Since the beginning, RG4N has slickly marketed itself as the voice of "the" Northcross neighborhoods. Which are "the" neighborhoods? According to RG4N's website, they are Allandale, N. Shoal Creek, Wooten, Crestview, Brentwood and Rosedale.
Just look at a map. Why these six? There are other neighborhoods close by, certainly closer than Brentwood or Rosedale. Why don't they count? If they do count, where's their representation? Where's the evidence that they too want Wal-Mart to go away?
Take a look at the map.
Northcross is the black square. The RG4N neighborhoods are bordered by red. (The southern boundary is missing because I couldn't get all of Rosedale on the map at this scale.) The neighborhoods outlined in blue either are not represented by RG4N or, if they are, RG4N isn't publicizing it.
Why do the neighborhoods bordered by red count, while the ones bordered by blue do not? It's not a question of proximity: the center of the "blue" neighborhoods is just as close to Northcross as the heart of Brentwood:
It's certainly not a question of gross population: the neighborhoods bordered by blue have a population of over 41,000; the RG4N neighborhoods total less than 35,000.
Perhaps RG4N does speak for the neighborhoods bordered by blue. If so, RG4N should make that clear. It would be easy enough to do. The blue neighborhoods include parts of the North Austin Civic Association, Georgian Acres, North Lamar and Highland Mall neighborhoods. If RG4N has their support, it should add them to its list.
But there are some differences between the red and blue neighborhoods that make me doubt that RG4N speaks for everyone.
Let's start with density. The census tracts just northeast of 183 are much denser than the RG4N neighborhoods. The bright green tracts have 8,000+ people per square mile; the dark green tract has 11,000+. That's dense multi-family. By contrast, Allandale and Crestview (the pale green tracts to the south of Northcross) have suburban densities of fewer than 4,000+ per square mile. (Maps are based on 2000 Census data and generated at Census Bureau website.)
Ethnicity. The City has demographic info on each neighborhood planning area here. These are 2000 census figures, which are getting a little stale, but they're still probably close enough. In 2000, 86% of Allandale's residents were non-hispanic whites. The numbers for the other RG4N neigbhorhoods: Brentwood, 72%; Crestview, 81%; N. Shoal Creek, 74%; Rosedale, 90%; Wooten, 48%.
The percentages of non-hispanic whites in the blue-bordered census tracts? 36.3%, 27.4%, 29.5%, 27.9%, 29.3%, 47.4%, 32.6% (respectively, census tracts 18.04, 18.05, 18.06, 18.19, 18.20, 18.22 and 18.23).
Income. The median family income in Allandale in 2000 was $67,488. For Brentwood, $43,417. For Crestview, $50,445; N. Shoal Creek, $51,997; Rosedale, $71, 416; Wooten, $39,607. (Again, this is City data based on the 2000 Census). I don't have income data for the blue-bordered census tracts, but they are part of NACA ($38,249), Georgian Acres ($28,169), N. Lamar ($34,767), and Highland Mall ($36,651). All are significantly below the "red" weighted average of $53,937.
These medians figures don't do justice to the income disparities. Try this instead (again, courtesy of COA). Here's Allandale:
Families making $35,000 or less usually are trying to stretch every dollar. A Super Wal-Mart nearby would help them do that. But I don't mean to patronize anyone. The Austinites who live in the blue-bordered neighborhoods may oppose the Northcross Wal-Mart, too. I don't know one way or the other. I'll remain skeptical that RG4N is representing their interests, though, until I see some evidence. The "Arms Around Northcross" theater wasn't it.
For the sake of completeness, here are the other bar graphs: