September 23, 2009

How is "affordable housing" handed out?

Rich Calder in the New York Post answers a question I've long been asking: How is "affordable housing" (i.e., below market price housing) handed out? Who gets to decide who gets housing subsidized by the neighbors?

Despite a string of scandals that recently led Congress to cut off its federal funding, ACORN still stands to make millions of dollars off its support for Brooklyn’s controversial Atlantic Yards project, The Post has learned.

The left-wing organization -- longtime boosters of the $4.9 billion NBA arena and residential- and office-tower project -- says it expects to be tapped to market and help decide who gets to live in the coveted, but long-delayed, 2,250 affordable-housing units planned for Atlantic Yards.

This, after Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner helped bail ACORN out of financial trouble last September with a $1 million loan and a $500,000 grant, according to memos.

Although contracts are not yet been signed, Ismene Speliotis, executive director of ACORN’s New York chapter, told The Post her organization “expects to play a role in the marketing and lease-up” of the Prospect Heights project’s affordable housing to be underwritten by the city.

The work would include community outreach and screening people to determine qualified applicants, and then scandal-scarred ACORN would be entrusted with overseeing a lottery system to choose who gets the housing. Ratner’s firm is expected to manage the housing.

When asked how much ACORN might make off Atlantic Yards, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development referred questions to Ratner, who said via a spokesman it wasn’t the “appropriate time” to make such “decisions.”

But Anita MonCrief, a former ACORN official-turned-whistleblower, estimates the anticipated deal could bring the group $5 million to $10 million annually over multiple years from the public and private sector based on other housing deals ACORN has nationwide.

Patti Hagan, a Prospects Heights activist and former operative for ACORN’s political arm, the Working Families Party, said she’s learned the hard way that “ACORN is a corrupt organization that had its silence bought by Ratner.”

As Ratner was quietly funneling $1.5 million in grants and loans to ACORN last year, his firm was reeling from the economic downtown and laying staff off and bringing in “value engineers” to shave Atlantic Yards' costs.

Critics and some project supporters began questioning whether Ratner could deliver the affordable housing and jobs he promised. But ACORN -- which was embroiled in an embezzlement scandal and owed millions of dollars in back taxes -- remained silent and accepted Ratner’s gift.


Sounds like nice work if you can get it.

It's a fascinating symbiotic relationship between capitalists and professional anti-capitalists. The capitalists aren't just paying protection money to avoid a few protesters. They are also buying ACORN's reputation as a leftist power-to-the-people street organization to demonstrate to center-left politicians that their giant project is good for the poor.

By the way, Ismene Speliotis? What kind of name is that? I found one politician with that name, and he's from Boston and his first name is Theodore, so I would guess it's Greek.

Have you ever noticed that leftist organizations that claim to represent poor people of color don't always follow strict affirmative action guidelines when it comes to their really good jobs? Like the Hispanic union SEIU, which is headed by Andy Stern. Or, for example, here's a picture of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke, who looks like if he ever went outside in the sun, he might burst into flames.

Or here's John Taylor, head of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (the "nation's social justice trade association"), who looks like a cross between John Connally and Nathan Lane.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

44 comments:

headache said...

Nice post Steve. Mind boggling hypocrisy, willfully ignored by the MSM, which we are used to by now. The question is whether left-wing organizations in any developed country can actually keep running without copious hypocrisy and collusion with ├╝ber-capitalists?


Who gets to decide who gets housing subsidized by the neighbors?


