Walkability, by J.D. Meyer

Let’s explore walkability—a key concept in urban studies/planning. Does your city have enough sidewalks—especially downtown? Downtown Tyler, Texas has a commendable Walk Score of 72, but the overall city only scores 35. https://www.walkscore.com/TX/Tyler  I’ve lived in four Tyler neighborhoods; walkability scores range from 24 to 66. Midtown/Hospital District is the best (66), and Hollytree in South Tyler is the worst (24).. Suburban sprawl is based on the domination of cars, and that leads to more traffic and air pollution. Can you easily walk to nearby bus stops?

The only time I really love the term—conservative—is when it’s preceded by the adjective: “fiscal.” I’m not the kind of liberal who would claim a need for concrete sidewalks on both sides of virtually all streets—unless it’s downtown. As long as one side of a major street has a paved sidewalk, your walking experience will be adequate. Moreover, flat land could get away with a trimmed dirt path through the grass. Not just a bus rider, I have considerable experience walking in Tyler—mainly in Midtown (66), Downtown (72), North Tyler (49 & 55), and Southeast Tyler (31).

Sidewalks could be downright dangerous if the land is slanted at a 45 degree angle! Hopefully, the pedestrian would have crossed the street by that time. On the other hand, a hilly path like across the street from Shiloh Road Learning Center could be a hazardous walk without paving or a trail. I recall a sidewalk in Midtown that was dangerously broken, and it could have been improved with some asphalt. Furthermore, bus ridership can improve with good sidewalks on the way to the bus stops.

Let’s hope my observation as a bus rider/pedestrian helps in our development of walkability. Check out this most walkable cities article with a map (at least a 100K population). http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-most-walkable-cities.html



Cactus (Nopalitos): Why Fresh is Better than Pickled, by J.D. Meyer

I’ve been a major fan of sliced cactus (nopalitos) for many years.
I’d compare the flavor and texture to a cross between a bell pepper or
poblano pepper and okra. Admittedly, I’ve never bothered to buy the
whole pad from the vegetable section of the grocery store and carve
the quills out of them in my kitchen. However, usually I get the pickled
variety in a jar, and I save the jars for leftovers. Fresh bags of sliced
nopalitos in the vegetable section are confined to Mexican grocery
stores—such as La Michoacana. Cactus (Nopalitos) seems to find its
way to restaurants/taquerias either with beef fajitas or scrambled eggs
in a breakfast taco.

Finally, I read the nutritional information from two empty bags of
fresh nopalitos, and two jars from pickled nopalitos. The nutritional
data is staggering. Vinegar and salt deplete nutrients!
Let’s start by looking at that fresh bag of sliced cactus by Latin
Specialties. One cup contains the following: Calcium—39%,
Potassium—17%, Vitamin A—22%, Vitamin C—36%, Dietary
Fiber—20%, Iron–8%, Sodium—2%, Protein—6%, Carbohydrate—3% &
Fat—0%. The statistics for Ortega’s Nopalitos are virtually the same,
except the Potassium amount is unknown.

On the other hand, let’s look at the convenient pickled cactus in a
jar. Two tablespoons of Dona Maria Nopalitos has no Calcium, no
Potassium, Vitamin A—2%, no Vitamin C, no Dietary Fiber, no Iron,
Sodium—23%, No Protein, Carbohydrate nor Fat. Meanwhile, a half
cup of El Mexicano Nopalitos has the following: Calcium—5%, no
Potassium, no Vitamin A, no Vitamin C, no Dietary Fiber, Iron—6%,
Sodium—21%, Protein—2%, Carbohydrate—1% & Fat—0%.

Alternatives to the Environmental & Economic Damage by the Border Wall Joffre (J.D.) Meyer @bohemiotx

“This Twitter moment offers alternatives (technology & more) to the environmental & economic destruction–including ecotourism–by the proposed border wall. Executive Order 12898 (1994) is Environmental Justice in Minority & Low Income Populations.”

