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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 11:16 AM
Original message
Grim proving ground for Obama's housing policy
Source: Boston Globe

As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies - including several hundred in Obama's former district - deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

-snip-

The campaign did not respond to questions about whether Obama was aware of the problems with buildings in his district during his time as a state senator, nor did it comment on the roles played by people connected to the senator.




Read more: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/27/g...



Is there someone working for Obama who could respond to this very long Boston Globe article with a point-by-point explanation or refutation? It would help to get such a response out there as fast as possible.
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'd find a way to send this to campaign HQ so they can address it. n/t
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thecrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. fightthesmears.com
an address that I send more and more "news" articles

The link to the email is around the middle of the page on the right side.

The website was started to fight email smears, but I think it should be expanded to include "news" articles as well.

BTW, there is another site called "stopthesmears.com" but it is not connected to the Obama site. I don't know what it's for....Republic catapulting? Don't make the mistake of reporting it there.
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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
3. How is a failure to maintain a property Obama's failure unless he personally owns it?
I'm missing something here because I fail to understand how an owner's failure to maintain a property falls on Obama. Under that logic I guess it is somehow up to him to clean my gutters and mow my yard, since I live in Illinois...

This is nothing more than a badly done hit piece, and you don't have to know a hell of a lot about the failures of public housing or the issues of real estate ownership to see that.


:puke:



Laura
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. It goes to Obama's character
Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters.

Obama needs to address this, and I hope he has a good answer.
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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Did you miss the part about the fire about Grove Parc?
That tends to create an awful lot of maintenance issues, I'd say.

Something that a lot of people do not get about property management is the fact that most properties (multi-unit ones, anyway) have a specific amount set aside in "reserve" for large expenditures that come up. A lot of times it is stuff like a roof or major building repair, but sometimes it is stuff like a planned thing--like new appliances in your rental units (an example.) Frequently it is a percentage of gross rents that they set aside, sometimes it is just a flat amount.

In a low income property, it is quite typical that you will need a larger reserve on hand. The management fees for this type of property typically run higher as well. That is not a comment on anything other than just a pragmatic observation from a person that has seen some of it in action. I can easily see how a fire (especially if the insurance is slow to pay or has a higher deductable...) could completely wipe out a reserve account.

Something else that I did not see in that article (and I have little doubt it is in the mix someplace) is the payment schedule/frequency that the City of Chicago uses to pay subsidized housing expenditures. If you are running on a shoestring I can see how it would be a close thing if the city was slow to pay the bills. (Hell, here in Illinois, we have that issue with the STATE--let alone some of the cities!)

I sm serious when I say I think this story is "concern trolling" at best.


Laura
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nels25 Donating Member (636 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Laura - I think there may be something to this story
as a person who has had the dubious privilege of watching cook county/chicago politics from the safe distance of just across the border in Wisconsin, I can say I am not at all surprised.

Corruption in chicago, why who would of thunk it??

I have been wondering for a while no if their is a soft underbelly to Obama in regards to his actions when he was a local activist/politician before his ascent to D.C.

If you check out some info you will find that his mentor was Emil Jones who is a big fat cat connected politician (in fact he is the leader of the state senate).

Jones has a seamy side to him.

Obama also backed Todd Stroger who has proven to be a died in the wool political hack of the highest order, chicago can and should be proud of him :sarcasm: .

So I will not be surprised in the least if some bad news concerning Barack's past dealing's on the south side impact or become a campaign issue.

Be prepared for it, and do not be surprised when it happens.

Also there may be a wild card sitting out there, the currenct gov of Ill is under federal investigation by Peter Fitzgerald and company and I would wager he is going to be indicted (and I do not think it will have all that much to do with Rezko).
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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Ugh
I will support Obama until the end, but why do I keep getting this sinking feeling. :(.
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-27-08 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. The fire issue is a distraction
Edited on Fri Jun-27-08 03:12 PM by Tempest
What about Obama's friends and supporters benefiting from the project in the first place?

