Dana Kennedy of the New York Post published a 2,500-word exposé on Colony Ridge titled “Murders, cartels, squalor: Inside ‘colony’ near Houston accused of being ‘haven for illegal aliens.’”
Kennedy spent weeks researching and writing the article. She interviewed the developer as well as residents, neighbors, local officials and law enforcement. Her story includes 27 photos and a 10-minute video – rare for a daily newspaper. If you really want to get a feeling for Colony Ridge and its impact on surrounding areas, Kennedy’s article is a great place to start.
Summary Of Exposé
She delves into the development’s housing, population, criminal activity, drug cartels, roving dogs, gang activity, access issues and how it has become a magnet for illegal immigration.
In short, she covers why Governor Greg Abbott is making it part of a special legislative session that he called for next Monday. And why Texas’s 25 House Republicans have unanimously called for an investigation.
Kennedy then segues into how the developer markets the property to Hispanics, i.e., with owner financing, small down payments, and interest rates up to 15%. She also details the high foreclosure rates and the revolving door at the county courthouse that allows the developer to resell the same property multiple times.
From there, she turns her attention to the impacts on surrounding communities – homes flooded, FM1010 washed out, endless traffic snarls, a severed human hand that a dog dragged home, and plummeting property values. She lets disenchanted purchasers and neighbors tell their stories in their own words.
Developers Claim of Racism Disputed
The developer blames the criticism on racism among the locals. Former Plum Grove Mayor Lee Ann Penton-Walker disputes that. “We don’t have the infrastructure to take on all these new people. Hell, Houston doesn’t. New York doesn’t. Look what your mayor’s been saying lately. Is Eric Adams a racist?”
The developer’s claim of racism belies the fact that most of the criticism in the story came from Hispanics.
How the Other Half Lives
All told, it’s a gripping story and a solid piece of journalism. It reminded me of the work done by a pioneering photojournalist in New York named Jacob Riis. He documented living conditions in New York City slums during the 1880s. Riis published a book called “How the Other Half Lives.” It served as a basis for future muckraking journalism by exposing the slums in New York to the City’s upper and middle classes.
I hope Kennedy’s work for the Post has a similar impact and brings Colony Ridge to national attention. Even more, I hope it brings about some much needed change.
Just hours after the Post published Kennedy’s story, the developers launched a PR counter-offensive. They hosted a tour of Colony Ridge for state legislators who will begin their investigation into the controversial development next week during their special session.
The address below probably won’t be on the PR tour.
For more about Colony Ridge drainage and related infrastructure issues, see these posts.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/5/2023
2228 days since Hurricane Harvey
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.