Anything-but-Pleasant City

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Though Thomas has worked in the public sector before and has received criticism there, the recent complaints still appear to agitate him. Who else can he work with, he beseeches, where else can he receive financial and technical help, he wonders, what else can be done?

"It's easy to say we don't know what we're doing," says the exasperated Thomas. He stands now across the street from the row of shotgun shacks on A.E. Isaacs Avenue, where the smoky aroma of burnt wood still lingers in the air from a fire that leveled a condemned home and damaged two others during the recent cold snap. Thirteen people were left homeless. "So OK, come and help us."

Forming any cohesive approach to community development has been an ongoing problem for the CRC.

Although it is evident the project is moving forward too slowly, city housing administrators and commissioners decline to take a more active role. It appears in this instance that the existence of a CRC actually impedes progress because, once a CRC forms, the city prefers to allow the community-based organization to control its own projects. A commendable goal, except the projects in Pleasant City are moving along too slowly for everyone's tastes. "You can't force things to happen," insists West Palm Beach City Commissioner Howard Warshauer. "It's much better to go in and help the existing groups that are there.

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Michael Freedman