November 1st Section 8 Lawsuit Hearing

As you know, the NAACP San Diego Branch is involved in a lawsuit to fight the San Diego Housing Commission’s discriminatory and segregationist practice of setting Section 8 voucher levels too low to allow access to all areas of our city.

There will be a hearing on November 1st at 9:00 a.m. in Department 66 at 330 W. Broadway (the Hall of Justice). Please attend and show that the public supports our cause! The Court will be hearing SDHC’s claim that its setting of payment standards is “protected activity” made in furtherance of SDHC’s “right of free speech or petition.” SDHC, which is a government entity, has alleged that if this lawsuit is allowed to move forward, it will “chill” SDHC’s “valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition.”

The Court will also be hearing SDHC’s allegation that this lawsuit was not brought “solely in the public interest” because the relief we seek – to enjoin SDHC from perpetuating racial segregation – will not benefit the public but will benefit only non-white Section 8 recipients. SDHC’s position reflects a disturbing misunderstanding of how segregation adversely impacts all members of the community, not just racial minorities. SDHC’s position also reflects a flagrant misunderstanding of how its own program works since the relief we seek will benefit all voucher recipients, not only racial minorities. 

In addition, the Court will be hearing SDHC’s request to have the case dismissed, and SDHC’s claim that its CEO’s repeated use of “social engineering” to describe an Obama-era desegregation policy cannot be used in the lawsuit to show discriminatory intent.

We were also joined by our Assistant Treasurer, Wanda Rogers and NAACP members Abdul Waliullah Muhammad and Bro. Charles 3X, as well as at least one Section 8 client. 

The Court has directed the San Diego Housing Commission to share the documents we have been requesting for four months now and that is a win, the Housing Commission is not allowed to withhold this evidence and we feel this evidence will further demonstrate the extent to which the Section 8 payment standards perpetuate racial segregation. 

Overall, we had some gains and some setbacks, but we are still moving forward. There is a lot of information that the Commission has not given us that we need for our case and the judge  authorized us to get as least some of it from the Commission. We will be doing that as well as working to get everything we need to prevail in this case. Our extraordinary attorneys, Paraja Ijadi-Maghsoodi, Bryan Pease and James Crosby are putting in incredible hours and doing an incredible job for the people and for the NAACP. 

This will be a long case but we are in it to win it. We will keep you posted on developments. It appears clear that we will need to go beyond the courtroom to other methods of persuasion to achieve our goal of equity in housing in San Diego. Stay tuned.  Thanks to those who came out and supported us in the courtroom.