Does Anyone REALLY See Pottstown and Norristown?

November 5, 2012

This morning the Patch has an article up about the Dem’s and Repub’s visiting Montgomery County in a final push to sway voters:

Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden Visits Norristown

I can’t help but wonder if Dr. Biden, and others, are aware of the racial segregation of Montgomery County’s poor in Norristown, the seat of PA’s wealthiest county, and 16th wealthiest in the Nation.  I hope they took a good look around while they were stumping there this weekend.

In 2006 a groundbreaking False Claims lawsuit was filed against Westchester County, N.Y. by the Anti-Discrimination Center. In 2009 a highly regarded Federal District Court Judge ruled that Westchester County had “utterly failed” to overcome barriers to fair housing for their county’s poor black and latino populations.

The objective to promote integration, required by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, had been profoundly ignored by the officials of this very wealthy county, and in fact, The judge noted that the county had used grants from HUD to build housing that had actually “increased segregation.”

Ron Sims, HUD’s deputy secretary at the time, said in an interview, “We set to the task of trying to establish the civil rights presence in the Obama administration.” They were going to hold Westchester’s “feet to the fire.”

Segregation patterns that were established in the 1950’s continue to this day while the County hedges and manipulates. Federal officials have repeatedly backed down, including the Obama Administration, from strong enforcement when confronted by determined local opposition.

While the “Obama administration cites the Westchester lawsuit as evidence it has taken a more assertive approach than its predecessors to enforcing the fair housing law”…

things, today, remain very much the same for the wealthy white communities in Westchester County, as they do, here, in Montgomery County and elsewhere across the Nation.

I’m sure that’s not what people in the communities of Norristown and Pottstown expected from our first African-American President, I know I didn’t.

Soft on Segregation: How the Feds Failed to Integrate Westchester County

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