From the Desk of the President
"Every hair on my body stood up and I decided to do something this time", said Katherine Duncan.
One of the saddest moments that I have ever felt drove me to anger.
A man and woman came to Harrison House. She was in a wheelchair
And he was pushing her. They came to me because they believed I could do something.
She had been hit by a car on Washington and "F" Street. People expect me to be able to help them. I believe it is because of two women, Ruby Duncan and Faye Duncan Daniel. I resemble my oldest sister Faye and people believe that Mrs. Ruby Duncan is my mother.
These are two women are tough acts to follow.
Ruby Duncan is well known in Nevada as one of the most prolific civil rights advocates and pioneers for women's rights. She is published and is best known for "Storming Caesars Palace".
My sister, Faye Daniel (nee Johnnie Mae Duncan) is a very tall beautiful black woman known for her Afrocentricity long before it was popular to leave home with "nappy" hair. She made a name for herself by producing the "Rose" Awards and by becoming the first black female police officer in North Las Vegas. She developed many programs to improve Clark County, such as PayBac and the burnt toast chapter of Toastmasters.
Faye Duncan Daniel at the Union Plaza Hotel
I have lived in the shadows of Ruby & Faye for 40 years but, never did I ever expect to or even try to fill either of their shoes. I never considered myself a fighter for other people. Honestly, I was pretty devoted to myself and to my immediate family. I was pretty busy getting married, remarried, divorced, married and widowed. I was raising my two sons, Derek and Jalil and traveling the world. I worked in business and kept quietly to myself until a group of people asked me to represent them and run for Las Vegas City Council Ward 5 in 2007. Prior to that moment, I have never been to City Hall! I agreed to run and upon my defeat, I was delighted to create a Chamber of Commerce. The idea was to unite all of the candidates who ran for the office to support the winner- Ricky Barlow.
Eleven years ago in 2007, we produced the
and we were so very proud to announce that we would be honoring the new Councilman Ricky Barlow in the Crystal Ballroom, Plaza Hotel Las Vegas. Things didn't go as we had hoped over the past 11 years.
Now, eleven years later, Councilman Barlow is being sentenced for Federal Fraud charges. The President of the NAACP was named in the probe which left two very powerful African American held seats stagnant all this while the Mayor of the City proclaimed that Barack Obama was not
Welcomed in Las Vegas. The challenges facing the Historic Westside and F Street appear to be worse than before the "F" enclosure. This street was closed without giving any notice to the residents.
The couple who came to Harrison House reported that the woman had been struck by a hit-and-run driver on Washington and F Street. Had it been any other intersection, I probably would not have been frozen in my tracts. Every hair on my body stood up and I decided to do something this time. No longer could I take the route of least resistance. My soul was shaken.
What the hell is going on is the City of Las Vegas?
Everyone knows all too well that Oscar Goodman was responsible for the "F" enclosure. Even his dear wife, our current Mayor Carolyn, expressed her disdain for this actions even though she was powerless to stop him.
This 20 year mayoral dynasty has continued to desecrate the Historic Westside from the shutting down of every entertainment venue including the most recent closure of the Paran (The oldest organization known to man), the total destruction of the Moulin Rouge Hotel to the continuous burning of residential properties, the Goodman syndicate in hell bent on gentrification. It was Goodman who decided that the Moulin Rouge was an "eyesore" despite the historical significance of the property. Goodman never spent one dime or used any breath to save it. The cruel part about the F Street underpass was the politics behind its re-opening. It appears that Las Vegas Paving got paid twice-nearly $20 million to close it. They were the biggest proponents for its re-opening thereby gaining nearly an additional $20 million for their company's profit. $40 million dollars later, we still have the same problem that caused the street to be closed in the first place- no crosswalks at "F" Street and Washington.
One property owner, Mrs. Hatcher, recently installed iron pylons in front of her house to try to prevent another vehicle from barrelling through her property. She is hoping to be able to open an office for real estate office and mortgages. She can't advertise her services from her location because it is still zoned residential.
My sadness turned to anger because we tried to warn the City about the danger of re-opening the street without a traffic plan. "F" Street was reopened without crosswalks, speed bumps or anything to control the traffic. There didn't seem to be any thought given into who or how we
would use the reopened street in light of the Project Neon, the I-11, Lossee Road or the Owens offramp.
Beautiful historical photos in tiles were installed but no one dares to go there to enjoy because of the disastrous condition of the people living under the bridge. There are people from all over the world facing misfortune living under the bridge. They are waiting for the Rescue Mission. These people have lost their money on the gambling tables, lost their minds on drugs and promiscuity, and lost their souls facing serious mental illness. There are also career thugs under that bridge enjoying the free meals brought by people who have a heartfelt compassion to help the less fortunate. They pour in with food adding to the already nightmarish environmental condition. There is an abundance of wasted food and debris under the bridge which ends up on the ground and in the sewer system.
My being sadness and angry didn't change anything. Our waiting for Councilman Barlow to finish his college degrees so that he could devote some time to the neighborhood didn't change anything. Our waiting for F Street to reopen didn't change anything- Oscar Goodman gets what Oscar Goodman wants and if he wanted the conditions to be different, then it would have been so.
What is it going to take bring about a change?
We have high hopes for Councilman Cedric Crear. He didn't come the same path through City Hall's Human Resources department as his predecessors in the Goodman dynasty. Even though he just took his seat, we already have spoken to him and neighborhood meeting are being scheduled. Hallelujah! This is a new start. Barlow avoided neighborhood meetings, instead choosing to hold those infamous and well advertised throughout the valley "Community Meetings" where African Americans from around the valley would attend and voice their needs effectively continuing to silence the challenges in the Ward 5 neighborhoods he represented.
The Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for a world class elevated fixed route transit system since transportation continues to be the single largest threat to the City's economics. Our transportation infrastructure needs to be valley wide and integrated into the future neighborhood plans. Are there any transit plans out there? Comprehensive transportation plans (except an extended bus route) that includes the Historic West Side?
Our plan is to promote and advocate for a People's Mobility Initiative that will create a comprehensive, integrated elevated fixed route light rail transit system that will reconnect the Historic Westside to the rest of the world. Placing such a depot/station in the vicinity near the Moulin Rouge site will be the economic engine that the entire valley could enjoy. A state of the arts futuristic system that connects the Westside to the Raiders Stadium, to Hoover Dam and to the California High Speed Rail would cinch us as a "World Class City" for years to come..
Let's build a "Dam" train!
The best way to visit Soul City is by taking a Pioneer Trail tour
Located at Harrison House:
#8 on the Pioneer Trail
Harrison House was listed in the 1949 Negro Motorist Travelers Guide. Today it is a on the National Register of Historic Places. Harrison House is the gateway to the African American Cultural Center, Uptown Las Vegas. It's open to the public weekdays 10AM-4PM. It's best to call first. 702-483-3619 to be met by a professional guide.