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Tuesday, February 12

More crime in public housing

The public housing issue has caused so much controversy over the last few months, that it seems as if the City Council and HUD want it to just go away. Well, it isn't, largely thanks to only two reporters, Edward Pound from the National Journal and Lolis Eric Elie from the Times-Pic. I should also note that I only found these articles through the blog run by local artist/advocate/voice of Mr. Burns Harry Shearer.

The articles show what a corrupt fraud the HUD Secretary, Alphonso Jackson, is.
Here are some of the big highlights:

"Federal investigators and a grand jury in Washington are exploring the secretary's ties to contractors who have been handed lucrative business at HANO under HUD. In at least one case, Jackson helped a friend, William Hairston, obtain contracting work, according to an account that Hairston has given to National Journal. Jackson testified before a Senate panel last year and during an earlier federal inquiry that he never intervened in awarding contracts. Jackson's problems may be growing. It turns out that his wife, Marcia, a consultant in Washington, had financial ties to at least two companies that did business at HANO."
The news is damning enough, and there is more in Pound's article. But it takes local reporter Elie to put this corruption in the proper context:
"Evidence is mounting that a new, multimillion-dollar crime wave is poised to hit public housing in New Orleans, replacing common street-level operators with well-connected, out-of-town confidence men.

One of the prominent arguments in favor of the destruction of public housing has been the contention that public housing is a breeding ground for crime. If current demolition plans go through, crime in public housing won't go away -- it'll only change class."

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