Reflections on HBO’s “Show Me a Hero”


>>GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYBODY!
GOOD AFTERNOON. I’M SARAH ROSEN WARTEL, I
HAVE THE GREAT PRIVILEGE OF BEING THE PRESIDENT OF THE
URBAN INSTITUTE AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES THAT
HAVE BEEN HERE, WE HAVE THE GREAT PLEASURE OF WELCOMING
YOU TO THIS REALLY EXCITING AFTERNOON.
I COULD NOT BE MORE THRILLED TO HOST THIS.
I THINK MOST OF YOU KNOW WHAT URBAN IS BUT FORGIVE ME FOR A
SECOND JUST TO SAY THAT THE URBAN INSTITUTE IS AN
ORGANIZATION THAT DOES SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC POLICY RESEARCH,
AND IT BRINGS DATA AND MODELING TOOLS AND PROGRAM
EVALUATION TO SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES THAT OUR
SOCIETY FACES. WE WERE FOUNDED IN 1968 AFTER
THE RIOTS IN OUR CITIES, AND OUR PURPOSE AT THE TIME WAS
TO DEEPEN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE HOPES AND OBSTACLES
THAT WERE FACING THE POOR LIVING IN MANY OF AMERICA’S
CITIES AND TO HELP POLICYMAKERS UNDERSTAND
WHETHER THE POLICES THAT THEY WERE IMPLEMENTING WERE
WORKING. TODAY OUR RESEARCH PORTFOLIO
RANGES FROM THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET TO HEALTH AND TAX POLICY,
FROM THE WELL BEING OF FAMILIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS, 2
TRENDS IN WORK, EARNINGS, WEALTH BUILDING, AND MUCH,
MUCH MORE. IF YOU VISIT URBAN.ORG THESE
DAYS I THINK YOU WILL SEE WE UNDERSTAND THAT BEHIND DATA
AND ANALYSIS AND SNAZZY DATA VISUALIZATIONS AND MUCH MORE,
WE UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THROUGH
AWFULLY THAT ANALYSIS AND WORK IS ABOUT THE LIVES OF
REAL PEOPLE. TODAY, WE ARE GOING TO
EXPLORE STORIES THAT URBAN RESEARCHERS HAVE STUDIED FOR
DECADES. POLICES THAT MANY OF MY
COLLEAGUES HAVE HELPED TO INFORM.
ISSUES THAT MANY HERE TODAY WORK ON IN THEIR DAY TO DAY
LIVES STILL. WE WOULD EXPLORE THOSE
STORIES TODAY TO THE LIVES OF RESIDENTS OF YONKERS, BECAUSE
THEY WERE BROUGHT IT TO LIFE IN A REALLY COMPELLING BOOK
BY LISA BELKIN, AND THEY’VE NOW BEEN BROUGHT IT TO OUR
SCREENS AND TELEVISIONS AND OTHER DEVICES ACROSS THE
NATION THROUGH THE EXTRAORDINARY WORK OF DAVID
SIMON IN THE HBO SERIES, SHOW ME A HERO.
LET ME BRIEFLY INTRODUCE OUR PANELISTS NOW, SO THAT WE CAN
THEN HEAR A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SHOW AND SEE AN EXCERPT,
AND THE PANEL WILL COME BACK UP AND TALK MORE ABOUT IT,
AND THEN I HOPE TALK WITH ALL OF YOU.
FIRST I’M GOING TO INTRODUCE SECRETARY OF HUD, HOUSING AND
URBAN DEVELOPMENT, JULIAN CASTRO.
SECRETARY CASTRO ASSUMED HIS ROLE IN JULY OF LAST YEAR SO 3
IT’S NOW BEEN A LITTLE OVER A YEAR, MR. SECRETARY.
STILL PROBABLY FEELS LIKE THE NEW KID.
BUT HE HAS QUICKLY ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS
SOMEONE WHO IS FOCUSED ON PERFORMANCE-DRIVEN APPROACH
TO EXTENDING OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL AMERICANS.
NOT ONLY HAS HE COME TO OUR DISCUSSION TODAY, BRINGING
THE PERSPECTIVE OF A SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL, PART
OF THE GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN OPPORTUNITY, BUT
HE IS A FORMER MAYOR WHO HAS HAD TO WRESTLE IN HIS OWN
CITY OF SAN ANTONIO WITH ALL KINDS OF NEW CHALLENGES, IN A
NEW ERA BUT WITH SIMILAR ISSUES.
HE WAS IN SAN ANTONIO MAYOR A LEADER IN URBAN DEVELOPMENT,
A LEADER IN EDUCATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE OF THAT CITY,
AND IN PARTICULAR, A LEADER IN BRINGING TOGETHER AN
UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE DIFFERENT SILOS OF POLICY IN
ONE PLACE ALL COME TOGETHER TO IMPROVE OR GET IN THE WAY
OF PEOPLE MAKING PROGRESS IN THEIR OWN LIVES.
>>DAVID SIMON PROBABLY NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION TO THIS ROOM.
IN MY HOUSE HE IS KNOWN AS THE PERSON MOST RESPONSIBLE
FOR SLEEPLESS NIGHTS FOR MY HUSBAND, WHO GOES TO BED AT
10:00, AND LOOKS AT ME AT 1:30.
DAVID SIMON’S WORK IS A DEFINITION IN THE DICTIONARY
I BELIEVE OF COMPELLING. HE IS THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
AND WRITER OF SHOW ME A HERO, HE HAS WRITTEN AND PRODUCED
MANY CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED TELEVISION SERIES, INCLUDING 4
HOMELESS LIFE ON THE STREET, THE WIRE, HIS PROJECTS
EXPLORE AND MAKE US ALL WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT POVERTY,
CORRUPTION, THE PARTS OF OUR SOCIETY THAT DON’T WORK.
AND YET, HE MAKES US NOT WANT TO TURN OUR EYES AWAY, BUT
LOOK AND UNDERSTAND, BECAUSE HE TELLS A COMPELLING STORY
ABOUT THREE PEOPLE. IN DOING SO, HE DRAWS ON HIS
CREATIVE WORK, HIS BACKGROUND AS A BEAT REPORTER FROM THE
BALTIMORE SUN. WE ARE ALSO VERY EXCITED TO
HAVE MY NEW FRIEND, LONG TIME FRIEND OF URBAN, JAMES PERRY.
JAMES IS A COMMUNITY ADVOCATE AND HOUSING EXPERT WHO SPENT
10 YEARS AS THE CEO OF THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS FAIR
HOUSING ACTION CENTER. UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP, THE
CENTER WON MORE THAN HALF A BILLION DOLLARS FOR VICTIMS
OF DISCRIMINATION ACROSS LOUISIANA.
BEFORE WORKING IN NEW ORLEANS, JAMES FOUNDED THE
MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST FAIR HOUSING CENTER WHICH WAS THE
FIRST ORGANIZATION OF ITS TYPE IN MISSISSIPPI.
AND FINALLY, I’M GOING TO BE JOINED IN THIS DISCUSSION
WITH URBAN’S OWN MARG TURNER, MARG IS A NATIONALLY
RECOGNIZED EXPERT ON URBAN POLICY AND NEIGHBORHOOD
ISSUES, SHE HAS ANALYZED ISSUES OF RESIDENTIAL
LOCATIONS, RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION AND ITS
CONTRIBUTIONS TO NEIGHBORHOOD SEGREGATION AND INEQUALITY
AND SHE HAS STUDIED THE ROLE OF HOUSING POLICES IN
PROMOTING RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY AND LOCATION CHOICE. 5
IN A 2009 BOOK WRITTEN WITH URBAN COLLEAGUES, PUBLIC
HOUSING AND LEGACY OF SEGREGATION, SHE EXPLORED THE
QUESTIONS WE WILL BE TALKING ABOUT TODAY, SHE ALSO JOINS
ME IN BEING PART OF THE ROYAL GROUP OF HUD ALUMNI OF WHOM I
SEE MANY IN THIS ROOM. AND FINALLY, I JUST WANT TO
THANK MICHELLE BOSTON WHO HELPED US WORK TOGETHER WITH
DAVID AND HUD AND EVERYONE ELSE TO PULL THIS EVENT
TOGETHER. WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR HER
VERY TERRIFIC PARTNERSHIP IN THIS.
WE ARE GOING TO START WITH A 15 MINUTE SEGMENT FROM THE
SECOND HOUR OF SHOW ME A HERO, WE’RE GOING TO SEE THE
STRUGGLES THAT THE COMMUNITY WAS FACING, SEVERAL OF THE
FAMILIES THAT WERE IMPACTED BY THE COURT’S DECISIONS.
AND THEN WE’RE GOING TO BRING THE PANEL UP AND WE WILL HAVE
TIME FOR QUESTIONS. YOU SHOULD HAVE FOUND ON YOUR
SEATS CARDS. THROUGHOUT THE EVENT I
ENCOURAGE YOU TO WRITE DOWN THOUGHTS AND IDEAS.
AS WE GET INTO THE PANEL PEOPLE WILL COME THROUGH THE
ROOM AND COLLECT THOSE FOR YOU.
WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING ABLE TO SORT THROUGH
AND CREATE A NICE FLOW OF CONVERSATION WITH THE
QUESTIONS. I ALSO ENCOURAGE THOSE OF YOU
WHO LIKE IT TO TWEET TO USE THE HASHTAG LIVE AT URBAN AND
HASHTAG, SHOW ME A HERO, TO THE EXTENT YOU CAN, AND BE
PART OF THIS DISCUSSION. SO FINALLY, WE HAVE ONE MORE 6
REALLY SPECIAL GUEST FOR YOU ALL TODAY.
CLAYTON LEBUSK PLAYED BENJAMIN HOOKS IN THE SERIES,
HE HAS PERFORMED OFF BROADWAY, AT TOP REGIONAL
THEATERS, BUT MOST OF US PROBABLY KNOW HIM THROUGH HIS
APPEARANCES IN MANY OTHER HBO PRODUCTIONS, INCLUDING
SOMETHING AWARD MADE, THE WIRE, THE CORNER, AND THE
ROLE IN WHICH I FIRST WAS INTRODUCED TO HIM WAS CAPTAIN
BARNFATHER ON THE NBC SERIES, HOMELESS LIFE ON THE STREET.
PERHAPS MOST RELEVANT TODAY, THOUGH, IS THAT CLAYTON GREW
UP IN YONKERS, AND IN FACT, LIVED IN THE PUBLIC HOUSING
PROJECTS, AND SO IT’S REALLY A TERRIFIC HONOR FOR US TO
HAVE YOU INTRODUCE THIS TODAY.
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE, EVERYBODY.
>>[APPLAUSE]>>GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYONE!
I’M VERY EXCITED TO BE HERE AT THE MONICO.
I WANT TO THANK THE URBAN INSTITUTE AND THEIR MISSION
TO ELEVATE THE DEBATE, TO ELEVATE THE DISCUSSION, TO
ELEVATE WHAT WE WOULD SAY ON THE STREET, RAPPING TO ONE
ANOTHER. THIS IS MY FIRST CONVERSATION
WITH THE URBAN INSTITUTE. IT IS A COLLABORATION I’VE
DEALT WITH WITH ONE OTHER LADY, MISHON BOSTON OF THE
MISHON BOSTON GROUP, SHE HAS HELPED DRIVE THIS EVENT WE
ARE AT THIS AFTERNOON. I WANT TO THANK HER.
WE ARE WORKING ON A FILM PRESERVATION PROJECT AS WE
SPEAK. THE YOUNG LADY HAS A SPECIAL 7
PLACE IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C. AREA AND I WANT TO THANK HER.
BEFORE WE SHOW THE CLIP, I WILL BE GLAD TO SPEAK WITH
ANYBODY AS I MOVE FORWARD IN THEATER, TELEVISION AND FILM,
I WILL BE SPEAKING ABOUT THE WORK WITH WITH MR. DAVID
SIMON. IT’S SURREAL.
FOR ME TO LOOK OUT OF MY WINDOW AS A CHILD, AT THE
CITY HALL CLOCK THAT YOU SEE IN THIS SERIES, AND AS A
YOUNG MAN, LOOKING OUT AT THAT CLOCK, I RECOGNIZE
CONSTANTLY WHAT TIME WAS, WHAT IS TIME, AND I HEAR
PEOPLE TALK ABOUT TIME BEING MONEY, AND I DISAGREE.
TIME IS YOUR HEART BEAT. AND I LEARNED THAT AS A
CHILD, AS I WOULD STARE AT THIS CLOCK.
IT IT WAS A FRIEND OF MINE. BUT IT CAUSED ME A LOT OF
PROBLEMS, TOO, BECAUSE I HAD FRIENDS THAT DO TIME,
LITERALLY, LIVING UP IN THE PROJECTS.
I TOOK A DIFFERENT ROUTE. BUT I WANT TO SHARE SOMETHING
WITH YOU BEFORE I GET STARTED MR. BOB MAHOCK IS A MAN I
KNEW, A MAN PORTRAYED BY A WONDERFUL ACTOR, CLARK
PETERS. HE PORTRAYS MR. ROBERT
MAYHOCK, THE COUNSELOR FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE PROJECT.
HE GAVE ME A BOOK IN 1986, OKAY, IT WAS CALLED MAHOCK’S
LAW, SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD NAME FOR A TELEVISION SHOW, BUT IN
HIS BOOK, HE HAS A GUIDING PRINCIPLE, AND IT SAYS
EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING ELSE.
THAT’S SIMPLE BUT IT’S PROFOUND, LIKE MOST THINGS. 8
EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING ELSE.
I MEAN, YOU ON THAT UP THE FIRST PAGE OF LISA BELKIN’S
BOOK, THE FIRST THING YOU SEE OR THE FIRST THING I SAW,
CURRENT EVENTS. THE BOOK HAS A COPYRIGHT DATE
OF 1980 BUT WHEN YOU OPEN THE HARD COVER UP, THE NEXT THICK
TO THE PRICE OF THE BOOK, IT SAYS CURRENT EVENTS.
BACK TO TIME. WHAT IS CURRENT?
WHAT IS PAST? IS ENSLAVEMENT A LONG TIME
AGO? HUH?
NO. IT WAS YESTERDAY.
WHETHER PEOPLE WANT TO TABLE OR NOT.
EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING ELSE.
WE’RE GOING TO MOVE ON WITH THE PANEL, AND LEAVE YOU WITH
THESE WORDS. IF EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED TO
EVERYTHING ELSE, WE HAVE COURT ORDERS AND APPEALS
GOING ON BACK IN THE DAY WITH LORRAINE HANSBURY VERSUS
CHICAGO. RIGHT NOW AS WE SPEAK IN THE
NATION’S CAPITOL, ISN’T THERE APPEALS AND COURT ORDERS FOR
A FOOTBALL TEAM IN THIS TOWN? EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED TO
EVERYTHING ELSE. MR. DAVID SIMON’S WORK AS I
APPEARED ON HOMICIDE, AS I APPEARED IN THE WHY THESE
THINGS ARE MEANINGFUL, WORDS OF DEATH, AND AS A YOUNG MAN
CAST IN THE KING AND I, IN MY YONKERS HIGH SCHOOL AND
TURNED DOWN THE ROLE BECAUSE IT WAS TOO CORNY, BUT I DID
DO THE DUTCHMAN BY AMIR BARACA, IT WAS A LITTLE MORE 9
TO MY TASTE. SO YOU DREAM OF ROLES OF
DEATH AS A THEATER ACTOR, AS SOMEONE SOME PEOPLE — I
DREAMT A ROLE THAT HAD DEPTH AND MEANING AND MR. SIMON HAS
PROVIDED THOSE ROLES FOR ME AND I THANK HIM.
