has written 3 SperlingViews. Currently, margaret is living in Lakewood, WA and has a little something to say:
Retired military and still working. Lived all over the place, including Asia and Europe.
re: crime - 1/2/2006 Posted On: 2/22/2010 3:22:22 PM
The drug trade fuels crime, pure and simple, like so many other cities are plagued with. Particularly eastside and Hilltop. As of last week (February 2010) a major bust of Crips gang members was accomplished. I have been watching Tacoma off and on with 2 military tours here since the 1980's. Things are getting better downtown but it seems to be at a glacial pace. North Tacoma (essentially Federal Way) is a good bet as is University Place. I live in Lakewood near the military bases. They just combined Ft. Lewis and Mcchord and it seems to be a safe hedge against any kind of BRAC closure. The main growth areas around here are Puyallup and South Hill and into North Thurston county--more white and more conservative.
Mixed Bag on Target Posted On: 2/22/2010 11:15:27 AM
Steve's comment about San Antonio being a mixed bag is pretty accurate. I'm retired military and certainly San Antonio is a military mecca with major military bases and 2 military Medical Centers. There are also a major medical complex and several colleges and universities including UTSA, and many cultural events throughout the year including Fiesta, much of it surrounding the Riverwalk area in downtown, and Sea World. The Riverwalk is one of the most successful urban development projects in the USA and also encompasses the Alamo, Alamodome, the convention Center, and the old world Expo Center--many millions of dollars are brought in every year through tourism. If you are planning to live there I would recommend Northwest and North Central San Antonio for overall quality of life and the northside schools--the most luxurious real estate is outside the 1604 loop. It does have gang problems, but unfortunately so do many American cities. SA is traversed by I35, I10, and major loops such as 281 and 1604 which probably facilitates trafficking. As long as there is a demand for illegal drugs, there will be an illegal drug trade. Personally the biggest hard to get over shock for me was the flash flooding. There was a 100 year flood right before I moved there and then another one while I was there. HWY 281 was flooded for several weeks (in the Olmos area); Salado creek and others routinely flood and turn into rivers after heavy rain and block off any number of roads and access roads near the major highways. This is quite frightening, comes up suddenly (sometimes just a few hours) and you have to be prepared to deal with it as people routinely die trying to drive through flooded areas that don't look that deep. There were weeks that I had only one unflooded route into and out of BAMC / Ft. Sam Houston. I would recommend driving a vehicle with a high wheel base. And this is Texas so you can expect to drive. Now that military bases are limited access (post 9/11) they are much safer. I would recommend boning up on your Spanish, though most people I knew there of Hispanic origin were bilingual. And yes the airport totally SUCKS for a city of this size and for the tourists that no doubt add a lot of money to city coffers. And I found the airport shuttle service (the cheaper one, not the town cars) to be unreliable. There is nothing worse than to be out waiting for the van and they don't show up and you have to make a mad dash to the airport by driving yourself. Why did the van not show? A couple people called in sick.
Tacoma, WA Posted On: 2/22/2010 9:25:17 AM
I live here because I had a job opportunity. As a retired military person and military brat I have lived all over the USA and had tours in Asia and Europe. I live in Lakewood which is a town now that used to be considered part of Tacoma in a higher end neighborhood which is near Joint Base Lewis Mcchord; I have lived here off and on since 1983. However, the Clover Park School district which includes Lakewood leaves much to be desired. Personally if I were telling someone where to live I would recommend University Place (another town that used to be part of Tacoma) which has the best local schools or possibly Northeast Tacoma which is basically part of Federal Way, a bedroom community for Seattle. Affordability in University Place and Federal Way can be a problem, though. If you are military, there are several planned communities particularly Northwest Landing which is adjacent to Ft. Lewis which is part of the Steilacoom school district. Also, most of the growth in this area is in Pierce county, ie. Puyallup and Southhill, and North Thurston County. The demographics in these growth areas are more conservative and white--you will live further out and you will have a commute. If you commute, the major corridors I-5, I-405, SR 167, SR99, SR512, etc. will make you feel like you are wasting a lot of time sitting in traffic. There are some places you cannot get to without I-5 which is a problem, in my opinion. Some people have a problem with so much rain up here, but it really depends. There's plenty of culture here and you are within easy striking distance of mountains and seashore, and big cities sa. Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver BC. The state is pretty much dependent on property taxes and sales taxes which tend to be regressive and hurt people closer to the bottom of the income scale.