Now you're starting to ask the really hard questions. In Apartheid South Africa most of the racial classification was done by doctors in the delivery rooms, or by bureaucrats at the Department of Internal Affairs. Basically those two groups of people were at the fulcrum of that racial spoils system which for a change benefited whites. At least both groups were relatively qualified so the system had an internal logic even though it was unfair. In the "new" black-ruled South Africa, the Department of Home Affairs (don’t know the exact wording) decides whether you were a disadvantaged person or not. Whether a black applicant just entered the country illegally, and thus by definition could never have been a disadvantaged person, is immaterial. Same with white women who also classify as disadvantaged. So white girls from filthy rich homes, married to mining bosses can claim set-asides against poor white males. And any half-educated black who jumps across the border fence and heads to Home Affairs, can then fairly easily claim a professorship at the local uni for which a white male, whose forefathers landed there 250 years ago, has to have at least PhD and plenty of experience. And the black guy would probably get the job anyway. The bureaucrats at Home Office, who themselves are mostly clueless AA hires, decide at a whim who is disadvantaged w.r.t. the “law” or not. Period. My guess is that some ACORN bureaucrats, probably just a hand-full, probably mostly white or black female, are going to make these decisions, mostly at a whim.

Henry Canaday said...

Do you remember the line from "Tom Jones" when the hero is done out of his inheritance by a conspiracy between his obnoxiously priggish neighbor and the George, the lowlife gamekeeper? Fielding called it "the always fatal alliance between the justifying Puritan and the determined rogue."

Anonymous said...

This is how guys like Ratner get rich, by knowing the angles.

Acilius said...

"By the way, Ismene Speliotis? What kind of name is that?" The river Ismenus flows through Thebes in central Greece; "Ismene" is a very ancient name, and means "woman from the Ismenus valley." "Speliotis," I think, means "child of the cavern"; so, "Ismene Speliotis" would mean "daughter of the caverns in the Ismenus valley."

Stopped Clock said...

The Speliotis family is active in Massachusetts politics and all of them that I know of are Democrats. I didn't know they had a position in ACORN too. Though it's possible they're not related.

But yes, it's definitely a 100% Greek name (and even if it's a married name, if her first name is Ismene she's almost certainly Greek too).

Greek Americans often have an Old World, Middle Eastern type of culture that makes them stick together and seem to prefer to identify simply as Greek rather than white. I remember a conversation once with my friend where it was quite difficult to get him to admit that he was white (as if it was some horrible degrading insult). It comes as no surprise to me that many Greeks are highly active and strong Democrats given the worldview that they so often seem to have (not all of them of course; Taki Theodoracopoulos comes to mind).

Evil Sandmich said...

Just goes to show that organizations like Acorn are just the fake populist fronts of America's crony capitalists.

Tanstaafl said...

Rathke? What kind of a name is that?

Anonymous said...

Why the Nets need a new arena, in Brooklyn or elsewhere, is another question. They already have the perfectly adequate Izod Center in the Meadowlands, which now is even better thanks to the opening of train service.

Peter

W Baker said...

Oh, do you mean something like the personnel at the NAACP headquarters? Or the SPLC? Although I doubt the ADL differs much between headquarters and membership/patrons.

Down South we call this the phenomenon the uber-regulation business. The same thing happens in larger corporations, government contractors, a good portion of the legal business, etc. Find an exclusive sector, partner with a savvy racial/group spokesman, push or take advantage of Federal/State regulations, and then print invoices like mad...

But it takes a bit of organizational skills to pull this off!

Anonymous said...

'Sovereign' Indian tribes are allowed to designate any HUD money as 'affordable' or low income. Our closest tribe never went beyond normal housing but the Tulalips had one of their directors get a mansion so large that it couldn't be insured as a house. I've seen pictures of it on the beach and it looks like a medium sized resort hotel. Both the director and his wife were pulling down over 100k a year (very affordable housing even off the res in this state) so there was no reason to get a HUD house much less a mansion. Did I mention the price less than 90K. And if they default on the loan, the Feds pay it off and we eat the cost.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Neighborhood where Bruce Ratner is pushing this. he's now bringing in a russian oligarch because he's run out of money- its one of the biggest pilfering's of the public coffers in NY history- it makes boss tweed's antics look like small change.

read it said...

Affordable, or should I say unaffordable, housing just got easier to hold on to.

