It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village is a reminder of Democratic Party values – especially the values of long time Democrats whose lives have been dedicated to helping people.

TGIF!

 

 

Morning meese…

I understood 25 years ago that the conservatives in the country we’re out of their fucking minds with their rhetoric but whoever would have thought it could have gotten to where we are now. I think part of why we ignored their bullshit was becasue Bubba had the country running like a well oiled machine and everyone prospered.

Life was great and then 9/11 happened and changed the whole worldview. It allowed the Republicans to start ranting and raving and do their sword rattling. Then in 2008 Sarah Palin crawled out from under a rock to spearhead with her rhetoric what we are seeing now.

The racism and utter lack of compassion for anyone other than the ultra-conservatives in the country has been an in your face assault on democracy and our way of life. They found the perfect vehicle in Trump, they thought, but never realized he had plans of his own to become a despot. The few sane Republicans have woken up to what is happening while the Trump sycophants have sold their souls.

We will have to GOTV and show up in record numbers in November to right the wrongs we are living through. While I believe Bob Mueller will eventually bring down Trump and his traitorous cabal it is paramount that we as Democrats and sane citizens put a halt to their tearing down the norms by voting them all out in November.

 

Yeah, what about that small gov’t?

 

Hell has officially frozen over…Wonder what Ryan and the rest will say to this?

 

While I applaud Steve for his speechifying, he’s partly complicit for where we are since he should have seen this coming years ago…

 

This is nepotism at its most ludicrous…

 

Fuck you Dana…better skedaddle to Russia…No one wants you here.

 

 

This ain’t going away and is gonna get worse…NFL owners done fucked up.

 

You can’t fix stupid!

 

 

 

 

Have a great Friday and a great 3 day weekend!

Fuck off Bernie!

Fire away!

 

VNV Tuesday – Morris Milgram: Legacy and Lessons 5/22/18

April 11, 2018 was the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act; dude in the photo can be disregarded, since evidence suggests that he’s still clueless as to its significance.

It’s said that hindsight is 20/20, but to evaluate the open housing work of Morris Milgram in the 1950s and beyond, it is helpful to also understand the academic and social viewpoints relative to racism during this period. During the post-war period, social scientists who studied the issues of racism were heavily influenced by the 1944 work An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy by Swedish economist Gunner Myrdal.

TGIF!

Good morning meese…                                                     

I know Bobby is being very meticulous in his investigation but it sure would be nice to get a perp walk every once in a while. So many perps to choose from, from Trump to his mob and lawyers to everyone in his administration to most Republicans, the evilgilicals, Russians, Qatarians, Arabs, Syrians, Bernie, his family and his Bozobots…The number of perps is unlimited, reaching into the thousands. You’d think for the well being of the worlds psyche Bobby could perp walk 2 a week for years and still have Trump and the biggies for a grand finale after getting all the info he would need…. Just a thought…but a damn good one… :)

 

Kinda nice seeing a Republican saying this…

 

Love Dee’s take…Always worth reading…

 

 

 

Whoa…This is dynamite just waiting to explode…Great article in the WP. Trump is fucked!

 

Same article as in the above tweet…Eerily like the Valerie Plame bullshit!

 

 

 

 

Excellent!

 

 

This is shocking coming from Fox News…

 

Going to close with my champion and I know yours too…

 

Have a great weekend!

Fire away!

As always…Fuck you Bernie!

VNV Tuesday – Morris Milgram: Beyond Concord Park 5/15/18

House on Lonford Street, near Holme Ave., in NE Philadelphia. Area known as Greenbelt Knoll, first integrated housing in Philadelphia.

At the time when Morris Milgram was building Concord Park (featured in last week’s post), he was concurrently developing a smaller plat of land bought with the initial capital raised from investors. This 22 acre area would be a continuation of his dream for integrated housing, but on a smaller scale and with higher-end housing. Nestled in a wooded area of northeast Philadelphia, 19 homes were built in the prototypical mid-century modern style and in keeping with Frank Lloyd Wright’s aesthetic of drawing on and incorporating the natural landscape. (Morris Milgram specifically asked that as many existing trees be saved as possible and had a landscape architect as part of the team for the development.) The 55% white/45% black quota that was used at Concord Park was maintained for Greenbelt Knoll, and although on at least one occasion, Milgram called a white friend to ask him to consider buying a home on Longford Street, the struggles of finding white homebuyers willing to live in this integrated neighborhood were less pronounced. Milgram himself bought one of the homes, and the upscale housing attracted upper middle-class whites and blacks; politicians, intellectuals, and even a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. The small, secluded area with unique housing enabled the creation of a community built upon neighborliness and mutual respect. Today, Greenbelt Knoll remains integrated and has been designated as a historic district by the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places (2006) and the National Register of Historic Places (2010).

