Neighborhood Matching Fund program - not just for DHL members

With absolute certainty, BD can state that going to Dallas City Hall is not something to get all excited about. Even for a DHL BootCamp.

It's not like back in Philadelphia, where a subway ride to Center City meant a 500 foot elevator ascent to the base of William Penn's statue on the top of an ornate and elaborate City Hall. No matter how many times we looked, BD never saw the face of Frank Rizzo on any of the gargoyles either.

The keynote speaker at the Saturday morning event was someone who will make you believe in the power of neighborhoods all over again. Jim Diers, formerly the director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods, was speaking on a topic with a long name and a deep impact - Neighborhood Matching Fund.

BD is now a diehard devotee of Neighborhood Matching Fund programs. He will join others working to make sure we have this program in Dallas within the next year.

But like anything the DHL does, this is a two-edged sword.

The good side: Listen to Mr. Diers' presentation (it's audio only since he never stood still enough to aim a video camera) and you too will be convinced that Dallas must have an innovative program like this if we are to save our neighborhoods and make them into living and vibrant communities (click here).

The bad side: When Jeri Arbuckle - and by extension the DHL - brings in a speaker and program like this all the way from Seattle, you know they have a secret agenda in place. They want to make sure DHL gets all of the credit and glory (and control of the funding) before anyone outside their little cabal knows what happened.

This is not BD pulling an opinion out from under his tail. Many of the neighborhood leaders BD spoke to, including DHL diehards, know of Jim Diers' success in Seattle. But all of them wondered out loud - What's in it for the DHL and Jeri Arbuckle??

The most fascinating part of the Neighborhood Matching Fund program is its inclusiveness - not just neighborhood organizations (recognized and unrecognized), but groups of color, of language, of culture, of the moment, of the week, and even of the fruit on the ground.

This is way too open for the DHL to accept. They will work to make sure only their associations and their friends get into the program.

In North Dallas, there is a homeowners association which includes more than 30 different neighborhoods. Does DHL intend to bring them into the organizing process now, instead of waiting until all the paperwork has been filed?

There are groups all over Dallas that can benefit from this kind of program, and not all of them are privy to the DHL's incantations.

It's up to all of us other neighborhood activists and community volunteers and issue-centric organizers to make sure this does not become a DHL-controlled program by participating in the foundation, planning and development phase of this amazing program. The next meeting is September 8th, time/place TBA.

Read the story about the Neighborhood Matching Fund program posted on the BelmontNA website and get involved now!

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Dallas City Hall