189 Despite these funds, it seems inevitable that the increase in land values and
[*140] expense that redevelopment modernization incurs will likely serve as a basis
for a landowner to justify rental increases. This is problematic because the
redevelopment plans for the Union Plaza District mainly benefit business,
tourism, and industry, and do not realistically address residential development
in the Campbell area.
It seems apparent that Campbell's proximity to the redevelopment area will
create a corollary effect due to rising rental rates: the effect of
displacement. There is bound to be a certain amount of displacement as the area
undergoes this transformation and rental rates increase.
The problem currently affecting Texans is that 34% percent of Texas renters
cannot afford fair market rates for a one-bedroom apartment.
n191 That fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in El Paso is estimated to
be $ 445.
n192 In fact, a minimum wage earner is required to work sixty seven hours per week,
at the federal minimum wage of $ 5.15 per hour, in order to be able to afford
such an apartment.
n193 NLIHC follows the United States Department of
Housing and Urban Development's ("HUD's") affordability standard, and deems an apartment affordable if one's rent is no
more than 30% of the renter's total income.
The ill effects of
gentrification affects minorities:
"even though people of all colors have been gradually displaced from time to
gentrification, Blacks and Latinos, more often renters than their White counterparts, are less
likely to exert any influence on the process [of
n195 By NLIHC and HUD standards, if the renter is an independent Social Security
Insurance ("SSI") beneficiary receiving $ 484 in monthly SSI benefits, the maximum monthly
amount that renter could spend on
housing is a mere $ 145.
n196 This amount is so low it would be laughable if it were not so tragic. The
amount certainly falls well below the fair market value, placing independent
SSI beneficiaries in a serious predicament. This data must also be considered
with the Campbell subdivision in mind. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, 85%
of Campbell residents earned no more than $ 14,999 in annual income,
n197 while 62% of the Campbell residents live below the poverty level.
n198 The Census also noted that the racial makeup in Campbell was predominantly
n199 Furthermore, for the ages of eighteen and above, approximately 59% of Campbell
residents have not gone beyond the ninth grade education level.
n200 While these facts and figures were gathered from the 1990 U.S. Census, the
truth is that there is very little movement from the neighborhood.
Due to rental increases, landlord pressure, a combination of any of the
preceding, or one of a list of other possibilities, it seems that the
displacement of some of Campbell's current inhabitants is logically soon to
follow. Therefore, the resident's rights are an important next step in this
inquiry. Since the area includes both homeowners and renters, the differences
between the two are first examined.
V. The Rights of Homeowners and Renters
Although this comment focuses on the situation in which renters find
themselves with regard to
gentrification, the homeowner's situation should also be briefly mentioned, because of the
applicability of their situation
[*142] to that of the similarly situated homeowners in Campbell. The point in
discussing homeownership in Campbell is to further illustrate the very
different position in which their renting counterparts find themselves.
Specifically, examination of the displacement of a homeowner versus the
displacement of a renter will illustrate why
gentrification is such a serious problem for renters.
Homeowners are affected quite differently than renters, regarding the process
gentrification. Cities are able to use their governmental powers in order to
"persuade" homeowners to relocate with or without their consent.
n202 This is the governmental power of Eminent Domain.
By using municipal eminent domain powers, a city can forcibly remove a
n204 Eminent domain powers allow a municipality or other governmental agency to
take land from a landowner for a
"public" use and after paying
One example of eminent domain within the Union Plaza project is illustrated by
the presence of a string of four neighborhood homes at the corner of Durango
and Overland Streets.
n206 These homes are currently located within the two-block area designated to
become the future Transit Terminal and Parking Facility.
n207 The Goodman Corporation
[*143] began negotiations with this area's homeowners in order to purchase their
n209 Three of the four homes have been purchased, and the transit/parking facility
is nearing construction.
With regard to at least one owner, the Goodman Corporation has been very
successful in carrying out the eminent domain powers of the city, while also
appeasing the displaced resident. The effect of the eminent domain process, as
utilized for the Union Plaza Plan, is exemplified by
The Goodman Corporation dealt with
"MPM" directly in an effort to obtain his property and place him in a new home.
n212 In accordance with HUD requirements, Goodman employees sought out homes of
equal or greater financial worth by looking through the classified
advertisements and then driving him to those homes he found suitable.
n213 This process was repeated until
"MPM" was relocated to a home in the central area of El Paso.
n214 In fact, Goodman employees claim
"MPM" calls their office regularly to thank them for his new home.
It is important to note that
"MPM" was a willing participant in his own removal.
n216 Notwithstanding that fact, the city has authority to relocate a non-compliant
owner where the city merely follows all existing regulations.
"MPM"'s example illustrates the difference between homeowners and renters. If
"MPM" had been a renter, the Goodman Corporation employees would have been under no
obligation to help place him into another home. However, under eminent domain,
the government can forcibly relocate an owner where the move is done for a
public use and so long as the owner is fairly compensated.
n218 Relocating renters, however, requires no compensation or establishment of a
public use, because they have no property interest.
In addition, the landlord has sole discretion in whether or not to displace the
renter. While HUD compliance is required where the government forces
relocation, a landlord's removal of a tenant requires no such
[*144] compliance because a tenant has no vested property interest.
n220 In essence, the renter has no rights, while the homeowner finds himself with
n221 Such disparity in the sanctity of and ability to protect one's home is the
catalyst for this entire comment. Logically, the next step is an examination of
any proactive solutions available to combat the displacement of current
Campbell residents as a result of the possible consequences of the Downtown
VI. Possible Solutions
There have always been options available to lower-income renters who are in
the process of being displaced.
n222 Unfortunately, however, none of the options are particularly successful.
n223 In fact, amid the array of these
"options" is the common inability to protect successfully renters for indefinite periods
n224 Possible solutions to be examined herein are rent control, neighborhood
privatization, constitutional claims involving
housing, eviction free zones through the utilization of the implied warranty of
habitability, and resident controlled redevelopment.
A. Rent Control
The underlying theme of rent control is to have some type of mechanism in
place to guard against a landowner's arbitrary raising of rental rates; the
setting of rental rates protects the renter.
n225 In other words, rent control seeks to maintain rental rates at one rate for an
extended period, usually some set amount of years.
n226 Rent control assuages a renter's fear by establishing ceiling rents that
One example of rent control is when the person setting the rental rate selects
an arbitrary date and determines future rents at the rate assessed on that date
for an extended period.
n228 Essentially, the rental rate freezes
[*145] at the rate charged on the date chosen.
n229 This stops the practice of
"bidding up" rental rates in an area by those who have more disposable money for
n230 In areas currently experiencing an increase in demand, rent control is an
excellent way to protect the current residents. For example,
"by maintaining rental prices at a reasonable level and by preventing direct
displacement, Rent Control will slow the reduction in low-income
housing currently occurring in gentrifying neighborhoods."
However, the problems encountered in implementing rent control are numerous.
One problem is the idea that a free market should be the only type of control
in place over a United States citizen's property.
n232 Another critique is the claim that rent control will stifle the construction
of new homes due to fear that someday these newer
housing units will be under the powers of rent control.
n233 As a result of these and other strong deterrents, rent control has been very
limited in its application.
n234 Along these same lines, it seems unforeseeable at best, that rent control
could ever be put into place in Texas, not to mention the time constraints
involved in the Campbell situation. This is due in part to the fact that while
Americans highly value individual rights, Texans do so even more. Accordingly,
this is not a viable solution for the Campbell subdivision.
B. Neighborhood Privatization
Neighborhood privatization is another option for anti-displacement forces
because it involves privatizing real estate so that residential areas can have
complete control over future development.
n235 Neighborhood privatization, however, results from taking property rights to
n236 Not only does this theory promote abolishment of zoning, it
[*146] seems to incorporate a very individual-focused theme that follows from other
American individualistic beliefs.
