Category Archives: Housing

‘It Keeps Getting Uglier’: As True Costs of HQ2 Scam Emerge, Public Housing and School Offices Getting the Boot to Make Room for Amazon

“The fact that massive public subsidies are helping eliminate affordable housing units is just the latest reason this bad deal needs to be torn up and thrown away.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-16-2018

“The taxpayer costs of these two deals is high, both in absolute terms and on a per-job basis, contrary to Amazon’s artful spin. Together, we believe they exceed $4.6 billion,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. (Photo: Street Easy

After learning that New York taxpayers will be forced to finance a helipad for Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, it’s possible many believed Amazon’s sweetheart headquarters deal with the Empire State couldn’t get any worse.

But as additional details of the agreement continue to pour in—and as experts estimate its true cost to taxpayers—critics are warning that it the deal is looking increasingly awful for ordinary New Yorkers. Continue reading

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#HQ2Scam Hashtag Lifts Off After Cities Reveal $2.1 Billion in Tax Giveaways for Amazon

City councilor among those who doesn’t understand why “a company as rich as Amazon would need nearly $2 billion in public money for its expansion plans at a time when New York desperately needs money for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure, and education.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-13-2018

Critics say Amazon has contributed to rising housing costs in Seattle as well as heavy traffic and income inequality. (Photo: Kiewic/Flickr/cc)

While business-friendly politicians applauded Amazon’s decision to establish two new headquarters in New York and just outside Washington DC, local officials, residents, and critics of the “race to the bottom” the $800 billion corporation held in its search for new office locations denounced the move on Tuesday, decrying the effects the new headquarters will likely have on the chosen cities.

After a 14-month-long process in which Amazon pitted cities against one another in a competition to see who would offer the company the most enticing tax incentives and other perks, the neighborhoods of Long Island City in Queens, New York and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia were named as Amazon’s new second and third homes. Continue reading

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In Latest Attack on Fair Housing Act, Carson Moves to Gut Anti-Segregation Rule

“Without this rule, communities will not do the work to eliminate discrimination and segregation.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-14-2018

Under President Donald Trump, the Housing and Urban Development Department—tasked with ensuring that fair housing practices are followed—has all but abandoned its mission, critics say. (Photo: Culture:Subculture Photography/Flickr/cc)

With much of the corporate media’s attention focused on Tuesday on President Donald Trump’s latest reported racist remarks, the president’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made its latest move away from its core mission of ensuring all Americans of all races have access to fair housing.


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‘Enshrining Apartheid Into Law,’ Israeli Legislature Approves Bill Making Nation’s Palestinian Arabs Second-Class Citizens

“What a disaster. Literally the only good thing that can be said about this discriminatory law is that they took out the part that explicitly legalized segregation.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-19-2018

Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, a coalition of Israel’s four Arab-dominated political parties, said that with this new law, Israel has told Arabs “that we will always be second-class citizens.” (Photo: @AyOdeh/Twitter)

The Knesset, Israel’s legislature, provoked immediate outrage early Thursday when it passed a controversial law that critics within and beyond Israel have denounced as “an apartheid bill.” It proclaims “the state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people” and “the actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

Following the 62-55 vote—with two abstentions—Arab lawmakers reportedly ripped up paper copies of the legislation in protest, then were forced to leave the Knesset hall. Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, a coalition of Israel’s four Arab-dominated political parties, said in a statement that Israel has “declared it does not want us here,” and that it “passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens.” Continue reading

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With ‘Carefully Calculated Strategy’ to Slash Safety Net Underway, White House Claims War on Poverty ‘Largely Over’

New Trump administration report calls for imposing work requirements for federal benefits programs, which anti-poverty advocates warn would harm poor Americans

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-13-2018

Photo: Pinterest

Anti-poverty advocates are rejecting a new Trump administration report that ridiculously declares the “War on Poverty is largely over and a success.” In the words of Rebecca Vallas at the Center for American Progress, it is “part of a carefully calculated strategy to reinforce myths about the people these programs help” and “to smear these programs with a dog-whistle of welfare, in order to make them easier to cut.”


