Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
We Have a Ruling
by David Stanowski
07 August 2014
Obviously, the final ruling was no surprise, but it was still quite disappointing and disturbing. The depths of depravity to which our government has sunk is mind-boggling! Duplicity and deceit are their guideposts.
We have known for months that the Galveston District Court was going to rule against us, so we would have to appeal, but since the appellate court does not allow the introduction of new arguments, we had to continue the process until we raised all of the issues that we wanted to address at the District Court level.
Those who have championed the return of segregated public housing, in this city, will surely crow that "the GOGP lost its fair-housing case", but nothing could be further from the truth! We did NOT lose our fair-housing case; our fair-housing case was never heard and never even considered! The people seeking to END segregated public housing in this city never had their "day in court".
Our opponents will be celebrating the fact that the District Court will allow them to build segregated public housing in this city, but, from here, it is impossible to find anything about this ruling to celebrate. This is a massive setback for everyone who cares about this city and its people.
It is difficult to describe how disheartening it is to live in a city where the newspaper was and is the primary cheerleader for the return of segregated public housing. It is easy to imagine that the government would not have been nearly as successful in its efforts if the newspaper had exposed the corrupt motives behind their rebuilding plan instead of supporting their every move.
The "government" at all levels did NOT want our fair-housing case to be heard and considered, and the District Court found a way to accommodate them. The Plaintiffs, who represented most of the people of this city, got less than nothing, because a lot of time, money and effort was spent, to bring the fair-housing violations before the Court, and their case was never heard.
The 44 Exhibits, comprised of about 1,900 pages of evidence, that we had assembled over the last 5 years were never read and never considered.
This means that:
The report prepared by Dr. Kirk McClure for the City of Galveston was never read and never considered.
The report prepared by Professor John Powell for the GOGP was never read and never considered.
The six hours of Dr. McClure's testimony given in a recent deposition was never heard and never considered.
Numerous affidavits were never read and never considered.
And so on, and so on ....
HUD simply found an obscure demolition and rebuilding law, 42 USC 1437p(d), that NEVER had been used in a fair-housing case before, and argued that this law superseded Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act; more commonly known as the Fair Housing Act.
They argued that if they simply built "significantly fewer" units, this law allowed them to continue to build racially segregated public housing. Our response was that if the demolition law was allowed to trump the Fair Housing Act, then HUD and local housing authorities would never end segregation, they would simply use this law to continue it in perpetuity.
To our shock and dismay, the District Court supported the government's argument that this public housing demolition and rebuilding law supersedes the Fair Housing Act, because it used the words “notwithstanding any other provision of law”. THIS is the reason why our fair-housing case, and all of the evidence listed above, was never heard and never considered.
Stop and think about that for a minute! The words “notwithstanding any other provision of law" are the reason our fair-housing case WAS NEVER HEARD!
We wish that the taxpayers could have actually witnessed how hard the lawyers for the GHA, the City of Galveston, the State of Texas and HUD fought to maintain segregated public housing in this city. Their team of lawyers spared no expense to get this case dismissed BEFORE we could present any evidence of fair-housing violations. It was truly disgusting.
The government's behavior in this whole sorted affair raises the obvious question as to why they want to maintain segregated public housing so very badly. The simple answer is that creating dependency in vulnerable people gives them more control over these people, and they are much more interested in serving the needs of the Poverty Industry, than they are serving the needs of the people living in poverty. As was clearly demonstrated in this case, if the Poverty Industry wants segregated public housing, that is what we are going to get!
Why should we appeal?
If we do not appeal, and attempt to overturn this immoral ruling; Galveston will be continue to be the isolated reservation of segregated poverty for the entire County for another 50 years. This ruling can be disguised in clever legal language, but what it means is that segregated public housing is now "legal" in this city, in certain areas, if the GHA simply reduces the number of units. Of course those areas are the worst areas of the City; and some of the worst in the County! Do you see how "clever" this really is?
Who will determine if the number of units are being "reduced" in accordance with 1437p(d)? The GHA, with "oversight" from HUD, of course! Two agencies that have a long history of looking out for the "best interests" of the public housing residents in this city!
For the last 50 years, the GHA and HUD have created and maintained their isolated and segregated reservations of poverty that have trapped countless public housing residents in neighborhoods devoid of opportunity which destroyed their hopes and dreams. The fallout from the GHA's program to warehouse the poor, in this manner, created "socioeconomic problems" beyond the scope of the City's ability to cope with them, which helped to facilitate the middle class flight that has drained the City of its population since 1960.
Is there any reason to believe that the next 50 years will be any different? The GHA will be BUILDING "significantly fewer" public-housing units, however, the Court chose not to look at what happens when the market-rate units go Section 8 and the fiction of "significantly fewer" disappears. Something that would have been explored if the fair-housing case had been allowed to be presented and then considered. But that was not to be!
However, the impact of this ruling could be felt far beyond the shores of this island!
If it is not overturned, the "notwithstanding loophole", that was used to make segregated public housing "legal" in Galveston, can be used to do the same all around the country, and many of the cases that curtailed segregation in public housing since the 1960s will be dangerously eroded.
Despite repeated efforts by the GOGP, we have NEVER received ANY support from national fair-housing groups, but we are going to make another effort, now that we have a final ruling that could so negatively impact all of these organizations. However, since we can't count on any support, we will proceed as if it is all up to us, once again, and hope for the best.
Why do you think that we have a chance?
The appellate court will be faced with the very serious problem of whether it wants to affirm the fact that this obscure public housing demolition and rebuilding law supersedes the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, because it uses the words “notwithstanding any other provision of law”. Hopefully, it will simply "shock the conscience" of the appellate court to draw such a conclusion!
If this ruling is not overturned, think of how easily ALL of our basic Constitutional rights could be superseded by obscure laws and regulations. We will be asking the appellate court whether the Constitution still protects our fundamental rights, like the freedom from discrimination in public housing, or can they simply be eliminated with the use of six well-targeted words?
A three-judge panel at the appellate court could certainly affirm this dangerous erosion of our Constitutional rights, but we're hoping that we are not that far down the Orwellian rabbit hole, yet. Of course, after what we have just experienced; anything is now possible.
As this case dragged on and on, we were forced to do most of the research and preparation that will be necessary for the appeal, just to finish this case. This means that the good news is that we need far less money for the appeal than we first thought, because much of the work has already been paid for. The bad news is that the government's tactics were successful in wasting a lot of our money, so we still need some more, at this time. This money will pay our lawyers to take our research and preparation and draft the briefs for the appeal.
We hope that you will be able to help us one more time by clicking on the red button below and feeding the bulldog.
In a time of universal deceit -
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Click here to read the final "Notwithstanding ruling".