The City of San Diego has released its draft “CAPER” (Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report). This report describes how the City is doing spending HUD grant money.
The report is always eye-opening. In it, for example, you will find that they plan to help 62,000 people with equity issues over the 5 years of the period, and they have helped a grand total of 2,400 people in the first year (page 2.)
Another thing you will find is that $61M of HOME funds were spent with a total of 9 contractors, all of them white men (page 11.)
The public comment period on the report closes December 1st. We encourage you to read and comment on the reports; send your comments in writing to [email protected].
Ms. Lopez-Villafana & Ms. Schroeder San Diego Union-Tribune 600 B Street, Suite 1201 San Diego, CA 92101
Dear Ms. Lopez-Villafana and Ms. Schroeder,
On behalf of NAACP San Diego Branch, I write to thank you for your excellent reporting on redlining in San Diego. Your reporting is vital. It helps our region understand how our governmental entities sponsored and subsidized segregation.
While we were disappointed that your reporting did not incorporate our organization’s current efforts to stop the perpetuation of segregation in the region’s largest subsidized housing program, we appreciate your reporting. We would be happy to speak with you about our advocacy. Our advocacy centers on the City’s Section 8 program, which includes the neighborhoods identified in your article and impacts 56,000 low-income individuals.
Earlier this year, we expressed to LISC how dismayed we were at LISC’s refusal to include in their draft segregation op-ed, which included NAACP San Diego Branch’s logo, even a reference to the pending litigation on racial segregation. LISC refused to acknowledge the litigation because the CEO of the local governmental entity perpetuating the segregation at issue, San Diego Housing Commission, was on LISC’s board.
Social justice movements will not succeed if the wrongdoings of governmental entities are censored in an effort to appease nonprofit governing boards made up of the very governmental actors committing the wrongful acts.
I hope you continue to shed light on this important issue.
Francine Maxwell, President NAACP San Diego Branch
The NAACP San Diego Branch understands what a critical issue housing is. We will be having a meeting at 6pm on Friday, June 26th, to give you an update on our efforts, especially our lawsuit against the San Diego Housing Commission. We will also share ways that you can get involved in both solving San Diego’s housing crisis and ensure that discriminatory housing practices end.
With almost surgical precision, the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) has implemented policies and practices that perpetuate racial segregation and discriminate against communities of color. SDHC is a prime example of government-sponsored discrimination, racism, and segregation. Yet, SDHC CEO Rick Gentry just issued a statement purporting to stand with communities of color in grieving the loss of George Floyd.
SDHC purports to stand with African Americans and communities of color, yet actively enforces discriminatory policies and practices like steering, that have been unlawful since the civil rights movement.
“It’s abhorrent and extremely opportunistic for SDHC CEO Rick Gentry to release a solidarity statement at a time when we are suing SDHC for perpetuating segregation and racial inequality. Gentry’s claim that SDHC provides families ‘opportunities to choose to live in any areas of the City that make the most sense for their families’ is contradicted by SDHC’s own data. Gentry and SDHC have already decided where families should live – in segregated neighborhoods,” says Rafael Bautista, San Diego Tenants Union.
A pending lawsuit against SDHC filed by NAACP San Diego Branch and San Diego Tenant Union uses SDHC’s own data, policies, and statements to illustrate how SDHC has intentionally discriminates against communities of color and perpetuates racial segregation in violation of federal law, state law, and its own contractual obligations. The lawsuit aims to correct San Diego’s largest subsidized housing program which serves 60,000 low-income women, men, and children.
“An unequal society fosters inequality. SDHC and other governmental entities have unlawfully discriminated against African Americans with impunity for decades. Not only is it unacceptable, it is unlawful. We have sued SDHC for intentionally perpetuating segregated housing patterns. Despite any statements put out by SDHC, SDHC’s own data shows SDHC’s policies and practices disproportionately harm African Americans who are evicted and incarcerated at a far higher rate than white individuals,” says Francine Maxwell, NAACP San Diego.
After SDTU and NAACP San Diego Branch sued SDHC in March 2019, SDHC claimed that Rick Gentry’s repeated use of “social engineering” to derisively describe an Obama-era desegregation policy could not be used in the lawsuit to show discriminatory intent. SDHC claimed that its CEO’s statements were protected speech. SDHC, which is a government entity, claimed that if the lawsuit was allowed to move forward, it would “chill” SDHC’s “valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition.”