THE LAST THING I WILL LEAVE YOU WITH AS MY TWO MINUTES
COMES TO A CLOSE, EVERYTHING IS RELATED TO EVERYTHING
ELSE. WE ARE NAVIGATING CURVES.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, AS FAR AS WHAT THEY CALL RACE IS
CONCERNED, I DON’T BELIEVE TOO MUCH IN DIALOGUES ON
RACE, I BELIEVE IN DIALOGUE ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT AND
ACCOMPLISHMENT. YOU WILL SEE WHAT PEOPLE LOOK
LIKE WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE WHAT THINGS THEY’VE DONE.
LISTEN TO THIS AND I WILL CLOSE, I AM NOT ATTRACTED TO
STRAIGHT ANGLES OR THE STRAIGHT LINE.
I AM NOT ATTRACTED TO THOSE. I’M ATTRACTED TO HEART AND —
THEY HAVE BEEN CREATED BY MAN.
I’M ATTRACTED TO FREE FLOWING CURVES.
I FIND IN THE MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS AND WAVES OF THE OCEAN
OF MY COUNTRY THAT THE ARCHITECT, OSCAR NEWMEYER WHO
BUILT THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, IS THE
ARCHITECT IN THIS SERIES, AND OSCAR NEWMAN, LET’S BUILD,
LET’S TALK, LET’S ELEVATE THE DEBATE.
THANK YOU.>>IT IT WAS THE MOST
CHALLENGING I’VE EVERY ENCOUNTERED.
THE RIOTS, THE DEMONSTRATIONS. 10
PUT THE CAMERA ON IT, AND TELL THE TRUTH.
>>THIS IS A
STORY ABOUT HOW THIS IS ACTUALLY PRACTICED IN
AMERICA. YOU CAN RUN A LONG WAY WITH A
POLITICIAN ON THE TWIN CURRENCIES OF FEAR AND MONEY.
IN YONKERS THOSE TORE THE TOWN UP.
>>IT’S A STORY OF INTEGRATION AND A
NEIGHBORHOOD OF PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT WILLING TO DO SO.
>>THERE WAS A NEED NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
YONKERS HAD FOR GENERATION HAD ONE TINY AREA OF THE CITY
TO KEEP IT HYPER SEGREGATED.>>200 UNITS OF HOUSING WERE
TO BE BIT IN A PREDOMINANTLY WHITE AFRO PART OF TOWN.
IT SET OFF A BOMB.>>NICK WAS BASICALLY THROWN
TO THE DOGS BY HIS HIGHER UPS.
IMAGINE WHAT THEY ARE SACRIFICING.
>>THEY KNOCKED OFF THE INCUMBENT, SAYING THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIM AND ME, I VOTE TO APPEAL THE
HOUSING. HE VOTED TO NOT APPEAL.
>>HE FOUND THERE WAS NO GROUNDS FOR APPEAL.
>>YOU PROMISED SUCH AN APPEAL.
YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED IN RAISING THE VOTERS.
>>HE IS GOING TO BE GREAT MAN, HAVE ALL THE WONDERFUL
THINGS HE WAS GOING TO DO, THEN THINGS WERE DONE, AND
EVERYTHING CHANGED.>>PEOPLE WERE VERY UPSET
ABOUT THE IDEA THEIR PROPERTY VALUES WOULD BE SOMEHOW
COMPROMISED BY PUBLIC HOUSING. 11
>>200, WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF MY HOUSE AND I
DON’T WANT IT.>>HE IS PART OF THE STRIDENT
GROUP, SHE DOESN’T WANT THIS ELEMENT DOWN HER STREET.
>>THESE WERE PEOPLE WHO FELT THEY WERE FIGHTING FOR THEIR
COMMUNITY, THAT THEY WERE RIGHT, THEY WERE JUSTIFIED.
>>THE DECISION HAS GOT TO BE WRONG AND THEY LOOKED AT
NICK, THEN HE HAD TO TELL THEM THE TRUTH.
THERE IS NO FIGHT. WE ARE A NATION OF LAW.
AND WE LOST.>>HOW COME THE ONLY PEOPLE
TALKING ABOUT THIS DAMN HOUSING THING ARE WHITES?
>>IT’S ALL OUR LIVES, WOMEN, PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS,
8 PERCENT OF THE BRAVEST WOMEN I KNOW.
>>YOU COULD MOVE. WOULD YOU?
MY HOME IS MY HOME.>>EVERYBODY WASN’T TRYING TO
INTEGRATE. GOOD, BAD, INDIFFERENT,
EVERYBODY WASN’T TRYING.>>THEY DON’T WANT TO LIVE
WITH US.>>THIS SHOWED HOW MUCH THERE
IS ON BOTH SIDES. FEAR OF MOVING WHAT YOU KNOW
TO WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.>>ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING
THINGS ABOUT THIS MINI SERIES, IT SHOWS YOU JUSTICE
AT WORK.>>THE CASE ONLY SETTLED IN
2007. THIS IS RECENT HISTORY.
>>SHOW ME A HERO, I’LL WRITE YOU A TRAGEDY.
>>THIS IS A VERY HUMAN STORY ABOUT THIS YOUNG GUY, TRYING
TO FIND HIS WAY THROUGH THIS MESS. 12
>>FIRST OF ALL, IT’S EXTRAORDINARILY COMPELLING
TELEVISION. IF THERE IS ANYONE IN THE
ROOM THAT HAS NOT WATCHED ALL SIX EPISODES MY HIGHEST
RECOMMENDATION IS YOU SPEND THE HOURS BETWEEN 11:00 AND
2:00 A.M., LIKE I HAVE, OVER THE LAST MONTH, WATCHING IT,
BECAUSE IT’S REALLY EXTRAORDINARY.
BUT THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL HOLLYWOOD HERO STORY.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BRING THESE PEOPLE’S STORY TO LIFE,
OF ALL THE DIFFERENT STORIES YOU COULD CHOOSE FROM?
>>WE –>>[INAUDIBLE]
>>WE OPTIONED THE BOOK 14 YEARS AGO, AND IT WAS
SUPPOSED TO BE THE NEXT MINI SERIES.
WE WERE DOING A MINI SERIES, THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AFTER
THE CORNER, WHICH WENT ON IN 2000.
AND IT GOT BUMPED FOR SHOW ME A HERO, WHICH HAD A NEWS TAG
OF THE IRAQ WAR AND GOT BUMPED FOR —
>>[INAUDIBLE]>>IT GOT BUMPED FOR TREME,
ABOUT KATRINA. GOOD THING ABOUT AMERICAN
RACIAL DYSFUNCTION, IT’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE AROUND.
JUST WAIT ON IT AND IT WILL COME AROUND AGAIN.
THAT’S REALLY WHAT HAPPENED. THE STORY OF NICK WASISCO AND
HIS MALETY IN YONKERS IS PRESHAKESPEARAN, AND HE’S NOT
A HERO. THE REAL HEROES OF THIS PIECE
ARE STRANGELY ENOUGH BUREAUCRATS AND SOME OF THE
RESIDENTS AND EVEN SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE OPPOSED TO 13
THE HOUSING WHO LATER GREW, BUT NICK’S ARC GIVES YOU
SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN LATCH ON TO AND MAKE A VERY WONKY
STORY HUMAN. SO WE KNEW IT WAS THERE, IT
US JUST — IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF GETTING AROUND TO
IT REALLY.>>MR. SECRETARY, YOU CAN
STEP BACK AND HELP US SORT OF PUT OUR HEADS BACK INTO —
>>[INAUDIBLE]>>SORRY.
I’M STILL ON. YOU CAN HEAR ME?
ALL RIGHT. SO GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF A
SENSE OF WHERE WE WERE IN THE 1980S.
THIS CASE OBVIOUSLY STRETCHED FOR MANY YEARS BEFORE.
THE SHOW STARTS AND STRETCHED THREE YEARS AFTER.
WE ARE CHECKING INTO THE MIDDLE OF THIS STORY.
BUT CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE BROADER
SETTING OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN YONKERS BEFORE THIS SHOW
STARTS AND SORT OF WHAT LED THE COURT TO FIND THAT THERE
WAS A DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS IN THE FIRST PLACE THAT MADE
THEM ISSUE ORDERS TO FORCE THE — WE SEE HERE JUST THE
FIRST LOCATION OF 200 UNITS THAT WERE GOING BE PUBLIC
HOUSING AND THEN THE NEXT STEP WAS ANOTHER 800 UNITS OF
OTHER AFFORDABLE HOUSING BUT EVEN THIS FIRST STEP TOOK A
DECADE.>>FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU
VERY MUCH, TO YOU AND URBAN, FOR HAVING US, AND
CONGRATULATIONS, DAVID, FOR GREAT WORK.
SO THIS PICKS UP I BELIEVE IN 1987, IT HAD BEEN FILED IN 14
1980 AND EMANATED OUT OF THE FACT THAT YONKERS HAD
SQUEEZED 7000 UNITS INTO ONE SQUARE MILES IN YONKERS AND
THAT HAD DRAWN THE ATTENTION OF MANY FOLKS, BUT A LAWSUIT
BY THE NAACP, AND AT THIS POINT IN THE MOVIE, AT THIS
POINT IN THE STORY, WHEN THE MOVIE PICKS UP, THERE HAD
BEEN A CONSENT DECREE ORDERED AND THEY WERE FAILING TO LIVE
UP TO THE DECREE TO LOCATE 200 PUBLIC HOUSING UNITS IN
ESSENTIALLY A WHITE PART OF THE COMMUNITY, IN OTHER
WORDS, START SPREADING OUT PUBLIC HOUSING, AND THERE
WERE A FEW TO DO THAT. THIS COMES AGAINST THE
BACKDROP OF THE HISTORY OF ESSENTIALLY
GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED SEGREGATION THAT REACHED FROM
LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO STATE GOVERNMENTS TO THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT, AT FHA, FOR INSTANCE, AT A TIME WHEN FHA
ESSENTIALLY RUBBER STAMPED — THE DECISIONS MADE IN YONKERS
WERE FULLY COMMON AND OF COURSE, IN THE PRESENT
SECTOR, YOU HAD THE LEGACY OF OUTRIGHT DISCRIMINATION
AGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THE HOUSING MARKET.
SO THAT’S SORT OF THE CONTEXT OF IT, WHERE WE PICK THIS UP
IN 1987.>>SO WE’RE GOING TO COME
BACK LATER TO TALK MORE ABOUT THE CURRENT DAY, BUT GIVE US
A QUICK START TO THINK ABOUT — THIS DOESN’T FEEL THAT
DIFFERENT THAN THE THINGS THAT ARE CROSSING YOUR DESK
ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS. AND SO JUST A QUICK THOUGHT
ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN TODAY’S MARKET. 15
DO WE STILL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO TRY AND
TACKLE OF THE ISSUES OF RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION, DO
YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE BETTER TOOLS TODAY?
>>YES AND YES. WE NOT ONLY HAVE A
RESPONSIBILITY, I THINK A MORAL RESPONSIBILITY, WE HAVE
A LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY TO DO THAT IN THE FAIR HOUSING ACT
OF 1968. AND UNDER THE FAIR HOUSING
ACT, THE SECRETARY HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO
AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHER FAIR HOUSING, AND SO DO
JURISDICTIONS THAT RECEIVE MONEY FROM HUD.
SO YES, THERE IS THAT RESPONSIBILITY, YES, WE DO
SEE THAT. JUST AT THE END OF LAST WEEK
ON FRIDAY, THE SECOND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULED THAT A
CASE IS STILL GOING ON WITH THE COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER, WE
FEEL LIKE THESE DAYS THAT THE TOOLS WE HAVE ARE BOTH
STRONGER AND HAVE BEEN RECENTLY AFFIRMED.
I SAY STRONGER BECAUSE OVER THE SUMMER, WE RELEASED THE
AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING RULE, WHICH
ESSENTIALLY SHARPENS UP BOTH THE TOOLS AND RESOURCES THAT
WE ARE GIVING TO COMMUNITIES TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THE
FAIR HOUSING LANDSCAPE THAT THEIR LOCALITIES AND
UNDERSTAND HOW THEY CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT TO IMPROVE
IT, AND STRENGTHEN, BECAUSE THERE’S I THINK A STRONGER
RESOLVE ON OUR PART AT HUD THESE DAYS, AND IN THE OBAMA
ADMINISTRATION, TO WORK WITH COMMUNITIES, TO COLLABORATE 16
AS VIGOROUSLY AS WE CAN, BUT NOT BE AFRAID TO ENFORCE WHEN
WE NEED TO. AND, THE SUPREME COURT ALSO
AFFIRMED OUR ABILITY TO USE DISPARATE IMPACT IN THE
CONTEXT OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1968.
SO IT HAS BEEN A VERY GOOD YEAR FOR FAIR HOUSING.
>>JAMES, YOU’VE BEEN USING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT AND
OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDIES OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS NOW.
WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE 1980 AND WHAT HASN’T?
>>THAT’S ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT THE
SHOW. I FELT LOOK I TRACKED THE
LAST 10 YEARS OF MY LIFE. ONE OF THE INTERESTING CASES
THAT I WORKED ON IN NEW ORLEANS WAS JUST OUTSIDE OF
NEW ORLEANS, SAINT BERNARD PARISH.
THERE WAS A CASE IN WHICH A COMMUNITY SHORTLY AFTER
HURRICANE KATRINA PASSED A LAW CALLED THE BLOOD RELATIVE
ORDINANCE, AND IN THAT ORDINANCE, IT PROVIDED THAT
YOU COULD NOT RENT A SINGLE FAMILY HOME THAT YOU OWNED TO
SOMEONE WHO YOU WERE NOT RELATED TO BY BLOOD.
SO YOU HAD TO BE RELATED TO THE PERSON THAT YOU WERE
GOING TO RENT YOUR HOME TO. THIS WAS RIGHT AFTER
HURRICANE KATRINA. I COULDN’T FIGURE OUT FOR MY
LIFE, WHY THEY WANTED TO RESTRICT THE OPPORTUNITIES TO
HOUSING, WHEN SO MANY HOME UNITS HAD BEEN DESTROYED.
AND SO IT BECAME REALLY CLEAR THEY WERE TRYING TO KEEP
PEOPLE OF COLOR OUT OF THE PARISH AFTER HURRICANE 17
KATRINA. AND SO WE SHORTLY AFTERWARDS
FILED SUIT AGAINST SAINT BERNARD PARISH AND GOT A
CONSENT DECREE WITHIN ABOUT NINE MONTHS, AND ONLY TWO
MONTHS AFTER THAT CONSENT DECREE, A DEVELOPER TRIES TO
BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND IS DENIED, SO THEY ASK US TO
HELP THEM BY USING THE CONSENT DECREE, SO THAT TURNS
INTO 10 YEARS OF LITIGATION TO GET 200 UNITS BUILT IN
SAINT BERNARD PARISH, IN A MAJORITY WHITE COMMUNITY.
SO IT’S VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENS HERE AND ULTIMATELY
THE PERSON WHO PROPOSED THAT ORDINANCE RUNS UNDER THIS
THEORY FOR MAYOR THAT HE WILL MAKE SURE THE AFFORDABLE
HOUSING UNITS FOR LOW INCOME RESIDENTS WON’T BE BUILT, SO
THEN HE GETS AND THE JUDGE FINES HIM AND FINES THE
PARISH AND THEY SAY — IT SAYS IT MUST BE BUILT, SO
FINALLY HE AGREES TO ALLOW IT TO BE BUILT AND ON AND ON AND
ON, AND IT ENDS UP BEING SETTLED FOR SEVERAL MILLIONS
OF DOLLARS AND UNITS ARE BUILT, SO SECRETARY CASTRO,
YOUR PREDECESSOR, CAME AND VISITED THOSE UNITS PROBABLY
IN 2012 OR SO, AND SO — BUT IT’S ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME.
