NAACP: There will be no apology for HUD complaint

TCAL Founder Pharaoh Mitchell said he hopes the mayor will work with them to settle the lawsuit.

LANCASTER – Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris Tuesday demanded an apology from the NAACP for filing and then withdrawing a housing discrimination complaint against the City of Lancaster.

The complaint, which alleged a pattern of harassment by Lancaster leaders against mainly black and Latino residents on the Section 8 program, was without merit and cost tax payers millions of dollars, Parris said.

NAACP representatives rebuffed calls for an apology Wednesday.

“If he’s searching for an apology then he can continue his search,” said Juan Blanco, President of the NAACP, Antelope Valley.

“There will be no apology,” said Pharaoh Mitchell, NAACP member and founder of The Community Action League (TCAL).  “It was the NAACP’s decision to withdraw the complaint to focus on the lawsuit.”

Mitchell said an apology is not needed because the concerns that prompted the NAACP to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are valid. However, the NAACP withdrew the HUD complaint to focus on a separate and ongoing federal lawsuit, which addresses many of the concerns cited in the HUD complaint, NAACP officials said.

“It’s important to understand that our withdrawal of the HUD complaint has no bearing on our lawsuit against Lancaster and is simply a strategic decision to focus our advocacy and bring about a speedy resolution for the residents of Lancaster who for years have endured rampant discrimination at the hands of city officials,” Dorcas Gilmore, Assistant General Counsel for the NAACP, said in a prepared statement. “Fair housing is core to the NAACP’s mission and the mission of all the groups and individuals who have been fighting the devastating discrimination in Lancaster, and we are moving forward with our lawsuit to ensure people of color have meaningful choices and opportunities in where they choose to live.”

The federal lawsuit, which was filed in June 2011, was brought forward by the NAACP, The Community Action League (TCAL) and three Section 8 tenants against the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale. It claims black and Latino families, using Section 8 housing vouchers in Lancaster and Palmdale, are victims of constant, unbearable harassment at the hands of housing authority investigators, sheriff’s deputies and local politicians. Read the entire complaint.

In late January, the County Board of Supervisors approved a settlement agreement, though the county was not named in the lawsuit. A week later, Palmdale settled  the lawsuit, leaving Lancaster alone to fight the lawsuit.

“Community members have called TCAL to thank us and tell us that HUD was talking to them about getting their [Section 8] vouchers back because their vouchers were unfairly taken,” Mitchell said.

Parris has so far refused to settle the lawsuit on behalf of Lancaster and maintains that he will fight it to the very end.

Mitchell said he hopes the mayor will reconsider his position.

“Our case is stronger than ever, and we can win this case; but we would rather sit across the table and talk [to the mayor] than to battle and cause more separation in this community,” Mitchell said. “Our goal is to bridge the gap between our broken community, and this is the only reason why we have taken the actions that we have taken. We hope that the mayor will work with us toward that goal.”

“We need to focus on positive things in our community, such as job creation for youths and adults, more programs for youths and senior citizens, as well as the Wellness Homes,” Mitchell continued. “In order for these positive changes to continue we must be willing to sit across the table, set aside our differences and work toward the betterment of our community.”

  8 comments for “NAACP: There will be no apology for HUD complaint

  1. CF
    June 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    It’s pretty easy to figure out. The HUD complaint is without merit, and if the investigation went forward it would most certainly prove that there was no discrimination by the city or Sheriffs Dept., and the findings would ruin their lawsuit. At least Rex has a backbone and is not intimidated by the NAACP and will fight the good fight and win the case. GO REX.

  2. Don't care if you like it
    June 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I just love how they say that they are discriminating against latinos and blacks on section 8. Umm, most of the people on section 8 are latino or black so I don’t consider it discrimination. There weren’t just one or two to pick out lol.. Fact is, areas where there are a lot of section 8 property are going to have the most crime. People on section 8 for the most part aren’t exactly the most upstanding citizens. You can hate what I say but for the fact of the matter it is true. Just look around us here in the AV.

  3. H8 Section8
    June 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    The definition of an apology;
    a·pol·o·gy   [uh-pol-uh-jee]
    noun, plural a·pol·o·gies.
    1. A written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another.

    Hmmm…I guess NO apology means the opposite.

  4. Adam Chant
    June 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

    It seriously makes me wonder if there was in fact a legitimate HUD issue to be considered then why would you withdraw the HUD complaint?
    HUD is the entity that manages the Section 8 program and if there is an issue with how the program is being handled you file a complaint with the managing body.
    The fact of the matter is if Lancaster was found to be doing things wrong then HUD would have issued a finding and directed Lancaster on how to handle things in the future.

    Problem here is that all of that would have been outside of the public eye and covered only in letters and memos between HUD and the City of Lancaster.

    Now by withdrawing the complaint and filing a civil suit it gets to be played out in the public and if it is in fact a civil court has much lower qualifications for proof.

    Call it what it is.. an opportunity for 15 minutes of fame for TCAL and NAACP against Lancaster.

    If Lancaster is wrong then go through the proper channels, but TCAL IS wasting taxpayers money by pursuing this lawsuit and not just allowing the HUD complaint to go through.

    I see this as a simple circumvention of the system in favor of a lawsuit. Why?

    • Q.
      June 21, 2012 at 10:15 am

      do you really think they care if they waste taxpayers money? The key word here is “taxpayers”. How many of them do you think are actually taxpayers?

  5. Johnny
    June 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Ole’ Martin Luther’s got to go.
    That’s one thing that we all know.
    We’ll take him riding on a rail,
    And lock him in the county jail!

    They might as well give up the fight.
    No federal judge can make them white.
    The job is up to you and me,
    Let’s beat the N double ACP

    • June 21, 2012 at 12:35 am

      Johnny, that is just so wrong. lmao. funny. cute. but so wrong.

      And Pharoah, Love ya honey and hope you win this one because the city gestapo here in lancaster needs to focus on people who are committing crime rather than people of a certain color or the target group of the day. And have to admit they are not totally prejudice here in Lancaster. After all, they don’t care what color a person is so long as the tip of the persons nose is rexy poo poo brown they will be welcomed with open arms and legs. so long as they are willing to bow down and worship at the alter of Parris all is good. For anyone else who dares to have a thought of their own creation without permission from city council well… good luck. see ya saturday Pharaoh!!

  6. FUNNY
    June 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    That’s funny Apology Rex if they did that then they might thing we think they have a little CLASS

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