Martin Luther King Housing Development Authority asks: Where Do We Go From Here?

AND Thanks for Nothing Brian Ebersole!!
posted Sep 28, 2009
THE TACOMIC - Martin Luther King Housing Development Authority asks: Where Do We Go From Here? (Felix Flannigan, Brian Ebersole, Tacoma, MLKHDA, economic collapse)
Sizes:   web  |  email  |  print

<< >>
I imagine getting paid six figures to cannibalize an organization named after an eloquent champion of an oppressed people would be a pretty sweet racket. Heck, they even hired on former Tacoma mayor Brian Ebersole as a highly compensated lobbyist to fleece... er.. grease the great social machinery of our fair city of destiny.  I recall seeing Mr. Flannigan at city council meeting public comment period letting everyone know that the MLKHDA was getting out of the homeless shelter business... that it wasn't their job... they had no money to continue helping the less fortunate.   etc.  God damn debacle!

by marumaruyopparai on 9/29/2009 @ 10:32am
A comic of MLK Jr. being EATEN and still no comments!? Really? The Tacomic might need better exposure. If this were a You Tube video of MLK Jr. being eaten off a platter I guarantee there would be like a billion comments already. I will begin praying for your re-syndication. God bless.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/29/2009 @ 10:51am
Om nom nom nom

by marumaruyopparai on 9/29/2009 @ 10:53am
I wonder if Felix Flannigan will be interested in acknowledging the honor of being featured in a Tacomic for the first time by purchasing an original copy?

by NineInchNachos on 9/29/2009 @ 11:01am
I believe the reality of the situation is too tragic to contemplate. Most commenters on the feed don't run in the ultra-low income housing circles. Perhaps if I did a cartoon about the opulence of iphone applications or the latest fox TEE VEE musical program I would have a more palatable topic.

by fredo on 9/29/2009 @ 11:07am
RR@ Your panel is hilarious and insightful. I dare you to get this into the News Tribune.

Post script regarding all things MLK: Once a neighborhood gets this unfortunate label things go down hill rapidly. The term Martin Luther King no longer stands for equality, it now stands for rundown and beyond redemption. It's a euphenism for failure. Tacoma should immediately change the name of the street presently known as MLK back to K St. Wouldn't it be better if society could acknowledge a bad idea than continue to wallow in it?

by marumaruyopparai on 9/29/2009 @ 11:10am
Riiight. . .programs like those are of little consequence to those of us with iphones and flat screen tee vee's. Even after the mortgage crisis I feel there are still far too many people with roofs over their heads. The American Dream isn't gonna be paid for with our tax dollars dammit. Bah humbug!

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/29/2009 @ 11:13am
Growing up, my family lived in MLK housing for 8 years.

Stuff like non-existent maintenance, taking a week to replace the refrigerator, taking a month to repair a leak in the roof, never repairing the flooding in the basement, etc... really doesn't put them in "good landlord" status.

The organization went down the crapper once Alberta Canada died.

by NineInchNachos on 9/29/2009 @ 7:20pm
Fredo, I have a hard time with your MLK name theory.

king county

King County certainly is not showing any signs of being run down. They're living pretty high on the hog.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/29/2009 @ 7:56pm
Maybe Pierce County can change its name to Sharpton County, it only seems appropriate.

by fredo on 9/29/2009 @ 8:12pm
Nachos, King County didn't get a name change like K street did, but I did enjoy your posting. If you want to refute my theory why don't you find a neighborhood in any city where a principal street was renamed MLK and where prosperity subsequently went up. I don't think you can find one.

by fredo on 9/29/2009 @ 8:18pm
If we want to follow King County's lead, all we have to do is substitute the picture of Franklin Pierce on our county seal for one of punk with some piercings.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/30/2009 @ 1:24am
@ Fredo...
is the renaming the cause or the effect?

by Urban E on 10/1/2009 @ 9:34am
You have to give the name a chance. First the gay community has to come in and covertly gentrify the neighborhood and then government comes in and uses its powers of eminent domain to build a parking garage and then community cries gentrification. How about Austin?

by The Jinxmedic on 10/1/2009 @ 9:56am
Is there anything historical up there that we can raze and turn into parking lot? From what I understand, that always helps re-development.

by NineInchNachos on 10/1/2009 @ 10:18am
the candy company? multi-cultural murals?

by The Jinxmedic on 10/1/2009 @ 12:04pm
No, it has to be something really, really old - and it helps if it's on the National Register of Historic Places. Those are the kinds of places that make the best parking lots.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/1/2009 @ 12:28pm
The city has to stop sitting on the Browne's Star Grill property. I suspect it will suffer the same fate as the Luzon. I don't know why Tacoma got into the urban renewal by neglect business but I don't like it. Save the Browne's Star Grill while we still have chance.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/1/2009 @ 9:05pm
Just raze the whole block of MLK from Tacoma General down to St Joes.