SO I WAS LOOKING AT THE SHOWING AND TRYING TO FIGURE
OUT WHAT IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE SO MUCH OF IT TRACKED EXACTLY
WHAT HAPPENED IN SAINT BERNARD PARISH AFTER
HURRICANE KATRINA, SO SIMILAR TO WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN
WESTCHESTER. THE ONE THING THAT I DID
REALIZE WAS DIFFERENT ACTUALLY WASN’T BETTER. 18
THE ONE THING THAT SEEMS TO ME TO BE DIFFERENT IS THAT IN
MY EXPERIENCES NOW, WHEN I GO INTO A CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER,
AND INSTEAD OF IT BEING AN ALL-WHITE CITY COUNCIL
CHAMBER, IT’S A MIXED RACE CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER, THERE
WILL BE AFRICAN-AMERICAN LATINO MEMBERS OF THAT CITY
COUNCIL. BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT AT
LEAST IN MY EXPERIENCE, OFTEN TIMES THOSE PEOPLE OF COLOR
WHO ARE ON THOSE COUNCILS DON’T HAVE ANY INCENTIVE TO
PUSH FOR INTEGRATION, EITHER, BECAUSE IF THEY START TO SEE
THEIR COUNCIL DISTRICTS CHANGE TOO MUCH, THEN THEY
LOSE THEIR POLICY, THEY NO LONGER HAVE THE ABILITY TO
GET ALL THE VOTES THEY NEED TO BE ELECTED, AND THE
COMMUNITY BECOMES TOO INTEGRATED AND THEY ARE
WORRIED, SO OFTEN TIMES, THEY ACTUALLY WILL — PUBLICLY,
THEY ARE SUPPORTIVE, BUT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, THEY ARE
NOT THAT SUPPORTIVE OF EFFORTS TO INTEGRATE
COMMUNITIES. AND THAT’S THE ONLY THING
THAT I SEE THAT IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WAS GOING
ON IN THE ’80S.>>I’M GOING TO INTERRUPT ON
THAT FOR ONE SECOND AND ASK, I WAS JUST LOOKING AT A NEWS
STORY ABOUT A SIMILAR CASE THAT’S GOING ON IN AN EFFORT
TO TRY TO ENCOURAGE THE LOCATION OF A SMALL NUMBER OF
AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS, AND WHAT WAS MOST STRIKING WAS
QUOTES FROM A LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIAL THAT COULD HAVE BEEN
STRAIGHT OUT OF SHOW ME A HERO. 19
THE LANGUAGE FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET, LATER
ON, THE MAYOR MAKES A VERY ASTUTE SET OF COMMENTS ABOUT
THE ELECTED OFFICIALS AND THE COMMUNITY OPPONENTS USING
RACIALLY CODED WORDS, BUT NEVER MENTIONING RACE, AND IN
IT PARTICULAR, HE CALLS OUT LANGUAGE WHERE PEOPLE SAY
IT’S NOT ABOUT RACE. WHAT I CARE ABOUT IS WHETHER
OR NOT THOSE PEOPLE HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN
MY NEIGHBORHOOD, HAVE THEY, THOSE PEOPLE, SAVED UP THE
MONEY, WORKED AS HARD AS I HAVE AND SINCE THEY HAVEN’T,
THEY CAN’T LIVE HERE, AND THEY VERY INTENTIONALLY DON’T
TALK ABOUT — THEY CLAIM THEY ARE NOT RACIST BECAUSE OF IT
IT, AND THIS EXACT SAME LANGUAGE.
>>SOCIAL ENGINEERING. THAT’S THE ENCODED,
ENCRUSTED, LIBERTARIAN PHRASE THAT ARGUES AGAINST ANY
ATTEMPT TO MITIGATE GENERATIONS OF
GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED INTEGRATION, EVERYTHING THAT
HAPPENED TO THE POINT OF PEOPLE BEING ASKED TO SHARE
IN A PRESENT TENSE MOMENT, THAT’S TO BE IGNORED.
WE NEED NO TERM FOR THAT, THERE’S NO VOCABULARY THAT
NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED. FROM THE MOMENT THAT A JUDGE
SAYS LOOK, YOU SPENT ALL YOUR MONEY, YOUR GOVERNMENT DID
THIS, IT WAS A PLAN TO HAVE A HYPER SEGREGATED SOCIETY, TO
KEEP YOUR POOR ISOLATED AS MUCH AS WE CONCEIVABLY COULD,
YOU TOOK THE MONEY, YOU DID THIS WILLFULLY AND NOW
THERE’S A REMEDY AND AT THE POINT OF THAT REMEDY, PHRASES 20
LIKE SOCIAL ENGINEERING COMES UP AND ALL THE JUDGE IS DOING
IS TRYING TO BE SOCIAL ENGINEER.
>>WHAT THE HELL DID YOU THINK THE LAST FOUR YEARS WAS
ABOUT!>>[LAUGHTER]
>>THE ARROGANCE OF THE LIBERTARIAN IDEAL THAT SAYS I
GOT HERE NOW AND I WANT ABSOLUTE FREEDOM WITHOUT
RESPONSIBILITY, WITHOUT ANY CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY OR ANY
CITIZENSHIP REQUIRED OF ME, I WANT WHAT I HAVE NOW, AND IF
ANYONE DIDN’T GET IT UP TO THIS POINT, SCREW THEM.
>>DO YOU HEAR ANY ECHOES OF THAT IN CURRENT DISCUSSIONS?
>>OF COURSE YOU DO. OF COURSE YOU DO.
YOU KNOW, DAVID IS RIGHT, YOU SEE THAT ARGUMENT AND THAT
LABEL THROWN ABOUT. WE STARTED TO HEAR IT AS THE
AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING RULE WAS COMING OUT.
I’M SURE WE’LL CONTINUE TO HEAR IT.
THERE’S A HISTORY TO ALL OF THIS.
IT DIDN’T JUST APPEAR LAST YEAR, IN THESE COMMUNITIES
AND THE RACIAL COMPOSITION, THE ETHNIC COMPOSITION, THE
ECONOMIC COMPOSITION, IT DIDN’T JUST COME ABOUT.
IT CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF A SET OF POLICES IN THE PUBLIC
SECTOR AND ACTIONS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR THAT
FUNDAMENTALLY IN TIME WERE UNDERGIRDED BY
DISCRIMINATION, BY RACIAL ENEMY.
>>YOU SPENT A GOOD BIT OF YOUR TIME HELPING TO TELL
THOSE STORIES, THE HISTORICAL OBSTACLES AND THEIR 21
CONSEQUENCES. WHAT ROLE DID RESEARCH PLAY
IN THE COURT CASES IN YONKERS AND THE SORT OF LONGER
HISTORY WE HAVE FOR TRYING TO PUSH FOR RACIAL INTEGRATION?
>>[INAUDIBLE]>>A RESEARCHER WHO I
ADMIRED, IT SHOWED HIM DRAWING ON THE RESEARCH HE
HAD DONE TO ARGUE VERY EXPLICITLY FOR SMALLER
DEVELOPMENT, WITH ARCHITECTURE THAT BLENDED
INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD AROUND THEM, AND THE YARDS, AND
PRIVATE ENTRANCES THAT CREATED WHAT HE CALLED A
DIFFERENCE OF SPACE AND HE WAS BRAVE ENOUGH TO SPEAK TO
THE JUDGE AND HOUSING AUTHORITY, THIS IS THE WAY
YOU SHOULD BUILD THESE UNITS, EVEN THOUGH IT’S GOING TO BE
MORE EXPENSIVE, EVEN THOUGH IT MEANS FINDING MORE SITES.
AND I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING RESEARCHERS REALLY HAVE TO
STRIVE TO DO, TO PULL FROM THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WE’VE GOT
AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ARE ACTIONABLE FOR
POLICYMAKERS AND PRACTITIONERS, EVEN THOUGH WE
KNOW WE’VE ALWAYS GOT ANOTHER QUESTION, WE ARE ALWAYS
SEEKING TO SERVE, WE ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO LEARN MORE
AND WE ARE FINDING THAT WE KNOW.
I THINK WE’VE LEARNED A PUN ON THESE ISSUES SINCE THE
1980S, BUT IT’S HELPING THE POLICY MAKE RESPECT AND
PRACTITIONERS WORKING ON THESE ISSUES NOW.
THE LATEST FINDING FROM RAJ TEDDY THAT HAS GOTTEN PUBLIC
ALSO ATTENTION, A CAP ON A LONG BODY OF RESEARCH THAT 22
SAYS THAT WHERE YOU LIVE MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE, THAT
PLACE MATTERS, AND IT DOESN’T JUST MATTER FOR SORT OF DAY
TO DAY WELL BEING, IT MATTERS FOR THE LONG TERM LIFE
CHANCES OF KIDS. WE’VE ALSO LEARNED THAT JUST
AS WE SAW IN THE SERIES, IN THE HISTORY, BUILDING
AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS IN A WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD, IN A MORE
ETHNIC NEIGHBORHOOD, IT DOESN’T BRING DOWN PROPERTY
VALUES, AND IT DOESN’T BRING CRIME.
AS LONG AS THE PROPERTIES ARE WELL-MANAGED AND THEY ARE
SCALED APPROPRIATELY, THEY CAN BE AN ASSET TO THE
NEIGHBORHOODS, NOT A PROBLEM FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
>>DAVID, LET’S STEP BACK FOR A SECOND AND GO BACK TO THE
PEOPLE AND TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WASISCO.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE, YOU CAN GET A
PREVIEW THERE, THAT HE IS FIRST ELECTED BY OPPOSING THE
FORMER MAYOR ON THIS ISSUE, AND THEN THE AFFORDABLE
HOUSING PLAN AND POLITICAL FORTUNE SUFFER AS A RESULT
GREATLY, AS DO HIS PERSONAL ONES, EVENTUALLY.
ON TWO LEVELS, WHAT KIND OF STORY WERE YOU TRYING TO
TELL, BOTH ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL, AND HIS
CHARACTER, AS WELL AS ABOUT THE VALUE OF FAIR HOUSING
POLICY?>>BEFORE I GO INTO THAT, I
WANT TO REPLY, NEXT TO THE VALENTINE’S STREET SITE IN
YONKERS WHERE WE FILMED, WE USED THE ACTUAL TOWNHOMES IN
LATER EPISODES TO DEPICT THE TOWNHOMES, BECAUSE THEY ARE 23
STILL THERE, THEY ARE STILL OCCUPIED, THEY ARE STILL
ENTIRELY FUNCTIONAL. EXACTLY AS YOU SAID.
WE NEEDED A CONSTRUCTION SITE OF HOUSES UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
RIGHT NEXT TO VALENTINE, RIGHT NEXT TO THE ACTUAL
TOWNHOMES, THEY WERE PUTTING UP I THINK FOUR OR FIVE,
$650,000 PRIVATE HOMES, WHICH — AND WE USED THOSE AS WE —
WE FAKED THOSE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION SITE OF OUR
TOWNHOMES WHEN THE TOWNHOMES WERE BEING BUILT.
BUT THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MOMENT.
IF THESE TOWNHOMES HAD — HAD THE PROPERTY VALUES BEEN
THERE, THE VACANT LOT NEXT TO IT WOULD NOT BE, YOU KNOW —
I MEAN, IT WAS REALLY A TELLING MOMENT, THAT WE STOLE
OUR SHOTS FROM AN ACTUAL PRIVATE DEVELOPER WHO WAS
PUTTING UP BIG HOUSES NEXT TO IT.
WASISCO WAS A BACK BENCH COUNCILMAN, VERY YOUNG.
AT THE TIME ELECTED HE WAS THE YOUNGEST MAYOR OF THE
CITY, OVER 100,000 IN AMERICA.
SO SORT OF OFFICIALLY A RISING STAR OF SOME SORT.
HE GOT IN BY MANEUVERING TO THE RIGHT OF THE EXISTING
MAYOR, WHO WAS NO GREAT CHAMPION OF PUBLIC HOUSING
HIMSELF. IN FACT, ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND THE NAACP PROVED WAS ALL
THEY HAD TO DO WAS GO TO THE MINUTES OF THE HOUSING
AUTHORITY AND THEY LITERALLY WERE SAYING DON’T BUILD IT
HERE, WE DON’T WANT BLACK PEOPLE IN THIS WARD. 24
THEY LITERALLY SAID IT. IT WAS UNREPENTANT.
MARKET NELLI HAD BEEN PART OF THOSE DISCUSSIONS.
MARTINELLI REALIZED THEY HAD NOT A LEGAL LEG TO STAND ON,
SO LET’S NOT WASTE MORE MONEY ON LAWYERS, AND THAT WAS HIS
POLITICAL UNDOING, BECAUSE NICK RAN TO THE RIGHT OF HIM,
SAYING I VOTED TO APPEAL TO THE FEDERAL APPEALS CIRCUIT,
THE MAYOR DID NOT VOTE FOR ME, AND HE GETS IN.
BEFORE THE INAUGURATION, THEY EVEN HAVE THE INAUGURATION,
LAWYERS CALL AND SAY THE APPEAL IS DENIED, YOU GOT TO
BUILD THE HOUSING. THERE’S NO GROUNDS TO GO TO
THE SUPREME COURT. AND HE THINKS, RATHER
NAIVELY, I RAN ON APPEALING BUT NOW WE HAVE THE APPEAL,
SO I WILL TELL THE PEOPLE THAT AND WE ARE GOOD TO GO.
SO THIS IS NOT — THERE’S NO CLASSIC HERO IN THIS.
THERE’S A GUY WHO IS A VERY REACTIVE, VERY SURFACE LEVEL
LOCAL POLITICIAN, WHICH IS KIND OF HOW I COVERED A LOT
OF THEM. HE WAS NO BETTER OR WORSE
THAN MOST. HE GREW UNDER PRESSURE AND HE
CAME TO SEE THE HOUSING AS HIS LEGACY AFTER THE FACT,
AND BEE LATELY, BUT HE DID, AT THE MOMENT THE CHIPS WERE
DOWN, I THINK YOU SAW ONE OF THE VOTES WHERE HE WAS ALONE,
WHERE EVEN HIS ALLIES WERE ABSTAINING.
TO GIVE HIM CREDIT HE WENT THROUGH THE MAELSTROM AND
GREW UP A LITTLE BIT AND STARTED — HE ENDED IN A
DIFFERENT PLACE.>>MR. SECRETARY, YOU HAVE 25
PERHAPS NOT FACED QUITE AS ANGRY A MOB AT VERY CLOSE
DISTANCE.>>I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING
TO SAY HERE.>>THIS IS A VERY FRIENDLY
CROWD! THIS IS A FRIENDLY CROWD.
>>GIVE IT TIME!>>BUT YOU CERTAINLY HAD TO
MAKE VERY HARD AND UNPOPULAR CHOICES IN THE MAYOR’S SEAT.
AS YOU WATCHED THE SHOW, TALK TO ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW
YOU OBSERVED NICK’S EXPERIENCES.
>>IN DIFFERENT WAYS. AS SOMEBODY IN LOCAL
POLITICS, FIRST OF ALL THERE’S NOTHING LIKE LOCAL
POLITICS, BEEN IN IT, SITTING WHERE I DO NOW AS SECRETARY
OF HUD, SOMETIMES I MISS THE GIVE AND TAKE OF PEOPLE
YELLING AT YOU, AND TELLING YOU AND THE COUNCIL HOW BAD
YOU ARE, HOW MUCH YOU DON’T KNOW, AND THEY ARE ONLY LIKE
15 FEET AWAY! AND YOU ARE SO REMOVED FROM
ALL OF IT. IT’S NO FUN AT ALL IN THAT
SENSE!>>I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS —
I GOT ELECTED WHEN I WAS 26, TO THE CITY COUNCIL.
I MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE 27 — YEAH, ABOUT 27, AND WE WERE
CONSIDERING ANNEXING AN AREA THAT WOULD HAVE GONE INTO MY
DISTRICT, AND THIS AREA WAS RIGHT OUTSIDE THE CITY, UPPER
CLASS HOMES, AND THEY DID NOT WANT TO BE IN THE CITY, AND
TO PUT IT IN CONTEXT, YOU HEAR ARGUMENTS THAT THEY
MOVED OUT THERE FOR A REASON, AND, YOU KNOW, THE CRIME IN
THE CITY, AND, YOU KNOW, THE — THINGS ARE GREAT THE WAY 26
THEY ARE, AND SAN ANTONIO IS A 63 PERCENT HISPANIC CITY,
AND YET THE AREAS AROUND THERE ARE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS
DIVERSE, AND PROBABLY THE MOST TENSE SITUATION THAT I
EVER HAD WAS STANDING ON THE FRONT LAWN IN THIS
SUBDIVISION THAT WAS SLATED FOR ANNEXATION, AND THIS GUY
WAS ABOUT 4 FEET AWAY FROM ME, LITERALLY — DAVID
LETTERMAN PROBABLY WOULD HAVE POUNCED ON ME.
NO SECURITY, NO ANYTHING. IT WAS ME AND ONE OTHER
COUNCIL MEMBER. AND YOU COULD JUST FEEL THE
INTENSITY AND THE IRRATIONALITY OF FOLKS,
REALLY, ABOUT THESE THINGS. AND SO WHAT I THINK IS I FELT
THIS DEPICTED VERY WELL THE WAY THAT SOME ELECTED
OFFICIALS PLAYED TO THE CROWD.
THEY KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO BE VERY POPULAR AND THEY USE
THAT. BUZZ SPALONE, RIGHT, TWO
YEARS ELECTIONS.>>[INAUDIBLE]
>>ALSO THOUGH IN SOME WAYS, PERFORM IN A SINGLE MEMBER
DISTRIBUTED SYSTEM, IT BRINGS UP LARGER QUESTIONS OF
DEMOCRACY, BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE DO SEE DEMOCRACY AS
YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO JUST VOTE AND BE A MOUTH PIECE FOR THE
WAY THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE THAT YOU REPRESENT
THINK. RIGHT?
THERE IS SOME MERIT TO THAT ARGUMENT.
BUT THESE ISSUES OFTEN WERE BROUGHT TO BEAR, WHEN DO YOU
DO THAT, AND WHEN DO YOU — YOU KNOW, IT’S ALWAYS 27
APPROPRIATE, BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ONE THAT IS ELECTED THERE
TO USE YOUR JUDGMENT IN THIS ALSO REPUBLICAN FORM OF
GOVERNMENT. I USE THAT WORD WITH A SMALL
R. TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT, ALSO.
SO –>>WELL, MARG, YOU WERE AT
HUD IN THE 1990S, WE WORKED THERE TOGETHER, WHEN MOVING
TO OPPORTUNITY DEMONSTRATIONS SHOW THE ISSUES HAVE NOT —
NOT ONLY IN THE 1980S, BUT CURRENTLY, AND THERE WAS A
PERIOD IN THE ’90S WHERE THE SAME ISSUES CAME BACK, AND SO
YOU’VE BEEN WATCHING THESE ISSUES UNFOLD IN CITIES
AROUND THE COUNTRY FOR ALL OF YOUR CAREER.
JUST OBSERVATIONS ABOUT HOW ELECTED OFFICIALS TRY TO LIVE
UP TO THIS AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCES.
>>THERE WERE MANY POINTS IN THE SERIES, AND I SAW A
COUPLE OF THEM, THAT TOOK ME BACK VERY VIVIDLY TO A LONG
HOT EVENING THAT I SPENT ON A STAGE IN A HIGH SCHOOL
AUDITORIUM, FULL OF VERY ANGRY PEOPLE.
AS A RESEARCHER, YOU DON’T OFTEN FIND YOURSELF IN VENUES
WHERE PEOPLE ARE SHUTTING YOU DOWN!
AND I REMEMBER THINKING THERE ARE TECHNIQUES TO HANDLE
THIS! AND I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY
ARE!>>[LAUGHTER]
>>IT WAS A CROWD FULL OF PEOPLE WHO DID NOT WANT A
SINGLE PUBLIC HOUSING FAMILY TO MOVE FROM THE CITY OF
BALTIMORE.>>[ INAUDIBLE] 28
>>IN FACT, I HEARD THE SAME KIND OF CARE IN NOT BEING
EXPLICITLY RACIST, BUT USING CODED LANGUAGE.
SO ONE OF THE MANY THINGS THAT WAS SHOUTED AT ME THAT
EVENING WAS THAT THESE WERE PEOPLE WHO JUST SAT AROUND
WATCHING OPRAH ALL DAY AND DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO WASH.
IT’S THOSE PEOPLE WHO WE DON’T WANT IN OUR
NEIGHBORHOOD. BUT IN BALTIMORE AND IN FOUR
OTHER GIGS, THE METROPOLITAN AREAS AROUND THE COUNTRY,
MOVING TO OPPORTUNITY DEMONSTRATION WAS IMPLEMENTED
PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE COURAGE I THINK OF THEN-SECRETARY
HENRY CISNEROS, BUT ALSO BECAUSE IN MANY OF THOSE
COMMUNITIES AND IN BALTIMORE, ORGANIZERS REACHED OUT TO
WELL MEANING, WELCOMING, THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE IN THE
RECEIVING COMMUNITIES, BECAUSE THEY ARE THERE.
REACHED OUT TO THEM, AND BUILT A WEB OF SUPPORT THAT
BREAKS UP THAT ANGER AND FEAR FROM THE RECEIVING COMMUNITY.
AND I THINK IT HAPPENED LATE IN THAT STORY OF YONKERS, BUT
IT DID HAPPEN. BUT WHEN PEOPLE IN OUR
COMMUNITY BEGIN TO MEET HUMAN BEINGS AND WELCOME THEM INTO
THEIR COMMUNITY, THEY ACTUALLY CAN OVERCOME THIS
LEGACY OF PAST SEXUAL ENGINEERING.
>>CREIGHTON’S FRIEND, BOB MAYHOCK, THAT WAS HIS ROLE.
THAT WAS HIS ROLE TO CRACK THE WHITE COMMUNITY IN A WAY
THAT OSTENSIBLY, IT WAS DRAPED AROUND AN ORIENTATION
PROGRAM FOR THE RESIDENTS, WHICH IT WAS, I GUESS. 29
THERE WAS A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF ORIENTATION TO THESE FAMILIES
WHO WOULD BE MOVING INTO THE NEW TOWNHOUSES AND THE WHITE
NEIGHBORHOODS. BUT REALLY, THEY WERE
TEACHING A LOT OF THE — SOME OF THEM EVEN THE MORE
ADVERSARIAL PEOPLE, THE WHITE RESIDENTS, THE OBJECT WAS
VERY — IT WAS VERY DIVERSE, GOING THE OTHER WAY, WHICH IS
HI, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE YOU MEET SOME OF THESE OTHER
FAMILIES, AND THAT WAS ALL IT TOOK FOR SOME PEOPLE, AND THE
CHARACTER, KATHY DORMAN, WHO I GOT TO MEET BEFORE SHE
PASSED AWAY, WHEN YOU MET MARY, SHE BECAME ONE OF THE
GREATER CHAMPIONS FOR THE TOWNHOUSES AND SHE GREW.
AND WHEN YOU READ HER QUOTES FROM THE EARLY MEETINGS AND
STUFF THAT SHE HAD SAID TO REPORTERS, AND HOW FURIOUS
SHE WAS, SHE WOULD SAY — SHE TOLD ME — WELL, I DIDN’T SAY
THAT, AND WE WOULD HAVE TO READ IT, AND SHE WOULD SAY OH
MY GOD I SAID THAT! AND THE KEY MOMENT FOR HER,
WHICH WAS VERY TELLING, WAS A REVELATION, SHE WENT TO THIS
PROTEST AND THEY WERE BASICALLY PROTEST, AND SHE
COULD SEE THAT THE BULLDOZERS WERE CLEARING THE LAND, AND
AT THAT MOMENT SHE REALIZED, IT’S COMING.
WE’VE LOST. THIS IS NOW, YOU KNOW — I
DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING HERE ANYMORE, IF WE’VE LOST,
AND OH MY GOD, THERE ARE GOING TO BE PEOPLE LIVING
HERE, A BLOCK 1/2 AWAY FROM WHERE WE LIVE AND I’M GOING
TALIBAN THEIR NEIGHBOR AND THEY’RE GOING TO THINK ABOUT 30
ALL THE THINGS I SAID AND HOW WILL I BE A NEIGHBOR?
ALL OF THE SUDDEN, THEY BECAME REAL TO HER.
THEY WERE NOT JUST AN ABSTRACTION.
>>THAT WAS IT FOR MARY. THAT BROKE HER.
THAT MEETING OF A COUPLE OF PEOPLE WHO WERE GOING TO BE
IN THOSE HOUSES, SHE WENT THE OTHER WAY, AND THAT WAS THE
MOST — IT WAS JUST BRILLIANT, SIMPLE AND
BRILLIANT.>>IN THE COURTROOM, TRYING
TO INVOKE THE CONSTITUTION OR FAIR HOUSING ACT ON BEHALF OF
PARTICULAR PEOPLE, HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT CHANGES
HEARTS AND MINDS, WHAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE TO THEM?
>>AND JUST TO BE CLEAR, I THINK THAT LITIGATION IS A
SMALL PART OF THIS EFFORT. I THINK THAT MORE THAN
ANYTHING, IT’S A MARKETING EFFORT.
AND I THINK THAT MARY IS THE PERSON WE ARE TRYING TO REACH
AND THE MOST DIFFICULT PERSON, AND SHE REPRESENTS
ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT QUESTIONS AROUND THE
QUESTION, THE GOAL OF INTEGRATION FOR THESE UNITED
STATES, AND SO, YOU KNOW, ALL THE TIME I READ STUDIES ABOUT
THE ADVANTAGES OF INTEGRATION AND OF DIVERSE COMMUNITIES,
AND THOSE STUDIES ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE BENEFITS FOR PEOPLE
OF COLOR, AND — BUT OFTEN TIMES, THEY PROPOSE
INTEGRATION AND DIVERSITY AS A BENEFIT TO WHITE PEOPLE IN
ALTRUISTIC TERMS, AND WHAT I SUGGEST IS THAT A LOT OF
TIMES, THAT’S JUST NOT ENOUGH TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO SUPPORT 31
INTEGRATION, BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT TOO MUCH IS AT
RISK BECAUSE THEY ARE OPERATING ON STEREOTYPE AND
THEY THINK THAT EVERYTHING THEY’VE INVESTED COULD BE
LOST IF YOU ARE WRONG. AND SO, YOU KNOW, WHAT
HAPPENS WITH MARY IS WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH.
AND SO AS I WATCHED HER CHARACTER CHANGE, THE PROBLEM
FOR ME WAS THE AMOUNT OF RESOURCES IT TOOK TO CHANGE
HER. SO WHAT I’M THINKING, THE
ENTIRE TIME, IS WELL, YOU KNOW, HOW MUCH MONEY DID THAT
COST, AND HOW DO I SCALE THAT, AND HOW DO I GO TO
SECRETARY CASTRO TO APPLY FOR A GRANT, OR FUNDING TO FUND
THAT, FOR LOUISIANA, FOR THE UNITED STATES, AND THAT’S THE
CHALLENGE.>>SECRETARY, ONE OF THE
DEBATES THAT HAS RAGED ALONGSIDE THE DISCUSSION
WE’VE BEEN JUST HAVING FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS IS ABOUT
WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN MOVE INTO THE COMMUNITIES WHERE
LOW INCOME FAMILIES LIVE AND BRING TO THOSE COMMUNITIES
THE ASSETS THAT MAKE FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, FOR
HEALTHY CULTURE, WHETHER THAT’S BRINGING EMPLOYMENT
INTO THE COMMUNITY, BRINGING SOCIAL SERVICES INTO THE
COMMUNITY, ACCESS TO TRANSPORTATION, OR WHETHER,
LIKE WAS TRIED IN THE NTO EXPERIENCE OR IN THE MOVING
THE UNITS BECAUSE OF OSCAR NEWMAN’S INSIGHT INTO
DISTRIBUTED NEIGHBORHOODS AROUND THE CITY, YOU NEED TO
MOVE PEOPLE TO PLACES WHERE THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR 32
OPPORTUNITY EXISTS. AND THE RESEARCH HAS
SHARPENED OUR THINKING AGAIN ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE ARE
PLACES WHERE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY IS MUCH RICHER
THAN IT IS IN OTHERS. SO HOW ARE WE THINKING TODAY
ABOUT THOSE TRADEOFFS AND ABOUT WHETHER WE CAN MAKE
THEM A PLACE OF OPPORTUNITY OR WHETHER WE HAVE TO MOVE
EVERYONE INTO THE OTHERS IN YONKERS AND EQUIVALENT PLACE?
>>YOU’VE REALLY HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD OF WHAT IS ONE OF
THE FIERCEST DEBATES OUT THERE IN TERMS OF APPROACHES,
AND THE RESEARCH EARLY THEY ARE YEAR WAS A POWERFUL
REMINDER OF HOW SIGNIFICANT IT CAN BE FOR FAMILIES TO GET
TO MOVE TO HIGHER OPPORTUNITY AREAS.
AND THE FACT IS, AND FOR MANY FOLKS FOLLOWING THIS OVER THE
LAST COUPLE OF DECADES, THE STORY OF OUR SPENDING ON
AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS IT’S BECOME MORE VOUCHER-BASED
OVER TIME, AND SO THERE IS A STRONG COMMITMENT AT HUD TO
THAT, BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP.
YOU ALSO CAN’T GIVE UP MEETING PEOPLE ARE THEY’RE
AT. AND THAT HAS BEEN THE FOCUS
OF OUR PLACE-BASED WORK, OF TRYING TO WORK WITH
COMMUNITIES TO EMPOWER THEM TO HOLISTICALLY LIFT UP THE
ECONOMIC AND QUALITY OF LIFE FACTORS IN THEIR
NEIGHBORHOOD. SO THIS IS THE IDEA BEHIND
PROMISE NEIGHBORHOODS, BEHIND CHOICE NEIGHBORHOODS, STRONG
CITY, STRONG COMMUNITIES, A NUMBER OF INITIATIVES WITHIN 33
HUD AND OTHER DEPARTMENTS WORKING WITH LOCAL
COMMUNITIES. I JUST DON’T THINK THAT YOU
CAN DO JUST ONE THOSE. THAT YOU HAVE TO DO BOTH OF
THOSE. 100 PERCENT, THE BEST THING
WOULD BE TO MOVE PEOPLE TO HIGHER OPPORTUNITY
NEIGHBORHOODS. WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT
DON’T WANT TO MOVE? WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT
THAT’S WHERE THEY GREW UP, THAT’S THE PLACE THEY LOVE,
THEY FEEL CONNECTED, THEY’VE BEEN THERE FOR GENERATIONS?
I THINK YOU NEED TO GIVE FOLKS WHO WANT THAT
OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE THE CHANCE TO DO THAT AND USE
FAIR HOUSING LAWS ASSERTIVELY AND AGGRESSIVELY WHEN YOU
NEED TO, TO MAKE SURE THAT IT’S NOT JUST OTHER LOWER
OPPORTUNITY AREAS WHERE THEY CAN MOVE TO, THAT THEY CAN
MOVE TO THE SUBURBS, TO HIGHER OPPORTUNITY AREAS
WITHIN A CITY, BUT THEN NOT FORGET ABOUT THOSE DISTRESSED
AREAS AS WELL. YOU CAN’T ABANDON THEM, AND
FOR THE FOLKS WHO WANT TO REMAIN THERE, WE HAVE TO DO
OUR LEVEL BEST TO IMPROVE OUR COMMUNITIES, WORKING WITH
THEM AS WELL.>>JAMES, WE WERE JUST —
MAYBE CELEBRATING IS NOT THE RIGHT WORD BUT MARKING THE
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF KATRINA. THE DATE IS FRONT AND CENTER
IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE YOU PEOPLE HEARING, SAYING
WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME I NEED TO MOVE, WHY CAN’T THE
RESOURCES COME TO THE LOWER NINTH WARD. 34
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT IT FROM YOUR HOME TOWN’S PERSPECTIVE?
