Skip to comments.ANTIOCH, CA: Tenants rally against police tactics
Posted on 09/26/2007 7:27:55 AM PDT by SmithL
Subsidized housing tenants who say they have been harassed by the Antioch Police Department descended on City Hall on Tuesday night, demanding a change in law enforcement tactics.
Carrying signs that read "Stop Harassment" and "We Want Respect," about two dozen Section 8 recipients took part in the protest. Members of Antioch's United Citizens for Better Neighborhoods gathered for a counterdemonstration, protesting eyesore properties and nightmarish neighbors.
"This turnout validates that the voice of the people needs to be heard," organizer Darnell Turner said. "The fact the opposition also showed up in large numbers shows they don't care to hear an opposing viewpoint. Section 8, until now, has been voiceless and under-represented."
Section 8, a federally subsidized housing program that helps low-income families rent private homes, has become an issue of growing concern in Antioch during the past year. Residents and city officials have complained of program abuse and mismanagement.
Gary Gilbert, founder of UCBN, said he had no problem with Section 8 residents voicing their concerns.
"We're pleased they're getting an opportunity to say what's on their mind," he said. "We're not trying to create a conspiracy or a cover-up -- we simply want the abuse and fraud in the Section 8 program to stop."
Section 8 residents present Tuesday night said they are being harassed by the police department's Community Action Team. Formed in July 2006, the team investigates problem properties and assists the Contra Costa Housing Authority in monitoring Antioch's subsidized housing.
"This is a fight against discrimination," said former Section 8 recipient Tammy Wess. "It's about living in peace. This is isn't about race, it's about class. The Community Action Team doesn't like us because we're low income."
Antioch police Chief Jim Hyde said the issue at hand is neither racial nor economic.
"No one's contesting their limited economic resources," he said. "This is a behavioral problem, but it's not all Section 8 homes. The majority of Section 8 homes in this city pose no problem."
There are approximately 1,500 Section 8 homes in Antioch, Hyde said. Since its inception, the Community Action Team has investigated 158 residential properties -- 104 of which were Section 8 homes. Hyde said only 7.6 percent of the Section 8 properties in the city are causing problems.
Roger Henry, president of the East County NAACP, said the vitriolic back-and-fourth on the issue needs to stop.
"We find ourselves dealing with allegations of racism and police brutality," he said. "We need to calm down the rhetoric so we can discuss the issue without mean-spirited comments. ... Neighbors should not assume that just because someone has a Section 8 voucher that they will become problem tenants."
Public Advocates and Bay Area Legal Aid are looking into claims that the Community Action Team is harassing Section 8 residents in a "concerted campaign" to drive them out of Antioch, representatives from both groups said.
Police logs reviewed last week by the Times show the group responding to issues reported by neighbors, landlords and the Contra Costa Housing Authority.
Many complaints read the same, dealing with loud parties, unruly juveniles, fights -- some involving weapons -- and piled-up trash. In one instance, police were summoned to a house after a man fired several rounds in his backyard from a semiautomatic rifle.
Minding your own business, don’t appreciate the attention? Then try getting your neighbors to BEHAVE!
Oh, they’d react worse than the cops?
An apt description of the people who live across the street. My life has been a bloody hell for over a year.
Antioch? - That’s uphill from Beverly Hills, right?
(Donnie Freitas wishes)
If section 8 housing moves in near you, MOVE OUT IMMEDIATELY. Trust me, it’s a freaking nightmare.
Pay your own rent.
“This is a fight against discrimination,” said former Section 8 recipient Tammy Wess. “It’s about living in peace. This is isn’t about race, it’s about class. The Community Action Team doesn’t like us because we’re low income.” . . . Many complaints read the same, dealing with loud parties, unruly juveniles, fights — some involving weapons — and piled-up trash. In one instance, police were summoned to a house after a man fired several rounds in his backyard from a semiautomatic rifle.”
Yeah, it’s about class, all right. Low-class behavior. If folks want to live in a decent neighborhood instead of a housing unit, they need to be willing to maintain common neighborhood standards. If you don’t want to keep your yard neat, if you don’t want to keep your garbage out of sight, then don’t apply for Section 8 vouchers to live in that kind of neighborhood. Go to a neighborhood where you would fit right in.
“Neighbors should not assume that just because someone has a Section 8 voucher that they will become problem tenants.”
Life experience tells me something MUCH different, bud.
Sounds like a great FReep to me.
Pay your own rent!!
Are you Neal Boortz?
Couldn’t have said it better.
In the words of Jake McCandles, “Not Hardly”.
The Section 8 crowd thinks they’re not problem tenants, do they? Just about every rental ad in my local newspaper says “NO SECTION 8” - gee...you’d think in this housing market landlords would love someone who’s rent payment is guaranteed....
...until you see the way they treat your property. I have a Section 8 living next door to me. The weeds are a foot tall in the front yard and all the long-hair hippy hubby does all day is tinker with his non-running car.
Respect is earned.
Guess they missed the memo on that one.
I used to work next to a section 8 apartment complex. The rent was subsidized but tenants still had to pay some little rent, depending on income.
There was a big story in the local paper about the guy who owned the complex turned off the water, which was included, because of nonpayment of rents. Some of the tenants’ share were as little as $25 a month and they just wouldn’t pay. I also had to send the cops over there to kick in the door of a guy who stole beer from the store I worked at. Armed robbery, since he showed me the gun tucked in his waistband.
There are a few section 8 houses a couple blocks south of me. They are just as you describe, one with a big “NO TRESPASSING” sign. Uh, yeah.
No, the memo was kept from them in the name of self-esteem.
The problem is, many of the folks that use that word have no idea what it means.