Regional Equity — Stanley Kurtz’s "Spreading the Wealth" Can’t Mention the Black Undertow Effect

The Horror, The Horror — of having to mention race

Stanley Kurtz, like all good conservatives, stays within the established confines of political (polite and acceptable) discourse in America. A full review of his new book Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities will be coming soon, but one simple look at the state of metro Atlanta and you’ll see that much of what he claims will be coming in a hypothetical second term for President Obama has already happened.

Writing at National Review, Kurtz stated:

Obama is a longtime supporter of “regionalism,” the idea that the suburbs should be folded into the cities, merging schools, housing, transportation, and above all taxation. To this end, the president has already put programs in place designed to push the country toward a sweeping social transformation in a possible second term. The goal: income equalization via a massive redistribution of suburban tax money to the cities.

Obama’s plans to undercut the political and economic independence of America’s suburbs reach back decades. The community organizers who trained him in the mid-1980s blamed the plight of cities on taxpayer “flight” to suburbia. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Obama’s mentors at the Gamaliel Foundation (a community-organizing network Obama helped found) formally dedicated their efforts to the budding fight against suburban “sprawl.” From his positions on the boards of a couple of left-leaning Chicago foundations, Obama channeled substantial financial support to these efforts. On entering politics, he served as a dedicated ally of his mentors’ anti-suburban activism.

The suburbs of America’s greatest cities are no longer the all-white playgrounds for the children of baby boomers whose parents were ethnically cleansed from places like Detroit, Chicago, Birmingham, Atlanta, Memphis, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Cleveland, etc. Instead of representing a glorious John Hughes movie – where the greatest fear was not finding a prom date or having to take your clothes off before gym class – the suburbs of American’s “greatest” cities are now wastelands, resembling the condition of the major city that white people fled from and handed over (political power, infrastructure and all) to Black people.

Atlanta Magazine recently published an article with the title “Where It All Went Wrong: If only we could undo the MARTA Compromise of 1971″( August 2012, by Doug Monroe), which bemoaned the fact that the almost 100 percent white suburban counties of metro Atlanta in 1971 didn’t vote for MARTA — which would have meant that heavily Black Atlanta would have had access to their version of the American dream:

The 1960 census counted approximately 300,000 white residents in Atlanta. From 1960 to 1980, around 160,000 whites left the city—Atlanta’s white population was cut in half over two decades, says Kevin M. Kruse, the Princeton professor who wrote White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism. Kruse notes that skeptics suggested Atlanta’s slogan should have been “The City Too Busy Moving to Hate.” “Racial concerns trumped everything else,” Kruse says. “The more you think about it, Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure was designed as much to keep people apart as to bring people together.”

In the early 1970s, Morehouse College professor Abraham Davis observed, “The real problem is that whites have created a transportation problem for themselves by moving farther away from the central city rather than living in an integrated neighborhood.”

The most maddening realization is that the once virtually all-white suburbs that voted against MARTA years ago are today quite diverse and reflect Atlanta’s evolution from a biracial city to a multiracial, multiethnic one. Today’s suburbs are not only home to African Americans, but also Latino, Asian, and Eastern European immigrants. The city’s diversity is projected to increase over the coming decades (see page 68). Many of the people who voted against MARTA decades ago are dead or retired. The suburban lifestyle they were so eager to defend has lost much of its cachet as gas prices soar and houses don’t sell. Smart young people up to their necks in college debt don’t want to spend their money and time driving cars back and forth; they want to live in town. Atlanta’s only neighborhoods to gain inflation-adjusted housing value in the past decade, Leinberger notes, were Virginia-Highland, Grant Park, and East Lake.

Does it really matter? Clayton County and DeKalb County – both over 80 percent white in 1970 – have gone majority Black today. In fact, Clayton County residents are about to elect Victor Hill sheriff again, even though he was jailed for theft and racketeering in January of 2012. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

A week has passed since the primary, and still Jerry Griffin is mystified by the Clayton County sheriff’s race.

In some ways, the election is like a repeat of 2008, with Kem Kimbrough and Victor Hill once again squaring off. But, this time around, Kimbrough is the incumbent and Hill the challenger. And Hill is facing 37 felony charges, ranging from racketeering to witness tampering while serving his one term in office, accusations he denies.

The two will battle each other in an Aug. 21 runoff. In the July 31 primary, Kimbrough took 40.41 percent of the votes, while Hill claimed 37.54 percent, reducing the eight-person field to a grudge rematch.

“I don’t know why people vote like they do,” said Griffin, a resident of Clayton County for more than 40 years.

If Hill wins, he could still take office, as long as he has not been convicted. No trial date has been set. Hill’s certification from his years as a homicide detective and then sheriff has been suspended. Also, the governor could suspended him from office and appoint a temporary sheriff until the felony case is resolved.

“It’s one thing to bounce back after losing a contest,” said Charles Bullock, a political analyst and a professor at the University of Georgia. “The allegations against him (typically) would have been a career ender. The voters must be pretty unhappy with the incumbent to turn against him given the choice that they’ve made.”

Derrick Boazman, former Atlanta City Council member who follows southside politics, said he’s never seen another race in Georgia “where you have a man under indictment facing some very serious charges that is able to almost be re-elected.” He has endeared himself to parts of the community willing to overlook his flaws.

“Victor has positioned himself as Andy Griffith, if you will. The sheriff everybody knew, who knew your kids, who knew your grandmomma and was generally concerned about the overall welfare of the citizens,” Boazman said.”

