Those Damn Kids

In Pasadena, it's those damn adults

At least that's what appears to be happening in the fashionable Avondale section of Montrose, where one homeowner put out a sign covered with the kind of tasteful, sexy silhouette art usually displayed on the mudflaps of 18-wheelers.

"Welcome to Houston's Red Light District -- the Nation's Only Legal Drug Dealing & Prostitution Area!" the sign read. "Please wait here for the next available customer-service representative."

"3 BR/2 bath/WBFP/Convenient to all vices," it didn't continue.

The owner of the sign apparently believes Houston police have been lackadaisical in curbing the private businesses that tend to spring up on some Montrose street corners.

The owner of the sign (which comes and goes, apparently) couldn't be reached, but Jack Rose, president of the Neartown Association, is of two minds about the DIY advertising.

"We're kind of torn. It's a clever sign," he says. "It's accomplishing, I think, what it set out to do, which is to raise awareness."

On the other hand, raising that kind of awareness may not help property values. Or at least attract the "right kind" of home buyers, meaning the non-drug-dealing, non-hooker-using kind.

Rose admits complaints about dealers and prostitutes have increased lately: "It does seem to be worse than usual," he says.

Rose, however, has somehow held off on ordering a large "Welcome to Cracktown" banner for Pacific Street. If he needs art ideas, though, he knows where to go.

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