Conservative Media Still Denying How Racism And History Fueled Ferguson

Despite the conservative media narrative that racism against minorities is a thing of the past, race, racism, and inherent biases on all sides are a part of what’s happening in Ferguson and communities across America — as are systemic and institutional factors spanning several generations, from the Watts riots in 1965 to the riots in various cities in 1967 and ’68, to Los Angeles in 1992. While an inciting incident — usually involving the police and communities of color — sparked the violence, a tinderbox of underlying frustrations awaited that spark.

After each of these incidents, reports issued by government commissions seeking answers cited hauntingly identical findings. Police brutality, poor relations between the police and the community, a sense of hopelessness fueled by a lack of jobs, economic inequality, inadequate schools, discriminatory housing practices, an unresponsive political system many felt shut out of, along with policies that created segregated neighborhoods which further isolate communities of color were highlighted again and again. Again and again the recommendations included expanding community policing strategies and social programs, making them more consistent with the extent of the problems.

New York City is segregating by Class just like in the Gilded Age

By Robert A. Vella

Remember the Titanic, that marvel of ocean liner technology which infamously sank in 1912 after striking an iceberg?  Over 1500 people died that night in the icy-cold waters of the North Atlantic.  Of those deaths, poor immigrants from Europe were hit the hardest for they occupied the lowest decks of the ship and were largely separated from the rest of the passengers.  Titanic was essentially a segregated floating community built near the end of the Gilded Age.  Its wealthy aristocracy (first class) living high atop the luxurious vessel, its middle class (second class) denizens residing somewhat lower, and its desperate steerage class (third class) huddling at the bottom.

Now more than a century later, New York City – the planned destination of the Titanic – is re-segregating along similar lines.

Charter schools (i.e. the privatization of public education) are rapidly expanding in the “Big Apple” and across the nation.  Pushed by powerful commercial interests with allies in both political parties, this fundamental transformation of education seems unstoppable.  However, its actual performance in teaching children has been questionable so far, and its role in increasing social segregation is beginning to be well documented.

From The Washington PostThe link between charter school expansion and increasing segregation

Studies in a number of different states and school districts in the United States show that charter schools often lead to increased school segregation, a finding that is consistent with research in a number of other countries, including Australia. In many cases — not all — school choice programs exacerbate current school segregation and, in more heterogeneous settings, lead to the stratification of students who were previously in integrated environments.

From the Huffington PostThe Nation’s Most Segregated Schools Aren’t Where You’d Think They’d Be

NEW YORK — The nation’s most segregated schools aren’t in the deep south — they’re in New York, according to a report released Tuesday by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Civil Rights Project.

See also UCLA Civil Rights Project – Choice Without Equity:
 Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards

In addition to education, New York City is also re-segregating in its housing practices.

From ThinkProgressLuxury Apartment Building Will Have Separate Door For Poor Residents

A luxury condo building on New York City’s Upper West Side has gotten clearance from the city to have a separate entrance, or a “poor door,” for low-income tenants, according to the New York Post.

Extell, which is building the 33-story complex, will build a specific door for the 55 affordable housing units it’s including in order to be allowed to build a bigger building. The low-income units, which are available to people making 60 percent of median income or less, will also be in a segment that only contains affordable apartments and that faces the street while the luxury apartments will face the river.

In New York City, this arrangement is relatively common. Luxury builders get credits to use up more square footage than they normally could by promising to build affordable units as well. Those developers can then sell the credits to cover the costs of building the low-income housing. Because Extell considers the affordable segment to be legally separate from the rest of the building, it says it is required to have different entrances.

Welcome to the New Gilded Age, New York.  If you can segregate there, you can segregate anywhere!

Why a Small California City Could Be Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare | Mother Jones

Why a Small California City Could Be Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare | Mother Jones.

The outcome of the foreclosure crisis—and the fate of many investors who bet on it—may hinge upon a city council vote tonight in a little-known working-class suburb. The Northern California town of Richmond (population: 105,000) will decide whether it wants to become first city in the country to use eminent domain to rid itself of underwater mortgages. The securities industry has threatened to make life miserable for Richmond and its residents if they move ahead with the plan.

In late July, Richmond sent letters to 32 banks and other mortgage holders, offering to buy 624 underwater mortgages at discounts to the homes’ value. None of the offers were accepted. Richmond must now decide whether it will use eminent domain—a power more often used to build roads or shopping malls—to seize the homes, paying a court-determined fair market value.

Richmond would carry out the purchases with the help of Mortgage Resolution Partners, an advisory firm run by a politically connected group of investors. (Read my original story on MRP’s eminent-domain plans here.) After Richmond seizes the loans, new lenders arranged by MRP would step in and essentially refinance them. The borrowers would stay in their homes, and the new loans would reflect the current value of the properties. In this scenario, a family in Richmond that bought a $300,000 house that’s now worth $200,000 would see its monthly payments decrease by $300 to $800.

For more than a year now, MRP’s chairman, Steven Gluckstern, has been trying and failing to convince some of the cities worst hit by the foreclosure crisis to adopt his eminent domain plan. Politicians in San Bernadino, Salinas, and about a dozen other towns flirted with the idea to varying degrees before getting cold feet. But Richmond is supposed to be different: “We’re not willing to back down on this,” Richmond’s Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a former schoolteacher,told the New York Times in July. “They can put forward as much pressure as they would like, but I am very committed to this program and I’ve very committed to the well-being of our neighborhoods.”

An anti-MRP mailer from the Contra Costa Association of Realtors

That, however, was before the Contra Costa County Association of Realtors began blanketing the town with misleading mailers. “Don’t let Wall Street take another bite out of Richmond homes,” one flyer admonishes. There’s a grain of truth to the claim—Gluckstern himself is a former Lehman Brothers investment banker. But the fact that Wall Street trade groups actually oppose MRP’s plan may be lost on average voters.

The securities industry recently sued Richmond in federal court seeking a preemptive injunction against its eminent-domain strategy. A judge will hear that case on Thursday.

Tonight, assuming it doesn’t delay the decision, the Richmond City Council will vote to either proceed with the plan, terminate it, or to move it forward only if MRP can indemnify the town against all unintended side effects—something Gluckstern says is impossible. “In life, there is no such thing as a free lunch,” he says. “You’ve got to weigh whatever small likelihood of a potential loss against the upside.”