Neighborhood privatization poses several problems. The first issue relates to
implementation; the second involves possible ramifications concomitant with
implementing such a solution. Privatization primarily involves the removal of
neighborhood restrictions, including those imposed by zoning and other similar
land use control.
n238 Therefore, implementing such a new legal regime for neighborhoods is quite
n239 Zoning continues to be a well-established form of public regulation of
neighborhoods. Therefore, replacing zoning restrictions with other less
established means of neighborhood development would require a great deal of
planning and time on the part of neighborhood developers, residents and city
n240 Accordingly, its replacement would have to be stable, and strong enough to
withstand any public scrutiny.
n241 For these reasons, the implementation of privatization as an immediate
solution for Campbell is unlikely. However, privatization may be a viable
option for future Campbell residents.
A second problem is the possibility that negative ramifications could arise
from the implementation of neighborhood privatization. Privatization envisions
neighborhood groups as self-governing entities that govern all aspects of the
n242 According to Robert H. Nelson, such privatization does not require unanimity
before a community can implement some type of self-regulation strategy.
n243 Should a majority rule be imposed, forces could be put into effect as
retaliatory measures against those noncompliant to the norms of the majority.
n244 This type of mob rule mentality contradicts the liberty notions inherent to
this country's form of government.
With just these two reasons in mind, neighborhood privatization must be ruled
out as a solution to Campbell's situation. The implementation and implications
of the idea of privatization seem to obviate the need for further discussion.
From theories of privatization, the discussion should now move to solid case
C. Case Law Regarding Constitutionality
A third possible solution involves constitutional issues brought up in New
York and New Jersey case law during the late 1980s. Cases such as Village of
Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.,
n245 Asian Americans for Equality v. Koch,
n246 and Southern Burlington County N.A.A.C.P. v. Township of Mount Laurel
n247 illustrate that constitutional claims regarding
housing, with a few notable exceptions, are rarely successful.
The seminal case regarding the history of zoning laws is Village of Euclid v.
n248 Euclid sparked the idea of applying the Tenth Amendment's police power to
n249 Using the police powers' ideas of health, safety, and the public's general
welfare, a government's use of zoning to protect residential neighborhoods from
business was found to be within the scope of such amendment.
n250 Euclid can be said to stand for the beginning of zoning as a way to protect
residents from being overrun by such mixed-use neighborhoods that would allow a
highly hazardous industry to purchase land next door to a home.
n251 Euclid is a notable exception, however. It is notable because of the idea
behind it. The fact that the residential aspect was what the court found to be
of importance is also of importance to this comment. While Euclid is of great
importance to communities of color, Euclid fails Campbell residents as there is
"absence of zoning protection from diverse modern-day land use threats ...
[like] development-induced displacement of low income residents."
n252 Accordingly, due to the inability of case law to curb such displacement
effects, which now loom on Campbell's horizon, another solution must be sought.
D. Eviction Free Zones
A fourth possible solution looks to
"Eviction Free Zones" as a response to combat
gentrification. The response involves using the existing community members and resources to
battle against the forces of
n253 Sources to be utilized include local community groups and the
[*148] legal services of lawyers.
n254 The primary idea behind this strategy is to use the implied warranty of
n255 and other such legal measures to delay and/or prevent evictions.
"The community group's goal is to make eviction a difficult and expensive
process for landlords, slow
gentrification, and ultimately block displacement."
The fact is that many low-income
housing units are substandard with regard to governmental requirements, as laid out in
the Implied Warranty of Habitability.
n258 This implied warranty requires that landlords maintain a habitable condition
for their renters.
n259 The use of this warranty as a defense to eviction (when the landlord hopes to
cash in on the redevelopment occurring around the property, for example) proves
to be a significant way to increase the costs of eviction for landlords. This
then, becomes a deterrent to additional displacement of low-income residents.
One scholar has discussed other possible positive effects of enforcement of the
n260 This scholar claims that conservative, case-by-case usage of the warranty
could possibly lengthen the lives of buildings in neighborhoods in decline.
n261 This could occur through enforcement of the warranty; the building receives
the required maintenance, thereby staving off its eventual decline, for some
n262 This extends the building's life as opposed to hastening its decline when a
[*149] landlord chooses to milk the building.
n263 An additional possibility is that with the life of residential buildings
housing stock is thereby increased.
n264 With the increase in
housing stock comes a corresponding decrease in the cost of rents, due to market
n265 If more
housing is available, then it follows that competitive market forces would demand
rental rates to be decreased.
The use of the warranty can also cease any domino effects involved in the
milking of one building.
n267 The decisions and activities of one landlord affect those of the neighboring
landowners, as well as the properties themselves.
n268 Accordingly, the milking of one building could lead to the milking of another.
Extrapolating further, one's milking could cause a domino effect unto the
decline of an entire neighborhood.
n269 This is evidenced as one's property valuation is dependent upon various
factors, including the value of neighboring properties.
n270 The use of the warranty in cases such as these would be beneficial in stemming
the drop in property values, thereby curbing the possible domino effect of one
landlord's decision to milk a building.
Another legal maneuver, within the confines of eviction free zones, includes
improper service of eviction.
n272 If the landlord is milking, or intentionally ignoring needed repairs, the
tenants could sue under the state's Consumer Protection Act, not only for
damages, but also for attorney's fees.
n273 In an eviction free zone, the legal service lawyer is to use anything within
his or her grasp to delay and ultimately prevent the eviction.
n274 The public declaration of the creation of an eviction free zone by community
activists and current tenants also adds negative publicity as a tool for the
n275 This use of the media helps to create a
[*150] feeling that evictions will be hard fought and can thus serve as a deterrent
to possible investors in the newly gentrifying neighborhood.
One final issue should be noted.
Gentrification often deals with very low-income communities. Accordingly, there are rarely
enough resources to mount an effective legal battle against property owners in
these redeveloping neighborhoods. The final issue here is the retaining of pro
bono or even court appointed attorneys for these renters.
"The overarching public interest in assuring decent
housing for low-income people has made [mandatory defense attorneys for the indigent
in eviction proceedings] an area of heightened local, state, federal, and even
n277 This is of obvious importance in El Paso, as well as the Campbell area, due to
the poverty statistics cited herein. Once legal protection is retained for
these renters, Eviction Free Zones, as a solution to the problem of
gentrification, becomes a viable way to keep a renter's home.
E. Resident Controlled Redevelopment
The final solution enumerated here is the idea of resident controlled
redevelopment. This idea comes from the view that:
Standard redevelopment is planned and implemented by local elites - often at
the behest of powerful local and nonlocal entities - to achieve results that
those elites deem important. The people who live where redevelopment happens,
the people who have the most to lose, generally have no say in this 'local' and
'community driven' process.
This view illustrates the problem inherent with redevelopment of a specific
neighborhood without the input, or consent, of the current inhabitants. This
last possible solution looks to those often forgotten voices, those that are
most affected, for guidelines on this redevelopment.
n279 These guidelines propose that resident-controlled redevelopment is the most
effective means of conducting redevelopment.
The main crux of this argument seeks to review the idea of who is in power and
what they are doing while in that position.
n281 More often than not, it is true that the people at the helm of the government
(whether it is
[*151] local, state, or federal) do not in fact always mirror the constituents to
which they are representing.
n282 In other words, the officials do not always have the same interests or
concerns in mind that their constituents do. Often times, they do not have the
same background as their constituents. Very few low-income individuals hold
high government offices.
As a point of clarification, this comment is not putting forth the idea that in
order to understand and correctly represent a group you must be a member of
that group. Obviously, this would be an impossible hurdle that most elected
officials could never clear. However, it is axiomatic that the further removed
one is from a situation, the less able one is to relate in kind. In this case,
"situation" refers to poverty.
If in fact, the people who are putting together such redevelopment plans are
fairly well removed from poverty, it follows that their implementation of such
a plan will likely not take into account those directly affected by the poverty
they seek to resolve.
n283 This is the idea behind resident controlled redevelopment: if the government
is to redevelop an area that is inhabited, then that government should have the
existing community's input as to how, why, when, and where to implement that
n284 Such input includes neighborhood meetings, neighborhood canvassing, and other
information-gathering techniques, such as advisory boards comprised primarily
of local residents. Again, the point is to include the residents in the process.