1. Environmental & Ecotourism Impact of the Proposed Border Wall by @bohemiotx https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Environmental-Ecotourism-Impact-of-the-Proposed-Border-Wall … #environment #SouthTX #ecotourism #EconomicJustice

2. Environmental & Ecotourism Impact of the Proposed Border Wall, Part Two: Smart Walls with Technology, by J.D. Meyer https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2019/03/20/environmental-ecotourism-impact-of-the-proposed-border-wall-part-two-smart-walls-with-technology-by-j-d-meyer/ … via @bohemiotx #Technology #BorderWall #Environment #Texas

3. Republican Congressman: Trump’s Border Crisis Is a ‘Myth’ https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/will-hurd-border-wall-myth-781204/ … via @RollingStone #NorthernTriangle #LiDAR #NoBorderWall #SmartWall #ambassadors

4. Marines commandant protests US border deployments, wall https://news.yahoo.com/marines-commandant-protests-us-border-deployments-wall-232037037.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=tw … via @YahooNews #military #NoBorderWall

5. The Texas-Mexico Border Wall Comes with a Dangerous, Costly Side Effect: Flooding https://www.texasobserver.org/the-texas-mexico-border-wall-comes-with-a-dangerous-costly-side-effect-flooding … #BorderWall #floods #environment

6. Forget Trump’s Border Wall. Let’s Build F.D.R.’s International Park. https://nyti.ms/2JcYIl1 #BigBend #environment #Texas

7. New alternative to Trump’s wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security [solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border]. #GreenEnergy #Border #economics https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/build-the-energy-wall?fbclid=IwAR3ed6Ai1UhYyC7Kz0Xt8mOeJrnBNsWMIhxwKo-3uR5t0LoacuoH2eYj1GQ

8. Future Energy, Water, Industry and Education Park (FEWIEP) https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2019/Q1/USMexico-Border-Proposal_WHITEPAPER-2019.pdf … #FEWIEP #environment #RenewableEnergy

Replying to @amyklobuchar @keithellison
9. Could Executive Order 12898–Environmental Justice in Minority & Low Income Populations (1994) help in the fight against the #BorderWall? #ecotourism #SouthTX

10. Christina McNearney @tmcnearney1 • Mar 16
We stand strong as one progressive movement against our president’s anti-immigrant, anti-environment agenda. #NoBorderWall https://addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/stand-with-immigrants–border-communities-for-environmental–social-justice-no-beds-no-boots-no?promoid=7010Z0000027Wv5QAE&utm_medium=recruit&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=addup&tc=false

Environmental & Ecotourism Impact of the Proposed Border Wall, Part Two: Smart Walls with Technology, by J.D. Meyer

A smart border wall uses technology—not just cement and steel. https://www.engineering.com/BIM/ArticleID/16775/Border-Walls-Get-Teched-Out.aspx Surveillance devices include “underground motion sensors, remote-operated cameras, long-range radar towers, aerostats (balloons and blimps) and drones.” Moreover, it’s cheaper. A 2017 estimate stated wall infrastructure should include the deployment of radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology and other sensors. This article begins with descriptions of “famous border walls across the centuries”: (1) The Wall of Mardo (Sumerian city of Ur), (2)The Great Wall of China, (3) Hadrian’s Wall (Roman Britain versus the Scots),(4) The Berlin Wall, and (5) Israel’s West Bank Barrier.

The cost could be as low as $500,000 per mile as opposed to $27 million per mile. https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/355354-technology-will-be-a-critical-component-of-a-good-border-wall The Israeli West Bank Wall uses such technology. Furthermore, this isn’t normally harmful to the environment; walls can cause floods; moreover, it takes forest-clearing to build them. Currently the 12,000 remote sensors can track people from up to seven miles away. Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) at places like the Hidalgo crossing can read the license plate, car, and driver. “While the new congressional budget didn’t include all the money for Trump’s desired super wall, it has allocated about $400 million for border technology, including $50 million for towers and $20 million for ground sensors.” “By far the most promising technology that the bill promises to consider is LIDAR, a system that uses lasers instead of radio waves to build up a 3-D image.”

On another note, the Texas Observer reports when the wrong technology in the wrong place can be harmful to animals. “An earthen river levee that runs through the 100-acre property would become a 30-foot concrete-and-steel border wall, bisecting the reserve and leaving more than two-thirds of the land stranded on the wrong side of the barrier. The wall will be littered with cameras and draped with at least 22-foot tall LED lights, a potential catastrophe for sensitive insects. Tourism to the center could crater, forcing the center to close and wasting 17 years of effort cultivating the refuge.” https://www.texasobserver.org/butterfly-trump-restraining-order-lawsuit-border-wall-texas/

https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Environmental-Ecotourism-Impact-of-the-Proposed-Border-Wall Environmental & Ecotourism Impact of the Proposed Border Wall (Part One).

