Dallas Doesn't Have To Be the City Portrayed in the HUD Segregation Complaint

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The_Beverly_Hillbillies.jpg
This is not the image Dallas should go for.
As the full implications gradually become better known, the federal investigative report released late last month accusing Dallas of segregation will shine a bright national light on the city. One housing policy watcher is already calling the case "Westchester on steroids," a reference to the last big case like this in a New York county, arguing that charges brought against Dallas by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development represent a major turnaround in national fair housing policy and enforcement -- and not just at HUD but in the behavior of every White House administration since passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968. That makes the Dallas case a national story. If that's true, communities all over the country will watch Dallas to see what our case means for them.

Big elements of national housing law, things you would assume were worked out decades ago like the basic rules for fighting segregation, have never been worked out in the entire previous 45-year history of the law. Apparently those things are going to get worked out on our watch.

HUD has a lot of bad road behind it on these issues, some of which is already being cited as a defense of Dallas' own bad road. The city's hip-shot response right out the door to the HUD complaint was a statement last week from spokesman Frank Librio, echoed later in remarks by Mayor Mike Rawlings in a radio interview, to the effect that Dallas didn't do anything to segregate federally subsidized housing downtown that wasn't signed off on and approved by HUD.

The fact is that HUD has a horrendous record under Republican and Democratic presidents alike of looking the other way, signing off when it shouldn't and continuing to dole out billions in federal aid to communities it knows or should know are using HUD money to social-engineer the building of racial ghettos.

Last year Nikole Hannah-Jones, writing for the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, described HUD's long and sordid record of federally subsidizing segregation in violation of its own authorizing legislation. Her piece is sure to take on Biblical importance at Dallas City Hall in months ahead.

A tough critic of HUD quoted often in the ProPublica stories is Dallas' own Elizabeth Julian, who was President Bill Clinton's deputy assistant secretary of HUD over fair housing policy in the late 1990s. Julian was a lawyer for the plaintiffs in Dallas' landmark Walker housing segregation suit in the late '80s and early '90s.

Read one way, the articles by Hannah-Jones will be taken as a sort of vindication for Dallas. Why should Dallas be anybody's bull's eye, officials and politicians here will ask, given HUD's own dark record of complicity and the long string of instances where other communities have been let off the hook for things as bad or worse than whatever Dallas did?

One of Hannah-Jones' most piquant narratives is a piece she wrote last year about HUD's utter failure to do anything about blatant federally subsidized segregation in Westchester County north of New York City, where HUD quailed from action for years until a judge in a private lawsuit blistered the agency for failing to stick up for its own laws. What makes that article so fun is all the famous liberals who live in Westchester, the Clintons and Cuomos (Andrew Cuomo was Clinton's secretary of HUD), for example. The Clintons and Cuomos wouldn't even talk to PropPublica for its piece, reinforcing an impression left by their own lousy record in Washington on housing desegregation enforcement.

So, yeah, Dallas could say good for the goose, good for the gander, why are they picking on us? We could go that route and probably garner a lot of support from other communities around the country.

But, wait. Would Dallas really want to become a poster child for the defenders of housing segregation? We are not a city that tilts naturally toward segregation. One of the most interesting elements of the complaint against Dallas is a statistical study showing that, left to our own devices and before City Hall intervened, we were trending naturally toward desegregation. According to the study by deseg expert Andrew Beveridge, we were becoming a less segregated city from 1980 to 2000 -- a trend most of us could confirm simply from the evidence of our eyes.

How Dallas City Hall Put Us Back Behind a 25-Year-Old Eight-Ball on Segregation

It was only in 2000, when City Hall adopted an entire fabric of cheats to keep minorities out of newly renovated towers downtown, that our numbers reversed and Dallas began getting more segregated again. I will talk about this in my column in the paper this week.

Did I just say "cheats?" Well, HUD says we cheated. We took their money, which by law is supposed to be used to desegregate the city, and we used it in ways that increased segregation.

All that stuff about HUD's past, HUD will say, will not work as a defense for us. They will say, "So what? That was the past. That sheriff done died."

But again, why would we as a city want to defend the behavior of our City Hall anyway in what sure looks like a long and clear record of racial discrimination? If anything in recent years, we've become a pretty cool city, fairly cosmopolitan, where lots of different kinds of people are at ease with each other. So why would we want to go with the uncool cities? Why on earth would we want to become their poster child?

The truth of the matter, when you look back over the entire history, is that few places have a good record on this. The Achilles heel of even the liberals is that they always want to desegregate somebody else's town, but everybody goes back indoors and draws the drapes when the marchers come to their own little refuge.

Maybe this is the opportunity Dallas needed to turn some things around at City Hall. Racial segregation enforced by government policy is not where we were headed or what we wanted until City Hall social engineered us back into it. Why would we defend that kind of City Hall? What we really need to do is send people packing for putting us in this picture.

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31 comments
sunnil53
sunnil53

Another reason to vote out the Democrats in 2012 and 2014. What does Old Lady Clinton think about HUD's new policy?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

So we tell the Feds we do not know how to spend your money so don't send us any more money for subsidized housing.  If you want a penalty on top of it, we'll fight you for decades.  Don't call us, we'll call you.

Seems like everybody will be happy.  North, south and downtown.  It was stupid to take the money from the jump if the dimwits at City Hall could not come up with a better cover up.  Even their attempts to defraud are mediocre.

rusknative
rusknative

why do asians only want to live in neighborhoods with other asians?

why do Hispanics only want to associate and be neighborly with other Hispanics?

why do black kids only sit with other black kids in DISD and other school cafeterias at lunch?

why is there a Congressional Black Caucus and no Congressional White Caucus?

