Section 8 Lawsuit April Update

When is the next hearing for NAACP San Diego Branch’s lawsuit against San Diego Housing Commission?

On Thursday, April 9, 2020, the federal court will consider our request to remand the case to state court. The federal court will also consider San Diego Housing Commission’s (SDHC) request to dismiss the state court claims, and SDHC’s request that we provide more detail on the federal and state fair housing claims.   

Why is the case in federal court? (I thought it was in state court.)

As we shared in last month’s update, 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 trying to get a second bite at the apple, which delays the case. Justice delayed is justice denied, and SDHC is actively trying to delay justice in this case. 

To summarize, 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 also trying to dismiss our state-law based claims pertaining to discrimination and the perpetuation of racial segregation. These are all arguments that the state court already rejected. 

What is going on with the separate Public Records Act lawsuit against SDHC?

Over six months ago, we requested 2019 Section 8 data from SDHC through a California Public Records Act request. But we have yet to receive the data. We filed a separate lawsuit in January to compel SDHC to provide this data.

Why is the 2019 data needed?

On November 1, 2019, the state court held a hearing on SDHC’s request that the court dismiss the case and SDHC’s argument that its actions were protected as free speech. 

The court reviewed our briefs, evidence, and expert declarations, and heard oral argument by our attorneys. The court ruled and issued an order. The Court gave us the opportunity to allege additional information and facts, including 2019 data, to support our claims. (The court also rejected SDHC’s argument that its discriminatory actions are protected as ‘free speech.’)

The court gave us 10 days to file an amended complaint, but our attorneys asked for more time in order to obtain the 2019 data from SDHC through a Public Records Act request. The judge granted our attorneys’ request for additional time (60 days). Less than a week after the hearing, our attorneys requested the 2019 data from SDHC. Over six months have passed and we have yet to receive the data. 

How can I help as a member of NAACP San Diego?

You can chair the active Housing Committee! There is an opening. 

As the chair, you will receive updates about the lawsuit and related issues from our attorneys, and you will help decide what information would be helpful for fellow members. 

You will also be the first to hear about upcoming hearings and case-related events. While you are under no obligation to attend any hearings or events, you will play a helpful role in receiving information. 

You will also get to help guide the future of the Housing Committee! You have likely heard about the injustices occurring at the city and county level, including the new development with separate rules for low-income individuals and intentional discrimination by a county housing agency employee. 

To be eligible for this role, all you need is passion for civil rights and justice. Apply here.

Support Vehicle Habitation During COVID-19

March 30, 2020

Mayor Kevin Faulconer
City Admin Building
11th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Council President Gómez
City Admin Building
10th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Cate
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Moreno
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Bry
City Admin Building
10th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Kersey
City Admin Building
10th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Sherman
City Admin Building
10th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Campbell
City Admin Building
10th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Montgomery
City Admin Building
10th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Ward
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Mayor Faulconer and Members of the San Diego City Council,

The NAACP San Diego Branch joins Disability Rights California and Women Occupy San Diego in calling for immediate action by the City during this public health emergency.  We call on you to support homeless San Diegans with vehicles in engaging in social distancing and self- quarantine and to ensure access to water, food, and sanitation. Many are over 60, disabled, and/or with chronic illness which place them at higher risk of the COVID-19 virus.  

Specifically, we demand the City:

  1. Place an immediate moratorium on enforcement of the VHO and OVO ordinances, including a halt to all ticketing, citations, and arrests;
  2. Place an immediate moratorium on all towing of vehicles used for shelter for violations of “quality of life” City ordinances and state laws, such as towing for five or more parking citations, expired vehicle registration, overnight parking, illegal lodging, violation of signs prohibiting or restricting parking, or for an inoperative vehicle.
  3. Allow Vehicle Dwellers to shelter in place, including at closed park and beach parking lots and allow them to access properly maintained restrooms with running water and soap in these parks.
  4. Provide access to healthy fresh food and food vouchers, and an adequate number of properly maintained toilets, running water and showers for people living in vehicles, both those in and out of “safe lots.”
  5. Provide access to places to charge phones and medical equipment, and access to the internet for people living in vehicles, both those in and out of “safe lots” while public libraries and coffee shops remain closed.