Emmett J. Scott Bio (1873-1957) by Anthony Neal Emmel

“A native of Houston, Texas, Emmett J. Scott garnered a reputation as Booker T. Washington’s chief aide. He was also the highest ranking African-American in the Woodrow Wilson’s Administration. The son of ex-slaves, Scott was born in 1873. In 1887, he entered Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, eventually leaving school in his third year. Soon he worked at the Houston Post, first as a sexton, and later as a copyboy and journalist. In 1893 Scott, along with Charles N. Love and Jack Tibbit, formed the Texas Freeman, Houston’s first African American newspaper. Scott also worked for Galveston, Texas, politician and labor leader, Norris W. Cuney.

Scott caught the attention of Booker T. Washington, who hired him in 1897. For the next eighteen years, Scott served Washington as a confidant, personal secretary, speech writer, and ghostwriter; in 1912, he became Tuskegee’s treasurer-secretary. Scott advocated Washington’s philosophy of constructive accommodation over immediate social integration. Scott and New York Age editor T. Thomas Fortune helped Washington found the National Negro Business League (NNBL) in 1900.

In 1917, two years after Washington’s death, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Scott special advisor of black affairs to Secretary of War, Newton Baker. Scott wrote reports on conditions facing African- Americans during the period, which were published as “The American Negro in the World War” (1919) and “Negro Migration during the First World War” (1920). From 1919 to 1932, Scott was the business manager and secretary treasurer of Howard University, retiring from the college in 1938. During World War II, Scott worked for the Sun Shipbuilding Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, and helped the company create Yard No. 4 for black laborers. Scott was married and had five children, all of whom graduated from college. He and his wife also raised his five younger sisters, who also earned their degrees. Scott died in Washington, D.C., in 1957 at the age of 84.”


NO BORDER WALL, (2nd Edition) by J.D. Meyer

More Flooding & Less Ecotourism—a Major Income Source for Rio Grande Valley. Ruin for Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Bipartisan Support!

1. https://www.npr.org/2017/04/25/525383494/trump-s-proposed-u-s-mexico-border-wall-may-violate-1970-treaty Mexico Worries That a New Border Wall Will Worsen Flooding “Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court.”… “A concrete wall that blocks trans-border water movement is a total obstruction.”…. “To protest the border wall, Mexican officials on the Boundary and Water Commission would first lodge a formal complaint with their counterpart across the river in El Paso. If they don’t resolve the dispute, the matter goes to the State Department and its Mexican equivalent, and finally, to arbitration before a world court.”

2. https://www.mystatesman.com/news/state–regional/new-map-details-trump-texas-border-wall-plan-renewing-flood-concerns/PZxH0kZJAb1X8c5JtGL2nO/ New map details Trump’s Texas border wall plan, renewing flood concerns “…the U.S. Border Patrol has plans to build 32 miles of barrier in Starr County, where flooding concerns helped kill off similar plans half a decade ago….In addition to addressing concerns over flooding, the Homeland Security Department will face potentially lengthy battles with private landowners. While some areas sit on federal land, including the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the proposed wall route cuts through the land of dozens of private owners.”

3. https://www.texasobserver.org/trump-border-wall-texas-wildlife-refuge-breaking/ Trump Administration Preparing Texas Wildlife Refuge for First Border Wall Segment. If the levee wall is constructed, it will essentially destroy the refuge, a federal official told the Observer. “…first piece of President Trump’s border wall through the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in South Texas. The federally owned 2,088-acre refuge, often called the “crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system.”

4. https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Rio-Grande-Valley-s-eco-tourists-wary-of-12384823.php Rio Grande Valley’s ecotourists wary of Trump’s border wall plans “More than 165,000 nature tourists visit the region each year, infusing $463 million into the local economy and sustaining 6,600 jobs, according to a 2011 Texas A&M University study.”

5. https://www.mystatesman.com/news/national-govt–politics/why-private-property-owners-may-the-biggest-obstacle-trump-wall/WL4uZXLWYCGKwByV7goFqM/ Why private property owners may be the biggest obstacle to Trump’s wall. “Trump’s wall will have to cross miles of roadless mountains, traverse expansive deserts and parallel a serpentine river. But the biggest hurdle to building a coast-to-coast border barrier may not be the terrain but its inhabitants, especially those in Texas, where property rights are second to none. ………. “The power of eminent domain is established in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides that citizens cannot “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

6. https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/08/opinions/border-wall-cartels-trump-opinion-driver/index.html Trump’s Mexico wall would be a gift to the drug cartels “According to a 2015 report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, 95% of drugs coming into the US were entering via container ships and other vessels…..In addition to drones and submarines, drug dealers and human traffickers rely on the trucking industry to move drugs and people via the 52 legal crossing points along the US border.”

