Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
The GCDN Narrative
by David Stanowski
23 August 2014
A "Narrative" is an essential element of the postmodern political rhetorical strategy used to try to control or distort reality in order to gain support for your position while simultaneously undermining support for your opponent's position.
I was out of town, and unavailable to comment, when the GCDN was working on their latest story about public housing ("Housing Lawsuit Cost Authority $100,000 plus"). It seems that no matter what they publish, on this subject, they always get it wrong. This is in marked contrast to the very credible job they do reporting on many other issues. Public housing is their blind spot, and they simply can't find a way to report on it with any objectivity or honesty. Think of how differently events might have unfolded IF they had ever questioned the GHA plan!
But, they NEVER questioned the plan! They supported it from the outset and quickly became its primary cheerleader. Once they chose to become the "public relations agency" for the local Poverty Industry, the GCDN could never allow their "client's" plan to be challenged by the facts. They bought into the notion that "everything should be rebuilt in this city", especially Cedar Terrace and Magnolia Homes. They became so "committed" to "rebuilding", that they were/are in complete denial of the fact that the GHA scheme will INCREASE racial segregation and the concentration of poverty.
Of course, the GCDN didn't just create a narrative to support the rebuilding plan, they also had to try to discredit those of us who were fighting for a countywide integrated public housing plan. Their narrative was that those who supported rebuilding a segregated public housing system did so out of the purest of motives, while those who sought to end this system were the evil doers.
The GCDN narrative is pure Orwellian Doublethink which is why their reporting on this issue is so convoluted and nonsensical and generally enrages their readers.
The latest chapter in this bizarre narrative is the attempt to blame the GOGP for "forcing" the City and the GHA to spend money to defend their segregated public housing plan. It is totally lost on the GCDN that this plan is blatantly illegal and immoral. However, we must also remember two things that the GCDN conveniently and conspicuously "forgot" to include in their article, because it does not further their narrative.
First, in 2012, six Councilmembers campaigned on the platform that they were going to end the old segregated public housing system in this city. After they broke their word, and supported the segregated plan, should we feel badly that the City Attorney spent time and money defending the results of their inability to keep their promises? After they failed to do what they said they were going to do, they certainly didn't have to fight our lawsuit. The GOGP was only trying to do what they had promised to do. Fighting the GOGP lawsuit was simply one more in a string of very bad decisions from that Council.
In addition, Louis Rosen appointed all of the GHA Commissioners in 2012. Their mandate was to put an end to the old segregated public housing system in the City. However, they quickly suffered the same "amnesia" as the Council. That was bad enough, but why did they choose to spend $103,976.32 fighting the GOGP's effort to end segregated public housing? After they failed to do their job, why did they choose to try and stop the GOGP from doing what they were appointed to do?
That is the question that the GCDN refused to ask. They wanted to make it seem like the GOGP cost the taxpayers $103,976.32, but neither the City nor the GHA had any reason to fight our lawsuit, if they supported a regional integrated public housing plan. Clearly, they did NOT!
GHA Chair Buddy Hertz was quoted in the latest article as saying "...in a lawsuit that had no solid base and was more political than it was based on any great legal analogy.”
No solid base? Trying to end segregation in public housing in this city is "political"? This sounds like the GCDN narrative. This comment also raises new questions about why the GHA fought our efforts to end segregated public housing in this city. Questions that the GCDN should ask the GHA.
Second, HUD maintained, until the day our lawsuit was dismissed, that they had NOT approved the plan for Cedar Terrace, which means that our lawsuit did NOT delay construction or increase costs. The lawsuit could not have done so, if the plan was not approved!
John Wayne Ferguson asked our lawyer, Shari Goldsberry, for her comments on the lawsuit. This is what she sent to him:
"As you may or may not be aware, I started my career representing the indigent, primarily African Americans, in CPS cases and handled those cases for a few years completely pro bono. During that time I saw first-hand the devastating impact of the cycle of poverty on this group in both terms of economic opportunities and social opportunities. And so, when I learned of the plan to rebuild the projects in the defective manner chosen by GHA, which was completely different than what they had already agreed to do in the Etheredge case, I decided to donate my time. GOGP has paid staff expenses and case expenses (filing fees, service fees etc), but there have been no fees paid for my time or the time of my co-counsel Lori Laird. In terms of hours of my time, I quite frankly stopped looking at it after awhile because it was so much. Because of confidentiality, I cannot give you specific information but I can say I have more than 1000 hours into the case.
Remember though that was over a more than 3 1/2 year period. I would refer you to Mr. Stanowski for specifics on what the group has paid for expenses.
The costs to society for this plan going forward, if it does, will be much higher, especially to the children who really have no say in where they live.
Remember, no one in the case except the developer Richard Baron, said the plan affirmatively furthers fair housing. That's because it does not. The only reason they are in the position they are is because HUD found a statute that allows them to rebuild in prior sites regardless of whether they are affirmatively furthering fair housing or not.That's unfortunate for the folks who are going to be concentrated in poverty with little hope for real opportunities. The Etheredge plan was much better in terms of deconcentrating poverty but it did not make the developer as many millions. Are you going to include how much MBS stands to gain in your article? Both from the management of the building, the future management of the development and the ancillary services they (or their subsidiary) are going to provide to residents trapped in areas of high crime and high unemployment?"
Notice how he totally ignored Shari's comments on the costs to society from more segregation and the concentration of poverty in this city. THAT is why we filed this lawsuit, but he wanted to focus on how the GOGP cost the shameless GHA $103,976.32!
The GCDN needs to do a story on why they bought into the GHA plan and NEVER considered how destructive continued segregation and the concentration of poverty would be to the public housing residents AND the City. Who sold them on this awful plan?
Where is the GCDN story on the corrupt political deal that created and supports this plan?
Where is the GCDN story on how the local Poverty Industry will prosper from this plan?
Where is the GCDN story on the fees MBS will earn?
Where is the GCDN story on the enormous problems with the District Court's ruling and what it will do to this city if not reversed in the appellate court?
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”