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View Diary: BREAKING: Scandal-plagued HUD Secretary resigning (185 comments)

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  •  Population of NO is lower... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cool Blue Reason

    Many of the NO residents moved to Houston during the devastation that the hurricane caused to the levees.  They are surviving.  No one said it would be a stroll in the park.  Everyone is sacrificing right now. HUD doesn't get money thrown at it for nothing.  The fact that they are taking the initiative to produce something better (as it is academically understood) should be praised.  What would you do?  Send them back to their poor housing and back to the situation that kept them there before the floods came?  Or would you take the opportunity with the extra money to build mixed-income housing to better their lives but live with a little delay?

    •  Yeah, it really worked out "better" for them this (4+ / 0-)

      ... way, didn't it Babs ?

      •  Give it time... (0+ / 0-)

        Are you saying it worked out better for them before this?  Of course it didn't.  The housing must be built and the infrastructure reconstructed before they can move back.  This doesn't happen in only a month.  It takes time.

        •  That works out better for them, A paraphrase (4+ / 0-)

          of Mrs Bush Senior and her infamous remark on seeing the overcrowded shelter in Houston.

          They all said, Sit down. Sit down, you're Baracking the Vote. There have to be some guys and dolls around who recognize the song. me

          by maybeeso in michigan on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:41:37 AM PDT

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        •  There has been time (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Hurricane Katrina happened back in August 2005. It's been more than a month, it's been nearly three years!

          I lived through Hurricane Andrew back in the early 90s' and I know it takes a few years for a city to recover from that kind of disaster. However the government stepped in and helped in every way it could to get those who wanted to return back into their communities so they could rebuild their homes and their lives. The government has not done this with New Orleans.

          You started off by comparing New Orleans to Paris and I pointed out the fallacy of your comparison since Paris was never hit by a natural disaster of the degree NO has experienced.

          As I said, if NO hadn't been hit by Katrina I'd agree with you, but at this moment given the shortage of housing in NO for lower income people, I'd say the timing is next to awful.

          What we're hearing out here on the left coast is that after nearly three years Hurricane Katrina refugees living in Houston are still struggling to survive. They can't find jobs because apparently local businesses won't hire them due to their transient status or just the fact they're from NO. They want to move back, but since there isn't any available low-income housing they cannot.

          I can't speak to the education level of the refugee students, however I wouldn't doubt they might be behind. Don't forget these kids basically lost everything they own. They saw and experienced things usually only seen as a result of war (how many bodies have you seen floating in flooded city streets?). Many probably have PTSD and that can affect their ability to perform academically.

          I agree with you that mixing people of different socioeconomic status helps those in the lower strata rise and we should be doing more things like providing mixed housing whenever and wherever we can, however to tear down habitable public housing in NO to accomplish that goal when that low income housing is needed to bring people back in to help rebuild the city shows a certain lack of empathy and compassion.

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

          by Cali Techie on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 08:16:25 AM PDT

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    •  Many NO residents did move to Houston (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Over the Edge, chigh

      San Antonio, and other "nearby" cities. This is true. However there are many who would move back in a heartbeat if there was a home for them to go to because they hate living in their new home cities because while the city governments welcomed them with open arms (when it looked like it would be temporary), the residents did not. The Katrina refugees face discrimination at almost every turn.

      It can be argued that the people who came from NO increased the crime rate, and to a certain degree that is true. However it's not because people from NO are criminals, it's because they can't find jobs in order to feed their families due to the discrimination. So for some the only way they can keep a roof on their heads, clothes on their backs, and food in their stomachs is to resort to trafficking in drugs and/or sex. Wouldn't it be better to bring them back into New Orleans, house them in the barely damaged public housing units and put them to work (at a decent wage) rebuilding the city?

      Of course that would mean NO would regain it's predominantly minority population and it's status as a Democratic stronghold, something Bush and the Republicans don't want.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:27:02 AM PDT

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      •  You've got to be kidding... (0+ / 0-)

        Discrimination in NO??  The entire city pre-Katrina was run by African-Americans.  When they moved to Houston, the power center was (and still is) in the African-American community.  I live in Houston.  The African-Americans here were appalled that their counterparts in NO were two to three grade levels behind their own children!  Discrimination?!  You are providing a disservice to the abilities of the African-American community.  Instead, ineptitude is to blame where the African-Americans in NO were placed in a position where they received handouts that didn't require work and this fed into a loop that kept people from hope.  This couldn't be sustained when they moved to Houston where they were required to go to school, obey laws, and find work.