The next step in the logical progression of this comment is to look to what
has been said and what is left to be done. The problem is that the current
redevelopment plan for downtown El Paso has already begun to pour money and
renovation into downtown. In and of itself, the redevelopment of this blighted
area is not problematic. However, the proximity of Campbell to the Union Plaza
Redevelopment Plan's core is where the problem is discovered. No one solution
listed herein could ever provide an absolute answer for this situation.
Accordingly, it seems only appropriate to merge all available solutions to fit
the specific problem raised by Campbell's location.
With this in mind, the best solution for the Campbell situation is likely one
involving a hybrid-approach whereby residents of the area utilize portions of
the Eviction Free Zone and Resident Controlled Redevelopment solutions posed
herein. This hybrid would include the utilization of
[*152] local community groups and attorneys, as set forth in the Eviction Free Zones
section above. Community groups could publicize the plight of the displaced as
a way of rallying community support. Such publicity could then be used to
solicit funds and/or pro bono services by local attorneys. Ultimately, the main
goal is to slow
gentrification and stop the processes of milking, warehousing and displacement.
The second part of this hybrid solution is the creation of Resident Controlled
Redevelopment. Development that incorporates the input of those that are most
intimately involved is necessary. For example, utilization of advisory boards
partly composed of affected residents, while still allowing the bureaucratic
entities to develop and maintain the ideas of the residents, marries the best
of each party's abilities.
In using this hybrid solution, the community could first bring their situation
into a public forum. Once the public became aware of the possibility of
displacement, and all it entails for the affected individuals, public support
would follow. Financial and perhaps pro bono services of an attorney for the
area would also likely follow. This would then open the door for the use of the
implied warranty of habitability. Once the homes of the residents are secure
and their voices are no longer forgotten, residents should be welcomed into the
decision-making process. It is only when everyone affected is present at the
table that the process becomes most viable.
n1. See, e.g., Anita Brenner
& George R. Leighton, The Wind that Swept Mexico: A History of the Mexican
Revolution 1910-1942 (3d ed. 1993); Vine Delora, Jr., Custer Died for Your
Sins: An Indian Manifesto (1969); Randy L. Eickhoff, Exiled: The Tigua Indians
of Ysleta del Sur (1996); Richard Griswold del Castillo, The Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo: A Legacy of Conflict (1990); Laurence A. Hill, La Reina: Los
Angeles in Three Centuries (1989); Leonard Pitt, The Decline of the
Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890
(1970); Edward H. Spicer, Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico and
the United States on the Indians of the Southwest 1533-1960 (11th ed. 1997);
Richard White, 'It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own': A new History of the
American West (1991); Richard Griswold del Castillo, Manifest Destiny: The
Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 5 Sw. J. L.
& Trade Am. 31 (1998); Christine A. Klein, Treaties of Conquest: Property
Rights, Indian Treaties, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,
26 N.M. L. Rev. 201 (1996); Guadulupe T. Luna, Chicana/Chicano Land Tenure in the Agrarian Domain: On the
Edge of a
4 Mich. J. Race & L. 39 (1998).
n2. Compare Mary Crow Dog
& Richard Erdoes, Lakota Woman 111-43 (1990) (detailing the American Indian
Movement's (AIM) 1973 armed takeover of the Wounded Knee site, from the
American Indian perspective), with Stanley David Lyman, Wounded Knee 1973, at
3-165 (1991) (detailing the same takeover from a government agent's
n3. See Rodolfo Acu<tild n>a, Occupied America: A History of Chicanos 369-71 (4th ed. 2000). Acu<tild n>a describes the Reies Lopez-Tijerina's armed conflict. See id. Reies
Lopez-Tijerina headed a minority group who felt that their homelands had been
stolen; the group grew tired of trying to regain the lands in a lawful manner.
See id. Lopez-Tijerina felt that the United States occupants had stolen his
rightful, ancestral home, after and partly due to the Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo. See id. The group felt that it was the Mexican-American's turn to
steal it back. See id.
n4. Justice Douglas remarked that
"modern man's place of retreat for quiet and solace is the home. Whether rented
or owned, it is his sanctuary. Being uprooted and put into the street is a
Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56, 82 (1972) (Douglas, J., dissenting in part).
Gentrification is defined as:
"The restoration and upgrading of a deteriorated or aging urban neighborhood by
middle-class or affluent persons, resulting in increased property values and
often in displacement of lower-income residents." Black's Law Dictionary 695 (7th ed. 1999). See also The Concise Oxford
Dictionary 492 (8th ed. 1990).
Gentrification is the
"social advancement of an inner urban area." Id.
n6. See, e.g., Jane Martinson, How Boom Failed to Bridge the Texan Divide: U.S.
Slowdown in the Last in a Series, We Look at Prospects for Rich and Poor in
Bush's Home State, The Guardian, Jan. 11, 2001, available at
2001 WL 291326 (identifying the increase in disparity between the rich and poor in Austin,
Texas, and the
gentrification issues); Robert McNatt, Bringing the City Back to Life, Bus. Week, Jan. 8,
2001, at 24, available at
2001 WL 2204778 (reviewing Paul S. Grogan
& Tony Proscio, Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival)
(favoring revitalization of city neighborhoods but not at the expense of the
poor); Peter I. Rose, There Goes the Neighborhood ... Or Does It?, Christian
Sci. Monitor, Jan. 11, 2001, at 20, available at
2001 WL 3732969 (reporting Ingrid G. Ellen's response that poor African Americans are
"inevitably the odd ones out"). But see Jim Wooten, Editorial, Destined to Fail: Neighborhood Revival
Efforts Ignore Fact People Are Mobile, Atlanta J.
& Const., Jan. 24, 2001, available at
2001 WL 3656326 (stating that it is not unusual for the poor to relocate).
n7. Redevelopment is to
"develop anew, especially in an urban area with new buildings." The Concise Oxford Dictionary 106 (8th ed. 1990).
n8. A blighted area is one that has been historically neglected by the community.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary 116 (8th ed. 1990).
n9. See, e.g., Martison, supra note 6. The article discusses the findings of The
Centre for Public Policy Priorities, a non-profit group in Texas. The report
indicated that in the year 2000,
"low unemployment levels had done little to raise many of the black and Mexican
families in the city above the poverty line..." See id. But cf. Ken Alltucker, Over-the-Rhine-A Neighborhood Ripe for
Development?; The Struggle for Vine Street; Advocate for Poor Resist
Gentrification, Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 11, 2000, at C01, available at
2000 WL 10106156 (discussing an urban renewal plan that includes
"tax breaks for property owners to encourage redevelopment
housing for all income levels").
n10. See, e.g., Jonathan Kaufman, From the Manor Torn: Amid High-Tech Boom, a Fight
Breaks Out Over Eviction of Latinos: Junior Leaguers Join Nuns in Effort to
Thwart Silicon Valley Landlord: 'We Need These Gardeners,' Wall St. J., Oct.
20, 2000, at A1, available at
2000 WL 26613948 (illustrating that many Latino families, who earn low wages, live five to six
people to a room).
n11. See Dep't of Planning, Research
& Dev., City of El Paso, Tex., Downtown Redevelopment Plan 3 (1996).
n12. See id.
n13. See id.
n14. See id. See also Kaufman, supra note 10.
n15. See generally Eng'g Dep't, City of El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Infrastructure
Improvements (1996) (portraying Campbell's location within the City of El
n16. See Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11 (tracing the decline in the
number of downtown residents and
housing units). See generally Union Plaza Infrastructure Improvements, supra note 15
(placing the Campbell subdivision in downtown El Paso).
n17. See United States 1990 Census for Tract 17, Block 4, City of El Paso, Tex.,
Census Population by Race and Spanish Origin by Planning Area and by Census
n18. See United States 1990 Census for Tract 17, Block 4, City of El Paso, Tex.,
Census Population by Age Groups.
n19. See United States 1990 Census, supra note 17.
n20. See id. This percentage was calculated by dividing the number of Hispanics
(2,275) in the area by the total population of the area (2,817). See id.
n21. See United States 1990 Census for Tract 17, Block 4, City of El Paso, Tex.,
Housing, and Income by Tract From 1990 Census STF-3A.
