Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Local zoning saved from Obama HUD rule by Trump administration after five-year fight

By Rick Manning

In 2014, local zoning was slated for elimination by the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development using a proposed rule known as “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” but something happened on the way to far left utopians taking over decisions on where housing should be placed in local communities – Americans for Limited Government stepped into the fray.

A June 5, 2014, press release titled, “Time to defund HUD racial zoning rule in appropriations vote” fired the first shot in a five and a half year battle to stop the federalization of local zoning.   Below is the original press statement,

Time to defund HUD racial zoning rule in appropriations vote

June 5, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement urging the House of Representatives to defund implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule that will empower the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to achieve racial and income integration:

“Starting in October, HUD is empowering itself to redraw zoning maps in any locality that accepts any portion of the $3.5 billion a year in community development block grants from the federal government in an attempt to create evenly distributed neighborhoods based on racial composition and income. This is a utopian pipe dream, and social engineering at its worst.

“Neighborhoods are constituted not based on racial quotas, but on economics. Housing discrimination based on race has been illegal for decades. There is no discrimination in people choosing for themselves where they want to live, and yet that is exactly what HUD is seeking to regulate.

“HUD has no place in local zoning decisions, and it is up to the House of Representatives to defund this dangerous rulemaking through a rider to the Transportation and HUD appropriations bill coming up next week before the regulation’s projected October implementation.”

One day later, Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) picked up the cause by introducing an amendment to the HUD appropriations bill defunding the implementation of AFFH which passed four days later in the House by a 240 – 181 margin.  However, Senate passage was much more problematic.

Over the course of the next three years, I had multiple meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff facilitated by Erica Suares who is one of the unsung heroes in the Senate.  Those meetings always included at least five easy defunds that the Senate should pursue which were already in the House appropriations language.  The Gosar defund was always one of these.

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) led the charge in the Senate with his legislation calling for ending the AFFH regulations, and his leadership helped keep the issue at the forefront in the appropriations defund battles.  Finally, on May 19, 2016, the Senate passed substitute language offered by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) which defunded the planning tools for AFFH implementation by an 87 – 9 margin.

However, even with the House and Senate passing different language trying to stop what became known as Obamazoning, it wasn’t until the massive spending Omnibus of 2017 when the Collins language prohibiting HUD from implementing AFFH became part of the spending bill, and with that you would think the story would have ended.

But noooo, because this is DC where bad ideas only go into hibernation but never truly die, some “conservative advocates” decided that the regulations revising AFFH should force local governments to change their zoning laws to cut red tape to enable more rapid housing development.  While the problem of local red tape delaying new home and other developments for years is real, Americans for Limited Government stayed philosophically consistent.  If the federal government dictating local zoning outcomes was wrong under the Obama administration, then it was still wrong under the Trump administration no matter the outcome goals.

Finally after meetings with HUD, a personal conversation with Secretary Carson, attending a HUD stakeholder meeting in Chicago, and multiple conversations throughout the Trump administration, the final AFFH rule was filed.

And we won.  It was amended to preserve local control over zoning laws.

Fighting for limited government is not an occasional venture, but an on-going, non-stop battle and last week, outside of the spotlight of the media, Americans for Limited Government won a huge victory.

Don’t expect any Fox News appearances or special reports, because the victory was about the guts of who makes decisions that impact each of our lives, and those who still believe that local government with all its faults, best reflects the will of its citizens than Washington, D.C., earned a hard fought victory against enormous odds.

As we enter the first week of the impeachment trial, it can seem that the world has been turned on its head, just know, that we can win.  It just takes a few great leaders and for each of us to keep in the fight and never give up.

Local zoning was saved, and a vast majority of Americans will never even know that it was threatened.



Beware Virginia’s mistakes or your state may be next

In recent years, Virginia has made a number of grave mistakes by electing out-of-touch liberal Democrats who are unfit for office. With the Democrats’ recent success at buying the state legislature with out-of-state contributions, Virginia residents can expect to soon begin paying dearly for those mistakes.

In 2017, Virginia elected Democrat Ralph Northam governor. During the election, Northam was endorsed by liberal newspapers even though he smeared his opponents portraying them as violent racists. Subsequently, voters learned that Northam had worn blackface, that his nickname was “Coonman” in college, and that he had a photo of someone dressed as a Klansman and someone in blackface on his page in his medical school yearbook. Although Northam initially admitted that he was in the photo in the yearbook, he reversed course the next day and denied it. Ridiculously, Northam claimed not to know how he acquired his racist nickname in college or how the racist photo wound up on his yearbook page. Embarrassed, members of his party and the media joined Republicans in calling for his resignation, but Northam refused. Before long, his party and the media embraced him once again.

Unfortunately, electing Northam was not the only poor choice Virginia made in 2017. It also elected Democrat Justin Fairfax lieutenant governor. After the election, voters learned that two women, who are both Democrats, accused him of forcible rape. Disgracefully, Democrats in the state legislature refused to support hearings to examine the allegations. Also in 2017, Virginia reelected Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring, who refused to do his job. In addition, Democrat Lee Carter, who is a proud Socialist, was elected to the House of Delegates.

