1/26/2005

Bill White wants to steal your house — Lone Star Times

By Owen Courreges

[Houston TX] Mayor White wants to build more public housing with your tax dollars, both to make housing more affordable and stave off gentrification.

Personally, I never really understood the problem with gentrification (gentrification, for those who don't know, involves the process by which a poor neighborhood becomes wealthier via an influx of wealthier residents). Sure, poorer residents are compelled to move because of rising property taxes, but their property values skyrocket concurrently. As such, they make out like bandits. Oftentimes they move into better homes as a result. Everybody wins.

But the typical liberal line is that poor minorities are 'displaced' by gentrification, and so a bloated municipal government, already strapped for funds, must proceed to spend gobs of money on public housing projects to prevent neighborhoods from turning wealthy. What a country!

Still, that part of Mayor White's plan is stupid, but not quite scary. What's scary is that White is toying with the idea of using eminent domain to actually take properties:

White said the city will work closely with non-profit groups and developers to build the affordable housing. He said the city is seeking the Texas Legislature's help by seeking the right to match top bids on foreclosed properties, something Dallas is able to do.

He said the city may also explore using its eminent domain powers to acquire some properties.

"I'm personally going to spend more time than anything else this year on this issue," White said in the press conference.

Hold onto your homes, gentlemen -- Mayor White is contemplating the merits of stealing your house and building cheap housing for poor people in its place. That's really compassionate, unless you're the homeowner. And here I was thinking that we had a right to property in this country. I suppose that doesn't matter a great deal to the tyrannical whim of Mayor White.

Let's just hope that your home isn't in the way of White's grand vision of social progress.


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