Marinwood CSD receives rude messages from public after the April 2016 went viral on Youtube. The video which shows police attempting to remove citizen from the Marinwood CSD meeting after an outburst objecting to the new Orwellian speech code. Jeff Naylor wants to keep his information on the web to speak with local citizens. Izabela Perry and Leah Kleinman-Green agree. Leah Kleinman-Green speculates that the prank caller may have been hired by a local person to terrorize the board. She prefers listing her phone number because "she doesn't have to call back".
Justin Kai, Marinwood CSD Board president asks the board to adopt a new communication policy to protect themselves from unwanted public contact to avoid incidents like Florida.
Ultimately, the majority of the board vote to maintain the status quo.
Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute offers two solutions to end segregation in housing in America. The first plan is to sell homes for far below market value to minorities. The second plan is to force low income housing and multifamily homes into every neighborhood. Only communities meeting racial criteria will be given HUD funding. Believe it or not, this is the basis upon which HUD's new rule "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) has been created. Marin County is a prime testing ground for the policy and Marinwood-Lucas Valley is the neighborhood targeted for massive redevelopment. He speaks at the Fair Housing of Marin Conference held in San Rafael, CA on April 4, 2016.
Richard Rothstein, Research Associate at the Economic Policy Institute tells the history of the Nixon Era "Open Communities" that attempted to end segregation by zoning reforms and with holding HUD funding. It is the basis for today's Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule enacted by the Obama administration.
Here is a letter published in the Marin IJ in response to Dick Spotwoods article on moving homeless services to North San Rafael. Since the poster does not identify himself, it is impossible to know whether his statements are truthful. I think they offer interesting perspective. Maq Dahddi•a day ago
I worked for the County, in Social Services, and the County is complicit with former San Rafael City officials in the rise of the homeless population. A red-carpet was laid out for the professional homeless from other counties adjacent to Marin. Many applicants were already active in the those counties when they came to apply. While other types of applicants were asked to verify county residency, the homeless simply had to write a declaration that, as of that moment, they were Marin County residents. Then their services would be started here. The word got out: Marin County! They expedite your services; it's got meals, mail and mellowness! It just ballooned from there.
Once Electronic Food Stamps were started, it was actually possible to see where they were being used. Still is. The "homeless" (no vehicle etc.) Marin resident would get their card and -- voila -- within an hour it was completely drained (in ONE transactioin) at a Tenderloin (or like...) store in SF. An entire month of benefits.
I of course understand MOST homeless are not criminals, con-artists or abusers of a system. I have been homeless myself. However if the habitual, the chronic population could be demographically profiled, you would most likely see a preponderance of people NOT from Marin County; these people have severe dual-diagnosis issues and do deserve compassion. However they should not see Marin County as "easy street" (and, face it, would YOU choose to be homeless in Richmond, SF, or Oakland if catching a ride to Marin made your life simpler, easier and safer?).
Marinwood Plaza, Big Rock Deli and Silveira Ranch have been given Homeless shelter zoning by the Marin County Community Development Department in 2013
I support services for the homeless. The "mom and pop" Ritter House store is now a Wal-Mart and does not belong downtown. The homeless that taxpayer money goes to support -- indeed help thrive -- should have a connection to Marin County. If they're "passing through," they should not be given resident status just because it's easier here. If they need a bus ticket home, that's probably the best practice.
I remember an All-Staff Meeting about 6 years ago when the Director of Health and Human Services announced that "we will end homelessness in Marin." Didn't say how; didn't say when; didn't ever follow-up on that. In those 6 years the problematic homeless issue was grown 2-3 fold. What is needed are practical measures to mitigate a problem CREATED by the County and San Rafael. It sounds like the City finally understands the problem. They understand it's going to take more than platitudes
At the June 14, 2016 Marinwood CSD board meeting, I petition that Marinwood CSD comment on the relocation of the Ritter House homeless services to 67 Mark Dr in North San Rafael. The CSD is the first responder with Emergency Services and also owns thousands of acres of open space. We currently have problems with illegal encampments and homeless in our parks. This problem will greatly increase if allowed to go unchecked and burden our services. As a "stakeholder" it is imperative we are a part of the discussion. The board president, Justin Kai comments that the issue is not the business of the Marinwood CSD. At the end of the meeting, no director placed the issue on the agenda for discussion. What do you think?