Two years later, Virginia made more poor choices. In a special election last year, Northern Virginia voters elected Democrat Ibraheem Samirah, an anti-Semite, to the House of Delegates. Samirah had posted on social media that he thought it was “worse” to give money to Israel than to the Ku Klux Klan, and he has ties to Hamas. Samirah was then reelected in the 2019 general election. In that same election, Democrat Joe Morrissey, a statutory rapist and a disbarred attorney, was elected to the Virginia Senate. Morrissey previously served time in jail for having an illicit relationship with his 17-year-old secretary when he was 56 years old. In the wake of that scandal, Morrissey married the young woman; that was his first marriage despite the fact that he had fathered children with three other women. Furthermore, with their tidal wave of out-of-state cash, Democrats were able to flip a total of eight seats in the General Assembly in the general election giving them control of both chambers.

After seizing control of the state legislature, Democrats have wasted no time proposing one outrageous piece of legislation after another: infringing on gun owners’ rights, freeing violent felons, abolishing all safety regulations on abortion, expanding transgender rights, and banning spanking. As if that were not bad enough, Democrats have also proposed awarding Virginia’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of how Virginia votes, repealing Virginia’s Right to Work Law (which has been on the books for over 70 years), hiking the minimum wage, hiking taxes, hiking car fees, and allowing the use of speed cameras to more easily pick the pockets of motorists. To protect their fragile, new majorities, it is likely that Democrats will gerrymander districts next year so they can continue to drag Virginia down. The good news is that this assault on Virginia can be halted next year if Republicans put forward a strong gubernatorial candidate with a compelling agenda.

Nonetheless, at the moment, Virginia now serves as a warning to other states. Democrats simply cannot be trusted with power. They have little to no interest in pursuing the common good and will devote the vast majority of their energies to pursuing a narrow, divisive agenda to pander to special interest groups at the expense of everyone else. Voters elsewhere should take heed and reject the far-Left Democrat Party of today that embraces socialism and Bernie Sanders and despises faith, family, and free enterprise.



About those ‘Women for Trump’

“It would make me so excited to vote for a woman for president,” said Alice from Michigan. “I do think I will see one in my lifetime, and, as the mother of a daughter, it would especially thrill me.”

Yet Alice voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and expects to vote for him again in 2020. When I asked her why she didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, she said, “Hillary is an elitist Democrat who doesn’t care about women like me.” Alice wondered if liberal women would be willing to vote for female candidates like Nikki Haley, Ivanka Trump, or Condoleezza Rice.

What is in the minds of women who support Trump? This is a key question people ask me about the panel of 500 voters with whom I’ve interacted since 2016. They want to know how any woman can vote for a bully, whether they care that he has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, how they can support a president who puts children in cages, or why they would support someone who wants to take away the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Isn’t this a terrible model for their children?

To answer these questions, I took a deep dive with 50 women who support Trump. I found two overarching themes: first, that women valued Trump’s policies over anything else, and second, that they saw Trump as a refreshing change from those they perceive to be elitist candidates of either gender who failed to understand and respect the power and determination of conservative women.

Women could be the difference in the presidential election. According to the Pew Research Center, women tend to vote at higher rates than men. And numerous studies of voters in key swing states, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, have found that white working-class women could determine the next president.

Policy — especially linked to the economy — matters deeply to women who voted for Trump, and to them it outweighs his coarse behavior. “In spite of all of the resistance, he has accomplished so much that is important to me,” said Dianne from New Hampshire. “Our economy is booming, unemployment is low, homeownership is up, our defenses are being reinforced, ISIS is weakened, and he is getting fairer trade deals.” Again and again, women stressed the health of their local economies: building booms, more jobs, and more people out shopping. And they credit the president for their prosperity.

The other big factor for female Trump voters is what they call his “respect” for them, a fundamental belief that Washington is run by people with multiple degrees from elite schools who look down upon them. They dwell on Barack Obama’s statement that they are bitter and clinging to their guns and religion and Hillary Clinton’s remarks about deplorables. Before Trump, they felt that they had no voice and no power. Said Anna from Iowa, “Donald Trump actually likes and respects people like me. He gets that the average citizen of the USA is not stupid, and the Democrats have not figured that out yet.”

These factors outweighed Trump’s boorish behavior. “He is not a politician,” said Susan from Ohio. “I wouldn’t want my daughter to date him, but I wouldn’t want her to date Bill Clinton or JFK or any of the other predators who have been in the White House.”

Trump also appeals to women who feel that the women’s movement has left them behind. Katie from North Carolina described it this way: “You know, not all women are pro-choice, not all women obsess over the glass ceiling, and many women want smaller government and a continued good economy.” Added Cynthia from Massachusetts, “The women’s movement does not represent me. A Women’s March with no conservative women involved? A real women’s movement would embrace all of us. It would fight for equal pay, equal opportunity, personal safety, and assistance in raising future generations. But feminists of today detest people like me, so why would I want to support them?” A majority of these Trump supporters feel alienation from liberal women, whom they perceive to be “angry” and “fist-clenching.”

Some of these women are open to alternatives to Trump — so long as that alternative isn’t too radical. Said Chrissy from New Jersey, “I am embarrassed by his tweeting and his behavior, and I also believe that we need someone who is less divisive — but I don’t see a choice when the Democrats stand for giving everything away for free.”

For every woman like Chrissy, however, there are many others who will support Trump regardless of who runs against him. They sound like Brenda from Pennsylvania. “He is the most transparent president ever, and he follows through on his promises,” she said. “He loves and supports his family, and he respects my money, rather than wanting to squander it.”

Is there a way to win the hearts of these women? Unless another candidate comes along who they believe respects them and their pocketbooks, they won’t be buying the book “A Very Stable Genius.” Instead, they’ll vote to reelect the president.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


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