7. https://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/23/us/drug-super-tunnel-tijuana-san-diego/index.html Feds raid drug ‘super tunnel’ with railway on U.S.-Mexico border “The tunnel is the tenth large-scale drug smuggling tunnel discovered in the San Diego area since 2006. In all, authorities have found more than 75 cross-border smuggling tunnels, mostly in California and Arizona, prosecutors said.”

8. https://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2017/apr/26/ron-kind/yes-experiencing-net-outflow-illegal-undocumented-/ “Yes, we are experiencing a net outflow of illegal, undocumented workers from America back to Mexico,” U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, said Feb. 16, 2017 on Wisconsin Public Radio. “To build a wall now would be locking them in this country.” “…peak of 6.9 million in 2007. But the number began dropping in 2008.”

9. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/25/world/science-health-world/crime-biodiversity-2700-scientists-warn-trumps-u-s-mexico-wall-may-doom-1000-threatened-species/#.W6T1TrhZieo ‘Crime against biodiversity’: 2700 scientists warn Trump’s U.S.-Mexico wall may doom 1,000 threatened species. “More than 2,700 global scientists signed on to the letter by lead author Robert Peters of Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation group….When populations of animals are fragmented, they have a harder time finding mates, food, water and safe habitat, and face higher risks of extinction.” Some of the endangered species: Peninsular Bighorn sheep, Mexican gray wolf, Sonoran pronghorn antelope, jaguars, & ocelots.

10. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/27/14412672/will-hurd-border-wall Why the Texan Republican who represents the border doesn’t want a wall The congressional district of Will Hurd (R-TX) “contains the largest swathe of the US-Mexico border of anyone in Congress.” It “stretches from the suburbs of San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso.” Some of the border area includes Big Bend National Park and Lake Amistad. Hurd asserted on CNN that a border wall would be unnecessary, too expensive, and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, building the wall would include seizing private citizens’ land through eminent domain–a practice considered unconstitutional by many conservatives. “The un-walled area in particular has almost no border crossings since it’s in the middle of nowhere,” according to The Economist.

11. https://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/320820-cornyn-border-wall-makes-absolutely-no-sense-in-some-areas Cornyn: Border wall ‘makes absolutely no sense’ in some areas Texas Senator, John Cornyn asserted, “There’s parts of our border which it makes absolutely no sense…”But what is helpful [is] to have fencing, for example, is places like San Diego, it’s a large urban area.” “Cornyn added that he thought border security needed to include a mixture of personnel, technology and infrastructure.” Cornyn conducted this interview after taking five GOP lawmakers on a trip to the border.

12. http://braceroarchive.org/about Bracero History Archive This program is at UT-El Paso, and it examines the history of the braceros (1942-1964). The braceros were temporary workers from Mexico–often agriculture. The braceros enabled the USA to fight in World War II and the Korean War.

2017 NE TX Community Health Worker Coalition Conference, By J.D. Meyer

The 2017 Northeast Texas Community Health Worker (CHW) Coalition Conference was held on July 14th at TJC West. According to the official booklet, the CHW conference addresses “the role CHW Workers/Instructors play in creating access to care, reducing care costs, and promoting health and happy communities.” The Conference stressed “the importance of CHW(I)’s reducing health disparities; return on investment; and methods of overcoming barriers to CHW(I) program success.” Participants who attended the entire conference received six CEU (Continuing Education Units). “Presentations can be downloaded after the conference at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/y7brtht7

There were three main presentations. “The CHW and Public Health: The UT Health NE Experience,” was delivered by Jeffrey L. Levin, M.D. “Creating and Maintaining Health Workplace Environments,” was given by Terrence Ates, M.ED and Detective John Ragland. “CHW Self-Care—Focusing on You While Giving to the Community,” was presented by LaShonda Malrey-Horne, MPH.
The CHW of the Year was presented to the late Cynthia Keppard, the former director of the NE TX CHW Coalition. Several of her family members were in attendance.
There were three Breakout Sessions also—a choice of 18 sessions. First, I attended “Helping Clients Self Manage Chronic Disease,” by Marcus Wade, LMSW & CHWI. Then I went to “A Community Health Worker’s Guide to Texercise Classic,” by Jeanie Gallegly, MS & CHWI. The last breakout session for me was “Tobacco Danger,” by Lana Herriman, BS.
There were several organizations serving as vendors and sponsors. For example, I was able to pick up the Cigna Health Spring Provider Directory and Over-the-Counter Products Catalog in the lobby. Lunch was from Jason’s Subs; snacks were available too. Once again, the annual NE TX CHW Coalition Conference was a success that drew a huge crowd.

