Thursday, June 18, 2009

How would you define "lower socioeconomic people"?

I read this at The Norla Blog and then followed their link to The Times.
The Police Jury was discussing a program created with the federal stimulus package that would rebuild neighborhoods across America that have virtually been emptied by foreclosures and poverty. The Housing Authority of Bossier City is applying for at least $2.5 million in those federal funds. The authority or a nonprofit organization administered by it would use the money to rebuild houses and sell some of them.
Only one strip of Bossier Parish is blighted enough for this project — the area north of Highway 80 as it comes into Bossier City from Hamilton Road to the Red River.
Sounds good to me. Take a neighborhood that has become slum infested, rebuild some of the houses and sell them to worthy people.
Police Jury member Wanda Bennett, however, sees danger.
"We don't need to encourage low-income housing."
The low-income housing is already there. What is being proposed would improve it.
"It's very unpopular to do what I am doing right now, talking about it ... but one of the reasons Bossier Parish is enjoying such a good life right now is because we don't have the groups of lower socioeconomic people."
Well, yes we do. Who do you think lives in the area in question? I haven't seen anyone selling their houses in Stonebridge to get down to Hamilton Road lately. The point of the project is to improve on what already exists.
As The Norla Blog points out, " the issue isn’t the stereotypical housing project. My understanding is that these are single family homes, there are rigorous ownership requirements and even close supervision and assistance for residents. Bennett, as an elected official, ought to do her homework before making decisions."
I'm not endorsing or trashing the stimulus package. That is another subject. We realize that it pains Mayor Walker, who said earlier this week that he has 'reservations' about the stimulus. It probably caused him a lot of grief as he signed application after application to ensure that the city gets all that it can.
For the life of me, I can't follow the reasoning. Well, that's not entirely true. I grew up in segregated Bossier Parish. I know who the 'groups of lower socioeconomic people' are. Members of the Police Jury wouldn't dare get more specific in public, but we get the reference, just as everyone else does. I get the reference, but I don't follow the reasoning. I recognize the fear that is struck in every Bossierite's heart as they contemplate the influx of large numbers of blacks from Shreveport into Bossier to, god forbid, buy a house. I just don't believe that these housing improvements will be the trigger, and I do believe that it will benefit the people currently living in the neighborhood.
Let's take another look at it.


  1. How would u define troublemaker? Because thats what u are.

  2. Jim, I think you are reading a lot into this statement that wasn't there. It wasn't a racial remark, regardless of how you color it. People simply want to keep the standard of living at a decent level. You need to chill out.

  3. What do you think dumping 2.5 million into improvements would do anon 9:42? Lower the standard of living? Wow.

  4. Improving another's standard of living does not necessarily trigger a lowering of one's own standard of living. It could actually go the other way and make things better for everyone.

  5. I am proud that Bossier public officials are not afraid to say what their constituents feel and desire. Bossier should continue to try to keep housing projects out of our community - all they do is breed more poverty and crime. Good for you Ms. Bennett - your constiuents were wise to elect you.

  6. It sure looks like all these anonymouse's are missing the point here. Bossier City is not trying to add additional housing projects. They are simply improving those that already exist. As tax paying citizens we should want our local government going after these funds. Because if we don't get them somebody else will.

  7. Ed, you are absolutely right. I just rode by the area in question, and I don't understand how anyone could oppose rebuilding some of those houses and selling them. How would that NOT be an improvement?
    Blind fear knows no reason.

  8. Ed, I call them anonymice.

    Gee, I'm not even from Bossier City, and I understood that the plan was to improve on what was already there on my very first read.

  9. People in Bossier City are just tired of liberal government and the Obama stimulus. We will take care of ourselves.

  10. Anon at 9:20 -
    Thats interesting. How do you explain the fact that, according to the 2008 Mayor's conference on the stimulus, Mayor Walker identified $192,100,000 (that's 192 million 100 thousand dollars) in projects that the city would love to see funded? Of course, they're not getting that much. The parish is getting money to do some roadwork - maybe Mrs. Bennett should concentrate on that, considering that she is on the Police Jury now, not the city council. Let's make sure the roads we are improving are in the better areas, we wouldn't want the lower socioeconomic people to have a smooth ride.

  11. Jim - you really do not have the facts on this one - they want to take adjudicated properties and place housing on them - not rehab currently occupied housing. The folks on the blog have no idea what they are talking about. We have one project in this area that is in deplorable condition and it perpetuates because it is federally funded. We do not need anymore of this in our community. They dont pay taxes, they tax our ambulance services, emergency rooms, police departments and the like - be happy as each one goes vacant - it gets condemned - torn down - nothing rebuilt in its place - sooner or later - it will all be gone and we can redevelope that area

  12. Jim,

    It is obvious that you have no clue what you are talking about.

  13. I imagine some of these adjudicated properties have houses on them. If the city could rebuild them and sell them, that would seem to be a good thing.
    Sell them as they are proposing as single family homes (not as rental property). How would that not be an improvement on adjuciated property that is just sitting there?
    It just seems to me that the people on the council should be direct and honest. Don't refer to black people as 'lower socioeconomic people'

  14. "It is obvious that you have no clue what you are talking about."

    Why don't you explain it to me?

  15. "It is obvious that you have no clue what you are talking about."

    Why don't you explain it to me?

  16. Anon at 11:41:
    Let me add to what I just said. I do understand your point about waiting and then redeveloping. The problem is that the properties are scattered, a house here and a house there. For example, if you have two houses in a block that are adjudicated and boarded up, or that have been demolished, wouldn't it be better to upgrade that block by rebuilding new houses and selling them?
    Your scenario of redeveloping the whole area will require the city, or a private developer, buying the other properties in order to do that. I haven't seen anyone stepping up to do that.


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