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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Fair housing in Cedar Rapids, and a new day for civil rights

Three of four property management companies tested in Cedar Rapids discriminated against black applicants, according to an audit by the city’s Civil Rights Commission. If you haven’t already, read Erika Binegar’s story here.

Beyond the obvious fact that this audit uncovers what appears to be a trend of racism among landlords here, I see this as a victory for the city’s Civil Rights Commission, a group that was beleaguered and lacking direction (that’s my opinion) just a year ago.

They had no director, and the guy they originally hired backed out for “health” reasons. Meetings were often characterized by petty squabbling. Then, last summer, Kenneth White came from Minneapolis, where he was executive director of the Department of Civil Rights. He took the reins and said the commission would be stepping up its game.

It looks like he meant it. We’ll see what happens with the audit’s findings.

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6 Responses

  1. Mary in Iowa says:

    Very sobering story, agreed.

  2. Doug says:

    Mr. White is a good man with solid credentials. Good to have him on our team.

  3. Steve says:

    I must say it is about time. My neighborhood has taken in all sorts of people of color and diversity on the South East side of town, it has never been a problem, unless of course someone brings with them behavior that is criminal. I find it interesting the ebb and flow of migrants and immigrants into and out of this neighborhood as they find their way in the American landscape. I would also appreciate it if the rest of the city learned to appreciate it as well and stopped treating the South East Side like it was a “scary place” where black people live. In the venacular of todays politically correct world, crime is the code word for black. So when you hear “nice people” talk about crime and criminal activity in my neighborhood, what they really are saying is “black”. They need to get over this fear of the unknown. They need to have black, Vietnamese, Mexican, refuge, African, Iranian, you name it, contact in there everyday life so they will know people are people, not something to be feared. It will stop my neighborhood from being treated as a ghetto if more places would be as excepting as we are of whatever, and in this case, whoever, comes our way. I hope this Civil Rights Director keeps the pressure on and doesn’t get derailed by the white flight folks who have had far to much power in this city for far to long.

  4. I-know-It--I-Knew-It says:

    This is so transparent, it is almost humorous, and would be, if it did not lead to the advancement of such grotesque and hideous goals.

    The Hijacked Civil Rights Movement — which is far and away removed from the Real Civil Rights Movement — has one goal, the domination of this society by every ‘so-called’ special rights and special interest power group that can weasel their phony laws and phony bills into every state and county and city level!

    Their primary ‘Mask of Intentions’ is to mimic the Real Civil Rights Movement, and to appear to be operating as the real version would be … with one very different fact. The single objective of the Hijacked Civil Rights Movement is the total infusion of all forms of Paying Clientele Perversions and special interests, into every phase of life in this society … until such time that their propaganda and dirty tricks have turned the power structure of society (laws, regulations, legislations, media opinions, political prostitutes etc) into a structure that is tailored to their own evils and dementias!
    Whereupon, the suggestions and propaganda stop!
    And the Dictatorships begin!
    And the Jails begin to fill with Humans, who did not talk the ‘Accepted Talk’, and walk the ‘Accepted Walk’, and vote the ‘Accepted Vote’!
    When the Thought Police come to YOUR DOOR — you will have two choices — Obey and stay out of Jail — or wish you had not been such an idiot before!
    Don’t look beyond them, in the hopes that Human Resisters are coming to save you.
    You helped the forces of evil, kill them off long ago!

    I-Know-It–I-Knew-It

  5. but you don’t know know sh*t.

    “the domination of this society by every ’so-called’ special rights and special interest power group that can weasel their phony laws and phony bills into every state and county and city level!”

    WTF?

    Are you trying to be taken seriously? Better luck next time.

    “Thought Police”?

    Wow, why am I even bothering?
    Because people like you pretend that affirmative action is a form of “reverse” racism-
    when in fact it has given more jobs to WHITE women than any other group.

    That’s right, I’m not defending affirmative action, I’m saying it’s another program that has benefited whites to the detriment of other racial (minority) group.

    Join the 21st Century Mr. I-Know-It–I-Knew-It!

  6. Leona D says:

    Kenneth White needs a reason to keep his job and up spending in his department, just like he did in MN. I believe he came into this community to divide it and cause race based issues that are just not there. I seriously do not know how this guy sleeps at night.

    “In 1994, then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton decided not to reappoint Hixson. But the department only grew more notorious. Sayles Belton’s pick for the job, a black man named Kenneth White, was accused of nepotism when the Star Tribune reported in 1998 that three people with ties to White’s family were working under him. Later White was charged with ignoring alleged sexual harassment in the workplace.

    White was dismissed, and deputy director Vanne Owens Hayes was picked by Sayles Belton to lead the department in March 2001. ”

    http://citypages.com/databank/25/1224/article12122.asp

    I think this is my favorite part of another article because it shows this guy’s true self:

    “A trip last summer also raises eyebrows. In mid-July White and Scott traveled to Nashville for a conference on race relations at Fisk University. Both took five working days off and submitted a total of $2,791 in expenses. But according to the department’s phone records, a cellular telephone issued to White left Nashville on the first day of the conference and spent the rest of the week in Cape Girardeau, Missouri–more than 200 miles away. Additionally, while White’s expense report for the trip was fully itemized and included receipts from Nashville hotels and restaurants, Scott’s contained no receipts. (Both reports were approved by the city’s then-finance director John Moir.)

    White says he and Scott both attended the Fisk conference. He declines to comment on his phone’s apparent migration. “It’s not important,” he maintains. “It’s been discussed and resolved. It’s a non-issue.” ”

    Search for his name in the City Heat’s other articles to see the same tricks he is up to here in Cedar Rapids. He is not needed here. This guy is a piece of scum. I do not know how he sleeps at night. Karma has a way of working itself out. I can’t wait until we get rid of this clown.

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