That'll take care of anything old, remotely historic and "revitalize" a bunch of blighted 'hoods... all in one swoop!
Think of the copious parking for Safeway and both major hospitals in town!

Think of the children!
...and their need to park for free!!!!

by The Jinxmedic on 10/2/2009 @ 8:53am
umm, it won't be free parking. That's the new city model. Parking meters- just like Seattle!

by Erik on 10/2/2009 @ 9:24am
One day I would like to write an Op Ed or blog post entitled "Does Anyone Care About Hilltop?"

Hilltop has sat vacant and blighted for so many years, it is completely considered normal.

Is there any plan anywhere to breath life into the area?

The houses have been fixed up a bit over the last 10 years, but the retail "business district" is almost non-existent. (Other than the hospitals which wall themselves off). I would guess than the retail vacancy rate is well over 50 percent.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/2/2009 @ 9:50am
When I find myself on Hilltop I always have more lunch options than I do downtown. I have Le Le, Pho Bac, Thai Garden, Your Fish House, a teriyaki place who's name always escapes me, Quickie, and I'm sure I must be missing a few. I don't think Hilltop is as bad as it is being portrayed. Certainly it didn't help for MLK housing to drop the ball on their development at 11th and MLK but to say there is nothing but blight there makes me worry. If rental prices are low enough I think that businesses may take a chance on the area. If the land lords are looking to make top dollar on the Hill top store fronts I suspect they will sit there and continue to be vacant. Given the proximity to downtown it should end up being Tacoma's Queenanne, at least up to M Street or so. Want to see Hill top perk up in a hurry? Put in a cable car system to downtown. Three neighborhoods would benefit in a hurry; Hilltop, Tacoma Ave, and downtown. Hilltop is one of Tacoma's best jewels. Most other cities it would be the desirable place to live.

by Erik on 10/2/2009 @ 2:42pm
Want to see Hill top perk up in a hurry? Put in a cable car system to downtown. Three neighborhoods would benefit in a hurry; Hilltop, Tacoma Ave, and downtown. Hilltop is one of Tacoma's best jewels.

I agree. Very walkable, great architecture in the neighborhood but currently disinvested.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/3/2009 @ 8:46am
Hey Wigger, Where did you get your Higher Uneducation on Blacktitude?

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/3/2009 @ 8:52am
Wiggers talkin' about Martin. He done what he could before they was even a twinkle in their daddy's eye.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/3/2009 @ 8:58am
Trolley Cars in Hilltop? You ever seen a (censored) in a Rice-a-Roni commercial?

Didn't think so, Fool.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/3/2009 @ 9:19am
I can't even believe what some so-called progressives have the nerve to say.

Some of these clowns actually believe civil rights is about passin' a law so two women can lick each other's biscuit and collect benefit's.

by NineInchNachos on 10/3/2009 @ 9:45am
mofo, who let you out of the shark cage?

by NineInchNachos on 3/22/2010 @ 11:16am
"Washington’s current and former House speakers used political muscle and skilled lobbying to push $4 million of state money to a Tacoma housing nonprofit’s building project three years ago, despite concerns raised by two hometown senators, interviews and records show.
Now, with the embattled nonprofit under a financial cloud and potentially, a criminal investigation, Commerce Department officials and some key legislators said the state is changing its approach for funding similar projects."

by marumaruyopparai on 3/22/2010 @ 11:57am
Wow, just the first few paragraphs of that article could pass for an organized crime dossier. If for no other reason, I'm glad you updated this thread for the opportunity to read back through Mofo's contributions, pretty epic.

by NineInchNachos on 3/22/2010 @ 12:15pm
the dude has talent

by Jesse on 3/22/2010 @ 4:19pm
"Nachos, King County didn't get a name change like K street did, but I did enjoy your posting. If you want to refute my theory why don't you find a neighborhood in any city where a principal street was renamed MLK and where prosperity subsequently went up. I don't think you can find one." --- Fredo

Drive up Portlands MLK. You'd have gotten shot, hooker-fied, or drug-dealt there in the late 1980's-90's. It's awesome now.

by Jesse on 3/22/2010 @ 4:20pm
"Want to see Hill top perk up in a hurry? Put in a cable car system to downtown. Three neighborhoods would benefit in a hurry; Hilltop, Tacoma Ave, and downtown. Hilltop is one of Tacoma's best jewels" -- Crenshaw

I could not agree more.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/22/2010 @ 5:27pm
I'm all for bringing back the historic cable car to hilltop. It would be a brilliant extension of downtown and it would be a fairly manageable project to construct and a lot of bang for the buck.

