Many residents showed up and focused their ire on Councilman Mark O’Leary, who represents South County on the County Council. He is believed to be a supporter of the apartment complex.
“Mr. O’Leary, shame on you!” said resident Wendy Antalick. “You never once asked your constituents ‘what do you want?’ It’s simple, we want homes and not apartments. We have enough apartments in the area.”
Miss Antalick, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You’re blaming someone who holds one-seventh of the legislative power of a county government, when you should be blaming someone who controls one-oneths of the executive power of the Federal government. O’Leary could oppose it with all his heart, but the Federal government with its carrot and stick power is making sure that local opposition is meaningless. If you want to aim your anger at a given person, the person is Baraq Obama, not Mark O’Leary. Then again, that’s not quite accurate, because Obama didn’t come up with the idea for AFFH, neither did Julian Castro, current HUD Secretary, and I’m saying that because there’s a media temptation to blame Castro personally. No, the right source to blame is the Democrat Party, because urban gentrification interests are an important core graft-contribution component of it. Actually, beyond that, you can’t just blame the Democrats, because a lot of the political scaffolding for AFFH started in the Bush 43 years, and his father’s HUD spearheaded the very first AFFH precursor program, starting circa 1990 when the Feds forced Dubuque, Iowa to allow itself to be turned into dumping grounds for Chicago ghetto blacks which were about to be run out of Chicago because of what was at the time the impending onset of the demolition of housing projects. And, just like today, the media back then used the power of the double edged sword it wields to bash the white people out there for their racism in not wanting black people to live in their areas rather than the racism of the urban white people in wanting to get rid of the black people around them and unload them on someone else.
As for my choke point strategy, it’s a bit more hairy. The parallels that hold is that Miss Antalick et al. can’t take on the Federal government, because it’s too big, powerful, abstract, and besides, that’s where grandma gets her Social Security check. They could take it to the blacks who move into the apartments, but then that will be horrible PR; most people still pity blacks, and the P-D won’t be any mood to tell us the truth, and Tony Messenger probably has a dozen scathing op-eds about the matter pre-written with blank spaces to fill in dates and proper nouns. The middle ground choke point would be to make it personal against the private developers who will be building the apartments and the people chiefly associated with the ownership outfit which will own them and/or the property management outfit which will manage them. But here’s a word of warning about that: The same Feds who are wielding their power of “Fair Housing” to make sure the actual construction and habitation happens will probably be in a mood to bring bullshit fair housing conspiracy charges against people like us who try to make life hell for the builders, owners and managers. Remember, from our own area, the Feds in the 1970s (?) rattled the sabres of civil rights laws to intimidate white people who tried to block the construction of housing projects in Black Jack and Spanish Lake. And we know that the Feds will be very generous in stretching the interpretation of “Fair Housing” laws to make them cover drunken bar fights. I think the only reason they’re not trying to interfere with this opposition to these apartments along Tesson right now is because they know that the opposition as currently manifest won’t be able to stop it. But if they take up my middle ground choke point want-of-a-nail strategy, or anything which has a chance of stopping or precluding it, I wouldn’t put it past the Feds to bring the hammer down.
Probably the best thing to do now is for the opponents to start looking up Jefferson County properties on Zillow, sell now to oblivious suckers while they can still get something.