Suit Accuses Lancaster and Palmdale of Racial Bias in Section 8 Crackdown

Carol J. Williams and Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2011

Elected leaders in Lancaster and Palmdale have waged an “unrelenting war” against low-income blacks and Latinos who receive public assistance in a campaign to drive them out of the historically white Antelope Valley, civil rights lawyers alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

As many as 200 local minority families have lost their federal housing assistance each year, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court by the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and unnamed victims of the alleged harassment.

Most of the families have been cut off following surprise “compliance checks” by housing authorities and police, aimed at rooting out fraud in the federal housing assistance program known as Section 8.

Civil rights advocates say the crackdowns amount to racial discrimination, as 85% of the Section 8 households are black or Latino.

{snip}

City leaders defend their actions, saying that they stepped up the inspections in response to public concerns about crime.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said there is evidence that crime in Lancaster tends to “cluster around Section 8 housing.” Since Lancaster began its stepped-up enforcement, crime stemming from Section 8 housing units has “dropped dramatically,” Parris said.

{snip}

Palmdale Mayor James C. Ledford Jr. was equally adamant that his city’s tough Section 8 enforcement practices weren’t racially motivated.

“The allegation is absurd,” Ledford said. “Our population demographics are quite diverse. Diversity is something that we’re celebrating, not discouraging.”

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Anonymous

    I live in Palmdale and the problem here isn’t “Hispanics”. Our city is approcimately 55% Latino and most of them are working-class people who keep up appearances and are well-mannered and polite.

    The black population, on the other hand, are the problem (when aren’t they?).

    They are some of the rudest people on the planet. They openly abuse the Sec. 8 program like there’s no tomorrow! And, worst of all, they have a special sense of glee in doing so. They live in expensive homes that were once going for $500,000 and tear up the yards, play basketball all hours of the night, blast their ghetto music, let the grass die and their kids constantly try menace everyone else and block traffic on the street.

    The (normal) people of Palmdale are fed-up and they want something down about it!

    Why should 12% of the population of this city create so much social chaos and perpetually get away with abusing the system?

  • Tim Mc Hugh

    “Cluster around section 8 housing” The house I grew up in had apartments at the bottom of our street that used to be for military families, but which became Section 8 a dozen years after I moved on. Then it became a refuge for Hurricane Katrina victims.

    Not long after that, a guy named “Peanut” killed someone underneath the same streetlight I had shared my first kiss with Donna Simmons a lifetime ago. My best friends Mom still lived there so he took me on a “tour” the night after the murder. The thing that shocked us both was the number of cars parked on the street in front of the 40+ year resident`s homes. I couldn`t figure it out till my buddy said, “Awful lot of family meetings going on tonight”…

  • Seek

    Good for the Lancaster and Palmdale for defending their communities from the hordes. This reminds me of a story appearing in The Atlantic Monthly back in 2008 by Hanna Rosin detailing how crime, specifically in Memphis, was being heavily driven by HUD Section 8 rental assistance. A lot of critics called the story “racist,” but the data didn’t lie. The correlation between the location of predatory crime and Section 8 housing was way too high to be a coincidence.

  • Anonymous

    The blacks are turning Lancaster and Palmdale into a crime ridden ghetto.

    The problem began 30 years ago when the developers built homes 60 miles from the nearest jobs. How to market them? To people who had shift jobs and would be able to communte at off hours. the expense would be the same, but if they commuted at 5 instead of 8/am they could avoid traffic. Their commute time for 60 miles would be the same as those who worked 9 to 5 and commuted only 30 miles.

    So they marketed the homes to postal workers, bus drivers, hospital employees, prison guards, police etc.

    Those jobs are held mostly by blacks and hispanics. So what always happened happened. Their children ran wild. Any attempt to make them behave in the schools and community was forbidden because it was discrimination.

    Read the recent headlines about the high incident of rape among Veterans Administration Employees? The VA is another black civil service monopoly. That is why there are so many rapes of employees by other employees. It is because they are black.

    Incidentally, a code word in real estate for black is civil service or government workers. What kind of kids go to the local school a block from this store I am thinking of buying?

