You can find a dozen explanations for why the lawsuit seeking to block plans to rebuild public housing in Galveston failed.

You can, if you choose, believe that this is a miscarriage of justice. You can cite it as an example of the “moral and political corruption that the poverty industry spreads throughout the city.” And if you believe that strongly enough, you can contribute to the Galveston Open Government Project, the nonprofit group that was behind this lawsuit. The organization is raising money for an appeal.

But the reason this lawsuit failed was that it claimed that the plan to rebuild public housing units destroyed by Hurricane Ike would concentrate those units in poor neighborhoods north of Broadway.

That claim is wrong.

Before the storm, there were three public housing projects with 569 units north of Broadway. The plans call for rebuilding two mixed-income developments on two of those sites. Some of those units will be market rate. Fewer than 200 will be public housing units.

In the next phase of this plan, public housing units will be built on scattered sites.

You could make a credible argument that this is the most radical deconcentration of public housing in Galveston’s history.

The argument that it concentrates those units failed because the numbers were wrong.

(25) comments

Norman Pappous

Number of independent housing experts that claimed the plans do not AFFH: 3

Number of independent housing experts that claimed the plans AFFH: 0

Your numbers don't add up Heber.

Evelyn Clark

I read so much hate in this forum, and it's really a shame. I have said it

once, I will say it again. This island is home to any one that want to stay here.

Remembers numbers go up and numbers come down.

.Can't we ,just all get along., THAT IS THE QUESTION [sad]

Gary Miller

I will say it again. This island is home to any one that want to stay here.
Of course. If they pay for it. All othere beg for free.

Evelyn Clark

I used to live in PH and I able to send my son to college. I Worked for 33 years and retired..My husband and I worked hard . We were able to buy property. and mnever looked down and try to judge any one. Neither should you. You will never know what other people have or need.. Who made you judge and jury.[sad][sad]

Evelyn Clark

NP, IHOG Your true feeling are showing.

Ellen Morrison

The units that are "market rate" are under no restrictions to stay as market units. Any issue with safety or crime or noise, etc., and your statement that this is concentration is blown.

And I'd like to see a show of hands... who really thinks the scattered sites will be built?

I wouldn't put it past the GLO to try to teach G-ton a(nother) lesson, but that would be the only reason I could see them going in.

GW Cornelius

Give it 3 years it will be worse than before does the term Sandpiper ring a bell. It was going to be built no matter what and it will be a slum in 3 years or less. So is the working of HUD.

Steve Fouga

Heber, I understand it's possible to make the numbers prove your point: When the housing is built -- not even including the scattered sites -- the rebuilt area will be less segregated than before Ike.

Okay, got it, but I think that misses the larger point. Rebuilding to make an area almost as bad as it was before doesn't make it good -- it just makes it not quite as bad.

The bigger picture is that by importing more poor into Galveston, we will have lowered our median standard of living, encouraged more crime, and almost ensured more blight. You think we have too large a police department now? Think again. If Chief Porretto doesn't increase the size of his force as a result of rebuilt housing, it'll be a dereliction of duty.

And Heber, if you think middle- and upper-class families and rich retirees don't use per capita public housing units as a metric when deciding where to relocate, you're wrong. How about our schools? Do you think the impact will be good, or, as it always is, bad?

I've asked over and over on this forum the same question: Please list some ways rebuilding the housing benefits Galveston. I've yet to read a good answer.

George Croix

You're right on track, but all that 'federal money' has you outbid.
The beneficiaries will be the mainland areas that got Galveston's problems after Ike when they move back.

Leonce Thierry

Thank you Heber. Dear Mr. Buckner - For the past 11 years, I have lived within one-half block of one of Galveston’s most preeminent high-rise public housing projects. And there is no place on the island I would rather live. Gulf Breeze has taken on a great variety of public housing residents. Where I live is not overrun by crime or blight. In fact, our block face may be considered one of the more affluent areas here in Galveston. There are retired couples, master-gardeners, an art gallery, and well-manicured and kept homes here in Lost Bayou. No one I know fears the residents of Gulf Breeze. And I certainly don’t see my quality of life having been lowered by living in a close proximity to a public housing project.

In fact, a certain Texas billionaire chose to relocate what will become on of this state’s most significant art museums directly across the street from Gulf Breeze. My guess is he was not concerned about lowering his standard of living by doing so.

Steve Fouga

Hank, I hope you are right and the new developments follow the path of Gulf Breeze rather than that of the projects north of Broadway. As in all neighborhoods, it depends on the quality of the folks living there, and maybe we'll get good ones this time. It only takes a few slackards or criminals to ruin the whole show. One thing is for sure -- it will be hard for any of them to find sufficient income to eventually buy or rent elsewhere on the Island.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't see the rebuilding as having any potential advantages to the city, just potential disadvantages. Just as you've seen a good result in your neighborhood, I've seen bad results in others.

I'll keep my fingers crossed. [smile]

Miceal O'Laochdha

I think in Heber's world, he imagines that middle and upper-class families DO indeed use per capita public housing as a metric, But he actually thinks they do so to decide that they WANT to locate near public housing. Just like all the imaginary people who will be lining up to buy "market rate" condos in the midst of a public housing project. That particular urban myth, so relentlessly chanted that no one even questions it anymore, is especially mendacious.

