Re: Building Affordable Housing in Ward 3 (April 27 event video & slides)


hal.ninek@verizon.net
 


Thanks so much for the reference to the CORE report so that I could actually read what the Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA). It can be found on page 33 of the attached link
  
Relative to our discussions in Ward 3, here’s what it does not say: It does not say that choosing to build fewer affordable homes - as opposed to more affordable homes - in high-opportunity, predominately white neighborhoods with a history of exclusion is a good thing to do. Despite the quite odd implications to the contrary.
 
Here are some of the things it does say:
 
On language:
CORE strongly encourages the interrogation of the words we use, why we use those words, and what historical meanings are attached to words, even if they are terms of art. For example, the Land Use Element uses amorphous terms such as “preserve neighborhood character” and “established neighborhoods.” These terms are inherently biased and racially coded, and therefore should be defined to ensure clarity in how and why they are used. Historically, such terms have been used to exclude Black residents in order to maintain “exclusively” white communities.
 
On community input:
Based on a sampling of sections, CORE is encouraged by the Committee Print’s steps to clarify and strengthen community involvement. The Implementation Element now requires Small Area Plans and other planning studies be conducted using a racial equity lens. The element also requires that these and all other planning documents be evaluated using a racial equity impact analysis
 
On evaluation through a racial lens:
Based on a sampling of sections, CORE is strongly encouraged by the Committee Print’s incorporation of racial equity evaluations.In the Housing Element, racial equity evaluations are now embedded in a review of federal and local housing programs ... and the allocation of housing improvement funds will consider historic barriers and existing racial gaps in housing access and opportunity
 
Essentially, as it pertains to Ward 3, these statement essentially are telling us to up our game when it comes to any Small Area Plans we may undertake before zoning changes. It does not say to ignore Ward 's history of exclusionary zoning  and it does not say that "neighborhood character," which it rightly calls out as euphemisms for exclusion must be paramount.  

So if someone wants to argue against the Comprehensive Plan for racial equity reasons, consider that the end result will be continued lack of equity in the very place that person lives.  

Steve Seelig

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