Sunday, May 14, 2006

More Ink . . .

Last week, the Press-Telegram printed this editorial, slamming the Housing Trust Fund, and the City Council delaying, what would have been an ill-fated vote for the residents of Long Beach.

Here's my response, which was printed in today's Press-Telegram:

"The reason the Long Beach City Council delayed voting on the Housing Trust Fund is actually very simple, though the Press-Telegram tries to use the smoke-screen of "not enough cops or library hours" any time the City Council is about to spend money on something they don't agree with ["Delay in a housing vote," Editorial, May 5].

In this case, the council intends to join the growing list of California cities to establish a housing trust fund, and provide some relief in the area of housing to local residents who are being priced out of the market, and away from family members and jobs.

The Press-Telegram says they can't follow the logic of the City Council, so we thought we'd try to help, even though it may be in vain, as the Editorial Board continues to show a decided bias [bigotry] against building homes, condos and apartments that Long Beach residents can afford.

In fact, the only reason the P-T says Long Beach should provide funds for affordable housing is because it's the law. That really misses the point, and is a truly illogical statement. That would be like saying the only reason we shouldn't commit murder is because the law forbids the act. Obviously, that's a pretty narrow, dangerous and callous way of thinking.

While on the subject of logic, the council postponed the vote because the proposed ordinance contained a fallacy. The ordinance that the council was set to approve made the following claim: "The California Legislature has declared that there exists a severe shortage of housing affordable . . . [for] above moderate-income households."

That's simply not true. The state Legislature has never declared there to be a housing shortage for people who are living at the "above-moderate income" level. In addition to the fallacy, if Long Beach were to establish a housing trust fund with 80 percent of the funds going to the "above-moderate income" folks, the city of Long Beach would be shutting itself out of most state matching programs.

Given how small the fund is proposed to be, Long Beach needs to maximize any potential matching opportunities. With the delay, the City Council now has an opportunity to revisit the discussion of targeting the funds in the Housing Trust Fund.

Housing Long Beach believes that a greater portion should go to the "extremely-low income" people in our community. Doing so would not, as the Press-Telegram states, "increase the ratio" of poor people in our community." Long Beach is ranked sixth in poverty in the nation. In 2001, Long Beach was 27th, and it would be a mistake to blame this disturbing trend on the amount of affordable housing being built in Long Beach."

Other than changing the work 'bigotry' for 'bias' the editorial changes they made were minor, and made for a better read. The word bigotry means something -- and that's what I meant.

Kosher Ham


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