SDHC also alleged that the lawsuit was not brought “solely in the public interest” because the relief the lawsuit seeks – to enjoin SDHC from perpetuating racial segregation – will not benefit the public but will benefit only non-white Section 8 recipients. SDHC’s position reflected a disturbing misunderstanding of how segregation adversely impacts all members of the community, not just racial minorities. SDHC’s position also reflected a flagrant misunderstanding of how its own program works since the relief sought will benefit all voucher recipients, not only racial minorities.
The state court rejected SDHC’s free speech arguments, finding that the lawsuit is brought in the public interest, and the statute protecting free speech does not apply to SDHC’s actions. The Court gave NAACP San Diego and SDTU the opportunity to include additional facts (data) regarding how SDHC’s policy disproportionately adversely impacts racial minorities. NAACP San Diego immediately requested the data from SDHC, but SDHC is still refusing to provide its data. NAACP San Diego Branch and SDTU filed a second lawsuit against SDHC to obtain the data. That lawsuit is also pending.
The case is currently pending in federal court. SDHC removed the case to federal court in January 2020. This was procedurally late (over six months late) and a veiled attempt to re-litigate the same issues that were already decided by the state court judge on November 1, 2019. SDHC is again trying to exclude as evidence statements SDHC’s CEO Richard Gentry’s made referring to an Obama-era desegregation policy as “social engineering.” SDHC is trying to get a second bite at the apple, which delays the case. NAACP San Diego and SDTU filed a motion to remand, which is pending.
Francine Maxwell, President NAACP San Diego Branch
Founded in 1919 after a visit by renowned author, activist and NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. DuBois, the NAACP San Diego Branch is celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of the people of San Diego. If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit
The San Diego Tenants Union is committed to fight displacement and gentrification. We organize tenants to fight against rent hikes and fight for improvements. join us!
The NAACP San Diego Branch relies on memberships, donations and fundraising for much of our operating budget. We also receive grants from some very generous organizations, including Qualcomm, SDG&E, and the NAACP Local Action Fund.
COVID-19 means there is less money in everyone’s pocket, and fundraising activities are limited. We are actively seeking additional grants, and could really use a grantwriter who would like to donate their skills and time to help us capture some dollars for out Branch.
If you’d like to lend a pen to the cause of Civil Rights in San Diego, please write [email protected].
When America catches a cold, black Americans get the flu but when America contracts #ThatRona, black Americans die
PREEXISTING CONDITION: RACISM
It is most certainly not being suggested here that the Corona Virus or any virus for that matter can be racist. No, but we all know very well that policies and governmental structures can be racist. Response times from officials during disaster can be suspiciously slower in black communities and the inability to rely on truthful information from officials can have a grave impact. It’s no secret that these structural disparities act as “preexisting conditions.” When manifested in the form of environmental racism, neighborhoods with majority black and brown people are often treated as dumping centers. This yields higher rates of pollution and lower air quality yielding more cases of conditions like asthma and other respiratory diseases. Black Americans need to to be advised regarding the future that in cities like Beijing, the face mask has long been a mainstay of the daily uniform for blue and white collar folks and all those in-between. Our air quality improvement is stalling, the planet is warming and our neighborhoods have new kinds of criminals – those that come to pollute our air quality. When the masses return to normalcy, protect yourself and your family by keeping the face mask.
DECARCERATION IS PARAMOUNT
Furthermore, jail and prisons which we know are overcrowded and disproportionately housing black and brown inmates need to make strategic efforts towards decarceration to avert disaster. In the words of San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin on the subject of COVID19, “We need to let medical professionals guide public policy.” Allowing health professionals to lead us at this time is of the utmost importance. Not only are they held to a higher standard of non-bias, they understand systems of infectious disease. The air quality in our communities is not the only area we experience vulnerability, allowing jail and prison medical staff to achieve proper social distancing for those incarcerated is an area that needs a closer look as well. In response to the conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center, Senator Kamala Harris remarked on 04/12/2020 that “The horrifying conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center are unacceptable. Every day that officials continue to lock up low-risk and vulnerable people is another day that people in U.S. custody along with countless facility and court personnel, legal representatives, witnesses, and family members are put at risk of a preventable death from a deadly virus.”