Invitation to a reception for Greenbelt Knoll, 1955

After Greenbelt Knoll, Milgram turned his sights to building two small subdivisions in and near Princeton, NJ: Maple Crest in Princeton and Glen Acres in West Windsor. These subdivisions of 25 and 15 homes, respectively, were built at the request of the Princeton Housing Group, a coalition of integrated Presbyterian churches. This local group did most of the initial work of raising funds to finance the housing; more details about their experiences are in this article: Film eyes Princeton pioneers of integration. No quotas were set for these houses, and the neighborhoods settled into [roughly] a 60% white, 40% black ratio on their own. Although Maple Crest is no longer a cohesive neighborhood like Glen Acres, both areas are still racially integrated. A West Windsor resident produced a short documentary about the experience a few years back; the trailer for it can be found here: Trailer for Glen Acres: A Story in Black and White

At this point in his career, Milgram had become known across the country for those interested in open housing, and he started a new company, Modern Community Developers (MCD). It was intended to not only continue building open developments but also to provide guidance to other builders interested in open housing. Milgram’s contacts were widespread and diverse, and the board of directors reflects this:

MCD’s roster of board members and advisors reads like a Who’s Who of mid-century progressive politics: Dorothy Height (president of the National Council of Negro Women), Senator Jacob Javits, Kivie Kaplan (head of the NAACP), Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph (president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters), Eleanor Roosevelt. Ned Eichler, who had offered Milgram advice on his projects, was a supporter, as was the pioneering developer of the shopping mall (and socialist) Victor Gruen. Source: “Housing Is Everybody’s Problem”: The Forgotten Crusade of Morris Milgram

One of the first projects of MCD almost became its last. A subsidiary of MCD, Progress Development Corporation, bought two plots of land in Deerfield, IL with the intention of building a 51-home development of housing, with 12 homes reserved for black ownership. Deerfield, about 20 miles northwest of the Loop, was, in the late 50s and early 60s, a small town with undeveloped prairie land on its outskirts, a quaint village center, and an all-white suburb. After getting the necessary zoning approvals, Progress started construction in the summer of 1959, and within months, sewer and plumbing lines had been laid for the plots and two model homes were almost completed. The homes were going to be designed by a noted modernist architectural firm, with a starting price of $30,000, the most expensive houses Milgram had built to date.

In mid-November, however, the news that this was to be an interracial development leaked, and Deerfield residents reacted with fury and speed. The next day, village officials halted construction due to “building code violations.” A community organization was formed, and an action committee of leading Chicago lawyers planned to take on the legal battle. On November 18th, just three days after the news was out, a village board of trustees meeting was packed with residents calling for the board to stop the development. Residents who supported the project, including a local history teacher, were jeered, booed, and told to leave. Milgram’s past association with socialism were brought up, with calls that his ties to “communism” be investigated; others wanted nothing to do with outsiders, especially “Eastern money interests” (an interesting charge in light of the fact that Milgram was Jewish). By November 23rd, a special meeting was held, with some residents claiming they weren’t against integration, just this sort of “forced integration” that was not the result of a “natural expansion.” By December 10th, a legal notice was posted in the local newspaper, announcing the park board’s intention to acquire land for six new parks; two of the parcels were the Progress plots. In 1959, bond issues for parks had already failed twice in Deerfield, but when the vote was held on December 23, 1959, voters in Deerfield voted 2635-1207 in favor of acquiring the parklands. The land that Milgram had bought and started developing would be seized by eminent domain.

Milgram was not going to concede without a fight. He fought in the state courts of Illinois and filed a civil rights case in the federal courts. In the state courts, he lost on the basis that Deerfield had the right to use eminent domain, and the Illinois Supreme Court would not consider the motives that MCD and Progress said motivated that use. In the federal district court, the judge dismissed the suit but not without adding his own acerbic, hostile opinion. (For those who are interested, some of the complaint and the ruling can be read here, with the point-by-point allegations of the roadblocks, with the rebuttal, placed in the way of Progress and its development: Complaint against Deerfield) Although Milgram’s lawyers pursued appeal, both cases were lost. The two partially-finished model homes were bought by village officials, and the land seized from Milgram lay dormant for years before finally being made into the long-promised parks: Jaycee Park and Mitchell Pool and Park.

In 1959, when Progress was trying to start their development in Deerfield, there were 12 African-Americans living in Deerfield out of a population of 11.786. The 2010 census shows that Deerfield had a population of 18,225; 160 residents reported as African-American. In 2015, a Lutheran church in Deerfield proposed a 48-unit affordable housing apartment complex on a part of their property, which would require a change in zoning from single-family housing. Controversy swirled over the proposal (Affordable Zion Woods apartments draw swift opposition), and the arguments in opposition to the affordable housing would have been familiar to the 1959 residents who opposed Milgram’s development.