Major decision by a Kansas Court limiting ability of Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) to foreclose. So they will not be able to foreclose on those mortgages which were bundled and resold as securities. Swell.

http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/ctapp/2008/20080912/98489.htm

Barry Ritholz comments:

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/09/mortgage-electronic-registration-systems-loses-legal-shield/

Anonymous said...

Like the Hispanic union SEIU, which is headed by Andy Stern.


New Labor Leaders Take a Page From History
By Nathaniel Popper
Published April 23, 2009, issue of May 01, 2009
forward.com

If you want to see the movers and shakers behind the tumult in today's labor movement, the place to be is Stephen Lerner and Marilyn Sneiderman's modest home in Washington after sunset concludes Judaism's holiest day of the year...

Last October, those partaking in the potluck collection of bagels, blintzes and a giant challah included Andy Stern, president of one of the nation’s largest union, the Service Employees International Union...

"It seemed like every other person there was a senior leader in the labor movement," said a somewhat awed Jacob Feinspan, the young Jews United for Justice leader, who attended the 2008 event...

A major turning point came when the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of national unions, decided to open up the Organizing Institute, which was designed to provide college graduates a direct entry point into unions so that they would not have to first pass through the rank and file. The institute was founded in 1989 by a young Jew from Kentucky, Richard Bensinger, who had been recruited into the union movement by Richard Rothstein, a Jewish labor organizer and activist at one of the garment unions...

But there is a potential downside: Stern and others in the new generation of union leadership have been criticized by more traditional union leaders for giving union jobs to people who did not get their start in the working class. The generation of college-educated leaders have also been involved in a number of recent fights that have divided the labor movement (see sidebar). Paul Buhle, a labor historian at Brown University, said that in the current era, when unions are largely trying to organize black and Latino populations, the presence of so many educated Jewish leaders can be an "embarrassing detail"...


ACORN's "Muscle for Money" does the bidding of SEIU
Kevin Mooney
July 7, 2009
sfexaminer.com

Corporate and political officials who defy workplace and community organizers risk being made objects of scorn by bright red-clad protestors in public and private, courtesy of an activist union and its close allies in the nation's most controversial liberal non-profit advocacy group.

It's officially called the "Muscle for Money" program within the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where it was started, and unofficially by the same name among activists of Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN)...

Anonymous said...

Question - Who was the first president of the NAACP?

Answer - A white man, Moorfield Storey from Boston.

Dutch Boy said...

Nothing new here. The NAACP was a Negro-fronted Jewish organization for years. The great MLK Jr.himself had a Jewish handler who who helped write his speeches for him (Stanley Levison). The fact that he was a member of the (underground) Communist Party gave J. Edgar Hoover fits and prompted the FBI's extensive surveillance of Dr. King. There is also an extensive history of minority members fronting for white-owned businesses to pick up some of the affirmative action lucre.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is any way to go after ACORN and their associates under RICO. Of course the Obama justice dept. has no interest in this kind of corruption and neither did Bush's. Perhaps the best we can hope for is a senate committee similar to the WWII era Truam committe that investigated corrupt wartime suppliers. If the Republicans ever expect to get my vote again they need to do more than whine about Obama's policies. Dragging a few chrony capatilists and their left wing buddies before a senate committee and grilling them mercilessly would be a good start.

Anonymous said...

"How is "affordable housing" handed out?"

From each according to their ability,

To each according to their need.

Was that Jesus or Marx?

Graham Asher said...

Don't recognise Ismene as Greek? Tut tut - didn't do the Antigone at school, eh? O koinon autadelphon Ismenes kara...

Anonymous said...

Is distribution of this housing also overseen by ACORN?

Other agencies could be mau-maued over who gets what, but by sub-contracting this process out to ACORN they avoid all that crap. Obviously it ends up corrupt but as the process is only allowed to be criticized to the degree it hurts/helps designated victim groups no-one cares about the blatant playing of the system.

Nanonymous said...

Like the Hispanic union SEIU, which is headed by Andy Stern.

As always, Onion is well ahead: Man Finally Put In Charge Of Struggling Feminist Movement

Dutch Boy said...

