LANCASTER – City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris reacted strongly to the City of Palmdale’s decision to enter into a settlement agreement in the Section 8 discrimination lawsuit involving both cities. Parris issued the following statement Friday:
“I am extremely disappointed with the actions and comments made by the City of Palmdale regarding their recent settlement agreement in the Section 8 enforcement case. Their decision to acquiesce gives comfort to criminals perpetrating housing fraud in the Antelope Valley.
Furthermore, Palmdale has thrown under the bus the Deputy Sheriffs and Section 8 investigators who have successfully fought fraud throughout the Antelope Valley.
The unintended consequence of the City’s actions and statements is that they have become a mouthpiece for the plaintiffs, falsely giving credence to offensive claims that the Sheriff’s Department and citizens of Palmdale and Lancaster are racist. In fact, recent reports show that the City of Lancaster is the most integrated city in Los Angeles County.
Like the City of Palmdale, we recognized that the County Housing Authority had insufficient resources assigned to investigate fraud and other violations of federal regulations, and anyone who expects three investigators to enforce the requirements of 22,000 Section 8 vouchers countywide is sadly mistaken.
Together, our cities took steps to remedy this situation by agreeing to pay the costs of added investigators assigned to our community, which were successful in over 91% of their cases.
However, Palmdale’s agreement to settle this case now simply allows criminals committing housing fraud to act with impunity in the Antelope Valley.
While Mayor Ledford and I have our differences, for the better good of both communities, we need to get beyond this. He has a responsibility as the leader of his city to properly represent all of his city’s law-abiding constituents.
Our commitment to fighting criminal housing fraud remains strong and we ask the City of Palmdale to continue this fight against criminal activity with us.”