Educate them

Me and several of my stereotypically ugly rancorous prejudiced nasty fellow citizens attended the Huntsville City Council working session tonight, where we were harangued by a sanctimonious ‘Fair Housing’ agitator.

City Councilman Will Culver arranged for Fair Housing ‘experts’ to address a working meeting of the Huntsville City Council, including George Jones of the Fair Housing Center of North Alabama (the group that threatened to sue the City over the Drummond Road house).   Jones launched into a thinly-disguised sales pitch for education programs and other services.  In my opinion he and his group are hustlers trying to shake down the City by threatening lawsuits with one hand and offering services with the other.

Jones said he “respects the opposition”, even as he uses phrases like “unfortunately”, “acrimony”, “rancorous”, “real ugly”, “nasty”, and the “heavy tinge of hostility”.  He presented his opinions as “very important” (many times) and his approach to opposing views was to “educate them” (I don’t think he realized that he was in a room with people who are ‘educated’ on housing issues).

The meeting ended prematurely because of the tornado – it passed over City Hall shaking the building – we evacuated to the basement after it passed.

City Councilman Sandra Moon was visibly agitated by Jones’ remarks, but she didn’t get to publicly respond to Jones.  If that guy comes back Moon is ready to ‘educate’ him on housing issues.

Several people approached Jones after the meeting was cancelled to discuss housing and his offensive mischaracterizations.  One questioner (and frequent commenter here) kept getting the same response from Jones regardless of his question:  Jones kept repeating “what have you done to further fair housing?”  Like paying for it doesn’t count…

Jones cited the Westchester case (“Housing as Busing”) in his speech as a reason to comply (or else!) with Fair Housing law.  Note that the Westchester case actually arose from “false claims” made by the County in its ‘Affirmatively Furthered Fair Housing’ certifications – so as long as the City of Huntsville doesn’t lie on forms sent to the Feds – they should be OK. 

Since I’m not a lawyer, my legal intepretation might be a bit shaky.  But since Mr. Jones is a “non-practicing lawyer” employed by a  lawsuit-happy “private non-profit”, his legal interpretation might be a bit shaky too.

I know that Councilman Culver had good intentions when he asked Jones to speak, but Jones is an agitator and he cares nothing about this City.  The other guest Culver invited, Michael Brown of Bradley Arant law firm in Birmingham, made a nice presentation about Fair Housing Law.  I understand that Culver wants to reschedule the meeting – maybe next time more “nasty” people from Huntsville will show up.  IMO Culver is doing the right thing by facilitating discussion of the housing issue, but if that guy represents the other side then nothing good can come of it.

***

Thanks to Mayor Battle, Deputy Mayor Rex Reynolds, and HPD Sergeant Mark Roberts for their response to the tornado – they reacted immediately and handled themselves professionally when notified.

9 thoughts on “Educate them

  1. Its ridiculous folks. This guy who has threatned suit also wants to offer services.

    I encourage Jay to post the next meeting time for the next City Council work session (where according to Councilman Culver) they will be bringing Jones back to talk.

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  3. All I can say is how long will tax paying citizens allow themselves to be threatened by shysters like this. This is what you get when you get addicted to federal funds, you get these ACORN types. All it can accomplish in the long run is what it accomplished everywhere else. Like it or not you get the majority of the high end taxpayers moving out of the taxable area. We might not leave the area since a lot of us grew up here but I have lived in Lincoln county (lived there 16 years so I know what is involved) and Marshall county is like 5 minutes from here. If this city does not show some real backbone (won’t happen with this mayor) we are doomed to become another of those “urban” areas with a diminishing tax base and fleeing upscale businesses.

    • Yep. That’s something the SHCA has tried to impress upon the mayor, but he doesn’t want to hear it. Maybe he should take a visit to Cherokee Ridge in Albertville. Now why on earth would anyone live in another county and commute to Huntsville? If things continue the way they’re going, there will be a whole lot more of them pretty soon…

  4. I’ve been told by opponents of my bill that it would threaten the availability of federal funds. I’ve yet to have anyone show me the statute or even what part of my bill would restrict their ability to draw down federal funds. I’m calling “BS” on that line.

  5. That Will Culver sounds like a nut. Could he not find local “experts” from which to seek advice to help facilitate a discussion?
    From this discussion it appears as if Councilman Culver has opened the city up to potential lawsuits.

    Great job!

  6. Reactionary thanks for being at the Fair Housing meeting and for the insightful report to your readers.

    I would like to make a few distinctions for your readers. Fair Housing is a law and low-income Public Housing is an entitlement program; one has very little to do with the other.

    Fair Housing Law is about making sure sellers do not discriminate against potential buyers based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status. Michael Brown said Fair Housing Law does not recognize “low income” or “criminal records” as protected classes.

    Therefore, since Public Housing Authorities serve low-income people purportedly of any race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status and since “low-income” and “criminal record” are not a protected classes, no one is breaking the Fair Housing Law by objecting to having low-income Public Housing placed in their neighborhood.

    The only way a person objecting to having low-income Public Housing placed in their neighborhood is guilty of breaking Fair Housing Law is if the Public Housing Authority has first broken the Fair Housing Law themselves by discriminating against a person based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status. Yeah, think about that a minute.

    If George Jones had asked me what I am doing to promote Fair Housing I would have told him that I am obeying fair housing law, period. If he had asked me what am I doing to fund Public Housing, I would have told him I am paying my taxes.

    It seems George Jones was coercing our City Council and concerned citizens who are objecting to Public Housing being place in their neighborhoods. Please remember, I am not a lawyer, but I can read. One legal definition of coercion is:

    The intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats. The crime of intentionally and unlawfully restraining another’s freedom by threatening to commit a crime, accusing the victim of a crime, disclosing any secret that would seriously impair the victim’s reputation in the community, or by performing or refusing to perform an official action lawfully requested by the victim, or by causing an official to do so.

    Further, (remember I’m not a lawyer), George Jones’s tactics sound very much like another legal definition of the Abuse of Process:

    “The use of legal process by illegal, malicious, or perverted means. Examples include serving (officially giving) a complaint to someone when it has not actually been filed, just to intimidate an enemy, filing a false declaration of service (filing a paper untruthfully stating a lie that someone has officially given a notice to another person, filing a lawsuit which has no basis at law, but is intended to get information, force payment through fear of legal entanglement or gain an unfair or illegal advantage. Some people think they are clever by abusing the process this way. A few unscrupulous lawyers do so intentionally and can be subject to discipline and punishment. Sometimes a lawyer will abuse the process accidentally; an honest one will promptly correct the error and apologize.”

    Yeah, I’m thinking this was no accident and no, I am not holding out hope for an apology.

    And finally, by George Jones threatening the City Council and citizens opposed to low-income Public Housing being placed in their neighborhoods with a lawsuit that wasn’t in any way applicable in this case, as well as, to try to intimidate concerned citizens in order to prevent them from exercising their First Amendment rights:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Hey, I would like to know what George Jones is doing to further my First Amendment Rights.

    Tsk..Tsk…Sounds like Mr. Jones might need some educating himself.

    WE ARE THE PEOPLE

    Linda Lawrence
    Huntsville Community Rights

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