To the editors:
It’s about time that the CHA’s Operation Clean Sweep [Oct. 5] stopped being an unquestioned darling in the press.
I would like to explain what I think is the background of today’s CHA/HUD policies. Chicago and 160 other cities burned after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in ’68. The powers that be were afraid so they studied together through the Kerner Commission to see how such rebellion might be prevented. One of these representatives of big business, government, and military was developer Anthony Downs whose proposals for “Spacial Deconcentration” found their way into HUD manuals. Downs wanted to break up concentrations of Black people in the inner city where they could see their common oppression and more easily organize. Downs thought that neighborhoods should be made up of no more than one Black person in every four. And he wanted them away from the downtown seats of power/business, as in cities in countries like Mexico where the poorest people live on the outskirts. Spacial Deconcentration builds a white collar around downtown with places like Presidential Towers which was funded by HUD. Spacial Deconcentration gives positive and negative incentives for people to move; positive like Section 8, negative such as how the landlord (our white supremacist government) is letting Henry Horner Homes go to hell.
More than twenty years have passed. Kerner Commission ideas like scattered site housing never materialized. The rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the ghettos remain. And so does the agenda of the powers that be through all their agencies. That agenda is social control; keeping people in line and preventing rebellion and revolution.