>>A VERY DIFFICULT QUESTION. AND YOU KNOW, IN THE DAYS
AFTER KATRINA, THERE WAS NO QUESTION, BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE
FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS AND FORCED TO
COMMUNITIES OF OPPORTUNITY. SO PEOPLE FOUND THEMSELVES
ALL OVER THE NATION, OFTEN TIMES IN THE COMMUNITY OF
OPPORTUNITY, AND IT WAS INTERESTING, BECAUSE BEFORE
WE LEFT NEW ORLEANS, THE BIGGEST GRIPE WAS THAT THE
SCHOOLS WERE TERRIBLE, THERE WAS A LOT OF CRIME, AND YOU
KNOW, THERE WEREN’T JOB OPPORTUNITIES, BUT ONCE THEY
FOUND THEMSELVES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF OPPORTUNITY,
THE BIGGEST GRIPE WAS THEY COULDN’T FIND ANY MORE RED
BEANIES, AND ALL THE OTHER ISSUES WERE IMMEDIATELY
SOLVED, RIGHT? SO 10 YEARS LATER, THE FOLKS
WHO STUCK WITH NEW ORLEANS ARE STILL DEALING WITH THE
SAME QUESTIONS, AND SOME ARE WRESTLING WITH MOVING OUT OF
STRUGGLING NEIGHBORHOODS LIKE THE LOWER NINTH WARD, WHERE
I’M SORRY TO SAY THAT IF YOU VISIT TODAY, IT DOESN’T LOOK
VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE DAYS IT LOOKED AFTER HURRICANE
KATRINA, MOSTLY A VACANT FIELD, AND SO PEOPLE WHO LIVE
THERE NOW SAY WELL, SHOULD I CONTINUE TO STAY HERE IN THIS
VACANT FIELD, WHERE MY HOUSE IS THE ONLY HOUSE HERE, AND
YOU KNOW, ONE OR TWO SCHOOLS, AND, YOU KNOW, ONLY ONE
GROCERY STORE, OR SHOULD I MOVE TO A COMMUNITY WHERE
THERE’S OPPORTUNITY. IT’S A VERY DIFFICULT ISSUE. 35
THE NEIGHBORHOOD JUST ADJACENT TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD
WHERE I LIVED UNTIL ABOUT A YEAR AGO, THE AVERAGE LIFE
SPAN WAS PEOPLE LIVED IN TOTAL — PEOPLE LIVED UNTIL
THEY WERE ABOUT 55 YEARS OLD, BUT CUE MOVE ACROSS TOWN TO
THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE PEOPLE LIVED ON AVERAGE TO BE INTO
THE LATE 70S, AND IF YOU COULD AFFORD IT, IT WOULD BE
A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE. SO IT’S AN UNRESOLVED ISSUE.
I DO AGREE WITH SECRETARY CASTRO, THAT IT’S BOTH AND.
YOU MAKE BOTH OPTIONS AVAILABLE, AND THE QUESTION
BECOMES CAN YOU AFFORD IT.>>I READ A RECENT ARTICLE
ABOUT A NATURAL EXPERIMENT THAT OCCURRED BECAUSE OF THE
KATRINA FLOOD WHERE MANY RETURNING PRISONERS WERE
UNABLE TO MOVE TO THE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT THEY
OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE RETURNED TO, VERY POOR NEIGHBORHOODS
IN THE LOWER NINTH WARD AND A LARGE NUMBER OF THEM ENDED UP
BEING THROUGH INTENTIONAL PROGRAMS LOCATED IN HOUSTON,
OTHER CITIES, AND THAT THE RECIDIVISM RATE WAS LOWER FOR
THOSE WHO DIDN’T RETURN TO THEIR HOME COMMUNITY AS THOSE
WHO DID. MARG, YOU HAVE BEEN STUDYING
THIS QUESTION, AND FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN IT AND ARE
INTERESTED, MARG AND SOME OF HER URBAN COLLEAGUES HAVE
WRITTEN A TERRIFIC PAPER ABOUT PLACE-BASED,
PLACE-WONSHUS STRATEGIES AND THE TENSION BETWEEN MOVING TO
OPPORTUNITY AND PLACE. DO YOU WANT TO SHARE ANY
THOUGHTS
ABOUT THAT?>>WELL, WE’RE COMING TO THE 36
SAME CONCLUSION, THAT WE NEED TO DO BOTH.
THE EVIDENCE ARGUES FOR BOTH END STRATEGY.
AND IN FACT I THINK THAT THIS DEBATE ABOUT PEOPLE VERSUS
PLACE OR ABILITIES VERSUS REVITALIZATION IS REALLY
COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. NEITHER ONE OF THEM CAN
SUCCEED FULLY IF THE OTHER PART OF THE STRATEGY IS
NEGLECTED. I DON’T SEE HOW WE CANNOT
INVEST IN THE MOST URGENT NEEDS OF CORE NEIGHBORHOODS.
AND THAT MEANS SAFETY, THAT MEANS SCHOOLS, AND IT MEANS
HEALTHY PLACES TO PLAY. SO THAT THE KIDS WHO ARE
GROWING UP IN THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS CAN GET A
FOOTHOLD, ON THE LADDER TOWARD A DECENT LIFE, OF
SUCCESS. AND WHEN OUR INVESTMENTS WORK
AND START TO PAY OFF, WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PRESERVING
AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPTIONS IN THOSE NOW VERY ATTRACTIVE
NEIGHBORHOODS IN CITIES SO THAT ALLOWS THE ORIGINAL
RESIDENTS TO STAY AND ENJOY THE BENEFITS, BUT I THINK AT
THE SAME TIME WE PURSUE THAT STRATEGY, WE ABSOLUTELY HAVE
TO BE ELIMINATING THE BARRIERS THAT STILL BLOCK
LOWER INCOME FAMILIES, ESPECIALLY FAMILIES OF COLOR,
FROM FINDING AFFORDABLE PLACES TO LIVE IN
NEIGHBORHOODS OF THEIR CHOICE THAT ALREADY HAVE GOOD
SCHOOLS AND SAFE PLAYGROUNDS AND HEALTHY GROCERY STORE
OPTIONS. SO THAT MEANS DOING JUST WHAT
WAS HAPPENING IN THIS SERIES, BUILDING LOWER PRICED 37
HOUSING, BUILDING RENTAL HOUSING IN NEIGHBORHOODS ALL
OVER THE PLACE, CITIES AND SUBURBS, AND MOVING
SUBSIDIES, VOUCHERS, AND OTHER MECHANISMS, TOO, TO
REALLY HELP POOR FAMILIES WHO WANT TO MAKE THAT KIND OF A
MOVE TO OPPORTUNITY. SO I’M SOMETIMES ACCUSED OF
BEING NAIVE AND THINKING THAT WE CAN AND SHOULD DO BOTH,
AND I KNOW RESOURCES ARE SCARCE, BUT IF YOU START
THINKING ABOUT THE PORTFOLIO OF APPROACHES THAT INCLUDES A
COMBINATION OF ACTIVITIES, THEY ARE GOING TO ADD UP TO
MORE THAN INDIVIDUAL BATTLES BETWEEN THIS MOBILITY AND THE
REVITALIZATION EFFORT.>>I’M GOING TO SWITCH GEARS
A LITTLE BIT AND GO BACK TO THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT
FEDERAL LEVEL AND LOCAL LEVEL TENSIONS.
I NOTICED A FLEETING GLANCE OF SECRETARY KEMP DURING THE
COMMUNITY PROTESTS, THAT THERE WERE FEDERAL OFFICIALS
IN THE FORM OF JUDGE SANDS WERE IN MANY WAYS PERCEIVED
AS AN ENEMY OF THE COMMUNITY BUT THE LOCAL OFFICIALS, YOUR
JOB WAS TO PROTECT US AGAINST THOSE NATIONAL COUNCIL
MEMBERS, THE OTHERS WHO FAIL TO PROTECT OUR RENTS.
IN THE SERIES, WE SEE THOSE COUNCIL MEMBERS PURCHASING
SIGNS, THERE THREATEN TO JAIL, SO THEY ARE VOTING
AGAINST IT. IN SOME WAYS THE FEDERAL
OFFICIALS ARE SEEN FROM A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE AS THE BAD
GUYS, FROM THE LOCAL PERSPECTIVE, THE LOCAL
OFFICIALS ARE GOOD GUYS, BUT YOU KNOW, IN OUR NATIONAL 38
DEBATE AND THE STORIES ON “THE NEW YORK TIMES,” “THE
NEW YORK TIMES” REPORTER WHO BECOMES A BIT OF AN ADVERSARY
TO ONE OF THE OPPONENTS OF THE HOUSING, THE LOCAL
OFFICIALS ARE THE BAD GUYS. DAVID, CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE
ABOUT THE ROLE OF FEDERAL AND STATE?
MR. SECRETARY?>>BEING A PROMOTER OR
DEMOTER?>>
>>[INAUDIBLE COMMENT]>>I THINK IT’S SORT OF
IRONIC THAT JACK KEMP — THE CASE CAME OUT OF THE CARTER
ADMINISTRATION’S CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, AND OF COURSE, THE
SUBSEQUENT EIGHT YEARS, THAT DIVISION WAS COMPLETELY — IT
WAS A RESIDUAL CASE THAT WAS PURSUED BECAUSE IT GOT
LAUNCHED BEFORE THE CHANGE IN ADMINISTRATION.
BUT SECRETARY KEMP ACTUALLY KEPT GOOD LINES OF
COMMUNICATION OPEN TO TRY TO HELP YONKERS GET THROUGH
THIS. HE ACTUALLY WAS, YOU KNOW —
IN A HEALTHY BIPARTISAN MOMENT, HE WAS TRYING TO
ASSIST PEOPLE LOCALLY WHO WERE TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT
THING, AND YONKERS, SPECIFICALLY THE HOUSING
OFFICIALS. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED BY NOT
ONLY OSCAR NEWMAN AND HIS, WHAT HE WAS ABLE TO ACHIEVE
AS CONSULTANT, A COURT-SPONSORED CONSULTANT IN
THE CASE, IN TERMS OF THE ARCHITECTURE AND THE LOGIC,
BUT THE PROFESSIONAL — A BUREAUCRAT HAS A TERRIBLE —
IT’S A PHRASE THAT WE ALL SNEER AT, BUT I COVERED — I 39
WAS ON A METRO BEAT, I KNEW A LOT OF GOOD BUREAUCRATS,
LOCAL, STATE PEOPLE WHO KNEW THEIR BUSINESS, AND VERY MUCH
SO, THE PEOPLE THAT — WHEN THE POLITICIANS GOT OUT OF
THE WAY AND WHEN THE RANTING STOPPED, THERE WERE PEOPLE
WHO WERE ACTUALLY VERY EFFECTIVE AT MAKING PRAGMATIC
DECISIONS THAT LED TO THESE HOUSES, AND NOT JUST THE 200,
BUT THE 800 AFFORDABLE THAT GOT BUILT AFTER THEM,
FUNCTIONALLY, AND NOT DAMAGING THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
AND KEEPING PROMISES, AND IT WAS A PLEASURE IN SOME WAYS
TO HONOR THE COMINGS IN THE WHEEL, BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE
THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD, AND IF YOU LOOK AT FEDERAL
HOUSING POLICY, IN THE GENERATIONS PRIOR, THE THINGS
THAT BUILT IN MY CITY, LEXINGTON TERRACE, MURPHY
HOMES, THE BIG ENORMOUS, DISASTROUS, UNPOLICABLE
PROJECTS, I MEAN, I WENT INTO THOSE STAIRWELLS TO REPORT
STUFF, AND THEY WERE UNPOLICABLE, AND THEY WERE —
OSCAR NEWMAN WAS RIGHT ON THAT SCORE, AND I’VE SEEN
SINCE THIS CAME OUT A CRITIQUE OF OSCAR NEWMAN
SAYING THERE ARE TWO THINGS YOU CAN THROW AT THE IDEA OF
DISPENSABLE SPACE AND HOUSING, WHICH IS ONE IS IT’S
NOT ENOUGH. IT’S NOT ENOUGH UNITS.
YOU TEAR DOWN THESE HIGH RISES, TAKE DOWN THE HOMES,
AND YOU START — AND YOU ARE THROWING ONLY A HANDFUL OF
UNITS BY COMPARISON BACK INTO THE HOUSING MIX, YOU GOT TO
DO MORE, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO INVEST IN MORE UNITS IF WE 40
ARE GOING TO GET RID OF THESE THINGS THAT WERE REPOSITORIES
FOR ENTRENCHED POVERTY AND WHERE THE KIDS GREW UP.
NOT JUST LESS LIFE EXPECTANCY, BUT WHAT KIND OF
LIFE WERE YOU EXPECTING. SO THERE IS A VALID CRITIQUE
OF IT’S ONE THING TO TAKE DOWN THE OLD MASSIVE HOUSING
PROJECTS OF THE PAST AND TRY TO DO SCATTERED SITE AND
SUBSTANTIVE SPACE, BUT YOU’VE GOT TO DO THAT IN MEANINGFUL
NUMBERS. AND THE OTHER THING THAT WAS
A CRITIQUE IS I THOUGHT WAS THE WAY THE FEDERAL
PRIORITIES HAVE GONE I FELT WAS SPECIOUS.
I READ SOMETHING — WHAT THEY WERE ARGUING IS IF THE
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY WAS AVAILABLE, IF THERE WERE ALL
KINDS OF JOBS AVAILABLE FOR ALL — IF THE EDUCATIONAL
SYSTEM WERE FUNCTIONAL, LIVING IN HIGH RISE,
CONDENSED PROJECTS WOULD NOT BE AS SIGNIFICANTLY
DISASTROUS AND DISCOPIATE AS IT IS.
AGAIN, ANYBODY STARTS TO GET PERFECTLY IDEOLOGICAL ON ME,
YOU KNOW — BUT FOR LIBERALS, TOO, ON SOME LEVEL, NO, I’M
SORRY, YOU KNOW, THOSE JOBS ARE NOT COMING BACK, THEY’RE
NOT ABOUT TO OPEN ALL THE FACTORIES THAT WENT TO THE
PACIFIC RIM, THEY ARE NOT GOING TO OPEN THEM IN WEST
BALTIMORE, AGAIN, YOU KNOW, THE PORT ISN’T COMING BACK
THE WAY IT DID. THAT STEEL IS NOT GOING TO
REOPEN TOMORROW. IT’S WHAT WE HAVE NOW.
YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT ENTRENCHED EMPLOYMENT, 41
UNDEREMPLOYMENT. WHAT IS THE BEST HOUSING
FUNCTION FOR THAT, AND THERE, OSCAR NEWMAN HAD IT
SURROUNDED, WHICH WAS YOU CAN’T, YOU KNOW — THIS
LEVEL, IN THIS KIND OF ECONOMIC DISPARITY, YOU KNOW,
YOU CAN PUT UP A 12 STORY UNIT AND PUT UP SIX TOWERS OF
THAT, I CAN TELL YOU WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, AND HAVING
THE POLICE REPORT IN BALTIMORE, WHEN THE TOWERS
WERE STILL STANDING, HE WAS RIGHT.