    Mostly government worker’s kids. Think I’ll look elsewhere.

    You might want to look at Sunny Hills instead of Hidden Hills development, Sunny Hills has a lot of government workers.

    By their deeds you shall know them. Black is black, whether they are the children of prison inmates or postal workers.

  • Anonymous

    Before addressing whether it is “racism” to enforce rules if most of the violators are black or Hispanic, please answer whether it is it “racism” if most of the section 8 beneficiaries are black or Hispanic?

  • Anonymous

    As many as 200 local minority families have lost their federal housing assistance each year, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court by the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and unnamed victims of the alleged harassment.

    Most of the families have been cut off following surprise “compliance checks” by housing authorities and police, aimed at rooting out fraud in the federal housing assistance program known as Section 8.

    Civil rights advocates say the crackdowns amount to racial discrimination, as 85% of the Section 8 households are black or Latino.

    —————————————-

    I have much experience having been forced to live around section 8 tenants. Of course, most are always black or hispanic! They are the ones who seem to be granted these vouchers for the most part, not poor Whites or our elderly! When you have blacks, hispanics move in, let me tell you they are trouble from day one. You have to worry constantly about your car being stolen or vandalized. Your home invaded or physical altercations, raped, if you dare say anything to them. Living in constant fear and chaos is the norm when living among these “people”.

    As for the imbecile, Ledford saying this below, he is a fool and is the reason that he is having this problem to begin with. Enjoy your “diversity” and everything that comes with it, Mr Ledford. I, for one, HATE living around such “diversity”!

    IDIOT!

    “The allegation is absurd,” Ledford said. “Our population demographics are quite diverse. Diversity is something that we’re celebrating, not discouraging.”

  • Wayne Engle

    Section 8 is, in a way, just another ripoff of the taxpayers. Landlords who use Section 8 can depend on us — that is, the taxpayers — for their monthly rents, as their mostly minority (in the communities in question, anyway) tenants will routinely find ways to beat them out of said rent. In other, smaller communities, such as the one where I live, most of the Section 8 renters are White. So it’s not “racist” just because most of them in Lancaster and Palmdale happen to be black or Hispanic.

    The presence of police during the “compliance checks” tends to be “intimidating”? Good! It’s nice to see criminal minorities intimidated by someone in authority for a change.

  • Flaxen-headed Strumpet

    “The allegation is absurd,” Ledford said. “Our population demographics are quite diverse. Diversity is something that we’re celebrating, not discouraging.”–Mayor James C. Ledford

    This is an utterance that every White policymaker should practice daily in front of his mirror until he gets it down pat.

  • Anonymous

    It’s way past time to do compliance checks. Maybe now these people will have to find jobs, go to school, stop having children they can’t afford. Too many neighborhoods have been destroyed by Section 8 renters. Hopefully the time has come for them to finally have some skin in the game.

  • Anonymous

    HELLO! Why didn’t the reporter inquire as to why the Section 8 tenants were being inspected in the first place???

    Maybe it had something to do with their flagrant abuse of this program? Or, possibly, they don’t know how to conduct themselves in a nice neighborhood where other people have manners and have put their life savings into decent homes and expect the same, at least?

  • Chicagoan

    What is really discriminatory is that section 8 is unfairly distributed. Whites should get a share commensurate with their proportion of the population.

    There’s plenty of whites out there living on a modest Social Security check who are forced to pay a big chunk of it on rent. Let them be the ones to get the benefits of the program if we continue to have it, for at least they have a work history.

  • Anonymous

    My local paper, the Antelope Valley Press, reports regularly about the significant abuse that goes on within the Section 8 program in the Palmdale/Lancaster area. While some (not all) complaints originate from the community, they are investigated for some time before an investigator knocks on a Section 8 recipient’s door. Many times, the renter has unauthorized people living in the home (gang members, 12 different boyfriends, convicted felons, parolees, etc.) there are strict guidelines regulating this part of the program and typically this is what causes them to lose their voucher. Of course, the Section 8 recipient denies that there is anyone living there, but they are given a hearing where both sides present their evidence and a Judge decides whether or not they lose their voucher. Sounds pretty fair to me. If you’re not breaking the rules and a Judge decides that, you get to keep your free ride. However, if you are found to be in violation of the program rules, you pay your own rent. Too bad we can’t criminally charge some of the worst violators.