"Family income" is defined as the amount earned for a four-member household, while
"household income" is the amount earned by any household, regardless of the number of members.
n22. See The Goodman Corp., Union Plaza Redevelopment Program: El Paso, Texas 7
(1999). See also United States 1990 Census, supra note 17.
n23. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22.
n24. Compare Dep't of Planning, Research
& Dev., City of El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan 8 (1996)
(describing the population as 99% Hispanic), with United States 1990 Census,
supra note 17 (counting the population as 81% Hispanic).
n25. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24. The term
"poverty line" refers to the minimum income level needed to secure the basic necessities of
life. See The Concise Oxford Dictionary 934 (8th ed. 1990). For 1996, the
poverty line for the forty-eight contiguous states and the District of Columbia
was drawn at $ 15,600 for a family of four. See Annual Update of the H.H.S.
61 Fed. Reg. 8286 (March 4, 1996), available at http://aspe.os.ohhs.gov/poverty/96poverty.htm
(last modified May 25, 2000).
n26. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22.
n27. See United States 1990 Census, supra note 17 (detailing the tracts
illustration of a population increase of 209 and a decrease of 3
housing units in the Campbell subdivision).
n28. See Dep't of Planning, Research
& Dev., City of El Paso, Tex., 1988 Land Use: El Paso-Ciudad Juarez
& Vicinity (1988); see also Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 5
(resolving the issues of heavy manufacturing and warehouses with mixed-use
zoning). See generally Zoning Dep't. City of El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Zoning
Ordinance (1996) (discussing the permitted activities in the Union Plaza
n29. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 10 (referring to the
1990 U.S. Census information regarding
housing stock with 90% of the total units being renter occupied).
n30. See Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11, at 25 (stressing commercial
expansion as a reason for the decline in residential areas). But see Union
Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 10 (illustrating that by conducting
a block by block survey a wide range of conditions were seen with most
substandard units being vacant).
n31. See Adelina Reza, An Analysis of the Tenement Situation in South El Paso 1-14
(1983) (detailing the development of
housing within areas of the City of El Paso). See also Downtown Redevelopment Plan,
supra note 11, at 25 (mentioning the renovation of the historic Old San
Francisco downtown residential neighborhood after years of neglect).
n32. See Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11, at 25.
n33. La Fe is a community group founded more than thirty years ago in El Segundo
Barrio, a neighborhood on El Paso's south side. See Centro de Salud La Fe,
Inc., Celebrating 30 Years of Community Service (1997). Initially La Fe began
as a community group formed to better the lives of the area's youth. See id.
The group's mandate seeks to improve their general health -
"not just the physical, but the social, economic, political, educational,
spiritual, and psychological issues" that face them. Id. In accordance with this mandate, La Fe made medical and
dental services available. See id. Also, in an effort to fulfill the original
idea, La Fe now has a
housing initiative that has several projects in line. See Interview with Sal
Bustillos, Director of
Housing Initiatives, Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Inc., in El Paso, Tex. (Oct. 21,
1999) (on file with The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues);
Tex. Ass'n of Cmty. Health Centers, TACHC Members: Centro de Salud Familiar La
Fe, Inc., at http://www.tachc.org/tm lafe.htm http://www.tachc.org/tm lafe.htm
(last visited Jan. 16, 2001).
n34. See Ken Flynn, La Fe Clinic Rebuilds Rundown Tenements, El Paso Times, Sept.
30, 1999, at 3B; see also Patrick C. McDonnell, Le Fe Clinic Gets Approval for
Apartment Complex, El Paso Times, Dec. 16, 1998, at 4B (noting the expansion of
La Fe services into property development). See generally Interview with Sal
Bustillos, supra note 33 (explaining how La Fe became involved with
n35. See Centro De Salud, supra note 33 (highlighting the organization's emphasis
on medical, health, and
housing services); Interview with Sal Bustillos, supra note 33 (introducing the
housing redevelopment as a community problem La Fe needed to address). Prior to this
housing, La Fe's main services were centered on medical care. See Texas Ass'n of Cmty.
Health Centers, supra note 33.
n36. See Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe, La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, Durango St. Tenement Rehabilitation
Project: Project Summary and Status (as of 10/20/99) (1999).
n37. See id. (detailing the Durango Street
housing initiative). See also Flynn, supra note 34 (describing the two
housing projects now underway by La Fe, known as La Fe's
n38. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36 (detailing the
housing initiative); Flynn, supra note 34; Interview with Sal Bustillos, supra note 33
(speaking of various aspects of the Durango project).
n39. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36 (approximating the
one-bedroom units as 550 square feet each); Flynn, supra note 34 (describing
the gutting of 428 Durango); Interview with Sal Bustillos, supra note 33
(portraying the renovation of the two-story building).
n40. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36; Flynn, supra note 34.
n41. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36.
n42. See id. See also Flynn, supra note 34.
n43. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36; Interview with Sal
Bustillos, supra note 33.
n44. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36; Interview with Sal
Bustillos, supra note 33 (discussing the uses of the common area as gardening
entertainment and relaxation).
n45. Teatro is Spanish for theater. See Cervantes-Walls Spanish and English
Dictionary 234 (1989). In common usage, it alludes to small community troupes,
plays, and playhouses. See id. Generally, teatros are small plays done by
community groups in order to entertain, organize, or even disseminate
information among local area Chicano groups. See also Luis Valdez, Notes on
Chicano Theatre, in Early Works: Actos, Bernabe and Pensamiento Serpentino 6-10
(1990) (describing Chicano theater). With regard to the local teatros, it is
this type of Chicano Community Theater that La Fe is envisioning. See Interview
with Sal Bustillos, supra note 33 (discussing La Fe's vision of potential uses
of the communal stage in the courtyard area).
n46. See Interview with Sal Bustillos, supra note 33; see also Flynn, supra note
n47. Flynn, supra note 34. See also La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36 (stating eligible tenants
for the La Fe units).
n48. See Flynn, supra note 34. See also La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36.
n49. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36 (estimating the total
project cost at $ 728,000). But see Flynn, supra note 34 (projecting the total
cost at $ 751,000).
n50. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36; Flynn, supra note 34. See
also Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 10 (recognizing the
general state of disrepair of the area as well as its numerous vacant lots and
n51. See La Fe
Housing and Community Development Initiative, supra note 36; Flynn, supra note 34. See
also Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan supra note 24.
n52. See Dep't of Cmty.
& Human Dev., City of El Paso, Consolidated Plan for the City of El Paso, Tex.
1995-2000, at I-22 (1995) (stating that a large percentage of the
housing in El Paso is substandard).
n53. See id. (illustrating El Paso's lack of
housing for low-income residents).
n54. See KVIA-TV, 7 News, Makeshift Cooking Plate Responsible for Apartment Fire
(Nov. 3, 1999), at http://www.kvia.com/news/show
n55. See id.
Gentrification is defined as
"the restoration and upgrading of a deteriorated or aging neighborhood by
middle-class or affluent persons, resulting in increased property values and
often in displacement of lower-income residents." Black's Law Dictionary 695 (7th ed. 1999).
Gentrification is also defined as
"the social advancement of an inner urban area by the arrival of affluent
middle-class residents." The Concise Oxford Dictionary 492 (8th ed. 1990). For a general sampling of
the immense literature on
gentrification, see Donald C. Bryant, Jr.
