And Dallas preservationists are happy because fewer developers are tearing down old buildings. “Katherine Seale, director of Preservation Dallas, said the most striking change she has noticed recently in her North Dallas neighborhood has been the lack of change – the teardowns of nearby ranch-style houses has all but ceased. The reason is the recession. ‘There’s an old joke that goes: ‘A bad economy is a preservationist’s best friend.’ People get hurt in times like these, so it’s not particularly funny,’ Seale said. ‘But it is true.’” In 2006, Dallas received twenty-one requests to tear down structures in historic districts, but this year, only nine such requests have been filed.

The city of San Mateo, meanwhile, has secured $875,800 in stimulus funds to use for such energy conservation projects, including putting solar panels on the roof of its main library, a project that has been on hold for two years because of budgetary constraints. The San Mateo Daily Journal reports that the system will generate approximately 11 percent of the library’s electricity needs, and that when the project is completed, the city will also reap a 30 percent federal tax credit. Among other things, the money will also fund the replacement of 193 streetlights with LED bulbs.

And the Ventura County Star reports that the Conejo Unified School District board in Ventura County, California, has decided unanimously to “rescind about 30 to 40 pink slips” that were delivered to teachers in March, deciding to use federal stimulus money to cover the district’s $8.5 million budget gap and keep the teachers onboard. Thirty-seven part-time positions, however, were cut, with the deputy superintendent stating: “It is a reality that paying a person who works five hours and still gets $12,000 in benefits is not cost-effective.”

Katia Bachko and Jane Kim
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