We hope you learned a lesson from the Hep-A crisis that allowing our most vulnerable citizens to sicken and die is not only a failure of your duty as government officials and human beings, but also threatens us all. 

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter,

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

Fletcher, Gaspar Propose Halting Evictions

Important Vote Today at 9am!

Watch the video: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/general/board-meeting-video.html

Comment on the resolution:

Public Testimony via Teleconference – UPDATED INSTRUCTIONS
Members of the public may provide oral testimony during the March 24, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting via teleconference. The instructions have been updated with a new number and an option to use a web application. If you wish to provide testimony through teleconference, please follow the instructions through this link (and attached). Large groups wishing to comment on a common item are encouraged to submit comments in writing or to identify one spokesperson to join the teleconference on behalf of the group.

Written Comment
Members of the public may submit written comments on any matter within the Board’s subject matter jurisdiction, regardless of whether the matter is on the agenda for Board consideration or action. Comments will be entered into the administrative record of the meeting.

In lieu of in-person attendance, members of the public are strongly encouraged to submit their comments on agenda and non-agenda items using the eComment service or via e-mail at [email protected]. All comments submitted through the eComment service are sent to the members of the Board of Supervisors and the Chief Administrative Officer for their consideration. Comments will be accepted until the start of the meeting (e.g. 9 a.m., unless otherwise noted).

Non-agenda public comments that are submitted via eComment or e-mail, will be read into the record at the Board Meeting. Public comments on agenda items will be available to view online and the number of comments will be stated during the meeting. 

2020.03.23_FINAL_EvictionPreventionPR_COVID19-dragged-2

2020.03.23_FINAL_EvictionPreventionPR_COVID19-dragged

Censorship of NAACP Message on Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services

March 02, 2020

The Honorable Grex Cox, Chair
San Diego County Board of Supervisors
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Chairman Cox,

We at the NAACP are absolutely outraged by the actions of the Board of Supervisors.  First, we asked for reasonable accommodation to be heard during Black History Month. That was denied, by YOU, CHAIRMAN COX.  So, we were forced to pare down our presentation, split it between three of our members, and complete the presentation in six minutes.  

But, the more outrageous action was the censorship of our message.  In every other instance where slides were presented at the February 25, 2020 Board of Supervisors Meeting, the slides were broadcast by video to the public.  NOT A SINGLE ONE OF OUR SLIDES WAS BROADCAST. The slides that showed that Dwight Flesher was a racist, sexist, Islamophobe were censored from the public.

While we understood that the one slide that included “profanity” when referring to Muhammad and Islam would not be shown, the Board of Supervisors or Staff decided to censor ALL the slides.  The only logical explanation is that the Board of Supervisors or Staff decided to blunt our message and protect Dwight Flesher from being exposed to the world, despite the fact that he chose to display his racist attitudes on a public forum.  SHAME ON YOU. THE NAACP DEMANDS AN EXPLANATION.   

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President and Acting 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

Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services

February 24, 2020

Re: Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services.

On February 25, 2020, the San Diego Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will present evidence to the Board of Supervisors of a racist extremist currently acting as a “housing specialist” for San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services. The San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services runs Section 8 housing for San Diego County.

The San Diego Housing and Community Development office is designed to help those who need public assistance.  Because of America’s long history of racism, Section 8 housing overwhelmingly serves communities of color and other disadvantaged communities.  Discovering that someone in a position of power harbors a deep hatred for the very people he is supposed to help, is incredibly distressing. Persons seeking governmental assistance are among our most vulnerable citizens, and they should not need to fear hatred from very County employees hired to serve them.

During public comment, the NAACP will present a series of facebook posts from this County employee, showing shockingly anti-immigrant, anti-latinx, anti-islamic, anti-African American sentiments.  Such attitudes should not and cannot be held by someone who is in a position to approve or deny welfare benefits.