Obama needs to address how his friends and supporters received the benefit from legislation he authored, and I hope he has a good answer for it.

If we're going to hold the Repug's feet to the fire on their sweetheart deals, we need to be ready to do the same with our party members.
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Why dont you answer for him ?
Why dont you defend our candidate ?

You cannot imagine how this can possibly happen outside of it being Obama's fault ?

What if the projects were built outside of building code, and this fact was unknown to Obama ? .... Can you imagine that ?

Why is it that YOU are holding our candidates 'feet to the fire' ?

Really: I am getting tired of coming to DU, and seeing DUers on the attack against our fine candidate; DU posters who do NOTHING to promote that candidate, but everything to degrade and demean instead ....

Instead of playing the Devil's Advocate, and doing the work of the opposition, why are you not constructing defenses against those attacks ? It sounds like you are NOT ready to defend him, but you sure as fuck are ready to attack him ....

Sheeesh ... this place ....
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. only obama can asnwer for himself...
"what if's" are meaningless- facts are what matters.

and the facts of the matter presented so far aren't pretty for our candidate.
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Yes ... I see ....
I am glad to see DUers so vigilant in participation of these witch hunts ....
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. where are the posts where you have refuted the allegations with facts...?
instead of just pissing on others for not doing it...?
:shrug:
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Not the point ....
While I want Obama to answer ALL questions, I have a big problem with DUers who attack him, and do not defend him ....

We are Democratic Underground ... While I disagree that marching in 'lock step' is good, it is expected that those here will promote our candidates, and not DEGRADE them ...

I see posts like these going against our own mission, and those who post them violating the spirit of what DU is supposed to be about ...

You are completely and absolutely FREE to criticise and attack our candidates at will: Except you cannot do so in DU ...

Simple as that ...
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. pointing out a candidastes flaws is not 'attacking' him...
and if you see something untrue posted about him- you are certainly free to post a correction... :hi:
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #3
16. It isn't. What is relevant to Obama is that his platform continues to promote a private development
model as the principal solution for addressing the low income housing need. That's a policy that hasn't worked. As the post by 'GroveParc' points out correctly, cuts in aid to both public and privately owned subsidized housing have made it difficult to maintain these communities as decent, safe housing. I hope that once Obama is in office that the policy shifts to one that focuses on public housing construction as the primary means of creating new units, supplemented by public/private partnerships.
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GroveParc Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
8. Grove Parc's Response to Boston Globe Article on Obama Housing Policy
GROVE PARC RESPONDS TO ARTICLE ON OBAMA HOUSING POLICY
Tenants call on all candidates to support Human Right to Housing

In recent days, leading news organizations around the country have reported on the housing policies of Senator Barack Obama, following a feature article published in the Boston Globe which highlighted the example of the Grove Parc Plaza Apartments, a subsidized housing complex in Chicagos Woodlawn neighborhood that we call home.

The Globe Article, while rightly raising concerns about the failure of the private sector to adequately provide for the housing needs of the poor, unfortunately leaves out half of the story. Grove Parc is not just an example of the failures of past policies, but a beacon of hope for the way forward. Tenants have not only stopped foreclosure and the displacement of some 500 low income families, but also brought in new management committed to working with the tenants to rebuild affordable and quality housing for all residents. In so doing, we have highlighted two fundamental principles that both presidential candidates would do well to heed as they finalize their housing policy platforms,-- first, the full participation of tenants, who have the biggest stake in housing policy, and second, the guarantee of quality housing for all as a human right and social responsibility.

In the wake of massive housing cuts, privatization, and foreclosures that have left millions without a stable home problems for which both major political parties must take responsibility - it is time for both candidates to tell the American people how they will ensure quality housing as a human right and reality for every American family. In short, the new administration must ensure a roof over the head of all American families.