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro revisited they are not going to tolerate landlords banning renters with criminal records from leasing their properties.
According to HUD, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings and in other housing-related activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.
HUD’s Office of General Counsel issues this guidance concerning how the Fair Housing Act applies to the use of criminal history by providers or operators of housing and real-estate related transactions. Specifically, this guidance addresses how the discriminatory effects and disparate treatment methods of proof apply in Fair Housing Act cases in which a housing provider justifies an adverse housing action – such as a refusal to rent or renew a lease – based on an individual’s criminal history.
Julián Castro, the HUD secretary, is expected on Monday to announce guidance that details his agency’s interpretation of how the fair housing law applies to policies that exclude people with criminal records, a group that is not explicitly protected by the act but falls under it in certain circumstances. Federal officials said landlords must distinguish between arrests and convictions and cannot use an arrest to ban applicants. In the case of applicants with convictions, property owners must prove that the exclusion is justified and consider factors like the nature and severity of the crime in assessing prospective tenants before excluding someone.
Mr. Castro said housing bans against former offenders were common.
“Right now, many housing providers use the fact of a conviction, any conviction, regardless of what it was for or how long ago it happened, to indefinitely bar folks from housing opportunities,” Mr. Castro said in a statement. “Many people who are coming back to neighborhoods are only looking for a fair chance to be productive members, but blanket policies like this unfairly deny them that chance.”
HUD’s guidance released on April 4, 2016, states that as many as 100 million U.S. adults – or nearly one-third of the population – have a criminal record of some sort. The United States prison population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world. As of 2012, the United States accounted for only about five percent of the world’s population, yet almost one quarter of the world’s prisoners were held in American prisons. Since 2004, an average of over 650,000 individuals have been released annually from federal and state prisons, and over 95% of current inmates will be released at some point. When individuals are released from prisons and jails, their ability to access safe, secure and affordable housing is critical to their successful reentry to society. Yet many formerly incarcerated individuals, as well as individuals who were convicted but not incarcerated, encounter significant barriers to securing housing, including public and other federally-subsidized housing, because of their criminal history. In some cases, even individuals who were arrested but not convicted face difficulty in securing housing based on their prior arrest.
Neither Castro nor the lawyers who advise property management companies and tenant screening services on fair housing issues, are surprised this is happening.
“Right now, many housing providers use the fact of a conviction, any conviction, regardless of what it was for or how long ago it happened, to indefinitely bar folks from housing opportunities,” Mr. Castro said in a statement.
“Many people who are coming back to neighborhoods are only looking for a fair chance to be productive members, but blanket policies like this unfairly deny them that chance,” added Castro.
The New York times also states:
The new federal housing guidance applies a legal standard that was upheld by the United States Supreme Court last year that allows plaintiffs to challenge housing practices that have a discriminatory effect without having to show discriminatory intent. The ruling allows plaintiffs to show instead that the practices both have a “disparate impact” on racial groups and are not justified. Blacks and Latinos are arrested, convicted and imprisoned in disproportionate numbers, and civil rights groups say they face equally disparate discrimination in finding housing.
Federal housing officials said the guidance was meant to emphasize to landlords that blanket bans are illegal, as well as to inform housing applicants of their rights. Housing officials said they can investigate violations and bring discrimination charges against landlords that could result in civil penalties for them, and damages for a person denied housing.
HUD’s revised guidance also discusses the three steps used to analyze claims that a housing provider’s use of criminal history to deny housing opportunities results in a discriminatory effect in violation of the Act.