SO ANYBODY STARTS GETTING PURE ON ME, IDEOLOGICALLY,
SAYING YOU JUST HAVE TO BE — YOU PUT YOUR BLINDERS ON AND
PRETEND THAT EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE GREAT WHEN WE PUT
UP A HIGH RISE, NO. IT’S LIKE SOMEWHERE IN THE
MIDDLE, DOING SOMETHING OF EVERYTHING, OR ACKNOWLEDGING
THE BOUNDARIES ON BOTH SIDES, SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE IS
WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE FUNCTION.
I’M REALLY INTO PRAGMATISM. I’M NOT PARTICULARLY INTO
IDEOLOGY.>>SO BEFORE — I WOULD LOVE
TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT BUT I ALSO WANT TO PUT ONE
MORE TOPIC ON THE TABLE BEFORE WE COME TO EVERYONE,
SO I HOPE YOU ARE GETTING YOUR CARDS READY.
WE ARE GOING TO RAISE YOUR HANDS AND PEOPLE WILL COLLECT
THOSE. ONE THE STORY DOES WELL, IT
IT TALKS ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP — AND I KNOW
DAVID IF YOU ARE — I DON’T KNOW IF YOU WERE THINKING
CONTEMPLATIVELY OR NOT — ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP 42
BETWEEN HOUSING AND HEALTH, AND WE TALK NOW ABOUT HOUSING
AS A PLATFORM, I LOVE THE STORY OF THE KID WITH ASTHMA
AND THE WAY THAT THE MOTHERS LOOKED AT THE PHYSICAL SPACE
FOR THEIR CHILDREN, AND THE WOMAN WHO WAS NOT WELL SUITED
TO LIVE IN THE TOWERS BECAUSE OF HER DIABETES HAD LED IT TO
HER BLINDNESS. SO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
FEDERAL AND STATE, AND ALSO, THE ECHOS FOR TODAY’S
CONVERSATION ON HOUSING.>>JUST ON THAT, ON HEALTH
AND HOUSING, WE DO SEE, AND FOLKS WHO DO THE RESEARCH SEE
A STRONG LINK BETWEEN THE TWO AND THE FACT IS THAT HUD HAS
BEEN INVESTING IN THIS CONNECTION FOR A WHILE,
WHETHER IT’S IMPACTING ELEVATED BLOOD LEVELS, OR
MOLD REMEDIATION OR ISSUES RELATED TO ASTHMA, THESE
DAYS, WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE WORK THAT IS CENTERING ON
THIS DEMOGRAPHIC WAVE OF BABY BOOMERS WHO ARE BECOMING
SENIOR CITIZENS AND HOW DO WE GET FOLKS TO UNDERSTAND THAT
INVESTING IN HOUSING WITH GOOD, SUPPORTIVE SERVICES AND
HEALTH CARE IS A WAY TO BOTH ENSURE HEALTHIER RESIDENTS,
AND PROBABLY LONGER LIFE OUTCOMES, AND ALSO SAVE MONEY
ON THE OTHER END OF MEDICARE AND MEDICAID.
SO WE HAVE ONLY BEGUN I THINK IN FEDERAL POLICY TO
UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF THAT LINKAGE.
WITH REGARD TO THE ISSUE OF FEDERAL AND IN STATE, I’VE
SEEN IT FROM BOTH ENDS, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DOES
STRIKE ME IS OF COURSE EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT TO THE 43
EXTENT THAT YOU CAN GET SOMETHING TO BE LED LOCALLY,
THAT’S ALWAYS GOING TO GO OVER BETTER IN THE LOCAL
COMMUNITY THAN IF THEY SEE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
OUTSIDE OF I THINK SOME PROGRESSIVE BASTIONS IN SOME
PARTS — MAYBE IN SAN FRANCISCO, THEY WOULDN’T
CARE, BUT YOU KNOW, I CAME FROM TEXAS, SO I HAVE TO DEAL
WITH THESE ISSUES. GETTING THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
TO BUY IN IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY.
AND TO THE CREDIT OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, AND I’M
HERE FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS, BUT I SAW AS MAYOR ONE OF THE
GOOD THINGS THEY WERE DOING WAS ESTABLISHING STRONGER
RELATIONSHIPS WITH MAYORS AND WITH COUNTY OFFICIALS THAN
USUAL, AND ENGAGING LOCAL OFFICIALS TO WORK ACROSS THE
SILOS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, HOUSING, WORKING
IN EDUCATION, WORKING WITH TRANSPORTATION, WITH EPA,
GETTING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO MIRROR THAT AND THEN TO WORK
WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SO I’M HOPEFUL THAT EVEN
AFTER THIS ADMINISTRATION IS COMPLETE, IN JANUARY 2017,
THERE ARE A WHOLE BUNCH OF MAYORS OUT THERE, COUNTY
OFFICIALS, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS, THAT ARE GOING TO
WORK IN THAT WAY, AND ALSO THEY WILL HAVE HAD A POSITIVE
EXPERIENCE WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT HOPEFULLY
WILL CARRY ON WHEN THEY WORK WITH THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION
AND SO FORTH.>>JAMES, JUST QUICKLY ON
THIS POINT, YOUR CASES ARE VERY OFTEN BROUGHT AGAINST 44
THE LOCAL ACTORS. ARE THE FEDS YOUR FRIENDS IN
THAT WORK? FEDERAL JUDGES ARE ALMOST
ALWAYS HELPFUL. ALMOST ALL OF OUR CASES
AGAINST LOCAL GOVERNMENT — YOU KNOW, HUD HAS BEEN AT
SOME POINTS FRIENDLY AND AT SOME POINTS NOT FRIENDLY, TO
BE FRANK, AND THAT HAS BEEN BOTH UNDER DEMOCRATIC AND
REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATIONS. SOMETIMES FRIENDLY, SOMETIMES
NOT FRIENDLY. AND I WILL SAY TO DAVID’S
POINT THAT THE COMINGS IN THE WHEEL ARE PERHAPS THE MOST
IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS THAT YOU CAN HAVE, BECAUSE THE
ADMINISTRATIONS AND THEIR VIEWPOINTS CHANGE BUT THOSE
BUREAUCRATS DON’T CHANGE, AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE
BUREAUCRATS ARE SO IMPORTANT, AND THEY MAKE ALL THE
DIFFERENCE, FRANKLY, IN WHAT YOUR OUTCOMES ARE AND IN
EVERYTHING YOU DO ON A FEDERAL LEVEL.
>>SO ALL OF — I SEE IN THIS ROOM MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE
CURRENT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, AND SOME MAY BE LOCAL AS
WELL, SO I HOPE YOU CAN GO HOME AND TELL YOUR FAMILIES
THAT YOU WERE CELEBRATED TODAY.
>>QUICKLY TO AMPLIFY THAT POINT, PEOPLE GET CARICATURED
AS BUREAUCRATS, BUT THERE IS A VERY GOOD POINT, THEY ARE
THE ONES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS WITHOUT
THE POLITICS, WITHOUT THE CROWD THAT IS ON THEM, AND
WANTING AND THINKING WELL, AM I GOING TO GET ELECTED OR NOT
ELECTED IF I DECIDE THIS OR DECIDE THAT THAT. IS THE 45
POWER AND I THINK THE BLESSING OF THE BUREAUCRACY,
AS MUCH AS IT GETS MALIGNED. THEY HAVE A GREAT ROLE TO
PLAY IN ENSURING FAIRNESS AND EVEN HANDEDNESS.
>>MARG, ONE OF OUR QUESTIONERS FROM THE AUDIENCE
ASKED A QUESTION THAT PICKS UP ON SOMETHING MARG TALKED
ABOUT BEFORE, SO FOR UL ALL OF YOU, FOR MARG AS WELL,
THEY WERE ASKING ABOUT THE INTERSECTION WITH THESE
ISSUES AND THE THING THAT MAYBE IN HEALTHY CITIES, IN
CITIES THAT ARE GROWING NOW, ARE AS BIG A CHALLENGE FOR
LOW INCOME AND ALSO COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, FOR
EXAMPLE, IN D.C., WHICH IS THE CHALLENGE OF
PARTICIPATION, OF SEEING PROPERTY VALUES RISE WHEN A
NEIGHBORHOOD STARTS TO GROW AND THERE’S ECONOMIC
INVESTMENTS AND THE PEOPLE OF THAT COMMUNITY TEND NO LONGER
TO BE PART OF IT ANYMORE. HOW DO THE TWO ISSUES RELATE
TO ONE ANOTHER AND I HATE TO SAY WHICH IS THE BIGGER
CHALLENGE BECAUSE EVERY PLACE IS DIFFERENT AND IN SOME
CITIES THEY HAVE BOTH THE CHALLENGES SIMULTANEOUSLY.
HOW DO YOU PURSUE THEM SIMULTANEOUSLY?
>>AGAIN, I THINK PART OF THE — PART OF WHAT GETS US INTO
TROUBLE IS THAT WE TRY TO TACKLE OKAY, WHAT’S MY
INITIATIVE FOR ADDRESSING THE GENTRIFICATION ISSUE IN THIS
NEIGHBORHOOD TODAY, WHAT IS MY STRATEGY FOR ADDRESSING
THIS DISTRESSED NEIGHBORHOOD TODAY, AND THOSE ARE A PART
OF OUR LARGER METROPOLITAN MARKET THAT’S CHANGING ALL 46
THE TIME. PEOPLE ARE MOVING AROUND, AND
NEIGHBORHOODS ARE INEVITABLY CHANGING.
AND THEY ARE FOCUSED ON GIVING PEOPLE AT EVERY INCOME
LEVEL THE CHANCE TO MAKE CHOICES ABOUT WHERE THEY WANT
TO LIVE AND CHOICES OF NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE RICH
WITH OPPORTUNITY. THEN YOU THINK ABOUT A
PORTFOLIO OF STRATEGIES, INCLUDING HOW WILL WE
REVITALIZE THE MOST DISTRESSED NEIGHBORHOOD,
MAKING IT SAFER, MAKING IT HEALTHIER.
HOW ARE WE BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND
PRESERVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE THE
MARKET IS STARTING TO TAKE OFF AND PRICES ARE GETTING
HOT. AT THE SAME TIME, HOW DO WE
TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF LOW INCOME FAMILIES IN BOTH OF
THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES BY OPENING UP AND CREATING MORE
AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE IT
CURRENTLY DOESN’T EXIST. SO AGAIN, THIS MAY SOUND A
LITTLE UTOPIAN, BUT I REALLY THINK EACH OF THOSE GOALS IS
EASIER TO ACHIEVE IF IT’S BEING PURSUED AS A PART OF A
STRATEGY THAT INCLUDES ALL OF THEM.
>>ONE OF THE CHALLENGES, THOUGH, IS THAT CROSSING THE
POLITICAL BARRIERS, RIGHT, THAT — YOU END UP A LOT OF
TIMES — YOU SPEND A LOT OF YOUR TIME FIGHTING WITHIN THE
CITY, BUT THEN SOME OF THE RAMIFICATIONS OR CONSEQUENCES
EXIST IN THE SUBURBS, AND SO IT BECOMES A CHALLENGE TRYING 47
TO — WHEN WE REALIZE YOU HAVE EXTENDED SO MANY OF YOUR
RESOURCES ONLY IN THE CITY AND YOU’VE FORGOTTEN TO FIGHT
THESE FIGHTS IN THE SUBURBS FOR SOME TIME. AND MY HOPE
WOULD BE THAT’S ONE OF THE AREAS WHERE THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT CAN HELP.>>THAT’S TRUE.
>>THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CREATES INCENTIVES AND SOME
PRESSURES TO OVERCOME POLITICAL LOCALIZATION.
>>SO I’VE GOT TWO QUESTIONS HERE AND I’M GOING TO ASK
THEM BOTH AND INVITE ANYONE TO COMMENT ON EITHER OF THEM.
THE FIRST IS ABOUT THE ROLE — THIS IS FROM THE ACTION
FOR DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT AND SPECIFICALLY ASKING ABOUT THE
ROLE THAT UNIVERSITIES AND HOSPITALS PLAY IN THE EFFORT
TO PUSH — TO CREATE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN OUR
CITIES. AND THE OTHER QUESTION COMES
FROM PIPER HENDRICKS AT HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, SHE IS
ASKING IN THIS COMMENT, I HEAR A SORT OF A PLEA, CAN WE
FIND MORE EXAMPLES OF SUCCESS IN ADDRESSING DIVISION IN THE
HEARTS AND MIND OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
>>AND MAYBE ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS COULD BE PART OF
IT.>>CAN SPEAK SPECIFICALLY TO
ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS, BEING FROM BALTIMORE, AND FROM THE
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, I THINK THERE’S A REALLY UGLY TALE IN
EAST BALTIMORE AND MID CITY WITH THE AMBITIONS — YOU GET
A STRONG POWERFUL ANCHOR INSTITUTION THAT HAS ITS OWN
PARTICULAR AMBITIONS, AND SOMETHING LIKE AFFORDABLE 48
HOUSING, AND THE INTEGRITY OF THE SURROUNDING
NEIGHBORHOODS, IS PLAYING A SECONDARY PART.
IT’S COMPLETELY VULNERABLE. IN EAST BALTIMORE, JOHNS
HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, THE MOST POWERFUL INSTITUTION —
CERTAINLY THE LARGEST EMPLOYER IN THE CITY OF
BALTIMORE AFTER GOVERNMENT, THEY BUILT A VILLAGE IN ORDER
TO SAVE IT. I GOT 12, 15, 18 SQUARE
BLOCKS OF BROWN FIELDS THAT IS GOING TO BE GRADUATE
HOUSING OR A BIOTECH PARK THAT’S BEEN SLATED TO BE
BUILT BUT THEY GOT RID OF IT. THEY GOT RID OF EAST
BALTIMORE. THEY SOLVED THEIR PROBLEM
WITH INTEGRATING THEMSELVES INTO THE SURROUNDING
COMMUNITY. AND THE SAME THING HAPPENED
WITH THE HOSPITAL COMPLEX. THEY LOOKED UPON KATRINA AS
BEING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM AS AN INSTITUTION AND A LOT
OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND A LOT OF TRADITIONAL
NEIGHBORHOODS WERE BULLDOZED IN MID CITY, AND YOU KNOW, I
THINK ANYONE WHO THINKS THAT UNPOLICED, THESE INSTITUTIONS
ARE GOING TO BE OF ANY VALUE OTHER THAN THEIR OWN
AMBITIONS IS VERY NAIVE. I’M MARRIED TO AN ACADEMIC,
AND SHE HAS BEEN AT THREE UNIVERSITIES SINCE WE’VE BEEN
TOGETHER. PRINCETON, TULANE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS,
AND NOW WAKE FOREST IN NORTH CAROLINA.
AND AS MUCH AS — I GUESS WE ARE THANKFUL SHE IS ABLE TO
BE EMPLOYED, THE EXPERIENCE FOR THE NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE 49
THOSE UNIVERSITIES HAVE BEEN LOCATED, AT LEAST WITH REGARD
TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING, IT’S BEEN TERRIBLE.
AND, YOU KNOW, WHAT THEY DO IS THEY DRIVE UP PROPERTY
VALUE WITHOUT ANY REGARD FOR AFFORDABILITY OR LOWER INCOME
FAMILIES AND OFTEN TIMES, PARTICULARLY IN NEW ORLEANS,
TULANE UNIVERSITY WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST DRIVERS OF
UNAFFORDABILITY.>>SECRETARY, YOU HAVE AN
OFFICE THAT HAS BEEN IN THE PAST AT LEAST FOCUSED ON
TRYING TO WORK WITH ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS
WITH UNIVERSITIES. DO YOU HAVE ANY POSITIVE
STORIES THERE?>>YEAH.
>>A GA EXAMPLE OF THIS IS THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.
THE WOOD LAWN NEIGHBORHOOD, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.
