Black People : ETHNIC CLEANSING BY EVICTION IN NEW ORLEANS?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Isaiah, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Eviction moratorium stalls ethnic cleansing in New Orleans

    by Emma Gerould


    As we pull up to the apartment complex in a neighborhood east of New Orleans, all Diane's belongings are being thrown from her second story window. A worker in a forklift hauls them to the street, dumping all she's accumulated in a lifetime on the curb. This is a common sight in New Orleans, where evictions are soaring and what little rights tenants have are being ignored.

    Since Oct. 25, when the governor's moratorium on evictions was lifted, court clerks say that 100 evictions have been filed by landlords every day. In the past two and a half months, the landlords have simply been posting eviction notices on tenants' doors for a hearing three to five days later.

    When the tenants do not show up for the hearing because they were unaware of the summons, the evictions are pushed through the court system. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, 24 hours later the landlord can remove all of the tenants' belongings from the unit. Landlords, under Louisiana state law, are not required to send a notice to the address where tenants have been relocated post-Katrina. Even if the landlord wanted to forward the eviction notice to a tenant's current address, FEMA has refused to release evacuees' information to the City of New Orleans.

    On Nov. 22, a decision was reached after housing lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of Brenda Brooks, a New Orleans tenant and evacuee who was never informed of her eviction. Although the decision does not help Brooks with her eviction, the decision helps future tenants fight their evictions.

    The decision, which is being called an eviction moratorium, extends the three-day summons to 45 days, which gives breathing room for tenants and housing organizers. In addition, landlords must not only post the eviction summons but also send the summons to the tenant's current address. That means that FEMA is court ordered to release the names and addresses of the evacuees to the City of New Orleans.

    According to National Low Income Housing Coalition, 140,000 units were destroyed in New Orleans, many of them affordable housing. Since Hurricane Katrina, the housing market has risen dramatically, causing a housing crisis.

    Tenants who want to move back cannot afford the high rents. "People cry to go home. They tell us there is no place to go, but there is housing for us," said Sam Jackson, a displaced resident. "They don't want us to come back. They want to kick low-income people out of New Orleans."

    Some residents received Section 8 vouchers from Housing Authority New Orleans but cannot find landlords to accept them because they would rather benefit from the private market. Even landlords who accepted the vouchers in the past are now refusing to accept them. Many tenants want to come back but cannot because they can't find a landlord to take their voucher.

    New Orleans Housing Emergency Action Team, aka NO HEAT, a coalition of local housing groups, activists and tenants, has formed to fight evictions and the rising rents and support New Orleans residents' right of return. Using a combination of direct action and legal strategies, NO HEAT aims at stopping evictions and the closing of public housing - whether in the courtroom or through direct action.

    Jeremy Prickett, a housing organizer who works with Anti-Eviction Common Ground, a tenants' rights group under the NO HEAT umbrella, explains: "People with money and power are exploiting this hurricane and trying to shape New Orleans in their image. They are not talking about rebuilding New Orleans; they are taking about revitalizing it."

    The Eviction Moratorium is a step in the housing fight that local activists are calling ethnic and class cleansing. "This city can't make it without minority groups. Minority groups built this city," Ralf Lewis, a New Orleans tenant, exclaimed as he showed us a notice to vacate.

    Emma Gerould volunteered in New Orleans during the Thanksgiving holiday with Roadtrip for Relief, which brought volunteers to work with Common Ground Collective. Email her at [email protected].



    http://www.sfbayview.com/121405/ethniccleansing121405.shtml


    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  2. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You know Brother Isaiah this is not surprising.

    I think the sad part is that American will react like this has never happened before, and will be all OH MY GOD.

    Gentrification has been going on in this society since it's inception, however this case is out of hand.
     
  3. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yeah, brother, that is true what you say about gentrification, but by HURRICANE????(smile!) WOW, the cold-hearted opportunism of this should OUTRAGE us all! If you go to that webpage, and see the women in those pictures, they look just like my sisters, my blood relatives... This thing is just awful...


    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  4. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yea it is Brother I. It really makes me sick to my stomach.

    Something else even sicker, is how property values only go up when white people move in.
     
  5. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Well, you what brother, I saw a piece on the evening news last night, about a White Woman in Biloxi, Mississippi, who is facing gentrification from her community because the state has a law that if those floating casinos are ever destroyed by natural disaster, the casinos can and will be built on land provided by the state... That might not be entirely a correct interpretation on my part, but the woman stood with the reporter, and asked him, "what happens when someone's got money in one hand, and you aint got nothin' in yours???"

