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.