1. Evaluating whether the criminal history policy or practice has a discriminatory effect
2. Evaluating whether the challenged policy or practice is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest
3. Evaluating whether there is a less discriminatory alternative
“Criminal screenings when used properly have been a reliable way to protect an apartment community from threats to residents including children and from severe damage to the property or residents' property HUD has allowed for criminal screening for housing managers for many years. A recently convicted and released sex offender may pose a serious threat to young children who freely play all around the property,” said Michael W. Skojec, lawyer and specialist from Ballard Spahr.
“HUD has had a longstanding prohibition against allowing convicted dealers in illegal drugs from living in public housing and now says those convictions may be used to deny a housing application because they pose a serious danger to others living nearby. Individuals who have been convicted of shooting, stabbing or raping other people are likely to be a greater threat to other residents based on the historic rates of repeat offenders,” added Skojec.
In October 2015, HUD announced it awarded $38 million total to more than 100 groups to be used for fighting housing discrimination.
The money is being awarded as part of HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
According to HUD, the funding provided through the competitive grants will help to support a range of fair housing enforcement efforts, including fair housing testing, as well as activities that help educate the public, housing providers and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
On April 1, 2016, HUD kicked off Fair Housing Month 2016 with the launch of a new national media campaign that helps the public to envision what communities with shared opportunity for all might look like. The new campaign is designed to further educate the public about their housing rights and the ideals behind HUD’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing initiative.
The campaign, developed in partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance, will include print and television public service announcements in English and in Spanish, as well as online videos and social media.
Ritter Center attorney, Andrew G. Giacomini, Managing Partner at HansonBridgett law firm, submitted a letter to the City of San Rafael on Monday June 6 in response to the City Staff Report about the Ritter Permit. Unfortunately this was not included in the Agenda packet for the meeting that night. It is worth the read.
If you didn’t attend or view the meeting online, Vice Mayor Kate Colin and Council member Maribeth Bushey both noted in the comments the appreciation of Ritter Center’s efforts to make changes in some of the transactional services. As a matter of fact, it was noted that the ideas to move the food pantry for homeless clients, showers and laundry and revise the postal services were all Ritter suggestions. Ritter is working with the City to reduce the impact of their services on downtown.
However, Ritter Center does have a response to the Staff Report providing a detailed accounting of why Ritter should not and cannot have its Use Permit revoked.
The constant vilification of Ritter distracts us from the myriad of contributing factors to the issues downtown. Yes, we can move some of the transactional services (food pantry, showers, laundry, etc.) to reduce traffic, but much of that traffic is people not causing any problems. Situated next to a Pawn Shop and a Liquor store, what are their impacts? They complain a lot, but how are they contributing to the problems? And Walgreens? Huge problem for the police and we wonder why they are open 24 hours.
It is a complex issue requiring a multi-faceted approach to solve. All the attention goes to Ritter as if this is the lynchpin. We’re not so sure of that. We agree Ritter Center should move to a location better suited for them, so they can provide the much needed services our community needs. Then we’ll see how downtown changes.
Andrew G.Giacomini’s Letter to the City Excerpts
Excerpts from the letter are below. Forgive my typing and if I missed a word, let me know and I’ll correct.
“In 2015 Ritter served 4262 individuals, 59% of whom are housed. They secured permanent housing for 174 individuals and provided subsidies to house 22 chronically homeless individuals. It placed 45 individuals in substance abuse centers outside of Marin County and provided substance abuse counseling for an additional 24 persons at off-site shelters. Not only has the Ritter Center not caused an increase in the homeless presence in downtown San Rafael, it has actually helped to prevent and reduce homelessness.” (pg 2)
– – – –
“When the City’s own police force brings troubled individuals to Ritter Center for help, it is unconscionable to them blame Ritter Center for the presence of those same individuals in downtown San Rafael. These allegations are equivalent to the City blaming a hospital for the presence of injured people after delivering the patients to the hospital. The City of San Rafael needs to acknowledge that Ritter Center is part of the solution, not the problem.” (pg 2)
– – – –
“Ritter Center receives no funding from the City for any services that it provides, and contrary to statements in the Staff Report, Ritter Center receives no funding from the County for any of the services that are proposed to be relocated through the MOU.” (pg 3)
– – – –
City Council Can’t Revoke The Use Permit
On page 3, Section IV. City Council Lacks Authority to Modify or Revoke Use Permit, I suggest you read this in full. Basically, the Planning Commission would have to schedule a hearing and prove Ritter is not complying with their Use Permit. There are NO findings that this is true. He goes on to say that if this process was pursued, some members of the City Council could be required to recuse themselves based on statements they’ve made.
