This week Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz and Utah Senator Mike Lee have been sounding the alarm bells about President Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulations which are being used to force suburban communities into creating more “public” and “affordable” housing so that minorities and the poor from the nations inner cities can be redistributed so as to make the racial and economic demographics of a community more to the liking of government central planners.
While it is bad enough that the Obama administration is using the threat of cutting off or withholding federal funding to these communities such as Westchester county in New York or the suburban Baltimore area things are even worse than that for any community that dares to tell HUD and its local housing authorities no when they come out with new building projects.
In the fall of 2015 Wisconsin based developer Gorman’s and Company working in conjunction with the Rockford Housing Authority announced plans to build a new multi-unit mixed use public housing project in Illinois’ 3rd largest city. Most of the units for the New Towne housing project would be given to current residents of RHA’s Fairgrounds Valley housing project which the RHA wants to demolish and rebuild on the site.
Rockford city council members and residents of the New Towne area had many issues with the project including the increased crime that the housing project would bring and the decrease in property values that would accompany it. Those issues and others were raised during city committee and council meetings about the project.
And here enters the heavy hand of the Federal government, HUD, and its jack-booted thug mentality.
Because several council members objected to the New Towne project and cited the myriad of reasons why nearly everyone in the city and Winnebago county was against the project the regional HUD bureaucracy got into gear and has launched a civil rights and fair housing discrimination investigation into the city and by extension the city council and its members. That investigation is ongoing, if HUD finds against the city it could see its federal funding withheld or be referred to the Justice Department for criminal charges.
Yes, you read that right, HUD is trying to criminalize city council debate about what was a very hot button issue and is attempting to tell elected officials that they do not have first amendment rights when it comes to housing issues.
At the beginning of this year the Rockford city council, at the last possible moment, approved the New Towne project grudgingly due to the bullying of HUD, and the threats of lawsuits from the Rockford Housing Authority and Gorman’s. The project is now tied up in Winnebago county court as local business owners and residents have sued to stop construction. And the results of HUD’s investigation are still pending.
Of side note, one of New Towne’s only supporters, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey(I), is deeply connected to Gorman’s on a seperate project, the redevelopment of a long vacant building in downtown Rockford into a hotel, and Morrissey and Gorman executives have made multiple trips to Communist China to secure the tens of millions of dollars in funding for the project by offering wealth Chi-Coms EB-5 visas.
Now the city of Rockford could see a reprieve from having its federal funding curtailed and possibly even the criminal charges should an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Lee make it into an appropriations bill. Sen. Lee’s amendment would fully defund HUD’s AFFH rules and keep them from threatening to cut off funding to communities that don’t bow down to centralized planning . You can listen to Sen. Lee talk about the issue and his amendment from his interview with Mark Levin Tuesday below.
Being the big government establishment hack that he is Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is trying to kill Lee’s amendment in favor of a completely useless one authored by Susan Collins of Maine.
It is infuriating, but completely within his nature, that McConnell is undercutting a badly needed amendment to stop President Obama and his administration from nationalizing local housing decisions and criminalizing decent of it.
The American people need to put pressure on their squishy moderate Republican Senators, like Illinois’ Mark Kirk and tell them to fully support and embrace Sen. Lee’s AFFH amendment so that other communities don’t have to suffer having HUD threaten their federal funding or risk being put on trial for exercising ones first amendment right(s).