Courage to Say “No!”
Introduction by Evelyn Zur: Kim Monson is a successful business woman, former Lone Tree Council Woman, Leadership of the Rockies Graduate, and Co-Host to the popular Heart of the Matter talk show by The Americhicks on KLZ 560. Kim testified along with Smith Young, Lily Tang Williams, and Evelyn Zur why the New Rules of Aggression by HUD & AFFH no longer benefit the long term health of our communities. Kim’s Guest Commentary here, rightly praises the exceptional courage by Commissioners David Weaver and Roger Partridge to do what is Most Right for the residents they serve in Douglas County.
Courage to Say “No!”
Guest Commentary by Kim Monson
July 11, 2016
Something very courageous happened at a recent Douglas County Commissioner’s hearing. Colorado Community Media (CCM)reported that at a June 28th hearing, Commissioner Partridge and Commissioner Weaver voted “No” to accepting Federal HUD (Housing & Urban Development) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies. In the past, CDBG funds have been distributed to a variety of non-profit and non-governmental entities throughout Douglas County. Both commissioners voiced their concerns of the far reaching rules, regulations and compliance requirements hidden deep within HUD’s updated (CDBG) application.
Dave Weaver and Roger Partridge, Douglas County’s Two Brave Commissioners
Included in HUD’s application are two things that should cause each of us to pause. The first is the language of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing(AFFH).” In essence, AFFH gives politicians and bureaucrats, in Washington DC, the power to make zoning decisions for our neighborhoods and communities based on complex, regional, demographic and income parameters. It requires our communities to pay for assessments and reporting mechanisms while obligating our citizens to either redirect or raise local taxes to bring neighborhoods into regional compliance. Under AFFH, “if you like your neighborhood, you may not be able to keep your neighborhood.”
Secondly, Commissioner Weaver (former Douglas County Sheriff) voiced his concerns about the language inserted into the CDBG application that says police agencies “must have excessive force rules in place.” Such policies will cause our police officers to “think twice” as they “serve and protect” our communities. Ultimately, this results in less safe communities and increased danger to our peace officers. He also noted that the Commissioners do not have jurisdiction over police forces. It is not the role of the federal government to dictate policy on local police issues.
I care deeply about my neighbors and communities and have volunteered with multiple organizations over the years. Several considerations come to mind as we look at these CDBG grants:
- While helping others is indeed a noble cause and Americans are among the most generous people in the world, “forced charity” by politicians & bureaucrats is neitherDave Weaver -Roger Partridge pictures noble nor charitable.
- It is unfair that government picks which entities receive CDBG funds (winners) and which don’t (losers).
- The 7.2016 CCM article references the Douglas County Housing Partnership programs. While well-intentioned, the actual effects of such programs disincentivize our young people and makes it more expensive for our middle class to pursue their hopes & dreams. Under “Affordable Housing” programs, two people may pay differing rents for the same apartment depending on their incomes. How is this fair?
- If we are serious about making housing more affordable, we need to reduce rules and regulations. The Wall Street Journalrecently reported that government compliance regulations are increasing the cost of new homes by 24.3%. Think how many more young people could move out of their parent’s basements if the cost of housing was reduced by just 20%.
- Lastly, per the CDBG agreement, each entity may take up to 20% of awarded funds for administration. In 2015, Douglas County used 15.7% for administration. Douglas County staff recommended distribution of $732,365 to 15 projects in 2016. Assuming 15.7% administrative fees and assuming tax funds go thru four entities (IRS, HUD, Douglas County & Grantees), $1,222,488.71 must be taken from taxpayers to get $617,383.69 to the recipients of these programs. Private individuals funding private charities & businesses are much more efficient.
The issue is complicated. Thank you to Commissioners Partridge & Weaver for making the difficult decisions necessary for the well-being of our community.