Friday, November 29, 2013
Is land use becoming hip? Nowhere was I more surprised to hear an entire hour dedicated to land use law than on This American Life. When Ira Glass is giving an hour to affordable housing and the role of property tax in education, it might just be that people are starting to care about land use issues. Then again, the term "land use" was never mentioned in the broadcast at all, but still...
Here is the description of the episode:
Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address.
Much of this story is told to Nancy Updike by ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose series on the Fair Housing laws — with more stories, research and interviews — is here.
Ira talks to 15 year old Jada who, when she was in third grade, moved from Akron Public Schools in Ohio, to the nearby Copley-Fairlawn schools in the suburbs. After two years, Jada was kicked out by administrators who discovered that her mother was using Jada's grandfather's address in Copley, instead of her own in Akron. Jada says that while the schools are only a few miles apart, the difference in education was astounding.
For more information about Jada and her mother, Kelley Williams Bolar, who spent 10 days in jail because she falsified documents so she could enroll Jada and her sister in the Copley-Fairlawn schools, you can go here.
Reporter Nancy Updike talks to a group of New York City residents about their frustrating attempts to rent an apartment. With hidden microphones, we hear landlords and supers tell the apartment hunters that there's nothing available. But that's not necessarily true. Forty-five years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones talks to Nancy about the history of racial housing discrimination in the United States and what has been done — and hasn't been done — to rectify it.
Once the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968, there was some question about how to implement it and enforce it. George Romney, the former Republican Governor of Michigan and newly-appointed Secretary of HUD, was a true believer in the need to make the Fair Housing Law a powerful one — a robust attempt to change the course of the nation's racial segregation. Only problem was: President Richard Nixon didn't necessarily see it that way. With Nikole Hannah-Jones, Nancy Updike continues the story. (16 minutes)
Nikole Hannah-Jones's investigative series on the history and enforcement of the Fair Housing laws — with more stories, research and interviews — is here.
Listen to it here:
Stephen R. Miller