– – – –
Police Calls to Ritter Down 44%
He goes on to explain the parameters of the Use Permit and Ritter’s compliance. There are comments about the number of police calls to the Ritter Center but it is pointed out that this is not a condition of the permit. Additionally, “…police calls to Ritter Center itself decreased 44% during the latest time period reported by the City.” (pg 6)
– – – –
Nuisance, Vagrancy Blamed on Ritter
“Here, the City has identified the ‘nuisance’ as homeless or vagrants loitering in downtown San Rafael, littering and urinating in public. These activities are not taking place on the Ritter Center property, but all over downtown. The City has attempted to tie these same homeless and vagrant individuals to the Ritter Center simply because the Ritter Center provides services to some homeless individuals or these individuals may have been seen loitering nearby. However, these same individuals likely use the services of many organizations and facilities downtown, including St. Vincent’s, Goodwill, Walgreens, liquor stores, parks, Safeway and those will to give money to panhandlers on downtown streets. Not only does Ritter Center not attract nuisance activity, it does not permit loitering or nuisance activity to foster on its property, providing security and litter removal extending beyond the property lines, fencing around the property, and requiring clients to sign rules that can result in being banned from services, if they are broken.” (pg 9)
– – – –
What about Walgreens?
Walgreens has accounted for a 66% increase in police calls from May-December. “Notably, the City does not vilify Walgreens publicly or even require that it maintain a private security force to police the activities of the patrons (including the homeless) that it attracts by selling alcohol, tobacco products and other drugs 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.” (pg 10)
Editor's Note: The above post was posted to a San Rafael downtown group that wants to relocate Ritter House to 67 Mark Dr. in North San Rafael (off Smith Ranch Rd.) Ritter's policies exclude "problem" homeless in their shelter. Where do these people end up? On the street and open space, of course. This is exactly the concern of our neighborhood. It isn't the clients of Ritter house but the NON-CLIENTS who are attracted to use Ritter's services that will take up residence in our open space and public areas. It is time that both sides of the debate get real. The problem of homeless services has an undesirable neighborhood effect which must be dealt with reasonably. The homeless problem is not going away. We should strive to maintain homeless services that minimize the negative effects on the surrounding neighborhood.
Under the firm leadership of Mayor Gary Phillips, the city of San Rafael is on the verge of assembling a package of practical changes that will do much to limit the impact of the chronic homeless in the Mission City’s downtown.
The negative impact from the long-term homeless on those who live and work in downtown San Rafael is painfully obvious. See the Article HERE
Behind every success, large or small, there is a story, and it isn’t always told by sex or skin color.
There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. “Check your privilege,” the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung. “Check your privilege,” they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.
I do not accuse those who “check” me and my perspective of overt racism, although the phrase, which assumes that simply because I belong to a certain ethnic group I should be judged collectively with it, toes that line. But I do condemn them for diminishing everything I have personally accomplished, all the hard work I have done in my life, and for ascribing all the fruit I reap not to the seeds I sow but to some invisible patron saint of white maleness who places it out for me before I even arrive. Furthermore, I condemn them for casting the equal protection clause, indeed the very idea of a meritocracy, as a myth, and for declaring that we are all governed by invisible forces (some would call them “stigmas” or “societal norms”), that our nation runs on racist and sexist conspiracies. Forget “you didn’t build that;” check your privilege and realize that nothing you have accomplished is real.