& Henry W. McGee, Jr.,
Gentrification and the Law: Combating Urban Displacement,
25 Wash. U. J. Urb. & Contemp. L. 43 (1983); Jon C. Dubin, From Junkyards to
Gentrification: Explicating a Right to Protective Zoning in Low-Income Communities of Color,
77 Minn. L. Rev. 739 (1993); James G. Durham
& Dean E. Sheldon, III, Mitigating the Effects of Private Revitalization on
Housing for the Poor,
70 Marq. L. Rev. 1 (1986); Richard T. LeGates
& Chester Hartman,
14 Urb. Law 31 (1982); Peter Marcuse, To Control
Gentrification: Anti-Displacement Zoning and Planning for Stable Residential Districts,
13 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 931 (1984-85); Peter Marcuse,
Gentrification, Abandonment, and Displacement: Connections, Causes, and Policy Responses in
New York City,
28 Wash. U. J. Urb. & Contemp. . L. 195 (1985); Jeffrey James Minton, Rent Control: Can and Should It Be Used to Combat
23 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 823 (1997); Peter J. MacDonald, Note, Displacement in Gentrifying Neighborhoods:
Regulating Condominium Conversion Through Municipal Land Use Controls,
63 B.U. L. Rev. 955 (1983).
n57. See, e.g.,
Gentrification of the City (Neil Smith
& Peter Williams eds., 1986); Dubin, supra note 56; Marcuse, supra note 56;
Minton, supra note 56; MacDonald, supra note 56; Note, Reassessing Rent
Control: Its Economic Impact in a Gentrifying
101 Harv. L. Rev. 1835 (1988).
n58. See e.g.,
Gentrification of the City, supra note 57; Dubin, supra note 56; Marcuse, supra note 56; Minton, supra note 56;
MacDonald, supra note 56; Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57.
n59. See e.g.,
Gentrification of the City, supra note 57; Dubin, supra note 56; Marcuse, supra note 56; Minton, supra note 56;
MacDonald, supra note 56; Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57.
n60. See El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Zoning Ordinance 20.53.010 (1996) (designating
Union Plaza as a mixed-use environment and indicating that Campbell is within
the Union Plaza District boundaries); Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note
11, at 35 (identifying the Union Plaza area as a mixed-use district); Zoning
Dep't, City of El Paso, Tex., Plat of the Campbell Subdivision. Within city
zoning documents, the area referred to as
"U-P" is a mixed-use zoning designation created specifically as an anagram for
mixed-use zoning in Union Plaza. See id.
n61. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 5 (listing the purposes
and objectives for Union Plaza's district redevelopment).
n62. See id. (incorporating development and revitalization as some of the plan's
n63. See generally Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11 (delineating the
boundaries of the various redevelopment projects, including Union Plaza); Union
Plaza Infrastructure Improvements, supra note 15 (mapping the Union Plaza
District and Campbell Subdivision areas).
n64. See, e.g., Union Plaza Infrastructure Improvements, supra note 15 (outlining
the infrastructure improvements for the Union Plaza area).
n65. See generally Consolidated Plan for the City of El Paso, supra note 52, at
II-13 (identifying access to legal system as being an unmet need among the poor
and homeless populations); Steven Gunn, Eviction Defense for Poor Tenants:
Costly Compassion or Justice Served?,
13 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 385 (1995) (espousing the notion that the poor are unable to afford legal representation,
even for the most serious of situations). See also Kaufman, supra note 10
(describing the poor
housing situation for many in the indigent population); McNatt, supra note 6
(discussing the nature of revitalization and some of its effects on the poor);
Pervaiz Shallwani, Charitable Groups Get Ready to Help Needy Enjoy Holidays, S.
F. Chron., Nov. 22, 2000, at A24 (noting that the poor often seek a variety of
housing assistance, from charitable organizations).
n66. See Henry G. Cisneros, With Liberty and Justice for All: How America Can
Housing for All Its People, 1 Hisp. L.J. 53, 66 (1994).
n67. See Consolidated Plan for the City of El Paso, supra note 52, at I-7 (1995)
(asserting that a major contributor to the creation of colonias on the eastern
edge of El Paso is the lack of affordable low-income homes). See also Nancy L.
Simmons, Memories and Miracles -
Housing the Rural Poor along the United States-Mexico Border: A Comparative Discussion
of Colonia Formation and Remediation in El Paso County, Texas, and Dona Ana
County, New Mexico,
27 N.M. L. Rev. 33, 43-45 (1997) (citing economic reasons as factors in explaining the development of
n68. See Jeanne Russell, Not Up to Code: Often Low Rent Means Low Quality, San
Antonio Express-News, Feb. 11, 2001 (noting that until affordable
housing is available, people will tolerate whatever
housing is within their means). But see Wooten, supra note 6 (asserting that the
presumption that people are immobile as outdated and abused).
n69. See Simmons, supra note 67, at 39-45.
n70. See generally id. (describing the
housing patterns of the poor and how they choose where to live); Jane E. Larson, Free
Markets Deep in the Heart of Texas,
84 Geo. L.J. 179 (1995) (describing colonias along the Texas-Mexico border as lacking running water
and, in certain instances, electricity).
n71. Consolidated Plan for the City of El Paso, supra note 52, at I-7.
n72. See generally id. (illustrating the dismal state of low-income
housing in El Paso).
n73. See generally Gunn, supra note 65 (presenting the idea that the poor cannot
afford attorneys, even when serious issues arise regarding their
housing); Andrew Scherer, Gideon's Shelter: The Need to Recognize a Right to Counsel
for Indigent Defendants in Eviction Proceedings,
23 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 557 (1988) (recognizing the poor's need for attorneys assistance in eviction defense
n74. See, e.g., Dubin, supra note 56. The article refers to various case law
precedent documenting discriminatory practices used in zoning and other land
use determinations. See id. Without legal representation, the poor are often
discriminated against by various land-use mechanisms. See id. One of the
easiest ways to illustrate this is by traveling through various major cities
with an eye on the placement of the major highways. More often than not, the
highways cut directly through existing low-income neighborhoods. See id.
n75. See id.
Bus. Ass'n of Univ. City v. Landrieu, 660 F.2d 867, 874 n.8 (3d Cir. 1981) (defining this type of
gentrification as an economic upgrading of the neighborhood through the influx of affluent
investors and residents).
n77. See id. (detailing the eviction of lower-income residents due to increased
housing costs as a direct result of the economic upgrade of the gentrifiers).
n78. See id. See, e.g., Rose, supra note 6; Joan Oleck, Letter From Brooklyn: There
Go the Neighborhoods, Bus. Week. Aug. 7, 2000, at 4A2, available at
2000 WL 24484513.
n79. See, e.g., Martinson, supra note 6; Alltucker, supra note 9 (promoting a
neighborhood plan of mixed-income
housing). See also Shallwani, supra note 65.
n80. See, e.g., Union Plaza Infrastructure Improvements, supra note 15
(illustrating the planned infrastructure improvements for Union Plaza); Union
Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24 (identifying the particulars of the
Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan's improvements).
n81. See Union Plaza Infrastructure Improvements, supra note 15 (illustrating the
location of the Campbell subdivision in relation to the improvements).
n82. See generally Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24 (listing a few of
the major projects within the plan).
n83. See id. at 5.
n84. See id. at 17.
n85. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 13 (estimating the projected budget for
the Union Plaza Plan to be $ 53,300,000).
n86. See, e.g., PBS, The New Urban Renewal: Reclaiming Our Neighborhoods, at
http://www.pbs.org.newurban/about/html (last visited Jan. 17, 2001). This site
describes the creation of a three-part documentary series devoted to locals
rehabilitating their own dilapidated communities. See id. Of particular
importance is the first episode in the series, which looks to the growing
number of inner-city residents who have begun to redevelop their own areas by
the residents' initiative alone. See also PBS, Part One: Rebuilding
Neighborhoods From the Ground Up, at http://www.pbs.org/newurban/episode1.html
(last visited Jan. 17, 2001).
n87. See Elizabeth Allen, Downhome Downtown, Developers Converting Business into
Living Spaces, San Antonio Express-News, Oct. 26, 1999, at C1 (providing San
Antonio as an example of a city experiencing a shift of people moving back to
the downtown area); Neil Peirce, Downtowns' Moment of Opportunity, San Antonio
Express-News, Oct. 11, 1999, at A19 (citing a new real estate trend indicating
that more people are moving back into American downtown areas); Neil Peirce,
Open Debates to Ensure Downtowns, San Antonio Express-News, Oct. 18, 1999, at
A13 (illustrating the trend of downtown revitalization by examining downtown
Pittsburgh); Neil Peirce, As Cities Revive, Where Will Poor Live?, San Antonio
Express-News, Oct. 25, 1999, at A13 (examining the revitalization of downtown
areas and the effects it could have on existing poor communities in those
n88. See, e.g., Martinson, supra note 6; Peter Behr, By the Numbers; Information:
Wealth of a Region, Wash. Post, Dec. 11, 2000, at E03, available at
2000 WL 29920734 (reporting that
gentrification as middle class families are replaced, a different urban area develops).