    The plans for that part of Biloxi is to turn it into one of those quaint Florida communities where only rich white folks can move in... Million dollar homes in tightly-compacted, tightly-controlled areas, with all of the amenities the rich folks want... This hurricane, and others, is actually reveled in by the rich, because they can take over the land in the guise of "rebuilding" it... The don't want to rebuild the land, they want to "REDEVELOPE" the land to get as much dollar value out of it as they can... EF that poor folks aint got nowhere to live... Just serve dem drinks in the casinos, but we don't give a **** you live in the gutter somewhere...


    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  6. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Amen to that.
     
  7. MississippiRed

    MississippiRed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is the one yall need to watch....LA buyout bill . I posted some info on this on another thread but basically this will allow the govt to set up a corp which will buy folks homes giving then at least 60 % of their equity and paying off the loan and then allows the same company to sell the house via active bidding........and a lot of folk are looking at this like oh yeah I can get out from under my home loan and get some money...but they don't realize that what they get is not even enough to put a good down payment on another house.....the Mississippi situation is that yes the state changed the laws to now allow land based casino's and folk will lose their homes but some of those casino's already owned large tracts of land down there as insurance for the time when the state would change those laws ....this whole situation is just a bad situation and the places affected will never be the same ....I myself picture places now with more affluent folk living in areas where regular people used to be....home prices in South MS and South LA are already jumping as well ast rents....it's a trip. and the divide between the haves and have nots is going to increase by a large margin when this is all said and done....making two states that are **** near third world countries head farther down into the abyss..here's another article on the buyout program.....

    WASHINGTON -- Last-minute opposition from the Bush administration stalled legislation to create a federal corporation that would buy homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to the bill's sponsor.

    But Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge, said the administration is willing to move the bill forward early next year if some changes are made.

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    Baker said he has gotten word from Al Hubbard, director of the White House's National Economic Council, that "we have a meeting of minds that in concept this bill should move forward." He said Hubbard offered his help fine-tuning the bill to create more financial accountability.

    DJ Nordquist, spokeswoman for federal Katrina recovery coordinator Don Powell, was less direct when asked about the latest White House position on the Baker bill.

    "We share the goal of expediting the recovery of the Gulf Coast region and will continue to work with Congressman Baker and other leaders to come up with the best solutions to revitalize and rebuild the community for the long term," Nordquist said.

    On Saturday afternoon, Baker thought he had achieved the breakthrough needed to pass his bill during a hastily called meeting with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Baker sold his bill as the best way to avert thousands of mortgage foreclosures in Louisiana.

    Although staffers on the Senate Banking Committee had been raising questions about the bill, Shelby assured Baker and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who helped set up the meeting, that he wouldn't stand in the way if top GOP leaders signed off on the measure.

    "In our minds, that was the last obstacle and we were ready to pop the champagne," a Baker aide said.

    But the Senate GOP leaders wanted the White House's OK.

    Despite a carefully orchestrated effort, which included frantic weekend e-mails and phone calls to the White House from longtime Bush supporters Joseph Canizaro, a developer and a leader of Mayor Ray Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission; Donald "Boysie" Bollinger, president and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards; and former Democratic Sen. John Breaux, White House officials balked.

    Congressional staffers said too many questions were unresolved concerning the overall costs of the housing buyouts.

    Under Baker's bill, a Louisiana Recovery Corporation would be created and authorized to buy damaged homes, paying homeowners no less than 60 percent of the equity they had in their homes before the hurricane hit. Lenders would get no more than 60 percent of what was owed them. The corporation then would make necessary repairs before selling the property to private developers through a competitive bidding process.

    For example, for a homeowner with 30 percent equity in a $100,000 house, the guaranteed payout would be at least $18,000, while the bank, holding a $70,000 mortgage, would get no more than $42,000. Baker said he thinks it's the fairest system to give homeowners some return on their investments, banks some return on their loans, and the federal government an opportunity to get some of its spending back as property is sold under a competitive bidding process.

    Baker said he thinks the White House now concurs.

    Why was it so late in the process before the White House weighed in with objections? Baker said it may well be that administration officials didn't expect such a complicated bill to advance as far it did, starting with practically no support to the backing of such divergent groups as members of the Congressional Black Caucus to a conservative block of GOP House members.

