“Don't tell me we don't have a drug problem in this neighborhood - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

“Don't tell me we don't have a drug problem in this neighborhood.”

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) -

 

A Gladewater city official demolished three homes Saturday that he says were dilapidated, drug houses. 

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Owens purchased the properties, and he says he is determined to turn the neighborhood around. But not everyone on Hurley Ave. is convinced the changes are for the right reasons     

Owens and others picked-up scraps of what's left of the three homes demolished over the weekend on Hurley Ave. in Gladewater. Owens says they were run-down drug dens that had to go.
 
"You would have traffic here similar at times like you would have Highway 80, except they were all just coming through and stopping," said Owens.

So, he bought the properties from David Sturkie, and the homes came crumbling down. Sturkie says he owned the properties for a period of ten days. He says he purchased the homes in order to help Owens clean-up the street. Sturkie says he never actually rented the homes out or managed the properties. 

"As you can see, it's really going to make a difference in this neighborhood," said Sturkie.

     
Nova Stafford's home backs up to the demolished houses. 
         
"Opening my back door and having to look at that as well as the smell of just roaches and rotted wood was disgusting," said Stafford.

While Stafford is relieved the view from her backyard is changing, some neighbors across the street say the demolition wasn't entirely motivated by drugs. 

"I feel like this is a publicity stunt for him to make mayor because all those houses was not drug houses," said Michael Richards, neighbor. 

As we were there, Richards shared his opinion with Owens. The conversation got a little contentious.
    
Scott Owens: "So, don't tell me we don't have a drug problem in this neighborhood." 
Michael Richards: "I said what have we done in our yard? Our house?"
Scott Owens: "If you're clean, you aint got nothing to worry about Bubba." 
Michael Richards: "You know that word Bubba is a prejudice word."
Scott Owens: "I don't know your name, and if it's in East Texas...."
Michael Richards: "Sir, my name's sir." 
Scott Owens: "It's what?" 
Michael Richards: "Sir."
Scott Owens: "Sir." 
Michael Richards: "Just like I address you as sir." 
Scott Owens: "Alright sir if you don't have a problem. If you're innocent." 
Michael Richards: "That's what I don't understand right there. They found drugs there. You can't argue that statement, and I'm not defending drug dealers. I don't like drug dealers in my community." 
Scott Owens: "Well, I don't either." 
Michael Richards: "Okay, but those two houses was not drug houses. So you going to make a little "article", trying to make it look good for yourself." 

That exchange went on for roughly seven minutes. Owens says he will finish the demolition he began planning years ago, saying it will bring new homes, and bring this street back to life.

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