Advocates Oppose Glover, Franklin for HUD Secretary

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(APN) ATLANTA — Numerous advocates are scrambling to prevent President-Elect Barack Obama’s Transition Team from nominating either Renee Glover, Director of Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), or Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, as the next Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Both are part of a short list including a total of five names, according to the Associated Press. The other three candidates under consideration include Nicolas Retsinas, Director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies; Bart Harvey, former CEO of Enterprise Community Investment; and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.

Glover received national attention for her controversial plan to demolish public housing in Atlanta around the time of the 1992 Olympics, including communities such as Techwood and East Lake Meadows.

Her mass eviction of residents, demolition of public housing, and replacement of the units with mixed-income housing, became a model for the HOPE VI program begun under the Clinton Administration, under which over 100,000 units were demolished nationwide.

Glover was reportedly considered a possible HUD pick for former Vice President Al Gore when he was the Democratic nominee in 2000.

Today, she is spearheading AHA’s effort to demolish all remaining public housing in Atlanta.

Atlanta Progressive News has documented in over 60 news articles over a two year period numerous instances of fraud, fabrication, and secrecy by the Atlanta Housing Authority under Glover’s leadership.

As previously reported by APN, AHA fraudulently claimed 96% of their residents would rather move than stay, even though residents were never given an option to stay and were simply asked whether they would like a voucher.

AHA fraudulently told their residents the funding for vouchers would continue in perpetuity, when in fact the funding must be approved each year by US Congress.

AHA fraudulently claimed the buildings were physically obsolete, when architectural reports show some of the buildings were structurally sound with minimal repair issues, but that they were not up to “market standards.”

AHA fraudulently told the public and City Council’s Community Development and Human Resources Committee that they never promised Council the opportunity to review any demolition applications sent, when that was specified in one of two resolutions by Councilwoman Felicia Moore demanding review, which incorporated promises made voluntarily by AHA.

As previously reported by APN, AHA has fabricated resident association meeting minutes, agenda, and sign-in sheets for the Resident Advisory Board and submitted these to HUD stating they were the organization’s minutes, agenda, and sign-in sheets.

As previously reported by APN, AHA refused to allow the public to see the demolition applications and wanted to charge APN about $300 to review documents which HUD requires be made public for review.

AHA’s Board of Commissioners essentially makes their decisions in private committee meetings. Their monthly public meetings consist of the Board voting on a consent agenda which has already been discussed and approved privately.

AHA has escorted advocate Terence Courtney out of Palmer House senior highrise, when residents invited him to their association meeting.

AHA interfered with independent researchers from Georgia State University as they interviewed 347 residents about their pre-relocation experiences.

AHA never answered the 82 questions posed by APN regarding their demolition applications.

AHA submitted demolition applications in 2007 and 2008 without showing them to residents or resident leaders, except in the case of those in Felicia Moore’s district.

Mayor Shirley Franklin has supported Glover’s efforts wholeheartedly.

When APN discovered that Franklin had been signing off on AHA’s demolition applications without City Council knowledge in late 2007, Councilwoman Felicia Moore crafted a resolution and ordinance to demand Council input.

Franklin and Glover both dispatched teams of lawyers to argue that the City Council has no authority in the matter, despite the fact HUD invites comment from local elected officials and the City funds AHA redevelopment projects.

In the end, Moore passed two resolutions, overriding a Mayoral veto on one. Despite promises made in the second resolution, AHA never shared 4 demolition applications with CD/HR nor held the promised public hearings nor quarterly CD/HR presentations.

Franklin’s and Glover’s relations with City Council are important because they are a possible indication of how either of them would relate with US Congress.

“Though Dr. Glover has become nationally known for her creative approach to community redevelopment, the road to her successes [sic] is paved with a lack of transparency, lies, broken promises, racial and economic discrimination, fraudulent claims and more,” Lynne Gee, of the Georgia Task Force for the Homeless, wrote in a letter to Valerie Jarrett of the Transition Team obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.