n89. Lawrence K. Kolodney, Eviction Free Zones: The Economics of Legal Bricolage in
the Fight Against Displacement,
18 Fordham Urb. L.J. 507, 510-12 (1991) (defining reverse filtering).
n90. See, e.g., Allison D. Christians, Breaking the Subsidy Cycle: A Proposal for
32 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 131, 136-37 (1999) (explaining briefly the theory of filtering). See also Keith Aoki, Race,
Space, and Place: The Relation Between Architectural Modernism, Post-Modernism,
Urban Planning, and
20 Fordham Urb. L.J. 699, 700 (1993) (critiquing the theory of filtering).
n91. See, e.g., Christians, supra note 90, at 136-37 (discussing the filtering
n92. Party A's older home, it should be noted, is often subdivided into numerous
apartments for more than one Party B.
n93. See Minton, supra note 56, at 828 (developing the filtering theory in order to
explain ring theory). But cf. Christians, supra note 90, at 136-37 (contending
that gaps in the filtering process do not allow for the theory to benefit
n94. See, e.g., Minton, supra note 56, at 828.
n95. See id. See, e.g., Behr, supra note 88; Oleck, supra note 78 (stressing that
"tears at the fabric of communities").
n96. See, e.g., Minton, supra note 56, at 828 (identifying the concept of
n97. See id. at 825 (explaining the necessity of conceptualizing the reasons that
led to today's urban demographic landscape and rent control as a response to
n98. See id. at 825-28 (explicating the interactions of both the ring and filtering
n99. See id. at 825-26.
n100. See id. at 825.
n101. See id. at 825-26 (asserting that the wealthier classes occupy the rings
farthest from the city's center).
n102. See id.
n103. See Jon C. Teaford, The Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in
America, 1940-1985, at 4-5 (1990).
n104. See id. at 4. It should be noted that the Union Plaza area, as an older
downtown neighborhood, has approximately forty-six percent of its inhabitants
as newcomers to the United States. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra
note 24, at 8 (describing the demographics of the area).
n105. See generally Dubin, supra note 56 (exploring the failure of providing
government protective zoning to low-income minority communities).
n106. See Kolodney, supra note 89, at 510-12 (1991) (explaining the details of
reverse filtering); Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57, at 1836-1841
(enumerating the ways that reverse filtering causes displacement).
n107. See Kolodney, supra note 89, at 512; See also Durham
& Sheldon, supra note 56, at 6-7 (noting that revitalization preserves existing
housing, keeps tax payers in the city, and helps bring deteriorated
housing up to building code standards).
n108. See, e.g., Durham
& Sheldon, supra note 56, at 7 (stating that neighboring landlords benefit from
the revitalized property by raising rents in their own buildings); Kolodney,
supra note 89, at 512 (showing the incentive of passing the cost of increased
property taxes on to the tenants).
n109. See Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57, at 1839 (citing
Gilderbloom, An Analysis of Intercity Rents, The Rent Control Debate 75, 83,
87-88 (P. Neibanck ed., 1985)). See also Kolodney, supra note 89, at 510-11
(describing reverse filtering, where the landlord displaces the low-income
residents for wealthy tenants).
n110. See Note, Reassessing Rent Control supra note 57, at 1838 (asserting that in
reverse filtering, higher-income families bid for existing homes rather than
new ones during
gentrification); see also Kolodney, supra note 89, at 511 (setting the incentive for landlords
"high density, low amenity" units into
"low density, high amenity" rental units). But see Durham
& Sheldon, supra note 56, at 7 (proposing revitalization of inner-city
"preserves the existing
n111. See, e.g., Minton, supra note 56, at 832-33 (expressing the concern of a
reducing number of low-income
n112. See Gustav Niebuhr, Religion Leaders Call
Housing a Sacred Right, N.Y. Times, Sept. 10, 1999, at A19 (stating that the letter
from religious leaders claim the government has reduced subsidized vouchers for
housing from 230,000 to 90,000 between the early 1980s and 1999); see also Note,
Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57, at 1839 (claiming that government
subsidies for low-income construction have lessened greatly, thereby leaving
low-income residents with less options after displacement; additionally, the
author claims that government spending on low-income
housing fell from $ 25 million to $ 8 million under President Reagan's administration
alone). See generally Jacque Crouse, Study Says Rents Outpacing Wages, Decent
Housing Out of Reach for Up to 44% in S.A., San Antonio Express-News, Sept. 10, 1999,
at 1A (stating that a significant portion of the working class in San Antonio
cannot afford adequate
n113. See Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57, at 1841 (stressing that
with increased rents and fewer low-income options for
housing, reverse filtering can result in homelessness).
n114. See, e.g., Minton, supra note 56, at 828-31 (defining the spiral theory and
explaining how it predicts the effects of various
n115. See id. at 828. The spiral theory is designed to mimic real neighborhood
behavior, and what can realistically be expected to occur if a policy response
is implemented. See id.
n116. See id. at 828-31.
n117. See id. at 829-30 (discussing on the idea of
n118. See id.
n119. See id.
n120. See id. at 830-31 (developing the Spiral Theory).
n121. See id. (clarifying the idea of circular causation).
n122. See id. (noting the constructs of circular causation).
housing market is one such system. See id. at 829 (stating that neighborhoods are
intertwined within others in a causal relationship).
n125. This is the idea of being
"functionally interlinked." See id. at 829-30 (defining
n126. This exemplifies the achievement of a
"stable equilibrium." See id. at 830.
n127. This is
"cumulative causation." See id.
n128. See id. at 829. Minton explains the notion of
"neighborhood effects" as interlinking a neighborhood through a variety of factors. See id. Such
factors include physical characteristics of other homes, their location in
relation to other physical sites, the class and racial make-up of the
neighborhood and actual or expected actions of neighbors. See id. These
"neighborhood effects" interlink the residential market of a neighborhood, affecting the desirability
and value of the entire area. See id.
n129. See id. at 830.
"Milking" involves a gentrifying concept whereby a landlord ceases to pay for
maintenance expenses and property taxes but continues collecting rents from
tenants. See, e.g., Aoki, supra note 90, at 764; Duncan Kennedy, The Effect of
the Warranty of Habitability on Low Income
"Milking" and Class Violence,
15 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 485, 489-91 (1987).
n131. See Kennedy, supra note 130, at 489-91.
n132. See id.
n133. See id. at 489.
n134. See id.
n135. See id. at 489-90.
n136. See id. at 490-91.
n137. Id. at 492.
n138. See Aoki, supra note 90, at 810 (defining warehousing as what occurs when a
tenant moves out of a neighborhood affected by milking and a landlord keeps the
unit off the market and
"warehouses" it as a way to quickly convert it into higher paying property); Kolodney,
supra note 89, at 511 n.14 (defining the term warehousing as a technique used
by landlords who seek to increase their rental income from the property by
allowing the building to slowly empty of paying tenants and then quickly
converting the property to a higher paying use).
n139. See Kolodney, supra note 89, at 511 n.14 (citing
Apfelberg v. East 56th Plaza, 431 N.Y.S. 2d 622, 623-24 n.1 (1980) for the proposition that warehousing is a tactic preferred in just cause
eviction jurisdictions where short notice eviction might not be possible).
n140. See Aoki, supra note 90, at 810; Kolodney, supra note 89, at 511.
n141. See Aoki, supra note 90, at 810; Kolodney, supra note 89, at 511.
n142. See Aoki, supra note 90, at 810-11 (indicating that a landlord's short-term
losses can be turned into quick gains by warehousing); Kolodney, supra note 89,
at 511 (stating that while a landlord may lose some rental income by these
methods, the amount of money to be gained in a gentrified neighborhood makes
the rental loss acceptable).
n143. See Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11, at 2 (naming the goals of the
downtown plan); Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 5 (listing
goals of the Union Plaza redevelopment).
n144. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 13; Dep't of Planning, Research
& Dev., City of El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Proposal 3-6 (1990). See generally
Union Plaza Infrastructure Improvements, supra note 15 (giving a brief overview
of the infrastructure improvements to accompany the Union Plaza Plan).
n145. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 5 (defining and
describing the Union Plaza Development Plan as a component of the Downtown
n146. See Historic Commission Plaque, El Paso Union Plaza Train Station (on file
with the author).
n147. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 3 (describing the Union Plaza Plan and
the city's plans for revitalization).
n149. See id. (describing the declining passenger traffic, business and retail trade
in the area as a result of the railroad's abandonment of passenger services).
n150. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 3.
n151. See id. at 10 (illustrating that the area is characterized by vacant
warehouses and buildings in various states of disrepair).
n152. See, e.g., id. at 12 (describing the strategy behind integrating Union Plaza
into the fabric of downtown El Paso); Union Plaza Slideshow (Nov. 1999), at
http://www.stantonstreet.com/unionplaza/union/slide1.html (illustrating the
look of the area through posted photos of various locations).
n153. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 13 (noting Union Plaza as a once vital
economic area connected to railroad operations by restaurants, hotels, and
n154. See Interview with Xochitl R. Diamos, Consultant, The Goodman Corp., in El
Paso, Tex. (Oct. 21, 1999) (on file with The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on
Minority Issues) (discussing the initial intent of the Union Plaza organizers).
