Baltimore, MD

Race determined housing sites, researcher testifies

December 03, 2003
The "dominant factor" in where to put single-family public housing units in Baltimore in the 1970s and 1980s was race, a Cornell University researcher told a federal judge here yesterday.
     Rolf Pendall, an associate professor in Cornell's Department of Regional and City Planning, said that census tracts with predominantly black populations were up to 12 times more likely to be selected as locations for individual, scattered-site housing than tracts that were mostly white. Pendall said his analysis eliminated the impact of such factors as population loss and vacancy rates.
     Pendall's testimony came on the second day of a trial on discrimination claims brought by public housing residents against the city and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Public housing bias trial opens

December 01, 2003
Public housing families in Baltimore are as racially isolated now as they were 50 years ago because city and federal officials have failed to dismantle the segregated system they put in place in the 1930s, a lawyer for public housing tenants told a federal judge here Monday.
     At the opening of a trial on discrimination claims brought by public housing residents nearly nine years ago, C. Christopher Brown argued that city and federal housing authorities continued to locate public housing projects in poor minority areas long after a landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling outlawed segregation.
     "Defendants have placed no family public housing units in white residential neighborhoods," said Brown, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which filed the suit on behalf of public housing tenants.

Trial begins in Md. public housing suit

December 01, 2003
A civil rights lawsuit filed by public housing tenants nearly nine years ago went to trial Monday, with their lawyers arguing that city and federal housing authorities deliberately segregated public housing by race since the 1930s.
     Pointing to the concentration of what he called "black ghettos," plaintiffs' attorney Christopher Brown said blacks "took the brunt of the bulldozers' advance in urban renewal."
     "If anything, we have regressed rather than progressed," the attorney said in his opening statement.
     City Solicitor Thurmon Zollicoffer, who is representing the city, acknowledged past racism, but insisted the city abandoned "sanctioned segregation" immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision.

Group alleges racial bias in ads for senior housing

October 01, 2003
A housing watchdog group has filed complaints against the operators of six area senior housing facilities for what the group calls discriminatory advertising.
     Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. filed the complaints this month with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations against The Shelter Group, Mercy Health Services and Genesis Health Services.
     The Shelter Group operates Brightview Assisted Living in Catonsville, Mays Chapel Ridge, Park View at Taylor and Parkview at Rosedale senior housing facilities.

Group alleges discrimination in senior housing advertising

September 17, 2003
Saying that blacks are underrepresented in Baltimore-area housing ads, a watchdog group is filing discrimination complaints against three housing providers it alleges are the most "egregious violators."
     The complaints by the fair housing advocacy group Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. stem from its yearlong study, which concluded that the bulk of printed advertisements by 106 area senior housing facilities showed only white people.
     The complaints -- in which BNI is joined by two elderly African-Americans -- are being filed with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations, the organization said.

Cracks emerge in Democratic base

September 10, 2003
At breakfast with reporters in Washington Wednesday morning, Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe wanted to talk about the first official Democratic debate in Albuquerque, N.M., which took place almost a week ago. He gushed that the winner was the Democratic National Committee, because with its focus on Hispanics -- it was sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus -- it positioned Democrats to woo that growing, crucial voting bloc next November.
     Strangely, McAuliffe didn't want to talk much about the debate held just the night before in Baltimore, sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus. If the Albuquerque debate was a win for the DNC, the second may have been a loss. It revealed some of the party's weaknesses, in particular cracks in the alliance with pro-Israel Jews, and strained ties with African-Americans under 40. Maybe it's appropriate the debate was cosponsored by Fox News, which many Democrats lambaste for being a mouthpiece for conservative viewpoints and the Republican Party.
     Tuesday's debate, the first ever sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, started off well enough for the Democrats, with the candidates using the first round of questions to bash President Bush's foreign policy. But things took a tough turn when Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut accused Vermont Gov. Howard Dean of one of Bush's biggest sins, imperiling the nation's critical alliances, in this case American backing of Israel.

City takes aim at housing abuses

August 05, 2003
In an effort to prevent fraud and waste in government-subsidized housing, Baltimore officials have put seven landlords on a barred list, become more aggressive about inspections and hired a consultant to help overhaul the system.
     Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano discussed the changes during a recent interview about the Section 8 program, through which the federal government pays the rent for 10,788 families living in privately owned housing in the city.
     The crackdown on fraud came after complaints from housing activists and a report in The Sun in June that the $75 million a year flowing into the Section 8 program was helping to fuel what a lawsuit called a "fraud scheme" by a Columbia-based mortgage broker, William W. Dent.

The wrong housing fix

January 02, 2003
The lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 14,000 mostly minority public housing residents in Baltimore City has been a blatant attempt to circumvent the political process that, if successful, can only result in a further decline of the city. The idea of such a lawsuit, which alleges racial motivation in the siting of public housing projects and avowedly seeks as a remedy to disperse poor black families into better-off majority-white communities, shows utter disrespect for the citizens, black and white. It also reveals a lack of understanding of the delicate balance in which the city, which has been in a population slide for several decades, finds itself today.
     Final arguments in the lawsuit before U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis were heard Dec. 23. A ruling is expected later this month.
     The ACLU is pursuing an unrealistic ideal of "fair allocation" of poor minorities among the more wealthy majority-white neighborhoods in the Baltimore region. And just as the forced busing of children out of their neighborhoods was the wrong remedy 30 to 40 years ago, the ACLU's solution for public housing is wrongheaded today. Busing, which was intended to achieve an ideal of school integration to remedy a history of segregated schools, contributed to the acceleration of de facto segregation in our schools and our city.

Public housing integrates white, middle-class Md.

August 16, 2002
A dozen single-family houses in several mostly white, middle-class neighborhoods have been selected as residences for former tenants of the city's demolished public housing high-rises, Baltimore's housing commissioner said yesterday.
     The selection of the houses - HUD-foreclosed houses that will be bought and renovated by the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center using state and federal funds - is part of the city's efforts to comply with a federal consent decree to desegregate public housing. The buildings will be managed by St. Ambrose.
     In addition to the single-family homes, 11 of 109 units in a renovated garden apartment complex in Southwest Baltimore will be set aside for public housing tenants, said Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano. 

Court rules against doctor's will

May 07, 2002
A Maryland appeals court has ended a legal battle over a doctor's will that left millions of dollars to a home for the elderly but required that the money be spent on a building for "white patients."
      The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled Monday that such provisions are illegal and cannot be enforced by the state's courts.
      The ruling addressed the 1962 will of Dr. Jesse Coggins. He left money to the Keswick Multi-Care Center in Baltimore, but attached the stipulation that the money go to white patients who need physical rehabilitation.


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