No Skin In The Game ► Part Four

The One Grove mural in Coconut Grove

On the same day I was posting about the upcoming court hearing for Trolleygate, a news article came across my transom that dovetails with that story nicely. Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar:

A nearly all-White town refuses to install bus stops that would make it convenient for Black folk to get to their community. While this fight is between suburban Beavercreek and the nearby city of Dayton, Ohio, it could almost be coming from Coral Gables and Coconut Grove.

The brouhaha in Ohio began a few years back, when the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority decided to add three bus stops in Beavercreek. The Bevercreekians said, ‘No fucking way‘ and started enacting legislative barriers to any new bus stops in the community, which oddly enough, don’t apply to current bus stops, like heat, air conditioning, and a high-tech camera system. According to Think Progress:

Many in the area argue that their opposition boils down to a simple reason: race. According to the 2010 census, 9 in 10 Beavercreek residents are white, but 73 percent of those who ride the Dayton RTA buses are minorities. “I can’t see anything else but it being a racial thing,” Sam Gresham, state chair of Common Cause Ohio, a public interest advocacy group, told ThinkProgress. “They don’t want African Americans going on a consistent basis to Beavercreek.”

A civil rights group in the area, Leaders for Equality in Action in Dayton (LEAD), soon filed a discrimination lawsuit against Beavercreek under the Federal Highway Act. In June, the Federal Highway Administration ruled that Beavercreek’s actions were indeed discriminatory and ordered them to work with the Dayton Regional Transit Authority to get the bus stops approved without delay.

Beavercreek, though, isn’t particularly keen to do that. The city council voted most recently on Friday to put off consideration of the matter until later this month. They are weighing whether to appeal the federal ruling, or perhaps whether to just defy it altogether. Appealing the ruling could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, according to a Washington D.C. lawyer the council hired. However, non-compliance with the ruling could cost Beavercreek tens of millions of dollars in federal highway funds.

Fake-trolly that won’t be stopping in Coconut Grove

Oddly enough, White Coral Gables has refused Black Coconut Grove a bus stop outside the polluting government vehicle maintenance facility that it has foisted upon their neighbourhood. When it appeared the bus maintenance facility was a fait accompli, some residents asked for a bus stop at the very least. They were turned down flat.

Keep in mind these are the FREE diesel buses to take shoppers up and down what Coral Gables likes to call Miracle Mile, the exclusive, high-end shopping district. Of course, it might affect the businesses bottom line and Coral Gables property values if too many Black folk were able to get Coral Gables conveniently. It’s better if they walk a half mile to one of the Coral Gables fake-Trolley stops than to give them a bus stop in their own community.

The more research I do into the history of Coral Gables, the more I see that its progress and development over the years is due to almost a century of systemic racism. I make that case in my previous chapters on Coral Gables:

No Skin In The Game ► Part One
No Skin In The Game ► Part Two
No Skin In The Game ► Part Three

Click here to read all my stories on Trolleygate.


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Headly Westerfield
Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.