Stopped Clock notes the tribalism of Greek-Americans. Ethnic identification rather than racial ID ("white") was the traditional attitude of ethnics until the assault on ethnic neighborhoods by the civil rights movement. The white ethnics of the North then began to self-identify as white in response to the invasion of blacks (sponsored by The Ford Foundation et al). This racial self-identification is more typical of Americans than (traditional) Europeans; after all, the nations of Europe have spent thousands of years massacring one another and one doesn't feel to much solidarity with one's tradtional enemies.

Anonymous said...

Graham Asher beat me to it: Antigone!

As for the "affordable housing" scam in New York, you can be sure that a goodly number of these new housing units will be going to politically connected machers and their toadies. (viz. Kofe Annan's deal on his Roosevelt Island "affordable housing apartment, and Charlie Rangel's various shenanigans.)

Concerned Netizen said...

Tanstaafl you sweetheart, you should learn to use Google. Rathke is a German name:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Rathke

Screwed again! Trying to prove that every enemy of humanity is Jewish must be tiring.....

patrick said...

Greeks have been able to keep their culture and identity better than other white ethnic groups because they have a strong sense of identity going back to ancient times, and they have their own church and other institutions that other white ethnic groups lacked.

To a lesser extent you can see the same kind of mindset among some Italian-Americans. My dad, for instance, would identify as Italian or Sicilian well before "white" (he looks Mediterranean, not Anglo-Saxon, anyway). As for my dad's politics, he is a moderate-to-liberal, Democrat-leaning independent. He has very little in common with Tom Tancredo politically :)

Anonymous said...

"...here's a picture of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke, who looks like if he ever went outside in the sun, he might burst into flames."
His nose kind of looks like it blew up.

Anonymous said...

Re the Nathaniel Popper article on the AFL-CIO's Organizing Institute: this could explain a great deal about the weird disconnect I've observed between the leftist policies/political candidates that the union leadership supports,and the interests/political views of the union rank and file. Of course the union bosses have a different perspective: they were never in the ranks, they never suffered or sweated, and they may not even have had the blue-collar upbringing that the workers did. These bosses are in the union business, and the worker's dues are like an annuity. If they destroy one industry, as the UAW seems to have done, they will just move on to organizing nursing assistants and janitors (like the SEIU) or even foster parents.Jimmy Hoffa always made a show of being "one of the guys". He must be spinning in his grave, or landfill, or wherever he is.

Jeff said...

"Here's John Taylor, head of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (the "nation's social justice trade association"), who looks like a cross between John Connally and Nathan Lane."

Perfect description. Brilliant. Kept me laughing a long time.

Antioco Dascalon said...

It reminds me of the classic "Bootleggers and Baptists" symbiotic relationship, but this time its "Millionaires and Marxists" or "Oligarchs and Organizers."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootleggers_and_Baptists

Tanstaafl said...

Screwed again! Trying to prove that every enemy of humanity is Jewish must be tiring.....

Rushing to defend every jewish enemy of humanity must be tiring.

Salient archive post #1: WADE RATHKE: ACORN’S FOUNDER, AYERS’ COMPATRIOT : NO QUARTER:

The lines of evidence now converge: the founder of ACORN is Wade Rathke, who, like William Ayers, was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society.

. . .

The founder of ACORN, Wade Rathke, like Ayers, is a disciple of Saul Alinsky.


If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and associates with other known ducks, curious non-ducks can be expected to ask questions like, is Wade Rathke jewish?

I may be screwed, and looking at the state of my country I would have to agree I am, but I'm not to blame for jewish crypsis.

k said...

Are you sure that's not Edgar Winter in the ACORN photo?

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if there is any way to go after ACORN and their associates under RICO. Of course the Obama justice dept. has no interest in this kind of corruption and neither did Bush's."

RICO's citizen suit provision allows for civil lawsuits. But how to find a plaintiff who was damaged and can calculate their damages?

Jimmy Dean said...

