Neighbor Susan Thornton sent this New York Times article to me about Eagle Rock, Calif., a Los Angeles neighborhood that has been transformed over the last few years into a walkable community with organically-created shops and restaurants. But now, the economy is taking its toll on this community:
"In bad times, neighborhood idealism can be compromised with one trip to Walmart. In terrible times, idealism goes the way of that baby boutique that just tanked. ‘The problem is this,’ said D. J. Waldie, a historian of Southern California, ‘if we truly believed that patronizing these places enlivened our neighborhoods, why aren’t we there — eating the omelets or shopping at the boutique? Those places are important — they dissolve some of the cruel anonymity of everyday life. They’re part of the equation of making the local real to us. But they’re not the whole equation. They’re not enough.’
Mr. Waldie added: ‘I’ve got enough handmade soap. I don’t need anymore.’"
It’s another reminder of how important a "go local" effort could be in our neighborhood. "I read the story as a cautionary tale: Don’t take the changes in our community for granted," Thornton says. "I’m having to shop at Walmart (yuck) more often than Whole Foods — much less stopping by Bolsa for organic take-out. However, I may not be able to afford Hattie’s or the new Tillman’s, but I can darn sure eat at Norma’s.
"I don’t know — the story just seemed a little close to home," Thornton adds, "and I would hate for all the work that’s gone into North Oak Cliff to go to naught."