As far as I am concerned MLK should extend all the way to the north and south and not just the few block where it is now.

by Jesse on 3/22/2010 @ 7:21pm
I am nerd enough to have travelled the route I'd see fit for a cable car. 1.7 miles from A Street, up 11th to MLK, and back down 13th. $30 million times 1.7 miles equals $51 million.

It'd make a kick-a** tourist attraction to boot.

by Non Sequitur on 3/22/2010 @ 8:17pm
No, it wouldn't. No one regards NYC's subways or Chicago's El as tourist attractions because cars full of druggies shooting up tends to deter people. As do the panhandlers. That's why T-Town's streetcars and Seattle's as well will never be tourism magnets.

Ever ridden the SLUT in Seattle? Dear god, what an unpleasant experience. You'd swear only the riff-raff and the hipsters use that thing.

by NineInchNachos on 3/22/2010 @ 8:23pm
San Fransisco. They kept their historic streetcars and people travel there to ride them. I know, because I was one of those people. The thing is almost all the people riding the historic cars are tourists. It is a cash cow for the city.

Tacoma should get a few historic cars for the tourists and then some modern cars for the residents. Everybody wins!

Streetcar Citizens Initiative Part II ?

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/23/2010 @ 7:12am
Yeah. Like when people travel to Tacoma by Amtrack, then they could catch the Link to 11th and Pacific. Then they could hop on a $500,000. restored cable car and ride up 11St hill to Tacoma Ave and visit their family and friends at the jail.

by Jesse on 3/23/2010 @ 8:35am
Perhaps I should have said "historic" cable-car. San Francisco builds them. Not all of Frisco's cable cars are of the 1800's vintage. They have a team that builds old looking cars from scratch.

San Fran's system is a gold mine for tourist dollars. It'd bring people to Hilltop. Residents who want to be city dwellers but not necessarily live in a condo can have a house and no car by living on Hilltop and working in DT Tacoma. It'd be a draw to attract people to want to live in Hilltop. It'd revitalize it.

This idea is nothing new. It's what built these areas in the first place.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/23/2010 @ 9:20am
If you walk Hilltop's main commercial corridor, MLK Way, south from 6th Avenue to 23rd there are a lot of vacant buildings (understatement); but the same can be said about the main corridor downtown from 9th & Pacific Avenue to 14th.

Placing a cable car system to run up 11th Street in that scene---Better start praying to the Goddess of Commerce.

by fredo on 3/23/2010 @ 9:20am
Good comparison to SF! The similarities are striking.

They have cable cars, we have Link,they have Ghiardellhi Square, we have Freighthouse Square, they have Alcatraz, we have ICE, they have the 49ers, we have Rhubarb, they have Harry Callahan, we have David Brame, they have Harvey Milk, we have Wilcox Milk, they have the Golden Gate, we have the Murray Morgan, they have the wild parrots of telegraph hill, we have Orcrz and Joe.

The only thing they have that we don't have is a cool romantic song which would lure tourists here from all over the world.

I suggest we have a feedtacoma competiton to pen such a song.

It could start out like this:

" I left my (fill in the blank) in downtown Tacoma...

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/23/2010 @ 9:22am
"I left my landfill in downtown Tacoma."

by NineInchNachos on 3/23/2010 @ 9:26am
ha ha!

by Altered Chords on 3/23/2010 @ 9:36am
Rice a roni - no longer the san francisco treat.

Maybe show some crips eating bowls of rice a roni while riding the cable cars.

by tacoma1 on 3/23/2010 @ 9:37am
For all you kids that are too young to remember, King County actually did change their namesake in back 1986. County officials apparently thought it better to honor a great man, than a long forgotten vice president of one of the worst presidents in history (not George in this case),, but Franklin Pierce. Unfortunately, Pierce County hasn't been fortunate enough to have someone become a famous humanitarian or civil rights leader with the last name of Pierce, so we can change our namesake.

And yes, K st should have been changed to MLK for the entire length, not just the southern part.

"On February 24, 1986, the King County Council passes Motion 6461 redesignating the namesake of King County to commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), the civil rights leader, rather than William Rufus DeVane King (1786-1853), the Vice President-elect for whom the county was named in 1852."

by fredo on 3/23/2010 @ 10:13am
In its effort recognize Dr. King, Tacoma changed the name of K street to Martin Luther King Way.

Shortly thereafter many of the businesses along this corridor went into decline and closed. Now we have a huge impoverished commercial area subject to almost complete disinvestment.

This begs the question. Was renaming K street a good thing or a bad thing?

by NineInchNachos on 3/23/2010 @ 10:23am
fredo's "voodoo economics" theory debate begins now...

