There is a dangerous concept being championed by Alphonso Jackson of the Dallas Housing Authority, endorsed by the enlightened editorial staff at The Dallas Morning News, and only “incidentally” crammed down the citizens of Dallas by great Constitutional soothsayer, Judge Jerry Buchmeyer.
Far North Dallas is feeling the wrath of someone else’s charity, but Lake Highlanders know of what the Northenders speak. Lake Highlands already is home to a 123-unit public-housing project for elderly residents, as well as a healthy number of Section 8 (publicly subsidized) residents in various apartment complexes.
We would do well to support North Dallas and be vigilant against future pronouncements that might find us waking up to yet more public housing in our own backyard.
The Dallas Morning News has bought into the dream, yet one more time, that coerced integration is the panacea to all that is bad and unfair (“Dallas youths deserve a safe place to live,” an Oct. 2 editorial).
It uses the age-old manipulative approach of camouflaging a bad idea in the innocent faces of children. The editorial states: “And by allowing a peaceful coexistence, they (the homeowners in far North Dallas opposed to the project) could help some little kids grow up in a safer place.”
This is the kind of cheap emotional appeal over the reason of experience that continues to plague those who are obsessed with wanting to “do the right thing,” but at someone else’s expense.
These well-intentioned champions of the poor are rarely affected by the consequences of their actions directly; and even on that once-in-a-million occasion when they are, they have hardly been entrusted with the discretion to impose their idea of charity involuntarily on others.
Of course, the usual reaction of these mighty sons and daughters of Solomon to opposition is to demand in a fit of frustration: “What, then, is to be done?”
Admittedly, it is a difficult question. Public housing in Dallas, historically, has been segregated and kept in one part of the City. What are the answers and, more important, what is the proper question?
After all, what is public housing? It is supposed to be an attempt by the local government, by virtue of its taxpayers, to provide a place to live for those members of our community who are destitute and are simply unable to take care of themselves.
Public housing is supposed to be a last-straw choice. It is, presumably, hoped to be a temporary condition. It should be used only in the most dire circumstances. Who among us desires to be a burden on society?
Segregation of public housing in Dallas was race-related originally, but each race (white, black, Hispanic) had its own facility, and all of them were in West Dallas. Segregation of public housing in Dallas was primarily income-related. And that is the fatal flaw in this latest act of “do-gooderism” at another’s expense.
Alphonso Jackson is an ardent proponent of economic integration, arguing that if you will simply surround low-income tenants with middle-class or better amenities, they will aspire to improve their conditions.
A journey through the United States, and probably anywhere in the world, reveals how true it is that income segregation is a natural societal condition.
Ever wonder why slumlords don’t operate on Beverly Drive in Highland Park? Ever wonder why Ross Perot hasn’t built a new mansion across from Fair Park? The only way in which either event would ever come about, of course, is by edict of a government that places protection of private property rights at the bottom of its list of priorities.
In defense of Alphonso Jackson, however, the source of this debate is the federal court of Judge Buchmeyer, who believes the U.S. Constitution requires him to assume control of public housing in Dallas and order construction of a specific number of units in a specific part of the City where there is a specific percentage of white people in residence.
I have often wished for the same divine skills of Constitutional interpretation with which some of our federal judges have been blessed, which would enable me to see what the common reader of the Constitution cannot see.
In their effort to help the less fortunate (a worthy objective), the advocates of “spreading the wealth” of public housing extract taxes from others to satisfy their urge and conveniently overlook the fact that while their reading of the Constitution requires a tortured search for “rights” that are not described, there does happen to be a specific prohibition against taking private property for public use without just compensation.
Saving the children is a noble goal, but I understand some children live in North Dallas, too.