Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Stop Saying "Workforce Housing," It's Offensive -- Make Housing Affordable!

Developers are circling like vultures, attempting to profit from the urgent need for affordable housing.  

But they're now calling it "workforce housing," which I find offensive.   People are being pigeonholed into projects with an offensive name, changing the goalposts from "affordable housing."  

It's the Dull Republican way in St. Johns County, Florida.

I'm grateful that the City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County, and Mosaic Company are in talks to transfer mineral rights under our Old City Reservoir, where 80 acres of City-owned land off Holmes Blvd. Extended will one day make a fine location for affordable housing, with no land acquisition costs -- We, the People, already own it!  Kudos for former Mayor Nancy Shaver for raising the issue, and for City and County staff, years later, moving toward it, like a herd of turtles in their sloth and torpor. 

The Old City Reservoir is where corrupt City Manager WILLIAM BRUCE HARRISS dumped a landfill in a lake 2006-2006 nd almost got away with it.  

Thanks to a few of us activists like Sherrie Badger, David Thundershield Queen, Dr. Dwight Hines, Ph.D. , et al. , the landfill is now in a landfill.  Naturally, the current City Manager, JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., an environmental engineer by training, spins the name of the future affordable housing location, calling it "the 80 acres" in a December 3, 2020 memo, here.

Now that the Old City Reservoir has been cleaned up, picture it with affordable housing, with a prime bass-fishing spot in the Old City Reservoir, a coquina pit lake with pure water.  

It was a sin, a crime and a tort for the City to have dumped a landfill in a lake there.  Glad we caught the City.  My only regret is that no criminal charges were ever brought against HARRISS & Co.. for this environmental crime, a stench in the nostrils of our Nation's Oldest City.  (HARRISS retired as City Manager in 2010, drawing $108,000/year retirement. It's our money. HARRISS has been on Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's payroll ever since, running his secretive nonprofit, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Four Star Association, Inc., while functioning as consigliere to SHOAR, who fancied himself Republican Lord of All He Surveys. HARRISS was appointed by two Governors, illegally taking up the only spot reserved for citizens on the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission,)

Developers write our zoning and planning laws.  

Developers want de facto segregation in St. Johns County Housing, and they get it.  See Nocatee.

Developers' indecent demands created the affordable housing crisis -- they'd rather sell McMansions on spec than meet the needs of our residents.

In Dull Republican developer-fundeded Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's corrupt political machine, five somnambulistic St. Johns County Commissioners voted in 2016 to erase 40 acres of affordable housing from Nocatee, for the lucre of $800,000 payment to SJC.

That was nuts.

Now Wall Street-traded corporate developers, having created pent-up demand for affordable housing here, want to change the language to call it "workforce housing," as if people were defined by their jobs.

"Workforce" smacks of bad public relations and patronizing lobbyists, emitting condescending Chamber of Commerce lingo, as if we're talking about a labor camp.  (President William Howard Taft founded the Chamber of Commerce as an anti-labor group, and Republicans here have given the Chamber and a favored few of its members millions of dollars in corporate welfare. )

Presumably, students, seniors, retirees, the disabled and the unemployed want affordable housing, too. 

Substituting the term "workforce" for "affordable" reminds me of the renaming of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee by Dull Republicans under Speaker Newt Gingrich and successive satraps Paul Ryan, 

Wikipedia reports:

History of the Committee[edit source]

Attempts were made to create a congressional committee on education and labor starting with the early congresses but issues over Congress's constitutional ability to oversee such issues delayed the committee's formation. Finally, on March 21, 1867, the Committee on Education and Labor was founded following the end of the Civil War and during the rapid industrialization of America. On December 19, 1883, the committee was divided into two, the Committee on Education and the Committee on Labor. The committees again merged on January 2, 1947, after the passage of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, becoming the Committee on Education and Labor again. On January 4, 1995, when the Republicans took over the House, the Committee was renamed the Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities. It was renamed again as the Committee on Education and the Workforce two years later on January 7, 1997. On January 4, 2007, with the Democrats once again in the majority, the committee's name was changed back to Committee on Education and Labor.[1] After Republicans recaptured the House majority in the 2010 elections, they returned to the name, Committee on Education and the Workforce, effective with the opening of the 112th Congress in 2011.[2] After Democrats recaptured the House majority in the 2018 elections, they similarly returned to the previous name, Committee on Education and Labor, effective with the opening of the 116th Congress in 2019.[3]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They are hyper-capitalistic.. crony capitalists that is. "Workforce housing" reflects their ideals, as "public housing" and "affordable housing" is a dirty word. Government is not supposed to do a damn thing for anyone in any way ESPECIALLY when there's a "market" for something like housing. That's supposed to be subject to the grift just like human labor. Everyone is supposed to be subject to the rich in every way possible. The housing is supposed to be affordable ONLY because you are valuable to someone who is rich, or in the case of law enforcement and teachers, protecting the rich and helping rich families to stay that way. I swear to God that's how they think. "Workforce housing" isn't about correcting some negative externality on human beings caused by some failure. It's about making a developer money and making whoever will employ the occupants of that housing as much as money as possible.