Union Plaza Proposal, supra note 144 (illustrating, via map, the area involved in the redevelopment).
n155. See Interview with Xochitl E. Diamos, supra note 154.
n156. See id. (describing both the initial and the subsequent Union Plaza Plans).
n157. See id.
n158. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 13 (listing the various phases as
including an Arts Museum and Festival Plaza, a Tourist
& Convention Center,
Housing Revitalization, a Transit Terminal, Hotel Development, and a Fire Station).
Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11, at 6 (adding street repaving
traffic signal modernization, trolley service expansion to the planned
n159. See, e.g., Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 13; City of El Paso, Tex., Union
Plaza Newsletter, at http://www.ci.el-paso.tx.us/UPNWSLTR.htm (last visited
Jan. 23, 2001).
n160. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 13.
n161. See id.
n162. See id. at 13-14.
n163. See Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11, at 25 (identifying the goal
for the need to redevelop Union Plaza in such a way that will respect and
integrate both residential and commercial uses).
n164. See id.
n165. See id. at 28 (mapping and describing the proposed new construction projects
of the downtown Redevelopment Plan).
n166. See id. at 27-28 (including historic buildings and the northern section of
South El Paso as proposed renovation projects of the Downtown Redevelopment
n167. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 2-4.
n168. See id. at 2-3 (describing the downtown infrastructure as involving suburban
retail and industrial centers, without mention of
n169. Compare id. at 5 (noting the need for redevelopment that respects and
integrates residential and commercial uses), with
Union Plaza Proposal, supra note 144, at 2 (proposing that the downtown development specifically focus on
the tourist and entertainment industry).
n170. See generally Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 14 (describing the status of
the public improvement projects, specifically the completion of the Arts Museum
and Festival Plaza).
n171. See id.
n172. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 5 (insisting frequently
that the only way the project will be successful is through both public and
n173. See, e.g., Dep't of Planning, Research
& Dev., City of El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Downtown Development Plan 24-36
(1996) (listing objectives, solutions, benefits, and strategies available to
n174. See Minton, supra note 56, at 823-24.
n175. See id. at 827-28 (expanding on the spiral theory's cumulative effects).
n176. See Interview with Xochitl R. Diamos, supra note 154.
n177. See, e.g., Minton, supra note 56, at 828.
n178. See generally El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Zoning Ordinance 20.53.010 (1996)
(providing the purposes of the Union Plaza District as creating, ensuring, and
encouraging a unique, yet, consistent, downtown city area). See also Dep't of
& Dev., City of El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Architectural
& Design Guidelines 3 (1996).
n179. See El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Zoning Ordinance 20.53.010 (1996); Dep't of
& Dev., City of El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza Architectural
& Design Guidelines 3 (1996).
n180. See Union Plaza Architectural
& Design Guidelines, supra note 179.
n181. Id. at 2.
n182. See Goodman Corp., supra note 22, at 3.
n183. See id. See also Union Plaza Architectural
& Design Guidelines, supra note 179, at 2.
n184. See Union Plaza Architectural
& Design Guidelines, supra note 179, at 2.
n185. See id. at 5. The Report recommends limiting building height within a 700-foot
radius of Union Depot to forty feet. Those buildings outside the 700 feet
radius are guided to follow those restrictions specified in 20.53.060 of the
Union Plaza Zoning Ordinance. See id. See also El Paso, Tex., Union Plaza
Zoning Ordinance 20.53.060B (1996).
n186. See Union Plaza Architectural
& Design Guidelines, supra note 179, at 21. (requiring canopy and awning-free
areas over important architectural features).
n187. See id. at 25. (requiring artistic and innovative designs, yet prohibiting
florescent colors for signs).
n188. See generally id. at 2-23 (outlining more than twenty restrictive building
guidelines that landowners must comply with in order to protect development and
business investment in the Union Plaza District from
"inappropriate design and unsightly construction that could potentially diminish
the appeal of the district").
n189. See Interview with Xochitl R. Diamos, supra note 154. Tax Increment Fund (TIF)
monies are set aside for landowners within the Union Plaza District. See id.
Landowners are able to petition the city for up to $ 100,000 in order to help
them bring a particular piece of land and/or building into compliance with the
guidelines. See id.
n190. See generally
Union Plaza Proposal, supra note 144, at 2 (listing eight proposed projects, activities, and improvements
aimed at the tourist and entertainment industry). But see Union Plaza
Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 5 (providing goals for the redevelopment
of the area into a
"thriving commercial and entertainment district that respects and integrates the
current residential and commercial uses").
n191. See Nat'l Low Income Hous. Coalition LIHIS, Out of Reach: Texas (Sept. 1999)
at http://www.nlihc.org/cgi-bin/data...e=on&getmsa=on&msa=elpaso&state=tx (last visited Nov. 14, 1999).
n192. See id. The fair market rent for a one-bedroom unit in Texas is $ 451 and
nearly half of all renters in Texas are unable to afford the rent for a
two-bedroom unit. See id. The Nat'l Low Income
Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is a national organization whose sole purpose is to seek an
end to the
housing problem in the United States. See Nat'l Low Income Hous. Coalition/LIHIS, Out
of Reach: Texas (Sept. 1999), at http://www.nlihc.org/oor99/index.htm (last
visited Nov. 14, 1999). The NLIHC has developed a program entitled
"Out of Reach" in order to disseminate information that the organization has collected. See
"Out of Reach" program contains data on incomes and the costs of rental
housing by state, city, and county for the fifty states. See id.
n193. See Nat'l Low Income Hous. Coalition, supra note 191.
n194. See id. The process by which the NLIHC compiles its data complies with HUD's
standards regarding the 30% figure used in affordability testing. See id.
n195. Ray Suarez, The Old Neighborhood 211 (1999). See generally Gunn, supra note
65. (discussing the abundant problems the poor face when seeking assistance in
the face of eviction). See also Scherer, supra note 73 (describing the author's
personal experience as a ten-year
housing advocate in New York City). But see Comment, Black Neighborhoods Becoming
Black Cities: Group Empowerment, Local Control and the Implication of Being
Darker Than Brown,
23 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 415 (1998) (illustrating the action taken by activists in Black and Latino low-income
neighborhoods to assert political control in their communities through the
process of incorporation).
n196. See Nat'l Low Income
Housing Coalition, supra note 191.
n197. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 8; United States 1990
Census, supra note 17 (stating the median incomes of the tract encompassing the
n198. See Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 8.
n199. See id. (describing the population as 99% Hispanic).
n200. See id. (reporting educational levels of Campbell residents).
n201. See id. (noting that between 1985 and 1990, over 50% of the residents remained
in the same
Landgraf v. USI Film Products, 511 U.S. 244, 266 (1994).
"Eminent domain is the right of power of a sovereign state to appropriate
private property for the promotion of the general welfare. It embraces all
cases where by authority of the sovereign power and for the public good the
property of the individual is taken without his consent. The power of eminent
domain is an attribute of government, and is inherent in it."