        Finally, the government had an opportunity to step in post-Katrina and take those who the government pays their rent and food and build mixed-income housing for them which academia believes is the correct method to advancement today.

        As for those who want to return to NO, it is true: there's no place like home.  This phenomenon happens to anyone despite where they came from.  But you'll be surprised at the numbers who have taken the risk to forgo going home to make a new home in Texas where they've discovered they have more opportunity.

        •  Perhaps the African American community (0+ / 0-)

          in Houston has more influence overall than the African American community in NO, but to characterize it as the "power center"....uh, Wow!

          As a resident of Houston my observation is that members of African American neighborhoods here are very close knit and do take care of each other, just as in NO.  If whole communities are disrupted, the safety net--which is more than just financial--that community provided is gone.

    •  True, academics have been arguing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cool Blue Reason

      for a long time that crowded living conditions breed crime.  That's why we've been busy thinning out Baghdad, just like American cities have been thinned out over the last thirty plus years.
      The problem with this argument is that the reasoning is backwards. More people get arrested from close quarters, but that doesn't mean they actually commit more crime.  Moreover, it doesn't provide any explanation for why some people living on plush estates commit many crimes for which they never get arrested.  Nor does it explain why high density living (on Fifth Avenue in NY for example) doesn't breed crime in rich people.
      Relocating populations has long been a reliable source of income for some people.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 05:23:38 AM PDT

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      •  Crime is not everything... (0+ / 0-)

        While crime is an issue, the real problem is lack of hope and advancement and this causes crime.  As Obama said, the welfare programs seemed to have been causing the problems they were supposed to solve.

        When the government pays your bills, gives you housing and food, the government becomes your master.  The worse thing HUD could have done was send them back to sub-standard housing.  By taking the opportunity that doesn't happen every day of having extra money and rebuilding housing, the government is trying to improve the people's lives.  It's not a popular decision for some of the residents but it is supposed to be better for them.

      •  Agree--Density argument not holding up (0+ / 0-)

        Higher density does not equal high crime. The real correlation is with poverty and hopelessness. People who are poor and hopeless have more crime than those who are well off, so poor and hopeless people in high density yields more crime per acre than rich people in high density. As an example, the Pearl District in Portland has the highest density in the state, but the density is mostly in high-quality Leed certified buildings for those of upper income. Consequently, very little crime.

        If we really want better housing for the poor we need to change the paradigm of designing mono-income environments that concentrate poverty. We need neighborhoods that have room for all income levels and all races. This allows poor people the same access to services and retail that higher income folks take for granted.  And affordable housing needs to be provided that is indistinguishable from the upper income buildings. This has been done in the Pearl--there is a building here that is income capped and looks exactly the same as the other buildings. Living there does not require sacrificing dignity nor does it mean living in an unsafe ugly neighborhood.

        •  Abso... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:


          I stand on my soapy box often and lament at the creation of the "affordable housing box" that everyone from the well-meaning non-profit developer to the for-profit guys.

          Housing and communities remain more viable when different economic strata access services and reside in neighborhoods together.

          •  Yes, and it makes for better community (0+ / 0-)

            When people live together, and get to know each other, the fear that is peddled by the media diminishes. Racism is still a big issue, but it seems to be blunted in the Pearl simply because there is an assumption that if you are there, you are one of "us." It doesn't occur to a lot of people to ask if the other people they are encountering in such a favored environment are "those people." But it should be noted that this is Portland, not Mississippi.

    •  Most want to come back (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Over the Edge, Cali Techie, chigh

      Numerous surveys have shown that the majority of NOLA residents wanted to come back. The #1 barrier stopping them? Affordable housing.

      Very few people are champions of the old NOLA public housing system. But at a time when tens of thousands of people were displaced and wanting to return, it made absolutely no sense -- and violated international human rights law -- to barricade public housing and start cooking up schemes for wealthy developers.

      Blogging for a Progressive South //

      by ProgressiveSouth on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 08:47:46 AM PDT

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