The Georgia Task Force is opposing the possible nominations of either Franklin or Glover.

“It’s a little like getting Dracula to guard the blood bank,” Anita Beaty, Executive Director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, wrote in an online comment on the Washington Post website.

“It’s absolutely outrageous to have someone who destroys public housing and displaces thousands of people even considered as HUD Secretary. It’s absolutely appalling, it’s unconscionable,” Beaty said.

“Now, if they had a de-housing secretary,” Glover’s appointment might be appropriate, Beaty said.

“All she knows how to do is privatize public resources and gentrify public housing so it’s there for upper income working people,” Beaty said.

“Barack… really needs to understand… In my opinion, we’ll be under siege,” Diane Wright, President of the Resident Advisory Board for public housing resident leaders in Atlanta, said of a possible Glover nomination.

“To get rid of public housing knowing that people need it and to just throw people away, I really don’t think she would make a good Secretary of HUD,” Wright said.

“People matter,” Wright said. “People don’t matter to them.”

“With what’s going on in Atlanta, you mean to tell me, nobody ever took notice?” Wright said. “Nobody took notice that they don’t even have enough housing in Atlanta for residents and she’s closing down all the public housing?”

“That’s sad. They shut down everything to the people. People’s voices are not being heard. Secretary of HUD? All right, let’s go ahead and we might as well bring in Hitler. I’m more serious than a heart attack,” Wright said.

“If she becomes Secretary of HUD… what’s the use of even having a HUD? They are gonna have very few public housing in some states, so they’re gonna give everybody Section 8 that they don’t evict. Man, how more homeless people are we gonna have?” Wright said.

“I remember when Renee [Glover] was trying to get rid of Atlanta Union Mission for men,” Alan Harris of the Coalition for the Homeless and Mentally Ill said.

Harris criticizes Glover for “the tearing down of the highrises that have been remodeled… [and] were well-managed, decent housing… with the AJC [Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper] backing when there’s a severe shortage of housing anyway.”

AJC Editorial Writer “Cynthia Tucker falls over herself discussing Renee Glover’s destruction of public housing,” Harris said.

“I don’t know what kind of director Shirley Franklin would make, she could be a good manager. I would certainly be opposed to Renee Glover,” Harris said.

“I’m shocked he [Obama] would consider Renee Glover unless he opposes public housing,” Harris said.

Harris did criticize Franklin, however, for spending “$24 million a year when we’re not even making a dent in ending homelessness.” Franklin created a 10 year plan to end homelessness, but homelessness has risen under Franklin, Harris said.

“Nobody could be worse than Renee Glover. Nobody could do more harm,” Harris said.

“I’m quite familiar with Renee’s work and I think that would be a huge mistake. She’s no friend of affordable housing at all,” former Professor Larry Keating of Georgia Tech, who has written a book about race, class, and urban renewal in Atlanta, told APN.

“Of course we’ve lost 60 years worth of accumulated housing here in Atlanta. I would think that [her nomination] would be tragic for the housing movement, for affordable housing,” Keating said.

“During the Olympics, people were forced out of public housing without just compensation, and without due process. There was a substantial loss of public housing,” Keating said.

“It wasn’t about the housing being decrepit. They had an engineer who found that they were structurally and physically completely rehabable,” Keating said.

“The renewal of the development was not driven by the physical condition of the buildings, it was driven by Barney Frank’s phrase… they wanted a better class of poor people.”

“The participatory requirements of the HOPE VI process, the interests and rights of the residents were trampled upon,” Keating said.

One DC-based national affordable housing organization has been opposing the appointment of either Franklin or Miami Mayor Diaz in its meetings with the Transition Team, a source familiar with the matter told Atlanta Progressive News.

The group would have the same concerns about Glover but did not know she was currently under consideration, the source said.

Franklin told the Atlanta Business Chronicle she was not looking to serve in an Obama Administration and predicted she would serve out her Mayoral term.

Franklin told the Chronicle she thought Glover would make a better pick, something housing advocates dispute.

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable is matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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