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The Mail Bag: Mayor of Sunnyvale Says His Town Doesn’t Exclude Blacks

In our current issue, Thomas Korosec wrote about a series of racial and housing discrimination lawsuits that have been brought against Sunnyvale. The headline and subhead of the story: “The Whitest Town in North Texas: How Sunnyvale has successfully fought for 24 years to keep black people out.” Jim Phaup, the mayor of Sunnyvale wrote a letter that we weren’t able to get into our April issue, which we just sent to the printer. So here it is in its entirety:

On behalf of the citizens of Sunnyvale, I must respond to the manipulative tone and partial relating of the facts in the March 2012 article of D regarding our Town.

The title of the article, “Sunnyvale: The Whitest Town in North Texas”, suggests that someone wrote the headline and then asked a reporter to develop a story to support it without consideration of the facts. A simple review of NCTCOG data on their website confirms that Sunnyvale actually is quite diverse with a minority population of 32%.

Sunnyvale welcomes people of all races to become a part of our wonderful community contrary to the indication of the article’s subtitle. Our Town has been steadfast in defending our community strategy of low-density land-use for many years. Lower density has equated to slower, manageable growth for Sunnyvale, which has been a priority for our citizens and our exemplary school district. The reluctance to embrace apartments has everything to do with density and managed growth of a community that is only 16.1 square miles in size with a small non-residential component to our tax base.

The Town did not pick the location for the planned multifamily complex now being reviewed for tax credit assistance by the State. The project and site were proposed to Sunnyvale leadership by a developer who has extensive experience in initiating, receiving approval for and implementing low-income projects in communities of all sizes. The developer has proved to be responsive and professional in all aspects of the project and we appreciate their efforts. The article also failed to note that the project site is adjacent to a new regional hospital and the site of a new mixed-use retail and office development now starting through the Town approval process.

The article’s writer chose to use as a key source an individual who has demonstrated a marked disdain for Sunnyvale and for not telling the truth. He indicates in the article, again incorrectly, that our residents have fought low-income housing with a passion. In my 19 years as a Sunnyvale resident, I have never heard concern expressed about low-income housing of any kind. Apartments, and their potential impact on our land use strategies, have been the only concern expressed to me.

I see no evidence that the writer took the time to speak with any student of Sunnyvale High School to gain their perspective and outlook on no longer having the option to attend North Mesquite High School. I have observed nothing but pride and great satisfaction from SHS students in their new school and the opportunities that it offers. I urge you and the writer to visit the SHS campus to witness the excellent efforts of an engaged and diverse student body that not only reflects the demographic make-up of Sunnyvale but the passion that all of us have for the wonderful Town in which we live.

The writer’s tour of our Town with the biased individual must surely have been an abbreviated one. I can assure you that for every “Hummer house” and million-dollar home in Sunnyvale; we have an older, smaller residence with a garage or carport that could not accommodate a Hummer. Our Public Library may be older and not so attractive from the outside, as described by the author, but I assure you that inside you will find an extensive collection of books and media and a dedicated, friendly staff and volunteers who are proud of our library and the valuable role that it plays in the community.

The article simply looked at Sunnyvale based on information presented by an attorney who frequently sues the Town, court documents, and a quick drive around with an individual with a negative agenda. I encourage you, Mr. Allison, and everyone else, to look more deeply at Sunnyvale to learn and understand who and what we really are. I suggest that you begin with the people of our Town. They are the most valuable assets of Sunnyvale.

When you do, I am confident that you will see a Town that is committed to providing people from all walks of life a very special place to live and raise a family.

We do not ever want to be the City of Sunnyvale. Instead, we want to be a Town with lower densities, fantastic schools, and a lifestyle that is welcoming and appealing to people of any ethnicity.

Town of Sunnyvale
Jim Phaup

  • Sad

    As a resident of Sunnyvale I am saddened by the complete lack of facts, and in all actuality, morality.
    1. I myself can not afford to live in highland park … I do not go around and take highland park to court… Means I have to work work harder. It’s sad to see people always try to get something without effort in this day and age. I am an immigrant to this country and worked by way up from living in one room without a bed. I also worked really hard to live somewhere nice and feel like I have earned every dollar by hard work. To live somewhere while expecting the rest to pay for your lifestyle is just plan sickening.