  • Anonymous

    There is a strong correlation between Section 8 housing and local crime. Fraudulent Sec 8 applicants tend to group themselves together, continuing a criminal enterprise that includes gang activity, drug dealing, prostitution, and all sorts of nuisances that are imposed on unsuspecting home owners.

    Multi-generational gang families use Sec 8 as a method of subsidizing their criminal enterprise. They are not trying to improve their lot and get off entitlements, quite the opposite. They pride themselves on how much they can extract illegally from federal, state, and county entitlement programs.

    This boo hoo hoo sob story neglected to get background information on the reasons people lost their Sec 8 housing. You can be assured it was for the betterment of the community and the taxpayer.

  • A.G.

    I was raised in Cincinnati, in a decent middle-class neighborhood. Years ago, I had a parent who passed away. The remaining one finally sold my childhood home and moved away. In a certain way, I’m glad.

    Unbeknownst to anyone on our street, a little over one year ago, a home was used as Section 8 housing. The street’s residents are predominately white. The Section 8 residents are black. I was stunned one day when I came in for a visit and went outside for a bit. From this Section 8 home, suddenly — with loud fanfare and cursing, about 7 young black people came out into the front yard, yelling and swearing at each other.

    Eventually, a few went into their respective cars to drive away and two started a walk down the block. I looked at the neighbor next door who was also staring at the spectacle and he shook his head. All I could say was, “Wow.”

    Found out later that throughout the year, the police have been called several times and even a S.W.A.T. team. This is going on in what used to be a normal, everyday, American middle-class street.

    After they moved into that house, it wasn’t long before I counted FIVE “For Sale” signs up and down the street. (Out of eleven homes)

    I am very glad my other parent is gone from there. I am saddened by what has happened to the street. I predict that within 5-10 years, the old neighborhood will be a complete ghetto.

  • Phil

    As other posters pointed out, The Antelope Valley always had a fairly representative distribution of races. Sun Village was a black community and Hispanics could be found throughout the area due to local orchards. It was not a “traditionally white” area.

    But a housing bubble collapse in the mid-80’s, along with the introduction of Section 8 housing, tipped the area completely and intractably. Rapper Afroman wrote a nostalgic piece about that time wherein he laments the loss of “his” Palmdale, and the “white boys” he used to “jack.” It is completely ghetto now.

    With the latest housing bubble collapse and the completely unchecked flow of illegal immigrants attacking them in their “traditional” neighborhoods, blacks are again on the move. Neighboring Victorville and Apple Valley have suffered huge spikes in violent crime as their demographics changed. It only takes a small percentage increase to spike the violent crime rate.

  • Anonymous

    I read that since the housing bubble burst many Section 8 people are taking their vouchers and moving into very nice apartments and homes in areas that were hardest hit. The landlords are happy to be getting taxpayer-guaranteed rents for their properties that were previously vacant. They live in a much better apartment than I do!

  • Mr.White

    “Civil rights advocates say the crackdowns amount to racial discrimination, as 85% of the Section 8 households are black or Latino.”

    I see…so they are not allowed to enforce the law because 85% of those tenants receiving section 8 are black and hispanic. Therefore, expecting such tenants to pass “compliance checks” is considered “racist.”

    Do you think they would have a problem enforcing the law if 85% of those tenants receiving section 8 were White?

    Didn’t think so…..

  • Mr.White

    “Most of the families have been cut off following surprise “compliance checks” by housing authorities and police, aimed at rooting out fraud in the federal housing assistance program known as Section 8.”

    ————————————————————

    Let me guess…they found Cadillac Escalades in the driveway?

  • white is right, black is whack

    Typical of blacks and hispanics. They want the same opportunities and rights as whites-or so they say–yet they don’t want to be held accountable for not following the rules and not willing to work hard and delay instant gratification.