But they can’t be telling me that everything I’ve done with my life can be credited to the racist patriarchy holding my hand throughout my years of education and eventually guiding me into Princeton. Even that is too extreme. So to find out what they are saying, I decided to take their advice. I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I can’t possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today.
Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege.
Or maybe it’s the privilege my grandmother had of spending weeks upon weeks on a death march through Polish forests in subzero temperatures, one of just a handful to survive, only to be put in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she would have died but for the Allied forces who liberated her and helped her regain her health when her weight dwindled to barely 80 pounds.
Perhaps my privilege is that those two resilient individuals came to America with no money and no English, obtained citizenship, learned the language and met each other; that my grandfather started a humble wicker basket business with nothing but long hours, an idea, and an iron will—to paraphrase the man I never met: “I escaped Hitler. Some business troubles are going to ruin me?” Maybe my privilege is that they worked hard enough to raise four children, and to send them to Jewish day school and eventually City College.
Perhaps it was my privilege that my own father worked hard enough in City College to earn a spot at a top graduate school, got a good job, and for 25 years got up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time he wanted to spend with those he valued most—his wife and kids—to earn that living. I can say with certainty there was no legacy involved in any of his accomplishments. The wicker business just isn’t that influential. Now would you say that we’ve been really privileged? That our success has been gift-wrapped?
That’s the problem with calling someone out for the “privilege” which you assume has defined their narrative. You don’t know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are. Assuming they’ve benefitted from “power systems” or other conspiratorial imaginary institutions denies them credit for all they’ve done, things of which you may not even conceive. You don’t know whose father died defending your freedom. You don’t know whose mother escaped oppression. You don’t know who conquered their demons, or may still be conquering them now.
The truth is, though, that I have been exceptionally privileged in my life, albeit not in the way any detractors would have it.
It has been my distinct privilege that my grandparents came to America. First, that there was a place at all that would take them from the ruins of Europe. And second, that such a place was one where they could legally enter, learn the language, and acclimate to a society that ultimately allowed them to flourish.
It was their privilege to come to a country that grants equal protection under the law to its citizens, that cares not about religion or race, but the content of your character.
It was my privilege that my grandfather was blessed with resolve and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that he was lucky enough to come to the place where he could realize the dream of giving his children a better life than he had.
But far more important for me than his attributes was the legacy he sought to pass along, which forms the basis of what detractors call my “privilege,” but which actually should be praised as one of altruism and self-sacrifice. Those who came before us suffered for the sake of giving us a better life. When we similarly sacrifice for our descendents by caring for the planet, it’s called “environmentalism,” and is applauded. But when we do it by passing along property and a set of values, it’s called “privilege.” (And when we do it by raising questions about our crippling national debt, we’re called Tea Party radicals.) Such sacrifice of any form shouldn’t be scorned, but admired.
My exploration did yield some results. I recognize that it was my parents’ privilege and now my own that there is such a thing as an American dream which is attainable even for a penniless Jewish immigrant.
I am privileged that values like faith and education were passed along to me. My grandparents played an active role in my parents’ education, and some of my earliest memories included learning the
Hebrew alphabet with my Dad. It’s been made clear to me that education begins in the home, and the importance of parents’ involvement with their kids’ education—from mathematics to morality—cannot be overstated. It’s not a matter of white or black, male or female or any other division which we seek, but a matter of the values we pass along, the legacy we leave, that perpetuates “privilege.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Behind every success, large or small, there is a story, and it isn’t always told by sex or skin color. My appearance certainly doesn’t tell the whole story, and to assume that it does and that I should apologize for it is insulting. While I haven’t done everything for myself up to this point in my life, someone sacrificed themselves so that I can lead a better life. But that is a legacy I am proud of.
I have checked my privilege. And I apologize for nothing.
