In July 2013, Obama’s “Department of Housing and Urban Development [created a] regulation broadening the obligation of recipients of federal aid to ‘affirmatively further fair housing‘.” Translation: in order for cities and states to continue receiving federal aid, they must begin diversification of their wealthier suburbs and neighborhoods by building Section 8 government housing in these areas.
In the face of heated public protest, on July 18, two local agencies in metropolitan San Francisco approved “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco for the next 30 years. The creation of a region-wide development plan–although it flies in the face of America’s core democratic commitment to local control–is mandated by California’s SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. The ostensible purpose of this law is to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is supposedly why California’s legislature empowered regional planning commissions to override local governments and press development away from suburbs into densely-packed urban areas. In fact, the reduction of greenhouse gases (which Plan Bay Area does little to secure) largely serves as a pretext for undercutting the political and economic independence of California suburbs.
. . . . A regional plan that blocks traditional suburban development, densifies cities, and urbanizes suburbs on this scale is virtually unprecedented. That’s why the Obama administration awarded the agencies behind Plan Bay Area its second-highest “Sustainable Communities Grant” in 2012. Indeed, the terms of the administration’s grant reinforce the pressure for density. The official rationale behind the federal award is “encouraging connections” between jobs, housing, and transportation. That sounds like a directive to locate new residents–poor and minorities included–in existing prosperous communities.In fact, HUD’s new emphasis on “connecting” jobs housing and transportation does more. In practice, bland bureaucratic language about blending jobs, housing, and transportation pressures localities to create Manhattan-style “priority development areas.” The San Francisco case reveals the administration’s broader intentions. Soon HUD and other agencies will begin to press localities directly, rather than through the medium of California’s new regionalist scheme. Replicating Plan Bay Area nationwide is the Obama administration’s goal.
A final Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule due out this month is aimed at ending decades of deep-rooted segregation around the country.
The regulations would use grant money as an incentive for communities to build affordable housing in more affluent areas while also taking steps to upgrade poorer areas with better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as part of a gentrification of those communities.“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a HUD spokeswoman said. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.”
Watch Megyn Kelly’s segment about this on The Kelly File:
If I might humbly offer a bit of advice to the White House, this is the wrong approach. Offering incentives to ship large numbers of people out of impoverished communities and into more prosperous ones doesn’t change the people. It only changes the community. If you want to raise up the standard of living in areas afflicted with poverty, start with some leadership. Empower those working to effect positive change, emphasizing greater focus on the community, the churches and the family. Make the communities safer. Rather than tearing down the police, help law enforcement create an atmosphere where residents feel safe in investing in their homes and opening businesses without fear of being looted. Let them hire more people from the neighborhood. Help the parents feel that their kids are walking to school through a safe neighborhood, not a war zone. The best public empowerment program in the world is still a job. Push struggling communities up from the grass roots rather than shipping them out without addressing the underlying problems. This is likely a generational change and I don’t expect Barack Obama to snap his fingers and make it happen overnight, but he could take the lead and start the process today.
The new HUD rule is really about changing the way Americans live. It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced “economic integration.” The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in “stack and pack” high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse.
It will be interesting to see how Americans react to this idea. I suspect it won’t go over very well.DONATE
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