  • Howard W. Campbell

    “Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said there is evidence that crime in Lancaster tends to “cluster around Section 8 housing.” Since Lancaster began its stepped-up enforcement, crime stemming from Section 8 housing units has “dropped dramatically,” Parris said.”

    Every time you try to impose any kind of order on blacks it is automatically racism. But a show of force tends to work wonders.

    While this may be a conflict of interest on the level of using funeral homes as ambulance services, I wonder if they could use an incentive like a commission for each (real) deadbeat that is found in public housing and moved off the rolls.

    Back in the late 1970’s; my hometown decided that they were going to build a new housing project (read section 8). Most of what they had was built in the 1950’s. The location chosen was near a fairly well to do (mostly) white area. The residents did not want this thing and I believe the city was being pressured by the federal government to build more housing projects. The compromise that was finally reached was a housing project for 65 & older only. Somehow, probably through a bit of skullduggery, the local housing authority placed about 90%+ White residents in there. I doubt they had much in the way of trouble. The police might get an occasional call there if somebody died or was injured (not through violent means), but that was about it. I never heard of any trouble in this establishment.

    Compare that to my high school and the project kids that were bussed in. What a 4 year horror show that was. It wasn’t Cabrini-Green in Chicago, but it was bad enough. The predominantly black area of town wasn’t necessarily in one place, but you knew when you were there. We were fortunate not to have the judicial terrorism of Judge Sand and what he did to Yonkers, NY. I had to go to a 75% black high school, but thank goodness I didn’t have them as neighbors.

  • myhouse

    Ledford said. “…Diversity is something that we’re celebrating, not discouraging.”

    “Celebrating”?? LOL.

  • Ghetto Blacks Suck

    No matter where you live, it’s the ghetto blacks that are the problem. They sleep all day, carouse loudly all night, have fights, use drugs and alcohol, steal everything they can get their hands on, rape, murder, and gangbang, and then blame the guv’m’t for not giving them enough welfare money. The giveaway programs of the 1960’s created these monsters; now we have to figure out a way to get rid of them. I say send them all on a one-way ticket to Haiti or Africa so they can experience what REAL poverty is all about. It’d be good for America and racially proper for them.

  • AWG (AVERAGE WHITE GUY)

    Professional skeptic Michael Shermer has famously noted that our brains are belief engines. We humans tend to see what we believe rather than believe what we see. Advocates of multiculturalism are aware of that fact. By tinkering with our brains’ programming, a belief system can be installed that will cause us to deny reality and cling to a delusion as if it were reality.

    Case in point: Our minds are conditioned to interpret compliance checks related to Section 8 housing programs as White racism. The program also causes us to ignore a racist organization even though its name reveals its purpose: To advance colored people at the expense of other ethnic groups.

    Another case in point: The days of summer, 2011, have been marred with black-on-White racism. Our mental program, however, refuses to acknowledge the obvious. We don’t see black thugs terrorizing White people at theme parks, water parks, on public and school buses, etc.

    What we “see” is White privilege and White racism; neither of which actually exist. Even as we gaze at YouTube videos of black thugs rampaging through a upscale White business district, our minds are programmed to reject reality and replace it with delusions.

    When hundreds of blacks scaled the walls of a Nashville water park, our minds followed the program: We saw the Hollywood version of evil White people banning sweet, harmless little black kids from swimming pools.

    When hordes of hundreds of thousands of blacks descended on Miami a few days ago, our programmed minds failed to see the overt black-on-White racial hatred and violence.

    When Memorial Day beach goers were terrorized by black thugs on Memorial Day in Boston, we saw it but our brains were programmed to trigger feelings of White guilt and self-condemnation as “racist” for even considering the fact that blacks were behaving badly.

    When flash mobs repeated attacked Whites in Chicago over the past few days, we saw nothing; nothing at all.

    Programs are “installed” in our brains by repreated exposure to scenarios via television, feature movies, literature, documentaries, etc. The movie, To Kill A Mockingbird, is a classic example of human brain being exposed to false perceptions which it confuses with reality. Continued exposure to such false perceptions effectively erases the mind’s capacity to distinguish reality.