HOW TO STRATEGICALLY DECARCERATE
The method for decarceration is simple: allow medical staff advise us of the acceptable number to achieve proper social distancing. Next consider release of the inmates that fall into the following categories: those with misdemeanors, the elderly, those conserved waiting for placement in a mental health facility (a reminder that our jails are inappropriately serving those in need of behavioral health services), those unable to pay certain bail amounts, veterans, those already sentenced with upcoming release dates, and those with simply technical parole or probation violations. Identifying those inmates for immediate or expedited release means analyzing the population and intentionally choosing to take measures to save lives. A failure to do so means blatantly disregarding an overwhelming majority of specifically black and brown potential deaths.
TO DO LIST
When the COVID-19 war is over, black people will have an extended recovery timeline, similar to the AIDS epidemic (still claiming many lives in the black plurality of the ATL), the glacial response times during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (also a black plurality), and other calamities long before this COVID19 pandemic. Once mass media coverage dissipates our communities will still be impacted, everyone else will be healing and “getting back to normal” while black Americans continue playing catch up. The post traumatic stress coupled with the preexisting financial and health disparities will have many implications for Black Americans’ mental health and pocketbooks. But stay awake, when the focus shifts in the media, that is the time to work even harder to be well and serve as a leader in the community by putting wellness and the sharing of resources at the forefront all we do. We can take the liberty of expecting that the long-term effects of this virus will have a disproportionately negative impact on Black Americans compared to other groups. When we started this race, the gun went off for us a few HUNDRED years after everyone else started playing. So wear your masks and only use digital means to contact the elderly. If you’re out of work take note of quarantine-proof jobs and use this time to develop new skills, write letters to the jails and prison officials asking for “decarceration” to save lives and properly achieve social distancing. Finally, if you’re one of those fortunate to still be gainfully employed during this time with a job that has you away from home, don’t fidget with the mask, try not to touch your face, greet people with a bow or an elbow (I loathe the fist bump, because you’re still using your hands), sanitize the moment you enter your home and embrace what Roddy Rich says about no shoes in the house!
American Epidemiologist Camara Jones asserts that racism is a system that does two things: structures opportunities and assigns value on so-called race; and is the social interpretation of how one looks in a race conscious society. The structure of the systems have already deemed black and brown value inferior to others. So Black Americans should indeed ask, are we really in this together if we are not all in the same boat?
CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH
In the words of the Reverend Al Sharpton, “If we can survive chattel slavery, if we can survive Jim Crow, we can survive this Corona Virus.”
Moriah Bradley Chair, Health Committee NAACP San Diego Branch
Re: Judicial Council Gets it Right, City Gets it Wrong
These are critical times for housing in our city. Adding COVID-19 onto an already untenable housing market is like pouring gasoline on a fire. We are grateful to the Judicial Council for providing some relief to tenants, however temporary, but we are aghast that the City’s “solution” to COVID-19 among the homeless is to pack them into the Convention Center.
Legal Assistance for Evictions and Housing Issues During COVID-19
NAACP San Diego Branch is grateful that the Judicial Council has stepped in to protect vulnerable renters in the San Diego region and the rest of the state. Elected officials in the San Diego region have failed to enact eviction-based ordinances that protect renters, and have enacted poorly written ordinances that unjustly burden tenants – the very people the ordinances should be protecting.
On Monday, the Judicial Council stepped in to delay all eviction cases from moving forward, not just those related to people not being able to pay rent due to the virus.
As described in this article, https://apnews.com/3945cb51331a801b658d4202504334e5, the order is much needed. “This is the type of straightforward, broad protection that we have been wanting to see from our leaders to give people comfort while we address the massive economic impacts of this crisis,” said Sasha Harnden, housing policy advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
If you are in the County of San Diego and need free legal assistance pertaining to housing issues, including rent increases and evictions, contact Legal Aid Society of San Diego which receives government funding to provide legal assistance to low-income individuals. https://www.lassd.org/
If you have received an eviction notice, rent increase notice, or have a housing related issue – do not delay. Seek legal advice today!
Use of Emergency Funds for Directing Unhoused Residents to the Convention Center
NAACP San Diego Branch is dismayed by actions taken by local elected leaders to direct hundreds of unhoused San Diego-region residents to a congregate setting – the Convention Center – during the COVID-19 crisis.
These actions are inconsistent with COVID-19 mitigation efforts, social distancing directives, and the Governor’s order to utilize hotel/motel rooms to accommodate at-risk unhoused individuals and families.
In addition to endangering the lives of our most vulnerable residents and the greater public, these actions are questionable financially. Local elected officials seem to be directing millions of dollars in state funds to the city’s own Convention Center instead of motels and hotels, to benefit itself while putting in danger the very population the funding is intended to assist.