Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
Rule of Law?
by David Stanowski
17 January 2014
The rule of law requires that laws be enforced consistently and uniformly. Without the rule of law, there is uncertainty, chaos and cronyism. Such is life in many second-world and nearly all third-world countries.
In July of 2012, the GLO and HUD demanded that the City of Galveston rebuild a Public Housing project in a census tract that has a very high concentration of minorities and poverty.
In July of 2013, the GLO and HUD rejected a plan to rebuild a Public Housing project in Beaumont, because the census tract it is in has a very high concentration of minorities and poverty. These government agencies said that building in this location would fail to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) which would violate the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
For a census tract to be acceptable, it should have a level of poverty less than 10% AND a concentration of minorities less than 45%. The table below clearly shows that there is very little difference between the demographics of the census tracts of these two proposed projects, and that neither is even close to being acceptable.
The GLO and HUD are clearly enforcing the FHA inconsistently in these two locations which demonstrates a complete breakdown in the rule of law regarding the proper selection of Public Housing sites resulting in uncertainty, chaos and cronyism.
For the most part, their actions in Beaumont, as well as in Orange and Port Arthur seem to conform to the FHA, and other supporting laws and regulations, as well as fair-housing rulings by the courts. Building in several of the proposed locations in these cities will clearly fail to AFFH and should be disallowed. But building at Cedar Terrace and Magnolia Homes should also be rejected for precisely the same reasons. However, these agencies are not only allowing building on unlawful sites in the City of Galveston, they are demanding it.
What is the driving force behind this schizophrenic behavior?
Conflicting demands by Texas Appleseed (TA) and Texas Low-Income Housing Information Service (TXLIHIS).
Ending racial, ethnic and economic segregation in Public Housing is very difficult when so many local special interest groups support maintaining the status quo, due to the political and financial benefits it brings to them.
Beaumont saw the same kinds of “local advocates” line up in support of rebuilding in an unlawful location as we did in Galveston. However, TA and TXLIHIS rightly want to end this "plantation system" in the Golden Triangle, but they support its continuation in the City of Galveston!
It’s obvious that a regional plan is needed in both places to remove Public Housing from unacceptable inner-city neighborhoods. TA and TXLIHIS are calling for this change in the Golden Triangle, but oppose it in Galveston County.
It is the GLO's and HUD's responsibility to enforce the FHA strictly and uniformly in BOTH locations, regardless of demands from any special interest groups!