    The challenge is reconnect with reality. Effectively go to our brain’s “control panel,” click on “add or remove programs,” seek for malware programs titled “White guilt” and “White privilege,” and delete.

  • Anonymous

    From the original article’s public comments section:

    •Go to parts of philly where Section 8’rs live. Disaster. The black 8’rs ruined the neighborhoods. The whites who could flee did so, as indicated in the recent census. Orwellian govt intervention that destabilizes neighborhoods.

    •Also, last weekend, Charles Barkley was asked his opinion of the boxer Bernard Hopkins’ rant against the Redskins’ Donovan McNabb. His response? He ignored the question and flat out stated blacks need two parent homes and focus on education. He repeated it again and again. THAT, not welfare, Section 8, or the crap from the NAACP, should be the clarion call for blacks to end their generational dependancy on govt aid from birth.

    •The only racial bias that needs to be addressed is what sort of horrifying treatment or prejudice is excluding 100% of white women from needed free housing?

    •they caught plenty of people violating the program. That’s why the County Housing Authority expels people from the program. Notice how the NAACP complains that there is increased inspection in a program that happens to contain a higher ratio of minorities, NOT that people are being expelled who are in compliance.

    •Wow, a race-based group accuses other people of racism! Big news.

    •How can something be racial discrimination simply based on the fact that a large percentage of the participants of the program are a minority? In other words, no one can enforce section 8 rules without being racist?

    •”what is going to stop them from coming to your house?” Well, I am not a tax-taker. I own my house. I don’t beg for handouts and then cry when the authorities make me live up to agreements.

    •”they had no right to enter any one house” But it is not their homes. The homes belong to the landlord and the landlord is obeying the rules of the program. If the section 8’ers don’t want to comply with the rules of the program, move out and don’t participate. Beggers cannot be choosers.

    •Whenever public money is involved, we must be vigilant against fraud. It costs us billions every year. But it’s always hands-off if minorities are involved, or else it’s racist. They need to learn to differentiate between “racial” and “racist”.

  • Un-Indoctrinated

    Anonymous 6- So true! This moron mayor IS getting a double dose of diversity w/ in the black & Mexican communities. I’m pulling for the Mestizos. They at least have a link to most of our heritage continent:Europe. They have Spanish influence and genetics, plus most work very hard. Also they retaliate against black crime. Something the ethnic Whites here in America used to do.

    I have a young sister living in Santa Monica. Can anyone tell me if that is a decent city for Whites?

    Also, someone mentioned a verse from Afroman. I have another good verse from the late TuPac. “And they say it’s a White man I should fear… But it’s my own kind doin’ all the killin’ here.

  • Anonymous

    So by inference, there should be less enforcement of the law because the results include too many blacks?

    How about assuming the enforcement is appropriate and ask why the black residents are disproportionately likely to be violators?

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said there is evidence that crime in Lancaster tends to “cluster around Section 8 housing.

    You don’t say.

    Racial demographics of Lancaster and Palmdale:

    Latino 38.1% 54.4%

    Black 20.5% 14.9%

    White 25.8% 13.7%

    Racial demographics like this make these cities powderkegs.

    The best theory I’ve seen about how Lancaster and Palmdale became “racially diverse” and multi-cultural (multi-cultural = an attack on Whites) is the following:

    To make more money, KB Homes, LA’s largest housing development company, needs to create new developments. To fill the new developments, they need White people to move in. To make the White people pack up and move, KB needs to roll blacks and hispanics into the neighborhoods inhabited by those Whites. That’ll make the Whites pull up the stakes a lot quicker than they had planned, if they had originally planned to move (again) at all. The anti-white US govt. will even sometimes contract with KB Homes and others like them to build low income / Section 8 / Voucher housing. Which they will place in or next to White communities.

    They get White people to buy the houses, and then blacks and browns move in and end up buying or renting them with your tax dollars.

    This is exactly the story in Lancaster and Palmdale, forcing Whites to move even more remote desert communities.

