Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Uncle Sam botches what nature would fix

I know we've covered a lot of race-based topics lately, but see if you can read this post independent of racial topics:


As more and more black renters began moving into this mostly white San Francisco Bay Area suburb a few years ago, neighbors started complaining about loud parties, mean pit bulls, blaring car radios, prostitution, drug dealing and muggings of schoolchildren.

In 2006, as the influx reached its peak, the police department formed a special crime-fighting unit to deal with the complaints, and authorities began cracking down on tenants in federally subsidized housing.

Now that police unit is the focus of lawsuits by black families who allege the city of 100,000 is orchestrating a campaign to drive them out.

AP


The reason we eliminate race from the equation is that, in a multicultural society where you are a minority, any opposition at first seems like racism. It's the same way kids always feel their teachers "hate them" when the teachers grade them down for sub-par work.

But here we have a simple equation: impoverished people moving into an area, and local residents are afraid that the area will come to resembles areas from which impoverished people come. Not illogical: poverty implies a certain degree of detachment from social process and, if they've lived in such places, their standards come pre-lowered.

Why did this happen?


A growing number of landlords were seeking a guaranteed source of revenue in a city hard-hit by foreclosures. They began offering their Antioch homes to low-income tenants in the HUD Section 8 housing program, which pays about two-thirds of every tenant's rent.


So Uncle Sap is subsidizing these landlords who figure guaranteed income is better than higher income, all in the name of doing good, and therefore, a community is ruined.

The press will try to spin the race angle -- why? it's spicier, because it's the elephant in the room of US politics: we all know history has no examples of surviving successful multicultural republics, only third-world ruins in their place -- but really this is about income and well-intentioned government policies wrecking otherwise nice places.

Oh, and what were the results of these innocent poor people moving in -- I'll put it here to make it crystal clear:


In 2006, violent crime in Antioch shot up about 19 percent from the year before, while property crime went down slightly.

Police sent 315 complaints about subsidized tenants to the Contra Costa Housing Authority, which manages the federal program in the city, and urged the agency to evict many of them for lease violations such as drug use or gun possession.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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