This ill-conceived project on the land now occupied by the Zion Lutheran Church will spell trouble for Deerfield. The rental is below market costs and the income maximum foreshadows an influx of welfare recipients, and increase in taxes already high, and a strain on the school system. While those who propose this development may be motivated by good intentions, we must remember that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
Source: Diagnosing and Treating ‘Property-Value Panic’ Syndrome

To the best of my knowledge, the units have not been built.

Despite the financial assistance from groups and individuals across the nation, the legal actions related to the proposed housing in Deerfield nearly ruined Milgram financially. He turned away from suburban developments and turned his attention to buying apartment properties in Washington, DC and other cities and changing rental policies to allow non-white residents. It was the path he chose to follow for the remaining decades of his life:

Over the next three decades, Milgram acquired a host of apartment buildings. In 1964, MCD bought Rosemary Village, an all-white apartment complex in the D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland, and started welcoming black tenants. It was, Milgram claimed, “the first apartment house to be deliberately integrated south of the Mason-Dixon Line.” In 1965, he set up a real estate investment trust called M-REIT that focused on buying apartment buildings in white suburbs and using “affirmative marketing to establish and maintain ethnically diverse communities.” Other partnerships to buy low- and moderate-income apartments and integrate them long-term followed. With the Fair Housing Act now the law of the land (albeit poorly enforced; discrimination remained rife) and “benign quotas” out of the question, Milgram and his partners aimed to steadily integrate complexes as apartments turned over, luring nonwhite tenants while preventing a white exodus. In 1968 Milgram became the first recipient of the National Human Rights Award of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Source: “Housing Is Everybody’s Problem”: The Forgotten Crusade of Morris Milgram

Bonus video: Memories of Greenbelt Knoll

Next week: Legacies and Lessons

TGIF!

Good morning meese…

I’m pissed off so I’ve got very little of anything constructive to say and since every other word would be fuck or something similar I’ll refrain from venting this morning…

 

 

Fuck you Ghoulini…

 

The grifters keep on grifting…

 

Fuck off Dotard…

 

Thread…Ominous in it’s scope…

 

Short thread…

 

 

 

Our President…

 

 

That’s all folks!

Have a great weekend!

 

Fire away!!!

VNV Tuesday – A Tale of Two “Cities”: Concord Park, Trevose, PA 5/8/18

Morris Milgram was a dreamer and an activist first, a homebuilder second.

An ardent antifascist and peace activist, member of the Student League for Industrial Democracy and Student Strike Agains the War, Milgram was expelled from the City College of New York in 1934 after leading protest against a visiting delegation of fascist students. In the late 1930s, Milgram served as New Jersey executive secretary of the Workers’ Defense League… During World War II, …Milgram became the national secretary of the WDL. The WDL had a long record of supporting racial equality, which it saw as inseparable from “labor’s rights.” …Closely allied with CORE and the March on Washington Movement, Milgram advocated nonviolent civil disobedience. Source: Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North by Thomas Sugrue, p. 230-31

By 1947, with a wife and a young family, Milgram made the decision to take mainstream employment and started working for his father-in-law’s construction firm. Although he did not have a background in any area of construction (his degree, completed at Dana College, was in economics), he spent four years learning the ins-and-outs of marketing, tax codes, zoning laws, and construction finance, all while working with his father-in-law to build housing for whites-only in the Philadelphia suburbs. It was not a happy choice for him (“my conscience hurt”), but it was, according to his father-in-law/boss, the way things were done. After his father-in-law died in 1952, Milgram decided to pursue his dream of creating open housing, an interracial alternative to Levittown.

The dream was the easy part; the reality was far harder. Banks and investors had zero interest in supporting an integrated housing project; in his first year of trying to fund the project, he only raised $14,000. Fortunately, being in a Friends’ stronghold helped to save the project. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) introduced him to George Otto, a builder, Quaker, and the chair of the Philadelphia Friends Social Order Committee. Otto was interested in and sympathetic to Milgram’s dream, and they formed a corporation together, which enabled them to sell stock shares to friends and associates. Although the story of Concord Park will always be Morris Milgram’s story, the contribution of George Otto cannot be underestimated. He came from an old Quaker family and had connections throughout the Quaker community, particularly with Quakers as wealthy as himself. Between the two, with Milgram providing the moral argument, “Put your money where your heart is” and Otto providing the reassurance that this was a sound investment, $150,000 in venture capital was soon raised. A board of directors was formed, made up of six white and three black men, and with the initial capital two tracts of land were purchased: 50 acres in Trevose, PA (and only about 11 miles from Levittown), as well as a smaller plot of 9 acres in northeast Philly.