Never has it been clearer that government has to play an active role in ensuring that Americas families have safe, decent housing. Millions of home-owners are facing foreclosure. Gas, food and utility prices are sky-rocketing. Thousands of units of public housing are being torn down from New Orleans to Miami to Chicago and close to 500,000 families - including many elderly and disabled - may soon be put out on the streets due to Congress under-funding HUDs subsidized housing program by $2.8 billion this year. Homelessness and poverty will continue to rise until we treat housing as a human right rather than a source of profit for speculators and developers. In Chicago, for example, a recent study published in the Chicago Tribune shows that a minimum wage worker would have to work 97 hours a week, 52 weeks a year to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. Low-income communities of color, in particular, are being ravaged by this crisis, which extends far beyond housing. Displacement weakens our communities and in so doing makes problems like youth violence and unstable schools even worse. The promise of mixed-income communities has been a smoke screen for a set of policies that have involved tearing down lots of housing and replacing very little of it. The people affected by these policies are never at the table when they are created.

While the Globe article raises important points about the problems in both public and subsidized housing, it fails to highlight the role played by massive budget cuts to HUD, which has created a lack of oversight over all HUD programs. These cuts have been carried forth by both parties, and their effects have been made even worse by rampant corruption in the last HUD administration, whose Bush-appointed National Secretary, Alphonso Jackson, recently stepped down amidst allegations of contract steering.

But there is another way forward. Our nation needs to guarantee the Human Right to Housing for all of its citizens, regardless of income and race, and to ensure that the people affected by policies are active participants in creating them. As a start we call on both candidates to commit to:

Fully fund HUD
The 2008 HUD subsidized housing budget was under-funded by $2.8 billion dollars, threatening to triple the rents of 500,000 families overnight (40% of whom are the elderly and disabled) unless Congress acts fast.

Support tenant empowerment and oversight
Grove Parc is turning around because as tenants we are taking control of our housing. We chose a new management company, stopped HUD from foreclosing on our complex, and have won awards around the country for our efforts. Grove Parc is proving that when the people who live in housing finally have a voice in how it is run another future for subsidized housing is possible.

Declare a moratorium on demolition of public housing and foreclosures
Most of the public sees housing subsidies as hand-outs to the poor, not realizing that the vast majority of HUD subsidies go to first time home buyers. Ironically, now both groups are in the same boat, unsure of where to look for housing as banks are bailed out but homeowners are left hanging while the few safety nets that exist continue to be decimated by the current administration.

Create a comprehensive plan to ensure the human right to housing for all
We hope that the both campaigns will see this as an opportunity to take a strong stand for Housing as a Human Right and to take a critical look at the failure of privatizing housing and the need for strong public oversight and tenant control. Some will undoubtedly use the stories of wasted money and failed housing in the Globe article as justification to further cut these programs. Cutting badly needed subsidies in any housing program, especially in economic times like we are in, is irresponsible, unethical and inefficient, creating many unforeseen costs to society. With better oversight and regulation, an expansion of all housing programs and tenant inclusion in policy-making, the Human Right to decent and safe housing can become a reality for all.

GROVE PARC TENANTS ASSOCIATION
Housing is a Human Right We wont go without a fight!


FOR MORE INFORMATION:
www.stopchicago.org
www.saveourhomes.org
www.economichumanrights.org
www.righttothecity.org

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. Wow! Thank you! What a great response!
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Roy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. But, the trolls won't read the response...
They are off to other threads to sow doubts about Obama.
I think some are paid by the post.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #8
19. Welcome to DU.
:)
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 12:29 AM
Response to Reply #8
21. I was glad to find this letter from your president on the Boston Globe's website tonight:
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Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-05-08 01:29 AM
Response to Original message
20. Probably OT, but I think there are better alternatives to public housing.
Voucher programs like Section 8, which allow recipients to choose their neighborhood, are much better than mass housing in "projects."

Section 8 has been suffering budget cuts like most social programs these past 8 years and I'd hate to see money funneled into mass housing instead of increasing funding for a worthy program.


No developers to enrich
No stigma attached to home location like there is with public housing
Tenants choose their own school district, avoiding concentration of most impoverished into just a few schools
Cycle of poverty is broken with better education and opportunities for children
Probably many other benefits but it's late and I'm tired


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