Byrd Irrigation Co. v. Smythe, 146 S.W. 1064, 1065 (1912). See also Black's Law Dictionary 541 (7th ed. 1999) (defining Eminent Domain as
"inherent power of a governmental entity to take privately owned property,
especially land, and convert it to public use, subject to reasonable
compensation for taking").
Landgraf, 511 U.S. at 266 (noting that the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause prevents the Government from
depriving private citizens of vested property rights except for a public use
and upon payment of just compensation).
n205. See U.S. Const. amend. V;
Landgraf, 511 U.S. at 266.
n206. See Downtown Redevelopment Plan, supra note 11, at 7.
n207. See id.
n208. The Goodman Corporation of Houston, Texas, is the manager of the entire
downtown El Paso Redevelopment project. See Interview with Xochitl R. Diamos,
supra note 154. Goodman's predecessor was the Arthur Andersen Co. See Arthur
& RTKL Associates, Inc., Summary Report: Summary Report: El Paso Renaissance:
Union Plaza, El Paso, Texas, 1-62 (1992). The duties of the Goodman Corporation
include taking complaints from affected citizens, management of the various
construction projects, and making public the latest available information
concerning the redevelopment among other numerous tasks. See, e.g., Union Plaza
Streetscape, Q. Construction Rep. (The Goodman Corp., El Paso, Tex.), Sept. 9,
1999 at 1-2. One example of the Goodman Corporation's duties is seen in their
work with the relocation of displaced homeowners within the Union Plaza area.
See Interview with Xochitl R. Diamos, supra note 154.
n209. See Interview with Xochitl R. Diamos, supra note 154 (discussing the Goodman
Corporation's involvement with homeowners in the area).
n210. See id.
"MPM" is a former resident of the Campbell subdivision, who owned a home within the
Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan. See id.
n212. See id.
n213. See id.
n214. See id.
n215. See id.
n216. See id.
n217. See U.S. Const. amend. V. See also
Landgraf, 511 U.S. at 266.
n218. See, e.g., U.S. Const. amend. V.;
Landgraf, 511 U.S. at 266.
Landgraf, 511 U.S. at 266.
n220. See id.
FCC v. Florida Power Corp., 480 U.S. 245, 252 (1987) (stating that
"statutes regulating the economic relations of landlords and tenants are not per
se takings"). See also
Bowles v. Willingham, 321 U.S. 503, 517-18 (1994).
n222. See, e.g., Durham
& Sheldon, supra note 56, at 30-40 (identifying the options of public
housing and rent subsidies); Scherer, supra note 73, at 559-60 (identifying public
funded legal service programs and volunteer private attorneys as options).
n223. See Scherer, supra note 73, at 560-61
n224. See id.
n225. See, e.g., Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57.
n226. See Minton, supra note 56, at 824 (discussing the displacement of tenants and
the destruction of communities as combated by rent control regimes).
n227. See id. at 823-24.
n228. See id. See also Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57.
n229. See Minton, supra note 56, at 824.
n230. See id. (citing to Note, Reassessing Rent Control: Its Economic Impact in a
101 Harv. L. Rev. 1835 (1988)). The author challenges the economic arguments against rent control by
explaining the impact of rent control in a gentrifying market. See id.
n231. Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57, at 1843-44 (discussing the
effects Rent Control has on
n232. See generally Robert H. Nelson, Privatizing the Neighborhood: A Proposal to
Replace Zoning with Private Collective Property Rights to Existing
7 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 827 (1999) (proclaiming the importance of the market and the problems involved in
attempting to restrict it).
n233. See, e.g., Note, Reassessing Rent Control, supra note 57, at 1848.
n234. See Minton, supra note 56, at 823 (discussing economist's views of the
negative effects rent control can have on a city); Note, Reassessing Rent
Control, supra note 57, at 1835 (recognizing the
"impassioned opposition" to rent control).
n235. See generally Nelson, supra note 231 at 827 (declaring privatization as a way
to control land uses).
n236. See id.
n237. See id. at 835-36 (arguing for privatization as against zoning laws).
n238. See id. at 835 (discussing the advantages of neighborhood associations).
n239. See id. (discussing the advantages over zoning).
n240. See id. at 835-36.
n241. See id.
n242. See id. at 836 (presenting and developing the idea of neighborhood
n243. See id. at 840-41.
n244. See Steven J. Eagle, Privatizing Urban Land Use Regulation: The Problem of
7 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 905, 911-12 (1999) (refuting Robert Nelson's idea of neighborhood privatization, specifically the
272 U.S. 365 (1926).
514 N.Y.S.2d 939 (App. Div. 1987).
336 A.2d 713 (N.J. 1975).
272 U.S. 365 (1926). See also Dubin, supra note 56, at 740 n.2.
Euclid, 272 U.S. at 375.
Euclid, 272 U.S. at 397. See also Dubin, supra note 56, at 740 n.3 (referring to Euclid).
Euclid, 272 U.S. at 394-95. See also Dubin, supra note 56, at 740.
n252. Dubin, supra note 56, at 744 (describing the deficiency of Euclid and similar
cases in their application to situations such as Campbell).
n253. See, e.g., Kolodney, supra note 89.
n254. See id. at 508-09 (introducing, briefly, an Eviction Free Zone).
Tex. Prop. Code Ann. 92.061 (Vernon Supp. 1995) (detailing the duties of landlord, one of which is the
duty of habitability). See, e.g.,
Kamarath v. Bennett, 568 S.W.2d 658 (Tex. 1978) (holding that the implied warranty of habitability requires the lessor to
lease an apartment that is habitable and livable).
n256. See Kolodney, supra note 89, at 508-09.
n257. Id. (addressing the desires of community groups and legal services through the
application of the idea of eviction free zones).
Tex. Prop. Code Ann. 92.061 (Vernon Supp. 1995) (detailing the duties of a landlord, one of which is the
duty of habitability), See, e.g.,
Kamarath, 568 S.W. 2d 658 (holding that an implied warranty of habitability requires the lessor to lease
an apartment that is habitable and livable). See, e.g., Consolidated Plan for
the City of El Paso, supra note 52, at I-22 (stating that there is a large
amount of substandard
housing in El Paso).
n259. In a residential lease, the implied warranty of habitability is
"a warranty from the landlord to the tenant that the leased property if fit to
live in and that it will remain so during the term of the lease." Black's Law Dictionary 1582 (7th ed. 1999). See generally Kolodney, supra note
89, at 514 n.23 (outlining the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, which
describes the Warranty of Habitability and the landlord's requirements under
n260. See Kennedy, supra note 130.
n261. See id. at 496-501 (stating that the extension of a building's life adds to
the availability of the
n262. See id. at 496.
n263. See id. at 496-97 (comparing milking to utilization of the warranty, with
regard to the length of life of a building).
n264. See id. at 497.
n265. See id.
n266. See id.
n267. See George F. Bloom
& Henry S. Harrison, Appraising the Single Family Residence 85-102 (1984).
n268. See id.
n269. See id.
n270. See id.
n271. See Kennedy, supra note 130, at 512 (emphasizing the impact of one landlord's
decision to milk a building, in regard to property values of neighboring
n272. See Kolodney, supra note 89, at 517-518 (giving other examples of legal
techniques that attorneys could use in order to achieve the goal of an Eviction
n273. See id. at 519 (naming other alternatives for attorneys seeking an Eviction
n274. See id. at 518 (naming the strategy and goals of an Eviction Free Zone).
n275. See id.
n276. See id. (stressing the importance of the use of the media in creating an
n277. See Scherer, supra note 73, at 576.
n278. Benjamin B. Quinones, Redevelopment Redefined: Revitalizing the Central City
With Resident Control,
27 U. Mich. J.L. Ref. 689, 698 (1995).
id. at 753.
id. at 753-58.
id at 698.
id at 699.
n283. See, e.g., Union Plaza Redevelopment Plan, supra note 24, at 5 (recommending
that the neighborhood's needs be addressed through some type of involvement).
n284. See Quinones, supra note 278, at 699.
Prepared: January 24, 2003 - 5:02:29 PM
Edited and Updated, January 25, 2003
Kristen A. Stelljes