Housing & Homelessness (News)
ANTIOCH, Calif. - As more and more black renters began moving into this mostly white San Francisco Bay Area suburb a few years ago, neighbors started complaining about loud parties, mean pit bulls, blaring car radios, prostitution, drug dealing and muggings of schoolchildren.
In 2006, as the influx reached its peak, the police department formed a special crime-fighting unit to deal with the complaints, and authorities began cracking down on tenants in federally subsidized housing.
Now that police unit is the focus of lawsuits by black families who allege the city of 100,000 is orchestrating a campaign to drive them out.
"This is a crowd that won't scatter," James Steele wrote in the pages of The Nation some seventy-five years ago. Early one morning in July 1933, the police had evicted John Sparanga and his family from a home on Cleveland's east side. Sparanga had lost his job and fallen behind on mortgage payments. The bank had foreclosed. A grassroots "home defense" organization, which had managed to forestall the eviction on three occasions, put out the call, and 10,000 people -- mainly working-class immigrants from Southern and Central Europe -- soon gathered, withstanding wave after wave of police tear gas, clubbings and bullets, "vowing not to leave until John Sparanga [was] back in his home."
The $700-plus billion recovery package being hashed out in Congress has tremendous potential to revive the American economy. But if it moves ahead as designed, I fear it will also further entrench many long-standing inequities of American life.
Advocates for working families welcome Washington's long-overdue interest in our national infrastructure. President-elect Barack Obama and congressional leaders are right to spotlight the deplorable conditions of our roads and bridges.
But potholes on mega-highways are far from the most consequential infrastructure shortfalls facing America.
In low-income urban neighborhoods and rural areas across America, residents are facing the dramatic crumbling of their schools, water lines and public transit systems - the very lifeblood of these communities. This is not simply a matter of inconvenience. Communities like Richmond, West Oakland and San Francisco's Visitacion Valley are being literally cut off from true economic and social opportunity.
SAN LEANDRO — A 100-unit rental apartment complex for lower-income tenants — described by detractors as a potential "ghetto" and by backers as "the right thing to do for our citizens" — received solid backing from San Leandro's seven planning commissioners Thursday.
The project next to the downtown BART station, the cornerstone of San Leandro's transit-oriented development philosophy, now goes to the City Council on March 2 for a final vote.
As soon as he told her they wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage, Ruben Loera’s wife’s heart clenched. She started packing away the angels and pulling down the paintings. Five months later and one step away from foreclosure, half-empty boxes are piled in a corner of the living room in their home in Maryvale, a suburb of Phoenix, Ariz.
Battered old cars used to roll slow past Nevin Park, every inch dusty except for the gleaming new rims. When the sun went down — or any time, really — tired women dressed too skimpy for the weather peeked out from under dingy awnings.
The usual crowd sipped from bagged bottles, or leaned through the windows of scrapers stopped in the middle of the street, while homeless from the shelter down the block shuffled past.
John Spradlin, who manages the last surviving restaurant off Richmond's lower Macdonald Avenue, once regarded his stretch of Fourth Street as "a kind of barometer for crime" in the city. And the cinderblock facade of La Perla Mexican Deli did occupy a space in the backdrop of innumerable street crimes over the years, in the heart of the Iron Triangle neighborhood.
But not so much any more.
Reports of serious crime fell more than 15 percent in Richmond in 2008 from the previous year, evidence of persistent community effort, attentive policing and recent government emphasis on rebuilding the city's urban core. Nowhere does that change seem more palpable than the once-infamous corner of Fourth and Macdonald.
Ann Cyrus, by her own admission, wasn't always a model tenant.
But a compassionate society ought to find a way for people like her, who face a litany of health problems, to stay in their homes, she says — especially if home is a taxpayer-subsidized affordable housing complex such as the El Paseo Family Apartments in San Pablo.
Cyrus, 53, has hypertension, depression and a case of lymphedema that is terminal, according to a letter from her doctor at Brookside Community Health Center. Cyrus's daughter, 23, suffers depression and can't hold down a job or complete her studies for lack of child care, Cyrus said. Cyrus' 12-year-old son and two grandchildren — one 6 years, the other 9 months old — round out the household.
The present financial crisis has hit Lennar between the eyes and swept them out to sea. LENNAR Corporation - is drowning with no - HOPE in sight. Lennar has declared so may bankruptcies - that there is no telling - how DEEP in trouble - this Rogue Company is. Lennar will fail - in the Bayview Hunters Point. We want them OUT of our community - NOW.
Some years ago when I said that Lennar would drown in the CESSPOOL of its own making - people where laughing and said that LENNAR was powerful - backed by some powerful people.
The controversy over the San Leandro Crossing housing project and the city’s Transit- Oriented Development (TOD) has led City Hall to point out that it must comply with state standards to increase the number of housing units available in San Leandro.
The state said that the nine counties in the Bay A rea must add 214,500 new housing units by 2014, and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has set San Leandro’s housing goal (“Housing Element”) at 1,630 units.
During the past few weeks, obscure economics professors have appeared on television screens and in the text of countless newspaper articles to explain how a host of institutions, subsidies, shadow markets, and banking tricks have pushed our financial system to the brink of collapse.
Despite this nationwide college symposium, however, the most important lesson of the country's recent financial turmoil has gone untaught: The United States might be better off financially, economically, and socially if it were more like San Francisco and were a nation of renters.