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Brogard says he's seen no decline in home prices in FQ Story yet, but he thinks it could happen. And he believes the publicity Diomede has generated eventually will turn against the Block Watch.
"At some point, politicians and other people don't want to be associated with someone who is seeking constant bad publicity," Brogard says. "I just think that trying to make your own neighborhood look bad is going to say to the politicians, 'Well, why should we spend our money on such a bad place?'. . . People like to be with a winner. They don't want to be with a loser."
The split between the two groups is extending to other issues as well. Block Watch people favor speed bumps and the shifting of recycling bins and water lines from the alleys. Preservation people have come out against those measures. Diomede likens it to a litmus test on neighborhood conflicts.
Diomede and Brogard are not just sniping at each other from behind their hedges the way neighbors sometimes do; they've talked to each other. But even though both say they don't want to see the neighborhood divided into two camps, neither is really willing to alter course.
"I don't think anything's going to stop us as long as we keep the ball rolling forward," Diomede says.
"If we can't [compromise], we can't," Brogard says.
Crime is up in FQ Story. The neighborhood's ranking in the citywide crime statistics has risen this year, though more than 100 of the city's grids--the blocked-out areas used to measure crime--are still ahead of the historic district.
Officer Jeff Nolder, who's worked FQ Story, says residents should be concerned and involved, and that the Block Watch has taken the right steps.
Nolder, currently assigned to the Safe Streets unit, says he knows many FQ Story residents who are "fed up."
"If you're asking, are there drugs, are there transients wandering in and out, are there loud parties, robberies? Yes, there are. I think if something's not 100 percent, then there is a problem."
Both Diomede and Brogard say they're satisfied with the police effort. However, their argument isn't really about crime levels. The two men aren't going to find common ground because they really don't live in the same place.
Bruce Brogard believes he lives in a basically quiet and friendly place. "There are lots of ways to fight crime," he says. "A lot of people who've had cars and houses broken into, it's because they left their cars unlocked and they left their houses unlocked. But we live in a city, and we live in a relatively safe city. I've lived in Los Angeles. I've lived in the infamous Ramparts section. Nick is quoted as saying there are people who are afraid to go out and empty their trash. I don't know anybody who feels like that."
Nick Diomede believes the Historic Preservation Association's home tour masks the real problems of his neighborhood. "As [another resident] said last week, she's sick and tired of this neighborhood being run as a real estate flier," Diomede says.