The NAACP already has evidence, in the form of complaint to the NAACP legal redress committee, that this employee is using his position to intimidate people in need, particularly people of color.   In addition, we know from this complainant that at least one supervisor is aware of this employee’s facebook posts and views. The question is why this employee remains in a position of power.

The NAACP San Diego Branch demands:

  1.  An investigation into hiring practices that allowed a racist to be hired as a housing specialist, including who hired him and the record of racial complaints filed against him. 
  2. An investigation to determine how widespread extremist views are in Housing and Community Development Services. 
  3. A re-evaluation of all the Section 8 cases to ensure that people received the assistance they are entitled to under the law.
  4. The County take steps to protect vulnerable people by ensuring that this employee is no longer in a position of power over people of color, immigrants, and members of religions of which he disapproves.

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President and Acting 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

Community Reinvestment Act: Harmful Changes Proposed

February 18, 2020

Re: Proposed Changes to Community Reinvestment Act

The NAACP San Diego Branch strongly opposes the changes to the Community
 Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations proposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Our opposition is based on several reasons:

  • The proposed changes will encourage banks to seek out large dollar community development deals to quickly get to a single total dollar volume metric and discourage loans to people with low- and moderate- incomes (LMI) and small businesses because the loans are much smaller.
  • The new scoring system would allow banks to completely ignore almost half of the markets where they have branches and still pass their exams.
  • The system that gives credit to banks for having branches in LMI communities is weakened and will likely lead to massive branch losses in communities that are already underserved.
  • The proposal redefines community development to include large infrastructure projects like stadium improvements in LMI Opportunity Zones which further encourages banks to seek out larger deals over smaller loans to meet the ratio for the total dollar volume metric.
  • The definition of affordable housing would be relaxed to include middle-income housing in high cost areas.
  • The proposal would redefine small businesses and family farms with higher revenues, again encouraging banks to focus on larger loans to bigger businesses instead of smaller community-style loans.
  • The proposal would lessen the public accountability of banks by not accurately measuring their responsiveness to local needs.

The NAACP San Diego Branch has fought against red-lining as a civil rights issue for many years and anything that weakens this law will receive strong opposition from our organization.

Please note that, it is clear that the proposed rules would weaken CRA. The focus on LMI communities would be lost – the exact intent of CRA when it was signed in 1977. This backtracking would violate the agencies’ obligation under the statute to ensure that banks are continually serving community needs. The FDIC and OCC need to discard the proposal, and instead work with the Federal Reserve Board to create an interagency rule that will augment the progress achieved under CRA instead of reversing it.

Respectfully,

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President and Acting President
NAACP San Diego Branch

February 20th, 2020 Executive Committee Meeting

The Executive Committee met at 6pm, February 20th, in Room 347 of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Ave.

Executive Committee meetings are public meetings, and anyone may attend. Only Executive Committee members may participate, however.

You may view the interactive meeting packet online.

Or, if you prefer to download the entire packet, you may. Please note that the packet has been updated with financial items that were not made available in advance.

Section 8 Lawsuit Year-End Update


In 2020, NAACP San Diego continues fighting racial segregation through its lawsuit against San Diego Housing Commission. 

The lawsuit challenges SDHC’s discriminatory and segregationist policy of setting the Section 8 voucher levels prohibitively low in predominantly white neighborhoods. SDHC’s policy effectively steers families with Section 8 – disproportionately racial minorities – to segregated, high poverty neighborhoods with lower performing schools and fewer employment opportunities.

SDHC initially responded to the lawsuit with a 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, claimed that if NAACP San Diego’s lawsuit was allowed to move forward, it would “chill” SDHC’s “valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition.” 

In its initial response, 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.

In addition, in its initial response, SDHC claimed that its CEO’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. 

In November, the court held a hearing on SDHC’s free speech defense and a demurrer it had filed. The court rejected SDHC’s free speech arguments, finding that NAACP San Diego’s lawsuit is brought in the public interest, and the statute protecting free speech does not apply to SDHC’s actions. The Court also rejected the vast majority of SDHC’s arguments regarding whether the lawsuit could move forward based on state and federal fair housing and civil rights law. The Court gave NAACP San Diego 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.