    Schools that were 80% White a few years ago are now 20% White, leading to this:

    Antelope Valley Union High School District trustees expelled 43 students last week, including students involved in highly publicized vandalism at Highland High School and a racially motivated assault on two Knight High School students.

    .S.W.A.T. team, police called to school too many times. Violece and crime is now a daily occurance with no info. to parents . If I wasn’t there to see first hand to witness 20 or so SWAT members on the roof, sides of buildings. on front lawn and scaling walls I would not have been told anything about it by school officials.

    Bon

  • Anonymous

    Funny sign about racism.

    http://goo.gl/DGRt0

  • steve2

    There has to be an end to section 8 housing, busing kids from high-crime areas into suburbs for school, and affirmative action once and for all.

    It’s an economic issue now that states and the federal govt. can’t afford it. The government can’t afford to thow money away on these welfare programs for minorities anymore. There’s a ton of lost productivity that you get with diversity and quotas.

  • Anonymous

    “I have a young sister living in Santa Monica. Can anyone tell me if that is a decent city for Whites?”

    Yes! Santa Monica is white! Actually, for L.A. standards, it is very White — in range of 75% I believe.

    Of course, you have to remember that Persians, Armenians, Arabs, etc. are considered “White” because they are part of the Caucasian tree.

    Santa Monica is home to many British ex-pats and it hosts lots of tourism from Europe, as evidenced by all of the crowded Hostels full of young Europeans on 2nd Street.

  • Anonymous

    “I have a young sister living in Santa Monica. Can anyone tell me if that is a decent city for Whites?”

    There are still many parts of Los Angeles that are White and, yes, Santa Monica is one of them!

    Others are Sherman Oaks, West Hills, Pacific Palisades, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Studio City, Burbank, Glendale, Porter Ranch, Agoura Hills, Malibu, West Hollywood, Los Feliz, etc.

  • Blaak Obongo

    “I live in Palmdale and the problem here isn’t “Hispanics”. Our city is approcimately 55% Latino and most of them are working-class people who keep up appearances and are well-mannered and polite.

    The black population, on the other hand, are the problem (when aren’t they?).”

    Don’t kid yourself, my friend. You have a black and mestizo problem, and the fact that one group is worse than the other doesn’t mean that either of them are desirable.

    If you think that living in a majority-mestizo city doesn’t constitute a problem, then you’re still learning.

  • Peejay in Frisco

    In San Francisco, we don’t have section 8 housing, or any that I know of. We have something that is Much worse. Public housing, which is City owned, and the residents pay a very low rent. But at least, everyone knows where it is, and section 8 housing doesn’t suddenly pop up in unexpected places.

  • joe

    Why does this not surprise me. Blacks do make up most Section 8 by far. They have a biggest entitlement mentality and also are the most dangerous people around. That’s why where ever one goes, it’s important to see how many are on the street etc.

    Mexicans — at least they get up to middle class in a generation or two, in general. With black people, they will always bring crime with them no matter where they go or how they are treated.

  • Anonymous

    Number 25, Unindoctrinated, wrote “Something the ethnic Whites here in America used to do.”

    In my view, the more correct phrase is “what ethnic whites used to be able to do”. Whites are no longer in that position, whether ethnic or just boring old WASPs. If a white retaliates, it is page one, lost job, lost “friends” and family. This is all due to laws placed on the books since The Great Society came into being. In short, we are not ALLOWED to fight back.

    As the hard-working Hispanics settle in, they will have to do as our surrogates. That, too, will eventually end but in the meantime, they are doing the retaliating we Whites are not allowed to do.

  • ron

    The problem with section 8 is everybody I know who is on it no matter what color they are are trash. I live in the Antelope Valley, the people on section 8 trash the house have junkie cars out front, dont take care of the yard etc. The Gov. gives them nice houses. I moved to my house 2 years ago I live on 60th and K West and someone I knew had section 8 just 2 streets over. These are really nice homes. I went into the home she has 3 kids and the house looked horrible. They just dont care they destroy them . Now she lives in another house and she will destroy that one too. SOMETHING IS WRONG