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/23/2010 @ 10:33am
I think all would agree that K Street was in decline long before it was renamed. Helen Ritts Insurance moved to the Stadium District but I think the move was more of a protest to the renaming. I still prefer MLK for lunch and have a better selection than I do downtown. It is easy to run down hilltop and MLK Way but the truth is that it really is a lot better than some say. A good many of the businesses there predate the renaming and I suspect they will still be there long after we are all gone.

by tacoma1 on 3/23/2010 @ 10:38am
Maybe fredo could provide the peanut gallery with a list showing the number of business failures before and after the name change on K/ MLK street. Then a list of business failures on Tacoma Ave, or Pac Ave for the exact same date. That really would be the only way to judge what appears to be a racist economic theory. Without data, it is just more right wing Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh bullshit rhetoric.

by NineInchNachos on 3/23/2010 @ 11:20am
if MLK is the anti-business magic name.... is there a magic street name that improves the business climate? Ronald Regan St?

by fredo on 3/23/2010 @ 12:54pm
I lived on Hilltop in the early 1980s. It wasn't Rodeo Drive even then but it was decidedly more prosperous than it is now. Can I prove that the name change contributed to the decline we see today? No. Do other people posting on these threads provide incontrovertible proof of their theories? Not to my knowledge. If we renamed MLK after Ronald Reagan would the change bolster it's business climate? Perhaps. Why don't we try it? Or should we augment 25 years worth of stagnation with another 25? In case anybody didn't get the message Martin Luther King's name is frequently associated with impoverished neighborhoods. Look around.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/23/2010 @ 1:30pm
In the early to late 1970's, the K-way corridor from 6th Ave – South 13th was commercially stronger than the 6th Avenue corridor south of Union St. to downtown. Both districts faded and 6th Avenue in the early 90's didn't look much better than MLK does today.

As for the street name change, I think the objection whether silent or spoken is that it has the effect of feeling like a forced issue. Was it? Did a bunch of wealthy white politicians get together and plan the name change so that they would look like they were really in tune with the black community?

And you know what? It's B.S. to throw out accusations of racism while exploring the merits of an issue.

So why was the street name changed? Would anybody care if it was changed to Ronald Regan or Ronald McDonald St.?

by Altered Chords on 3/23/2010 @ 1:46pm
Burger King would object to it being renamed ronald McDonald street.

Re-name it Fish house cafe (FHC Blvd) The best restaurant in Tacoma.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/23/2010 @ 2:30pm
Lots of streets in cities get their names changed. In some cities they post the "historic" name. Seems to me that most name changes will have some controversy, but nothing like the controversy over naming a street for Martin Luther King.

No question, Fish House Cafe is superb. Best fried fish I've ever eaten, and believe me I've eaten a lot.

by Jesse on 3/23/2010 @ 4:38pm
Rail transit is a catalyst for growth almost everyplace it's been put. Up 11th, over MLK, and down 13th would be good for pushing growth and restoration of that area.

Song title: "I left my welfare mother in downtown Tacoma"

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/23/2010 @ 4:54pm
Burger King Way and Martin Luther King Way in the same vicinity would be confusing.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/23/2010 @ 6:30pm
Sadly, rail transit has done nothing for Freight House Square, and really not much else for the rest of Tacoma either. The bLink has done nothing except screw up the traffic on Pacific. I think a cable car up to hilltop would be great but our first foray into rail transit has be a terrible failure in creating anything close to urban renewal.

by L.S.Erhardt on 3/23/2010 @ 7:37pm
All this talk of renaming streets, and the city still hasn't renamed E. 26th to "Brown and Haley Drive".

...which, as it happens, I think would be a good thing.

by NineInchNachos on 3/23/2010 @ 11:27pm

by NineInchNachos on 3/26/2010 @ 3:49pm
say hello to the FBI !

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating alleged misspending of public funds by the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Commerce said today.

Read more:

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/26/2010 @ 4:22pm
No doubt we will find out that Felix Flannigan was nothing but a patsy in this mess. Felix Flannigan, the Lee Harvey Oswald of our age.

by NineInchNachos on 3/29/2010 @ 1:28pm
new takhoman on the move:


by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2010 @ 3:45pm
thurber wrote on 08/24/2010 01:18:31 PM:

What's still interesting about this is that for all the TPD on the scene, no one took his blood alcohol level.

Also, once the investigation led to the Ebersoles in the collapse of Martin Luther King Housing, and his part in the missing $2-4 million dollars, the McClatchys stopped pursuing it. FBI should still be following the Ebersoles, Felix Flannigan, Jack Connelly, Quincey Ann Walker, Kevin Phelps and etc.

Read more:

by NineInchNachos on 11/22/2010 @ 8:13pm