Tal Fortgang is a freshman from New Rochelle, NY. He plans to major in either History or Politics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This piece originally appeared on The Princeton Tory.
Supervisor Judy Arnold reports on the Fair Housing Conference in Marin in April 2016. She recounts the policy objective of HUD to "eliminate racism" by forcing racial quotas throughout Marin.
It will be interesting to see how Marin County will address this. For now, Marin County has indicated that it wants to place 80% of affordable housing in Marinwood Lucas Valley.
Does this seem right? Just build a bunch of big box apartment complexes and fill them up with minorities to "balance" our entire county? Is this just another form of apartheid?
Social engineers always think that the "next plan" is going to fix their "old plan". I have a suggestion: "Why not respect EVERY COMMUNITY. We are not "colors". We are people. Every neighborhood deserves respect."
April 20, 2016 County Connection By Judy Arnold Novato Advance Volume 93, Issue 16
I recently participated in an all-day conference about barriers to fair housing choice sponsored by Fair Housing of Marin.
Understanding what fair housing means is not all that easy. It is important to note that fair housing does not mean affordable housing. Lack of affordable housing may be identified as one barrier to fair housing, but many other issues may result in unfair access to housing. Fair housing is about giving people protected under the Civic Rights Law the opportunity to fulfill their choice of where they want to live. The protected class includes those categories listed in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability.
The conference kicked off by addressing “How Government Policies have Shaped Segregated Housing patterns in the Nation and the Bay Area” - taking a look back at how the federal government played a major role in perpetuating the segregation of African Americans (and other minorities) with housing policies in the 1930’s and the current challenge of reversing that pattern.
Sara Pratt, formerly of HUD and now counsel to a D.C. law firm, provided us with a broader understanding on the impact of segregation on communities and how HUD will be looking for patterns of integration and segregation, concentrated areas of poverty, disparate access to opportunity, and other community actions that prevent protected members of our communities from having a choice of where they can live.
Why is this information important? It is important because while fair housing laws have been on the books since 1968, some have argued their enforcement could have been better, and last year HUD released new rules regarding fair housing intended to do just that. These rules require local jurisdictions to identify areas of minority concentration (for Marin that could be the Canal, Marin City and areas in southern Novato), determine if local policies and practices encourage those patterns, and then prove to HUD that you are doing something to proactively undo those patterns.
Why should we care about this? First and foremost, tackling issues of racism and discrimination should be a priority for all of us, because it is the right thing to do. In addition to that, it is the law. Take a look at Westchester County in New York – they were found to have areas of minority concentration, were sued for failing to advance fair housing in their communities, and ultimately settled the lawsuit by agreeing to pay $30 million to HUD, as well as supply an additional $30 million for construction of 750 units of fair and affordable housing over a seven years period in areas of the County with low African American and Hispanic populations. Similar stories are found in Yonkers, New Orleans and most recently Baltimore County who, faced with a lawsuit, signed an agreement with HUD to commit at least $3 million in County funds annually for ten years to create no fewer than 1,000 affordable housing units.
HUD has made it clear to Marin County that we need to provide them with data on existing areas of minority concentration and what we will be doing as a community to address that trend. If we do not make meaningful movements towards this directive not only will we lose our Community Development Block Grant Funding from HUD that we currently use for housing like OMA Village in Novato or the Gates Cooperative in Sausalito, but we will surely be sued by a fair housing advocacy group which could result in a multi-million settlement that would mean cutting important services from our General Fund.
Stay tuned for more on this later this year, as the County will be partaking in an inclusive public process as we prepare our required report to HUD. The issue of fair housing is not a partisan one nor should it be a divisive issue for our cities and county. I look forward to a robust public discussion with our residents, city and town councils, and the county as we move forward to fulfill this mandate.
As always, my door is open to you and I welcome your suggestions and ideas. You can reach me at: (415) 473-7331 or email@example.com.