THEY GOT A CHOICE NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT, AND THEY
HAVE WORKED TO SUPPORT THE REDEVELOPMENT AND ENHANCEMENT
OF THE WOOD LAWN NEIGHBORHOOD IN A NUMBER OF WAYS FROM
HELPING WITH SECURITY IN THE AREA, TO SHARING OF
RESOURCES, AND SO THERE IS ONE EXAMPLE OF A UNIVERSITY
THAT HAS GONE OUTSIDE OF ITS BOUNDS TO TRY AND BE PART OF
THE SOLUTION. BUT I THINK THAT OFTEN TIMES,
THE PROBLEM FOR UNIVERSITIES IS THEY JUST DON’T THINK
ABOUT IT. THERE’S NOT PART OF WHAT THEY
SEE AS AN ISSUE. SO ANY TIME WE CAN GET,
WHETHER IT’S THE UNIVERSITY OR A HOSPITAL OR OTHER ANCHOR
INSTITUTION, TO THINK IN TERMS OF WHAT ELSE THEY CAN 50
DO TO HELP THE FOLKS WHO LIVE AROUND THERE, AND NOT TO
PURSUE POLICES OR INVESTMENTS THAT HAVE AN EXCLUSIONARY
IMPACT, BASICALLY, ON THEIR SURROUNDING AREA.
I SEE THAT AS A POSITIVE. I KNOW IN THE 1990S, I
REMEMBER READING THE PANEL PRETTY UNDER SECRETARY
CISNEROS THAT HE PUT OUT, SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER IT,
ABOUT THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITY IN NEIGHBORHOODS, AND WHETHER
IT’S BUILDING UP CHOICE NEIGHBORHOODS, THEY DO HAVE A
ROLE TO PLAY IN POSITIVELY IMPACTING THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS
AROUND THEM, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO TODAY
IS ONE EXAMPLE WE CITE.>>THE OTHER PART OF THE
QUESTION WE HAVE, PROGRAMS OR EFFORTS AT AFFORDABLE HOUSING
DEVELOPMENT THAT HAVE HELPED CREATE MORE MARIES, THAT HAVE
HELPED SEE PEOPLE NOT ONLY SORT OF COME TO ACCEPT AND
ALMOST NOT NOTICE THAT HAVE ACTUALLY CHANGED HEARTS AND
MINDS, AND THE SEARCH FOR THE MARIES, I THINK, IS ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT I TAKE FROM THIS STORY, THAT THAT WAS
OTHER PEOPLE HAVE CRITICIZED IT, BECAUSE IT WAS VERY
EXPENSIVE, PER UNIT OF HOUSING, THOSE PROGRAMS WERE,
AND SCALING THEM IS A HUGE CHALLENGE.
WE HAVE A QUESTION FROM ADRIAN TUCHMAN, DIRECTOR OF
THE D.C. HOUSING AUTHORITY HERE, AND SHE ASKS I THINK
SOMETHING THAT IS REALLY INTERESTING TO THINK ABOUT.
SHE SAYS THAT MANY PEOPLE IN D.C. IN PARTICULAR ACTUALLY
DO UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING. 51
WHEN YOU USE THAT TERM, MANY PEOPLE SEE THEMSELVES IN IT.
AND THEY SEE THE IDEA THAT HAVING A COMMUNITY WHERE WORK
FORCE — THOSE ARE HER WORDS. BUT THAT SAME PORT IS NOT
ONLY FAIR WHEN WE TALK ABOUT PUBLIC HOUSING.
WE HAVE US JOEL SHODERMAN WHO DIRECTS THE HOUSING AUTHORITY
OF THE CITY OF YONKERS TODAY. SO THE CHALLENGES OF OUR
PUBLIC HOUSING IN THIS COUNTRY AND PUBLIC UNDERSTAND
IT ABOUT IT, MR. SECRETARY?>>THERE’S STILL A STIGMA
ASSOCIATED WITH TRADITIONAL PUBLIC HOUSING, ALSO WITH
SECTION EIGHT. A FEW MONTHS AGO, WHEN THAT
VIDEO CAME OUT, THE OFFICER THAT MANHANDLED THAT YOUNG
WOMAN, IT WAS IN THE DALLAS, THE DFW SUBURBS, AND BEFORE,
THEY HAD TOLD THE KIDS, GO BACK TO YOUR SECTION EIGHT,
THERE’S NO QUESTION THAT VOUCHER HOLDERS AND PUBLIC
HOUSING RESIDENTS STILL FACE A STIGMA.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT? WELL, I DO THINK THAT
OPPORTUNITIES FOR REALITY TESTING FOR FOLKS — HERE WE
HAD ONE VERY CRYSTALLIZED EXAMPLE OF IT.
I WISH THAT I COULD SAY THAT THAT WERE MORE COMMON.
BECAUSE THE FACT IS THAT IN MOST OF OUR CITIES TODAY, OUR
LOCALITIES, A LOT OF TIMES, PEOPLE DON’T INTERACT LIKE
THAT. SOMETIMES, THEY DO AT WORK,
SOMETIMES THEY DO IN PLACES LIKE THE SUBWAY, IF YOU ARE
ON THE T IN BOSTON, BUT THERE’S NOT ENOUGH OF THAT
THAT HAPPENS. AND WHAT’S IRONIC IS THAT 52
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT AFFORDABLE HOUSING VERSUS PUBLIC
HOUSING, THE STORY OF THAT IS THAT THOSE TWO THINGS HAVE
BECOME VERY BLENDED IN THESE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES.
YOU WILL HAVE HOUSING THAT IS MIXED INCOME, PEOPLE OF
DIFFERENT INCOME LEVELS, AND SO THAT STIGMA NEEDS TO BE, I
THINK, CHIPPED AWAY AT, AND PEOPLE OUGHT TO RETHINK WHAT
THEY BELIEVE IS PUBLIC HOUSING, TOO.
>>MARG?>>AND I THINK THE STIGMAS
ARE THAT STEMS FROM PREJUDICE.
BUT IN ADDITION, THOSE PERCEPTIONS OF WHAT PUBLIC
HOUSING IS ALSO CONNECT BACK TO SOME OF THE REALITIES OF
PAST PUBLIC HOUSING, AND SO I THINK IT MAKES IT ABSOLUTELY
ESSENTIAL THAT THESE PROGRAMS ARE ADMINISTERED REALLY
EFFECTIVELY. THAT PUBLIC HOUSING
DEVELOPMENTS THAT EXIST NEED TO BE MANAGED REALLY, REALLY
WELL. AND LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITIES
NEED TO MANAGE THE VOUCHER PROGRAM REALLY EFFECTIVELY SO
THAT THOSE PROGRAMS LIVE UP TO THEIR POTENTIAL, SERVE
THEIR RESIDENTS WELL, AND DON’T SEIZE PREJUDICES OR
STIGMAS.>>IN NEW ORLEANS, WE DID A
STUDY OF — THEY WOULDN’T ACCEPT VOUCHERS, YOU KNOW, WE
HAD VOUCHER HOLDERS TO TRY TO RENT APARTMENTS IN
NEIGHBORHOODS OF OPPORTUNITY AND WHEN THEY WERE TURNED
DOWN, WE WOULD HAVE THEM TO ASK THE LANDLORDS WHY AND
RESEARCHERS TO CALL THEM AND SEE IF THEY COULD INTERVIEW 53
THE LANDLORDS AND SEE WHY THEY WERE TURNED DOWN, AND WE
CAME UP WITH THIS LIST OF REASONS AND ONE OF THE TOPS
REASONS, INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, WAS THE MANAGEMENT OF
THE HOUSING AUTHORITY, AND PEOPLE SAID WELL, YOU KNOW, I
TRIED IT BEFORE, AND AFTER I HAD MY TENANTS THREE MONTHS I
NEVER GOT A CHECK, SO IT ENDS UP IN THE SAME SITUATION
WHERE I HAD TO EVICT THIS TENANT BECAUSE MY TENANT
COULDN’T AFFORD THE RENT AND IT HAD BEEN THREE MONTHS AND
I NEVER GOT PAID AND MY TENANT WAS TRYING TO — AND
THAT HAPPENED OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
AND SO AS MUCH AS ALL THE STEREOTYPE CAME UP, WE GOT
LOTS OF RACIAL STEREOTYPING AND SO FORTH, THAT WAS THE
NUMBER ONE REASON, WAS MISMANAGEMENT BY THE HOUSING
AUTHORITY.>>THAT’S A STEREOTYPE ABOUT
THE NEW ORLEANS GOVERNMENT.>>[LAUGHTER]
>>THEY SAY A STEREOTYPE HAS ITS ROOTS AND A CERTAIN
REALITY.>>WHOLE OTHER PANEL!
>>IT WASN’T JUST THIS CITY!>>I GREW UP IN AN ASSISTED
HOUSING IN UPPER WEST SIDE OF NEW YORK, I LIVED IN A MUCH
LARGER PROJECT FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES, BUT WE WERE
IN A NEIGHBORHOOD IN WHICH — AND THERE WERE TOWERS, AND
25TH FLOOR, BUT THE BUILDING NEXT TO ME WAS PUBLIC
HOUSING, THE BUILDING ACROSS THE STREET WAS — AND DOWN
THE BLOCK WAS ALSO PUBLIC HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY, AND
THERE WERE MODERATE INCOME HOUSES AND IF YOU WERE A 54
STUDENT OF ARCHITECTURE, YOU COULD TELL WHICH BUILDINGS
WERE UNDER WHICH PROGRAMS BECAUSE YOU RECOGNIZED THE
WAY BUILDING DOORS WERE FRAMED.
PUBLIC HOUSING ALWAYS USED CERTAIN TYPES OF MATERIALS,
AND ASSISTED HOUSING USED OTHERS.
BUT THE FACT THAT IT WAS A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT WORKED
BECAUSE IT WAS MIXED IN WITH OTHER KINDS OF HOUSING, VERY
SUCCESSFULLY, AND IT HAD YONKERS, CENTRAL PARK WEST,
MIDDLE SIDE DRIVE, AND UPPER, MIDDLE INCOME HOUSES, SO THAT
MIXED USE. SO I THINK IT DIDN’T HAVE THE
STIGMA IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD, MAYBE BECAUSE OF GEOGRAPHY,
AS IN OTHERS, AND I KNOW THAT’S AT A LOWER SCALE, MUCH
OF WHAT YOUR DEPARTMENT IS TRYING TO DO TODAY.
SO A NUMBER OF OUR QUESTIONERS HAVE A REALLY
ITCHING TO DO YOUR JOB, BECAUSE WHAT WE HAVE HERE ARE
A WHOLE LOT OF STORY LINES THAT PEOPLE ARE SUGGESTING!
I SUSPECT THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME THIS HAS EVER
HAPPENED.>>LET’S MOVE ON TO TAX
REFORM!>>EXACTLY.
>>[INAUDIBLE]>>CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE
IMPACT OF WORK REQUIREMENTS, PUBLIC BENEFITS?
YOU’LL HEAR FROM MARGARET POSNIC, SHE ARGUED THAT GIVEN
THE RECENT VISIT OF POPE FRANCIS, HIS MESSAGE ON
POVERTY AND INTEGRATION, MAYBE YOUR NEXT SERIES SHOULD
BE ON THE INTERSECTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS AND 55
SOCIAL POLICY. SO STEPPING BACK, WHETHER YOU
WANT TO TACKLE RELIGION AND POLICY OR NOT —
>>IT NEEDS TO BE TACKLED.>>SO MAYBE WE — AFTER YOU
DO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, BUT WHAT
MAKES — WE WERE TALKING BEFORE ABOUT THE AUDIENCE FOR
THIS PROGRAM. THIS HAS GOTTEN
EXTRAORDINARILY WONDERFUL REVIEWS, ITS AUDIENCE IS
MODEST, PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM AND OTHERS LIKE US, I’M SURE.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH OF THESE ISSUES MAKE FOR
COMPELLING TELEVISION AND WHAT ARE YOU ABLE TO TACKLE
AND GET SUPPORT FOR?>>YOU NEED A SPINE WHICH HAS
TO DO WITH CHARACTER AND STORY.
SO IN THIS CASE, IT’S THE POLITICAL LIFE AND DEATH OF
NICK WASISCO. ONTO THAT YOU CAN — TO THAT
SCALE, YOU CAN HANG ALL — TO THAT SKELETON, HANG ORGAN AND
FLESH AND TRY AND GET AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
BUT IT’S REALLY — LET’S BE HONEST, THERE ARE THINGS THAT
POLICY RESEARCH AND EVEN JOURNALISM, GOOD JOURNALISM,
CAN ACCOMPLISH THAT DRAMA CANNOT.
DRAMA IS IN SOME WAYS A PROVOCATION, A MEANS OF
GETTING AN ARGUMENT STARTED, BUT EXPO POSITION IS —
EXPOSITION IS THE DEATH OF DRAMA.
SO AS WE NOTED, THIS CASE BEGAN IN 1980, WE COME IN AT
’87, WE ARE OUT PRETTY MUCH ON THE END OF NICK WASISCO’S
CAREER, AND THAT’S ’94, THE CASE WENT ON TO 2007. 56
THERE WAS A DE SEGREGATION COMPONENT, AN AFFORDABLE
HOUSING COMPONENT. IT WAS AN INCRED BLIBL
COMPLICATED CASE. WE’RE NOT TRACKING THAT.
WE ARE SHOWING YOU A POLITICAL CAREER THAT RUNS UP
ON THE ROCKS OF AMERICA’S INABILITY TO SHARE.
AND WE CAN MAKE A VERY DISTINCT ALLEGORY AND USE
THIS TO REFLECT ON OUR TILE AND THINGS THAT ARE — I’M
OBVIOUSLY STRAINING THE NTO STUFF THAT HAPPENED IN MY
CITY, I’M LOOKING AT WHAT HAPPENED POST-KATRINA IN NEW
ORLEANS IN HOUSING, I’M LOOKING AT TARRYTOWN, TWO
TOWNS NORTH OF YONKERS, SAME TYPE, SAME RHETORIC, AND I
THINK I TO MYSELF, I CAN USE THIS, I CAN USE THIS LIFE OF
WASISCO, TO TELL A STORY THAT WILL TRICK PEOPLE INTO
CONSIDERING THE USED OF PUBLIC HOUSING AND SHARED
CITIZENSHIP. BUT THERE ARE THINGS I CAN’T
DO. AND LIKE NOBODY COULD — NONE
OF THE CHARACTERS COULD HAVE A CONVERSATION WHERE THEY
EXPLAIN FULLY THE ORIGINS OF PUBLIC HOUSING, THE IDEA THAT
THIS WAS A PROGRAM — IT GOES BACK IT TO THE NEW DEAL, IN
FACT, AND ITS ORIGIN, AND THAT WAS ORIGINALLY FOR WHITE
PEOPLE. IN FACT, BY IN LARGE, IT WAS
— RIGHT UNTIL THE END OF WORLD WAR II, AND IT BECAME
AN INCREDIBLE RESOURCE FOR RETURNING VETERANS FOR THEIR
FAMILIES, AND THE HYPERBOLIC OPPOSITION TO IT NOW HAS ITS
ORIGINS IN THE FACT THAT PEOPLE OF COLOR BEGAN TO 57
BECOME THE BENEFICIARIES OF IT.
IF SOMEBODY — IF A CHARACTER JUST SAID WHAT I SAID TO YOU,
IT’S LIKE MAN, YOU KNOW, I’M GOING TO GAME OF THRONES, YOU
KNOW?>>[LAUGHTER]
>>IN SOME WAYS, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT CAN AND
CAN’T DO AND YOU HAVE TO LET DRAMA BE DRAMA.
SO IT CAN BE A PROVOCATION, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE —
BECAUSE I CAME OUT OF JOURNALISM, A LOT OF PEOPLE
ASK ME, IS THIS SUPPLANTING WHAT YOU USED TO DO.
NO, JOURNALISM WAS JOURNALISM.