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‘To Make It Easier to Screw the Poor,’ Trump Wants to Massively Reorganize Federal Government

Provisions of this “closely guarded” plan reportedly include merging the Education and Labor Departments, and creating a welfare “megadepartment”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-21-2018

Anti-Trump protesters march in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/Flickr/cc)

Update:

The White House on Thursday released a 32-point plan (pdf) to reorganize several departments of the federal government. The proposal was developed in response to an executive order President Donald Trump issued early last year and cannot be implemented without congressional approval.

Earlier:

In what critics are calling an “insane” proposal by the Trump administration “to make it easier to screw the poor,” the White House is reportedly considering sweeping changes to the organization of the federal government, which could be announced as early as Thursday. Continue reading

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Poor People’s Campaign Leaders Among Dozens Arrested Nationwide as Moral Movement Persists

Ahead of Capitol Hill forum, Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theohalis reportedly still in police custody

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2018

Rev. Liz Theohalis was among the community leaders who were arrested on Monday on Capitol Hill, while demonstrating as part of the Poor People’s Campaign. (Photo: @UniteThePoor/Twitter)

A day after being detained for leading a Poor People’s Campaign demonstration on Capitol Hill—just two of the dozens of arrests of anti-poverty advocates at protests across the country on Monday—Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis were set to speak at a forum on inequality and poverty in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings called the meeting in order to hear from Americans who are demanding that Congress address economic inequality and persistent poverty in many parts of the U.S.—amid the implementation of cruel policies like last year’s tax law, the benefits of which mainly went to the richest Americans. Continue reading

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‘Anyone Surprised?’ Kinder Morgan Pipeline Leak Two Days Before Trudeau Buyout Was 48 Times Larger Than First Reported

“With accuracy like that, we should all be very, very worried.’

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2017

Thousands march in opposition to the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion. (Photo: MeanwhileinCana/Twitter)

Just two days before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government would purchase Kinder Morgan’s faltering and widely opposed Trans Mountain pipeline, British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment said 100 liters of crude oil had leaked at a Kinder Morgan pipeline pump station north of Kamloops—but the company initially refused to confirm the severity of the spill.

On Saturday, with its bailout from the Canadian taxpayer confirmed by Trudeau, Kinder Morgan declared after an investigation that, actually, 4,800 liters of crude oil had leaked during the May 27 spill—48 times more crude than first reported. Continue reading

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Scathing UN Report Condemns Trump and GOP for ‘Deliberately’ Driving Up Already Devastating Inequality

“At the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the United States, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2018

Rev. William Barber unveils Poor People’s Campaign’s list of demands at a rally in April. (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

It is no secret that the United States has among the worst levels of inequality, poverty, and infant mortality of all wealthy nations, but a scathing new United Nations report (pdf) concludes that President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress are “deliberately” working to make these already devastating crises worse by waging war on the poor while lavishing the rich with massive tax cuts.

Highlighting the Trump administration’s push to dismantle the last vestiges of the American social safety net, Philip Alston—U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and author of the new report—told the Guardian on Friday: “This is a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own. Once you start removing any sense of government commitment, you quickly move into cruelty.” Continue reading

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Housing discrimination thrives 50 years after Fair Housing Act tried to end it

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Fair housing protest in Seattle, Washington, 1964. Jmabel/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-NC-ND

Prentiss A. Dantzler, Colorado College

In the midst of riots in 1968 after civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was slain, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act.

The federal legislation addressed one of the bitterest aspects of racism in the U.S.: segregated housing. It prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and national origin when selling and renting housing.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has administered the act with some success. From 1970 to 2010, the share of African-Americans living in highly segregated neighborhoods declined by half. But in areas that remained highly segregated in 2010, there were no signs of improvement. In several cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, average levels of segregation had actually increased. Continue reading

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