Those supposedly "market rate" units, which no one on Earth who could afford to do so would ever pay market values for, will be filled with subsidized Section 8 recipients, alongside their family members next door who have been given the other units designated as "public housing".

It will ALL be public housing; just using several different euphuistically-named government programs (Newspeak). It will all be paid for by actual working people (taxpayers) at corrupt, excessive, initial costs far exceeding the legitimate "market value" of our own comparable homes, and it will then be maintained and policed at ever-increasing cost far exceeding the public safety and maintenance support needed by the rest of the population by (again...) taxpayers.

And, I understand they will be named the "Heber Taylor Homes", in honor of his tireless promotion of the faux utopian fantasy. I am guessing daily life will not be impacted for those living the genuine utopian life in a West End Canal home.

Raymond Lewis

Mr. Pappous, your point about independent experts claiming a violation in Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is profusely incorrect. A number of 'experts' have said the rebuild further affirms fair housing, you just chose to ignore them. One of the 'experts hired by the city (at your insistence and trumpeted by GOGP) never once stated the plan violated fair housing. While in court and under oath, that expert clearly stated that he 'never said the development was discriminatory" among other things. Would be happy to provide you his quotes if necessary. You also insisted the whole thing should 'get before a judge' and "let the judge decide". Well it did get before a federal judge and the very weak case fell apart. The remaining shred is the one remaining plaintiff to prove constitutional rights violation. It ain't gonna happen. You know it and I know it. Please move on. Would hate to see you lose your way as it seems so at times.

Norman Pappous

TrebleClef you are 100% incorrect.

"One of the 'experts hired by the city (at your insistence and trumpeted by GOGP) never once stated the plan violated fair housing."

In response to my two DIRECT questions - "Do the plans AFFH - yes or no?" Dr. McClure answered unequivocally "NO! It's on videotape!

As to your assertion "A number of 'experts' have said the rebuild further affirms fair housing,..." Name one that conducted a fair housing study and came to that conclusion - just one.

Evelyn Clark

I will state what no one else will admit. It about making sure that Ph is not built . Its all about RACISM PERIOD.

They tore down the PH so fast, why not put it back up fast. RACISM., RACISM

Its PH all over the USA. Other states are laughing at Galveston for trying to dsiplace people that are Galvestonias and BOI.

Steve Fouga

mytoby, you really believe this is about race, and maybe you're right. I don't have the history in Galveston that you do, so maybe racism runs deep in Galveston and I just haven't lived here long enough to know about it.

All I can say is that my opposition to building public housing on the Island has nothing to do with race.

Norman Pappous

My Toby you can have your 1960's opinion about racism but the FACT is I was the ONLY councilperson who wrote articles requesting anyone who was a resident of GHA the day before Ike, or knew anyone who was, and wanted to come back, but could not, to get in touch with me and I would make it happen. I made the same offer during council on TV.

Number of responses? Zero.

No one was ever stopped from returning to Galveston. No one was ever unwillingly displaced.

George Croix

I want to live in Tahiti, but I can only afford Texas City.
That's how it works when you pay your own way through life with money you earned by working for it yourself.
Hate? I hate the increase in mainland crime rates since Ike, and am not fond of the noisy, trashy bunch of people who settled in the neighborhood and managed in less than a week to turn a nice, quiet place to live into a never ending battle for peace and quiet, and removal of garbage from other people's yards. The piles of junk now decorating the side of the house and garage in place of the former azalea bushes are also esthetically...crap...

Steve Fouga

So you got Galveston's castaways after Ike; now Galveston will get a new crop from somewhere...

I've read here and there that those on the waiting list are not original Galvestonians, but new folks about to be given a ticket to a resort town where it's nearly impossible to find a well-paying job.


George Croix

Is there really anything new under the sun...?[wink]
It will be interesting to watch, yet again, 'progressives' try to disprove Einstein's definition of insane...

George Croix

I hope Hank is right and that the exception will prove the rule for new PH.
I do recall, though, a lesson Dad taught me that I have never forgotten in the 52 years since he died:
The apples are red.
The oranges are orange.

George Croix

A lot more people could do a lot more things if they had the federal governemnt using taxpayer money to pay part of their housing costs, instead of using it to pay for someone else's housing costs.
Of course, no doubt the subsidies are paid back in later years...with interest...

Norman Pappous

Instead of building units at $250k+ Galveston should have rehabbed homes across the island for less than $200k and simply given them to GHA residents - prepaying 5 years of insurance and taxes with the extra $50,000.

Everyone has a home, homes are on the tax rolls, and Galveston lowers segregation and poverty concentrations in the worst census tracts.

Raymond Lewis

Npappous, not sure what is 'on the tape' but no evidence of violating fair housing or discrimination is in the 'experts' final report. Not sure how 'expert' you want to call it but the federal judge found no violation of fair housing laws. In his arena (and the arena sought by GOGP) is about as expert as is needed.

Jarvis Buckley

N.P. makes a lot of sense , but it's all over now.

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