From virtually 99 percent white in 1970 to almost 70 percent Black today, Clayton County shows us that “regional equity” is really the idea that the white suburbs must be run with the efficiency of the Black cities from where whites once fled.

Recall that Hill was the sheriff who used his power in a most unusual manner in 2005:

On his first day at work, the new sheriff of Clayton County called 27 employees into his office on Monday, fired them and had snipers stand guard on the roof as they were escorted out the door.

A judge on Tuesday ordered him to rehire the employees.

The sheriff, Victor Hill, 39, defended the firings and said he had the right to shake up the department in whatever way he felt necessary.

Sheriff Hill also said it was necessary to fire the workers the way he did, including taking some deputies home in vans normally used to transport prisoners because the deputies were barred from using county cars.

Sheriff Hill was among a spate of black candidates elected last year in the county, which was once dominated by rural whites. The fired employees included four of the highest-ranking officers, all of them white. Sheriff Hill told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that their replacements would be black.

Yes, Black snipers were placed on the roof of the Clayton County Sheriff’s headquarters as fired white officers were escorted out. This is true regional equity, courtesy of what transpires when the Black Undertow Effect overwhelms demographically a once thriving white suburban county.

The same thing happened in DeKalb County, a place Oprah Winfrey once declared the best place for Blacks to live in America. Here’s The Champion Newspaper on the first Black CEO of DeKalb County, Vernon Jones, who was accused of trying to “Blacken up” those receiving a paycheck on the public dime:

Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones on March 24 denied a scheme to remove White managers and replace them with Blacks, testifying in federal court he wanted the best employees that reflected the county’s population.

Jones, who was CEO from 2000 to 2008 and is now running for Congress, took the stand in a 2004 discrimination case brought by four former county Parks and Recreation Department managers against him and four other former employees. In the trial that began Monday, March 22, in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, lawyers for the plaintiffs said Becky Kelley, John Drake andMichael Bryant were forced out of their jobs because they were White, and that Herbert Lowe, a Black deputy director, was fired because he failed to “dig up dirt” on them.

Jones said he knew when he took office that there was talk among the staff about him wanting to get rid of White employees. He said he told department heads that wasn’t true. He did want employees “that reflected our community” — Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, gay, straight, Democrat and Republican, he said.

“Diversity is good. I believed in it then. I believe in it now,” he told the mostly White jury.

But Lowe testified that Jones was clear in his mistrust of Whites and was concerned that White managers were leaking negative information about the county to the press. Jones especially wanted to put more Blacks in the parks department, Lowe said.

“Jones said, ‘Black folks voted for me. White folks didn’t vote for me,’” Lowe testified.

Lowe said three of the defendants, Marilyn Boyd Drew, Morris Williams and Joe Stone, who are Black, frequently used racial epithets to refer to the White parks managers and excluded them from meetings. Drew was director of the department at the time; Williams was assistant county administrator and Stone was director of human resources.

The plaintiffs also sued Richard Stogner, who served as executive assistant to the CEO, and is White. All were sued as individuals and as county employees.

On cross-examination, defense attorneys took aim at Lowe to discredit him as a witness, bringing up errors on his job application that he acknowledged but couldn’t explain and portraying him as a man who had trouble holding down a job and being “a team player.”

A key piece of evidence in the trial is a 2003 voice-mail recording that the plaintiffs’ attorneys played for the jury on Tuesday. In the profanity-laced recording, Stone is complaining to Williams that the new fire chief, David Foster, was trying to promote White firefighters to battalion chief and there was no way Jones would agree to it.

“‘He wants to pick ‘em from a population that is solid snow White already. Now he got to cut that [expletive] out with Vernon,’” Stone said, according to a transcript.

In the phone call, Stone says that Jones told the fire chief to consider Black battalion chiefs from College Park and other fire departments outside the county.

Stanley Kurtz doesn’t go anywhere near the murky waters of the deep end of the political pool that few dare swim near and address the type of suburbs that exist once white people are displaced by the Black Undertow. Clayton County no longer has any money, with the tax base there no longer capable of subsidizing public transportation (in essence, there’s too low a percentage of white tax payers to subsidize public transportation for Black people); DeKalb County has to artificially raise property valuations on white homeowners in a bid to increase tax revenue.

So Kurtz is afraid – like all conservatives – to address the elephant in the room; that being the racial aspect of the “regional” or “city vs. suburban” or “metropolitan area” debate. There’s an interesting paragraph on p. 26 of “Spreading the Wealth” where we learn that:

The foundation of Obama’s metropolitan policy is actually the belief that inner-city crime and poverty are caused by suburban growth.

Suburban sprawl; white flight; horribly long commutes; the abandonment of political power in major cities to Black people; the need to rebuild job centers and sprawling office complexes every 10 years is directly correlated to the fact that inner-city (read: Black) crime drove whites away. Black people’s inability to create businesses (relying on the government to provide jobs or strong-arm banks to lend to minorities — or help discriminate through programs like the Minority Business Development Agency); high drop-out from college; historically high rates of illegitimacy; and a tendency to congregate in neighborhoods were property valuations reflect the type of environment you’d expect from an all-Black community are the reason for high poverty rates.

Thus, white people fled Black crime and self-inflicted Black poverty. Now, Black people have imported these same problems to counties that were but 30-40 years ago nearly all-white and thriving.

Kurtz couldn’t dare go down that that road and have to look into the true heart of darkness that beats in any area that Black people are the majority racial population of.

“Regional equity” is the belief that the white suburbs must look like – and operate – the failed city that these mere tax-slaves fled from. That’s equality. That’s truly spreading the wealth.

Just ask Victor Hill and Vernon Jones.

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