IT’S A SHAME PEOPLE INNER TO IT OR IT’S NOT DONE ON THE
SAME LEVEL, BECAUSE THE REVENUE STEAM IN JOURNALISM
HAS BEEN SO IMPAIRED, BUT IT HAD ITS BOUNDARIES FOR WHAT
COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY A CAREFUL REPORTER OR A CAREFUL
RESEARCHER, OR RESEARCH BEING REPORTED AND DISCUSSED.
I CAN’T REPLACE THAT WITH THIS.
I CAN BE A PROVOCATION, I CAN BEGIN AN ARGUMENT, AND THAT’S
IT. AND SO I GOT TO BE REALLY
CAREFUL ABOUT CLAIMING MORE FOR THIS THAN I CAN.
>>WELL, LET US SAY THAT WHAT IT CAN DO IS IT CAN CAUSE ALL
OF US WHO MIGHT SOMETIMES GET CAUGHT UP IN OUR DAY TO DAY
LIVES AND WHO MAY ALMOST TURN AWAY WHEN WE GO HOME TO RELAX
TO FIND ANOTHER WAY TO ENGAGE AND REALLY THINK, AND I DO
THINK THERE’S NO DOUBT THAT THESE FIVE OR SIX DIFFERENT
STORY LINES WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT HAVE THIS 58
COMMON THREAD AND HAS TOLD THAT TALE IN A WONDERFUL WAY
THAT BRINGS INSIGHT, AND WE BRING RESEARCH TO THE TABLE,
OBVIOUSLY, INSIGHT TO THE TABLE, BUT IT’S CLEAR THERE
IS GREAT INSIGHT HERE. I’M GOING TO ASK EACH OF YOU
TO OFFER A CLOSING THOUGHT, AND I’M GOING TO GO BACK TO
THE TITLE OF THE SHOW FOR THE PRESENT THOUGHT, THAT YOU
MENTIONED — I GUESS EARLIER, THAT THE TITLE OF THE SHOW
COMES FROM A LINE FROM SCOTT FITZGERALD WHO SAYS SHOW ME A
HERO AND I’LL WRITE YOU A TRAGEDY AND THERE’S A GREAT
VIDEO CLIP IF YOU WATCH THE SHOWS ON HBO, THEY DO A
LITTLE INTERVIEW ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE SHOW
AFTERWARDS, WHICH IS WELL WORTH WATCHING, AND YOU TALK
A LITTLE MORE IN THAT DAVID ABOUT WHAT THAT QUOTE MEANS.
YOU KNOW, THE MAYOR WAS NOT REALLY — CERTAINLY NOT A
PERFECT HERO, BUT HIS LIFE CERTAINLY ENDS TRAGICALLY, SO
I’M GOING TO ASK YOU TO REFLECT ON WHETHER YOU THINK
OUR NATION’S STRUGGLE TO FIND A WAY FOR PEOPLE TO LIVE
TOGETHER IN HEALTHY, INTEGRATED COMMUNITIES OF
OPPORTUNITY, IS THAT GOING TO END TRAGICALLY OR DO WE END
WITH SOME HOPE THAT WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS?
AND ON THAT QUESTION, MARG, DO YOU WANT TO START?
>>SARAH KNOWS THAT I’M AN OPTIMISTIC PERSON BY NATURE.
>>PATHOLOGICALLY SO!>>I CAN’T ACCEPT THAT IT
ENDS AT THE TRAGIC. I CAN’T ACCEPT THAT THE
SEGREGATION THAT WE HAVE BUILT IN OUR COUNTRY IS 59
INSURMOUNTABLE. I RECOGNIZE FOR ONE HOW
PAINFULLY SLOW THE PROCESS HAS BEEN, AND HOW INCREDIBLY
DIFFICULT THE ISSUE IS FOR PEOPLE WITH POLITICAL
RESPONSIBILITY AND POWER TO TACKLE HONESTLY.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES ME OPTIMISTIC RIGHT NOW IS
THAT THERE’S A HUGE AMOUNT OF CONCERN ABOUT INEQUALITY AND
BARRIERS TO MOBILITY IN OUR COUNTRY, AND THOSE TOPICS ARE
GETTING A LOT OF ATTENTION FROM A MUCH WIDER RANGE OF
PEOPLE THAN ARE TYPICALLY TALKING ABOUT SEGREGATION AND
ITS CONSEQUENCES. THE RESEARCH, THIS SERIES,
OTHER ISSUES IN THE NEWS PUSH THE TOPIC OF SEGREGATION AND
CHALLENGES OF SEGREGATION UP INTO THE CONVERSATION ABOUT
INEQUALITY AND MOBILITY. AND I THINK IF WE CAN KEEP IT
THERE, IF WE CAN MAKE IT CLEAR THAT WE ARE NOT GOING
TO NARROW IT, WE ARE WIDENING THE GAP, WE ARE NOT GOING TO
OVERCOME THE BARRIERS TO MOBILITY UP IN OUR SOCIETY,
WE BASICALLY LEAVE OURSELVES AS SEGREGATED AS WE ARE NOW,
AND RACE, ETHNICITY, MONEY, AS WE PUSH THE CONVERSATIONS
TOGETHER, WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO ACCELERATE THE PROCESS.
>>FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO THANK DAVID FOR TELLING NOT
JUST THIS STORY BUT THE STORY — I KNOW YOU’VE HEARD IT A
HUNDRED TIMES, BUT IT WAS JUST SO REALISTIC AND TRULY
TOLD THE STORY OF TIMES AFTER KATRINA, AND ONE OTHER POINT
THAT I THINK MAY SOUND FUNNY BUT IS SO TRUE, WHEN OTHER
PEOPLE TELL THE NEW ORLEANS STORY ON TELEVISION, THE 60
ACCENTS ARE WRONG! AND SO SOMEHOW, WHEN I
WATCHED TREME, UNFORTUNATELY, IT DIDN’T SOUND LIKE ME,
BECAUSE MY OWN ACCENT IS BAD, SO — BUT THE OTHER THING I
WANTED TO SAY, BUT BEFORE I GET SPECIFICALLY TO THE
QUESTION, IS THAT WHEN IT COMES TO — SO MY FRIENDS WHO
STARTED WATCHING FRANKLY BEFORE I BEGAN WATCHING THAT
I NEEDED TO WATCH SHOW ME A HERO BECAUSE THEY SAW ME IN
THE SHOW AND THEY SAW ME IN THE SHOW BOTH BECAUSE OF THE
HOUSING ADVOCACY, BUT NONE OF THEM — IN 2010, I RAN FOR
THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, AND IT WAS A VERY
TOUGH AND DIFFICULT CAMPAIGN, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I
DIDN’T KNOW AT THE TIME WAS THAT THE HOUSING LOBBYING IN
THE STATE AND THE CITY WAS APPARENTLY THROWING HUNDREDS
OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST ME IN
ORDER TO KEEP ME FROM BEING SUCCESSFUL AND AT THE TIME, I
THOUGHT WELL, WHO IS DOING THIS.
I DIDN’T KNOW WHERE IT WAS COMING FROM.
ALL THE FOLKS I WAS — THE PEOPLE I ASKED, THEY WERE
LIKE I’M NOT DOING THIS. SO IT’S A BADGE OF HONOR,
WHEN MY CHARACTER WAS BEING ASSASSINATED, I WAS LIKE WHO
IS DOING THIS. WHEN I SAW NICK GOING THROUGH
THE DIFFICULTIES, PARTICULARLY LOSING
CAMPAIGNS, YOU KNOW, I REALLY IDENTIFIED WITH HIM, AND WHEN
I AGREED TO COME ON THIS PANEL, IT WAS BEFORE I SAW
THE LAST EPISODE! AND IT WAS LIKE OH! 61
>>[LAUGHTER]>>BUT SO, LAST BUT NOT
LEAST, THE LAST QUESTION BRINGS ME TO THE FIRST
QUESTION THAT YOU ASKED, WHICH WAS HOW ARE THINGS
DIFFERENT, AND, YOU KNOW, THE YONKERS CASE TOOK 27 YEARS.
OUR CASE IN SAINT BERNARD PARISH WHICH SO CLOSELY
TRACKINGS THE YONKERS CASE TOOK ABOUT NINE YEARS.
AND SO EVERYTHING ABOUT THE SAINT BERNARD PARISH CASE IS
SO SIMILAR, BUT FOR THE FACT THAT WE DID IT IN ABOUT ONE
THIRD OF THE TIME. AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, I
KEEP SEEING FAIR HOUSING CASES THAT ARE VERY SIMILAR
AND VERY COMPLEX AND DIFFICULT, BUT THEY GET
RESOLVED IN A SHORTER PERIOD OF TIME, AND SO ONE OF THE
THINGS THAT I THINK IS CLEARLY IMPROVED IS THAT WE
ARE RESOLVING THESE ISSUES IN THE COURT SYSTEM MORE
QUICKLY. THE SECOND IS THAT I DO THINK
THAT YOUNGER GENERATIONS CLEARLY SEE A BENEFIT TO
DIVERSE COMMUNITIES, AND THAT YOUNGER GENERATIONS OF ALL
RACES AND BACKGROUNDS WANT DIVERSE, INCLUSIVE
COMMUNITIES. AND SO I DO THINK THAT — IT
MAY BE THAT IT’S NOT OUR LITIGATION THAT PUTS US OUT
OF BUSINESS, BUT IT IS THAT YOUNG PEOPLE PUT US OUT OF
BUSINESS, AND JUST BECAUSE THEY WANT SOMETHING
DIFFERENT. AND SO WHAT MAY BE DIFFERENT
MAY NOT BE OUR ADVOCACY, THE SPEED OF JUSTICE, BUT IT MAY
SIMPLY BE THAT YOUNG PEOPLE THINK THAT DIVERSITY IS GOOD. 62
>>[APPLAUSE]>>I
WAS JUST THINKING OF MY
SON, COLLEGE AGE, AND THE TEMPERAMENT THAT HE HAS FOR
BEING ABLE TO WALK IN A ROOM AND BE, YOU KNOW, BE A WHITE
KID AND BE IN A MINORITY, IN THE ROOM, HE GREW UP IN
BALTIMORE, AND HE IS A MUSICIAN, AND HE IS, YOU KNOW
— LIVED A LOT OF HIS LIFE IN NEW ORLEANS, AND I’M A LEFTY.
I CAME UP FROM MCHENRY COUNTY.
BUT I DON’T HAVE THE SAME TEMPERAMENT HE DOES.
I MAY BE A REPORTER IN A MAJORITY BLACK CITY SO I HAD
TO BE THE MINORITY BUT I REMEMBER FEELING MY OWN
PERSONAL LIMITATIONS, AND MY SON AND PEOPLE OF HIS
GENERATION THAT I HAVE ENCOUNTERED, THERE IS
SOMETHING TRANSFORMATIONAL. I DIDN’T THINK I WAS GOING TO
LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO SEE AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT.
THAT WAS A REMARKABLE MOMENT IN MY LIFE.
SO I THINK IN SOME WAYS, THE COUNTRY IS CHANGING
DEMOGRAPHICALLY. AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH
TALKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO YONKERS AFTER THE HOUSING.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE CITING THE FACT THAT IT WAS 80-20,
80 PERCENT WHITE, AND NOW IT’S 55-45.
BUT LOOK AT THE ACTUAL DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE NEW YORK
METROPOLITAN AREA. IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE — THE
VICTORY IS NOT KEEPING IT 80-20.
THE VICTORY IS NOT DESTABILIZING WHILE WE BECOME
A COUNTRY THAT IS MORE OF COLOR THAN IT WAS. 63
BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE WE ARE GOING.
AND IN SOME WAYS, THE DEMOGRAPHICS ARE GOING TO
OUTPACE THE — THE FUTURE IS GOING TO BLOW UP SO THAT
PEOPLE CAN WALK IN THE ROOM AND THERE’S NO MAJORITY.
THAT’S WHO’S GOING TO CLAIM THE FUTURE.
IN SOME WAYS, THEY ARE GOING TO DO IT WHETHER WE LIKE IT
OR NOT, AND SOME OF US GENUINELY LIKE IT.
SO THAT’S PROBABLY THE MOST OPTIMISTIC YOU’LL EVER CATCH
ME BEING!>>I’M A DISTOPIAN GUY.
BUT I WOULD ADD ONE THING TO THAT, WHICH IS TO SAY THAT IT
DOESN’T MATTER WHETHER YOU’RE OPTIMISTIC OR PESSIMISTIC.
YEARS AGO, SOMEBODY GAVE ME A COPY OF KAMOO’S RESISTANCE
FOR –>>WHAT HE BASICALLY ARGUES
THERE IS OKAY, THE ODDS ARE WRONG, ANY NUMBER OF THINGS
CAN GO WRONG AND PROBABLY WILL, YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE,
PROBABLY, YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE MORE THAN YOU’RE GOING
TO WIN, IT’S GOING TO BE MISERABLE, AND DEATH IS AT
THE END OF EVERY DOOR. YOU CAN TRY OR NOT TRY, BUT
ONLY ONE CHOICE OFFERS THE CHANCE AT DIGNITY, WHICH IS
TO FIGHT. YOU EITHER FIGHT OR YOU DON’T
FIGHT. IF YOU DON’T FIGHT, YOU NOT
ONLY ARE GOING TO LOSE BUT YOU’RE ALSO GOING TO BE AN
ASSHOLE! SO YOU MIGHT AS WELL FIGHT!
>>RIGHT?>>[APPLAUSE]
>>ONCE YOU SORT OF UNBURDEN YOURSELF OF THE NEED TO WIN 64
OR TO BE ASSURED OF WINNING, IT GETS EASIER.
YOU KNOW, I DON’T KNOW — SOMEONE SAID THE ONLY FIGHTS
WORTH WINNING ARE THE ONES YOU KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO
LOSE. IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT,
SOMETIMES THAT’S THE WAY IT’S GOT TO BE.
SO IT DOESN’T MATTER EITHER WAY.
>>SO WE’VE BOOK-ENDED OUR TESTAMENTS TO —
>>[LAUGHTER]>>[INAUDIBLE]
>>HE COULDN’T DO IT IF HE TRIED.
>>EVERYONE HAS SAID IT VERY WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU
AGAIN, AND TO THE URBAN INSTITUTE AND CONGRATULATIONS
ON GREAT WORK. I’M VERY OPTIMISTIC FOR MANY
OF THE SAME REASONS. WE ARE THE FASTEST GROWING
CATEGORY SO TO SPEAK IN THE CENSUS, PEOPLE WHO ARE MIXED
RACE, WHO IDENTIFY AS MIXED RACE.
YOU HAVE THE DEMOGRAPHY CHANGING IN OUR COUNTRY AND
LITERALLY ON THAT LEVEL, YOU KNOW, LIVES OVERCOMING
PREJUDICE, AND 100 YEARS FROM NOW, WHEN THEY SEE WHAT
HAPPENED, WHEN THEY READ WHAT HAPPENED IN TERMS OF THIS
KIND OF DISCRIMINATION AND EFFORTS IT TO KEEP PEOPLE
OUT, NOW — NOW IT SHOULDN’T TAKE 100 YEARS, AND SO THAT’S
WHERE THE FIGHT COMES IN, AND ALL OF US HAVE A ROLE TO
PLAY, AND FOR THE FLEETING AMOUNT OF TIME THAT I AND
MANY FOLKS IN THE ROOM OR AT HUD, WE WANT TO PUT UP THAT
FIGHT, AND PAT OF WHAT MAKES ME OPTIMISTIC IS I KNOW THAT 65
THERE ARE A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE OUT THERE IN DIFFERENT
WALKS OF LIFE, ALSO IN IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP
POSITIONS IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES THAT ALSO WANT TO
PUT UP THAT FIGHT AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THEM
TO MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>THANK YOU. THIS WAS AN AMAZING
DISCUSSION. THANK YOU GUYS.
>>[APPLAUSE]

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