SOL 17: City Planning Meeting

I attended a city planning meeting about the widening of I-16, an east-west street north of Tyler that turns into Hubbard, once it hits Lindale, the most expanding town in East Texas. This road crosses the northern boundary of Hideaway Lake. It’s north of I-20, a major highway that goes to Dallas. I was invited to attend the meeting by the Director of the Transportation Committee of the East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN).

I took the opportunity to voice my concerns about raggedy sidewalks. Currently, sidewalks may not be repaired with asphalt. I’ve suggested twice that we start by applying a strip of asbestos when on cement block is higher than the next block. This would prevent tripping. A nurse friend broke her hand under such conditions a couple of years ago! Alternatives to the car must be nice, not just possible. The poor will put up with torn up sidewalks because we have no choice. But more bus riders would relieve street congestion.

Once again, I suggested that bike racks be installed at the central bus hub near Downtown Tyler on Oakwood, as well as at the Bergfeld Center in the south.

Anyway, I took a bus to get most of the way to the meeting, but I walked home–a distance of 1.1 miles. Is that COPD Olympics or what?…lol

Northside Revitalization, Tyler 21: Annotated Link Page (3rd Edition), By J.D. Meyer…….9-4-19

  1. http://www.lisc.org Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Our Initiatives: (1) Affordable Housing, (2) Education, (3) Economic Development, (4) Financial Stability, (5) Health, (6) Safe Neighborhoods, (7) Community Leadership, and (8) Policy & Research.
  1. http://www.knowledgeplex.org The Affordable Housing & Community Development Research for Professionals Topics: (1) All Topics, (2) Affordable Housing, (3) Economic Revitalization, (4) Fair Housing, (5) Homelessness, (6) Homeownership & Mortgage Markets, (7) Land Use & Housing Planning, (8) Personal Finance & Asset Creation, (9) Public Housing, and (10) Social & Comprehensive Development.
  1. https://www.communityprogress.net/ Community Progress https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-34 Vacant Properties:Growing Number Increases Communities’ Costs and Challenges
  1. http://foodsecurity.org/committees/ Active committees are Community Economic Development, Food & Faith, International Links, Policy, & Urban Agriculture.
  1. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-economics-of-historic-preservation The Economics of Historic Preservation, by Randal Mason, 75 pages. The first ten readings in the annotated bibliography are the “best to initiate and inform a reader new to economic preservation issues” (pg. 29).
  1. http://kantarmedia.srds.com/common/pdf/claritas360/ClaritasPRIZMPremierSegmentNarratives.pdf Claritas PRIZM Premier Segment Narratives 2018. The 68 PRIZM zip code clusters are subdivided into three categories based on life stage and several social groups based on the urban to rural continuum. https://claritas360.claritas.com/mybestsegments/#zipLookup Here are the five most common clusters for 75702 North Tyler. View by lifestage and social group. The zip code is also clustered by household income, household population, population by age, & population by race & ethnicity.


Frequent Tyler, TX Bus Rider Survey: Answers for a Northside Resident—

Crescent DR & N. Confederate AV.

1. Which bus lines are closest to you?

2. Where are they?

3. Where are the “least distant” bus stops of different lines?

4. Is Bergfeld Shopping Center the closest Yellow Line stop for you?

5. Is the Downtown Transit Depot the closest place for you to access ….
A. Blue North
B. Green North
C. Purple South

6. Where are your favorite bus stops used by three lines, aside from the two hubs.

7. Where would you like to see a bike rack?
1. Two Green South, Blue North, Red South.

2. One Green South is at MLK and Englewood, near the grounds of the now-gone Emmett J. Scott HS. The other Green South is at the Labor Ready on West Gentry . Blue North is at the BBQ place on the NE corner of W. Gentry and Glenwood. Red South is at Palace and Nutbush near an elementary school.

3. Red, Green, & Blue are the only bus lines in North Tyler.

4. The Bergfeld Shopping Center is the closest Yellow Line stop.

5. The Downtown Transit Depot is the closest place to access Purple South.

6. I don’t know of any bus stops serviced by more than one line in North Tyler, let alone three.

7. Downtown at Oakwood AV, W. Gentry & Palace area near Neighborhood Services and D&N, a leading store-restaurant-gas station, & Bergfeld Shopping Center (the 2nd hub).