Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Richmond Strangles the Poor With Red Tape

Mayor says he wants to "promote economic parity and social justice," then sends code enforcers to evict the poor from their homes.


(Reason Magazine)

"It was said of Charles de Gaulle that while he loved France, the French people left him cold. One has to wonder if something like that might apply to Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones.

Jones has spoken eloquently about the need to alleviate poverty — or, as he put it, "promote economic parity and social justice." He empaneled a commission that studied the issue in depth, and produced a fat report. But when presented with real, live poor people, his administration not only has ignored their pleas for help but kicked them when they were down.

Last week residents of two trailer parks sued the city over what they call an illegal and racially discriminatory inspection program. The courts will have to sort out whether those claims have merit. But even if only half of the claims are true, anyone reading the complaint filed in federal district court will come away from it astonished at how city officials have behaved.

The plaintiffs in the case are almost all Latino, as are the lopsided majority of the city's trailer-park residents — even though Latinos make up less than 7 percent of the city's total population. According to the complaint, which is being brought on behalf of the plaintiffs by the Legal Aid Justice Center, the city started planning for a sweep of its trailer parks three years ago, and started going through them in the early spring of 2014. It cited numerous mobile homes for violations great and small — from bad wiring to "improperly built decks and porches."

Read the full article HERE.