Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan has stirred controversy with his recent speech at the annual NAACP convention in which he announced the use of a new database to enforce the Fair Housing Act
In his July 16 address, Donovan said, "For the first time ever, HUD is providing data for every neighborhood in the nation, detailing what access African American families, and other members of protected classes, have to the community assets — including jobs, schools and transit."
He continued, "With this data … we can expand access to high opportunity neighborhoods and draw attention to investment possibilities in underserved communities."
"HUD's programs provide funding to partners at the state and local level," said Donovan.
"As part of the Fair Housing Act — for members of the protected classes—these partners have an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing opportunities."
"Make no mistake," he added. "With the HUD budget alone, we are talking about billions of dollars."
That prompted Fox News's Chris Stirewalt to write in his Power Play column
, "The old way was to punish exclusion. The new way is to punish lack of inclusion."
"Rather than fines and prosecutions for those who sought to keep minorities out, the new penalty would be a withholding of federal funds from local and state government agencies dependent on HUD grants if they fail to push greater diversity," he said. "The report card comes in the form of the new maps, which use Census data to score communities on their racial and ethnic concentrations."
Stirewalt continued, "HUD wants a more even distribution of blue — white residents — and green — black residents — in the city, and if you are planning a new subdivision or a realtor looking to sign potential buyers up for FHA loans, the dot distribution is something the Obama administration wants you to be mindful of."
The administration drew similar criticism from the National Review
's Stanley Kurtz in his recent book "Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities."
Kurtz, who also authored "Radical-in-Chief" and is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argued that "Obama's plans to undercut the political and economic independence of America's suburbs reach back decades."
Stirewalt maintained that the latest plan is particularly alarming in light of the latest revelations of the government's secret surveillance programs.
"At a time when Americans are on high alert about government snooping and databases, and we still have unfolding before us at the IRS a story about how readily power can be abused for political aims, it would seem like a strange moment to put the federal government in the dot distribution business," he concluded.
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