Federal lawsuit alleges Fair Housing violations in the Antelope Valley
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—An Antelope Valley community group sued Lancaster and Palmdale officials today, alleging the cities engaged in practices meant to drive out Black and Latino residents.
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on behalf of the Community Action League, the California State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and two unidentified residents who allegedly faced racial discrimination.
The lawsuit challenges the cities’ policies in regard to more than 3,600 Black and Latino families using Section 8 housing subsidies in the area—practices the plaintiffs allege violate the federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
"For a city as diverse as Palmdale, that would be a futile position and one we do not pursue,'' said Palmdale Mayor James C. Ledford Jr. "All we're asking is accountability in the Section 8 program and we're making sure those provisions are being upheld,'' he said. "Inspections on all housing stock is just a common sense practice. It keeps everyone playing by the rules.''
A call for comment to a representative for the city of Lancaster was not immediately returned.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, is meant to encourage economic and racial integration and to enable past victims of discrimination to live in communities of their own choosing.
But, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs, families taking their vouchers to Lancaster and Palmdale have been victims of harassment at the hands of housing authority investigators, sheriff’s deputies and local politicians.
“City officials have gone so far as to declare ‘war’ on Black and Latino families,” said Catherine Lhamon, director of plaintiff attorneys Public Counsel.
“Fifty years after courts outlawed racial segregation, Lancaster and Palmdale have turned back the clock, turning neighbor against neighbor in the process,” she said. “They should be building one community, not tearing it apart.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors went behind closed doors today to discuss funding for investigations into Section 8 housing fraud in Lancaster and Palmdale amid allegations of racial discrimination.
The county stopped funding for the probes in June, instituting a 90-day moratorium when allegations of racism were raised.
Statement by: Ms. Alice Huffman, president National Association for the Advancement of Color People California State Conference
We are here today to share with the public a report prepared and released by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which details various associations between Tea Party organizations and acknowledged hate groups in the United States.
CALIFORNIA BLACK MEDIA—As election day approaches, the race for California governor is getting closer. Last week, Rasmussen Reports released a poll indicating that Jerry Brown (D) was slightly ahead of Meg Whitman (R) by one percent (47% vs. 46%), with three percent of California voters still undecided.
LANCASTER, Calif.—The Antelope Valley has experienced what some people would call community-shifting happenings, including the shooting death of two young people within a week of each other and two church arsons that have been speculated about as possible hate crimes.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — High surf pounded the coast and fierce winds howled across the Southland today, with gusts topping 70 mph whipping the Saugus area and 50 mph in Lancaster.