    "I think we now have a situation where the White House is saying, 'We're going to help get this done,' " Baker said.







    MississippiRed
     
  8. Therious

    Therious Banned MEMBER

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    its not just n.o. brother I. i saw a report of a man in atlanta who provided shelter to his homeless family from n.o. after katrina. his white landlord filed for eviction citing that there were to many people living in the house and he was scared of being fined. what did the white news reporter say after the srory? "tough decisions being made everday" tough decisions!! this shows the mentality we are dealing with here. completeley hateful and irrational animals.

    peace
     
  9. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    SiP, I found this piece today on Disaster News... It's about Gulfport, Mississippi's African community... Good piece...


    Dreams hold people together

    NORTH GULFPORT, Miss. (October 23, 2005) —
    In a southern Mississippi backyard this weekend, dreams of rebuilding began as an insistent hum: "We'd like curbs and a sidewalk." "We'd like gutters." "Yeah, and streetlights."

    This city wants to take away our property.

    —Rose Johnson


    And as community leaders, pastors and residents trickled by, the hum became a chorus: "This community should be inviting. Attractive. Decent. Safe for people to live."


    In the small African-American subdivisions of North Gulfport, Turkey Creek and Forrest Heights, dreams are what's holding people together right now. Homes are roofless and shattered.


    Ella Holmes-Hines, the first African-American city councilwoman in Gulfport's history, picked through the debris in her yard. "Those were my computers," she sighed, pointing to one pile. Then her 5-year-old daughter discovered three black-and-white photographs of their house, taken before Hurricane Katrina inundated it with six feet of water. Delighted, Holmes-Hines peeled the still-damp photos apart and gazed silently.


    "This house dates back to the 1870s," she finally explained. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places, and Holmes-Hines predicts repairing her house could take a couple years.


    Meanwhile, she said, she's concerned about her community - its future and its history. "It's very important to the community and things like this, this house and other houses dating back - they link the entire community as one family."


    Worried about their lack of voice in the rebuilding process, community leaders chose to act on their own this weekend by hosting a San Francisco-based architectural firm that has volunteered to help them create a rebuilding plan based on grassroots visioning.


    "Everybody's dreamin'," said Holmes-Hines, as they outlined their hopes for the future. Suddenly, in the wake of the state's largest natural disaster in history, at least some residents are seeing an opportunity. They might - after decades of fighting against over-development, pollution and discrimination - finally have something to fight for: a better life after Katrina than they had before.


    Residents are highly concerned about how their grassroots plan will fit into the statewide Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal. They called the weekend meeting because they feel they have to act fast. They said - especially given their long history in the area - they will stand up for their vision, win or lose.


    In 2003, community activists from North Gulfport opposed a commercial development project they believed would have increased flooding from runoff and made an already-notable pollution problem even worse. Ken Combs - mayor at the time - publicly referred to North Gulfport residents who opposed the development as "dumb bastards."


    Combs, no longer mayor, left a legacy that has not been forgotten: residents in these small subdivisions said they're not dumb - and they're prepared to preserve their community, even in the face of a huge disaster. In the post-Katrina era of fluctuating property values, one thing has remained constant: these small African-American subdivisions sit on what some regard as the most valuable piece of property in the city. Their houses are situated just off a major thoroughfare at a crossroads that's close to the airport - and ripe for commercial development that's already eating away at the edges.


    Rose Johnson, a community activist who was born and raised in North Gulfport, said she worries about gentrification - restoration by affluent people that displaces lower-income families. As far as Johnson and others are concerned, the post-Katrina recovery leaves them extra-vulnerable to losing their community forever. "This city wants to take away our property," said Johnson. "They've had their eyes on North Gulfport for many years."


    Even before Katrina hit, the area was prone to flooding - much of it caused by overdevelopment that sends water runoff straight into low-income, African-American neighborhoods, said Johnson. She said she feels like a purposeful disaster target. "I think that they felt like, if we can't get them out any other way - we'll flood them out."


    Since then, Johnson has been determined to stay in North Gulfport - and encourage her neighbors to do the same. Yet, she said, even before Hurricane Katrina hit, living conditions were tough. Dilapidated homes sit alongside well-kept ones. Children often can't walk to school or to playgrounds safely. When streets and yards flood - and this happens often - sewage washes into the floodwater.


    "This is not the way a community should look," said Johnson. "This is not the way a community should be."


    Johnson said she envisions an affluent middle-class society. "This is what we deserve," she said.