"Greek Americans often have an Old World, Middle Eastern type of culture that makes them stick together and seem to prefer to identify simply as Greek rather than white. I remember a conversation once with my friend where it was quite difficult to get him to admit that he was white (as if it was some horrible degrading insult)."

This isn't that surprising, considering that 100 years ago there was a mob attack on Greeks in Omaha, Nebraska.

ben tillman said...

Major decision by a Kansas Court limiting ability of Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) to foreclose. So they will not be able to foreclose on those mortgages which were bundled and resold as securities. Swell.

The court was right. MERS was not the mortgagee, so it couldn't foreclose.

Anonymous said...

If they destroy one industry... they will just move on

Like locusts.

.

Anon the Moose said...

off topic but would love to hear Steve's reaction to Gap's 2008 casting call winners. What makes me think the folks at Gap really really love Obama
http://www.gap.com/browse/info.do?cid=45016

patrick said...

Alinsky was Jewish. Ayers is a WASP through and through. Rathke may be Jewish or from a German-American Gentile background. If he is from New York, I would assume the former; if he is from Minnesota or Ohio, I would assume the latter. In any case, I don't share the Jewish obsession that others here seem to have.

As for the Omaha riot, yes, I have read about it. Southern Italian immigrants were also targets of similar mob violence in that era.
(Remember that 100 years ago Greeks and Southern Italians were not considered "white" by many Americans of northern European descent.)

Anonymous said...

Stopped Clock, you said: "Greek Americans often have an Old World, Middle Eastern type of culture that makes them stick together and seem to prefer to identify simply as Greek rather than white. I remember a conversation once with my friend where it was quite difficult to get him to admit that he was white (as if it was some horrible degrading insult)"

As an American of Greek ancestry, I find your description of Greek-Americans very accurate. A lot of Greeks have problems identifying as "white" or "European" due to a mixture of victimization at the hands of other Europeans and an inflated sense of themselves due to their very influential, ancient culture. Some Greeks love to get an ego trip thinking about all the amazing accomplishments of the ancient Greeks, as if modern Greeks had anything to do with it. In conversation they will often remind someone that the Greeks were the first to do a certain thing, as if everyone personally owes them something. It is great to acknowledge your heritage and know your history, but it gets ridiculous sometimes. I guess I never cared much for the game of ethnic pride.

I'm an exception though, and don't have any problem with identifying as white or admitting I have family in "Europe".

Some Greeks I've known are so fanatical about the uniqueness of the Greek language and culture, that they deny or downplay the fact that Greek is an Indo-European language. At least a few Greek nationalists seem to be offended by this idea. Even more offensive is the idea that somehow the Greek language was introduced to Greece by Indo-European invaders from the north in very ancient times(it is especially insulting if you say these Indo-European invaders were originally nordic or blonde). You'd probably be better off telling a Greek nationalist you loved doing in-through-the-out-door sex with his mother last night than saying horrible things like this. I find it endlessly amusing how some Greeks find this extremely insulting.

They claim all this history is "wrong" just because they are offended by it. I guess it is just a symptom of how Americanized I am(I was born in the U.S and I'm an atheist), since I have no trouble accepting that Greeks are white and speak an Indo-European language.

As for Greeks and American politics: Most Greeks I know tend to be on the right or are moderate. But they seem to be "right-wing" more in a Greek sense than an America sense. They don't want their children intermarrying with non-Greeks, and tend to stick with Greeks and care mostly for Greek interests(Taki is an exception). This greatly limits the influence and political ambitions of Greek right-wingers in American politics. This is probably why powerful Greek-American politicians are usually left-wingers, and much more assimilated.

Some of these Greek-American left-wingers may be Vlachs(Romanian-Greeks), who have a mostly amicable though complicated relationship with the ethnic Greeks back in Greece. The Vlachs are sort of like the "Jews of Greece", and maybe their minority status among Greeks causes them to sympathize with ethnic minorities elsewhere. I know Dukakis is at least half-Vlach, and some other Greek politicians and pundits may also be full or part Vlach. The more you dig, the more power race has in explaining things...

headache said...