Statistical disparities between ethnic groups are normal, not evidence of racism.
By Thomas Sowell — March 10, 2015
The U.S. Department of Justice issued two reports last week, both growing out of the Ferguson, Mo., shooting of Michael Brown. The first report, about “the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson,” ought to be read by every American.
It sets forth in plain English the facts that have been established in this case — by an autopsy on Michael Brown’s body (by three different pathologists, including one representing the family of Michael Brown), DNA examination of officer Darren Wilson’s gun and police vehicle, examination of the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown died, and a medical report on officer Wilson from the hospital where he went for treatment.
The bottom line is that all this hard evidence, and more, shows what a complete lie was behind all the stories of Michael Brown’s being shot in the back or while raising his hands in surrender. Yet that lie was repeated, and dramatized in demonstrations and riots, from coast to coast, as well as in the media and even in the halls of Congress.
The other Justice Department report, issued the same day — “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department” — was a complete contrast. Sweeping assumptions take the place of facts, and misleading statistics are thrown around recklessly. This second report is worth reading just to get a sense of the contrast with the first.
According to the second report, law enforcement in Ferguson has a “disparate impact” on blacks and is “motivated” by “discriminatory intent.”
“Disparate impact” statistics have been used for decades, in many different contexts, to claim that discrimination is the reason why different groups are not equally represented as employees or in desirable positions or — as in this case — in undesirable positions as people arrested or fined.
Like many other uses of “disparate impact” statistics, the Justice Department’s evidence against the Ferguson police department consists of numbers showing that the percentage of people stopped by police or fined in court who are black is larger than the percentage of blacks in the local population.
The implicit assumption is that without “discriminatory intent,” these statistics would reflect the percentages of people in the population. But no matter how plausible that outcome might seem on the surface, it is seldom found in real life, and those who use this standard are seldom, if ever, asked to produce hard evidence that it is factually correct, as distinct from politically correct.
Blacks are far more statistically “overrepresented” among basketball stars in the NBA than among people stopped by police in Ferguson. Hispanics are similarly far more “overrepresented” among baseball stars than in the general population. Asian Americans are likewise far more “overrepresented” among students at leading engineering schools like M.I.T. and Caltech than in the population as a whole.
None of this is peculiar to the United States. You can find innumerable examples of such group disparities in countries around the world and throughout recorded history.
In 1802, for example, czarist Russia established a university in Estonia. For most of the 19th century, members of one ethnic group provided more of the students than any other (and a majority of the professors). This was neither the local majority (Estonians) nor the national majority (Russians), but Germans.
An international study of the ethnic makeup of military forces around the world found that “militaries fall far short of mirroring, even roughly, the multi-ethnic societies” from which they come.
Even with things whose outcomes are not in human hands, “disparate impact” is common. Men are struck by lightning several times as often as women. Most of the tornadoes in the entire world occur in the middle of the United States.
Since the population of Ferguson is 67 percent black, the greatest possible “overrepresentation” of blacks among those stopped by police or fined by courts is 50 percent. That would not make the top 100 disparities in the United States or the top 1,000 in the world. — Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
WESTCHESTER, New York — Donald Trump told Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino Tuesday he will discontinue the Housing and Urban Development regulation that allows the federal government to dictate local and state zoning laws.
Following a press conference Trump gave in Briarcliff Manor to reporters announcing he would give a major speech next week, Astorino met with the presumptive GOP nominee and discussed the battle he is engaged in with the Justice Department and HUD over an affordable housing settlement made in 2009 between Astorino’s predecessor and a New York based five person non profit, which put the county on the hook for 750 units of affordable housing.
Astorino argues the federal government now wants more than what the county originally agreed to in the settlement and can actually afford. In 2015, HUD Sec. Julian Castro established a rule, known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).
