HUD punishes Marin County, CA for being “too white”
Bucolic, affluent, ultra-liberal Marin County (California) apparently has a minority problem – at least according to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You see, Marin Co. is over 80% white so there must be a “diversity” problem. Forget the fact that even after housing prices have taken a steep plunge, the average price of a single family home in Marin Co. is still $676,000. HUD is out to change the landscape – they simply can’t abide these bastions of rich white folks (story here from PajamasMedia).
Did you see the hilarious spoof in The Onion the other day — “Marin Agrees to Seek Out Minorities”? “Marin County,” the post begins, “has agreed to research why it has so few minority residents relative to the rest of the Bay Area and to take specific actions to attract more low-income people and ethnic minorities to the affluent county, which is more than 80 percent white.” This agreement, the post continued in the same vein, was not really voluntary; it was forced upon the affluent suburban county, across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, by the federal diversity police.
How funny is that?
Way too funny, it happens, for The Onion to dream up — or anyone else. No, “Marin Agrees to Seek Out Minorities” was not an Onion spoof but an actual article in The New York Times about an actual agreement that HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for Region IX foisted on Marin.
The agreement, signed last month with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, came more than a year after the agency found that the county failed to comply with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and two other antidiscrimination statutes.
The review found that Marin County’s federally financed affordable-housing programs failed to reach out adequately to minorities and people with disabilities, failed to adequately track which ethnic groups were benefiting from those programs, and failed to take steps to ensure that low-income and minority residents were not pushed out.
“The jurisdiction has an obligation to take actions that affirm housing is fair and that there’s choice,” Charles E. Hauptman, regional director for fair housing and equal opportunity at HUD, said in an interview.
HUD obliged Marin County, represented for five terms by legendary liberal “Call Me” Senator Barbara Boxer, to expatiate its guilt for discriminating against minorities who weren’t there by recruiting and housing more of them.
Being ultra-liberal and suffering from extreme white guilt, Marin simply caved to the HUD assault instead of telling the feds to take a hike.
After all the meetings and forms and data collection and training, of course, is the required affirmative action: wherever “under-representation” was identified, “affirmative marketing and outreach strategies targeting the under-represented groups” must be developed and implemented. Where “Asian and Hispanic populations” with “Limited English Proficiency” are among the under-represented, a “Language Assistance Plan” must be developed “as a means of increasing their participation in affordable housing programs and public service activities.”
These sorts of requirements go on for over eight pages. Many are stellar, but perhaps my favorite is III(E), which requires “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).” Section 1 requires the County to complete “an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI)” that must include, among other items, identification and analysis of “the causes of lower racial and ethnic minority residency in the County relative to adjacent counties” and “the actions the Recipient will take to address those impediments.”
So there it is. The biggest “Impediment” to fair housing in Marin, one of America’s 25 richest counties, would seem to be that, according to the 2000 Census, it is only 2.9% black and only 5.7% Mexican. (It is also 0.2% Puerto Rican and 0.1% Cuban; does HUD care if those groups are “under-represented” among the Hispanics who are “represented”?) Both Sonoma County to the north (6.6% black in 2009) and San Francisco County to the south (6.7%) are doing much better. Those counties are also doing far better than Marin in attracting people of Limited English Proficiency. According to this November 2010 “Assessment of Limited English Proficient Populations” in the Bay Area, only 7.5% of Marin’s population speaks English “less than very well,” compared to 10.5% in Sonoma County and 22.1% in San Francisco County.
HUD is right; clearly Marin is falling down on the job of attracting minorities. Perhaps it could offer relocation bonuses, homestead tax exemptions, and other tax benefits to minorities to move there, especially Hispanics and Asians with limited English proficiency, so they could not be discriminated against in public housing and other services.
This is not only ridiculous on a social level, it completely ignores the economic factors of the situation. Like, you know, most poor minorities simply can’t afford a $675,000 home. Perhaps HUD should carpet bomb the area with Section 8 housing vouchers – that would teach those white snobs.
What’s next for the federal government? There are still a bunch of states that are over 90% white – a target rich environment for the diversity police.