"How is "affordable housing" handed out?"
From each according to their ability,
To each according to their need.
Was that Jesus or Marx?



Marx. In spite of socialist theology, Jesus taught self-discipline, personal responsibility and respect for other's interests. Christianity always stressed that sharing should commence out of personal conviction and not be coerced. That implies asking people before taking things from them, which of course is not what socialists practice since they know that otherwise they would mostly get a "no".

Anonymous said...

No deal on the socialism and Christianity conflation.

Christianity preaches giving.

Socialism preaches taking.

They are opposites.

Naturally socialists love to pervert this to make themselves the recipients of Christian charity.

club med expat said...

I have known, gone to school with, and worked with, countless Italians and Greeks in a very ethnic city, which still has a Little Italy, and Greece. I went to school in a Little Lithuania, although I am sort of Irish, and there was also Polish/Slovak area in east Baltimore. My mom grew up when there was still an irish neighborhood in Baltimore, which distingetrated shortly after WWII. (turned black.)
So I know my ethnics. While italians and greeks have their distinctions, italians married with other ethnicities pretty indiscriminately after about the 1940s. My neighbors in my working class neighborhood included a Greek lady who had married an Irishman. She was different looking because she had long black hair she wore up in a bun, and long earrings. Otherwise, I don't recall anyone questioning any thing about her "race", and people were pretty conscious of stuff like that at that time. Some greeks who visited her and a couple other Greeks on the street, were intrigingly olive skinned during the summer, causing me imagine them in the sunny Mediterranen. They also belonged to a religion that had Catholic like rituals without being Catholic. Yeah--different, but not on some contiuum towards black. Their features and everything about them was so different from the 'colored people' we saw, that we never grouped them togther.
Of course, we had no "hispanics' around unless they were Cuban, and the Cuban kid in my class was never viewed as 'non-white' either.
The black/white dichotomy has been so intense in the U.S., that it relegates everything to fewer categories than you might expect, especially in cities where you had a lot of blacks, and a lot of white ethnics.
Since I'm not southern Italian or Greek myself, I can't speak for how they view themselves, but actions speak louder than words, and nowadays Italians are just white people with a vibrant culinary tradition and names ending in a vowel. Oh, and a few of them have a year round tan.

Thomas said...

LOL, Steve! Good catch on the whites who run these outfits. In Oakland, there's a nasty piece of work called the "Uhuru Movement" that represents itself as a "socialist party for the African diaspora", or somesuch. They were out making noise back in March in support of "Brother Lavelle", the miscreant who murdered 4 Oakland cops.

While the figureheads who run the "democratic front" and the "socialist international" are all black faces, the real power is in the "Solidarity Committee", and in the management of their businesses (including a furniture store and a bakery), who are all 50-ish, gray pony-tailed SWPLs from Berkeley and the Oakland hills.

patrick said...

My dad grew up in southern California in the 1960s- there weren't a lot of Italian-Americans there (nor that many black folks either). Most "Anglo" whites just assumed he was Mexican because he had dark hair and olive skin (and his last name can be either Spanish or Italian.)

Anonymous said...

"Of course the union bosses have a different perspective: they were never in the ranks, they never suffered or sweated, and they may not even have had the blue-collar upbringing that the workers did."

SEIU, UNITE, & HERE (later merged into UNITE-HERE and now seem to be splitting up - UNTIE-THERE???) are all largely minority and immigrant low-wage workers. These unions are all headed not only by college-educated white men but Ivy Leaguers. Go figure.

New AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka, OTOH, started out as a coal miner.

Anonymous said...

> Jesus taught self-discipline, personal responsibility and respect for other's interests. Christianity always stressed that sharing should commence out of personal conviction and not be coerced. <

Cites, please. Did Jesus also talk about paying one's bills on time, not accepting Food Stamps, tucking in one's shirt, staying off drugs, staying in school, etc., etc., etc.?