An article printed in a Fellowship of Reconciliation publication

Raising the initial capital was only the first battle; from there, Milgram had to ensure that mortgage financing was available. At this point, the project almost crashed and burned as more than 20 banks and financial institutions turned them down. For bankers, the conventional wisdom was that blacks lowered property values, so it made no sense to them to provide the financing. After much searching and with the corporation on the brink of ruin, one bank came through. A New York bank, with experience lending to African-Americans, agreed to finance some of the mortgages.

Milgram’s Concord Park homes were similar to those in Levittown, an intentional decision by Milgram, but because he lacked the economies of scale and the vertical integration of Levitt and Sons, they were slightly more expensive. Despite that, when his model home opened in 1954 (decorated by the same designer the Levitt’s used), 25,000 passed through in four months, 95% of whom were white. Milgram had marketed heavily to white communities (although not always mentioning that this would be open housing) and relied on word of mouth throughout black communities. However, when actual applications started coming in, Milgram was dumbfounded to discover that of the first 60 applicants, 50 were black. He had anticipated that securing the first sales to white families would be difficult, but he had not taken into account the pent-up demand for suburban housing for black families. “I woke up one night in a cold sweat and said to myself, ‘Morris, you s.o.b., you’re building a ghetto.'” (Sugrue, p. 233)

Morris Milgram, 1972; Concord Park brochure 1954

With the dream of integrated housing once again in danger, the board of directors for Concord Park were faced with a difficult decision. Did they set aside their initial goal and instead meet the demand of black buyers? Could they afford to wait for white buyers to move in? Finally, in 1955, the board made a difficult, controversial decision. They established a quota system, with 45% of the homes to be sold to black families and the remaining balance (55%) to white buyers. Milgram himself had suggested a 50/50 split, but one of the black board members, a former president of Florida A&M, suggested the 55/45 split to assuage white fears about losing the majority. By 1958, all of the 139 houses in Concord Park were built and sold; the ratio had been maintained.

For years, the dream played out just as Milgram had hoped. There was no violence as the Concord Park houses sold, and the development had social clubs; residents played bridge together; a babysitting cooperative was formed. It was 1950s suburbia in every imaginable way for the black and white residents. For a period of time, the ratio was maintained, in part because Milgram had owners sign an agreement which allowed the corporation to take responsibility for the resale. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act was law, and quotas became illegal; by the 1970s, cookie cutter tract housing, so necessary during the post-WWII housing shortage, lost their popularity, and white occupants of Concord Park started moving out…because they could. Although fair housing was by now the law of the land, housing discrimination still existed, but black buyers could still buy in Concord Park. So they did; the last, original white homeowners moved out in 2000, but Concord Park had become a majority-black development years before.

Next week: Was Concord Park a success or failure? And more Milgram…

TGIF!!!

 

 

Good morning meese!!!

 

 

Since I’m in one of my moods today…

This puts a smile on my face even though it’s missing about 50 deplorables….Can’t happen soon enough.

 

 

 

For Sher!!! To cut a long story short I’ve had another mama cat come up on the porch and since I’m such a pushover I started feeding her. She went into labor late Monday afternoon and here is the result…4 beautiful kittehs and all seem to be doing great.

 

You don’t say…It’s been obvious for as long as she’s been there.

 

Hey Rudy, keep talking, you’re doing such a good job and Avenatti is taking you to the cleaners.

 

Whoopsie

 

 

 

 

Hey Bernie!

.

 

 

Have a great weekend!

Fire away!

VNV Tuesday – A Tale of Two “Cities”: Levittown, PA 5/1/18

Levittown PA: Filling a need (as long as you were white)

Last week, I intended to write about two contrasting approaches to the extreme housing shortage that developed after the end of WWII, but as I started writing, it became obvious that the background about discriminatory housing practices needed to be explained and expanded first. With last week’s post in mind, this then is a snapshot of the development of Levittown, PA (never incorporated as a town, Levittown spans four different municipalities and three school districts). Next week, I’ll profile a second “city” which took a far different approach.

TGIF!

Good morning meese…

 

Don’t have much to say this morning so to tweets we go….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend!

Fire away!

 

VNV Tuesday – Housing Segregation: An Overview (Part One) 4/24/18

Aerial view of Levittown, PA:  Built quickly using assembly-line techniques; affordable; and for whites only.

It is often assumed that segregation by race in cities and suburbs (particularly in the north) was and is a result of “natural” processes, even when those processes are the ugly expression of white fear. White flight to the suburbs, the logic goes, may be reprehensible, but it’s a predictable result when white people, guided by prejudice, felt their neighborhoods were in danger of being “taken over.” In reality, that does not accurately describe what happened in urban and suburban areas. The segregation of areas by race was more than a choice made by individuals; it was abetted and reinforced by private and public policies, laws, and regulations. (Note: The following post is, for the most part, about northern cities; southern cities may have followed similar patterns, but I haven’t researched southern cities enough to say that with any certainty.)