Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Illustrated Results of Obama's "Community Organizing"

If I didn't know better, I'd think this was Beirut in the nineteen seventies. But, in reality, it's the current state of the housing for which Barack Obama claims responsibility as a "community organizer." It turns out the developers enriched by his government-funded subsidies did a heck of a lot better than the folks who once lived here.

I say "once", because the Boston Globe ("Grim Proving Ground for Obama's Housing Policy") calls many of the units "uninhabitable".

As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies - including several hundred in Obama's former district - deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama’s close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama’s constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

Progressive blogger River Daughter put it succinctly:

In terms of concrete accomplishments, Obama and “hundreds of other organizers” were not able to transform the South Side neighborhoods or bring in new industries to provide jobs...

Obama’s most commonly cited achievement was in forcing the city to begin testing for asbestos in all city apartments.

Regarding Obama's asbestos assertions, the L.A. Times alludes to the real story:

...critics claim Obama, now 46, exaggerates his accomplishments, particularly in spearheading asbestos cleanup at a low-income housing project. He omits from his account of that fight a longtime community activist who many people say played a significant role.

And for all his emphasis on the value of grassroots organizing, Obama eventually decided he also needed a law degree to enact lasting change, attending Harvard University... Further blurring the picture are his descriptions of community organizing in his youthful memoir, "Dreams From My Father," in which he admits he disguises names, creates composite characters, switches some chronologies and uses "approximations" of dialogue.

I can see why.

Look at this beautiful playground, with all of children frolicking; they're so care-free and so delighted that Barack Obama's community-organizing has helped them at the expense of his developer friends.

The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can't afford to live anywhere else.

But it's not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered...

As a community organizer, Obama's a hell of a public speaker.

The poor people living here have gotten the shaft from Obama and his developer buddies. And the mainstream media couldn't care less.

I think a video tour of the area would make one heck of a campaign commercial for the GOP.

Update: Ace nails it:

Kaus calls this "Obama's Katrina," explaining that if Obama is running on his record as a community activist and advocate, it's a pretty big deal a housing project he had his hand in is an almost-unlivable slum... Perhaps Obama had good intentions here. Trouble is, he has a decidedly thin resume, and one of the biggest bullet points on it reads Miserable Failure.

Linked by: LGF, Jammie Wearing Fool, Dust My Broom and Noblesse Oblige. Thanks! Hat tips: Marathon Pundit and Larwyn.


Anonymous said...

He's our president now. I'm dumbfounded.

Anonymous said...

Good argument, but....

Your case is deteriorated because the buildings in the pictures you used are 50, 40, and 30 years old.

How much of chicago's history does he "own" and how much are you "assigning" him?

Not that I like him, but you need to use better cases.

directorblue said...

@Anonymous #2 - yes, dumbass, because high-res satellite mapping for consumers was available 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

Gee, you're dumb.

Anonymous said...

director blue: the BUILDINGS are old, not the photos.

Anonymous said...

To the dumbass who thinks they pictures are from "30, 40, and 50 years ago" here's a news flash:

Pictures 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are the SAME PICTURE cropped and rotated in different ways (you can see the same 3 cars in each photo) plus those are late 90's cars, hardly from "30 years ago"

Wheel carts and the hairstyles in the other picture are far more recent than the 80's.

I know you dont want to see your dear hero Osama portrayed for the scumbag he is and you'll rationalize it away anyway you can, but you can't polish a turd.

Anonymous said...

Showing Chicago slums does not reflect on anyone but the owners of the building, whether it is the corporate or private sector. He never claimed that he owned high-rise apartment buildings, did he? He was not the city building inspector. You might want to check with writers and editors who have studied and have degrees in city planning. You are confusing young people.

Anonymous said...

Obama may not have "owned" the buildings but his "organizing" of the community - ostensibly to improve it - was his only claim to fame when he ran for the senate and for the presidency. In most jobs, results matter. If I left the books at my previous jobs in a shambles, I doubt that I would be asked to keep books elsewhere. But Obama can "organize" a community, leave it in the slum condition in which it was to begin with, and say that he did a great job! Even the NYT doesn't write much about the results he achieved as a community organizer - because there were scant few.

Anonymous said...

Can you say "Valerie Jarrett"?

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Denver, right next to the black area, in the 70s. I couldn't understand the abandoned houses in the black area - how could any house be so valueless that the owner wouldn't at least try to rent it?

I don't care how good or how bad the housing is, what determines a good neighborhood is good neighbors.

Without law and order, the landlords may as well walk away - try to collect rent from blacks at your peril. I suppose somebody with political connections or gang connections could make them pay - but first the real owners have to be driven to abandon it, or sell real cheap.

Go to an online real estate site, and search for the very cheapest rental properties. You can then go to google earth and zoom in, and you can go to the census bureau to see what the demographics are. What you'll find is a bunch of falling down places in the black areas.

imwithstoopid said...

I am 73yrs young and spent my first 30 yrs watching them destroy housing my parents would have wanted.
I grew to the age of 13 on the Near West Side went to Crane HS, don't even try to tell me about slums and slum lords. Our building was well kept up, on the other hand we kids weren't allowed to destroy it.
Slum lords don't create slums, the people that destroy them faster than the landlords could fix them do.
We moved a number of times with in the near south side and watched the the previous neighborhoods go downhill, and fast. These were nice single family owner occupied homes that the FHA / HUD sold to people that could not afford them, and they are now doing the same in the "white" burbs that have 10 yrs to go. Again the quasi governmental organizations are "diversifying) these still nice places.
thanks MLK and Obo good work all around the nation.