LANCASTER – At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor R. Rex Parris recognized the area’s three Section 8 fraud investigators, who were terminated after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to cut their funding following a discrimination lawsuit.
According to a city news release, Lancaster has suffered an increase in crime since the dismissal of the area’s Section 8 investigators, who worked to eliminate program fraud in the Antelope Valley.
Parris and the City Council were compelled to show appreciation for the thankless job of the investigators who once had a significantly positive effect on minimizing crime in local neighborhoods, the news release states.
John O.Neal, Alan Mullins and Gary Brody received commendations from the mayor Tuesday night. Regarding the commendations, Parris released the following statement:
“The City’s fight against Section 8 fraud has been an uphill battle that has not garnered the support we had hoped for from agencies that are supposedly in place to help communities progress, and not set them back.
The increase in local crime and the corresponding ten percent of arrested Section 8 recipients associated with those crimes is proof of this area’s dire need for Section 8 program compliance enforcement. Section 8 fraud is not only criminal, but also directly ties to other criminal activities throughout the community.
There is nothing being done to effectively investigate Section 8 criminals who operate under the radar of L.A. County’s two investigators who are responsible for evaluating more than 20,000 Section 8 cases countywide on an ongoing basis.
Do the math… it is ridiculous!
Having worked nonstop for several months now to combat a rising crime rate since the removal of our area investigators, the City and the Sheriffs hold an even higher appreciation and respect for the efforts of these individuals who worked hard to weed out the bad seeds in Section 8 housing.
These three individuals often went into hostile environments, and had the formidable task of investigating questionable conditions with dangerous Section 8 violators, in some cases even being shot at. Despite some of their horror stories, they continued to go out of their way to help those who were just dealing with difficult circumstances and needed a break. They protected our residents and our neighborhoods as best they could and, consequently, got thrown under the bus by a system which failed them and continues to fail us as a community.
We’d like to recognize these brave individuals who struggled to make the Antelope Valley a better place for residents. These men did their jobs by the law; put their hearts into their work; saved the Section 8 program millions of dollars in fraudulent cases; made our neighborhoods better places to live; and, ultimately, survived a severely undeserved mudslinging from some of the very people to whom they extended a helping hand… leaving them media-bashed and jobless.
My. John O’ Neal, Mr. Alan Mullins, and Mr. Gary Brody… from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of the City of Lancaster and our residents who truly value all that you have done for our community, I’d like to say thank you.
The Antelope Valley was a much safer place when you men were able to mend a broken system.”