Burkett, West Valley View (AZ), Jul. 14
An official with the Arizona Attorney
Generals Office said her department hadnt encountered
such a sight in 50 years.
The director of the federal Housing and Urban Developments
Phoenix field office said, Weve never seen anything
like it. Im amazed, just amazed.
Both were reacting to a pair of signs placed in front of an upscale
The first reads: For sale by owner.
The second reads: 4 whites only.
The owner of the did not return repeated telephone calls. But
his sign is getting him plenty of attention.
The Arizona Attorney Generals Office, which enforces the federal
Fair Housing Act and other related statutes, dispatched a photographer
to take pictures of the Monday afternoon, according to Ann
Woodley, litigation sections chief of the Civil Rights Division.
And Rebecca Flanagan, director of the HUD Phoenix field office,
told the West Valley View, This is blatantly illegal under
the Fair Housing Law. HUD will pursue once a complaint is filed.
We . . . will be in touch with local Fair Housing agencies, Arizona
Attorney General and the Phoenix Fair Housing Center.
But first, as Flanagan said, a complaint from a neighbor or passerby
must be filed. Until then, neither the Attorney Generals Office
nor HUD can do anything.
As of midday Tuesday, however, no complaint had been filed.
A sign of another time
Ironically, July 2004 marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, the nations most comprehensive civil rights law.
The Fair Housing Act, which was added to the Civil Rights Act in
1968, was designed to eliminate discrimination in housing based
upon an individuals race, color, religion or national origin.
The Act was amended in 1974 to prohibit discrimination based on
sex, and amended again in 1988 to include the prohibition of discrimination
based on handicap or familial status.
In Arizona, according to state law,
A person may not refuse to sell or rent after a bona fide
offer has been made or refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental
of or otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling to any person
because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national
The statute further states that A person may not discriminate
against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale
or rental of a dwelling, or in providing services or facilities
in connection with the sale or rental, because of race, color, religion,
sex, familial status or national origin.
But before either of these laws can be enforced, a complaint must
be filed by someone who is offended, someone who believes such discrimination
isnt right, someone who feels discriminated against.
That hasnt happened.
I havent seen the sign, but Ive heard about it,
said Donald Miller, who lives down the street from the . It
sounds like he might be a little prejudiced. But it doesnt
I think its stupid, said another neighbor, Annie
Bosley. This is 2004, not the 1960s. But its his house.
We cant tell him not to.