    Part of her fight against development involves preserving the wetlands that surround her community, said Johnson. The wetlands have cushioned flood damage in her community for decades, she explained. "Let's face it, the wetlands are the only infrastructure that African-American people and poor people could depend on in the heavy rain. The wetlands absorb some of that flood water."


    Wetlands are also a natural pollution filter, she added. "No chemical has ever been invented that could clean water better than wetlands."


    Johnson said she and her parents - and grandparents - didn't choose to live here. "We were restricted. This was where they put us. They thought they were putting us in an undesirable area - in the swamps with snakes and mosquitoes. Well, we survived. And they're not going to make a big profit off of selling our land. Back then, we didn't ask to live here. But now - we're sure staying. It isn't much - but it's sacred ground."



    http://www.disasternews.net/news/news.php?articleid=2920

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  10. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    African Americans work to preserve their culture in the storm-damaged region Dec. 5, 2005
    By Koran Addo

    GULFPORT, Miss. — The ability of African Americans to sustain a political voice along the Mississippi Gulf Coast will be tested between now and early next year when reconstruction plans are expected to be finalized.

    While each community will make its own decisions about redeveloping storm-damaged areas, a statewide commission has been meeting to come up with recommendations for local governments. Five members of the 40-member Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal Commission, appointed by Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour, are African American.

    One of those is Felicia Dunn-Burkes, president of the Gulfport NAACP. On a recent morning, she talked with a reporter in her storm-damaged home about the kinds of decisions facing her battered community. One she worries about is the decision the Gulfport School Board has already made to sell the 28th Street Elementary School.

    Other than a damaged roof, the historic school is still structurally sound after Katrina. That raises questions as to why the school, which services the predominantly black Villa Del Rey and Rolling Meadows neighborhoods, needs to be torn down and moved to a new location.

    Since the early 1900s, 28th Street Elementary has anchored its surrounding neighborhoods, with churches and after-school programs, like the ones offered at the Isaiah Fredericks Community Center, springing up around it. If the school is sold, Dunn-Burkes worries that families will go with it, fragmenting the community and threatening one of two historically black voting districts in town.

    Commenting on her concern, Glen East, superintendent of the Gulfport school district, said there is no racial component in the decision to sell 28th Street. Rather, the school is the only one in the district that borders a semi-industrial part of town and selling it is an opportunity to build a new school for the children in a more residential setting.

    But Dunn-Burkes points out the symbolic value of keeping the school where it has always been. "Just like the White House has significance to a certain parcel of land," she said. "So do our schools, why should anyone try to take that away?"

    The concern for Dunn-Burkes and many of the 33,000 other African Americans living in Gulfport and nearby Biloxi is that racial disparities of the past might present themselves again during the rebuilding process post Katrina.

    James Crowell, president of Biloxi's NAACP chapter, worries that African Americans had to "stomp their feet" to get five African Americans on the commission, a number (13 percent), well below African Americans' share of Mississippi's population (34 percent) or even Harrison County's (21 percent). He said five members are not enough to ensure that cultural issues African Americans care about are given their due -- for instance, repairing historic monuments like the house of former slave Pleasant Reed, now an African American history museum.

    "We have to be sure that what is being discussed openly is what's being spoken about behind closed doors," he said. "I don't know if that will be the case the way the commission is constituted right now."

    The commission is made up of several committees including infrastructure, of which Crowell is a member. These report directly to the 40 commissioners. Once all of the recommendations are in, Gov. Barbour will meet early next year with the board of supervisors in affected counties to plan the next step -- rebuilding.

    Will Longwitz, communication director for the commission, said the governor went through a painstaking process to include viewpoints from every race and class on the commission. "We are taking the community approach, because that is the right way to do it," he said.

    The ability of a community to right itself when faced with adversity is predicated on a pool of wealth, something that black communities along the Gulf Coast have never had. For Crowell and Dunn-Burkes, a proactive approach, lobbying for the interests of African Americans, early in the rebuilding process, has to compensate for a lack of money.

    So while most people along Mississippi's coast wait for FEMA to map out the safest places to rebuild, hope their insurance companies don't drag their feet and pray their neighborhoods still have that distinct flavor they had before Katrina upset normalcy, the vigilant in the African American community watch, wait and pray themselves that progress made by African Americans over decades won't wash away like so many of the buildings along the coast.




    http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/2681.html

    Koran Addo is a graduate student studing journalism from Washington, D.C.
     
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