“[Trump] is aware of it and he understands it and he absolutely opposes what the Obama administration is trying to do and what Hillary would perpetuate. It’s urbanizing the suburbs and it’s taking away the rights of local communities through their own elected officials to determine how their community is made up,” Astorino told The Daily Caller. “And that’s exactly what the Obama administration is doing through the powers of the federal government. It would not continue under the [Trump] administration.”
The AFFH rule mandates $3 billion of annual community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties to rezone neighborhoods along income and racial stipulations, essentially forcing affordable housing into middle income and upper middle-income suburban neighborhoods.
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee attempted to defund the regulation on May 19 in a Senate appropriations bill last month, but all upper chamber Democrats and 13 Republicans voted to table his amendment.
“I found that very disappointing, because this amendment is something every Republican should be able to support. Every Republican purports to stand behind basic principles of local governance and federalism,” Lee told WBAL’s Derek Hunter last month.
“I was shocked when a dozen or so of my Republican colleagues voted against this amendment and therefore in favor of this AFFH rule, which is almost inevitably going to create a national housing authority — a national zoning board, if you will and it’s wrong,” the senator added.
TheDC followed up with a handful of Republicans who voted to table Lee’s amendment almost a week after the vote.
Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran had long “turned the page” regarding his vote on the amendment five days after the vote happened, calling it “past history,” when TheDC asked him why he voted to table Lee’s amendment. When pressed further, Cochran told TheDC he could not recall why he voted the way he did.
North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, another member who voted to table Lee’s amendment, told TheDC he preferred Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ amendment, which Lee said “didn’t do anything.”
“I liked what Senator Collins said in terms of prohibiting the federal authorities from getting into zoning decisions made by state and local governments,” Tillis said.
When asked how effective Collins amendment really was, since it just affirmed a federal law already in place, Tillis replied, “I think it’s reaffirming that in this administration it’s never useless to reaffirm what the law is because they have the tendency not to follow it, but to go a little bit loose on it.”
He added, “I think there are pieces to the Lee amendment that make sense we just got to find the right vehicle to get it on. This is not the right one.”
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told TheDC he voted to table the Lee amendment because it would have torpedoed the entire appropriations bill all together. However, Graham says he wants to work with Lee on his amendment.
“That’s probably something we should probably have a hearing on and try to establish if Mike’s solution is what we need to do — maybe so in another proposal,” he said. “I’ve talked to Mike about this, and I actually want to talk with him about maybe a way to modify it. I think he’s on to something, I just want to sit down with him and redraft this thing and see if we can maybe do it somewhere else.”
In the last week Governor Brown has pushed a plan quickly through the California state budget process that will cut community voice out of neighborhood housing policy. The California Budget Conference Committee is hearing Trailer Bill 707--"By-Right Development" today. A decision is likely to be made today whether to move the proposal forward, and we need you to take action now.
Tenants Together and member organizations have identified several ways cutting out public input could harm renters. The Governor's proposal would:
Increase development of market-rate housing without additional tenant protections against displacement;
Bypass community benefits agreements process where community groups are able to get developers to build more affordable housing;
Lead to potential demolition of rent-controlled homes because projects would bypass the public approval process.
Gavin McInnes of The Rebel.media says: I feel sorry for people who feel the need to be anonymous online. They are so scared of getting in trouble, they self censor. The thought police don’t even have to show up to work. We’re doing their jobs for them by hiding in the shadows.
What’s really amazing about these cowards is how arrogant they are. They relentlessly call non-anonymous people cowards and mock them from afar like it means anything to be insulted by a fictional character. They also believe their irrelevant comments are making a difference. They’re not.
We have people losing their jobs for making a donation. They are going to jail for refusing to marry homosexuals. We have soldiers in the Middle East dying for their country without questioning any orders. Housewives are getting arrested for letting their kids walk home alone from the park. Then, they do it again and get arrested again, on purpose. When the government tried to evict Cliven Bundy, men grabbed their guns and formed a line in front of the police. These people are making a difference.
If you’re hiding, the only cause you’re helping is political correctness. Don’t be cowed. Be a bull. Be yourself.