How to Destroy a City

Liberals pay attention.  In Huntsville, AL, right now, a primer is being written on exactly how to take a beautiful, pleasant Southern city and turn it into Detroit South.  The Huntsville Housing Authority (HHA) bought a luxury apartment complex in an affluent neigborhood, is evicting the residents, and plans to move in denizens of an inner city housing project.  Since this abortion was performed by members of the city council and the HHA in secret, an original news item does not exist.  But you can get the basics here:


Briefly, the SE section of town is the higher property value, lower crime area, while the NW contains mostly high crime and drug infested neighborhoods.   And yes, the SE is mostly white and the NW is mostly black — but it was not always that way.  Forty years ago, all Huntsville neighborhoods were more or less quite decent places to live, e.g. low crime, good schools, nice aesthetics, etc. and the races were more or less integrated throughout the community.  However, in the sixties, when most of the housing projects were built either downtown or in the NW, well, you can guess what happened.  Those who were able moved to the SE.  (The NE consists of largely older, cotton mill era housing and most of the SW is covered by a military installation.)

Well, comes the 2008 election and Mr. Tommy Battle, a white mayoral candidate, promised black folk in the NW that future NIMBY projects would be located “somewhere else,” meaning, of course, the SE.  Mr. Battle is now mayor.  One great thing can be said for him, he kept his campaign promises — this one at least.  Now, officially, he has no power to determine where housing projects are located.  In reality, however, he has great influence.

One of the local racial charlatans,  a city councilman named Showers, says any opposition to the move is “racially tinged.”  How about “financially tinged” or “unfairness tinged” or just plain “wrong tinged?”   A few months ago, another secret decision moved Huntsville’s largest homeless shelter from the SW to the NW.  Showers led the racism charge on that one as well.  Obviously, a quid pro quo was in the making in addition to the heretofore mentioned political intrigues. 

There are so many things amiss with the planned dispersion of public housing that I don’t know where to begin.  The following opposition blog is typical of the kind of comments being made by the local lib establishment:

It’s really sad that this day and age that people still can not welcome diversity. It is a shame that people value property over human life. South Huntsville is no better than any other part of town. Everyone is judging and stereotyping the people moving in and they know nothing about them. You all have your theories that none of them work, they are not “law abiding, tax paying citizens”. It was stated at the meeting that more crime happens outside of the projects than in. Just read the police blotter in the paper.I will never put any of you on a pedestal and say that just because you live on that side of town that you are better. Please. The south side has been catered to long enough. It is about times that things were even in this city.
Got that?  Because residents in the SE have worked, scrimped and saved all their life to live in a decent neighborhood they are “being catered to” for fighting to keep there property values from dropping any lower than Obamanomics has already left them.  And now, since they are so uppity as to try and save the largest investment they will ever make, it’s time to get “even.”  Notice the implicit class warfare theme.  Welcome to the land of the Obamanation.  If want to keep your property values up, you are a selfish elitist with no regard for the “less fortunate.”  Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t yet know that dropping out of high school and having babies is a sure road to poverty?  Hello!
And oh please.  The above respondant needs to check out of La La land long enough to go pick up her next Prozac prescription. If there is less crime in the projets, which I doubt, it’s because of one or two salient, but easily overlooked factors. One is that HPD practically lives in the projects.  The police are there so much these locales resemble mini-precinct stations.  And/or two, since there is no wealth in the projects, the malevolent among them have to go to the surrounding countryside to sell drugs, rob, pillage or whatever. Thus, the issue we’re discussing now.  Surely this is a syllogistic point.  If no social pathaologies were connected to public housing projects, no one would care where they were located.
As previously mentioned, the projected living quarters, Stone Manor, are not just ANY appartments.  The Huntsville Housing Autority has sold some of its’ current public housing units, located on prime, downtown real estate, to big time developers for a pretty penny.  They then took that money and bought a, wait for it, Luxury apartment complex located contiguous to one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city, Fleming Hills.  And I mean one huindred yards from very nice, and expensive, homes.  Some proponents of the move, besides trying to shout down the opposition with charges of racism, are now saying the real reason for the move is to “integrate” the nearby schools.  Well, they are already integrated.  Of course, there are majority white and majority black schools in the city, but they are all integrated.
Besides political pay offs, now we’re getting down to another latent reason for spreading out the blight – MORE SOCIAL ENGINEERING.  I guess we should forget that all previous attempts at social engineering have been GIGANTIC FAILURES and that is why we’re in the mess we’re in now.  I opposed public housing in the sixties for the very reasons social engineers now cite for “spreading the poverty.”   For instance,  “clustering” urban poverty and, therefore, social pathologies, is a bad idea.  I long ago said that pub housing projects were depressing, demoralizing and undignified.  And yet, here we are fifty years later with wheel- reinventing social worker types “explaining” these very sentiments and passing them off as highly original and “compassionate” thinking.  Spreading the blight “to preserve these people’s dignity,” just like substituting credit card-like EBT cards for food stamps, is now considered au courant wisdom among the “more caring than you” crowd.  And now, the poor babies (no pun) will not have to suffer the indignity of living in a housing project.  Unfortunately, the poor adults who bought expensive homes a mere half a block away will have to reinvent some way to rescue their hard-earned equity from a sinking socialist economy.

Anyway, just how will living in a formerly luxe, but soon to be thrashed apt building with fifty other govt dependents improve anyone’s self-respect?  What can a modern black kid say whose single parent lives in the projects?  “Hey, come over to my HHA provided, rent subsidized apt, but watch out you don’t get mugged or shot.”  Some dignity.

When I was a boy, one of my black friends lived in a neighborhood of small houses located where a public middle school stands now. Granted, they were not as nice as our three bedroom tract houses in a nearby subdivision, but you know what? It was HIS home. He could say, “Let’s go over to MY house.” Now that’s dignity.

And what of the future of Huntsville Real Estate?  Will the HHA be buying up expensive homes next?  Will anyone even want to purchase residential real estate anywhere in the city limits for fear of losing a huge chunk of their investment by govt fiat?  When affluent residents move out to the county or even neighboring counties, what will happen to the tax base?  Will ALL of Huntsville become another example of urban blight, complete with burned-out buildings and drive-by shootings?

And I haven’t even begun to discuss fifth amendment taking violations.  I realize SCOTUS has muddied the water lately regarding the exact meaning of “public purpose,” but at some point will Obama’s minions simply have the right to take anything for any reason.  Yeah, I know.  Such a possiblity seemed far-fetched to me only a few short years ago, too.  To quote a recent column by George Will:

The court’s virtual nullification of the “public use” requirement encourages lawlessness, which will proliferate until the court enunciates the constitutional principle that the takings clause protects money against egregious seizures.

If a person’s hard-won home equity does not represent money, what does?  Like I said, there are so many things wrong with the council and HHA’s actions it’s hard to know where to start.  The more troubling queston, though, is where will it end?