Why is their no White History Month observed by the schools when there is a Black History Month...?

Why did John Wiley Price NEED to create an "art" piece out of an old water fountain in the Records building and not make an art piece out of the old White Court Rooms in the same building?


the "segregation" is self imposed by race groups by PREFERENCE, and the living accommodations are imposed by ECONOMICS and FEDERAL SUBSIDIES.


Dallas is NOT THE SEGREGATOR......but economics, race baiters, and federal handouts are the guilty parties.

NotReallyThanks
NotReallyThanks

Why don't all the white liberals crowing about segregation do something about it and move into the "racial ghettos?" 


Too scared of being accused of the G word? 

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

"What makes that article so fun is all the famous liberals who live in Westchester, the Clintons and Cuomos (Andrew Cuomo was Clinton's secretary of HUD), for example. The Clintons and Cuomos wouldn't even talk to PropPublica for its piece, reinforcing an impression left by their own lousy record in Washington on housing desegregation enforcement."

This just goes to prove that, liberal or conservative, rich people don't even want to live near lower middle class people.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Jim, your headline: yes it does, because its excessive smugness, and dimwit "city that works" supposed efficiency mentality always trip it up.

DFWconspiracy
DFWconspiracy

Racism still exists, it's just gone below the surface, getting more insiduous. Poll Taxes have become Voter ID laws. Segregation is New Development. And, yeah, even liberals hold racial prejudices. As soon as the black population hits something like 12% in a neighborhood, people start packing up.

The only check on segregation is integration. When people live next to each other--work side by side, day to day--it becomes a lot harder to be a racist. People open up, communicate, recognize differences but also similarities, see each other on a human level. Left to its own devices, segregation feeds on itself and gains momentum.

The great David Simon recently called out the two Americas, saying one is a horror show. He said the difference today is less about race and more about class. Shove the poor people over to the other side of the highway and cut their school-funding on top of that.

This country is going down the drain.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

White politicians think that keeping black folks in the ghetto is good for them.  Black politicians think that keeping black folks in the ghetto is good for them.  Conservative politicians think that keeping black folks in the ghetto is good for them.  Liberal politicians think that keeping black folks in the ghetto is good for them.


At the end of the day, all politicians think that they (personally) are better off if black folks stay in the ghetto.  The only way to end it is to get politicians out of the equation all together.  The state should not be deciding who lives where, which is what "housing programs" always result in.

finley5
finley5

"The truth of the matter, when you look back over the entire history, is that few places have a good record on this. The Achilles heel of even the liberals is that they always want to desegregate somebody else's town, but everybody goes back indoors and draws the drapes when the marchers come to their own little refuge.

Maybe this is the opportunity Dallas needed to turn some things around at City Hall. Racial segregation enforced by government policy is not where we were headed or what we wanted until City Hall social engineered us back into it. Why would we defend that kind of City Hall? What we really need to do is send people packing for putting us in this picture."

Its time for Dallas and HUD to do the right thing on all accounts. Its time for both sides to enforce laws and follow the laws. We are a nation of laws, and those laws must be enforced and followed. Otherwise, we are just in chaos, without order. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Isn't segregation the cornerstone of 14-1?

Districts are drawn to elect certain colors of people, right?

You think Vonciel would get elected otherwise?

Gotta put the voters where they can do what they're supposed to do.

jobe3
jobe3

Your point is a truth, just has nothing to do with the fraud committed by Dallas, when using federal housing funds. There were many ways for Dallas to live up to the spirit of the law and still not place the subsidized housing "close to rich people."

They just had zero respect for the laws and acted with absolute impunity, which is now coming to bite them in the ass.

rusknative
rusknative

I call "integration" BS social engineering by idiots.

rusknative
rusknative

the ONLY pathway OUT of your "ghetto"....a word CREATED to invoke mega emotional angst....is education and work and values and nuclear families.  All else is wasted effort and other folks MONEY.

finley5
finley5

@everlastingphelps


Remember, primarily, this is a government fraud issue first. Then, its a race issue, secondarily. 

rusknative
rusknative

start by getting rid of HUD totally.

jobe3
jobe3

This federal housing money has long been a cess pool for both political parties but, it's great that finally HUD has taken a stand to enforce the laws they are mandated to enforce. See Administrative Procedure Act.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

The problem is, Dallas wants rich people in downtown. And, since the city is ran by the rich people, that's what the city staff tried to do.

DFWconspiracy
DFWconspiracy

@rusknative I'm with you, Grandwizard. Keep the races seperate and in camps. Segregation now, segregation forever!

rusknative
rusknative

well...."poor folks" will NOT generate any serious TAX REVENUE...and the ENTIRE city runs on TAX revenues, city AND county...and the GOVERNMENTS of both CITY and DALLAS COUNTY are running the so called "rich" (read educated and employed professional folks...white, asian, and all others as well) OUT of the city and the county.

rusknative
rusknative

all I HEAR is "POOR BLACK REPRESENTATIVE ACTIVISTS" SHOUTING THEIR VOICE....they got a PRESIDENT and ATTORNEY GENERAL that represent ONLY the blacks....so you are posing a phoney argument

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Where is the order of magnitude 'Like' button on here?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@primi_timpano Sure, and the sooner we realize that we are flawed and should limit the harm we do to our own lives and not everyone else's, we are all better off.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@primi_timpano we?  theres nobody in any form of government that represents any of my interests.  Now if you make 500k + a year there are people in government who care about you and your interests.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Like it or not, we are the government.  We elect our representatives, they appoint the bureaucracy.  We get the democracy we deserve.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@finley5 @everlastingphelps Yup, especially when they can be relied upon to pull the same voting lever no matter how badly their own representatives shit on them because "racism."

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